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Lin A. Nulman is an Adjunct Professor of English at Bunker Hill Community College.  Her poetry has appeared in Black Water Review, Tanka Splendor, and the anthology Regrets Only: Contemporary Poets on the Theme of Regret, among others. Lin puts her heart and soul into teaching and while I’ve yet to take a formal class, I have felt a student. In her own unique ways, she has challenged me to both appreciate and expand upon the work that I do as writer and photographer. It’s with pleasure I share Lin’s words and images about her grandmother, a great influence in her life.

photo by Lin A. Nulman

“Oh, you see one tree, you’ve seen them all,” a woman once said to my grandmother, who had just remarked on a tree she found beautiful. Gram repeated the comment throughout my childhood as “the saddest thing I ever heard anyone say.” I think so, too, and I’m thankful for the gift of knowing why.

We took walks when I was a little girl, and even not so little, in our neighborhoods and on the beach. Often Gram would stop to look at something commonplace, such as weeds in a patch by the side of the road. Isn’t it amazing, she would say, how Nature creates so many shapes of leaves in just this one place?

photo by Lin A. Nulman

photo by Lin A. Nulman

Eventually I reached the age of impatience with what grown-ups noticed that wasn’t rare blue beach glass or a good climbing tree. But even when I felt impatient, I knew I could see what she was talking about. I don’t know if Gram believed in God, certainly not in a kindly God, but she did deeply believe in Nature, wonderful and endlessly giving. If you looked at it that way. And I do, and I have to, despite all the other ways my eyes still need to open. Her view was one of my starting places, creatively and spiritually.

photo by Lin A. Nulman

Recently a latent love for bohemian style has sprouted in me, thanks in part to author and blogger Justina Blakeney. I stay up too late turning pages of her new book and feeling out of breath. Justina defines bohemian style as the product of “a creative life and an active engagement in the search for alternative ideals of beauty…Our worldly collections are as eclectic as we are…Decorating is about feeling free, having fun, rejecting traditional notions about what goes with what…and getting a little bit wild.” [I’m quoting from her introduction to The New Bohemians: Cool & Collected Homes. UNputdownable.]

photo by Lin A. Nulman

photo by Lin A. Nulman

Even my 1906 copy of Putnam’s Handbook of Etiquette warns New York High Society about the habits of “Bohemia”, over there in Greenwich Village, beyond “the borders of wise convention”, definitely over the edge and unacceptably wild.

photo by Lin A. Nulman

photo by Lin A. Nulman

Her book was in my mind recently on a walk through the Fens, one jewel in the Emerald Necklace of green spaces that loops through Boston. It has a wide area of community gardens, where dozens of people fulfill their own visions with flowers, trees, bushes, berries, vegetables, bamboo, grasses, and leafy plants. It is a wonderful place to open my grandmother’s eyes, to see the shades and shapes Nature creates in just one corner of a park, sometimes helped along by a little human artistry: a painted gate, a statue, a purple disco ball. On this walk, my looking as I was taught to look revealed Nature, to my joy, as The First and Ultimate Bohemian. Everything goes with everything, so feel free and always be a little bit wild.

photo by Lin A. Nulman

photo by Lin A. Nulman

I challenged myself to photograph the gardens in December, without most of the flowers to help, and still found colors and forms running madly, beautifully together, eye-catching contrasts of silhouette, especially as I lost the light, and small places full of texture and depth. Thanks, Gram.

photo by Lin A. Nulman

photo by Lin A. Nulman

Please look for my blog, The Creative Part-Timer, in early 2016.

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photo by D. Ledesma

photo by D. Ledesma

I am grateful to have family and friends who as they walk in the world will sometimes pause and think, “Hmmm.  This is a picture that Cynthia might like.” Some people will share photos of that sight in the moment by text.  Other times, as most often happens with my brothers, they will give me a ring and describe in great detail the Virginia sky above them. It is all wonderful, as are these images shared by a friend who recently traveled around London.  She is an archaeologist who has been involved in Egyptian digs and one day I will convince her to sit down for an interview about why she chose that field. Until then here are photos she shared of a walk through Highgate Cemetery.

photo by D. Ledesma

As the website notes, this cemetery opened in 1839 and is considered one of England’s great treasures with its fine funerary architecture.  There is an east side and a west side. The west side which includes an Egyptian Avenue is considered fragile and accessible only by special tour.  People of many backgrounds are buried here with some of the most famous figures buried including Karl Marx and George Eliot.

photo by D. Ledesma

photo by D. Ledesma

From these photos alone one can see the interplay of light and shadow upon the beautiful sculpture.  Scary movies (e.g. one involving Dracula) have been shot here but from these photos one can also imagine the serenity of this sacred space. It is still an operating cemetery.

photo by D. Ledesma

photo by D. Ledesma

For history buffs, the history page on the website is an amazing compilation of old and new video as well as text.  I don’t know if I will ever have the chance to view this place in person but I thank Ms. Ledesma for sharing these images with me.

Learn more at …

http://highgatecemetery.org/

http://highgatecemetery.org/about/history

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Remember the hand of the budding artist? Well, mom is artist Zoe Langosy.  Recently, she mentioned how important this period of fashion weeks around the world had been in her artistic growth and I asked her to share more through her words and images …

When I was 14, the fashion world became a magic kingdom to me. Fashion took me on a journey through music, pop culture, the arts… I couldn’t get enough. Already developing into a figurative artist, my drawings became filled with long-legged, often tragic looking, beauties. All my characters were adorned in lavish attire made from a patchwork of fabrics and colors.  As this was before the internet, the way I kept up with my new found passion and muse was either on TV or through magazines.  My teenage bedroom began to overflow with Vogue’s from all over the world, Harpaar’s Bazaar, The Face, Sky… Nothing ever compared, though, to the September issue of American Vogue.

Each year seemed to compete with the year before… More pages, more looks, more exclusive inserts from designers. Each year, as summer drew to a close, my sister and I would check newsstands every day anticipating its arrival.  The first issue I purchased was in 1991. Linda Evangelista donned the cover, smoldering with red hair and tartan. I must have turned the pages of that issue a thousand times, and yet somehow kept it pristine like only a true collector could. Never letting any hands on it but my own.

photo by Zoe Langosy

24 years have passed, and I still feel a buzz when the September Vogue appears on the newsstand. It remains a guilty pleasure of mine, still inspiring my art … Of course, I have other inspirations these days as well.

These days, I’m okay if the cover gets scratched or my one-year old tears out a page. Now, it’s become so ingrained in my world it’s like buying a new set of pencils. Something I’m prepared to destroy and use purely as a visual playground that will set my imagination running.

Follow Zoe’s creative journey …

http://www.zoe.langosy.net/

Langosy Arts on Etsy

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Simply beautiful in my humble opinion.  Enjoy this just over 1 minute video from artist Angie Pickman. A tribute to the winter solstice. 😉

The Longest Night from Angie Pickman on Vimeo.

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In little creatures new to the world like my cousin Aiden, photographed here by his mama and wrapped in a blanket made by his aunt.

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Jordan Playing in the Leaves, photo by Dad

Jordan Playing in the Leaves

My brother is not off the hook for his guest post about music and mountains, but I must admit that this photo he did share of his son at play in a field of leaves was quite an autumn treat.  A 3-year old the size of a 5-year old with big brown eyes filled with wonder at the world.  My brother wrote that it is an image that makes him want to sit and write “about the joy and emotions of Fall and Winter.”  I hope he does put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and that Jordan keeps playing in the leaves. 😉

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We spoke by phone.  I sat in my kitchen in Somerville, MA while my younger brother sat outside his home in Lynchburg, VA.  After I had described my latest walk by the water and what I might write about, he said, “Mmmhmm.  I think you should write some more about porches.”

“Porches?”

“Yes.  About what it’s like to sit on the porch steps at night, in the quiet and in the cool, with fireflies in the distance.  They look like stars.”

I imagined him sitting on his little back porch.  I thought about the seeds I had sent him and his family.  “Next year, I am sending you night blooming flowers.”

“That’s fine,” he said, and then he added, “And you should write about wearing glasses, how we wear them to see clearly, these wire frames that are not heavy but somehow you feel their weight all the time, and if you have long eyelashes you’re constantly batting them against the lenses.  Yeah, there’s always contacts … but somehow when you wear glasses and then you sit and you take them off … you can’t see as clearly and yet there is a certain sense of freedom.  A weight has been removed.  Though your view is a bit blurry somehow you can see with greater clarity the beauty all around.”

“I gave you a blank notebook.  Why don’t you write these things?” I say.

“Because you’re the writer,” he said.

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My first impressions of ancient Japanese warriors were formed by the Akira Kurosawa movies that used to air on Saturday mornings when I was a child.  Later, I read James Clavell’s Shogun.  That was a heavenly experience for someone who had yet to leave her hometown, let alone travel the world.  I haven’t seen the Tom Cruise movie, The Last Samurai, all the way through, though somehow I managed to buy the soundtrack.  All that to say, it was quite the treat to view the current Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibit, Samurai!

Photo by DL

Photo by DL

As described on the MFA website, samurai were “the military elite led by the shoguns, or warlords, of Japan from the 12th through 19th centuries.”  Through August 4th, the MFA is featuring this exhibit of Samurai armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection that highlights how armor design and use evolved over time from actual warfare to more showcase.

Photo by DL

Photo by DL

I have to thank my friend, DL, for dragging me out the door to see this exquisite exhibit.  It was quite fascinating to see the layerings of cloth, metal and even paper that formed protective barriers for men (and horses!) — pieces that remain enduring works of great art. Afterwards DL and I wandered over to the Egyptian area but that’s a story for another day.  If you’re in Boston before August 4th, I hope you have a chance to visit.  There’s also fun stuff on the MFA website.

Photo by DL

Photo by DL

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Jen Parrish gave me permission to visit her online sites to select images to use as illustration for her interview responses.  As I did with other interviewees in 2012, I asked Jen to share how music inspires her artwork.  Viewing her artwork inspired me.   I had only to see an item described as “Gothic architecture meets nature” to know how appropos it was that she and I met through an art and architecture department in a Romanesque church.

She is an elegant, soft-spoken woman with a piercing gaze and gentle words.  It took me a while to learn that she is also a renowned jewelry designer whose handcrafted pieces are worn by celebrities and other people around the world.  Without ever having seen Jen work firsthand, I have only to listen as she speaks about her work to feel her dedication to beauty.  I expect everyone who purchases one of her unique pieces must know they carry part of Jen, and more than a bit of world history, with them.  I am very grateful she responded to my questions.   Please read her interview here.  I think you’ll find both the words and images quite interesting.

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Ingres Serenades The Memory Of His Late Wife's Youth by Donald Langosy

Ingres Serenades The Memory Of His Late Wife’s Youth by Donald Langosy

Walking into the studio of artist Donald Langosy is like venturing into a secret garden soaked in light and shadow.  At first, all that one can do is gaze at the surrounding forest of color-filled canvases in all sizes.  Then the individual scenes emerge, often mysterious, sometimes dark and yet filled with light and motion at the same time.  By his subject matter, it is clear his passions for family, friends and for the artists across the disciplines who continue to inspire and influence his work.  The drama, the intensity and indeed the mischievous humor, come through each piece.  Last year I asked him how music influenced his work (view here).  This year I asked if he’d share an update on recent works.  Thankfully, he shared these images and the following words about what’s new, his creative process and where he finds goodness and beauty in this world.

***

Here are recent paintings as requested.  The Titania Paintings are from my Shakespeare series:  Midsummer Night’s Dream.  This is an ongoing series of 50″x42″ canvases that were actually painted end of last year.

Titania Sleeping by Donald Langosy

Titania Sleeping

I thought [the above painting of artist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres serenading his young wife] would lead into a series showing artists with their model/muses and so I began …

Mr. and Mrs. William Blake in their Garden Reading Paradise Lost by Donald Langosy

Mr. and Mrs. William Blake in their Garden Reading Paradise Lost

“... but my intentions veered with …

John Milton Composing Paradise Lost by Donald Langosy

John Milton Composing Paradise Lost

… and now I find myself beginning two large canvases that will deal with thoughts that have emerged out of the garden of eden…

And as for Mr. Langosy’s muse, his wife, Elizabeth…

Celebrating Elizabeth Turns Fifty is a painting that has been buried in my stacks for over a decade…it now shines over my shoulder as I work… reminding me that while evil and ugliness might have its moment it is rejected and fades… but goodness and beauty, an eternal delight,  endures….

Celebrating Elizabeth Turns Fifty by Donald Langosy

Celebrating Elizabeth Turns Fifty by Donald Langosy

Learn more about this artist at his Facebook page, The Art of Donald Langosy.

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