Sunday, December 21, 2014

10-Artistic Expressions-Kwanzaa Special

Jambo! Kwanzaa comes to Artistic Expressions! Enjoy musical performances by Brother Abu, Jedda, Sistah Nandi, Mixashawn, Maxine Martin, Richard McGhee, and Tim Mercik. Learn about the 7 principles of Kwanzaa led by the honorable elder Brother Abu. Ashe.

Friday, December 19, 2014

09-Artistic Expressions-Joe Young-121814

JOE YOUNG is on Artistic Expressions! His movie Diamond Ruff is showing in theaters in January 2015. Watch the interview and always remember to 'Support the Arts and your local artists!'

Sunday, December 7, 2014

"Permission to Kill Me" -New artwork by Michelle Thomas

"Permission to Kill Me"
-Michelle Thomas
Artpeace Studio

In the wake of the decision NOT to indite for both Michael Brown and Eric Garner, my spirit is unsettled and crying out.  The tension and dissatisfaction in the black community is like a festering abscess in need of lancing.  Current images on the news are more reminiscent of 1963....not 2014.  Riots, tear gas, protests, marches and public outrage are the crescendo of social unrest. 

You can't keep a broken system the same and expect different results. That's INSANITY!  The deep rooted issues of racism that manifest themselves in ways of unequal treatment and racial profiling can not go unchecked without the black community getting 'fed up' with the injustice. When there is no satisfactory justice, the feelings of abuse swell inside.  The pressure builds and if there is no relief, we have an explosion on our hands. 

THIS is what I'm feeling. Explosive! 

We all have our gifts. Thank goodness for people who have the gift of leadership and community activism as well as public speaking.  These are the people who lead, take action and make real change. 
One of my gifts is creating art. Art is a powerful tool to help reveal truth. It can be used to influence minds to contemplate deep issues in hopes to stir the soul to action. 
So yesterday I used my focused energy to respond to the plethora of emotions swirling inside of me concerning the social climate of today and created a painting entitled, "Permission to Kill Me".

The painting is a mixed media piece using acrylic paint, ink, newspaper, photocopy images, tape and charcoal.  The treatment of the surface is rough and raw like my emotions. I focused on the imagery of black males with their hands raised. This sends a different message depending on the context. 
In the painting there is a drawing of Eric Garner being choked with his last words before he died, "I can't breathe" on his chest. His raised hands signifies being subdued. 
Throughout the news there were many protesters and celebrities raising their hands as a symbol of peaceful protest. The center figure in the piece is a black man raising his hands during a peaceful demonstration. He has the words, "PEACEFUL PROTEST?" near him. The question mark is there because in the news where people were standing with their hands raised, tear gas was being thrown at them. 
Above his head is the preliminary autopsy report on Michael Brown that says, "Bullets entering the inside of Michael Brown's right arm and Brown's right palm suggest Brown had his arms in the 'surrender' position when Officer Darren Wilson killed him." So although he was in the surrender position, he was shot anyway. This is where the title of my piece comes from, "Permission to Kill Me", because apparently it doesn't matter if you 'surrender', you'll get killed anyway. So I included the silhouetted black male with his hands raised and the written question, "Surrender?" between his hands. Is this position of surrender a signal to the aggressor to 'stand down' or a green light to kill?

Art is a weapon! So I'm fighting back!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made!

As I sit in the solitude and peace of my studio, hot tears stream down my cheeks as my heart explodes inside of me. When things change, and they inevitably do, submission to the universal forces of goodness and truth must prevail. Trying to cling to the past will only pass through your fingers like sand in an hourglass. I submit to the will of goodness even when it hurts.  Even when it rips through me like the massive claws of a tiger slicing through the abdomen of an antelope, leaving me completely vulnerable and exposed.

Submitting to the will of goodness does not mean I am infallible. On the contrary, I tend to put up an aggressive and futile fight against the truth I do not wish to face. My humanness shines through like a beacon. And I have the potential to invent ways to hold on to my reality when matched up against truth.  My humility and submission to goodness and truth allows healing, so its a wonder why I'd ever think to fight against it.  Its a paradox that seems foolish to fight...and it IS foolish to fight truth. My pride NEVER wins. Knowing that my human pride is an ill match for truth becomes my saving grace. I am able to submit.  Even when it takes every fiber of my being, losing my pride, and using my intellect to submit. I submit.

One thing is clear, I will side with good at ALL costs. It sometimes feels as though it kills me to do so. But the reality is, it is NOT killing me, it is making me stronger.  Even if I'd rather rebel against the thought of submission because of misguided selfish pride, it is wiser to choose truth. When I am brutally honest with myself, I know I'd rather throw a tantrum, kicking, screaming and throwing my body about before giving in to to obvious truth before me. Truth cuts like a two edged sword. A scripture I remind myself of to stay grounded in truth:
23 "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive. 24 Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 1Cor 10:23-24
Every man faces his true character alone. I alone am responsible for the good I do or don't do!  I no longer say I am lonely...I know better than that! Manifested creation lives inside me.  However, I FEEL---deeply and I sometimes think I am alone in how I deeply I feel about things.  I can't hide it. It shows in my walk, in my talk, in my furrowed brow, or distended forehead vein whenever I am stressed beyond my borders. I am wrestling angels right now!

There are specific times in my personal spiritual walk where I actually question, "Why was I made this way?" Should I live this life being so sensitive to humanities ills and hardships? Especially when I am surrounded by people who have the ability to suppress, hide, ignore or dismiss emotional appeals as easy as donning and doffing their clothing. So many times I feel like a fish out of water, suffocating as I gasp for sustenance. I MUST REMEMBER---
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
The focus must shift from self to others in order to be effective for goodness and truth.

There is so much loss in this world. All types of loss, from death of a loved one to the break up of a loving relationship. Any type of withdraw creates a ripple in the universe felt by the "sensitives" moving about this earth.  Even the deaf, dumb and blind one can feel the powerful energy of human suffering transcending all physical laws of time and space. We only need to tune into its frequency. Adjust our perspective to include the external pulsating energy of another human being, whether next to you or half way across the globe. Pain is a chosen condition of the mind. I am grateful for my painful experiences. They keep me relate-able to other people who hurt deeply.  We can respond to the sufferings of this world first with compassion. Compassion leads the heart to action.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

08 Artistic Expressions Tee Tee Soul 112014

Enjoy episode 8 of Artistic Expressions where Michelle Thomas interviews Tee Tee Soul a talented local musician. Watch and listen as Tee Tee Soul shares a riveting musical selection.

Artistic Expressions is dedicated to bringing awareness to the vast talent throughout Hartford, CT and its neighboring towns. We are in the beginning stages of producing videos that highlight local artist. 


Come check out Artistic Expressions on Hartford Public Access Television,   Saturdays at 4:00 pm on Channel 5!

Remember to always support the Arts and your local artists!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

07-Artistic Expressions-Mixashawn-110414

Enjoy episode 7 of Artistic Expressions where Michelle Thomas interviews L. Mixashawn Rozie. He is a jazz musician known as the "Wave Artist" and educator. Mixashawn delights us with his musical prowess on the flute.

Artistic Expressions is dedicated to bringing awareness to the vast talent throughout Hartford, CT and its neighboring towns. We are in the beginning stages of producing videos that highlight local artist. If you know an artist who would be a great candidate for an interview on Artistic Expressions please contact us at 860-655-6685. Leave a message for Michelle Thomas. Thank you

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel so you can receive the latest episodes of Artistic Expressions

Monday, October 27, 2014

Egypt Diarra-Kai

I love you baby girl....
On the anniversary of the passing of my daughter, I'm posting a poem I wrote 16 years ago soon after my baby girl breathed her last. Those were the best 5 weeks a mother could know!


Ahhhhhhh... Angels awaken me,
     or was it
     the sudden chill?

Wait---Was that a sigh?
Dear God, let it be a sigh.
My heart skips a beat
but does not

The blood rushing 
through my veins

You see...
The timeless truth about tranquil turmoil
is that
going back 
is not an option.

Her limp limbs in one hand
chest compressions with the other,
     one one thousand
     two one thousand
     three on thousand
     one one thousand
     two one thousand
     three one thousand

An eternity happened in that moment
An eternity---happened---in that moment

Existence ceases to exist.
My life swirls about me
colliding with past worlds
     with repeated rights
     and record wrongs.
Was this punishment?

The universe unraveling 
at it seams...
like a dream.

As Motherhood conspires with Death
she withdraws her embrace
leaving me
once more.

I offer a sacrifice
     my own breath
     my own life.
Was I too late? or 
on time.
Time with his cold insistent hand
was on me.
He pinned me
threw a blanket of despair
about me---
     then laughed.

I could not see
the next moment
suffocating me.

It was not my time.
It was hers.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Art Opening "Reflections" @ Studio Montclair, New Jersey

Studio Montclair Presents Portfolio Series: Reflections
at Montclair Public Library November 2 – 28

Media Contact: Yvette Lucas  |  | 973-809-8261

MONTCLAIR, NJ: On Thursday, November 6, 2014, from 6:30 to 8:30pm, Studio Montclair Inc. (SMI) will host the artists’ opening reception for its exhibition Portfolio Series: Reflections, on display at the Montclair Public Library from November 2 through November 28. This exhibition showcases the work of five artists whose work depicts the theme “reflection.” Each artist explores the theme in a highly personal and subjective way, with no two artists using the same medium. Collage, photography, fiber arts, animation and drawing are all employed to their fullest in the hands of these five very talented women. Most of the artists will be in attendance at the reception, which is free and open to the public. All of the artists are SMI members.
The five artists in the show are Rachel Kanter and Paula Stark of Montclair; Roshanak Elmendorf of Ringwood; Linda Jacobs of Maplewood; and Michelle R. Thomas of Hartford, CT.
“Some of the works are about light and its many forms of reflection,” says Curator Lisa Sanders, “while others depict the theme in its meditative sense, as in carefully considering and reflecting upon experiences, cultures and personal relationships.”
SMI Gallery Director Amy Becker explains, “Every November, the library is the site of an SMI Portfolio Series exhibition that provides an opportunity for SMI members to showcase a body of work.”
About the artists
The works by fiber artist Rachel Kanter portray the theme “reflection” as the revisiting of Jewish ritual objects through the lenses of tradition, domestic roles and modern ideas. Kanter uses embroidery, aprons, kitchen towels, and other household objects as the substrate for her artistic and personal reflection.
Paula Stark’s landscape-inspired paper collages capture the subtle variations of reflected light, color, texture and space found in nature. Her work draws upon observation and contemplation, which bring an especially fresh point of reference to the landscape genre.
Iranian-born Roshanak Elmendorf uses moving images—animated drawings, photographs and film—to represent her inner reflections of memory and culture. Her work intertwines memory and poetry to create a unique personal and cultural narrative.

In the work of multi-media artist Michelle R. Thomas, the theme of reflection harkens to the phrase, “pause and reflect.” Thomas is a retired airmen of the U.S. Air Force/Connecticut Air National Guard, and her works for this exhibition reflect the many facets of her experience in the military and the people with whom she served.

Photographer Linda Jacobs’ photogram images capture the reflective qualities of light. Her careful selection of objects used in the images reveals a fascinating interplay of memory, free association and abstraction that compel the viewer to respond to the work at a very personal level.
About the Curator
Lisa Sanders received her MFA from the New York Studio School in 2011. Her work has been exhibited twice at the John Davis Gallery, Hudson, NY; outdoors in Art in Nature at Greenwood Gardens in Short Hills, NJ; at Gallery 202, DUMBO, NY; Reverol & Co., New Rochelle, NY; Governors Island Art Fair, New York, NY; the Box Gallery, Galesburg, IL; and the Arts Guild of New Jersey, Rahway. She has received awards from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (2014 Artists Fellowship), the New York Studio School (sculptor in residence), and the Vermont Studio Center (fellowship residency). Lisa lives and works in Newark, NJ. Lisa is on the SMI board and serves as Exhibitions Coordinator.
About the Gallery Director
Amy Becker is the SMI Gallery Director for exhibitions at the Montclair Public Library. Ms. Becker is also a Studio Montclair board member and serves as a Communications Coordinator. Additionally, she serves on the board of the Madison Arts and Culture Alliance. Ms. Becker is an award-winning fine art photographer. Her work has appeared nationally, and regionally in such institutions as the Morris Museum, Noyes Museum, Hunterdon Art Museum, George Segal Gallery, Aljira, and in New York galleries Soho Photo, Pen and Brush Club, and Ceres Gallery.

Montclair Public Library is located at 50 S. Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ. Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday 10am – 8pm; Friday–Saturday 10am – 6pm; Sunday 1-6pm.
Studio Montclair Inc. (SMI) is a nonprofit organization of exhibiting professional artists and others interested in the visual arts. Its mission is to promote culture and education in the visual arts and encourage emerging artists.
This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. These funds are administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I Appreciate You

For What? I'm glad you asked...

For stimulating and provoking minds,
For being passionate about the process of creation, 
     and have that excitement spill over.
For being passionate about the plight of our people
     and have a mission to act.
For being passionate about kindness and equality
     and have it take the form of grace.

My personal gratitude bubbles over 
because of statements you made 
     to half prying ears - at the bar.

You gave me nuggets of knowledge 
     to chew on.
I've been digesting the concept of the lesser mystery
     and the greater one ever since.
What is our legacy?
Why are we here?

Discussing vulnerability,
     gracefully opened a door
     I've been trying to pry open.

Figuring out the inner workings of a person
     is always the goal.
Leaving behind the superficial. 
Its invigorating tangling with a soul 
     who can show their true self FIRST.

This is an artistic and human gesture,
     to say I appreciate you.
     I believe in you.

Artistic Expressions episode 6 - Kemet Maroon

Watch our latest episode of Artistic Expressions. Michelle Thomas interviews the EXPLOSIVE Kemet Maroon (poet, musician, Arts & Crafts jeweler and community activist)
Please hit the subscribe button so you can receive the latest episodes as they come out. Thank you and REMEMBER TO ALWAYS SUPPORT THE ARTS AND YOUR LOCAL ARTISTS! peace

Come check out Artistic Expressions on Hartford Public Access Television, channel 5 on Saturdays at 4:00 pm!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Tree or Me?

A poem I wrote this morning....

A Tree or Me?

Grounded. the rich life giving soil.

Nurtured by Mother Earth,
          her sediment offers wisdom
          -food for the soul.

I stand tall.
Unmoved by time
          or circumstance.
I only grow.
Although I am strong,
I stand alone.

Can anyone see me?  
          Or do passers-by just take me for granted?
          -cuz I'll always be here.
Grounded. harmony with Nature.

When will my beloved stroll by
          and see my illuminating headdress?
This is my time to shine.
Autumn air is the signal.
          Energy trapped
          -swells with anticipation.

My leaves wait to burst 
with a brilliant array of colors,
waiting to fall

My adornment will soon 
shed her crown of glory 
          yielding to the creeping cold hand of winter.
Each vibrant leaf floats down
          a tiny sacrifice to the gods.
A desperate attempt
to be noticed.

If no one stops to look
          is it just as spectacular?
My answer lies in waiting.
I remain
Rooted...until the next season.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Caged Tiger

Another poem from an old journal (2006), that surprisingly applies to today!

Caged Tiger

Ever wonder why
a caged tiger
paces back and forth?

So much to do
So much time
So little space

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Looking Back to Celebrate the Now!

Here is a journal entry of mine from May 2001.

"I have moments of strength and moments of weakness.
  • When I am down my body shakes and I can't stop moving. Its as if I am a caged animal under attack. Sometimes I feel helpless and invisible. 
  • My most pressing concern is feeling like a failure in multiple areas of my life.  It started with the inability to have children. Everything stems from that. 
  • I also feel I'm unable to complete anything. That is a major exaggeration but crippling no less.  That's why finishing school and staying in the military until I retire is so important to me.
  •  All of the qualities and character traits of the woman I want to be are right in front of me. I seem to never be able to reach her. Yet I know she exists. I only see the failure of not being her, instead of rejoicing in the challenge of becoming her.
I want to be ok with where I am. I put a lot of pressure on myself. "
Perspective is everything. I sit here remembering the heavy heart and frustrations I bore. I am thankful that perseverance really does reap a reward. 
Changing to an outward focus allowed peace to enter my soul. My tendency to worry was replaced with a calm resolve towards what "is".  The truth set me free.

Today I can acknowledge the blessings showered upon me.
My "most pressing concern" of infertility was wiped away by the success of UCONN's fertility program. The 5 year struggle ended on March, 22, 2002 with the birth of our "wonder twins" Madi & Wave!  The joy of my life. I can't imagine a time without them. Their birth instantly dissolved a lifetime of wanting and hurt. Their life continues to teach me humility and grace. I am grateful.

Feeling that I was unable to finish anything, stemmed from a scattered and unsettled mind. I lost my focus and patience. I allowed my mind to roam about with no direction or purpose. This produced a hopeless feeling inside me. A lie.
However, staying on course regardless of negative thinking, and not giving up proved to provide victory. I earned my Bachelors Degree in Art 5 years later. The accomplishment of that moment gave purpose and carried the honor of being the first immediate family member to have graduated college since 1929. That is both sad and hopeful.

I can honestly say, retiring from the military after 21 years of faithful service was exhilarating! I took on that challenge, one day at a time. There were MANY times along that road I thought to just get out, however, being of my word and finishing what I started became a model for my life. It also has left an unexpectedly positive impression on my children. They carry with them a tangible sense of pride that their mother stayed the course, served in the United States military and helped people.

My most precious gift was reaching and getting to know the woman within; the woman I was to become! Countless hours have been spent evaluating and re-evaluating my character. Refinement is a daily undertaking. The challenge is refreshing and restores my soul. I am constantly on a quest to improve as a human being. Remaining open to the positive forces of the universe allow for such internal change. My desire was and continues to be to grow in all the virtues - love, faith, patience, joy, peace, kindness, grace, integrity, truth, honesty, wisdom, excellence, generosity, service, goodness, humility and the like.
Although, I have grown exponentially since my 2001 journal entry, I am light years away from my enlighten true self. This is a journey that will carry me through to my grave.

I am ok with where I am. No pressure.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Artistic Expressions-Darryl Oates-100214

Enjoy episode five of Artistic Expressions! 
Michelle Thomas interviews Hartford visual artist Darryl Oates.

Artistic Expressions is dedicated to bringing awareness to the vast talent throughout Hartford, CT and its neighboring towns. We are in the beginning stages of producing videos that highlight local artists. If you know an artist who would be a great candidate for an interview on Artistic Expressions please contact us at 860-655-6685 leave a message for Michelle Thomas.
Help us give back to the arts community.

Come check out Artistic Expressions on Hartford Public Access Television 
Channel 5 on Saturdays at 4:00 pm!
Remember to always support the Arts and your local artists!
Please subscribe to our YouTube channel so you can receive the latest episodes of Artistic Expressions.  

Artistic Expressions on Hartford Public Access Television - Michelle Thomas

Please Click link!

Artistic Expressions Promo Video-091014

Come check out Artistic Expressions on Hartford Public Access Television, channel 5 on Saturdays at 4:00 pm!
Remember to always support the Arts and your local artists!
Please subscribe to our YouTube channel so you can receive the latest episodes of Artistic Expressions. Peace

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Why Can't You See Me?

Why Can’t You See Me?

Taken for granted
Taken advantage
Is lost.

Does the brightness of my soul blind you?
Has the predatory nature of pride preyed upon you,
Stalked you out, advanced and devoured your sensibility?
You blindly use words of control and manipulation,
Fumbling in the dark.
Take a journey with me.
There exists a universe,
Where the bright nature of purity drips from lotus pedals.
As I slide down the optic nerve
Into my mind’s eye,
A vision enraptures me.
Clarity is crystal clear.
Sweet surrender is a comfort in the morning,
Wrapping her loving arms around you.
Close your eyes and give in to her.

Love restores sight.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A poem I wrote some years ago....


When I Dream...

When I dream...
open wide are my eyes.
The search is over, and the floodgates burst.
The spirit fills us with such incomprehensible peace, 
our bodies soaked with His promises
never again to return to the unknowing.  
We are baptized. 

When I dream...
open wide are my eyes.
Kind are his words, his touch---understanding.
Then the cool night air kisses my cheek,
my pulse pounds through me
unraveling the mysteries of a thousand years past.
We are in love.

When I dream...
open wide are my eyes.
Our families gather as the children play.
The salty ocean air en-wraps us in a magical mist, 
while vows are made before God
lifting our gratitude on the wings of seagulls.
We are married.

When I dream...
open wide are my eyes.
What was once empty is now showered in abundance.
As life grows, tiny limbs explore their world,
our hearts swell with love
unable to contain the electrifying anticipation.
We are pregnant.

I can only imagine what I'll dream
when I close my eyes.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Growing pains...

This evening I had a heart to heart with my 12 year old boy/girl twins about the mind, heart, body and spirit/soul. 
What prompted the conversation was an interaction they were having where they were being slightly disrespectful towards one another. They were in their rooms and I in mine. I'm overhearing the back and forth power play for about 45 minutes.

Then their father called on the phone from work to check on the progress of the evening. Neither one would answer the phone. Instead they argued and demanded the other to get it, to the point where they missed the call altogether.

This scene is not earth shattering. It may even qualify as a "typical" preteen interaction. One that could easily be dismissed as harmless. 
However, something stirred in my spirit where I quickly got up to address them. I started off with an irritated demeanor. I identified the disrespect they displayed for one another and for their father. What started as a simple reprimand turned into a full on discussion about the ingredients that make up the strength of ones character.

I was so struck by the conversation I had to write about it.  My crazed OCD kicked into high gear. I notice within myself, my own folly and passion. On one hand I came at them with irritation and slight anger. I saw  my own fault in how I was talking to them and feared the message would be lost, so I quickly turned to speaking in love and pleading passion. 

We calmly talked about their developing minds, with the ability to assess and form lasting opinions. Reminders came out about the painful growth spurts as toddlers. Growing is painful. Whether physical, mental or spiritual growth, you will feel discomfort. And now in their adolescent bodies a different kind of growing pain exist. The internal struggle with who they are emerging into. The spiritual self is awakening.

As a spiritual being myself, I felt the awesome responsibility of eradicating any HINT of evil in its most subtle form. I tend to go after the slightest sign of pride. It's my arch nemesis!
Pride blinds you. You're no longer able to see clearly when pride is in the way. It prevents goodness from flourishing. Pride is a liar and comes in many deceptive forms. It rears its ugly head as selfishness, stubbornness, indignation, disrespect, anger, entitlement, rudeness, a negative attitude and the like. Pride is a barrier between you and truth, love, honor, respect, kindness, grace, giving, selflessness, joy and peace. In its lowest form it destroys. This is where my passion overtakes me.  At the slightest sign of pride I rush in to nip it in the bud, way before the seed of pride is able to germinate and take root growing into a ginormous flesh eating carnivorous plant! 

I know I can be pretty intense. But even as my words are strong and my gestures pronounced, my spirit is moved to take action and teach my children humility. I want to protect them. By protection I mean, equipping them with tools of evaluation, correction, decision making and the ability to manifest goodness into the world. I want them to be self-sufficient and active participants in their mental, physical and spiritual growth. 

I gently reminded them that home is where it all starts. A safe environment to work out the kinks. A safe haven if you will. A place where the pains of growing can be soothed but a place where mistakes are allowed. This is the testing ground. Who you are to each other in the home, is who you will be to others. I encouraged them to love, respect and honor each other. Having their minds, heart, body and spirit/soul working together as one is the ultimate goal. My desire for them is to become loving, caring, giving, respectful, creative, productive and spiritually minded adults.

They were very receptive. Now I can go back to sleep.

Delicate balance...

The sting of a bee can be excruciating to some and even cause a deathly allergic reaction in others. However, it is a miniscule price to pay when you change your perspective and look at the big picture. This pesky summertime nuisance, known as the honey bee, transfer pollen from plant to plant enabling fertilization so the plants may produce fruit. Food to sustain life.  Let's not forget they produce that yummy sweet substance called honey!

We may have people in our lives whose truth may sting us from time to time.  If the ones doing the stinging are of the honey bee type, then they are far more important to us than the brief discomfort from the pain they cause.  They may have a harmonious symbiotic relationship with us. The fruit that is produced from this relationship may sustain both your lives. So, the next time you are stung, try not to think about the temporary discomfort and instead remember the honey they produce. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Determined Resolve

It's 2:00 am. This is the creative hour for me. Something in my spirit wouldn't let me sleep.
The stillness combined with the Nag Champa incense lingering in the air creates a quiet peace inside me.  The studio is one of my favorite places to exist.  Here I can enjoy just being.  There's no judgement here.  I am free to create, sit, write, listen, play, dance and sing (yes sing!) all without the criticisms of the world. There is a reason I feel safe here. One, I am surrounded by my favorite creature comforts. My favorite music always permeates the air along with the background trickling of a small water fountain.  Then, there is the peaceful time spent in deep thought and meditation. Its the only place I can manage my over active brain. Some say I am too analytically. No one says that in here.

There is also a deep loyalty here I can't seem to find anywhere else. The world can be a wondrous and awesome place, and yet its hard to find people willing to surrender to one another. We tend to clothe ourselves with our so called "best" self, but in reality it is just a shell, a covering of the true self.

Does giving ourselves to one another mean we give up control of who we are? If we are just being who we are what are we really need to protect? Does deceit or deception protect anything?
Exposing all our innards is true outward protection.
I think there is a paradox in being completely vulnerable.  You somehow become instantly protected from all enemies, foreign and domestic. I don't know why I believe it to be so.  The only thought that comes close to explaining it, is from a well used biblical quote.
John 8:32 "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

For some reason when you clothe yourself with truth, like being purely vulnerable, you somehow are protected from being hurt.  Its as if you can surrender to truth in the face of trial and you somehow are free from harm. I guess it is sort of like someone saying, "It is what it is."  You simply can't change or alter truth so surrendering to it just makes sense. However, most say I'm crazy for such thoughts.  Most like the idea of protection coming from our own minds; Our own inventive deceptive ways of false shelter.
I tend to lean towards the impossible.  I like the odds they pose.  I know I'm a dreamer at heart and an idealist. That is probably why I am never satisfied with my human interactions.  I seem to always seek that pure connection. One without the pseudo-protective semipermeable shell.

I'd imagine that is why I am an artist. I can create that truth in visual form. The process of creation itself is the ultimate vulnerability. I can't hide.  Who I am is exposed thoroughly on canvas, paper or clay. I'm exposed to all sorts of criticism. Art is subjective, so what one person loves another despises for no reason other than the right to dislike. I am able to put it out there simply from my mind to hand to canvas and maintain a determined resolve.  At this level, the truth of every mark I make, every visual expression, every soul exposed concept, every idea transmitted and every piece of artwork shared, I am free.  It is what it is.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Finding Balance

Typically the fall is my favorite season where everything comes together. My mind is strong. My daily workouts are well underway. I'm focused on the direction I wish to take my art.  I'm even more in tuned with my spiritual being. 

2014 seems to hold a different fate for me. I'm finding my mind scattered as if I'm waiting for permission for something unknown. As if I need permission to continue my life. Why? I'm not entirely sure.  I surmise that coming into the fall I have a few areas of life in the air. I wasn't sure how the school year schedule would play out. My kids are transitioning into a new school environment. I'm not able to find an MFA program for this semester which pushes things back about 2 years. 

My personal art is always in a state of limbo, where I honestly have to find the time to create and not feel I'm neglecting my family responsibilities. Yet I'm pulled to the studio because I need to create new work to show in juried shows nationally to prepare my for my eventual journey to Graduate school.

My thoughts are jumbled. I'm in the fight and will continue to pull from the energy of the universe to find balance.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Artistic Expressions - Episode Two - AnneMarie Williams / Jedda

Check out Episode Two of Artistic Expressions! Michelle Thomas interviews long time friend AnneMarie Williams known as Jedda of K La Rue, Educational Arts in Motion "Where learning is an adventure."

The show airs Saturdays at 4:00pm on Hartford Public Access Television channel 5. 
Artistic Expressions is dedicated to informing the public of the community's vast wealth of talent and artistic expression through showcasing artist of all genres! 

Watch the show and show your support of the Arts!
Subscribe to receive future episodes.
Thank you

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

PHYLLIS HYMAN living all alone

When I was a young woman growing up, I used to enjoy the soulful musical styling of the late Phyllis Hyman. I liked her passionate delivery and could feel emotion in her voice. I could identify with the struggles she sang about and felt connected to her.  She had a very powerful voice. I was introduced to her music at the height of her career. She was not a favorite artist of mine, I just happened to appreciate and enjoy the strength of her music. Her life made a lasting impact on my own when she tragically committed suicide.

My talents are in visual art and not in music. I can't sing my way out of a paper bag! However, music to me is one of the most powerful means of communication. You can move a stone heart to tears with a song, and Phyllis Hyman's voice had that kind of power to me. It is no wonder her untimely death baffled me. At that time I struggled with understanding how someone so beautiful, talented and successful could take their own life.  My belief structure challenges that option as well.

What is different in me today is life experience.  I have seen firsthand the pain humans endure through witnessing a death of a child, lost love, betrayal, slander, physical and mental abuse, being taken for granted and the like.  I connect with the hurting world.  I too have been hurt beyond my borders. I can empathize with a hurting soul. However, suicide is so final. There is no coming back. Internal struggles are intense and obviously for some to painful to endure. Why do some handle these situations with relative ease while others remain tortured souls?

Today I am still painfully affected when I hear about a suicide. Many questions remain unanswered. My main inquiry is if there was anything that could have been done to prevent a suicide?  I have had people tell me they think I am beautiful, talented and show success in my life choices. I have been told I am a strong person, one who has it all together. How one looks at oneself not always lines up with popular opinion. I think about how I looked at Phyllis Hyman with all her positive attributes and yet she was tortured enough to desire to end it all instantly. Tomorrow held no promise or hope for her. The rising sun brought no renewal. She wrote in her suicide note just hours before her scheduled performance at the Apollo Theater, that she was "tired." We never know how someones' internal struggle is destroying them. The outward appearance does not always match the internal. Do we even have vision to detect the subtle difference?

How do we become better stewards in the area of tending to the people around us? Do we ask the right questions? Do we become more involved in people lives? Notice humanity more? Have deeper conversations? All of this swirls around in my head as I wrestle with my own hurts. No one knows to ask me anything. I appear "put together".  There doesn't seem to be a definitive answer to any of these questions. We seem to always fall short when trying to understand how to prevent suicide.

So I fall back and think to myself, the answer for me lies in LOVE. To show love in my walk, no matter how small. The choice is mine to render love in all I do. Even as simple as making the person at Dunkin Donuts laugh at an unexpected joke, to kissing and hugging up on my children showering them with affection and approval. I honestly believe we can change the world through loving acts. I may not know how to get to the person silently and secretly writing their suicide note, but maybe, just maybe my display of outward love to my fellow man will give someone hope for a better tomorrow and influence them to put the pen down.