Thursday, December 29, 2011


I love taking classes. I love learning new things. Once a week, I take a painting class which I believe is a great replacement to therapy. It is relaxing and I am spending time with positive, encouraging, and artistic people. I love my Tuesdays because I know that no matter what I paint or how I paint, I am going to leave class feeling great.

My skill as a painter is definitely improving. The biggest problem I have right now is determining what I am going to paint next. I am a massing a file of things I want to paint. Mostly this file contains things I see online. 

Currently, I have two painting in various stages of completion. Next Tuesday, I am starting on a completely new painting even though I have not yet finished the other two. I think it is good to have multiples, it gives me time to plan my next move. It is also helpful to let certain things dry before you move on. So much of it, is a layering process and there is nothing worse than going too far and muddying your canvas because you didn't allow the color underneath the time it needed to dry.

The continuation of the Peacock Dress

I think she is turning out nicely. She is far from finished. I don't know how much longer she will take but honestly, I am not at all concerned with that. In this case, the journey is definitely part of the reward.

January 7th I am taking a "Soap Making" class. It is through the University of Missouri extension and costs only $15.00. We will be working with glycerin but learning about goat milk soap. I am curious about this. Who knows what this new skill will bring me or where it will take me next.

Not only am I taking classes, I will be teaching a series of jewelry making classes at Creative Concepts located here in Springfield, Missouri.

The January Schedule is as follows:

Necklace Design, tools and techniques - January 5, 2012 at 6 pm
Bracelet Design, tools and techniques - January 12, 2012 at 6 pm
The Art of Pearl Knotting - January 19, 2012 at 6 pm
Everything Earrings - January 26, 2012 at 6 pm

Each class is $25 plus the cost of supplies. The classes are two hours long and the students will leave with a finished piece of jewelry and the know how. Years ago, I took a class on Jewelry making and that skill has served me very well. It will be fun to pass on what I know to someone else.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

¡Feliz Navidad Amigos!

Years ago my college Spanish teacher read this poem to the class. I thought it was really clever and funny.  I re-typed it so please excuse the mistakes with the accents and punctuation, I am sure there are many.  I hope you enjoy this. Merry Christmas!

¡Feliz Navidad Amigos!

’Tis the night before Christmas, and all through the casa,
Not a creature is stirring ¡Caramba¡ ¿Qué pasa?
The stockings are hanging con mucho caidado
In hopes that San Nicolás will feel obligado,
To leave a few cosas aquí and allí,
Para Chico and Chica, (y something para mí)!
Los Niños are snuggled all safe in their camas,
Some in vestidios and some in pajamas,
Their little cabezas all full of good things,
They esperan que old Santa will brings,
Santa is down at the corner saloon,
Muy borracho since mid-afternoon,
Mama is sitting beside la ventana,
Shining her rolling pin para mañana,
When Santa will come in a manner extraña,
All lit-up, like the Star-Spangled Banner, cantando,
And Mama will send him to bed con los coches.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all Buenas Noches!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Old Photos

Kristen (Langley) Haskell

Jennifer (Harris) Mulvihill

Kristen (Langley) Haskell

These Photos were taken of me and my best friend Jenny in the 80s. We were 20 years old. Our friend, a photographer Gregg Curtis took them at Presidio Park in Old Town San Diego. Gregg recently posted them on Facebook, before that I had not seen these pictures in over 20 years. It is fun to look back to a time when we were not concerned about the economy, world affairs or any of the things we think about now. Our biggest issue back then was having as much fun, as often as possible. 

Youth is wasted on the young.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Angel Food - a very short story

Looking longingly outside she knew it just wasn't going to be an ideal day for going out. She wanted to attend her Tuesday painting class but the weather lured her away from her normal activities and blessed her with a bit of indoor spontaneity. There was a feather dusting from the first snow of the season and the cold sent a chill down her spine at the thought of leaving her warm home. There was plenty to occupy her time indoors.

Her furry friends were lazing around her feet. Earlier in the day, she scolded them for pilfering a Kleenex from the wastebasket. Now they lay around contrite and waiting for anything to happen that could pull them from their hundredth nap of the day. It had been more than week since she was able to sit and write. The holiday season always kept her busy. She loved to create and today was the perfect day for creating. She might make earrings or paint leaves or even do some creative writing. Before she could start any of it, she felt moved to pamper herself a bit.
The kettle whistled and her water was hot. She would take the boiling water and pour it into her French press where she had measured exactly two tablespoons of Sumatra roasted coffee and a small sprinkle of Stevia. Four minutes later, she would stir her concoction and press the grinds down, straining the hot liquid into a favorite mug. The smell was divine and today she'd been given the perfect gift to complete her pampering. 

Hours before, her lovely neighbor delivered homemade biscotti. These were no ordinary biscotti. These biscotti were made with love by her neighbor's husband. This automatically transcended these biscotti from a delicious confection to Angel Food.

Years ago she had learned about Angel Food from another dear friend. '"Angel Food" is that which is prepared for people we love and by people who love us." The philosophy behind Angel Food is that it will nourish us both physically and spiritually. Anything you do in love is ultimately directed by the greatest source of love. In this case, these biscotti were truly Angel Food, as her friend's husband had taken it upon himself to make for his wife some delicious biscotti. She, in turn, generously shared his gift to her with others she cared about. The love was moved from home to home as if delivered by the angels themselves.
Images borrowed from Google Images

Quote taken from Angel Food: A Heavenly Inspired Cookbook by Diane Scalia

Many thanks to the Sweet family for sharing so much with us. It was your family that inspired this story.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Things on Black Friday

"We must rapidly begin the shift from a 'thing-oriented' society to a 'person-oriented' society." 
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today is "Black Friday" and I did not shop today. I just can't do it. I just can't put myself out there. If you feel like I do and detest how mean-spirited people have become over saving a buck, why not buy your gifts from local small businesses this year. Or better yet, buy from local artists and give gifts that were made with love and actually help support local families and economies. That is my plan. 

In my 44 years of living, the very best gifts I ever received where those made by others. I marveled at the talent of other people and it helped me to develop my own talents along the way. I am always working on developing my art. 

Sometimes you can barter with artists. Say you haven't any money this year but would love to give someone a nice gift. Barter with an artist. You never know what you can trade for something. All I am saying is it doesn't hurt to ask. 

Monday, November 21, 2011


Magpie Tales 92

I tasted the mint on the bottom of his lip
Cool sensuality tingled my forbidden
Slipping my fingers through waves of hair
Thoughts cradled in power
Nose to chin
Fragrance wafting from behind
Our lobes
Clean masculinity
Gentle Femininity
The Ying
The Yang

Two become one  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

a couple of really cool blogs

Sometimes I find myself cruising around cyberspace and I stumble upon some really cool blogs. Well that is not exactly what happened here. Actually, it was a friend of mine that told me about a really wonderful blog The Pioneer Woman. Her blog is a true masterpiece and I can only hope to aspire to such greatness. 

It was the Pioneer Woman's blog that lead me to discover Dr. Brene Brown's blog and this lovely badge. Uncover, discover... A Whole Hearted You. I am going through a bit of that right now. 

Yesterday, I wrote a poem that speaks to the very essence of understand where I fit in this world.

I am still painting, writing and occasionally making jewelry. I have five pets to care for and believe me they do take a lot of work. It is daily work to keep a marriage of 16 years going especially with all the challenges of physical disability, we both face each and every moment of our time together. At times I think I am missing something in my life but really when I look deep inside myself, I know that I am blessed and wouldn't change a thing. It is my job to create, it is what I was placed on this earth to do. Right now that is all I know and for me it is good enough.

Monday, November 14, 2011

wisps of wilderness

Magpie Tales

Shadowed by what I'd hoped to be
and what I became

Every chair offered a different outcome
every class a different possibility

Regrets belong only to the weak minded
the strong stand up and embrace
who and what they are

Working within the frame work of
one's God given talents
yet pushing humanities envelope
just a bit past the brink of
what was thought
not possible

a leafless tree still
provides sanctuary
for all who flock
to it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

small changes

The past year has been filled with such small changes. Little artifacts have surfaced since my mother passed. I am not a collector, per se, except I do collect small wooden cats and beads. However, my grandmother was a collector and by default my mother. Needless to say, I have a small stash of Hummels and other Tchotchkes.

Little by little, I am sorting through some of this and trying to make decisions on what to keep and what to list on eBay. If anyone reading this has an opinion about what to do with left over things from family members that have passed, I would sure appreciate hearing from  you. It is emotional to say the least but since I have a finite  amount of space I have to be reasonable about what I hang on to.

As Christmas approaches I feel a sense of dread coming. I wish I could sleep the entire holiday away. I wish I could sleep the entire month of December away. It feels really big and burdensome this year. My mother would be 66 this year on the 20th of December. She died on the 18th of December, last year. I honestly feel like I want to crawl into a hole and cover myself over until spring. Maybe then I will bloom like a daffodil.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rock Paper Scissors

Handed Down From Who Knows Where?
There is an art form to house keeping. It is particularly important when making decisions that are clearly emotional,  like when to let things go. In the last year, I lost my mother to a sudden heart attack. She was living with my husband and me. Naturally, when she moved in, so did all of her things. Many of those things were her mother's and so on and so on. Right now, I am staring at a rock paper weight, it was found among my mother's things. I will never know why it made the move with her or where it even came from. Based on what I know about my family, I suspect her father was the creator.

And then this, what is this silly thing? I look as this and it is filled with the same sense of humor that reminds me that my family is still with me. I can look at this and imagine what my mom, grandmother or grandfather would say about its origins. Believe me it does have origins, you know, the looney kind that families share and outsiders rarely understand when those shared moments just happen to happen in public.

I was looking at my hands the other day thinking boy do I need a manicure. It was then that I realized, I was looking at my mother's hands. We had the same hands and it was comforting because even though I know I will never see her hands again, I only need to look down at my own hands to remember hers.

Monday, November 7, 2011

feeding the soul #1

Cracks in the strata reveal intense color
Blushing bride, peach pie, rainbow sherbet 

Next century years slip
Memories stacked neatly in pillars 
Remains what once existed

Chilled dense moisture
A dewy afternoon
Shaken leaves 
Slowly revealing grey's gloom

Upon us gloaming hours 
Seek them not out 
Postponement is our folly 

Run home 
Warm your soul
Time is past
home no longer what it once was

When our safest childhood home is no longer in existence, we need to make home; wherever, we lay down roots. Once there, embrace your digs and fill it with the things that warm your soul. That said, there is nothing better than homemade soup on a chilly day. As an offering, here is the recipe of my very  favorite cauliflower soup. I have altered and changed it over the years and I think it is just about perfect. Enjoy :)

Well Fed Neighbor Market
Right now, the Well Fed Neighbor Market has an abundance of gorgeous cauliflower and broccoli for sale. I purchased a five pound head last Friday. The best part, it was picked Friday morning.  Never have I ever tasted cauliflower more delicious or fresh than this one. We made a scrumptious creamy cauliflower soup. Here is the recipe.

3 T olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 - 4  stalks of celery, chopped
1 cauliflower head, cored and coarsely chopped
1/2 t sea salt
1 t curry powder
1/8 t of black pepper, freshly milled
1 t dried thyme
1 t dried basil
1 t dried savory or marjoram (I use ground marjoram)
6 to 8 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth. 


In a heavy soup pot heat olive oil. Add onions and celery, cook until tender. Add Garlic, cauliflower and all dried herbs and spices mix together.  Heat thoroughly, stirring for about five minutes allowing all the flavors to meld with vegetables. 

Add the stock, use enough to more than cover the contents by 2 to 3 inches. This will depend on how large your cauliflower is.  Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until cauliflower is completely tender. Remove cover and puree using an immersion blender. 

If you don't have an immersion blender, let the soup cool and blend in increments carefully using a regular blender. Reheat and serve with a nice crusty bread. Enjoy!

T = Tablespoon and t = teaspoon

Thursday, November 3, 2011

ten things that make me laugh - repost just for fun

#1. The costume on this cat
#2. Imagining what the owner of this cat went through getting this costume on his/her cat.
#3. The cat's obvious feelings about being in this costume.

#4. A joke my husband told me the other day. Here it is, are you ready, get ready for it...

A woman walks into her vet's office and asks her vet if her parrot is dead. The vet takes a look at the bird and says, "I am sorry but yes your parrot is dead." She unconvinced says, "Are you sure, aren't there any tests you can do just to be certain?" The vet looking at her shrugs his shoulders and say, "Wait here and I will go see what I can do." He heads back with the dead parrot and shows the bird to his Labradore Retreiver, Annie. Annie sniffs the parrot and wags her tail, confirming that it is indeed dead. So the vet heads back out to the waiting room and says, "sorry lady your bird is dead." Again unconvinced she asks, "Isn't there anything else you can do to be certain?" Getting a little frustrated he says, "sure" and then walks back and asks his cat Buster to take a look at it. Buster paws it around trying to get any signs of life and there is nothing. Buster confirms the parrot is dead. Again the vet heads out to the waiting room and tells the lady, "look I've done all I can for your parrot, your bird is dead." Finally convinced the lady says, "fine, how much do I owe you?" The vet says, "that will be $250.00." "$250.00!" exclaims the lady. The vet says, "look lady when I told you the bird was dead it was $50.00 but you wanted a lab report and a cat scan and those are each $100.00"

#5.  My brother, Jack dressed as a Helga the Beer wench for Halloween and his friend Mark grabbing his fake boob. Isn't he beautiful.

#6. This soda drinker reminds me of someone. I just cracked up when I saw this.

#7. Is it me? Or does this monkey look like the late George Burns?

#8. If you haven't seen this movie lately or if you missed it altogether, this one really makes me laugh. Remember to watch it with someone, because you don't have to hone your cone alone...

9. These people are nuts but I laughed anyway... Have to admit, it made me feel a lot better about have five pets.

The number ten thing that cracks me up is Weird Al. You gotta love him :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day Two

I finished off my writing day yesterday with 1,694 words. It was about all that my shoulder could handle. I tend to get cramps in my shoulders when I type too much. It is odd that I am right back at it even though it seems to be killing me today. But no pain no gain and I am much to motivated to slack off now. If anything I need to try for about 2,000 to 2,500 words per day so that I won't feel too much pressure at the end. So I am going to take an couple of Excedrin, make a delicious cup of coffee (decaf still not doing any caffeine) in my French press and get crackin. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Month of Giving Thanks

It is day one of Nanowrimo and I can't get my word counter to work. Heck, I can't even get the widget to open or download but it will all be fixed in due time. I am continuing on with Framescape. I've been pounding away at the words.Fortunately, they are flowing from me with the same alacrity that the leaves are falling from my crab-apple tree on this windy day. Speaking of leaves aren't those painted leaves beautiful? I found this picture in and I knew that I would have to share this with you.

Well, I am 1,342 words in for today. I know that once I finish this little break, I will meet or exceed my daily total of at least 1,667. I love November for so many reasons. Aside from Nano, I am starting a small afternoon writing group. We are going to have our first meeting at the local library on November 9th at 2pm. So far it is just two of us but I have faith that it will grow. Another thing I am super happy about is that in my inner circle a baby girl will be born sometime toward the end of the month. Oh and today's local groupon is for gutter cleaning for only $69 dollars and I really need that done! You see, there is much to be thankful for.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

All my pens are out of ink

Magpie Tales

Many things came to mind when I saw this week's prompt for Magpie Tales and writing a small poem was fairly easy. This week I wrote two in the same post. I am in a creative flow right now. I am painting, designing jewelry, and writing up a storm. 

Don't you just love it when you can't turn it off and it just flows like a broken water pipe? I mean Jack wouldn't have chased Wendy around the Overlook with an ax, if there was something actually happening on his pages. Seclusion, can be madding but as a writer you need a fine balance of life experience and the time to write uninterrupted. Steve King in his book, On Writing, talks about the importance of keeping your writing space free from distractions. Heck some writers have to disable the internet or they don't accomplish anything. I know it is my biggest distraction, that and five pets. 

I have to thank Tess for providing such interesting prompt this week and this one was perfect because Tuesday I start  my month of writing and I will win. Fifty thousand words in thirty days, no sweat. I can't say that I am ready because I am not ready but I will be, provided I can stay off the internet for a few hours and perhaps buy a big bag of raw hide...

Poem One

Camille Claudel

ink pot dried
quill is worn
world of words 
no place to be born

the ribbon is old
the q is gone
typing this note 
never took so long

chiseled it out
on a wall of stone
awash in tears
and bloodied to the bone

our heart breaks 
with past mistakes
but heals complete 
then leaves of freed

I don't normally do rhyming but this one just popped out after watching a film about Camille Claudel. The other poem I wrote today is called exercising pain. I use this word like exorcising in the spiritual sense of removal, like exorcising a demon.

Exercising Pain

I dug a hole just deep enough 
sand buried my ankles

It was warm sand
when the tide joined me 
in came in a measure at a time

I waited bidding it adieu and farewell
before long it stayed and kissed my face
and crashed and rushed and hugged my neck

I laughed as I scrambled
like a dog digging a hole
I unburied myself

I left it all out there for the world to read
it was then that I realized 
my own tender humanity

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

November Baby

Bluebell Books

The artist knew that everything about this picture was perfect for her best friend.  She wanted to paint something that would have meaning. The powder blue dance slippers, the windy hair, and the reading of a good book, in a tree no less, made all of those things were just perfect.
Her friend was about to have her first child, a girl. The baby would be born in autumn and be named after a favorite literary writer, most likely a poet. Both the parents were poets, writers and teachers of the literary arts. Her mother studied ballet in New York before completing her advanced degree and becoming a professor.
The painting would commence on a 20 x 16 inch canvas. The artist would give it two smooth coats of gesso then proceed with the background. Once the background was completed she would block in the tree, carefully mixing a little sap green, Phthalo green, Naples yellow, and yellow Ochre and move the brush in such a way that it almost seemed as if she was sponging the bark. The girl would be next and her delicate blue skirt would require some mixing. As for the skin tone the artist would mix a little white, a little Ochre and a tiny bit of burnt sienna.  A little burnt sienna and Phthalo green with a fine script brush would color the vine. The leaves would manifest from most of what was already on her palette except a pea size Alizarin Crimson would be blended with a little bit of white and Naples yellow.
When she finished she would sign and varnish. Later the artist would present the painting via the post just a few days after the child’s arrival, sending it along with all the wishes and love that went into its creation.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

White Mane

I happened upon it, White Mane, a film in the Netflix library for streaming videos. It was only 40 minutes and narrated. The setting is in the romantic arid coastal area known as the Carmargue, in Southern France. The 360 sq. mile area is a protected reserve since 1927 and famous for being home to the wild white stallion. In addition to the gorgeous horses that run the beach, it is also home to a breed of Carmargue bull used in Spain for bull fighting and at least 400 bird species including the greater Flamingo. 

The area is a delta where vast rivers and lakes join with the Mediterranean Sea. Its brine waters are major attractors for the Flamingo and they use the area as a breeding ground. Few people lived in the area mostly Guardians. A Guardian, according to Wikipedia, is a mounted cattle herdsman. The horses of the Carmargue are raised in semi-feral conditions by these Guardians. The area is also known for an annual pilgrimage of the Roma for the veneration of their patron Saint Sarah.

The film does not cover any of this background but it certainly does convey this in a most breathtaking way. Rather than re-write what was written about the film I chose to quote it here, “A young boy (Alain Emery) grows entranced with a magnificent wild horse in a remote part of southern France after watching the local cowboys try to break it. Sensing that the lad's motives are different, the stallion slowly lets the young rider tame him. Director Albert Lamorisse shows nature at its most raw and powerful in an unforgettable tale of trust and freedom that was honored with the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes.

I hope you will give this film a chance, it is in black and white was filmed in 1953. It is a delightful story with a rather interesting ending, that left a strong impression.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Magpie Tales

All aspects are fueled
Antiquated brick, sweat, and soot
Miles of concrete tread before me
Cacophony of the streets
Leaves me restless for peace
Upon distant memory
Longingly its virtues linger
Right now this light is taking

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Vision for this painting

My vision for this painting is not to copy it. I am inspired by the below painting and my progress is in the top painting. I wanted my lady to have porcelain skin and auburn hair. I think I want her hair to be mostly up (no bun) with a few curls sweeping across her back. Originally, I was not going to paint the scarf and went back and forth about that. Right now my plan is to paint the scarf. My scarf will be bigger and more translucent (hopefully) then the original. I even had a few people Facebook me and tell me that they thought I should leave the dress the way it is but I am sorry, I just can't do that. I completely intend to add the peacock feathers but I am going to study an actual feather. My dress will not likely have as many. I am also planning to use a special copper paint in the feather. I hope it turns outs. I will post a follow up picture of my painting when it is finished. Then you be the judge and tell if you like mine or the original better. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's that time again

What it is and why I do it

National Novel Writing Month begins on November 1 and ends promptly at midnight November 30. Nanowrimo is what, we wrimos call it. 

What we actually do is spend those thirty days banging away at the keyboard attempting to write a novel of 50,000 words in just 30 short days. That is 1,667 words per day for 30 consecutive days. That is not even with time off for Thanksgiving folks. I like to pull ahead (in my word count that is) a little bit earlier in the month, so that by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, I have met my challenge.

This year, I am attempting to finish Framescape. I tossed it back and forth, was considering ditching the whole project and just start something new, but I read last years work. I got super excited and now I have the fever to finish it. I have until November 1st to map out where I am going and what I am doing to finish this story. Easy peasy? Well not really. 

First I printed all 215 pages. I am going to read them and see where the major holes are. Then I am going to outline and make a game plan to fill in those holes. I know that I have a lot of character development I need to do, so I will map that out as well. I am not going to worry about writing this in some consecutive order because at this point that would be impossible. If anyone who reads this has any suggestions, I would totally appreciate your feedback.

Have you ever dreamed of writing your own story? 

Well here is a really supportive and fun way to do that. There are neat word count widgets that help keep you on track and most areas have a ML (municipal liaison). These are the folks who organize group write-ins and offer general support. All you have to do is sign up at and send a small donation if you can. If not, not the end of the world.  

There are rules but honestly the only rule that I can think of right now is NO EDITING allowed during November, that is what March is for.  It is fun and if you make it you get the distinction of the winner badge and a nice certificate that I even framed for my wall. Most of all you get that really cool feeling of having accomplished something really very difficult to accomplish, writing your story.

After all the world needs your novel...

Hey if you do decided to Nano, look for me we can become online writing buddies. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

the gown, the gems and the guy

After some serious thought, I just couldn't wear purple as Eugene had requested. I need my sanity and wits about me to spend an evening with this clown. Earlier in the week, he sang this song to me when I asked him at attend the Fourth annual Willow Manor Ball.

After all I am a red head with porcelain skin and green eyes. If I dare ware purple, I would get pulled right back into my local chapter of the red hat ladies and I just couldn't bare it. 
As a compromise, I did decide to ware my amethyst gems.

 For the moment it seemed to appease my fun loving date Eugene Hutz, front-man for the gypsy punk band, Gogol Bordello. But, I had to promise to attend another party with him in Moscow. He's got a little business to do there so we are going to pop over on his private jet, sometime around 4:30 or 5am.

Now I should have realized that we would look like a couple of Christmas Elves when Eugene showed up wearing a red coat and tails of all things. When he saw my peacock gown, he gave me a twirl and said, "You look Marvelous!"

I told Eugene that, if and only if, he behaved himself by not making off with other woman, breaking any thing at Willow Manor or starting any fist fights with communists, I would slip into this little number for the after party. I will leave you now with a favorite Gogol Bordello song Through the Roof and Underground.  Enjoy and we will see you at Willow Manor.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

L'art pour l'art

my latest painting - it is not finished but close.

Writing poetry, prose or really any form of creative writing paired with a photo, painting or drawing makes a lot of sense to me. I find that I am less blocked. I am certain that my very best writing has always been prompt driven. There are times when I feel that without a visual clue my writing is flat. A prompt extracts from me a deeper more emotional piece, then I would be capable of producing otherwise. 

In my weekly painting class, we have what is called open studio. There are only about 3-5 students and our instructor. This setting is ideal because we can work on whatever we choose.  Our instructor floats between us, teaching us various techniques so that we can learn to paint what we desire. I love this freedom. Best of all, I am creating things that matter to me.

Whether writing or painting, it all seems to come from the same place for me. While I am creating something, nothing seems to bother me. I find my zone and I cruise comfortably in it. Before I even realize hours seem like minutes and the sense of contentment is almost overwhelming. I love creating. It was what I was born to do. I think if I couldn’t create something every day, I would be swallowed up in a depression with an epoxy grip. On the other hand, to create art for art’s sake is pretty wonderful too. Sometimes I start something and I have no idea where I am going with it or what I am doing, it really doesn’t matter in the end, I am relaxed and at peace.

"L'art pour l'art" (translated as "art for art's sake") is credited to Théophile Gautier (1811–1872), who was the first to adopt the phrase as a slogan. Gautier was not, however, the first to write those words: they appear in the works of Victor Cousin,[1] Benjamin Constant, and Edgar Allan Poe. For example, Poe argues in his essay "The Poetic Principle" (1850), that
We have taken it into our heads that to write a poem simply for the poem's sake [...] and to acknowledge such to have been our design, would be to confess ourselves radically wanting in the true poetic dignity and force: — but the simple fact is that would we but permit ourselves to look into our own souls we should immediately there discover that under the sun there neither exists nor can exist any work more thoroughly dignified, more supremely noble, than this very poem, this poem per se, this poem which is a poem and nothing more, this poem written solely for the poem's sake.[2]