New News!

Things That Bring a Smile

New News From Milk Barn Studio

Things That Bring a Smile

Many years ago, at an Indigenous People’s Pow Wow at UMASS, I saw a print of a Navajo prayer about beauty. It read ‘Beauty above me, beauty below me, beauty beside me, beauty within me’. I spoke with the person whose display the print was in and he explained the prayer in greater detail. He said that when we see beauty all around, we are naturally inspired to take better care of it; the planet, our resources, and all sentient life. He also said that when we focus on beauty within we align our thoughts, words, and actions to beauty and to manifesting our highest potential. I’ve carried that print, those words, and that conversation with me ever since.
When contemplating what to focus my ‘New News’ on I considered doing a 24-hour meditation on beauty and loosely documenting it. I was kind of nervous considering the times but I was willing to give it a go. I knew also that I’d have to disconnect from technology for those 24 hours because being on a computer for long periods of time doesn’t feel beautiful nor make me happy. But in support of my art business, website etc., I feel that posting on and responding to the posts of others on Instagram and Facebook are part of my daily chores. Would my recently assembled virtual world come crashing down with a 24-hour hiatus? Puh! (that’s the sound of me putting my lips together and blowing a quick exhalation like a trumpet player warming up).
I actually didn’t make it that far into my 24-hour meditation on beauty despite best intentions (and being circled overhead in the morning by a pair of Great Blue Herons). In retrospect, letting the 24-hour beauty plan go was fine. Claudia, (my editor in chief), advised “just focus on things that have made you smile since your last news”. ‘That’s a nice idea’ I thought. So, here are some of the things that are making me smile these days.

~ birds always make me smile – summer favorites include hummingbirds, gold finches, indigo buntings, grosbeaks, wood thrushes, swallows, herons, and bobolinks.

~ all the colors, textures, shapes, and smells in my garden.

~ finding bumblebees asleep at the center of a flower first thing in the morning or at the end of the day.

~ summer rain (I’ve run out in it several times just to feel it on my skin).

~ a video of a dancing beagle to a Reggae song (I’ll admit to watching it often when I need a pick-me-up)

~ my sister Claudia, brother Sean, partner Glen, and friends, continually supporting my artistic endeavors.

~ my cat flopping on her side, looking extra cute, and blinking her light green eyes at me.

~ conversations with new friends I meet around my garden.

In terms of what’s new at Milk Barn Studio, there’s A LOT! I’ve embraced the nearly daily discipline of painting and finally I can see progress. It’s hard, if not impossible, to distance oneself from one’s art but I do see improvement. There are many paintings that are new, (they are labeled as such), and there is a new box card set called 'Autumnal' that I’m very excited about. And, dun, dun, dun, I now have free ‘garden-side pick-up’ for orders. So far a few people have taken advantage of it. And, I am going to create a video of how I make popcorn from scratch that people I make it for rave about. I'll put it on my website when it's done. I know it doesn’t feel entirely art-oriented or…. does it?

Lastly, please let me know how you’re doing and what’s making you smile these days? I’d love to know.

Stay safe and healthy!