Strange Magic

Dreaming of spring, the mind turns to flowers, butterflies, fairies and… bugs? Well, yes, if you life in southern Maryland. Although it’s been frozen into silence lately, we have a buzzingly diverse ecosystem here in the coastal plains and wetlands, rich in the insect life that supports the abundant bird and fish populations we’re known for.

But fairies? for those, I still have to turn to the world of fantasy. And recently I saw a remarkable film, one that was clobbered at the box office, so you probably didn’t even notice it opening and closing at your local moviehouse.

Which is really too bad, because it is the product of at least a decade’s dreaming by George Lucas and many others in his talented sphere. The movie is Strange Magic,  a love story for pre-teen girls that uses popular culture love songs (thus the title!)

Strange Magic is a sound and vision feast directed by Gary Rydstrom, winner of 7 Oscars and 17 Academy Award nominations for sound mixing and editing.  Gary is also the son of friend-of-a-friend, and so we go to see his movies even if they’re a genre we would otherwise ignore.

The design of the Bog King is based on the praying mantis and the cockroach

Starting with Lucas’ vision, the creatives borrowed from the insect world for creature design, which includes not only the colorful and bright fairies and elves, but also the creepier denizens of the Dark Forest.

The story has delightfully modern twists: you’ll find no delicate princess here. Marianne, our heroine, doesn’t grieve lost love for long. And the ultimate hero is a surprise, upending the old ‘dark verses light’ clichés.

While it’s probably too late for the cineplex, check it out on DVD or streaming when you get a chance. It’s a gem.

 

WORD Wednesdays

I love words: weird words, long words, obscure words, words that sound good, words that send me to the dictionary. Periodically on Wednesdays I’ll share one. If you’d like to join the fun, see the blog event info here. Or just comment with a favorite of your own!

Here’s one:

noctilucent

DEFINITIONS

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
adj. Luminous at night. Used especially of certain high clouds.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
adj. Shining or glowing at night, especially of very high-altitude clouds that reflect sunlight long after sunset.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
Shining by night or in the dark; nuctilucid: as, the noctilucent eyes of a cat.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
adj. shining or glowing by night

Etymology:  ultimately from Latin noct- + lucent-, lucens lucent

Strange Silvery Cloud

“As many as 80% of all people on earth today have never had the chance to witness a clear view of the Milky Way.

Have you seen the Milky Way? How did it make you feel? Leave me a comment and tell me about it.

“In 1994 a major earthquake struck LA, causing massive power outages across the city. Residents called 911 to express alarm about a “strange silvery cloud” hovering overhead.”

Illusion of Lights, a film from Goldpaint Photography, specialists in landscape astrophotography

“I like to run at night in the summertime because it’s nice and cool. As I’m running, I’m thinking about work and the discoveries that we’re making.  I look up at the stars. And in that split second, just that fraction of a second when I first saw not pinpoints of light, which are stars. I saw planetary systems. I saw solar systems. I saw other planets out there. It’s really hard to articulate that kind of an experience. It’s something very personal.”

~Natalie Batalha (from a 2013 interview with Krista Tippett)

Natalie Batalha hunts for earth-like planets beyond our solar system. A research astronomer at NASA Ames Research Center, she heads the Kepler Mission.   In its first four years, the mission confirmed over 100 new planets — but the search for one just right for life continues. Early interpretations of Kepler data point to as many as 17 billion Earth-sized planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone.

“Nothing to Lose”

Kate Champion

Choreographer Kate Champion asked the question: what does it mean to put really big bodies on the dance stage? She premiered “Nothing to Lose” at Sydney Festival in January, 2015

Champion was inspired by watching the way larger bodies moved through the world, and dancing in clubs. It led her to ask why she never saw bodies like that on the stage.

kjdrinkwater“Dancing in a fat body is incredibly radical and controversial because it’s not done, it’s not encouraged. That’s what makes this show so interesting.”

Kelli Jean Drinkwater, fat activist

I certainly have been reluctant to dance with abandon due to my body size, and have only done so when in a safe and sacred context, where I could feel the freedom to be as I truly am. A fat body really does move differently, and it’s amazing to see fleshy dancers. I have NEVER seen fat bodies in this context before.

How does it make you feel?

Help a teacher, artist, mom save her home

10356146_10154457712820532_9051581794283326954_nI’m shouting out for an artist friend who’s in a tough spot, and really needs help to save her home. 

Meet Rana Raeuchle , teacher, artist and mother, currently working in South Korea. Her son Allen, now grown,  keeps the home fires burning until Rana completes her contract later this year.

 

Long story short:

Young artist and mother, left by husband, gets education and raises her son, working as an artist and educator. To help out, Rana’s mother eventually acquires  a modest house and rents it to them. Then, Mom gets cancer and goes through several years of terrible and fatal illness. Due to unforeseeable problems with wills and lawyers, the house does not, as planned, convey to Rana. 

lc4900445-w0xd-w640_h480_q80For all these years Rana has paid rent, and more recently the mortgage. But with probate complete, the bank is forcing a sale since Rana is not the original mortgage holder, nor the official heir. Despite Rana’s diligent work history but admittedly low-income, her efforts to procure a loan to cover this amount have proved fruitless. Now the clock is ticking, and a solution is needed by the end of the month.

The amount  required to purchase this house is only $45,000.

I want you to help Rana & Allen keep their house.  

  • You could donate: GO HERE to donate to her GoFundMe
  • You can donate to Paypal HERE
  • You could promote this to social media far and wide
  • You could buy the house and rent it back to her
  • You could provide a private mortgage
  • You could come up with some other creative way to help out!!

Artwork by Rana

 

Artist Profile: Terry St. Cloud & Bone Sigh Arts

terriDid you ever go through a dark night of the soul, and reach deep into yourself and find hope or strength from something a friend shared, or a beautiful memory? Well, that feeling of relief that you get at a moment like that, THAT is a Bone Sigh.

A long time ago (at Artomatic 2003) I wandered into a little room filled with tiny watercolors that exploded with color and were inscribed with expressions of deep feeling. They were unlike anything I had ever seen before.  They were the work of Terry St. Cloud, an amazing woman who generates a great deal of love and light in this world, whom I am honored to know as a neighbor and friend.

These days, Terry runs Bone Sigh Arts, her successful company that provides gifts, greeting cards, books, and hosts an amazing community. Terry manifested this beautiful business from her own love and determination to honor herself and her creativity as she raised her three boys, now grown and in business for themselves.

Terri has written quite a few inspirational books

When you need a beautiful card or gift, want to lift someone’s spirits, read inspiring ideas and stories, or share your own, please head to Bone Sigh Arts to a unique and magical world that is only possible because of this talented and determined woman.

 

New Year, New Themes

artists-at-workLast year I wrote for Blogging for Mental Health 2014, and other themes emerged, capturing my interest. For 2015 I’m declaring a more specific intention: to honor my title: Art•Spirit•Nature more specifically, in the following ways:

ART: I really want to feature profiles of the amazing creative people I know. And, show you the creative work I’m doing. So that I do it! And talk about art, that speaks about spirit, and nature.

enlightenmentSPIRIT: My wish is to share the life of the spirit with everyone, to cross the lines that labels draw around us. Pan-religious, I love rituals and prayers and teachings of many faiths, perhaps for their intent: to draw us closer to God and each other. This category will also deal with mental health and social issues.

human stem cells viewed through electron microscope

NATURE: My primary theme here is the everyday miracles around us and the science behind them. Ignorance of science is an issue that frightens me more than anything, for the amazing capabilities of human beings without the wisdom of knowledge and awareness is a profoundly dangerous thing. So stay tuned – I may rhapsodize, but I also may rant!

TELL ME: What would you like to see on this blog?

Gender Swapped characters in Fanart

In celebration of our evolving idea of gender as fluid, I offer these colorful, creative, amusing, at times maybe disturbing renderings of beloved characters as you might have seen them, in a different world!

This is just a taste – follow the link at the end to the total collection.

Notice the conspicuous absence of males

 

I love this Moriarty!

 

SheHulk
CLICK for all the Avengers by Circusmayer at deviantart.com

 

isn’t he adorable?

For the complete article with dozens of examples, CLICK here.

Walk the Beach on a Moonless Night

 

On the beach at ebb tide, in this moment of darkness, there is no moon and no fanfare. Look into the wet sand as the wave retreats. In the starlight, watch the water drain from around each tiny grain as the sea runs back into herself. Notice the stars reflected in the wet sand, a light you would never see at a brighter time.

Ask yourself:
What else might I not be seeing?
What other lights are within me?

 

photo credit: ‘The beach at Tjørnuvík, Faroe Islands’ cc 2008. by Hans Juul Hansen

I Give Thanks for the Sea

Have some images from my writing retreat at Ocean City Maryland, from Thanksgiving and the following weekend. There is nothing quite as beautiful as the edge of the world, all water and light.

click on any photo to enlarge, you’ll get a slide show view

there is a web that connects all things

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