78 and counting

The iconic Clock from the Musee d’Orsay in Paris – the Museum was formerly a train station, so clocks are everywhere, and my message for you is time-oriented…

Here I am again, inside the chaotic and dangerous inner sanctum of the pandemic, except I have finished another trip around the sun. I had a birthday, in spite of covid. My heart goes out to all those people whose life journey has ended much too soon. I grieve for you and your families every day. It is like Russian Roulette, this disease. Chances are that you might get it in some random, thoughtless nanosecond when your guard is down. I hope not. Never lose your focus and your awareness of what you are doing, where you are doing it, what your hands are touching and the quality of the air you are breathing. We are all stuck together here in this moment in time, and I care about you.

They say you should write about what you know, and I know all of this. Later birthdays are difficult under even normal circumstances, but when you get up into numbers that are in the clouds birthdays can be stunning and sobering. It seems the older you get the more you think about the past. I try, teeth gritted, not to do that. I make it almost my mantra to live in the now.

The nights are the most daunting. Oh I can fall asleep just fine, but waking up at 3:42 am every morning is predictably infuriating. I know I am not alone.

For weeks, months, even years our “getting older” minds are awakened in the pitch blackness to worry about THINGS. We waste the wee hours on trivial pursuits – what was my dog’s name when I was 6 years old? How come I never liked that one curly-headed kid in my biology class? Isn’t he famous or something now? Why did I have to learn about where babies come from in an idiotic, intellectually insulting book that my mom handed me much too late? But more often the worst case scenarios dominate our thoughts. The hot water heater is on its last legs. It will probably quit when I can least afford to replace it. Probably Christmas Eve. That pain in my leg is probably something really bad. I don’t feel comfortable going to see my doctor during a pandemic. I will just wait it out and worry about it again tomorrow night. Are blue whales really making a comeback?

The things you wake up to worry about are often suddenly replaced, in your waking life, by a different big worry thing, worse than all the other things that you ever anticipated, that surprises the heck out of you. Oh my god I never even thought of that! The entire furnace goes out plus the hot water heater! You find out that pain in your own leg is just unimportant arthritis but someone else you dearly love has a far more dire health issue. How silly of you to have been worried about your mere leg, you say. Those stakes were not high-value worrying at all. Just your leg. What a waste of time.

Once in a while the thing you were so worried about never ever happens and you are shocked by a wonderful something that distracts you completely from worrying and renews your joy and optimism. That can happen. One year my daughter amazed me with the news that I was going to Paris! For my birthday! Well that surprise shot right up past everything on the worry list to top notch #1 most wonderful of things. A whole different list! Both my kids are always telling me I am going to live to be a hundred. (But is that supposed to be a good thing? Do I really want to?) They seem to have gotten a call from somewhere, from someone who knows, because they are so sure. But usually when my birthday comes, every single year, I can’t help but wonder how many of them I have left. My sweet daughter says, enthusiastically, “Mom you are not done yet! You still have things to do! Things to see! Start thinking about what you would like to do on your eightieth!” So I wonder if someday when I am 97 or a hundred, the two of them will quietly slide over to me and tell me, in a kind quiet voice, in my totally deaf ear, “Mom it is time now. Get your stuff together. You are done. “

With this blog post I am beginning a new-ish direction with my blog posts – I realize I will be losing a chunk of younger followers with this move but that is ok. I feel the urgent need to write what I know for sure about being older, starting out now, in the time of “cholera”, and continuing on into any time and place I want to go, for that matter. The experience will be bittersweet. Funny as hell one moment and tragic comedy in the next, but forever real. I hope to touch upon all subjects that we seniors are dealing with. Health, spirituality, love, romance, hobbies, self-worth, travel, inspiration and basic everyday living. I invite you to come along, no matter what your numerical age or your mental age, because I believe you all will find something of relevance here.

I will include an image with each blog, either a photograph from my own travels or a painting of my own creation, (often smaller and more affordable than my usual painting size). Prices will be listed.

You can email me here:

JO ANN BROWN-SCOTT email jabsart@yahoo.com

ART WEBSITESwww.artistjoannbrown-scott.com

Prints of my original art are available at https://fineartamerica.com/art/jo+ann+brown-scott


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We left our hearts in Silver Plume, Colorado, so we returned for a closer look….


We stopped in Silver Plume a couple weeks ago on a plein air excursion. We felt we had been transported back in a time-travel adventure, having driven there from Conifer, Colorado for a day of outdoor painting. Of course we had been aware of this tiny mountain hamlet because it is just up the road from its big sister Georgetown, but we had never wandered its dirt road Main Street or explored its character with any depth.

We decided to go back., and we are so delighted that we did.

Silver Plume enjoyed its 15 minutes of fame in the years from 1864 to approximately 1893, when unfortunately the Sherman Silver Purchase Act was repealed, the USA abandoned the silver standard and the price of silver drastically declined. Until that historic defining event the mountains around Silver Plume were being mined as if there were no tomorrow for plentiful high grade ore, primarily from the precarious heights of 13,587′ Mount McClellan, where the locals would tell you that the silver veins were so rich that silver flakes broke from the rock in feather-like patterns giving the town its name.

During its heyday Silver Plume was transformed from a dirt road lined with temporary ramshackle miner’s huts into a bustling town of 2000 people, where miners, businessmen, tradesmen, shop owners and working class families from as far away as Wales, Ireland and Italy settled, believing they would make their fortunes in silver. It is easy to imagine the activity along that strand – music coming from the saloon, ladies watching the street action from open second-story windows above, probably some horses tied in front of the shops and miners, when they got a day off from their 10 hour shift, $2.50 a day, highly dangerous jobs. Mules were required to carry men and supplies up the mountain to the mines; cooks, laundrymen, doctors and hardware salesmen were probably in short supply. There was a fine Opera House, a saloon and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church….until 1884 when a fire swept the eastern end of town stopping just short of that church…. a true blessing that the entire town was not up in flames.

The public school, red-bricked and rather grand, constructed in 1874 at the opposite side of town, was spared from the fire. The interior rooms reveal authentic, just as they were, classrooms and desks. The school quickly became a hub of activity and a source of comfort and assistance in the community when there were mining deaths in families and widows and children needed help and emotional support. The school has since become a museum, and the ladies who guide the tours are more than happy to share with you the history and the legends of that time and that place. Of course the school is haunted – strange things still do happen from time to time.

Silver Plume is a quaint and funky village – Main Street is still lazy and unpaved sending clouds of dry dusty dirt into the air when occasional vehicles drive by. Kids ride bikes down the middle, lazy dogs bark once in a while and everybody says hello to everybody else. People want to know, in a friendly way, where you are from and why you came to visit there. Gurgling Clear Creek runs along the perimeter of town on its way down to Coors brewery in Golden, where it is indeed the clean, clear water used in that famous beer. Houses are painted in purples, pinks, teals and yellows, with wildly contrasting trims of Victorian style. There is a local bar, in a weather-worn white-ish clapboard building with the word BREAD painted on the front.

I do think you must visit Silver Plume. See this 2 room jail which I did manage to paint in watercolor! There are more pictures on FB and Instagram.



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My Paris Birthday, Part One and a Half

Beautiful Surprise


Sometimes when you have your mind set on one thing (Notre Dame) you are surprised and moved by a different thing discovered along the way…..maybe not as grand or as  monumental as the thing you were seeking, not as polished and elegant, a little bit more weathered and worn around the edges, but certainly worthy of a visit. So you walk in. It is then that you understand the value of never passing up the chance to investigate and perhaps be rewarded for your effort with an unforgettable experience.

Just a short block or so up in the square, a five minute walk, from our Hotel des Continents located at 25, Rue Jacob in the Saint Germain district of Paris we found the well worn little lady of a church named Saint-Germain-des-Pres – astoundingly the oldest church in Paris! Construction on its Bell Tower was begun in 990 making it the oldest one in Paris plus a belfry dating from the 12th century. It is considered quite a prestigious site for the Romanesque style of art and architecture and people have been attending services there for fifteen centuries. It was a Benedictine Abbey with a major intellectual influence over the course of all that time. From the outside it is rather unimpressive, but the gorgeously colorful interior takes your breath away. Reds! Blues! Patterned columns carved with Romanesque capitals that are among the very first of the Romanesque period line the passageways on the sides of the church. There is some much needed renovation going on. Paint is peeling off and colors are fading but it is all being restored to its rightful splendor as we speak.

I was astounded at the beauty of this church and visited again several times while in Paris for several reasons – it seemed to be the center of our familiar little neighborhood with wonderful shops down every street from the church. Also one of our favorite cafes, Les Deux Magots was just across the street from the church and we ate there several times and did some serious people watching. The Saint Germain district is a perfectly positioned area in which to stay, on the Left Bank and just a couple blocks from the Seine. Everything we wanted to see was easily accessible by walking or cab if it was raining. A pastry tray was offered to me at Les Deux Magots that raised the French pastry bar by several notches. I limited myself to just one since they were all the size of melons.


We  could hear the church bells ringing from that centuries old Bell Tower from our hotel room and the church had an outdoor Christmas bazaar happening every evening with rows of cute little wooden houses with red trim that we loved to frequent for food and gifts. Last but not least I loved this church because I am just a total fool for cathedrals and churches. They indicate so much about the people who lived centuries ago and that has everything to do with my art history courses at CU in Boulder, my own artistic gift and the ways I like to be inspired to paint and create, and then of course my sentimental longing to pay my respects to places of worship that have been so significant in the history of humankind. One of the rainy days when I visited the church a man was taking refuge there.

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On a freezing cold night with strong wind stinging any exposed skin, we bundled up and braved the situation to have our dinner standing up outside at a counter at one of the Christmas booths at the church – Raclette at its finest! Gooey melted cheese, scraped dripping, bubbling and hot off a huge cheese wheel then combined with thin sausage slices, slathered onto a French baguette cut lengthwise. Oh! And with a side dish of the best scalloped potatoes I have EVER had being constantly stirred in an enormous wok-like pan on a burner. I asked her what the recipe was for those potatoes and she told me in English with a lovely French accent – of course heavy cream played the biggest role in that yummy concoction. It was honestly one of the best meals we had in Paris and it was well under 15 Euros, and we had to brace ourselves against the wind as we wolfed it down.

One night it actually snowed which is a rare and wonderful freak of nature in Paris and we also happened to be in the square next to the church. Well, absolute crazy chaos ensued at the sight of snow coming down in flakes the size of cottonballs! Car horns honking! Sophisticated French folks yelling and laughing and catching snowflakes in their mouths! I wanted to invite them all to visit me in Colorado. (see photo of the church in snow above) We can show you some snow!

Days before I ever saw Notre Dame in Paris, which left me breathless and teary, I found this sweet little church of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, and I am forever grateful for that. It reminded me of a lesson I already knew – beauty comes from within and is undiminished by age.

Please stay tuned for Part Two of My Birthday in Paris! Your response to this series has been quite amazing and much appreciated. I am also posting photos on Instagram under Jo Ann Brown-Scott,  The Creative Epiphany

The Personalities of Cuba

The faces and facades of Havana are never-ending and always fascinating…every street brings a new discovery and a different jolt through the sensuality of color, the sounds of music and the aromas of exotic food. We wandered for 9-10 hours a day with no destinations in mind, allowing our senses to lead us. These photos were taken on our first day out in Havana, a city crumbling in many locations, ravaged by time, yet revealing older textures and paint colors newly uncovered.


Birthday Schmirthday


I had to have another birthday last week. I am older than I have ever been and still dazed and confused about life much of the time, but doing fine. These birthdays can kill you. There were a couple days worth of celebration; cards, calls and lovely gifts mixed in with a few dark, unpleasant surprises, but such is life. It was a real birthday – real – not quite all love and laughter every single minute all the time. But that’s ok, I am ok and life goes on. Yesterday I had a birthday lunch and movie with a dear friend, tonight I am having a late celebration with an exceedingly important person in my life, and so the birthday beat goes on….beat beat beat, just like a heart.

I ran across several quotes this week that I happen to love so much that I wanted to share them with you. The one on the cover of the black book that I was given just yesterday, in the above picture, is stunningly true, and I know that because I have lived it. I guess we all have.

Here is the second one, from one of my favorite people for wise and wonderful quotes, Maya Angelou :

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”

That can keep you thinking all day long, going over your life and remembering when you might have made that mistake. When you reach the upper birthdays you have probably, if you are getting older AND wiser, weeded some folks out of your days because they are no longer an enhancement to your life, for one reason or another. Life gets short, your days are numbered, you have a sense of urgency about how you will best spend your time remaining. If a certain someone is not ever contributing to the great good, you tend to see less of them, wanting to spend your days in positivity and appreciation for all the things that bring you to a good place, a place of comfort and joy.

Many Thanks to my brother, for sending me one of the most beautiful, original birthday greetings I have ever had. I will keep it and read it every year. Thanks to all my many friends ( including my blog friends whom I have never met) and relatives for remembering me and being the loving support that keeps me going, because it really does take a village, for your entire life. I value your words of wisdom and your ability to make me laugh. I have you in my life because you are all lights in my universe, and we all need to have light. You all influence how I paint, what I write about, what I say in conversation and what I believe in my heart to be true. We are all the sum of many parts, and I am the expression of the sum total of the people I surround myself with. So are you.

But you all probably already knew that, didn’t you?



The Wisdom of the Ages


Photo #1 courtesy of thevirally.com   Photo #2 courtesy of lasplash.com   Photo #3 courtesy of ntang17.blogspot.com

I taught mixed media collage for three years in Lincoln, California, and one of the things I always said to my class was that the first people to ever use the technique of adding texture and three-dimensionality to art were  cavemen and cavewomen. (I am assuming women also contributed to the ancient art on the rock walls inside caves.) Recently new evidence of those artistic mixed media roots has been found in caves.

In the introduction to my mixed media collage class I said this, “Abandon your pre-conceived notions about traditional fine art and begin a mixed media journey where improvisation, freedom from boundaries, self-discovery and originality are valued higher than any predictable destination.” Mixed media painting is a highly improvisational and innovative type of art – a “fly by the seat of your pants” (or paints) type of art. It is pretty much balls to the wall – gaining new ideas as you go and incorporating them into your fast moving composition. It is using what you have at hand and making the most of the world’s simplest gifts.

Texture, pattern and color are the dance. Any degree of sculptural relief – where the painting’s texture comes up off the background in a tactile kind of effect – is much to be desired. Collage papers are welcome; as is any other kind of found object that might add fascination and special interest to the image. There is no order of things – you can start with paint or papers or your collection of found objects. This is Art with Abandon! It is the ultimate art in recycling, using old bits and pieces of things to create fresh, new fine art suitable for framing.

This is not a new idea; people have been doing it for years – for eons of time. The very first cave artists who would now be classified as a mixed media artists were the inspired ones who first drew an image of an animal of some species and then – OMG – then glued some dried grass and other found bits of twigs and earth under the image with wet mud, creating a realistic, three-dimensional mixed media collage scene. Recently they have found just such images – more than one – to prove the extraordinary artistic vision of these very primitive people. Artists also utilized the rough surface and particular colorations of the rock wall itself by choosing to draw on specific locations that brilliantly enhanced their images in both 3-D contour and color. These people were very sophisticated in their artistic talent…very discriminating and wise in their choices.

Can you imagine the cave  mom, as she roasts a hunk of antelope over the fire while being pestered by her hungry family, saying, “Get some charcoal and go draw me a picture on the wall – dinner will be ready soon – now go!” And one person, perhaps just one at first, grabs some grass and a handful of earth and pebbles, then using wet mud left by the rain he/she pastes it under the animals, and in doing so positions his animals in a realistic landscape. Suddenly we have an entirely new artistic concept. Can you imagine how thrilled he/she must have been with that gesture? It gives me chills to think about it.

Many locations around the world have also revealed handprints – hundreds of them. Plentiful and childlike, colorful and animated and most definitely a playful way of passing leisure time and leaving your signature. Children all over the world both in and out of art class do the same today with finger paints, clay, concrete or even mud.

It seems that the more things change the more they stay the same. Art has always been universally appealing and it speaks the language of the ages. Put yourself inside a cave on a rainy day and what are you going to do? Well, paint of course! Or in the evening, by the glow of the fire, waiting for bedtime….you paint about what you saw during the day. The level of detail, the intensity of the hunting scenes – it is just fascinating to observe in the primitive cave art from all over the globe. And if you choose to zero in on the cave art that depicts extra-terrestrial art showing weird Martian-type creatures and what look like space ships, then you will be off and running in an entirely different direction! It does make one wonder, does it not?








Honored for the Second Time…Denver’s Painted Violin Fundraiser


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I am honored and excited to announce that for the second time I have been selected to participate in the Annual Painted Violin Fundraising Event for the Denver Young Artists Orchestra of Denver, Colorado. Each year the committee selects (it is not a contest – artists are invited) about 20 artists to paint, 3-dimensionally, an actual  violin that has been put out to pasture,  all 20 of which are then displayed and available for sale  at a selection of Denver art galleries in a traveling show lasting several months, ending in a gala event. The violins are sent out to artists many months in advance of when they must be completed and delivered, all painted and transformed into a masterful work of art with a theme, back to the committee. They will then be photographed for publicity and introduced to the public at the opening gallery show in the fall of the year.

The Denver Young Artists Orchestra (DYAO) was founded in 1977 and performs at Boettcher Concert Hall in the heart of Denver’s City Center, home of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. “DYAO’s mission is to provide the finest possible youth orchestra programs, inspiring and educating young musicians through the performance of great works of music and offering valuable cultural opportunities to the community.” Excerpted from the DYAO Brochure.

My violin arrived today! It is like Christmas!

The anticipation of opening the shipping box, then the violin case, to meet my particular violin…artists are told to expect anything – including the possibility of pathetically broken pieces of an old violin screaming to be rescued and given a new life. You must be prepared to work with what you get. Some of the creations from past years are quite spectacular – you can see all previous years’ honorees by visiting http://www.paintedviolin.com and/or http://www.dyao.org.

My previous violin, titled Scheherazade, was displayed in the 8th Annual Painted Violin Fundraiser ( see “painted violin” or “Scheherazade” in my archives) several years ago. The circumstances of that occasion are unusual and have almost a fairy tale quality in the way they unfolded for me. I will fill you in on that in the near future because it is a story worth repeating.

This newly arrived violin has been requested for the 12th Annual Event of the 2015-2016 Season. Photographs of the 12th Annual violins will not be available until 2015, so it seems that I have another YEAR LONG PROJECT on my art agenda. (Read about my Year Long Canvas Project in my recent blogs).

The above photos of my BEFORE violin, delivered this afternoon by Fed X, were taken as I opened the box to see her for the first time. I found a gorgeously weathered and worn old, old violin, abundant with character, inside a beaten up black leather case that has tape holding the handle together. The case, lined with dingy, torn turquoise felt (my mother’s favorite color) and laced with cobwebs and sawdust-like material collected in the corners had long been home for my violin. It was love at first sight when I took her out and inspected her. She has been so lovingly used – obviously – proudly – she provided many years of heavenly music. She is not sad, but wears her history like a patina of honor. There is a compartment that opens with the pull of a tab on its lid, and inside is her resin box. Two people have printed their names on her interior felt – COMPTON and HERRMANN – mysterious violinists who obviously put her to rigorous use. And there were probably more that just the two…

I am not permitted, by painted violin rules, to show you my progress on this project. But I will let you all know from time to time what is going on, without revealing any secrets or photos. I feel so fortunate to have it ahead of me. Once again the Art Buddha is smiling on me and my work with this special, inspiring project. I can already feel it.


The Creative Epiphany – Film Review, 12 YEARS A SLAVE

 poster image courtesy of linduslist.com

This film, directed by Steve McQueen, was difficult to watch in spite of the fact that I thought I was prepared. I had heard that it was brutal. It is beyond brutal – it is periodically and consistently horrific for almost the entire two hours and fifteen minutes. The story is beautifully filmed, gorgeously depicted, stunning in its impact – but beware the  pastoral southern scenery, moss hanging low over big oak branches and humidity you can almost taste, because something shockingly wicked this way comes.

I am a person who reads, and I read and I read. So I thought I was educated about slavery in the south. I have lived in the south, traveled through the south, toured historic plantations and seen slave cabins, and I have studied the Civil War. All that and more is what took me to see this film. For me it was a question of respect, and the fact that the film is well made. But still, I learned from this film things I had never known and I was given witness to atrocities I had never imagined.

The story is simple – Pre-Civil War, a prosperous and educated gentleman named Solomon Northrup ( played by the brilliant Chiwetel Ejiofor ) from upstate New York, once a slave, who has a family and has risen above his own early history, is re-captured, sold and enslaved again, for 12 long years, enduring and enduring, with the excuse that the papers granting his freedom do not exist. He experiences some kindness from strangers but then is sold to a slave owner ( Michael Fassbender ) who has slipped from pure and wicked malevolence into sick depravity, and who rules a plantation where even his wife, who has learned from a master, is sadistic and cruel.

Do we really need to see all the ways that a human being can be tortured in films today, returning now to even the old and basic, tried and true methods of cruelty? Is each new film – whether it is portraying battles, war, espionage, man to man conflict – attempting to one-up the ones before in regard to guts and gore? This historically accurate film is based upon a true story – and we learn in text updates at the end what happened to Solomon Northrup after he was eventually freed. Nevertheless, for me, it was a horror story. I could not watch at times, reminding myself that it is a FILM.

The acting is spectacular, the women as well as the men; and the children too. It is a Brad Pitt film, from his company PLAN B productions, and he has a cameo appearance portraying a character who sees slavery as wrong. I read that he is choosing responsible roles these days as his children grow old enough to see his work. Do his children have to see this kind of torture, I wonder? Still, there is Oscar buzz about it and I must say that I think it is an important film – a monumental film perhaps.

I saw the Oprah Winfrey film titled The Butler, in 2013, and I would place this 12 Years a Slave film about slavery, in spite of my shock in watching it, ahead of The Butler. I understand that The Butler, also based upon a true story, was so loosely based that it took liberties and exaggerated the plot to such an extent that the story was greatly altered from the truth. I do not like that, do you?

Should you see 12 Years a Slave? If you know you are lacking in information about this most disgusting period of our American history and you are responsible enough to want to learn what happened, then by all means see it. Please do not take your children who are under the age of 16 or so…and be prepared to answer their many questions in an educated way if you do invite them to see it with you. Be knowledgeable and have books to recommend, because our public school systems are lacking in time and resources to due this subject justice.

For Your Viewing Pleasure,


The Creative Epiphany – The Historic Denver Perrenoud Building, Where Africa Came Alive for Me

   photo courtesy of  historichomesofDenver.com

        photos courtesy of uptownonthehill.com

Little did I know back in 2003-2004 that this remarkable historic private residence, built in 1810, would play such a pivotal role in my life and my art career. The Perrenoud Building, originally designed and built as a family home at 836 E. 17th Avenue, Denver, Colorado for prominent Denver pioneer John Perrenoud and his wife and three daughters, showcases an eclectic mix of classical elements over an enormous span of six separate family apartments  on four levels. The only fully functioning brass and wrought iron birdcage elevator in Denver still transports residents between floors – and originally there were individual dumb waiters ( small elevators in each private kitchen) which delivered piping hot  meals to all residents from the main kitchen located in the basement. Maids quarters were located in the top attic, and a newly restored ballroom is found in the basement, where originally a speakeasy was hidden away, with blacked out windows and ample room to dance and drink forbidden adult beverages.The main floor atrium lobby rotunda with Italian marble floors and fireplace, is a rare gem of an entry foyer – a towering ceiling, open railings and stairways to all four floors and topped by a spectacular, original stained glass window in blues, depicting angels sitting on a cloud. Can you imagine the fascinating history of this place? Do you get visual images of carriages arriving, parties in the ballroom and the grand life?

Today this glorious residence is divided into luxurious condos, each offering old world living with exotic woods and carvings and a European flare right in the heart of downtown Denver, just a short stroll away from the Capitol Building. One condo was purchased by my dear friend Christine-Mahree Fowler. I had worked for Chris, as I call her, for several years as the director of her art gallery. She told me about her experiences in traveling to South Africa – she listened to me talk about how I had inexplicably loved anything African from a very early age. I clipped photos from Nat Geo and I must have watched BORN FREE a hundred times. I knew all about the Big Five before age five. The friendship took off and we became “partners in crime”, planners of ambitious undertakings, dreamers of dreams. We began to make things happen based upon Chris’s many travels to South Africa, my love of the continent and artistic leanings, and both of our knowledges of marketing, sales and event planning.

Within a short time we had partnered in an import business we named UNBUNTU and Chris was going back and forth to South Africa importing art & artifacts from several reputable sources she already had there; I was painting with an ethnic African theme as if I were indeed channeling visions of people and places I had actually never seen, and we were hosting “invitation only” gallery shows of our collection in her circa 1810, 4th floor condo in The Perrenoud. We were a great success for several key years, attracting local African experts and others who were eager to soak up the culture and learn…. The moral of this story is that things can get done if you are creative, persistent and alive with passion for a plan.

Years have gone by and our respective business careers  have evolved, yet stayed intertwined, into new completely different things yet  they are basically, logically and appropriately the result of those earlier seeds! Chris is now working as a consultant for Africa Adventure Consultants, Inc. assisting people with custom safaris.   visit www.adventuresinafrica.com  She is also writing a blog on that very subject here with WordPress – visit www.africantraveltales by CM Fowler that I highly recommend for its content and elegant style in reporting raw news direct from the bush as well as sophisticated Cape Town, its fine art galleries and shopping, wine country and the scenic South African coastal regions..

I am of course still painting, talking to Chris nearly every day and brainstorming with her on our common cause – saving the culture, animals and people of South Africa. The thrust of our creativity is now placed in the direction of making a difference in South Africa – a continent we both feel passionately about – a cause we feel equipped to lend our energy and devotion. I will be going on my first Safari in 2014, accompanied by art students I have taught and friends I have made through the years. Chris will lead us – having carefully arranged the itinerary and chosen sights and experiences that we have particularly requested. We have both decided that importing African art and artifacts should come to an end – Africa should keep and hold those indigenous treasures dear to its heart and its people. What we will continue to do is to learn, enlighten, participate and assist those people who feel as we do – that Africa’s future is at risk and there is much to be done so that much is not lost…and forgotten.

If you have an interest in accompanying us on safari – any variation of custom safari you might imagine – contact Chris, known by most as Mahree  (a South  African name) and ask for some information. You will find no one better suited to listening to your dream and making it happen for you and your traveling companions.

Mahree Fowler

Safari Account Executive

Africa Adventure Consultants

Tel: 720-612-0802  • Fax: 303-778-0633 • Toll free: 866-778-1089 • Emergency: 720 836-6531

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The Creative Epiphany – Re-opening Doors

Moroccan Door

“There is a time to let things happen and a time to make things happen.” – Hugh Prather

Last week I re-opened the door to a new, deeper friendship with an acquaintance I have had for years but seldom seen. We had lunch, for less than two hours, but it was a such a quality conversation about art, life, etc.  – time well spent in other words  – that I wished it could have continued long into the afternoon. It was a brilliant moment in time, most informative and encouraging, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I learned and how uplifted I felt as a result of that lunch. It was just what I needed and apparently my friend felt the same intellectual connection. I will be seeing more of her. Thanks for your valuable time Jane!

I have recently been concerned with how I spend my time….and I do mean SPEND. It is a commodity that is limited, precious and of great value to me – in regard to time, I am no longer wealthy. Suddenly I am on a time budget because I don’t have forever anymore. Remember when you felt that your life stretched out before you and time was plentiful? Those days are gone for me. A sense of urgency has roughly, rudely, nudged away any comfortable, mental lounging around and replaced it with a “hurry up and do it now” kind of antsy-ness. My new normal state of mind is that I am freshly agitated every single morning, at a time when a lot of people my age are picking up speed with their lack of activity….under the false assumption that they have time enough left to waste.

It is a daily challenge, feeling the urgency of life’s timeline. It is sometimes energizing and other times frightening, or even at certain junctures, downright ridiculous. It is easy to feel foolish about some of the things you find yourself doing. Should I keep my appointment to get a haircut at 1pm or do I have to start planning my trip around the world this afternoon instead? I may not have time for both…

Why don’t I have more stuff on my bucket list? I am missing about a thousand things or more – I need to look around for some other stuff to add and compiling that list will take some time. But I also must save time to paint a great body of work. People are asking me for a third book – I have one lying dormant on my PC right now that could be brought to life with a few breaths of oxygen and a slap in the face.

I haven’t seen my relatives in Ohio for the longest time but I need to see Bangkok. Guilt. What to choose.

So I begin to paint a fresh body of work, wondering how long that will take, measuring NOW against how long it took me when I was relaxed and had time for enjoying the journey. I want to enjoy the journey, I really do, but the stretch of highway I am traveling on is going off the right edge of the map. I know that painting while relaxed is so much more successful than painting in a hurry. But I am….usually….in a mental hurry. I need to smell the roses.

Not ever intending to be maudlin, at least in public conversation, I am usually able to temper my “lack of time terror” with humor and a staunch denial of the numbers of life. The birthdays. The decades. The number of summers I might have left. That’s just way too real for me. I prefer to live in the LA-LA Land part of my brain where I am convinced that the sixties are the new forties and the seventies are the new fifties. I heard that on TV and I want so badly to believe it. HUH? Laughing at that, are you? Wait until you are right there in life….you are suddenly willing to bargain with the devil, the statisticians, the medical researchers and the doubters all at once as the ever growing doom & gloom group they are. Whatever the hell works at keeping the life in my days and the optimism in my years is what I am hanging onto. I actually believe it is almost all mental, but as I say that I look over my shoulder to make sure an unannounced  train is not approaching. Luck certainly plays its part.

Anyway, finding a “new” old friend who speaks my language and lights up my life and who is wise, funny and smart is a true blessing. You are defined in large part by the company you keep and the things you think constantly about, so I am grateful to have a generous handful of quality people around me. The older I get, the more I realize that spending any of my hard-earned time dollars on people who bring me down and contribute less than a quality experience to my precious schedule are sooner or later going to become expendable. Unfortunately I just don’t have hours left in my days for the whiners. If a friend of mine needs help, or a shoulder to lean on, I am 100% in and available, as everybody in my life knows, but if I hear nothing but superficial moaning, groaning and complaining – well then I am sorry but I no longer have the time for that.

Gotta run.