Can Art & Poetry Serve A Purpose Without the Story Behind It?

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When I was a young teen, I always kept a small spiral notebook and several Bic pens close at hand in the event I should get the urge to dash off some prose. Society was different back then. It was before “After School Specials” and was when the Victorian-Era attitude that “Children should be seen and not heard” was still pretty much the norm. Anyone who knew me back then would probably tell you I was this happy-go-lucky kid, always ready with a smile and some absurd observation geared to make people laugh and forget their woes. Very few, if any, had a clue what was really going on in my mind and my life. Of course, the same thing was likely true for the other kids at the schools I attended. It’s just the way things were back then. But keeping up the façade of “all is right with the world” was at times an unbearable burden and that’s where my poetry came in

Writing prose was a life-saving outlet back then in the same way that visual art serves me today. It allowed me to vent, to dream, to cry, to wonder, to argue and even to pretend. Early on, I discovered that I had the natural ability to assume the literary voice of any character I read about in a book, saw in a movie, or dreamed up from scratch and write about their feelings as if they were my own. It was really no different than what most authors and actors do, but because I recorded these creative ramblings in a book that had the word “Diary” on it’s cover, anyone who picked it up to read assumed it was all about me. Of course, I hadn’t intended for anyone else to read it but it happened nonetheless, each time causing great suspicion and worry or ruffled feathers or outrage on the part of the unauthorized reader(s). Had they only asked me what the poems were about or what inspired them rather than jumping to erroneous conclusions, a lot of grief could have been avoided. But, as I was still considered a “child” then, it never occurred to my elders that I could possibly have something intelligent to say or that my feelings mattered.

Thank God our society (for the most part) has finally woken up to recognize not only that children DO have opinions and feelings and that they deserve the respect to be heard, but also, most people today realize the importance of being able to share their feelings with others. As a society, we’ve still got work to do in learning how to listen to each other but it is getting better, one individual at a time. And as long as we’re moving forward in the right direction, regardless of how slowly, there is hope.

For tonight’s Freebies, along with a few empty frames for you to fill with your own content, I’ve mixed together a couple of my shorter prose, written when I was teenager with decorative backgrounds I created close to half a century later. These poems served their purpose for me at the time they were written and so now I hope they can serve some purpose for you. It really doesn’t matter any more what or who I was actually thinking about so feel free to interpret them in whatever way you choose.

Free Icons and Clip-Art of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

Children Play

“Children Play Games” – 1973 by Leslie Sigal Javorek – (600 x 309px)

Nouveau-FrameNouveau Frame 2

“Art Nouveau Style Frames” – Download size: (600 x 763px)

Listen

“Listen” – 1973 by Leslie Sigal Javorek – (600 x 763px)

Book Opening

“Book Opening” (600 x 595px)

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A Shaft of Light

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By nature, I’m an optimist, an idealist and generally a cheery sort of person. But there are times when my body rages against me so thoroughly that it can be hard to see, much less reach, the light. When the night terrors come, I’m told that my screams can raise the dead. Oddly, they never seem to wake me; perhaps this is one of the benefits of having lost most of my hearing… When I awake later on, I am only aware that my throat is sore and that my muscles are sore all over and even my bones seem to ache. Since I have no memory whatsoever of the content of those dreams, I am not really disturbed by them other than the aftermath and feeling badly for having frightened my husband lying beside me and my son, in his room next door when he’s here on a visit. I don’t know whether or not these dreams are related to the conditions and diseases which are ravaging my body or whether they’re related to external threats experienced in the past or present. The scientific side of me wants to believe that there is a reason for everything and that perhaps the night terrors and my amnesia to their stories are a blessing in disguise: perhaps my Superhero Alter-Ego is battling the demons inside and outside so I don’t have to when I’m awake.

For way too long I failed to question their cause and purpose. But it’s time to set my house in order and toss out what’s no longer needed or in the way and making a mess or which I wouldn’t want to bequeth to anyone. I know tomorrow will be better for having rid myself of this clutter tonight. Please bear with me my friends. Soon the REAL me shall return, one way or another, with silly little pictures and light-hearted tales.

Dark Prose for a Dark Night

“A Shaft of Light”

A Shaft of Light

“The Conch”

The Conch

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Printable Gift Tag

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For those of you wondering where is the rest of my Nuevo-Deco series, I promise to resume posting the next batch this weekend. In the meantime…

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I’ve created 6 different styles of gift tags and laid them out for printing on a single letter-size (8-1/2″ x 11″) sheet. Document is saved as a high-quality, 300-dpi Photoshop-.pdf. It is not necessary to have Photoshop to open and print the document but the benefit of opening and printing it in Photoshop vs. Preview or Adobe Acrobat or other .pdf reader is you’ll have access to a few more options to adjust color and other settings. For best aesthetic results and ease of use, I recommend you use peel-off sticker stock that is made specifically for ink jet printers for best results. (20 sheet pack or 100 sheet pack) Finish size of each sticker is roughly 2-1/2″ square. Please Note: because of the high-pixel density required for the best printing, the file is rather large (28.5mb before zipping).

Enjoy!

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save a zipped file to your desktop that contains all images in each preview group (each image is 512px X 512px in .png format) or, in the case of the individual icons, do your clicking on each one you’d like to download.

GiftLabel-5_72dpi_Preview

72dpi Preview of 6-up GiftLabels-2009

Let it Snow!

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Let it Snow!Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

The Christmas Season has officially begun here on WordPress.com where they have made this delightful feature available to it’s bloggers that snows on our blogs. Just looking at it made me have to ask my nurse for another blanket! (Ah, the power of the mind and subliminal suggestions). In any case, I couldn’t let this feature go by without inaugurating it with a somewhat Christmassy bit of icon/clip-art. Not very fancy as I threw it together rather quickly today but it gets me in the mood to come up with something more.

Enjoy!

Free Icons of the Day

XmasWindow-2009

‘Nuevo Deco’ Toolbar

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Just got off the phone with my friend Jane after, as usual with her, having had a very interesting, thought-provoking conversation. Never know where discussions with her will lead to but know they will never be boring. Janie flits from one topic to another but her segues always seem natural, her enthusiasm infectious, her wide-range of interests and knowledge mind-blowing, and she always leaves me feeling appreciated, wanted, valuable, loved, and even understood. What more can anyone else want from a friend? Only the ability to impart the same and know it has made a positive difference in the life of my friend that lasts longer than the length of our calls or visits. But life just doesn’t work that way and we rarely, if ever, get to know whether we had any affect at all on others, on the world, much less whether we had the affect we intended. I guess that’s why they say “Character is what you do when you think no one is looking”. You’ve just got to do what you believe is right or at least what you honestly and objectively believe is best under the given situation and have faith that it will all add up in the end to being a life both worthy and worthwhile.

Apropos, if you haven’t yet read (or at least seen the movie) of Mitch Albom‘s book “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”, it’s a gem that deserves your time. It is nothing what you might expect, even if you’re already familiar with any of Albom’s other books (“Tuesdays with Morrie”, “For One More Day”, “With a Little Faith”). Through very simple language and ordinary characters, Albom elicits the most profound observations about people, life, and what really matters after all has been said and done. Remarkably, he never resorts to preaching any particular philosophy or religion, never hits you over the head, never gives in to using common metaphors or over-used phrases that could lessen the emotional impact of his story. Enough said.

So now, from the tools of life to the toolbar of your Finder or other application windows. (How’s that for a transition? 😉 ) This afternoon I’m issuing Part 2 of my 10-part ‘Nuevo Deco’ icon series. Enjoy!

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save a zipped file to your desktop that contains all images in each preview group (each image is 512px X 512px in .png format) or, in the case of the individual icons, do your clicking on each one you’d like to download.

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Giving Thanks (& Thanksgiving Art)

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There is so much I have to be thankful for this year. Things/situations/blessings that are so significant that words expressing my gratefulness seem so inadequate or, worse, sound trite. While it has been an extremely traumatic year for myself and for my little family, we have made it through both individually and together. It is that bond, our love and support for each other through both good times and bad that makes bad things bearable and all else possible. Those relationships, freedom, and good health are the ONLY things that really matter to me and I’ve been blessed with most. In the words of Jim Steinman, sung by Meatloaf, “2 out of 3 ain’t bad”.

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save a zipped file to your desktop that contains all images in each preview group (each image is 512px X 512px in .png format) or, in the case of the individual icons, do your clicking on each one you’d like to download.

Happy Thanksgiving!

ChicagoTurkey5

Chicago Turkey 2

Thanksgiving-Banner

Thanksgiving Banner - 1600px X 391px

Thanks-1-1600x1200 - Desktop Wallpaper

Desktop Wallpaper - 1600x1200 - Thanksgiving #1

Desktop Wallpaper - 1600x1200 - Thanksgiving #2

Desktop Wallpaper - 1600x1200 - Thanksgiving #2

Declaration of Principles & Russet Icons

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The main difference between having my blog vs. uploading my icons and clip art to websites which host digital galleries and downloads is the opportunity to share a bit of the inspiration behind my art. I do this, first, to make it a little more interesting and to widen the scope of the potential viewers, and secondly, to hopefully get some dialog going or at least people thinking about subjects or points of view they may not have considered before or done anything about.

If I have any specific agenda at all to proselytize, it is to keep an open-mind; that honesty and integrity are the most valuable assets anyone can strive for (and the ONLY assets that anyone can actually “own”) and that each and every human being has the ability and responsibility to make a positive difference with their lives that goes beyond their purely personal interests.

That message is simultaneously ridiculously simple and impossible to quantify, impossible to define for somebody else. Yet, I truly believe that if we each live our lives with these goals at the forefront, we’ll recognize the opportunities to prove (not just say) what we stand for and substantiate the value of our lives. Whether you’ll be the one to invent a life-saving device on the level of a lightning-rod or be the one person who took the time to be kind to the kid everyone makes fun of, it all adds to a better world that would not have had a chance if you hadn’t looked outside of yourself, seen a need, asked yourself, first, “What if that were me?” and then “How can I help?”.

Ironically, this lovely, grand-sounding “Declaration of Principles” started out as an admission that the set of icons that I’m introducing tonight actually have no deep inspirational or even slightly interesting story behind them – merely a color and texture theme that I started to play with. I tried to retroactively come up with a pseudo-inspiration by doing a web-search on the name of both the color and series, “Russet”, which lead me to a number of both surprising and interesting topics (ranging from a hot copyright controversy about “Russet Noon”; a new iPhone App to read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short-story “The Russet Witch” (which strikes me as a fodder for a Coen Brothers movie); a bizarre interview with Paula Abdul conducted by a Russet Potato and the methods for making russet fabric for uniforms during the Civil War). But as I’ve already confessed, there were no lofty thoughts behind this series, just a color that I find peaceful and reassuring.

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

Russet-Global-Preview.png

Russet-Toolbar-Preview.png

Russet-UserFldrs-Preview.png

Russet-Locations-Preview.png

Russet-Dock-Preview.png