Contemporary Expression

Time To Make Something
February 17, 2010, 12:00 pm
Filed under: artful living, change, Living An Artful Life, The Art Files

I believe that all people are made to be creative individuals. Living An Artful Life has everything to do with finding ways each day to make something new.  It may be changing a recipe or finding a new one to put your own twist on.  The one new thing may be a doodle sketch to watercolor. You may write, you may blog; you may even tend to a plant or two, or a full garden.  If you find yourself feeling uncreative, change your situation.  Wonderful things only happen when people find a way, find that path, to create.

My trajectory has changed. Life has changed. I’m going to stop trying to get back what worked before and make something new. I’m middle-aged. It snuck up on me.  According to the marketers, I am supposed to have a retirement plan and a kid in college. I have neither.   What I do have is a renaissance mind, something that longs to create new things often.

The surveys all say that as a baby boomer, I may be slower to embrace change than the generation(s) now starting out.  For the record: change makes me tired but I still like it, heck I embrace it!

Something new is about to happen. It’s time to make something.


Facilitating Community
September 10, 2009, 8:25 pm
Filed under: artful living, branding, change, community building, mission statement

Is everyone around you evaluating something of high importance? It seems that way to me. The non profit sector is evaluating mission statements and services to be sure they are meeting real need and not duplicating the work of others. The for profit sector is evaluating if the product they provide is something people actually want, or better yet, need. I see artists of all stripes, the creative class, evaluating if their voice is being heard or if they are shouting in the wind.

Plenty of us have also taken the time to stop and evaluate ourselves. In the last blog post I talked about branding. As luck would have it, I was able to attend a workshop this morning sponsored by Nashville CABLE about building a personal brand. Clearly the universe was telling me to knuckle down and do some evaluating.

The process of forming brand is the result of unrelenting passion, not spin. So, I asked myself what I felt passionate about, what was the essence of what I was about and is it something I am already doing and, if so, is it impacting others?
I enjoy leading. People follow leaders because they can see the vision when the rest are paralysed by fear. I really needed to clear my vision!

I was able to develop my own personal mission statement:
“Advocating Creative Opportunities For My Community to Achieve Its

What is thrilling to me is that I am already doing this and continue to find new ways to expand it. Advocacy, Creativity, Development, Community Service.

Laura Berman Fortang suggests these questions that will help your own evaluation:
What are you built to do?

  • How do people use you?
  • What have people always said you should be?
  • What is the essence of your dream?

The Pride Portraits

The month of June marks a special pride month as it is the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are frequently cited as the first instance in American history when gays and lesbians fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted homosexuals, and they have become the defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

The Pride Portraits is a series of 7 paintings that helped lead up to and past that defining moment in 1969. These are people whose unique courage and foresight have influenced not just how I view my world but how the world views me.

Del Martin & Phyllis Lyon
diptych Nancy VanReece
Acrylic and ink
© 2009 Contemporary Expression, a div. of Carpe Diem Copyright Management
Inspired by photograph from the archives of the San Francisco Chronicle

To read more about these works visit:

A reception will be help by Nashville Pride on Tuesday June 9th, 2009 from 5:30-7pm at Ugly Mugs where these 7 works and others will be on display through out the month.

The works are also committed for display at the K. C. Potter House on the campus of Vanderbilt University in October for LGBT History month.

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The Poet’s Daffodil
April 24, 2009, 12:55 pm
Filed under: artful living, artwork
The Poet’s Daffodil
Narcissus poeticus recurvus
this blooms in late spring before the iris here in Nashville and I adore them

Time keeps on slippin
January 25, 2009, 5:46 pm
Filed under: artful living, change, Painting

Watercolor Postcard of the Day 1.25.09 – Part of a 50 day series of playful watercolors
I wish I could get to Tulsa to see my friends, I wish I could go to Colorado for the Creating Change Conference. I wish I could spend 3 weeks in New Mexico painting. I wish I could get to Arizona. I wish I could spend a week in Provincetown. I hope to some day see San Francisco and Vancouver and those gigantic trees in the red wood forest. I hope to travel to France and Ireland and England one day. I hope that my wife will be my wife legally one day. I hope that we can make budget at work. I hope that Nashville will continue to be a place I want to live in. Clearly – I’m hoping for a lot. But time keeps on slippin’. I have to know that each day I’m making the change that I want to see and participating in that pursuit of happiness I hear referred to. I start by being humbly grateful for what I do have and helpful to those that have less. Time is actually moving at a pretty steady pace, I just have to slow down and enjoy it.

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Directions to The Reception on Friday!
December 6, 2008, 6:42 pm
Filed under: artful living, artwork, Painting, The Art Files

This Friday 3pm -5pm. — See you There!

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ReBlog: Most Frightening Question
November 2, 2008, 6:06 pm
Filed under: artful living, branding, community building

Very rarely do I re-post a blog but this rang so true to me that I have to let you know about it.

Sam Davidson’s “Most Frightening Question”
Linocut “Buddah Monkey” by Nancy VanReece (c) 2006 Contemporary Expression, a div of Carpe Diem Copyright Management

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