A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 120: Sunday God Quote – Steve Winwood

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Last week Sunday’s God Quote in the form of Pete Townshend’s song “Let My Love Open the Door” got me thinking of other popular songs that have been misinterpreted. Often, this can happen when the artist is singing about love. Maybe the missed message happens because we are so inundated with songs of the boy-lusting-after-girl variety (and vice versa) which use the word “love” to describe what clearly isn’t love. Or even the prevalence of genuine songs of love between lovers. Perhaps the problem lies in the fact that we have one word in English for that emotion that we can feel towards a lover, a child, a friend, a parent, a dog, a parakeet, coffee, chocolate, pizza, or whatever – Love!

I’m quite sure that Steve Winwood, in writing “Higher Love”, was not describing a love for pizza. Take a look at the lyrics to this extremely dance-able and soulful song and you tell me: Lover’s love song or something else entirely?

This tune can be found on Winwood’s classic R&B/pop/rock album from 1986, Back in the High Life.

Higher Love

Think about it, there must be higher love
Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above
Without it, life is a wasted time
Look inside your heart, I’ll look inside mine
Things look so bad everywhere
In this whole world, what is fair?
We walk blind and we try to see
Falling behind in what could be

Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Where’s that higher love I keep thinking of?

Worlds are turning and we’re just hanging on
Facing our fear and standing out there alone
A yearning, and it’s real to me
There must be someone who’s feeling for me
Things look so bad everywhere
In this whole world, what is fair?
We walk blind and we try to see
Falling behind in what could be

Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Where’s that higher love I keep thinking of?

I will wait for it
I’m not too late for it
Until then, I’ll sing my song
To cheer the night along

Bring it…Oh bring it…

I could light the night up with my soul on fire
I could make the sun shine from pure desire
Let me feel that love come over me
Let me feel how strong it could be

Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Where’s that higher love I keep thinking of?

Written by Steve Winwood, Will Jennings • Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 119: Saturday Life Quotes – Dr. Seuss

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“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”

Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991), known worldwide as Dr. Seuss , the masterful author of so many unforgettable children’s books, provides today’s Life Quotes as only he can…

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

“Step with care and great tact, and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.”

 

A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 118: Self-Portrait on the Cheap

Self portrait in craft foam 2017

Self-Portrait in Craft Foam, 2017

Happy Friday, everybody! True to form (or foam), whenever I’m trying out something new, I often try it out on a self-portrait.

I decided to create some kind of mosaic with craft foam we had hanging around at work. Not knowing what I would make, I chose my fall-back subject matter: Me. This is truly a self-portrait on the cheap as the foam and school glue used to affix it to paper were all purchased at a dollar store. I was very limited in my color choices but that just made the whole thing more challenging and fun.

The mosaic style has always fascinated me: How our brains take shapes and colors, laid out on a flat surface in some pattern, and turns them into something that looks like something we can recognize! On one level, it is just rough, geometric shapes sitting close to each other on a piece of paper; on another level, it’s a portrait of a dude with a beard that kind of looks like me, even if there is quite literally no color in the image that corresponds directly to the colors you would see when looking at me in real life.

Art and its ways of lying to get at the truth never ceases to fascinate me.

A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 116: the Power of Crap

Camoufleurs

“Camoufleurs”, 2017, Watercolor

When your favorite thing about a new artwork is the title you came up with, it may be a sign that you’ve created crap.

“Camoufleurs” is just that for me. But in point of fact, putting a picture of it here on my blog is the dangerous part of my Creating Dangerously theme for 2017. It’s a risky biz.

Artists are the same as everyone else: We like to put our best stuff out there, the things we think are well-done, maybe even impressive. We all like to look our best to other people, right? Social media has made that de rigeuer. Facebook and other formats have given us all a chance to present our best and sometimes even manufacture a life that looks far more awesome than the one we’re truly living. We talk about the right way to take selfies, how to get more Likes and Followers, how to gain more attention. Certainly, this doesn’t come by putting our less-than-stellar selves out there for all to see.

But painting “Camoufleurs” made me wonder about the power of Crap, the power of the stuff we tend to hide away. I wondered, do we need to be more up front about our failures so that we build more bridges with each other? Many studies have shown that too much social media can lead people to anxiety and depression, because they look at those carefully manufactured lives of their friends and feel like, by comparison, their life is crap. Maybe if we were more willing to be real, to embrace the struggles and disappointments, to share some of them, we would all begin to feel like we were all in this together, that no one has the perfect Facebook life, and that we’re all simply mistake-prone people collectively trying to do better.

Maybe that is all just way too philosophical. Maybe it is worse: Quasi-philosophical, or Pseudo-philosophical. I was aiming for a beautiful watercolor painting of flowers. What I got was a messy, camouflaged assault on aesthetics. It looks like Rambo was trying to explore his sensitive side. Maybe I should have followed my first instinct to dispose of this failed attempt. But then what would I have to be pseudo-philosophical about?

I’m not advocating that all our failures and short-comings be plastered all over the place. That might be far too pathetic. I’m advocating authenticity for the sake of community. I’m advocating the occasional warts-and-all share in order to create an atmosphere where it is okay to not be beautiful and impressive all the damn time.

Frankly, you’re not helping anybody if you’re putting your fake life on display. It is all as “magical” as that not-so wonderful Wizard in Oz. We all need more real, don’t you think? I know I do. And I know I appreciate the people willing to be vulnerable enough to live life in its truly haphazard state, be it online or right in front of me. When I find out how someone else is fighting the same battles as me, feeling as beat down by things, living day-to-day because Big Picture is just too tough, I feel a connection. That is encouraging. That helps us feel we are really and truly in this together.

Don’t be afraid of your Crap. It may just be what someone needs to help them feel less crappy about their own life. And it may be just the way you learn, together, how to wade through the ugly in order to find what is truly beautiful about life.

By the way, I’m selling “Camoufleurs” if you want it. Just $400 unframed (not including postage).

I know – I’m full of crap.

 

 

A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 115: SHOUT-out to Kina

She has no idea I’m doing this… (is there ever a good ending to a sentence like that?)

Today on this blog devoted to creativity I want to give a shout-out to a young woman I have known since she was about, oh, fourteen years old or so. Kina Forney, nee deGrasse, is someone who lives and breathes creativity. From early on, I could see this truth about her and I am so happy that she has pursued her art into her adulthood, despite its challenges when life and kids came along. She is supported by an awesome husband and family who encourage her career in art. I couldn’t be more pleased with seeing her become a truly great artist.

Her work is so much of who she is: Intelligent, whimsical, eclectic, lyrical and full of all the colours of life. I want to urge you to check out her work yourself. Please visit her website listed below. You will not be disappointed!

http://www.kina-ink.com/

And Kina, on a personal note, thanks for inspiring the artist in me to return to the surface. Artists inspire artists, art begets art.

 

A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 114: Curing a Case of the Nastys

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“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”  – e. e. cummings

Sunday morning I woke up way earlier than I had to and way crankier than normal. I will spare you the details but I’ve not been sleeping well lately. My mourning mornings used to be cheered with coffee. Now even that blessed beverage is not doing the trick. However, the sun was shining. The sky was a brilliant blue. And since I had woken up before I needed to, I found myself with extra time… So, what to do?

A Photo Walkabout, that’s what.

I call my wanderings with my camera “walkabouts” for a reason. Connecting with the Australian aboriginal idea of a spiritual journey, my photo hikes are my form of opening myself up to God, wondering in Creation, and letting that “infinite” and that “yes” that e.e. cummings talks about drive out any case of the Nastys I am dealing with at the time.

It’s a soul cleanse; a mental detox via nature. Taking a camera along helps me focus (there was a pun intended there… sorry). I tend to look at things more closely, linger longer in one spot, take in the details and take time to search for the unexpected when I have a camera. I think as an artist it gives me a chance to make some instant art of the moment, or at least to know I’ve recorded something that I can revisit later. It is a tangible thing to take away from an experience of glorious intangibles.

This latest Walkabout was at one of my favorite spots: the Mer Bleue Conservation Area, a large and unique peat bog that has encouraged the growth of plants that you would normally find in a tundra region. There is a boardwalk through the peat bog. The place is a beautiful and paradoxical spot of peace and quiet along with the commotion and song of birds. I have been here many, many times over the years and I never tire of it.

Below are photos taken on my Walkabout. Did it do me good after my awful night to be out there early Sunday morning? Yes, infinitely Yes.

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A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 113: Sunday God Quote – Pete Townshend

“Let my love open the door
It’s all I’m living for
Release yourself from misery
There’s only one thing gonna set you free
That’s my love”
Pete Townshend is famous for being the Who’s dynamic and dramatic guitarist and preeminent songwriter,responsible for monster rock hits like “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Who Are You”.  He also had some hits of his own off his solo albums. One of those was “Let My Love Open the Door” from his 1980 album Empty Glass. Pete has always been a spiritual seeker and has often written about God and faith and doubt in his songs. Despite that, listeners often miss the message. None of his songs have been as misinterpreted in that way as much as “Let My Love Open the Door”. Here is Mr. Townshend himself on the meaning and mistaken message of one of his most famous solo recordings:
Let My Love Open the Door is one of those songs where you end up shooting to write something really deep and meaningful, and what you end up coming up with is something that appears to be froth. That was a song about love, but this is actually about divine love. It’s supposed to be about the power of God’s love, that when you’re in difficulty, whether it’s major or minor, God’s love is always there for you. But I suppose, because I used the royal ‘we’ – I sang in God’s voice – it became a song about, you know, ‘Hey, girl, I’ll give you a good time, if you’re feeling blue, come over to my place, and we’ll catch a movie,” very much a soap opera version of what it was about, but a few people have picked it up.”
Here are the lyrics to that very catchy Top-40 hit about God’s love:
Let My Love Open the Door
When people keep repeating
That you’ll never fall in love
When everybody keeps retreating
But you can’t seem to get enough
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
To your heart
When everything feels all over
Everybody seems unkind
I’ll give you a four-leaf clover
Take all worry out of your mind
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
To your heart, to your heart
I have the only key to your heart
I can stop you falling apart
Try today you’ll find this way
Come on and give me a chance to say
Let my love open the door
It’s all I’m living for
Release yourself from misery
There’s only one thing gonna set you free
That’s my love
That’s my love
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
When tragedy befalls you
Don’t let it drag you down
Love can cure your problems
You’re so lucky I’m around
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
To your heart

A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 112: Saturday Life Quotes – Kazantzakis

nikos

“Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.”

Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957), the Greek author who gave us Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ provides today’s Life Quotes:

“Happiness is a simple everyday miracle, like water, and we are not aware of it.”

“A person needs a little madness, or else they never dare cut the rope and be free.”

“Every perfect traveler always creates the country where he travels.”

“Nothing is nearer to us than heaven. The earth is beneath our feet, and we tread upon it, but heaven is within us.”

“While experiencing happiness, we have difficulty in being conscious of it. Only when the happiness is past and we look back on it do we suddenly realise – sometimes with astonishment – how happy we had been.”

A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 111: Fall in Springtime

Fall in Springtime

Fall in Springtime, Watercolors, April 2017

Another simple Friday post from me. I was experimenting this week with some new watercolor paints I purchased for my art class. I really don’t know what I’m doing with watercolors so playing around and trying stuff is key. Why a painting of a Fall tree at the cusp of Springtime? Probably because I could try all the colors on my new palette of colors. Not very profound but I don’t think I can make up with a profounder reason than that!