Daddy's Christmas Angel

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Light, Love, and Sculpture in Key West

Seward Johnson sculpture in Key West ©MM Sikes
When we landed in Key West, Florida last week, the first thing I noticed was the difference in the light there. The water, foliage, and even the animals have a very Caribbean appearance. The water and clouds reminded me of my Media General painting that sold at auction earlier this month. That painting was based on photographs I took while visiting islands in the lower Caribbean.

Seward Johnson sculpture ©MM Sikes
I also was amazed once again by the life-size pieces of sculpture on the roof that greet arriving visitors to the Conch Republic. I wonder, but didn't ask, if they, too, are by the prolific artist, Seward Johnson, who entertains tourists with his delightful creations on view outside the Art Museum by the docks. He has changed the one in front of the building and now has the sailor kissing the nurse after the WWII popular photograph. An earlier one at that location was of dancers from a different period of history.

Johnson sculptures on the airport roof ©Mary Montague Sikes
Seeing the Johnson sculptural renderings makes a visit the Key West worthwhile. I didn't go inside the Art Museum this time. However, I will never forget "The Boating Party" that Johnson fashioned after the famous Renoir painting.
His fantastic sculpture was on view at the museum several years ago. It was a perfect example of light, love, and sculpture.

Monday, May 15, 2017

When Collections Are Auctioned

3059.1.jpg  A few days ago, I learned that the Media General Art Collection was being auctioned off. That fact denotes another sad "changing of the times".

I was proud to have one of my pastel paintings, "Blue Seas", in their collection. According to the auction house documentation, Media General purchased my painting in 2001. I don't recall from what gallery they got it. It was one of 369 pieces of art in the auction that ended this morning.

Media General owned the Richmond Times-Dispatch that operated out of a building in downtown Richmond, Virginia for years. That same building was once also the home of the Richmond News Leader, the afternoon newspaper for which I served as a correspondent and wrote many feature articles and news stories for nine years.

We were in competition with the Times-Dispatch, so I spent many hours on deadline, on the telephone, and learning lots about being a good news reporter. I worked with John Gunn, an outstanding and very professional editor who made certain that every fact was checked for accuracy. That was a wonderful and valuable experience that helped develop my writing career.

When Media General purchased my painting for their newspaper building, it was especially meaningful to me. The printing presses were long-gone, but the reporters were still there.

Things change. Newspapers vanish. Art moves on. Because it is an auction, the new owner is only a number.

Times change.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Prompting the Writer and Artist - #Blogging A to Z Challenge 2017

Often the writer needs prompts to get started. So does the artist. That's why I appreciate the A to Z Challenge. This year was no different because the Challenge got me to create poems for 26, mostly small, watercolor paintings. The poetry made me think, and for that I am always grateful.

Past Challenges have sparked new projects, especially the one several years ago when I painted animal images with acrylics on canvas each day. Thanks to Mike Orenduff, my new publisher, for making my new book possible. An Artful Animal Alphabet is a children's book, but it's really for people of all ages. Except for one, the animal images were all created in my Challenge project.

Because of prompting and promotion by people I have never met in person, my latest book will soon become a reality. The Challenge has sparked other ideas, so new projects might await in the future.

I appreciate all the wonderful creative people I have met because of the Internet and also because of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Thanks to all who have made the Challenge and creative connection possible.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

"Z" is for Zealous - #A to Z Blogging Challenge 2017

"Z" is for Zealous in the last day of A to Z 2017 Blogging Challenge. I think of this word as a great and forceful energy within our universe. I see it as strength bubbling with gigantic intensity. As I pondered word possibilities, I considered Zodiac. Perhaps we can use two words, Zealous Zodiac. My painting is a 6" x 4" "Spirit Visions" image.

"Zealous, Spirit Visions" ©Mary Montague Sikes

Zealous Zodiac

Leaping legends fly in our universe.
Dancing daffodils rise in spring.
Spontaneous spirits lift our hearts high.
Ruckus roots keep us earthbound.  

It is the zealous who drag our hearts away,
And leave us yearning for more.
Together we lurk, listening for the song
We never hear and cannot sing.

Still, the evening hides the dimness of the stars
And tells us what to say at midnight.
The rattle at the window turns light away
And sometimes rips darkness from sunshine.

It is the zodiac moments that guide our spirits
In the long journey through the green valley.
From under the little trees, the fairies come
And lead the zealous to the land of angels.

Mary Montague Sikes


Saturday, April 29, 2017

"Y" is for Youthful - #A to Z Blogging Challenge 2017

Only one more painting/poetry blog after today in the 2017 Blogging Challenge. "Y" is for Youthful. Perhaps today's painting should feature balloons in every color imaginable, but it doesn't. After considering an array of little "Spirit Visions" images, I chose one that has a bright red section in one corner. That "youthful" portion grows into the blue of middle age learning and a larger segment for the wisdom of aging. From an artistic standpoint, I like my painting better turned upside down. However, I want it to read left to right as knowledge grows. We can be youthful at any age, but not always wise. What do you think?

"Youthful, Spirit Visions" ©Mary Montague Sikes


Sometimes in my dreams I hold a baby.
She is beautiful, bright, and unafraid.
When I awaken, I want her to be there,
But she isn't my real world child.

Sometimes I look through a window
Into the cluttered world beyond.
The flowers bloom yellow and bright,
But they are not my flowers.

Sometimes I dance into my imagination.
Charm and beauty put up a wall.
I reach to my beginning,
But it is not my story.

Sometimes I know the meaning that
Once upon a time youth knew.
Now I walk with a different stride
And long for those who are no more. 

Mary Montague Sikes