Category Archives: miracles

Random acts of creativity: Where Inspiration meets kinetic

Spider web February 1, 2019-I celebrate the intricacies of nature and artists creating beautiful things Artbygordon copyright 2019

Creativity: Picture the most euphoric state you can imagine; the birth of a child, flying down a ski slope or a rollercoaster or the view of an awe-inspiring sunset and realize how transient that state is. This is what creativity is for me.

It is when everything aligns naturally and suddenly the strange riddle you’ve been deciphering becomes completely discernible. The riddle is inspiration-I equate it to craving something to eat but not quite able to decide what you are craving.

Honey Bee January 19, 2019-I love how light isolates and creates a moment in nature- Artbygordon copyright 2019

Photography: I have experienced this state of clarity in each medium I work with. My photography used to be, a love of landscapes which weren’t always available to shoot depending on the quality of light and time of day.

I would find an abstract pattern in nature but the image never quite meshed. In a landscape, you can plan for shapes and composition allowing lines to create depth and dimension for the viewer but how do you explain objects and make them have interest to the viewer.

Redbud February 1, 2018-I celebrate the intricacies of nature and artists creating beautiful things Artbygordon copyright 2019

So many attempts failed because I was missing the crucial aspect of the image-it wasn’t the shape, it wasn’t the color, instead it was how it interacted with light.

you just know you’ve captured something beautiful and the excitement is that transient state of seeing what’s invisible and showing it to the viewer.

Artbygordon 2019
Duck January 2019- This is from a series of images that shows loneliness and solitude-Artbygordon copyright 2019

As I continue to see nature beyond the larger scope of a landscape, the isolated image becomes more clear. I find myself noticing, even in the flattest, blandest afternoon light how something evokes an emotion or at least interest from a chaos of details.

After I shoot a landscape or an object, sometimes you just know you’ve captured something and the excitement is that transient state of seeing what’s invisible and capturing it for the viewer.

NEXT Post Creativity in Painting: Pushing Paint

Rediscovering the Artist Eye: Diversions are Part of the Process

This image is from a night of camping with my son at Lake Murray-we both played on the cold, hard rocks and watched the moon rise-it has become his favorite painting. Artbygordon 2013

I just started a new painting about the night sky, just did a simple underpainting of trees in the front yard with a moon and star-filled sky.

The more I get back to painting, the more I find myself seeking a graphic element, simple and more abstract. In the past it was more about mood and peripherals and now it is about the shapes and how they interplay.

Photography of light and simple shapes-probably an evolution that is effecting my paintings. I enjoy the contrast of light and shadows and the simplicity of objects. Original Photography by Artbygordon 2018

I’ve been admiring too much abstract images I guess. I’ve also been seeking how light interplays with objects in my photography, which seems to be a principle in the new/old series.

I am getting back to several images of water-they all were somewhat complete but I was never completely pleased with them. It is amazing to me how much an image literally plays itself out while you paint.

There is the first obstacle of pushing paint around, overcomplicating what you see and over-explaining a simple principle of light and shadow.

The droplets on the rose are perfect example of how it is not overcomplicated creating reflection and light-it is a very subtle, simple rendering that delivers the best image.

When the subconscious overrides the conscious and truly sees and renders simple the image as it is-this is when the hand and the brain tend to work independent of consciousness, the lines, forms and subtle detail seem to create themselves.

The Terns Artbygordon 2013: An older painting and the beginning of seeing things in shapes and abstracts

To show the progression of recent paintings, I need to go back to previous series. This is where the shape is becoming a bit more important than the feeling and depth of the water.

I feel like I am getting back to full circle, the paintings in the new series will have more detail in the water, more sharper contrasts of light and I will get back to the reason I loved the night sky and water.

The next post will be about the night sky with the newer images. I am excited about the new series and see my vision truly taking shape.

2019: A New Year

A new year, an unblemished calendar but what to do? How can I make 2019 a special, productive year? 

The question definitely has to do with my readers but at the same time, I can’t deliver meaningful content unless I know what my readers and subscribers are wanting or even expecting.

I have decided to break my posts into specific columns so you will have an idea of what to expect and there will be a constant theme going through my content although varied as it might be.

I used to create the blog on Blogger and than share it with multiple network channels but I am trying to localize all the content through the website.

Here are a list of the upcoming posts and what I envision for the year.

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge original photography by Artbygordon

The Artist’s Window: It’s how the artist sees the world, how we find light and what makes the ordinary extraordinary from an artist’s view. 

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge original photography by Artbygordon

Depression for the Layman: How to live with depression and tips and tools to live a good life despite the illness. I will be putting all the pieces into a book with other self-help books in the works.

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge original photography by Artbygordon

From A Kayak: I’m trying to bring this back; it might be a view from a tree, a view from a platform-it’s just going to be different places in nature.

The Grackles 2017 Artbygordon

ArtbyGordon: New Series, new subject matter and my reactions and thoughts on art and being creative. Artbygordon and life creatively will merge into this catchall for living a creative lifestyle and breaking the boundaries of the expected.

Remnants of the Garden Artbygordon

Gardening: From the beginning to end of the garden and different aspects of life woven through a life filled with nature and gardening. On a practical note: all the winners and losers, maintaining order in a chaotic garden and other thoughts on life and creativity.

Road to Hagerman Artbygordon

Travel and Writing: This will be the travel side of my blogging. I will highlight at least one place through each month-it could be reviews on food, venues, concerts-anything travel with a little bit of nature added in for color.

The Reluctant Military Dad: This is a new piece of the puzzle-it’s about being a single dad and letting go. It’s about my son in the military and the aspects of a dad watching his son become something great. 

General parenting insights and topics about raising kids in today’s world-being a step dad to my oldest son and all I’ve learned on this journey of parenting.

The next thought, what my readers are wanting and what to add to the blog-I would love to hear what people would like to read about.

I am excited about 2019 and feel my brand and its scope is growing.  Please be a part of the Artbygordon newsletter to get up to date news on series, appearances and latest writing and photography.

Fear of the Canvas

florida_intercoastal

I’ve just realized why I have been avoiding painting recently, not really avoiding it but just having a harder time settling down. Many of the works have been in progress for quite a while so getting back to them is often like picking up a strangers painting.

The amazing point is when suddenly you stop thinking about what you need to do and just start slashing at the canvas with purpose. There are unseen shapes and connections of shapes that come out of the surface of the paint and you fill in the blanks instinctively.

A stumbling block is the fear, especially when you like what you’ve started but there is no room for timid strokes in painting or anything else creative. Once you stop and think or attempt the safe way you might as well save painting for later.

Painting should be bold, excited and even a bit reckless. My thought is every painting is a potential mistake that will never see the light of day. This is the time you learn the most, when you are free to forcefully and confidently paint without fear of failure.

One particular technique that takes a lot of time going back and forth is the light on water, it starts out overly dramatic and slowly becomes more realistic. There are points where the light seems right, others when there seems to be a bump in the horizon and you have confidently fix the problems and continue to focus while you see the image you’ve been working on go from good to worse to good again.

Another aspect is painting objects, straight lines and architecture, something that often needs to be reworked and perfected. You are happy with the background and suddenly you’ve just destroyed it with the object that you overlapped-often the background needs to be reworked with the object as you work to perfect both.

I am excited about the process and while I continue to get bits of time to paint, I am adding to an already large painting list. Let me know what you think of the new images.
swallowspsd









Painting: Deliberate until something develops

undertheseasm

There are so many different feelings when you paint, sometimes it’s pushing paint around, sometimes it’s deliberate, even mechanical and sometimes it’s instinctual, tonight’s  sitting was a little bit of all of them.

I started with an under painting and it was one of the more deliberate paintings I’ve started, unfortunately I didn’t have the full picture, just an idea of clouds moving forward over the viewers head. The actual image is from real life, I have photographs for reference but I’m not completely sure where the clouds end and what the landscape looks like.

I painted the background with perspective lines, every form, every color and every space will be designed with the idea of perspective and I want the viewer to feel overwhelmed by the clouds overhead.

As I tend to do, I switched gears after finishing a monochromatic under painting I turned to the painting of a scene from beneath Shark River Inlet in Belmar New Jersey. This painting was inspired thirty plus years ago and it still stood clear.

I painted with a clear feeling of purpose but as suddenly as it began it ends and I wasn’t sure if I was done with the painting or should start all over. The problem is the idea and image is strong but the recollection is so hard to bring back to mind. I will continue to study it until I know it’s either done or time to start over.

Another thing about painting, sometimes you feel like you’ve created your best work and sometimes the same painting looks like a mistake. I got back to the grackles above the city, an image that I started at the end of the last series, again I had that feeling of instinct kick in and for thirty minutes or so I painted like I figured out the problem.

None of the paintings are finished but I feel like I’m shaking off the stagnation and getting in the process. The most exciting thing about painting instinctual is that images appear that you didn’t necessarily know you were creating they just come out of the details you’ve worked in feverishly.

I’m excited about this series and feel it will be a huge step toward my future painting style and feel.

Stay tuned, more paintings coming very soon.

gracklessm









Back to the Artists Studio

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 10.49.45 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 10.49.31 PM

Last night I finally started painting again. The excitement and inspiration spilled over into the next day. It is a liberating feeling after being stifled for so long and suddenly it all makes sense.

I think the only negative is that suddenly there are more ideas, images and concepts than I can get done in the time available. This is when my lists get overwhelming.

I first started on the third in a series of swallow paintings. The work is smaller than the two previous but more detailed, with a larger population of swallows than the previous paintings.

The name of the work is the celebration, it is a scene from a local bridge in Rowlett after the spring rain. I saw a swarm of swallows that surrounded the bridge and flew under and around the structure. There was a feeling of excitement; nature in celebration, the drought was finally over.

The second painting I work on was a brand new painting called calvary The last time I went to church, I had an amazing image of calvary surrounded by stained glass. This is going to be one of my most colorful paintings and it is a bit of a departure from previous works.

I’m very excited about finally getting back to work and I can’t wait to see the new views as they become real.









Rejuvenating a Garden: life lessons among the weeds

Garden_flowers

So many things in gardening mimic life, it’s realizing them that offers us wisdom.

After ridiculous heat and a garden that got away from me, after all the beautiful blooms  I anticipated have failed, I forget why I started gardening in the first place.

 

In Texas heat and humidity you stand and look at a mess you started in the spring that is now out of your control and succumbing to summer heat. Welcome to one’s life, finding that joy is what this  post is all about. Here are my wisdoms from the weeds.

 

  1. Mulch often:Mulch is the gardens’ skin, it keeps moisture in and combats heat and weeds, it is armor for the growing garden.

We all need a thick skin, it will keep the bad out and keep the
good in, a parent needs to start mulching their children at a very
young age-a thick skin is important.

  1. Water when needed but not too often:You would think watering a garden is a no-brainer but the best way to kill a garden, especially in Texas thick clay soils is overwatering.

Don’t overwater your children or yourself for that matter, don’t
take yourself too seriously and don’t rush in to make sure your
kids have everything they need. A little bit of patience and
perseverance grows character and it’s a beautiful flower.

  1. There is more to a garden than just flowers: So many reasons to garden, don’t just aspire for one particular thing. Notice the wildlife, the interesting weeds, enjoy the fruits and vegetables and most of all, learn everything you can. This is kind of self explanatory for your life, learn, enjoy, explore, don’t just focus on one objective-be adventurous.
  1. Don’t use Chemicals: No, I’m not preaching, but you do kill much of what would actually help your garden and the garden can do a lot on its own if you don’t cripple it with chemicals. Ok, that sounded preachy.

This is twofold-don’t surround yourself with toxic people and
don’t try so hard to solve a problem you end up causing more
problems, think first, realize consequences before
you create more for yourself.

  1. Transplanting can often revive a dying plant: I have seen plants magically come back to life after simply being transplanted. Suddenly a dormant plant sends up new life and even flowers.

Transplant yourself, change is great for the soul. Often a change is
the best thing you can do to start living again, challenge yourself,
awaken your inner seed.

  1. Deadheading often brings about new growth and flowers: You rejuvenate a plant when you remove its spent blooms, it works to create flowers instead of reseeding.

Don’t hold on to old ways or  things, sometimes we need to throw
off our pasts, our old language and doubts before we can grow
again.

  1. The beauty of a garden happens over time: There is the initial bloom you buy from a store, the reason you were attracted in the first place to the specific plant. After the initial blooms fade there is so much more that happens, the roots go deeper, the flowers get more complex and it gets healthier and more vibrant with time.

    Be more interested in the long term than the transient. Don’t panic as things in your life change and be patient as you discover the big picture.

  1. Don’t chose the wrong plant: If you plant a cactus in a rainforest, the results are not going to be good. Can you do it? Yes, but it will take more time, more materials and more attention.

    Know who you are, be who you are. Don’t force yourself into someones’ perceived garden, realize how much more work and attention you will need for the same result.

  1. Have fun:If you look at the garden as a task, that is exactly what it will be. Have fun, enjoy yourself, get dirty and did I mention; Learn a lot.

    Sometimes we are so intense about living, about goals, about expectations we forget we are here to enjoy, to have fun. Today I dug in the garden and it felt amazing. Stop, and enjoy your life, winter will be here sooner than you think.

  1. Find old friends among the weeds: This is one of the primary reasons I started writing this post. While digging out the seeds and mulching the garden I found old friends. I rediscovered how much I enjoy digging in the soil. I stopped and enjoyed a moment gardening; it was like spring again.

I also found plants that had reseeded, last years flowers that reappeared, I love perennials. I would have never even realized them if I didn’t stop and dig in the soil and rejuvenate the garden. I remembered why I started gardening in the first place. Despite the heat, despite the sweat and toil and scars on barehands, I never use gloves.  I realize nature is the force that rejuvenates me and gardening makes me remember that.

So get out there, enjoy nature, start a garden or just stop and enjoy someone else’s, Learn, read, find out what you loved as a child and rejuvenate your own garden, the results will amaze you!









The Extraordinary Life

cloudssm

What does the extraordinary life look like and how much does it cost? An easy question with too many answers and each answer is very subjective.

This is the beginning of a series on living larger and experiencing more. I plan on highlighting individuals that typify a lifestyle that defies convention. The first thing I need to do is define what that life looks like, for myself if no one else.

The first word that comes to mind, for me, is freedom. Again, what is freedom and how do we go about truly feeling its reward. I think it’s appropriate that I would start something like this on the eve of Independence Day.

I want the freedom of going places, of seeing new things and experiencing foods and cultures. I want to write, paint and photograph about the experiences and bring them to my readers with a personal perspective that they can relate to.

My first objective to this quest is seeking clarity and focus, to not only define it but to take steps that would make it possible. We are in a world that is loud, always something pressing, always useless distractions hiding our purpose.

I am in the process of learning from others who have embarked on the same journey. Experiences that others can share will allow many of the mistakes and pitfalls to possibly be avoided and it will give me the knowledge to take the next step.

Next, I believe discipline is necessary, which is strange coming from a creative mind but creativity without some sort of discipline or organization is madness. I plan on learning to be more organized, more deliberate and perhaps the creativity will follow.

I recently read 101 ways to monetize your blog and ways to increase income. I will create a long term list of goals much like a business plan.

So now you have the plan, now what? I think one of the first things is to remove the fear and doubt. Again, listening to others, learning more about the journey will instill the confidence to ignore the programmed expectations we are taught from birth. Stay tuned for the next post on Doubt!









So much to learn, So little time: 5 of 5

newgarden

Back to the original post, it takes time. There are shortcuts to find and retaining clients but there are no shortcuts to knowing them. You can’t fake relationship with a potential client, you must be there for them as they are for you.

I speak with the metaphor of a gardener and being one, it seems appropriate. Disperse seeds, don’t expect a quick pay out but realize why you are in the business in the first place, do you care about your customers?

If you don’t care about them, they will quickly not care about you and your product. I believe in laying the future, getting to know people, having more people realize you may something they need and living life with a passion that pays when others endeavors don’t

In the end, I have no doubt that I will reap the benefits of the broad garden of pictures, thoughts and ideas which will one day be book covers, stories in e-books and paintings on walls, it just takes time, did I mention it takes a lot of time.

You just need to use your time wisely. Do what you love and do it well and often and share it with as many people who care about what you are selling, the rewards will come much like the garden that grows from the seeds you planted in the spring, and it will be beautiful.

 









Christmas Miracles-(2011)- Part 1

I had an amazing Christmas-miracles abound. We tend to see things how we are used to seeing things and often miracles are overlooked because we were looking for or waiting for the wrong miracle and missed the great things around us happening. I believe the presence of something greater is around us all the time-it’s the feeling you get staring at a sunset, or the feeling of a winter storm on Christmas-a momentary feeling of peace that supersedes the everyday feeling of stress and crisis we go through.

I always tell a bride-usually it’s the bride as they are the ones that usually stress about a wedding- that everything will work out in its time and the things that don’t will be the things you remember or you can laugh about if you let yourself. I believe it’s the same scenario dealing with holidays, especially Christmas. For one day out of the year we expect to have peace, to be able to guess what our loved ones want for Christmas, to have the amount of money we need without going over budget and for the family and friends for one day to put down their differences and enjoy each other around the kitchen table. Every Christmas is the same-start off being conservative about money, start out being excited and by the time it is over you can’t wait to tear down the dried up tree and put off all the feelings of sadness or auld lang sine for the next year when we’ll try it one more time.

I have been schooled in miracles for the last two years because Christmas didn’t turn the way it was expected-it turned out better than I could have even imagined or tried to plan and it wasn’t any of the gifts or the perfect smile that a family member experienced from that extra special gift-it was the way the time went without the control of being able to sculpt this perfect day and that’s where the miracle comes in.

The word miracle can be overused, it is usually saved for some great deed, someone coming back from near death, the finding of funds when there were no possibilities, yes that is how we describe a miracle but just as the word love is often misused and mistaken for infatuation the very magic of the word is usually in the subtleties we would normally overlook. Which brings me to last years’ Christmas. My mom fell and broke her hip, how could we enjoy a Christmas season after something traumatic as that? I almost mentally wrote off the season-which is maybe the good thing-the problem with holidays are our expectations are often too high. So instead of shopping, we spent time at a hospital room and none of us could explain the fears we felt and the lack of control each of us felt about the fact that she was in for a surgery which science said she could not live through-first miracle maybe. The break was the best break it could be-if you could look at a broken hip like that but the doctors were positive about her prognosis.

I think one of the hardest things about a crisis during the holiday is the fact that children don’t need to be involved in the stress and worry, so that means just because a dads’ first instinct would be to lay down and watch some mundane show to ease the feeling of depression and worry-we need to go get a tree, decorate it, enjoy egg nog-without the nog and really feel the christmas feeling. This is where shear will comes in play-I don’t have the privilege to have  a bad season-my son is watching and learning how to deal with worry and crisis as well as expecting a Christmas he doesn’t want to have to remember as a bad memory. So I shop in between going to the hospital, wrap late in the evening and Christmas eve-don’t feel like I bought enough gifts for everyone-the usual dilemma and we all get through the process as well as we could possibly get through a holiday where someone you love is in the hospital.

Here’s the second miracle-it wasn’t a good or even mediocre day-it was special and beautiful in its own way. My mother learned things in the hospital she wouldn’t have, found strength in other people, allowed herself to give up control of her situation and shared her strength with other people-the gifts she got were more than we could have wrapped. The family joined together and felt that feeling of overcoming a crisis, there was hope for the New Year. My son and I got perspective about what Christmas really means and not what marketing would have you believe-we don’t deserve anything specific, we don’t need to overspend and put ourselves in debt to get ourselves and others everything we deserve-instead we got just what we needed-family-the closeness, the true bond, we watched other families coming together-we got perspective on our situations and appreciated things we would have overlooked if it weren’t for the wonderful misfortune of a broken hip. That is when you have witnessed a miracle when you call a misfortune wonderful-the presence you feel and joy is the unexplained phenomena that follows and just as a haunting can only be describe and understood by someone who has felt it, the same goes with the presence of God on that special, crazy, hectic day we call Christmas.

I will leave this year’s miracles for the next post so I won’t completely bore the reader as well as infuriate further whoever is looking for punctuation and grammar-this is what you call free thought, plain and simple. So I hope if this was even a bit interesting you’ll follow to part two when this year’s miracle is explained.