Otto von Münchow is a very nice man. But I don’t have to tell you that, if you’ve done any looking around the web. I’ve never even met him–in person–but it took very little time looking at his blog and ‘conversing’ with him in the process before I saw how much help he offered not only me with his photographic and creative-production insights but also shared with all of his other readers and correspondents. And then he went and shared a Versatile Blogger Award with me. I’m humbled, and I’m touched.
Yes, there are those who would say I’m tetched. It’s how I got where I am today! And where I am is in truly rarefied company, as I’ve been learning over the last number of months here in Bloggerville. I am surrounded by deeply gifted and incredibly generous fellow bloggers, some of whom have taught me more in my short stint as a web denizen than I learned from many an arduous class project and long years of practice. (Okay, I’ll still say the years of practice made it possible to actually understand and make use of some of the good stuff I’m learning here, so no, my young friends, don’t skip that part!) I know I’m one seriously fortunate person, surrounded by, as my good friend Nia aptly identifies them, a glorious cloud of “angels and muses”.
The Irish/Norwegian saint Synnøve is one of a select group I chose to make mixed media portraits commemorating for a collaborative program with organist David Dahl a number of years ago. The fabulous Dr Dahl agreed to create a performance program with me, and despite his renown as a Bach expert, even agreed to plunge into French Romantic literature to please my whim–something he not only performed with superb fire and panache but taught me a lot about in the process. I loved the preparations: David would join me in the organ loft for a flurry of ‘howzat’ samples he played from a number of great composers in a wide variety of styles and moods and colors within the fantastic treasury of my dream realm. He told me about the background of the pieces, how and why and when they were written and by whom–and who that composer studied with–and so on. Gradually we winnowed down the possibilities as I began to talk, in return, about what sort of imagery these evocative pieces inspired. I fell in love with each and every song and movement, and with the genre yet again.
I also decided, as the good Doctor played, that the exquisite and potent Finale by César Franck was reminiscent of a solemn procession of saints, so I decided it was a good excuse to play around with a series of portraits, beginning with figuring out which ones it would most interest me to envision. My main criterion was simply that I was on the hunt for saints famous for more than martyrdom. While I recognize that being willing to die for your beliefs, whatever they are, my school of thought tends to be more impressed with how incredibly challenging it is to live for your beliefs. So I looked for people beatified and sanctified for their deeds rather than their being dead. The princess Synnøve certainly seemed to fit the bill, what with evading an oppressive forced marriage, adventuring off on the wild open sea to who-knows-where and landing in remote Norway, creating a community there, and then fending off pagan attackers. As well as a few other attributions that become even more mystical and magical. In all, a history that says this was one tough Celtic character who went to great lengths to shape her own destiny, and in so doing shaped others’ as well. Eventually she was joined in the recital processional by a number of other intriguing worthies–educators, hospitalers, rescuers of the poor and builders of bridges among them–and I found a large quantity of inspiration, not strictly artistic either.
That’s what I find in this new endeavor of mine too. A long parade of angels and muses that bring to me new knowledge of art, of self, and of life. And I am ever so grateful for the gifts!
We who are inducted into the Versatile Blogger community are tasked with telling you friends a little more about our selves and then sharing the gifts of the award with others whom we deem deserving as well. I’ve done this twice before (thank you, dear Cecilia and Nia!), so I’ll try to be succinct.
Versatile Blogger Award protocol:
1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers.
2. Inform the bloggers of their nomination.
3. Share 7 random things about yourself.
4. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
5. Add the Versatile Blogger Award pic on your blog post.
So here’s that Pack of Facts about me:
1 – I’m one of those awful excuses for a human being that doesn’t like blueberries. There are a number of fruits I’m not crazy about for texture but in the juice or coulis form I’ll slurp ’em right up. Not blueberries. Don’t like the scent or the flavor any more than the texture. Yet the blueberry bush is a plant I happily put in my garden because I think the shrub is beautiful year-round, and even the berries are very pretty to look at. Go figure.
2 – Even a complete non-athlete (there are few who can begin to compare with me for lack of skills) can have a Sports Injury. My only-ever stitches are hockey related. Too bad I wasn’t making a brilliant goal play at the time, but at least I got a little scar to show for it.
3 – The dentist is my friend! I am something of a rarity, not only enjoying visits to the dentist but also hitting the 50-year mark without ever having gotten a cavity. That’s thanks to good dental care on top of a bit of good luck: my parents both have “normal” teeth, so it was clearly not straight-up genetics that gave them four caries-free kids.
4 – Besides some costume design and construction for theatrical productions, ecclesiastical vestments, and other clothing design/construction projects over the years, I’ve had a few evening gown commissions–favorites are probably the plastic-garbage-bag (Hefty Steel-Sak) gown in silver and black for a costume party (I labored over the hand-cut lace edges) and the plastic wedding gown made for an exhibition (that one had plastic doilies for its lace).
5 – No cigarette or smoking device of any kind has ever touched my lips. Wait: I did try a couple of bubble gum “cigars” in childhood (banana was my favorite of the chewing gum flavors, I think), does that count? But thankfully (for both my lungs’ and my wallet’s sake) I never had the remotest urge to experiment with smoking.
6 – I think my husband has one of the most beautiful singing voices I’ve ever heard.
7 – Many of my art projects arise from random exposure to topics, objects and ideas I encounter whilst “on the way somewhere else”. Ah, serendipity!
I know that some of my favorite bloggers have received Versatile Blogger recognition before, and I do know that it takes a great deal of time and effort to meet the requirements of acceptance, so for the following blog-stars, I personally exempt you from any of the responsive requisites, but I want to recognize publicly how much I admire your work.
Today’s Sparks Blogroll of Honor:
The Bard on the Hill
With thanks and cheers for all that you do in the blog universe, I bow to you all! Onward and upward, my friends!