Friday, May 10, 2019

TWO MORE... 
May 10, 2019 

More pieces of art created for two more online art groups that I enjoy...

SUNDAY POSTCARD ART called for art created with a chair in evidence. I reached back to the old West for inspiration...
TAKE A WORD must have been thinking ahead to Mother's Day for their inspiration, as they asked for the creation of a piece featuring a mother and child. I used a photo of my Ethiopian "family"...my friend Walla with the latest of her 7 children. Both she and her husband, Dido are wonderful, caring parents.
That's it for now. 
Thanks for tuning in.
Big Hugs,
abbyj 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

BACK TO ART
May 5, 2019

Greetings, Family and Friends! Hope this posting finds you well and smiling.

We just spent a weekend with our daughter and grandchildren, Hunter (16) and Lilly (14). It was a weekend filled with music as the beginning of May always is. Our daughter, Michelle, sings with a community choir that's been going strong for 20 years and their music brings smiles to our hearts. We're used to seeing Michelle perform as we did throughout her school days and are happy that the joy continues...actually, has spread to include both of her children who are both gifted musicians. Actually, all three had solos in their performances, (although the drum isn't Lilly's instrument of choice...she's studying musical theater so her voice is her instrument of choice!) Here's what they looked like in performance mode...




In the art department, I've started to participate in my favorite online art groups like DIGITALMANIA. This week's task is to take famous people and place them in another time frame...if it's someone from the past, place him/her in a present day setting. I really enjoyed this playtime...here's what I created...
Chief Two Moons was a famous Cheyenne leader. I enjoyed imagining him today as a real estate agent getting the money his people should get for the land taken from them...
Nelson Mandela is much more recognizable than Chief Two Moons. I'm remembering a time in South Africa BEFORE Mandela stepped up to change the way the blacks were treated...APARTHEID. 
Can you recognize anyone from the past in this piece...a famous movie-maker who walked through some of his scenes...almost unnoticed? Perhaps today, Alfred Hitchcock would be creating movies about the world's terrorist epidemic!!

That's it for this posting. Wishing you a peaceful few weeks...

Until the next,
Big Hugs,
abbyj

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Reworking Vintage Photoshop
April 27, 2019

Even though we've been in our new house for a little more than 2 years, we're still decorating. Since I've created so much art via the magical Photoshop, I thought I'd pick a few of my most favorite pieces to rework a  bit  and  ready  them  for hanging throughout our home. Here are the pieces I've chosen...what d'ya think?
My family history composite





Looking forward to creating new pieces soon...

Big Hugs,
abbyj

Thursday, March 28, 2019

"BECOMING" 
March 29, 2019
Do you recognize these faces? She hasn't changed much, now that she's an adult. Easily recognizable to most Americans as well as to much of the rest of the world... author of BECOMING...
MICHELLE ROBINSON OBAMA!
This is a woman who loves her life, her country... and most importantly, loves her husband, her children and her family. She exemplifies all the qualities I most admire: intelligence, beauty, elegance, honor, kindness,  creativity and dignity. This is a woman who comes from very humble beginnings and spent the largest part of her life trying to elevate others into a better life because she had positive mentors and people who showed her possible doors... and helped her to open them!


This is a woman who refused to define herself as FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States,) but rather as Michelle Robinson Obama, taking the reader as far back as she can remember. She paints a picture of her childhood and her relationship with her parents as well as the rest of her family, which impacted the way she carried herself throughout her life and how she raised her two daughters. She tells of her ambitions and desire to help make the world a better place, fighting for equality years before she made headlines; 
who advocated for others decades before healthy snacks in schools became an initiative; who worked for non-profits, City Hall, healthcare and academia so she could make an impact where it mattered- to heal divisions and disparities... who lived life to its fullest before being thrust before the cameras.

Never fond of the political arena, Michelle realized that she held a position few woman have throughout history, and to be the first woman of color to be First Lady made her a role model in the eyes of so many...a position that wasn't always comfortable, but a role in which she positively shone! 

Michelle Obama is gifted in her ability to express her emotions...to write with tremendous insight and meticulous attention to detail. She writes like she speaks...personally and honestly, candidly and directly. She depicts life on the campaign trail and  life inside the White House... and the roles of the First Family, inviting the reader to explore some of her most personal thoughts as initiatives, bills, summits and security decisions shaped America... and her new role as FLOTUS... at break-neck speed... sometimes funny, sometimes sad, often shocking, often emotional...but always sincere and relatable.
Being able to tear down walls rather than build them; communicate passionately rather than attack venomously, Michelle Obama forged the cornerstone of the legacy she wishes to leave the world. Together, she and Barack gave a sense of possibility to ordinary people. 

"For me, becoming isn't about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as a forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn't end..."  Michelle Robinson Obama 

Michelle Obama, I am stunned, in awe and so pleased I took the time to get to know you better. Thank you for making the world a better place by being an active part of it!

Without a doubt, this is one of the best autobiographies I have EVER read!!! Read it NOW!!







Monday, March 4, 2019

JAPAN...Land of the Rising Sun
March 2, 2019

The proud Japanese flags...
The art of ORIGAMI, usually associated with the Japanese culture
Kon' nichiwa (Hello, in Japanese.) I hope all is well for you, dear ones. Here in Upstate New York, we have large doses of snow and cold... but Japan had infinitely more of both! Japan in winter is mysterious, not only because of its picture-perfect snowy landscapes, but also for its plethora of winter festivals, events...and relaxing natural hot springs. For most of February, we explored the Winter Wonderland that is Japan.
Deep in Hell Valley...a 30 minute hike into the mountains where the natural hot springs flow... lives the famous Japanese  Snow Monkey, the country's iconic animal. 


Hot and cold snack machines were found everywhere...even in the most remote spots
It's also where our traditional Japanese ryokan, our home for a few days, was situated. A 200 year old wooden hotel that's still run by the same family, we slept on comfortable futons flat on the floor...just as the people have for generations. It was beautiful, with forest and hot springs all around us...the natural beauty was impressively majestic...the sound of snow monkeys on the roof playing at all hours of the day and night, entertaining!


The wild Macaques always come down from the mountains to bathe in the hot springs after the first snow falls. We certainly enjoyed our up close and personal visits with them, both wet and dry. 

















As well, our traditional Japanese meals were quite an adventure. My favorites were crispy, deep fried grasshoppers (that tasted like chocolate,) and deep fried, salted 6-inch trout that were beyond wonderful!! I devoured two of them from head to tail! Generally, though, Michael enjoyed the Japanese food more than I did.





A quick stopover in Tokyo, (in the beginning and end of our journey)...appeared to be like any big city anywhere...in a quite highly developed country... construction, runners, park areas, tall buildings and old buildings, temple complexes, shops, locals and of course, an Imperial Palace.




















An interesting way to cover closed store-fronts...with art!


















On to the largest annual festival in Japan, the Snow Festival in Sapporo. Hundreds of complicated, well-planned snow statues and ice sculptures lined Odori Park and the main street in Susukino. Mixed with audience participation places, entertainment and sooo many food and drink places, this festival turned Sapporo into a winter dreamland of crystal-like ice and white snow...an altogether magical carnival!















The most natural-looking ice sculpture

The festival at night from a nearby tower was enchanting...especially for the ice sculptures





Most of these festivals celebrate the Lunar New Year and are meant to purify its celebrants, ridding them of evil spirits. And... the magic continued as we traveled by train through sun, clouds, mist and snow...to our next stop.


















...the less-traveled northern part of Honshu Island where we enjoyed several more picturesque festivals involving lanterns and  fire. 
The Otaru Snow Light Path Festival was a photographer's dream. A small harbor city that was lovely during the day, but the nighttime canal images were positively dreamlike! 



















The city of Akita hosts the Hiburi Kamakura Festival that has a unique element involving fire. Participants set a bale of straw, attached to one long rope, on fire... and twirl it around themselves after the priest blesses the event and the people. It's a purification ritual said to banish bad fortune. It was astounding to see that even youngsters participated in this ritual.










Yokote's snow festival has a 450 year old history. We were treated to the spectacle of many igloo-like snow huts called kamakura, built around the city...a city originally built around a castle! Within each kamakura, there's a snow altar dedicated to the water deity to whom people pray for ample water. A charcoal burner is set up in each, to provide warmth and to grill rice cakes. In the evenings, festival visitors are invited by hosts into the kamakura, where they're offered rice cakes and warm, sweet rice wine in return for an offering to the water god at the altar. It's a beautiful, snow-filled and joyous time...


















At long last, after almost 3 weeks, our last stop before returning to Tokyo for our journey home, was to the hot springs town of Zao Onsen. On the slopes of the volcanic Mount Zao, it serves as one of Japan's leading ski resorts in winter. In addition, it's one of the few places in Japan where "juhyo" or "ice trees" can be seen. Also known as "snow monsters," the trees take on curious shapes as they're blanketed with heaving snowfall and freezing, driving winds. We took a mountain gondola to get to the top for what we thought would be a wonderful, close up view of the monsters. Unfortunately, the snow was blowing so hard that not only were the trees difficult to see but it was difficult to stand and not be blown aside in the TRULY freezing wind!! It was even too cold for me! Here's what the scene looked like...
In the town...as the taxi drove us to our hotel...





At the gondola list up the mountain...note the ice all around the inside of the gondola barn


...and the view of the town below





















I've got to say we loved the extreme beauty of Winter in Japan, the people were polite and welcoming, our hotels and restaurants were good. I had some trouble with the always fishy foods, but I did try some new things...like raw tuna sushi that was delicious! Thanks to our entertaining, caring guide, Keren, who's a master photographer as well... webmaster@chinaspan.com ...and thanks to you readers who made it through this looooong trip report. I hope you enjoyed the journey and the eye candy...

Big Hugs...till the next,
abbyj