Fierce!

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My post in response to the Daily One-Word Prompt FIERCE.

My daughter and I attended the 2016 Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in Albuquerque this spring. Our experience was a once-in-a-lifetime eye-opener – a trip to another world. I have always been fascinated with the American Indian, so this weekend was not a random occasion. I was there to learn and to widen the scope of my understanding.

Three thousand Native Americans were in attendance, representing tribes from the entire country, all arriving in full regalia in an opening processional walk to center stage as the thunderous beating of big drums pounded from around the perimeter of the covered arena. Our hearts were close to jumping out of our chests with the thrill of that scene before us, and for the next couple days we watched the dancing to the story-telling songs of each tribe.

We have a terrible weight on our shoulders resulting from the history of our country in relation to Indians – I highly recommend that you attend a Pow Wow – there are many in the USA – and attempt to understand these indigenous peoples. These original, first nation tribes. These powerful, artistically gifted, musical and dance-loving people who will send chills up your spine and amaze you with their customs. You owe that to yourselves and your children.

Refer to my blog ARCHIVES of about 4 months ago titled That Which Stirs My Soul for the full report on this Pow Wow in New Mexico.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Frame

Moroccan Door

For this week’s Photo Challenge: FRAME  I choose this painting in mixed media collage that I did many years ago but which I still refer to at times for the texture and enigmatic composition. I believe the door is Moroccan; I painted it from a photograph.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/frame

My Injured Buddha

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I collect Buddha sculptures wherever I go. I have them displayed in my home and studios in a variety of materials and sizes. I do not discriminate. It matters not to me  whether Buddha is represented in bronze, stone, marble, solid silver, gold, terra cotta, jade or agate and if I see a plastic Buddha that stirs me I will buy it, because I am sure that the humble Buddha does not mind and I personally have no shame. In my collection I have Buddha likenesses from Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan,  Hawaii and various other locations around the world and in the mainland USA.

By far the most unusual geographic location in which I have ever purchased a Buddha was in a little shop specializing in Tibetan jewelry and other exotic treasures in Flagstaff, Arizona. My sister and I were wandering around aimlessly one morning following our fancy wherever it led us, having a great, leisurely escape when we stumbled upon the place – the place where I found the Buddha for whom I carry the most affection of any in my possession.

I was going through a hard time during that month, feeling a little wounded and beaten up by life. The event that caused those feelings actually escapes me now, years later, which is a good thing. Whatever it was, it was only temporary. Maybe my sister would remember. Vicki? Are you there?

I saw this remarkable Buddha in the glass case. I asked to see it, touch it and admire it closer. The face appeared to be gold leaf, but I doubted that preciousness coming from there, a tiny little shop in Flagstaff, AZ. and it truly did not matter to me whether it was genuine gold leaf or not. The lady removed it from the case and sat it on the counter. I sensed its weight with that gesture; she said it was heavy steel. I immediately noticed the deep crack that meandered from the golden forehead up into the head; it had been damaged somewhere and sometime in the very distant past. I found that both sad and intriguing. She assured us it was from Nepal.

She told us that she had another one, identical except for the crack, in perfect condition and asked if perhaps I’d like to see it. Of course!

It was perfect. I could not believe there were two. Obviously I chose the blemished Buddha, because upon that day, when I felt the pain, I decided to embrace it. I was sure I was meant to have the blemished Buddha, and I felt I had found a true, personalized relic meant as a treasure just for me…found randomly in a tiny shop in a very unlikely location a world away from its birthplace, and now mine. It seemed like Karma to me.

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Blogging Taught Me This

children  My photo taken in the countryside outside Siem Reap, Cambodia, 2015

I am coming up on a personal milestone in my blogging career of the past several years – soon I will reach 10,000 views which is a nice round number to achieve. I am excited about it, but compared to many others I could name whose blogs I follow and read religiously, that is a very small number. In my humble career as a blogger I have however, learned a great deal about people, travel, the art of writing, life, photography and the wonders of the world. Several meaningful discoveries have been made through my writing and reading of blogs.

  1. If you are able to find a way to travel, domestically or internationally, you owe it to a life well lived to do that at every opportunity. I am of the opinion that people who venture out of their own comfort zones and soak up the knowledge they gain along the way are the everyday prophets of the world. I don’t care if you simply walk across town, ride a bike, trek around Mt. Everest or trek to a national park,  journey on a train, or a bus or a boat or a plane or climb a fourteener in Colorado – just leave your everyday environment behind for a while. Even for just an afternoon! What you will learn far outweighs any perceived inconvenience in getting there. Then be sure you write and talk about it. Share your experiences. Impart some knowledge. Bring the world together.
  2. What will you learn? You will learn how to get outside your own importance. You will begin to know and appreciate other lifestyles; other people’s struggles and joys, other scenery, other people’s ways of making a living and how they spend their leisure time if they have any. How they raise their children, how they worship, what they eat, where they live, what they wear and what they sleep on at night. You might read all that in a book, of course but unless you smell it, hear it, touch it, breathe it in and see it with your own eyes  you will not truly know anything for sure about what other people are up against. Whether it is our Louisiana flooding or even if – even if it is a mere 10 miles away from where you live.
  3. As a result of traveling, you will get better at tolerance, kindness, understanding, generosity, love and even forgiveness. You will be a better person, I guarantee. Why? Because it is hard to ignore a barefoot, raggedy clothed, dusty little child, painfully underfed, without toys, living in a dirt-floored hovel that the monsoons are likely to flatten and flood in 2 months. You will think of him and his family, from a world away, when you hear on the news that there is flooding in Cambodia and hundreds of people have had their rice fields swept away. You will care very deeply.
  4. All of those experiences will make a better person of you and your children and friends. You will have a deeper and wider frame of reference upon which to base your beliefs and opinions about what needs to be done in the world. And you will use that platform for change, in whatever way you can. You will have personal stories to tell that will influence others and inspire them to travel and provide good works wherever they go. If you travel you have a fine opportunity to be a positive ambassador for the USA. We need more of those.
  5. Finally, for now, but certainly not lastly, if you are a creative person artistically,  musically, if you write or you photograph or you simply keep a humble travel journal – whatever expression stirs your soul – it will become far more profound in meaning if you travel. It cannot help but get better. You will employ travel and use it all as food and fuel for your heart and mind. You will find yourself saying poetic things you never thought you would utter, writing about other worlds, seeing everything with new eyes and loving the diversity of the planet as never before, because you had no basis upon which to know what you had been missing. Your mind will open up and you will become wiser for with every travel experience.

Overload

 

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This painting was inspired by the Chatuchak Market visited in Bangkok, Thailand 2014, by Jo Ann Brown-Scott 24×36

I was on intense sensory overload for about 10 hours straight as we took in the sights, sounds, smells and color stimulation during this crash course in the cultural abundance of Bangkok, Thailand at the world famous Chatuchak Market. I will never forget it. It left an indelible imprint on my artistic soul, of action, energy, variety of music and people  and clothing and food , not to mention the merchandise in row upon row of cubicles. When I showed this painting to my instructor at the Denver Art Students League he smiled and approved. He had only two minor tweeks that he recommended and then he considered it finished.

You see Homare Ikeda loves paintings that tell a story, and he saw many abstract  stories here. If you divide this painting into squares, you will find a half dozen or more individual paintings that each work alone as complete compositions. The lower portion of the painting has a glow that comes from deep behind and is more blurred that the upper portions – an impressionistic painting or two unto itself.

This is also, in addition to the color and paint application, a mixed media collage – meaning that I have used various printed papers glued and layered and painted over to achieve a deep, almost sculptural texture in certain areas.

For me, it is just about as complicated a piece as I have ever done and that I am happy with. And since I am on overload today, with creative energy and ideas, it seemed the right time to post it.

Jo Ann Brown-Scott, author and artist

New 5 star Novel – A Canary Flies the Canyon, available on Kindle and Amazon

http://www.acanaryfliesthecanyon.com

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