Category: Art

Twelve on twelve!

A look, courtesy of my daughter, at Sarah Nicolls’s 12 Years project.

Again, this is not about dogs, well not in a direct way. But, indirectly, it affects all of us, young and old, and, inevitably, it affects our dear dogs.

I’m writing this in response to something that came my way as an email sent from my daughter’s company, SOUND UK. The company holds to the view that: Sound UK produces extraordinary musical encounters for all.

Sarah Nicolls has her own website and on her About page this is what she presents.

My name is Sarah Nicolls. I am a visual artist who makes pictures with language, books with pictures, prints with type, and animations with words. I combine image, visual narrative, and time in prints, books, and ephemera that are often research-based. I am interested in urbanization, local history, climate change, the history of science and technology, alternative economies, found language, and the history of publishing. I have written a collection of self-help aphorisms, I publish a series of informational pamphlets, and I organize a range of participatory walks and programs around the series.

My recent books include an examination of the history of greenhouses, and a study of the stories we tell ourselves about disappearing islands, both real and imagined. My  limited edition artist books are in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Stanford, UCLA, and the University of Pennsylvania, among others.

For twelve years, I ran the studio programs at the Center for Book Arts in NYC, organizing classes, public programs, readings, and talks, coordinating publications, running residency programs, and teaching interns. I learned everything I know about letterpress and bookmaking while I was there. Now I teach at Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design, and work on a variety of projects.

I also do illustration and design work for individuals and institutions. Do you have an interesting project in mind? Contact me here, I welcome commissions and collaborations.

Well back to Sound UK. This is Sarah.

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“What she does should be happening every week of the year” The Guardian

Acclaimed pianist and composer Sarah Nicolls’ new Inside-Out Piano project 12 Years was inspired by the 2018 IPCC Special Report saying we had just 12 years to radically change our behaviour to save the planet. Starting on the second anniversary of the report, 8 October, Sarah launches 12 nights of online performances.

With her striking vertical grand piano, Nicolls combines original music and recorded speech in an absorbing performance. Piano melodies and textures interweave with phone calls between three fictional characters challenging each other to either worry less or do more. We hear from environmental experts, survivors escaping from a wildfire and a glacier melting, eloquent speeches from Greta Thunberg and finally the sound of hope emerging. There is humour and humanity as well as time for reflection.

On selected nights leading climate scientists will also join Sarah for exclusive post-show discussions online, specifically to talk about what we can all do.

See list of speakers below.

“This should be prescribed viewing/watching/listening for anyone even remotely concerned with the welfare of our planet.” Ciaran Ryan, Galway Jazz Festival

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Plus, if you would care to listen to a track on Sarah playing her piano, then feel free:

I’m bound to say that I am reasonably hopeful of living another twelve years but, at the same time, reasonably expectant that life could become very interesting indeed!

The Last Chapter

A poem by Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

I have been given permission by Elizabeth to share this poem with you all.

It is profoundly and beautifully written.

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The Last Chapter

Life past, present, thoughts about the future, and ever changing world.

The Last Chapter

Life is a mystery novel, chapter after

Chapter, words painting every scene;

Leaving the mind filled with anticipation.

Each day viewed with the trusting mind

Of a child, innocence shades the memory,

Memories hide in the mind.

Can time change one’s past…No, and the

Future is unknown.  Life is a sailing ship

Upon the waves of what is soon to be

Tomorrow.

Where dreams may be lost upon turbulent

Seas, disparagement rains unkindly upon the

Unaware.  The guilty accepts no fault or

Responsibilities for a life that they may have

Brought fear and tears.

They do not have remorse, nor do they care.

Chapter after chapter, existence torn and

Ripped apart; the guilty never feel shame, nor

Show that they have a heart.

When one reaches the last chapter and the

End draws near, one’s mind returns to a

Childlike place, a place without tears and

Peace replaces the old fears.

No need to grieve that no one cared, no need

To be sad or try to bring back the good times in

Your yesterdays; the grieving will soon end and

One will no longer yearn for the love never there.

Now one’s heart beats alone and yet sometimes

Briefly filled with grief for those hearts that were

Long ago stilled.

Did sacrifice of the one-heart change how the

Guilty chose to live when the space they occupied

Is empty and the one-heart moved on; do the spirits

Of the guilty wander forever questioning where they

Went wrong.

With the last page read and the book closed

Shut, the one-heart watch page-by- page, chapter-

By-chapter many lives unfold; and the one-heart is

Left to wonder if re-written would a new story be

Told.

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Beautiful, if also poignant, and it speaks of the journeys we are all taking.

Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree.

For the last day of August a very special post.

I came upon Elizabeth when she left a comment to my post on the 26th August, The science of dog learning.

This is what she wrote:

Reblogged this on The Last Chapter and commented:
Please visit Paul’s website, something new to read and learn each day. Thank you Paul for bringing your site to the blogging world.

Naturally, I replied:

Elizabeth, thank you for leaving your response, and thank you so much for your republication of my post. I read a little about yourself and, I must say, found it fascinating. And your poem The Last Chapter – wow!

Now I will hopefully republish The Last Chapter for another day. (And I have now heard that I have permission to republish it!)

But today, I want to publish the words of Elizabeth in writing about her dear, dear, recently departed dog.

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Mason Murphree

A tribute

Mason Murphee

Mason Murphree was born on January 31, 2012; what can one say about Mason, I bought him off the back of a pick-up truck, only two pups left out of the litter I held both in my hands as they lay upon my chest; one yellow and the other white.  I did not see their mother or father; I was told that the father was Bichon Frise and his mother Shih Tzu.  The white one instantly begins to crawl into my sports bra, nuzzled himself against my warm flesh and I was instantly in love.

I did not believe that he was six-weeks-old he was still wobbly on his feet when trying to walk.  I made him what the old folks call a “Sugar Tit”, a rag rolled on the end tightly and the tip soaked in warm sweet milk.  I fed him laying on his back in my hand for a week, the second week I started him on baby food.  Then, what I thought to be the seventh-week, he begins to walk with unsteady confidence and I thought was ready for the big world around him.

I found quickly that he had a set of razor-sharp teeth, yep, time for the hard bits of puppy food.  I took him to the Vet when I brought him home, and he was given an “A” in health.  But, I am getting ahead of myself.  When I brought him home I sat him on a potty pad he used until he was six-months-old, then he discovered grass.  I might add that in the nine years he was with me he never did his business in the house.

Alas, it was his six-month birthday, and his first time to the groomer, which I found that he had to be calmed down by medicine to get groomed.  It was not too long until the Vet announced that he was out of this world’s atmosphere with anxiety.  He had “MaMa” withdrawal big time when he was not with me.  He would bark for half-an-hour before settling down to wait for me to come back from the store, gym, or anywhere I had gone!  He disliked children, anyone less than teenagers.  He loved every adult he met.  He begins life attached to my hip and me to his.

Mason loved paper products; he would wait patiently to see if anyone would drop a Kleenex, paper towel, or napkin.  The pursuit would begin chasing a four-legged speed demon around the floor, me never winning.  We called him the Tasmanian devil, and he looked like it when he tried to defend his catch of the day.  It was impossible to go on vacation without him; he would stay with one of his two-legged siblings.  Of course, that was only for one day, he would accept his situation for about twenty-four-hours, then once again turn into the Tasmanian devil, the telephones would ring trying to find him another place to stay, he traveled back and forth from house to house until my return.  A chore to his brothers and sisters, but finally he must have thought he had caused enough trouble for me to return home, and he did.

He loved everyone he met except children, let me explain; when he was six-months-old I took him to the park.  On the playground were about a dozen small children, when they spied him, they came running.  He jumped up for me to protect him, and that was that.  He loved his favorite human friends and his family.

He was the best companion anyone could have; his personality was so individual those who would see him thought he would start talking at any moment.  He look intently at you when you were talking, always smiling.  He thought he was a Great Dane when in his protection mode, but a clap of lighting and boisterous thunder would send him under my feet.  He loved to walk; he loved all the trees on his block and several other blocks.

I won’t describe Mason’s death other than it was quick and painless, he got to spend one day saying good-bye to his two-legged brothers and sisters.  We covered our faces and our tears and sadness until we walked away, he knew.  As his MaMa, I watched him go from a lively, wonderful, sweet little dog to one that was holding on to every minute waiting for his family to arrive.  There are not enough words for me to describe the heartache and loneliness with him gone.

My heart feels much like a patchwork quilt, many little pieces sewn back together after being shattered.  Saying good-bye, he took a piece of my heart and soul with him.  I know that I will see him again, that is the only thing I have to hold on to this moment.   And, that is how I am living my life one moment at a time until I see my four-legged fur baby again.  He loved and he was loved.

Sweet dreams little boy.

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How we become so attached to our dogs. Elizabeth not only was beautifully attached to Mason but also wrote perfect words in her tribute.

So who is Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree?

This is her biography but it doesn’t really tell me who she is; in a feeling, living, emotional sense. I suspect one has to read her writings to learn more.

Born in Alabama to a Native American father and an emotionally absent mother.
Raised by her father, her Native American Great-grandmother, her Aunt, and an African-American woman, all magnificent storytellers.  Her childhood was filled with listening to the stories her great-grandmother would tell about the grandfathers and grandmothers that perished on the Trail of Tears, of she and the grandmother living in the slave quarters in northern Alabama.
Aunt Francis needed a home when her son went to prison, she would tell the stories of her parents being slaves and how she survived the Civil War.  Aunt Vina, her father’s sister a fantastic storyteller; she could bring together characters and build a story that would have you at the edge of your chair, only to find it was all fiction.
As a child, Elizabeth ran free in the woods, fields, and the caves below Burleson Mountain where she grew up.  Elizabeth has been writing all of her life, seriously since 2010.  She has published a memoir about her daughter who passed in 2010; a small coffee table book filled with pictures of her precious Mason, and ten books of poetry.  Her poetry is filled with happiness, sadness, spirit, and anger. The memoir is the private life of her daughter, living with bipolar, and schizophrenia.  The books of poetry range from light to darkness that appeared during the creation of each book.

That is a special post, as I said at the start.

I look forward immensely to sharing with you Elizabeth’s poetry.

Picture Parade Three Hundred and Fifty-One

More of these fabulous photographs.

The Wonderful Thing About Photographs Is That They Often Render Words Unnecessary.”

Sent to me by Dordie who, in turn, received them from Catherine Healy.

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Yes, words are completely superfluous to these marvellous photographs.

See you in a week’s time for another Picture Parade.

A budding young photographer!

This photograph is from a twelve-year-old!

For some time I have followed Ugly Hedgehog, (UHH) a photographic forum; I joined in July 2017. It is a terrific forum and I encourage all who have an interest in photography who don’t know of the forum to drop in and take a look.

For example, I chose my camera based on advice from UHH. I chose my photo-editing software, DxO Photolab, likewise. I am growing in confidence at using the camera based on UHH advice, and more.

The other day, Dennis posted a photograph that his granddaughter took. I asked for permission to republish it and Dennis kindly said “Yes”.

First some background:

My 12 year old granddaughter took this photo of her dog recently. She used her dad’s iPhone in portrait mode. I complimented her in getting down low to take the image. And I thought it was interesting how she only captured the dog’s head. I am trying to encourage her to learn photography

And now the photograph!

Of course it’s a dog, that’s what caught my eye.

But it is also wonderful, don’t you think?