Marjorie Rawlings: Warm or White Christmas?

Florida Humanities Council posted a wonderful story about Marjorie Rawlings learning to love Florida at Christmastime. It took some time for the writer to adjust to warm air and green plants at Christmas but once she did, she was in it lock, stock, and barrel. Great article.

Paralleling Rawlings, but humbly drawing no comparison in talent, I am spending Christmas in Tucson to promote my new novel, Threshold, in very warm BUT DRY weather. Here we might be sipping margarita’s with lots of lime.

Below are photos I took at Rawlings’ Cross Creek home, now a Florida State Park, and great place to visit on your way down to Key West.

The cherished indoor bathroom.
The cherished indoor bathroom.
All the original furniture.
All the original furniture.
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Ernest Hemingway slept here and maybe Scott Fitzgerald. A steady stream of writers stayed at the Rawlings’ B&B.
Marjorie wrote at this table, probably with an icy margarita!
Marjorie wrote at this table, probably with a whiskey near at hand.

 

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An Artist’s Life – Part II

SUNSET

Art emanates from the body’s experience in the physical world; art arises from spiritual forces that animate the world we perceive. Art enhances and extends our perception of the life experience.

Art is a record of values, what is valued, of memory, of dreaming. Art is organic, from the great experiment set in motion by the greatest Artist of all, who creates without judgement – setting form free upon the world to live, interact and transform with time, ultimately to return to the body of the universe herself.

We need art to see, to perhaps understand, and to remember the beauty of being alive on a magical planet spinning among stars, to be drawn together in our mutual experience as one body of living creatures on Earth.

Art reminds us that We Are One–mysterious, full of gratitude for the rising sun, cool moon, and final rest in the substance from which we once arrived – fresh, receptive, and excited to be alive!

*In celebration of my dear friend, Boyd Christensen, artist and fellow sojourner, and to all artists among us who remind us how we once arrived, full of joy and wonder.

An Artist’s Life: Part 1

IMG_20150518_185202Boyd Christensen, my dear friend, passed away yesterday. He was friend, buddy, and my artist mentor. A quiet man, his art focused on design in nature.

As an artist creates, his or her ideas and medium of expression evolve. One can see this in the body of Boyd’s work and the materials through which he chose to create.

He was a problem-solver, good at design, good with his hands which he applied to construction. He and Betty, brought their unique abilities to every home they owned–each a masterwork of thoughtful, organic design.

Boyd taught me what an artist’s life is about, not through words, but through his daily actions which I observed over the 30 years we knew each other. He was always thinking about his art, and I noticed that he saw shadow, light, negative space and motion/form in all things. His mind was clear.

He worked in his studio almost daily but he also kept up a playful active life which I believe refueled the artist impulse. He liked to “work in his woods” and to ski, mostly cross country–sometimes in what he described as a heat wave (above zero in Duluth). I was a desert dweller and later a Floridian whom he like to tease about being a wimp when it comes to a Minnesota wintertime.

Their current home in Duluth, MN is a beautiful place set on a hill overlooking Lake Superior. There were thick copses of trees which Boyd set about clearing to improve the view. A man who cared deeply about nature, in fact found the inspiration for his art from nature, he kept each tree for his art.

The popple tree (big-toothed aspen) provided an easy medium for his sculpture. Under the gray or green-yellow bark, the pith is white and smooth, looking at times almost like bone or ivory. Boyd carefully cut each tree, saving the trunks, major limbs, and all the smaller branches, cataloging them so that he could juxtapose these in a sculpture, a set of relationships that reformed the essence of the tree into a new expression. He stayed at his new form of art for many years and finally amassed what he named The Folded Forest. Here is one example:

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