Category Archives: Uncategorized

Art & Society

Humans have been making art since prehistoric times.  Sometimes I imagine how those marks were made, some over 700,000 years ago, and marvel at the tenacity of archaeologists who dig up this evidence for us.  Perhaps, back then, people had a lot of time on their hands and experienced joy in the creative process.  It is a matter of opinion whether life was simple then or simpler now.  I wonder if artist’s had patrons then.

 

History teaches us that great art was made because of the patronage of people of influence, resources and status in society.  The process of creating art, regardless of whether it is a painting, a piece of music, a sculpture or a monumental building takes time, tenacity, intelligence and the undying belief the artist has in his or her own abilities.  Many a time, the artist’s genius may only be recognized by a man as crazy as the artist himself.

 

Now that I have crossed over from the left- to the right-sided activities of my brain, I am more aware of the importance of these sometimes unsung patrons because of whom we are able to witness the genius of the greats in music, art and architecture.

 

On our recent trip to Spain, we had the privilege of visiting some architectural wonders.  I had never seen anything like the works of Antoni Gaudi a Catalan, a devout catholic and genius from Spain.  Instantly, I was in love, in awe and wonderstruck all at once as we visited one site after another.  I wanted to travel back in time and get into this brilliant mind to learn how he thought and where his ideas came from.  He was known to be gruff, did not conform to the norms of society and had a mind of his own.  As I read and learn about artists, I find that many of them were criticized and ridiculed for their thought process and creations.  As the story goes, when the owner of Casa Mila was shown the building upon completion, she hated it, was very upset and cried even, yet continued to live in the building.  It is said that when Gaudi was commissioned to build anything, it was understood that he would build it his way or the highway.  The building that was a site of ridicule and a butt of jokes then, today stands as a world heritage site.

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At the sight of the Sagrada Familia – Antoni Gaudi’s magnum opus – suffice it to say I was brought to tears by the sheer grandeur and beauty of the building and its design.  The construction of this magnificent church started in 1882 and is planned to be completed in 2026, the 100th death anniversary of the architect of this exquisite temple.  We made a promise to visit it again.

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The point of this story is that Gaudi could not have created his masterpieces without the support and patronage of his patrons. Eusebi Guell deserves special recognition, for he essentially gave Gaudi a blank check to fuel his creativity. If it were not for him, we would not have The Sagrada Familia or the Park Guell.

It is therefore the responsibility of society to support the artists who create the art.  It should not be restricted to the elite in New York, London or Paris, but should percolate everywhere, in little towns and big villages. You never know from whence another Gaudi or a Giotto might grace our presence.

Who is an artist?

1.66 billion results popped up when I typed the word “artist” on google.  What is the definition of an artist?  Simply put, an artist is a person engaged in an activity that is deemed as an art.  So in that sense, any person in this world can be defined as an artist.  You can be an artist because you are skilled at making a pot, a painting, or a culinary experience. You can be an artist if you are a photographer, musician, sculptor, surgeon, teacher, nurse, welder, skier or a swimmer.  Isn’t that a liberating thought?  I’d like to think I am an artist, and so should you and the other nearly 7.6 billion people in the world.

In this blog, I would like to focus on the older generation of visual artists. You see, I will be 60 this year, and most of my work was completed in the 59th year of my life.  How can that be?

It’s called life.

Life happens, and many of us pursue our passions later on in life. I think this needs to be recognized and celebrated.  Recently, I started applying for grants and residencies.  I am happy to report that during the quarantine – in my quiet time sans volunteer meetings, grocery trips, parties and other social commitments – I found myself applying to as many grants as I could find.  I was a bit annoyed that I did not qualify for a few because of my age (I’m above 50), but it was heartening to know that age was not a factor for most of them.  Then there was another category: grants for art students. You see, I’m not enrolled as an art student in any university or college. However, I consider myself a student because I find myself in several workshops, taking private lessons and trying as hard as any student to learn the craft of “visual arts”.

This blog is to make a case for the older, non-student in the field of visual arts.

Did you know Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh & Hopper were much older when they created their most renowned pieces of art?  Grandma Moses started painting at the ripe young age of 78, and continued to paint until she was 101! Bill Traylor started at the age of 85.  Alex Katz & Carmen Herrera got recognition for their artistic endeavors late in life.  You can look up all these artists and be inspired.  As for receiving a formal art education in a college or University, there have been exceptions to that rule as well.  Frieda Kahlo, Basquiat and Yoko Ono are a few names that broke the mold.

So, as far as being a visual artist is concerned, it is my opinion that age is not a barrier, and neither is education.  However, being an educator myself and an older artist, I’d like to let the younger generation know that they need to stay in school.  While age may not be a barrier to accomplish anything your heart desires, it is best to accomplish mastery over time and with discipline.  There really is no substitute for persistence, hard work and a great education. These are the cornerstones for an artist making a mark in this world.  Yes, there are prodigies, but they comprise 1% of all artists. Artists with no formal training make up 10%, and older people… well, they are a lot more than 10%.

For the older visual artists, my advice would be to keep learning and don’t be too hard on yourself.  It’s never too late to blossom into the next Monet or Moses. For the sake of the older artists, I would call for no restrictions on grants or residencies. For the young ones, my advice to them is to stay in school, get an education, and learn what to be and what not to be, as it is important to know the difference.

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Thank you! Be curious and create!

Hyacinth

So, you published a book?

B & B Book cover

So, you published a book? And, you thought that’s the end of it. Well I have news for you! I discovered the sleepless nights that culminated in print one fine morning on both paperback and digital was only one percent of the job well done. “Billy Jean The Cloud And Bill The Hawksbill Turtle”  by Hyacinth Paul is a labor of love. It is a product of researching the market to design a toy  for babies. Did you know not many people talk about endangered animals? The more I researched it the more I realized something had to be done. I was – a creature possessed. I created the picture book after many sleepless nights and finally my decision to self publish got the better of me. I must admit, for someone who in their wildest dreams did not think of writing and creating a picture book, I was hooked. The idea was wonderful and while writing it, I found a medium to reach out to my audience – young children and their doting parents and educate them about our fragile Eco system and what must be done to preserve our planet. How can a Cloud and a Turtle save endangered animals? Get a copy and follow along as it will be developed in a series of picture books for the very young.

Writing a book, regardless of how noble your thoughts are is just humbug if it does not see the light of day. As the reality of publishing is setting in slowly but most clearly, I thought of sharing what I am doing about it! I am going to go all the way until the book is noticed.

Want to follow along?

Here’s what I have done so far:

  1. Published my book on March 27, 2018 through Createspace.
  2. Worked on releasing the eBook. Formatting was a headache and it took me a couple weeks to figure that out. It is on amazon as I published it through KDP
  3. The book is available in my store Simply Hyacinth in Dayton OH, online at simplyhyacinth.com and on amazon.
  4. I told all my friends and yes I did market it on Facebook!
  5. I created an author website
  6. I am writing a blog
  7. I am registered to go to the Bay area book fair next weekend in Berkeley and I will report back to you.
  8. Ordered physical copies and carry it in my car just in case I find a willing buyer
  9. Donated a copy to two local public libraries
  10. Applied for a grant to make the book available to more libraries.
  11. Applied for an award! I only had a couple of hours before the award was due so I applied.
  12. I am reading constantly on how to market the book! iphones are a blessing! Remember stacks in the library? For the young ones reading this, just google it!
  13. Applied for a free review on publishers weekly
  14. And last but not the least, I am getting a paid review on Kirkus
  15. Requesting friends to ask their libraries to get a copy on their shelf.
  16. Requesting an indie author library visit.

Writing a book is only 1% of the job! Marketing it is so important and probably 80% of the effort to get the book noticed. Almost 19% depends on the quality of your book and the message it wants to convey.

Questions for you:

Comment on your experience on publishing a book – what worked and what didn’t.

Information on the Noble Circle Project

The following information on the Noble Circle Project is taken from this website and is meant to propagate information about the Noble Circle Project.  The image contributed is my own.

Disclaimer:  I do not take credit for the words below which are the sole property of the Noble Circle Project.

The Noble Circle Project was founded by eight Dayton, Ohio, women who wanted to explore complementary healing methods during their journey with cancer. These women learned from Anne Burns, who conducted the first Noble Circle retreat in 2002 in California. The eight co- founders brought back to Dayton the best parts of Anne’s retreat and went on to build The Noble Circle Project as it is today

Since 2004, The Noble Circle Project has continued to provide the spring and fall Core Program to 30 new women per year, as well as support over 250 women in the Alumnae Program. Begun as a grassroots organization under the umbrella of the Wellness Connection of Dayton, Ohio (reorganized in 2011 as the Cancer Support Community Western Ohio), The Noble Circle Project is now an independent, volunteer-driven non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status.

The Noble Circle Project was named for Allie Noble, a woman who lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1830. Purportedly, her breast cancer surgery was the first to be documented in medical records. She died from an infection a few months following her surgery, but she was a pioneer – doing things no one else had done for health and wellness. The Noble Circle Project carries on Allie Noble’s courage in embarking on a different path for our healing journey.

The Noble Circle Project is committed to creating an intimate and caring community of women thriving beyond cancer by bringing hope, inspiration, empowerment, and well-being through programs focusing on nutritional education, complementary energy techniques, and peer support.

While always being true to our origins, The Noble Circle Project will be recognized as a strong, growth-oriented, sustainable organization that helps women, who have been given a cancer diagnosis, by providing cutting-edge, quality programming; member participation; and fellowship.

The Noble Circle Project New Sister Program begins with an expense-free Weekend Retreat that is located in a pastoral setting with few distractions from the outside world.

 

The in-depth retreat weekend is followed by 10 weeks of Thursday evening classes. Each woman tracks her own progress, practices new lifestyle skills, and comes together with others in her small group who face the same issues and questions. Classes are held at One Lincoln Park in Kettering, Ohio.

 

Throughout the New Sister Program Retreat and 10-Week Classes, women living with a cancer diagnosis learn about:

 

Pillar 1 – Nutrition Education

Pillar 2 – Complementary Energy Techniques

Pillar 3 – Peer Support

 

New Sister Program dates for 2016 are: Spring, March 11-13, Thursdays, March 17-May 19 and Fall, September 9-11, Thursdays, September 15-November 17.

 

Each summer, the Sisterhood is invited to attend a relaxing Summer Retreat, where we continue to develop our understanding of the Three Pillars as we strengthen our bonds of friendship and support.

The Sisterhood also enjoys annual events with family and friends,

The Noble Circle Project welcomes the opportunity to share our enthusiasm about this program. Business, church, or civic organizations may request a presentation to fit your needs by contacting info@noblecircle.org

The Noble Circle Project distributes program brochures two times a year to any office or site that would benefit from providing them to clients, such as doctors’ offices, hospitals, practitioners, or medical facilities. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please contact us at info@noblecircle.org or download our Core Program Brochure.

The Noble Circle Project brings together women over 18 years old who have been given a cancer diagnosis at any point in their lives.

Hope Springs Retreat Center, current venue for the retreat weekend of the Noble Circle Project’s Core Program

The goal of Outreach is to communicate to the public about The Noble Circle Project’s Mission, Vision, and Core Program.

The AWear Affair is The Noble Circle Project’s Annual Fundraising Event. Our models are all Noble Circle Sisters who are “thriving beyond their cancer diagnosis.”

The Noble Circle Project appreciates the many ways our family, friends, and the community support our members as they travel on their journeys with cancer.

The Noble Circle Project brings together women over 18 years old who have been given a cancer diagnosis at any point in their lives.

Hope Springs Retreat Center, current venue for the retreat weekend of the Noble Circle Project’s Core Program

The goal of Outreach is to communicate to the public about The Noble Circle Project’s Mission, Vision, and Core Program.

 

Noble Circle Project

The diagnosis of Cancer forever changes the perspective of the patient, their families and friends around them.  It was refreshing to hear Piers Sellers, the noted astronaut who has flown three space shuttle missions, walked 220 miles above the earth and studies Climate change, on Fareed Zacharias’ Global Public Square yesterday.  I was struck by his calm and his urgency to do everything he could to protect our home “Planet Earth” from the effects of Global Warming.  At age 60 the diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer is devastating, it is a certain death sentence and this brave soul takes 10 minutes to judge the situation and comes back to work with the intensity of a sincere and amazing human.  It also frightens me that some of my educated friends still think that Global warming is a myth.

Well, while I love the advent of Spring almost a month early and as I gaze in wonder at the flowering buds waiting to burst into bloom, I shudder to think the ill effects of the change in our atmosphere which is causing changes, albeit too subtle for the layman it is momentous for the scientist engaged in its study.  Need I be concerned that this is going to be an early spring and a possibly harsh summer ahead?  For many years the two degree increase of temperature of the earth was considered catastrophic and recent science indicates that a one degree increase in temperature actually has the same devastating effects as was thought of the two degree increase in temperature.  Waters are rising as glaciers melt at an alarming rate, I sincerely hope that we take the science behind global warming seriously and create public and International policies that can divert the changes.  I know this can be done.  I am thankful for the winning Oscar speech of the best actor Leonardo DiCaprio as he took time to address global warming.  I first noticed him when he so eloquently addressed the United Nations in 2014.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ka6_3TJcCkA

So what’s a cancer diagnosis to do with a fashion blog?  Well, we recently had the pleasure to meet 8 brave women of the Noble Circle Project who modeled our clothes with grace to raise money for other cancer survivors so they could tackle the disease with cutting edge quality support programs for their members.  It offers them a group to laugh with – a group of survivors extraordinaire!  Here are some images of that splendid afternoon.  What I cannot transmit to you is the energy, the enthusiasm, the joy and absolute love of life I saw among the 24 women modelling clothes from three area boutiques.

Enjoy every moment of the life you have, Take care of planet Earth as we cannot play with mother nature.  Make each moment count and let your life matter.

The reason for Simply Hyacinth

Simply Hyacinth – The Boutique for the Connoisseur originated in Dayton, OH in November of 2013 as a way to provide women with unique handmade jewelry and  fashion accessories while giving back to our communities at the same time. Come in for an impressive collection of gifts, unique Bollywood designer fashions and formal wear mostly made in the USA. Offering great products like Batucada jewelry  with superior customer service is our hallmark.  We pride in providing socially responsible merchandise for the fashion connoisseur. Our Accent furniture and Artwork are conversation pieces to please the most discriminating customers.  Our fashion boutique online carries a few of our great products including art, fashion, jewelry, and accessories.  Simply Hyacinth is a labor of love with a socially responsible mission that we dare to accomplish with you – our most important customers by our side.

We invite you to follow this blog to get a sneak peek into our journey and insights of the fashion world as seen by an outsider looking in!

25% of the net profits from your purchases support Education & Entrepreneurship.  We work to exceed your expectations.
Email us at info@simplyhyacinth.com.