Daddy's Christmas Angel

Monday, June 25, 2018

Legend of the Dragonfly

Dragonfly necklace ©Mary Montague Sikes
When I wear my dragonfly necklace, people often ask me about the legend of the beautiful insect. Artist Tina McCloud is the creator of this striking piece of jewelry that I saw her wearing at a meeting one day. I complimented it, and she responded with, "It's for sale." I bought it and have never regretted the purchase. It became part of my "Passenger to Paradise" series of books, first appearing in Night Watch.

I noted the legend in that book.

"The dragonfly is a symbol of change, going beyond self-illusion to create new beginnings and happiness. Because their colors result from reflected and refracted light, dragonflies may be associated with color magic and illusion. For some Native Americans they represent the souls of the dead."

Dragonflies are often featured in my art, especially the work I create on Yupo. This is small section of a diptych acrylic painting.

I love dragonflies and will keep on searching for their meaning.
"So Many Dragonflies" ©Mary Montague Sikes

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Searching for Happiness

"Happiness with Art" ©Olen Sikes
The search for happiness. Is happiness a goal everyone seeks to achieve?

There are ads everywhere for travel to beautiful and exotic destinations. Will travel take us to the happiness we want in life?

I find happiness in art, especially paintings created with bright happy colors. It is a blessing to escape into my studio, surrounded by acrylics, oils, watercolors, pastels, and more. If you are searching for happiness, you might find it by taking an art class.

For many years, I wrote profiles of people who did good works in some of Virginia's smaller communities, including Williamsburg and Gloucester. These stories were published in the Newport News Daily Press. It was inspiring to interview these people who were mostly unselfish volunteers. Many of them had moved to rural areas after retiring from important jobs in northern cities. As I think about it now, I realize these kind volunteers were giving back to their communities in ways that brought happiness to their own lives.

  • Happiness is bringing joy to others.

  • Happiness is finding color and brightness in your life.

  • Happiness is having a fulfilling plan for each day.

What else would you add to this list? What makes you smile?

Monday, June 4, 2018

Trees - "I think that I shall never see a poem lovely ..."

"Woods and Creek" ©Mary Montague Sikes

I love them.

They inspire me.

"I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree."

Those words are from the poem by Joyce Kilmer that our seventh grade teacher had us memorize all those many years ago. I loved trees then and I find them even more special now.

A few years ago, we went on a trip to Haiti, and the thing that struck me most there was the lack of beautiful, lush trees despite the tropical climate. The landscape was devastated by the loss of trees because desperate people had ravished their graceful presence to make charcoal. How sad for the environment and for the beauty that might have been.

As I write, I look out from my office into our woods. It is a place where I often imagine Pocahontas once played. After all, these woods overlook West Point Creek. In 1608, John Smith explored the York River by barge or canoe--I've read both. Our little town is on the peninsula where the York divides into the Pamunkey and the Mattaponi Rivers. West Point Creek which comes off of the Mattaponi was probably part of the exploration. It is clearly shown on the French army map from 1781.

The trees that surround us have been photographed often by me. I have painted them multiple times in many colors and styles. All the while, I have wondered what the old trees have seen. Do they judge the people who study and paint them? What is the conversation in the wind?

I think that I shall never see a painting or a poem as lovely as a tree.

How they spark the imagination.