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Dilleen Marsh  Artist!


Day 1000. The FREEDOM TO EXPRESS thoughts and feelings comes in many forms. The other day I taught an art class to 3rd and 4th graders. It was a mask-making project about marvelous paper, dynamic color, and 'pokie-outie' sculpture. At the end, as I began to clean up, their teacher joined me. "Thank you, thank you," she said, indicating with a nod of her head where a young girl had sat while creating her mask. "She never speaks in class. Hasn't said a word in school this year. I've been concerned. But today she chatted away!" Then this grateful teacher started to cry. Art instigating speech. Art as expression. "Each new form of human speech introduces one into a new world of thought and life. So in some degree is it in traversing other continents and mingling with other races." (Roger Ascham, English author, 1500s.) Thank YOU in the world of social media for the opportunity to 'traverse the world with my 'thought and life' 1000 times. Let the breezes of ideas continue to blow!
#ideas #thought #feelings #artproject #1000 #perseverence #illustrator #fineartist #storyteller #sketchoftheday #lasermodemasters #art

Day 999. The misadventure of getting lost in the desert can have a down side. After reading about survivors having to drink their own urine or the blood of bats, I can think of less stressful ways to drop 40 pounds. However, since moving to the desert over a decade ago, I have a healthy respect for the hot harshness of this singular landscape. I ALWAYS carry a bottle of water with me wherever I go. Even though the desert is rumored to hide shipwrecks of cargo, mines of gold nuggets, buried loot from stagecoach robberies, and hidden chests of coins and gems, I have yet to read of contemporary treasure hunters finding anything but hard-fought wisdom. "Our bravest and best lessons are not learned through success, but through misadventure." -Amos Bronson Alcott, American educator, 1800s. Perhaps the desert's greatest treasure is not gold. Just don't forget the water.

#desert #treasurehunting #wisdom #water #buriedtreasure #misadventures #lostinthedesert #fineartist #storyteller #illustrator #sketchoftheday #lasermodemasters

Day 998. 'Between a rock and a hard place'. Early in the 1920s a dispute between copper mining companies and mine workers in an American western state may have instigated this phrase. The miners were faced with a choice between harsh and underpaid work at the rock-face on the one hand and unemployment and poverty on the other. Many of these workers were forcibly deported to another state for complaining. There never seems to be a lack of tough choices or tough circumstances to deal with. I wonder, 100 years later, what became of those miners and their descendants. Jim Tully, an American author from that same early time, offered: "A man is what the winds and tides have made him." For victims in the present hurricane season, this little tree could be a hopeful sign that even in hard circumstances, life does find a way.
#adversity #toughchoices #life #perseverance #hope #rocks #character #strength #purpose #illustrator #fineartist #storyteller #sketchoftheday #lasermodemasters

Day 997. "Let the pen go," I thought, "and see where it takes you." So I drifted around the Kingdom of White Paper, caught in air currents of ideas, laying one relaxed stroke next to another. Yesterday there were noisy deadlines. Today there is quiet, therapeutic sketching and looking out the window at the sky. When I was in high school I overheard a teacher, albeit good-naturedly, point me out to some other students and say, "look at how she stares into space!" I took it as a compliment. Going to that place of daydream is still an adventure I enjoy. Longfellow mused: "Sit in reverie, and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind." Let go. See where the wind takes you. Be surprised.

#daydreaming #reverie #peaceful #thinking #relaxed #imagination #hotairballoon #fantasy #quiet #illustrator #fineartist #storyteller #sketchoftheday #lasermodemasters

Day 996. At a High School reunion, I spoke with a fellow classmate that I hadn't seen for forty years. She acknowledged me for a kindness I had extended to her those several decades ago, something I had almost forgotten, but something that had been important to her. Relieved I had behaved myself back then, I walked away feeling...happy, grateful, content. My mother would be proud of me. As time has continued to zoom on however, something about that simple interaction has come out of the shadows for me. She, letting me know how I had affected HER life, had extended a kindness to ME. More and more I am conscious of how even one transitory act can touch another life: "The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness..." (William Wordsworth, English poet, 1800s.) I am more aware of hearts in obscure places.

#kindness #heartsmatter #shadows #actsofkindness #acknowledge #remembering #reunion #indoorplant #illustrator #fineartist #storyteller #sketchoftheday #lasermodemasters

Day 995. It's been a rough month for Texas...Spain...Japan...our neighbor down the road...and so many, many others. Like a dragon swooping down out of the sky, mayhem and disaster usually come unexpectedly, suddenly, with ripples of uncertainty and destruction expanding into uncounted lives and psyches. And still, there are sunsets. Profoundly colored clouds and sweeping movement to deflect attention from the news, instigate oohs/aahhs, show up on the phone camera screen. It is heartening. And it is heartening to see humanity reach out with comfort and support for each other in difficult times. "To feel much for others, and little for ourselves; to restrain our selfish, and exercise our benevolent affections, constitutes the perfection of human nature." (Adam Smith, Scottish economist, 1700s.) Yes, even in the worst of times there can be a 'perfect' sunset.

#compassion #civility #heartmatters #sunsets #color #dragon #clouds #comfort #optimism #illustrator #fineartist #storyteller #sketchoftheday #lasermodemasters

Day 994. He's starting to fade, our old cat. The trademark orange of his kind is a paler hue. His bony structure is pronounced and he pauses with that familiar look of, "what did I come into this room for?" He has taken up plopping down on the floor cuddled close to feet or curled tight to any human who will let him. This behavior initially led to some distressing accidents of pinching, stumbling, yeowling, and scratching. We all look more carefully now when rolling back in a chair. As annoying as his aging need for touch has sometimes been, it is understandable. Touch releases the hormone oxytocin which plays a part in reducing stress, anxiety, and in increasing pain tolerance. Watching our old cat slowly walk away reminds me of the 'autumn' of life creeping up my own spine. "It is only necessary to grow old to become more charitable and even indulgent. I see no fault committed by others that I have not committed myself." (Goethe) There are so many opportunities to practice patience...sigh.

#patience #charity #clarity #oldcat #touch #kindness #autumn #aging #fineartist #storyteller #illustrator #sketchoftheday #lasermodemasters

Day 993. With phone-camera in hand, I looked for creative compositions as we drove into the country one late afternoon. Aspen trees are CERTAINLY known for being tall and straight. But as in the ebb and flow of life, anomalies will occur. And thank heavens! Like a total solar eclipse, a 100 year storm, or a brand-new life-changing thought, it can be a good thing to be knocked out of our safe CERTAINTIES. Theories abound for deformities in the grove: contaminated soil, genetic mutation, meteors (always), alien urine (no kidding), or a weakness in the growing shoot. David Brooks, columnist, suggests: "UNCERTAINTY and anxiety throw you off the smug island of CERTAINTY and force you into the free waters of creativity and learning." Voltaire, poet, says: "Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but CERTAINTY is an absurd one." I say...the crooked tree makes all the difference.

#certainty #creativity #anomaly #aspens #crookedtrees #insight #composition #awareness #openness #illustrator #fineartist #storyteller #sketchoftheday #lasermodemasters

Day 992. How can we look right at something and not see it? The human eye is the quickest automatic camera in existence...so far. Every time we change where we are looking our eye's focus, iris, and dynamic range adjust to ensure eyesight as good as it can be. Astonishingly, human eyes can see objects in starlight as well as in the brightest sunlight. Since we are all looking through similar mechanisms of wonder, why don't we all see things the same?! It takes something to switch from unconscious scanning mode to conscious attention mode. Sometimes our brains and hearts get in the way of optimal clarity. John Heywood, an English writer in 1546 opined: "Who is so deafe, or so blynde, as is hee, that wilfully will nother here nor see." OR "'there are none so blind as those who will not see". #seeing #thinking #understanding #perception #focus #consciousness #clarity #illustrator #fineartist #storyteller #sketchoftheday #lasermodemasters # photography

Day 991. An artist, a yoga master, a film editor, and a nine-year-old boy went for a drive up into the cooler mountains. Stopping every so often they took photos, walked to an overlook, or watched the yoga expert do a head stand. They met a history buff and his dog; exclaimed over very blue birds; and cautiously skirted a skittish cow while all along the way, merry was their chatter. "Good talk is like good scenery--continuous, yet constantly varying, and full of the charm of novelty and surprise." (Randolph Bourne, American author, 1900s.) On the way back down the mountain, to the warmer desert plain, and before he fell asleep in the back seat, the visiting nine-year old turned to his artist grandmother and said: "The only thing I won't miss when I go home is how hot it is here." (He'll miss everything else?) Sweet.

#beingagrandparent #conversation #mountaindrive #goodcompany #simplicity #connections #moments #fineartist #storyteller #illustrator #sketchoftheday #lasermodemasters

Day 990. Walking across a backyard the other day as a breeze rattled tree leaves and tossed my hair, I felt the hint of cooler temperatures. Could it be? Another season passing already? So many memories, stories, and thoughts collecting in so short a time... can make a head hang heavy with such abundance. A friend once said to me, at the BEGINNING of some anticipated time together, that she was already feeling a little sad that the ENDING of our adventure would come so soon. A stellar example of how fast TIME really flies. "You'll find as you grow older that you weren't born such a very great while ago after all. The time shortens up." (William Howells, American author, 1800s.) From the time of my youth I have looked for that 'hint' of autumn in August. Pausing in the breeze, the seeds of yet more memories, stories, and thoughts were planted in my head and it seemed like "just yesterday..." #beginnings #endings #time #memories #thoughts #stories #summer #sunflower #nostalgia #breezes #autumn #yesterday #fineartist #illustrator #storyteller #sketchoftheday #lasermodemasters

Day 989. An art instructor once told me, then an inexperienced novice, to paint each slat, pole, or picket in a fence slightly different from each other. "Well, THAT will take a lot of WORK," I groaned inside. Like a picket fence, very day has turned out to have its monotonous patterns: so many dishes to wash, teeth to brush, squats and pushups. Over the years, however, I have come to more fully appreciate this Tom Sawyer (actually, Mark Twain) insight. "At this dark and hopeless moment an inspiration burst upon him! Nothing less than a great, magnificent inspiration...WORK consists of whatever a body is OBLIGED to do, and that PLAY consists of whatever a body is NOT OBLIGED to do." Aaahhh, the secret really is to CHOOSE to paint the fence with variety and ENJOY the result. #workisplay #marktwain #tomsawyer #fences #painting #obligations #integrity #insight #variety #choices #illustrator #fineartist #storyteller #sketchoftheday #lasermodemasters #urbansketchers #oldhouses

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