Lists

Today I decided to do something quite different to get myself more ordered – I’ve started creating lists in a neat notebook I’ve had for ages but couldn’t quite decide what to do with it.

Up to this stage of my 66 years on this planet, my lists have been in my head.  The trouble with this is that sometimes I get so overwhelmed with juggling all the things I need to do and trying to sort them out mentally, that I seize up with overload and grind to a halt.

So today I decided to start making lists, but I didn’t want throwaway lists in a tear-out notebook. I decided it would be good to put my lists in a classy-looking notebook to show respect for the work I do and finish doing, and to be able to look back on what I’ve achieved.  Quite an innovation for me, but I’m enjoying crossing off my to-do list so far – still some to do, but it’s quite satisfying to see ticks against items on the list.

Here are pics of my notebook, it’s produced by Paperblanks and the art, Mediterranean Cats is by Laurel Burch. It’s a great excuse to polish my halo and feel very saintly!

List notebook 1
The right side is lighter due to lighting, as the back and front and magnetic clip are all the same colour.

List notebook

Fire of Passion

This is another piece of digital art created from another photo of my carnelian necklace.  I worked differently with this – working briefly in Photoshop with the “liquify” gizmo to balance out the photo and blur the individual stones. Then I switched to PicMonkey, BeFunky and Pixlr, stuffing around with all their gizmos until this final image emerged: The Fire of Passion. We all know what it’s like when we’re passionate about something – we are fired up, energised, burning to create or act. And that’s what this digital art is about!

Fire of Passion
Fire of Passion
Carnelian Necklace 1
Carnelian Necklace

 

Wild Worlds

It’s stinking hot here in North Cyprus, around 40C today and 35C+ for the rest of this week, so I’ve ensconced myself in my study with the air-conditioning running and had great fun this afternoon working on a photo I took of a carnelian necklace of mine as I thought it could also demonstrate what you can do with digital art and all the various programmes now available.

I cleared up blank spaces with the “liquify” gizmo on Photoshop, then fiddled with a Redfield add-in, Fractalius, to shift the colours around again.  Then I added some effects from PicMonkey, and here’s the result: Wild Worlds

I couldn’t quite work out a title at first because what this image reminds me of is the need to open our minds to the unknown, to the strange, to the challenging, to ideas like parallel universes, alternative realities, and wherever your imagination takes you. And sometimes those travels can take you to some wild, but hugely exciting, new worlds, adventures and excitement.

Wild Worlds
Wild Worlds

This is the original photo I used for the above digital art, it’s a necklace of carnelian beads and tumbled stones:

Carnelian Necklace
Carnelian Necklace

 

Wistful Wisteria

I went swimming this afternoon as it now warm enough here in North Cyprus – up around 35C (95F) and higher tomorrow which means the water in our communal pool is not too nippy now. But as I was paddling along, I just sank into the feel of the water surrounding me and washing past as I pottered up and down the pool and started thinking of water and emotions as a theme for today’s digital art.

So I created a canvas in PicMonkey of pale blue-violet, then built up lots of layers of the “water” gizmo in the “Texture” section, layers of the paint gizmo and then more layers of water. Then I added a texture of my own – two cactus flowers – which I then got very dark with the “subtract” gizmo on the texture function, scrolled through my various flower photos and came across one of wisteria flowers I’d clean forgotten about. So I popped then on top as another texture. And voila! Wistful Wisteria.

And since we’re into water and blue colours, I picked for today’s video A Sailor’s Life, by Fairport Convention. Sandy Denny has a truly lovely voice and this is a wonderful track.

Wistfull Wisteria
Wistful Wisteria

 

Where is the Love?

Stories get lost in the mists of time, but today I want to recall the voyage of the St. Louis in 1939. This was a ship which was carrying Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany to, they hoped, freedom and safety in Cuba. Sadly, the refugees on the St Louis were turned away when the ship reached Cuba, and the United States and Canada refused to accept the refugees.

Where was the love?

On the ship’s return to Europe, some refugees were able to find refuge in Holland, France, the UK and Belgium. Of the 937 German Jewish refugees on the St. Louis, 709 survived while 227 were slain during World War 2.  A book was published about the journey called “The Voyage of the Damned” and the whole story can be found here:

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/stlouis.html

In 2011, a memorial monument called the Wheel of Conscience, was produced by the Canadian Jewish Congress. It has four inter-meshing gears each showing a word to represent factors of exclusion: antisemitism; xenophobia; racism, and hatred.

To present times: in Australia refugees and asylum seekers are being held in appalling conditions in concentration camps on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, and on Nauru. I use the term “concentration camps” advisedly because people are not referred to by name but by number (I recalled seeing a concentration camp number tattooed on the arm of a survivor when I lived and worked in Israel in 1972) and they exist in squalid, brutal conditions.

They are told they are illegals – they aren’t. They are entitled to claim asylum when they land on Australia’s shores. They can’t claim asylum in Indonesia or Malaysia because those countries aren’t signatories to the International Convention on Refugees, Australia is. They have fled from fighting and persecution in Afghanistan, Iraq (due to wars in which the Australian government participated), Sri Lanka and now Syria. Around ninety-five per cent of asylum seekers and refugees who arrive by boat are found to be genuine in their claims.

And now the Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison, has announced that new rules will be brought in to ensure that if people have a 50% chance of being tortured on their on their return to their home country, they will be sent back. Who determines the torture odds hasn’t been stated.

Where is the love?

Both major political parties in Australia have waged dreadful campaigns of xenophobia, racism and hatred against asylum seekers and refugees. A recent survey of public opinion found that 71% of respondents approved of the incarceration of these people on Manus Island and Nauru, and indeed wanted harsher measures.  Which brings into question – because this is the majority viewpoint, does it make it right?

So again, I ask: Where is the love?

Doubtless, a great majority of Germans in World War 2, if public opinion polls had existed then, would have overwhelmingly approved of the harsh treatment of Jewish people and their incarceration in concentration camps, complete with ovens for the large-scale slaughter of Jews.

But that did not make it right then, and it does not make the inhumane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers right now.

Hatred, prejudice, xenophobia, racism, anti-semitism, hardened hearts are crimes against humanity. They have dragged Australia’s reputation as a country with an open heart and support for those willing to have a go into the mud.

So my question is again: Where is the Love?

There are, thankfully, many people and organisations in Australia who are appalled by the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees and who are working in difficult circumstances to win justice and fair treatment of those fleeing persecution and conflict.

So for them, I say They Are the Love, and this rose is dedicated to them and to those who seek asylum, safety and freedom from conflict wherever they happen to be around the world.

All You Need is Love

“Help” sung by John  Farnham:

 

 

Flowers & More Flowers

I bought a lovely little square, green vase at our local market, gathered a purple, plastic pencil/pen holder and a rather cute clear vase and filled them with flowers from our garden here in North Cyprus.  I got galvanised into putting flowers around our house by Amy Saab who posts lovely photos of flowers on her blog:

http://2me4art.com

Amy creates beautiful vases of flowers with motivational messages and delivers them to homes and businesses.  Great idea.

So here are my flower vases, duly scattered around our home:

Vases of cut flowers

 

RoseHearty

In our garden we have an Apothecary’s Rose bush (Rose Gallica Officinalis) which I absolutely love. When it blooms it is dark red with a huge centre. It is also very sturdy as it has survived being chewed by our four dogs – until my husband put wire netting around it to protect the flowers from doggy depredations!

I find this rose fascinating because it an ancient strain (ca. 1400) and it’s called the Apothecary’s Rose because, over the centuries, it has been grown for its medicinal qualities. It is characterised as a rose of great historical importance and is native to southern and central Europe eastwards to Turkey and the Caucasus. It’s also said to be the Red Rose of Lancaster, the emblem chosen by the House of Lancaster at the time of the War of the Roses.

Here’s a close-up of the heart of one of these rose blossoms and I’ve called this post RoseHearty because Rosehearty, where our daughter lives, is a small, beautiful village on the north coast of Scotland. It has a really lovely historic harbour and our daughter is the Harbour Mistress.

Heart of the Rose.jpg

Rosehearty Harbour
Rosehearty Harbour

 

Pitsligo Castle & Horse Riders
Pitullie Castle, just outside Rosehearty, with horse riders in foreground