a song for father’s day and a summer blog break

Oh, Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling . . . 

Whenever I hear this song, I think of my dad.

Since he was such a passionate music lover, there are many songs that remind me of him, but none touches me as deeply as “Danny Boy.”

When I was growing up, music was that special something we could do together. With my brother it was fishing, but with me, James loved to play his harmonica while I accompanied him on the piano.

First, he would line up his instruments — he had several Hohner Chromonicas and a couple of diatonic harmonicas in different keys.

Then we would play our way through my stack of sheet music and piano books — folk songs, church hymns, patriotic songs, show tunes (Rodgers and Hammerstein, Leonard Bernstein, Lerner and Loewe), semi-classical pieces, Strauss waltzes, drinking songs/sea shanties, Christmas carols, on and on.

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snip, arrange, paste: alice lindstrom’s amazing paper collages

When Australian paper collage artist Alice Lindstrom was little, she liked cutting and pasting bits of paper to make her own staple-bound collage books. 

Looking back over the twists and turns of her creative journey, it seems paper collage had always been her true calling, as it’s a unique art form that wholly reflects her personality.

photo of Alice Lindstrom by Breena Dunbar

Though she’s now based in Melbourne, Alice grew up in the Adelaide countryside surrounded by animals and nature. Wanting to encourage her artistic skills, her parents sent her to schools that focussed on art. But when it came time for university, Alice chose to broaden her education to prepare for a “proper job.”

She earned a Bachelor of Humanities in Philosophy from the University of Adelaide, followed by a Bachelor of Design from the National Institute of Dramatic Art. After working as a theatre designer in Sydney, Alice returned to Adelaide, where she earned graduate degrees in Museum Studies and Art History.

She soon realized that getting a “real job” and treating art as a hobby was not going to work since her passion for art was just too strong. Rather than curate the work of others, she wanted to create her own art and illustrations.

Both Alice’s father and grandfather were born in Germany. Her grandfather was a painter who had a big influence on Alice. He and Alice’s grandmother worked at an art school in Berlin.

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cultivating ideas with a blue spade

“The best place to find God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

“Out of the Mist” by Wayne Millett

All Aboard!

Let’s take a little trip.

“Blue Garden” by Abid Khan
THE BLUE GARDEN
by Helen Dunmore

'Doesn't it look peaceful?' someone said
as our train halted on the embankment
and there was nothing to do but stare
at the blue garden.

Blue roses slowly opened,
blue apples glistened
beneath the spreading peacock of leaves.

The fountain spat jets of pure Prussian
the decking was made with fingers of midnight
the grass was as blue as Kentucky.

Even the children playing
in their ultramarine paddling pool
were touched by a cobalt Midas

who had changed their skin
from the warm colours of earth
to the azure of heaven.  

'Don't they look happy?' someone said,
as the train manager apologised
for the inconvenience caused to our journey,

and yes, they looked happy.
Didn't we wish we were in the blue garden
soaked in the spray of the hose-snake,

didn't we wish we could dig in the indigo earth
for sky-coloured potatoes.
didn't we wish our journey was over

and we were free to race down the embankment
and be caught up in the blue, like those children
who shrank to dots of cerulean
as our train got going.

~ from Glad of These Times (Bloodaxe, 2014)

“Dreampath” by Violeta Lopiz

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Hello, super shiny and awesome person! How about a little Allison Strine to propel your week into high gear?

Based in Roswell, Georgia, Allison creates color-filled images with quirky hand lettering for children’s books and products. Her art is inspired by bright minds in history, the miracles of nature, and unusual, educational tidbits of information.

As you can see, she’s all about communicating love and joy with each stroke. In fact, she signs each of her pieces, “Love, Allison Strine.” Love her positivity!

As a big fan of typography and hand lettering, I find Allison’s work irresistible. She’s like Jessie Hartland, Maira Kalman, and Linzie Hunter rolled into one. So fun!

Allison grew up in a 270-year-old farmhouse north of Boston, Massachusetts, and essentially considers herself a Bostonian, even though she’s lived in the Atlanta area for over two decades. She also did graduate studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

For more about Allison, visit her Official Website and Instagram.

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Kenneth Koch: “Permanently” smitten


“Write poetry as if you were in love. If you are always in love you will not always write the same poem, but if you are never in love you may.” ~ Kenneth Koch

“Kenneth Koch Reading” by Fairfield Porter (1966)

Happy June! Here’s a little Kenneth Koch to nudge your nouns and activate your adjectives.

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PERMANENTLY
by Kenneth Koch

One day the Nouns were clustered in the street.
An Adjective walked by, with her dark beauty.
The Nouns were struck, moved, changed.
The next day a Verb drove up, and created the Sentence.

Each Sentence says one thing -- for example,
“Although it was a dark rainy day when the Adjective walked by, I shall remember the pure and sweet expression on her face until the day I perish from the green, effective earth.”
Or, “Will you please close the window, Andrew?”
Or, for example, “Thank you, the pink pot of flowers on the window sill has changed color recently to a light yellow, due to the heat from the boiler factory which exists nearby.”

In the springtime the Sentences and the Nouns lay silently on the grass.
A lonely Conjunction here and there would call, “And! But!”
But the Adjective did not emerge.

As the adjective is lost in the sentence,
So I am lost in your eyes, ears, nose, and throat --
You have enchanted me with a single kiss
Which can never be undone
Until the destruction of language.

~ from Selected Poems, 1950-1982 (Vintage, 1985)

“Window” by Jane Freilicher (2011)

Charming, conversational, lighthearted, with quite a surprise at the end. Did you realize this was a love poem when you first started reading it? Love Koch’s disarming approach. 🙂

Perhaps, like me, you were delighted with how he cleverly personified the parts of speech, immediately drawing us in at the beginning with characters we’re more accustomed to diagramming than dallying with.

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