Life Lessons from Lillian

 Life Lessons from Lillian

Last week I had an amazing experience.

While grocery shopping, I had an exchange with a lady named Lillian who was doing her shopping from a motorized cart. She shared with me that she was 91 years old (plus one month), and had all her “marbles”. She certainly does, and then some.

I was shocked.  Her eyes were bright and clear, her voice strong, and she had a wicked sense of humor.  She exuded life force.

What is the secret, I asked her, to being so vital at that age?

Her answer blew me away in its forthrightness, clarity and simplicity.  I paraphrase:

“When I was in my 80’s,” she said, “I identified three things that must be done daily, and after I turned 90, I added a fourth.”

Wow. What were these things that could help to sustain such energy, such engagement, such vitality, at such an age.  I wanted to know.

So, I asked her, and  this is what she said:

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“Every day you have to learn something new.”

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“Every day, and the most important one, you have to have humor, and you have to spread humor.”

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“Every day you have to do a good deed, even if you only pick up a piece of trash and throw it away.”

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“And then I added a fourth one; every day you have to be thankful for something.”

And she added…

“Now, if you can do all four of those before 9:00 in the morning, then you can screw up for the rest of the day.”

(Like I said, this lady  packs in a wicked sense of humor…)

Thank you Lillian, for doing the good deed of teaching me something new, with great humor, and endowing me with the spirit of thankfulness.  I won’t forget you, nor your life lessons. May you live long, and prosper, practicing your four  maxims every day, and inspiring us to do the same.

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Let There Be Shadow

Let There Be Shadow

“There is strong shadow where there is much light.” —Johann Wolfgang von Gogh Goethe

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As we begin a new year, and the teen years of the millennium, there is a great deal of talk, longing and intention around new beginnings, fresh starts, new leaves, new chapters and so forth.

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Let a new day dawn.    I am all for that.

Let the new page be started, the new leaf turned,  the fresh chapter embarked upon, longed for beginnings begun, and previously stalled starts started.  Let’s find that rainbow at the end of the storm, that light at the end of the tunnel.

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But, let’s not forget, as the writer Goethe so pithily yet eloquently states, where there is light, there must also be shadow…and vice versa…we cannot have one without the other.

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So, when confronted with the shadow side of our own natures,

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even our own gifts,

Entry Shadow

 the coolness of the shade that we need as respite  from the sun,

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and the shadow of our own fears, challenges, anxieties and struggles in the so-called dark,

Light

as we move towards the light of fulfilling our longings and realizing our dreams,

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let us remember that “Shadow owes its birth to light.” ( –-John Gay),

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WEB4and not be stumped,

stopped,

or stupefied by

its presence,

but know…

that shadow will always be there…

a companion on our journey….

needing

to be acknowledged,

insisting,

on making its presence known,

 


so that we can continue

to feel the glory

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of the light.

Here’s to 2013!

E-LUMEN-8 your life

E-LUMEN-8

Your Life…

In an increasingly technological world, there is a corresponding need for work created by hand.  As humans, we respond to useful objects of wonder and beauty.

“Artissima Lumens”  are hand-adorned light switch plates created custom, one at a time  as art, celebration and decor. They are created of water-borne primers, paints, semi-transparent glazes, stencils, metallic media, and varnish.

The plain plastic, or wooden plate is sanded to create texture or “tooth”, readying the surface to receive the primer which creates a bondable surface for the painted base coat.  The surface is thus  prepared for more intricate layers of adornment.

Paints, semi-sheer glaze or other media are manipulated across the surface to create visual interest and an interplay of color and texture.

Gold, silver, copper and bronze metallic media add luminescence, glow, and glimmer which  catch the light and animate the surface.

Stenciled or hand-painted pattern and imagery establish a composition which can become playful, elegant, whimsical, retro,  nostalgic , contemporary or celebratory.

The necessary hardware or screws are treated as part of the whole, and treated to each successive application.  They become part of the visual composition, as does the aperture for the switch itself.

When at last complete, the work is sealed and protected with  water-borne varnish. The “Lumen” is now is ready to eLUMENate its chosen light switch, and give the user a jolt of light energy.

Experience shows that we can become more calm, energetic, stimulated, peaceful and alive through interaction with our visual surroundings.  Color, texture, pattern and imagery can enhance, beautify, communicate, and  transform our feelings and surroundings, and thus both our interior and exterior landscape.

If YOU are interested in ordering or commissioning an “Artissima Lumen” please email: debra@artifactorystudio.com

BELIEVE

CREATE SUCCESS

 HAVE GRATITUDE

Lumens for Humans II

Lumens for Humans II

In an increasingly technological world, there is a corresponding need for work created by hand.  As humans, we respond to useful objects of wonder and beauty.  What we surround ourselves with can make us feel more calm, energetic, stimulated, peaceful and alive.

“Artissima Lumens”  are hand-adorned light switch plates created custom, one at a time  as art, celebration and decor.

They are created of water-borne primers, paints, semi-transparent glazes, stencils, metallic media, and varnish.

The unadorned plate is sanded to create texture or “tooth”.  This readies  the surface to receive the primer which creates a bondable surface for the painted base coat.  The surface is thus  prepared for more intricate layers of adornment.

Paints, semi-sheer glaze or other media are then manipulated across the surface to create visual interest and an interplay of color and texture. Color, texture, pattern and imagery can enhance, beautify, communicate, and  transform our surroundings and our state of mind.

Stenciled or hand-painted pattern and imagery establish a composition which can become playful, elegant, whimsical, retro, contemporary or even mysterious.  The tiny pieces function as both art and decor;  frame and focus.

The necessary hardware is treated as part of the whole, and receives each successive application.  It becomes part of the total composition, as does the aperture for the switch itself.

When at last complete, the work is sealed and protected with layers of water-borne varnish. The “LUMEN” is now is ready to enhance, beautify and transform the deceptively simple act of eLUMENation.

“Artissima Lumens”  can be designed to integrate with murals, wallpaper, artworks, and anything else which is part of the wall, or “built environment“.

If YOU are interested in ordering or commissioning an “Artissima Lumen” please email: debra@artifactorystudio.com

Shine on…Believe, Create, Succeed, Have Gratitude…

Here’s to YOUR e-LUMEN-ated Life

Is Your Color Centrifugal or Centripetal?

Is Your Color Centrifugal or Centripetal?

Recently, during our Color Muze segment, on Artistically Speaking Radio, we discussed the fascinating phenomenon of centrifugal and centripetal action and complexity, as color designer and expert Frank Mahnke, of the International Association of Color Consultants/Designers,  terms it.

The concept of  centrifugal and centripetal action and complexity in this context,  is related to using color to create a mood, to support the function of a space. In essence, we create moods through use of color (and pattern), and we can support (or not) the function of a space by the colors and patterns we use in it.

Centrifugal action, derived from the Latin centrum, meaning “center”, and fugere, meaning “to flee”, does just that: directs our attention out and away from the center, or, our inward center, and towards the environment.  Warm color, with high luminosity, (” emitting or reflecting usually steady, suffused, or glowing light “), has a centrifugal effect, and can help to create bright, cheerful, animated environments, conducive to activity, and conviviality, such as Living and Dining Rooms!

Centripetal action, by contrast, from the Latin centrum “center” and petere “to seek, is associated with  inward direction, and can relate to contemplation and concentration. Cooler and softer colors, with less luminosity can produce a centripetal effect, which can in turn increase the ability to focus and perform demanding intellectual or visual work.  Or, relax, sleep or bathe!

Strong color contrasts will create excitement in a room,

while less contrast will feel more calming, as in “tone-on-tone” pattern.

The contrast of a dark and cool color, with a light and bright one can create animation and excitement in a space through contrast, while the colors themselves express restraint and dignity,

creating a fitting  (pun intended) mood for a sophisticated retail space.

Less color contrast, yet high warmth and luminosity, can create a contained aliveness,

“apropos”  for an entryway that is meant to be both welcoming and elegant, calming and warm.

By contrast, strong pattern and related colors can perk up even a small space,

without overpowering it, and distracting from its function!

In summary, when choosing colors for an environment, the function of that environment should be taken into consideration, and color’s ability to focus our attention inward or outward used to its full potential.  The warmth or coolness, luminosity, strength (or chromaticity) of a color, the contrasts between colors, and the use of pattern will have a significant effect on the perceived mood of any space, and thus on our ability to use that  space, and function in it to highest capacity.

Centrifugal and centripetal action and complexity is another example of the inherent power and effect of color, and how we can harness it to support and improve our lives.

Take a look around at YOUR color schemes.

Is Your Color Centrifugal or Centripetal?

If you so choose, please share about it with us here.

We Love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all trying to get centered in this thing called Life, together.


Fog Magic

Fog Magic

One recent overcast Saturday morning, I set out in full regalia, walking to my exercise class, which was just down the road.

It was foggy, not an unusual state of weather in San Francisco. However, instead of dull and dismal, the softly filtered light and shrouded landscape felt mysterious and  magical.  I remembered a book from my childhood entitled “Fog Magic”, in which a young girl encountered a magical world only visible in the fog.  How did the fog change the look of things?

Intrigued, and going on instinct, I walked right past the church where my Jazzercise class was now surely in full swing.  The air itself was soft, damp, and seemed full of possibility.  I was on an adventure…and  heading West, towards the water.

The pastel colors of the buildings were muted further by the fog, softened, yet distinct.  I was struck by the difference in hue, yet similarity in value of a row of house colors which seemed to nest like colored Easter eggs, side by side. They reminded me of the “rear view” house colors I was moved to write about in a previous post.

I have always been intrigued by this very private abode, and have perused it many times while walking west towards the ocean.  It emits a strong Japanese sensibility, its plain frontal facade, and very specific landscaping distracting attention from how far back it stretches.

The blend of cultures, ethnicities , belief systems and their myriad expressions in the Bay Area pervade its neighborhoods. Weather-dusted gems such as the unexpected Buddha can appear anywhere, such as the end of a condominium walkway  across from Ocean Beach

The pop of a red door seems even more intense in the fog. White body, blue trim, and gray-blue accent give new meaning to the term “white picket fence”, and all that term implies.  This neat little dwelling is bright in the sunlight, and a grayed down version of flag colors in the fog.

Slightly north stands the stately enclave of “Sea Cliff”, home to movie stars, moguls, and probably a lot of moms, too.  Here, the trail of vines spreading across a picturesque stone wall creates the inspiration for a mural composition.  The rich fuchsia color jumps out against the green and gray in the overcast light.

Fog magic is mysterious and powerful. Days don’t have to be bright to be illuminated, or objects well-lit to be radiant. Through the softly veiled, diffused light of the foggy overcast we so often live within here, we can see the glow of treasures we might otherwise overlook, blinking in the sunlight.

Has a walking adventure changed the way YOU see things recently??  

If  you feel so moved, please share about it with us here.

We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all adventuring through this thing called Life, together.