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THE ARTFUL MIND

Mid-Winter Anniversary 20th Year Issue 2014

OAKES and SMITH MUSICAL DUO

Photography by Sabine Vollmer von Falken

Monthly Berkshire Artzine

Since 1994


Summer Wine, Amy Cohen Banker

Amycohenbanker.com

SOHN FINE ART GALLERY

Sohn Fine Art Gallery will be extending its NUDE Exhibition through mid-March. This exhibition features photography and mixed media by John Atchley, Peggy Braun, John Clarke, Greg Gorman, Eric Korenman, Hildy Kronen, Mona Mark, Matuschka, Irmari Nacht, Lincoln Russell, Cassandra Sohn and Savannah Spirit. The exhibition is on view at Sohn Fine Art Gallery, 6 Elm Street, Stockbridge, This provocative show includes a wide range of work, from Gustav Klimt-like monoprint photographs by Peggy Braun, and Hitchcock era hand toned silver gelatin prints by Hildy Kronen to Kamasutra book sculptures by Irmari Nacht and paranormal panoramic scenes by Lincoln Russell. Also included in the exhibition are photographs from Sohn Fine Art’s 2013 Master Artist Series program by Matuschka and Greg Gorman. To celebrate the new year, Sohn Fine Art Giclee Printing is offering 20% off any printing order of $100 or more through March 1 st ! Please use code: ARTFUL MIND. Utilizing archival pigmented inks and the highest resolution and widest

gamut printer available, Sohn Fine Art produces stunning works of color and B&W exhibition quality pigment prints on a wide range Archival Fine Art and Photographic papers including watercolor, canvas,  glossy, matte, pearl, luster, rags, silver rags, reusable adhesive vinyls, fabrics and transparencies. Sohn Fine Art’s goal is to fulfill the artist’s creative vision and to produce the highest quality custom prints with personalized service at great rates. For more information visit our website: www.sohnfineart.com Sohn Fine Art Gallery will issue a CALL FOR ART in midJanuary, for its 3rd Annual Community Arts Exhibition. Anyone is welcome to submit work in the photographic genre. This will be a juried exhibition to benefit a local non-profit. The nonprofit and jurors will be announced on our website. Please visit it for details and submission guidelines: WWW.SOHNFINEART.COM February 13 – 16, Sohn Fine Art is pleased to be exhibiting at the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair. We will feature work by master photographer, Greg Gorman, who is being awarded “Photographer of the Year” at the fair on February 14th. If you will be in the area please contact us for VIP Passes.

I have loved the Berkshires and The Artful Mind has informed my time here for over 20 years. I treasure the cover article written about me and the interdisciplinary inspiration of all of the articles and publicity about art, photography and related creative life in the North East U.S.A. I identify as a painter but The Artful Mind is a collaboration of all of the best works and people for an inspired life for all seasons and years. -Amy Cohen Banker

The Artful Mind cover from October 2008


KATE KNAPP

black and white ...dark and light

recent paintings and drawings

jan 31 - feb 23, 2014

opening reception saturday Feb 1, 3-6pm

Kate Knapp, Bud

510 Warren St. , Hudson, NY Fri & Sat 12-6, First Sat. of month 12-8pm Sat 12-5 / & by appointment 518.822.0510 www.510warrenstgallery.com

2 • Mid Winter Anniversary Issue 20 years!

The ArTful MInd

All dogs go to

heaven. xoxoxo


argazzi art

FIREFLY 2013 oil on panel 52”h 78”w

CARRIE PEARCE equine paintings

22 MILLERTON ROAD RTE 44 LAKEVILLE CT 860. 435. 8222 FRIDAY - SUNDAY 11 - 5

ARGAZZIART.COM

INFO@ARGAZZIART.COM

MID WINTER ANNIVERSARY ISSUE 2014

THE ARTFUL MIND •3


RUTH KOLBERT

STephen fIlMuS

Still-life paintings Sara and Roger

Ronnie Myers

36” x 48”

Local “Characters” and Friends • Farms & Barns • natural places commissions welcome 413. 229. 0380

rkolbert4778@gmail.com

4 • Mid Winter Anniversary Issue 20th Year! The Artful Mind 2014

www.stephenfilmus.com

Stephen filmus, Fish Decoys


ELEANOR LORD

Photographed by Jane Feldman

510 Warren Street Gallery in HUDSON, New York

www.510warrenstgallery.com

We’ve Moved!!

Grand Opening Join us for our

February 15th and

Jewelry Trunk Show with

Wendy Darling

February 13, 14 & 15 (all day events)

LAUREN CLARK FINE ART 25 RAILROAD STREET, GREAT BARRINGTON, MA 413. 528. 0432

LAUREN@LAURENCLARKFINEART.COM WWW.LAURENCLARKFINEART.COM

The ArTful MInd MId WInTer AnnIverSArY ISSue! 2014 •5


THE ARTFUL MIND

artzine

Midwinter Anniversary Issue

Pushing twenty years and still going strong!

THE MUSIC STORE

Robert Oakes Oakes & Smith / Music Duo Photography by Sabine Vollmer von Falken

Sambadees Productions 20th Anniversary Teri Weber ....8

Still Life Painting Janet Rickus

Eunice Agar...11

Oakes & Smith / music duo Harryet Candee ...12

Richard Britell: Casting Manhole Covers Part 1 .....15 Planet Waves for February Eric Francis.....18 Simply Sasha Sasha Seymour......19

Contributing Writers and Monthly Columnists Eunice Agar, Richard Britell Stephen Gerard Dietemann Eric Francis, Sasha Seymour Photographers Lee Everett, Jane Feldman, Sabine Vollmer von Falken, Cassandra Sohn Publisher Harryet Candee

Copy Editor

Marguerite Bride

Advertising and Graphic Design Harryet Candee

Box 985, Great Barrington, MA 01230 artfulmind@yahoo.com issuu.com/theartfulmindartzine 413-528-5628 All submissions for February due :: February 10, 2014 (email or call) FYI: ©Copyright laws in effect throughout The Artful Mind for logo & all graphics including text material. Copyright laws for photographers and writers throughout The Artful Mind. Permission to reprint is required in all instances. In any case the issue does not appear on the stands as planned due to unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, advertisers will be compensated on a one to one basis. Disclaimer rights available upon request. Serving the Art community with the intention of enhancing communication and sharing positive creativity in all aspects of our lives.

6 • Mid Winter 2014 Anniversary ISSue 20 YeArS Old!

What better way to begin a new Year than surrounded by music?!  Celebrating our fourteenth year of doing business in Great Barrington, we at The Music Store continue our commitment to serve our community and beyond by offering marvelous musical instruments, accessories and gifts at competitive prices with personal and dedicated service. for guitarists seeking unique handmade premium instruments, The Music Store offers guitars by American luthier dana Bourgeois and introducing Steel and classical guitars by Irish luthier John Beckett. for instrumentalists in search of the unusual, The Music Store offers the unique dr. easy’s Sonic Boxes - cigar box guitars made from recycled ingredients and vintage cigar boxes, the Serenity Bamboo flutes - cane and walking stick flutes which are handmade in Stockbridge, fluke and flea ukuleles - handmade in Sheffield, Catania Thumb pianos, Gourd pianos, fishtix and Catspaws - handmade in pennsylvania, and a host of other varied and exciting instruments for musicians of all ages and abilities. Acclaimed as one of the area’s best music stores, The Music Store specializes in fine, folk and unusual musical instruments, accessories, supplies and music motif gifts. Music lovers and professional and amateur musicians alike will find an exciting array of both new and used name-brand and hand-made instruments, extraordinary folk instruments and one of the northeast’s finest selections of strings and reeds. professional musicians seeking the finest or unusual strings or accessories are welcome to call in advance. We will make every effort to satisfy the need! Music Store customers enjoy fine luthier handmade classical and steel string guitars as well as guitars from other fine lines including Alvarez, Avalon, Breedlove, Composite Acoustic, fender, loar, luna, rainsong, recording King and Takamine. Acoustic and electric guitars from entry to professional level instruments are available. famous named guitars and basses join less-well known brands which appeal to those seeking high quality but are on tight budgets, providing any guitarist a tempting cornucopia

of playing possibilities. new and used student orchestral and band instruments are available, including violins from $159 to $3000. An extensive array of international strings and reeds provides choices for the newest student to the symphonic performer. Children’s instruments, as well as a fine line of international percussion including middle eastern and hand made African instruments along with many choices of industry standard drum heads, stands, and sticks, as well as tuners, forks and metronomes can be found as well. All new instruments are backed by The Music Store’s lifetime warranty which provides free set-up and adjustments on any new instrument sold. for repair and restoration and maintenance of fine stringed instruments - guitars, banjos, mandolins and the like - The Music Store’s repair shop offers expert luthiery at reasonable prices on instruments of all levels, as well as authorized repairs on lowden and Takamine guitars. Those in search of the perfect present for music lovers will find a treasure trove of gift favorites such as bumper stickers (“driver Singing,” “Go home and practice,” Tune it or die” and more), tee shirts, caps, scarves, miniature musical instruments and instrument magnets, music motif mugs, socks, totes and ties. Small bronze and metal musician statues and cuddly ‘Music lover’ stuffed animals, lapel pins and earrings add additional possibilities to gift giving customers. A proud server of the community for over eleven years, The Music Store’s warm and friendly staff are available for help in tuning, stringing or instrument repair. help in choosing tuners, capos, mutes shoulder rests and strings is as happily given as help in selecting instruments themselves. Our mission is to support and encourage our musical community, so consultation and advice are always free. For capos to kazoos, guiros to congas, rainsticks to rosin, bows to bodhrans, mandolins to microphones, reeds to rods, Strats to stands, local artist’s CDs and harmonicas to picture frames and music motif ornaments, instruments and more, The Music Store is the place to be. For a magical, musical experience, Visit The Music Store at 87 Railroad Street in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, open in October Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 to 6, and on Sundays from 12 to 5. Call 413-528-2460 or email us at musicstr@bcn.net. We at The Music Store wish you peace and harmony throughout 2012 and beyond.

Thank you Everyone... For being a part of The Artful Mind artzine’s 20 year journey. What would life be like without the Arts? I cannot even imagine. Keep on turning those creative wheels. The Artful Mind artzine is going to be supporting artists for another few hundred years!!! With Love, Harryet Candee publisher 2014

Happy Anniversary to The Artful Mind! STAAX ALL-AMERICAN BURGERS


Read the internet version of THE ARTFUL MIND page by page on the internet - go to www.ISSUU.COM

Type in The Artful Mind and find many issues including the latest issue

SABINE PHOTO ART A TANGO DIARY

every master of photography has a gift for seeing the world in a particular way. Sabine’s talent lies is choosing the subject matter, the subtleties of lighting and the nuance of the location. her eye for detail results in timeless imagery. It is to no surprise that she is a sought-after documentary and editorial photographer with a talent for bringing introspection to the art of life style photography. She is the interviewer, catalyst  and image-maker.  It all comes to life in her newest show, which was created over a span of ten years. A TAnGO dIArY explores the addictive quality and passion for the dance of Tango. A TAnGO dIArY, photo show, will be on exhibit January 3- february 15 at no. SIX depOT GAllerY in West Stockbridge. Traveling to Buenos Aires, Sabine studied Argentine Tango and became a welcomed insider within the tango community both there and in the united States. This show celebrates the profound impact the dance and the people made upon her, as well as the openness of her subjects as she documented the community. Sabine is a member of The American Society of Media photographers asmp. The International Center of photography ICp and the Wedding photojournalist Association, WpJA. For more info please contact the Studio www.sabinephotoart.com, info@sabinephotoart.com,413-298-4933. Valentine portraits in the style of Tango can be booked in the months of January and February. No. SIX DEPOT GALLERY, 6 Depot Street, West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Café & Gallery hrs 8am-4pm, closed Tuesdays sixdepot.com / 413-232-0205.

FRONT STREET GALLERY KATe KnApp, ChurCh

KATE KNAPP AT 510 WARREN STREET GALLERY

Kate Knapp will be having an exhibition of art: black and white / dark and light, at 510 Warren Street Gallery in hudson, nY, Jan 31 - feb 23, 2014. Opening reception is set for Saturday february 1, from 3 to 5pm. Kate notes about her show: “paintings are primarily done with black watercolor on 140 lb. hot pressed arches paper. The challenge is to work only in values therefore simplifying the study, however, in fact, it is much more difficult in many ways to try and create color using only the black and white.” painting classes continue at frOnT STreeT GAllerY in housatonic, MA. on Monday and Wednesday mornings 101:30pm at the studio and Thursday mornings out in the field. These classes are open to all...come to one or come again if it works for you. All levels and materials welcome. pastels, oils, acrylics and watercolors…..abstract and representational…..landscapes, still lifes and portraits….a unique variety of painting technique and styles….you will be transported to another world and see things in a way you never have before…. join us and experience something different. A teacher for many years, Kate Knapp has a keen sense of each student’s artistic needs to take a step beyond. perfect setting for setting up still lifes; lighting and space are excellent. Front Street Gallery – Front Street, Housatonic, MA. Gallery: open by appointment or chance. 413-528-9546 or 413-429-7141 (cell).

The ArTful MInd MId WInTer ISSue 2014 • 7


Sambadees Productions

Celebrates 20 Years of World Music by Teri Weber

Jim and Teri Weber of Sambadees productions thank the Berkshire community for its love and support throughout the years. They will present A latin Music festival on february 15th at Crissey farm to raise money to bring members of the Berkshire Bateria to Brazil this year as part of their “Berkshires to Bahia project”

Denise B Chandler Fine Art Photography

“Happy 20 Year Anniversary to The Artful Mind!”

www.denisebchandler info@denisebchandler.com

8• Mid Winter Issue 20th Anniversary! The ArTful MInd

The Berkshire Bateria is a Community based Brazilian percussion ensemble formed out of classes led by Jim Weber who began teaching at Berkshire Mountain Yoga studio in 1996. The Berkshire Bateria group which performs a variety Brazilian rhythms was formed as an offshoot of the band “the Sambadees “a six member world music band founded by Teri and Jim Weber that played latin, Caribbean, African and Brazilian music, in the Berkshires in the early 90’s, other members of the band were Arose Watson, Brent nielson , Morgan rael and Sam ernshaw. Sambadees productions was formed by the Webers and produced several wonderful world music events at the Mahaiwe Theater. “The Mask dance Co. of Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa presented on Jan.1994 to a sold out house was their first foray into world music concert production. Other successful shows followed “Brazil live” Brazilian night of dance and music in April of 95 and “The Afro Cuban experience” in Oct. of 1996.

Teri and Jim formed a passionate relationship with Brazilian music and created The Berkshire Samba Group and Bossa Triba, two melodic ensembles consisting of vocals, guitar, bass, keys , horns and drum set utilizing the talents of some of the best local musicians including Jon Suters, Bennie Kohn, frank Brokelhurst, Thomas parker, Suzie higgins, Bob Macveety, don Mickelson fred Kotowitz , and singers Andreas Schmid , Thomas flores, Cindy Caminetti, Javier domingas, and parker hu, and from the pioneer valley , Joe Belmont, Jon Weeks, and Jim vogel. Currently Bossa Triba joins with members of Berkshire Bateria to present shows in a variety of Brazilian musical styles from Afoxe’, Bossa nova, Sambas and M.B.p. Bossa Triba and the Berkshire Bateria have appeared at all the Berkshire Cultural touchstones: The norman rockwell Museum, IS183, Shakespeare and Co., CATA, Tanglewood, Jacob’s pillow and The Mahaiwe, and many, many more. They have also performed at festivals and clubs in new York, new Jersey, Connecticut, and rhode Island, and recently returned from a show in vail, Colorado. The Berkshire Bateria’s current roster of community drummers includes Scott Jenssen, fabiola dayian , parker hu, Andreas,Schmid, frank Brocklehurst, Tom parker, Miles Weber, dan hegerich, Ben Schorm, Bill Murray, Tarcisio ramos, Jamie Samowitz, Michael Cooke, Mikka Barkman, Brian Bissel, and veteran players such as Marthe Bourdon, Jeff Caminetti, rich Ciatola, devin franklin, Casey harrington, Jake robbins, Matt hill, Christie higuera, laird Townsend, rudi . Teri and Jim’s children, raina and Monte who are talented performers recently joined the group for their new Year’s eve celebration gig. Over one hundred community members have passed through the group over the decades. The drummers are often joined by the “Sambaland dancers” a group led by Kim Waterman include Jen Jorden ,Kristine Waterman, lindsey Berkowitz, erin naylor and others. “The Joy of Samba percussion Workshop” has been led by Teri and Jim hundreds of times has put authentic Brazilian instruments in the hand of thousands of school age children, throughout the Berkshire and new england. In 2011 the Berkshire Bateria were the featured performers at the State house in Boston, and honored for their percussion workshops, at the Massachusetts Cultural Council annual meeting. The “Sambaland float”, their own mobile sound stage is a “trio electrico” in true Brazilian Carnival style and was constructed by Jim. It has brought the Samba Carnival parade experience to many towns through-out new england. Jim also has made most of the drums played by the Bateria. Sambadees productions have also recorded several Cds of their music. On feb.15th2014, at Crissey farm they will have their second fund-raiser to support the Berkshires to Bahia project. This spring, Jim and Teri will bring several members of the Bateria to Itapua, a town outside the city of Salvador, in the state of Bahia, Brazil. They will play alongside a community Bateria, when the world will be converging for the Soccer World Cup with the fIfA designated theme “All in One rhythm.” You can see photos of the various elements of Sambadees productions on their website: www.Sambaland.com. SAMBA/SAlSA festival@ Crissey farm will begin at 6:30 with salsa dance lessons with Yezid valdes and his lead dancers phillip valdes and peggy Cooke. There will be a Buffet offered with Brazilian and latino food and the music of the band “de lomas Y Sones,” an AfroCuban group, from the Springfield area. Berkshire Bateria/ Sambaland dancers and special Guests “SAMBA vIvA” Brazilian dancers a group out of Boston will end the evening. Tickets for the event are $40.00 each $75.00 per couple. Tickets for the upcoming event will all be available on the website www.Sambaland.com or call (413) 528-6575.


The first printed issue of The Artful Mind 1994

jane feldman photography

janefeldmanphoto@gmail.com www.janefeldman.com

Sally-Jane heit

Here’s to 20 more great years! jeangermainphotography.com

The ArTful MInd MId WInTer ISSue 20 YeArS AnnIverSArY!! 2014 • 9


MARY CAMPBELL DIVINITY DIVINING WEDDINGS

A wedding is one of the most sacred and important days of anyone’s life. The ceremony is the heart of the wedding, and when well crafted, holds the potential to truly reflect a couple’s distinctive personality and love. rev. Mary Campbell takes special delight in helping couples celebrate their unique love as they create a wedding ceremony that honors the people and things that are most important to them and their families. Mary is an ordained interfaith/interspiritual minister and couples counselor. She has lived in the Berkshires for over 20 years, leading transformational workshops for women and creating ceremonies celebrating love and connection. As a couple explores the myriad choices involved in crafting a truly beautiful and meaningful wedding ceremony, whether traditional or more contemporary, Mary is able to offer passages and rituals from ceremonies practiced in a wealth of traditions as well as share her extensive collection of poetry and prose. And as couples naturally deepen their commitment to one another during the planning of their wedding, they often look toward the future and are enriched by guidance. Mary’s compassion and skill, shared through her exceptional Marriage Mentoring counseling, can provide them with a strengthened foundation upon which to build a life of joy and ever-deepening intimacy. Create the wedding of your dreams and the love that can last a lifetime. Rev. Mary Campbell – 413-528-6633; Mary@DiviningBeauty.com; DiviningWeddings.com

John Lawson

e d u t i t ” t ! e A “ d u t i t Gra

SHARON TRUE

CORE SUPPORT FOR THE PHYSICAL WORK OF MAKING ART

regular exercise is an essential component of optimal health and functioning. Sharon True, owner of Wholeperson Movement, understands that the physical work of doing visual or performing art can take a toll on the body, whether it’s chronic pain from repetitive movement, a recurring injury, or stiffness and discomfort from overuse. With her artist clients she focuses on developing core support for the specific movements involved in making their work so there is less pain and strain. In the personalized, one-on-one workouts True offers in her pilates studio she guides both artist and other clients to become masters of their own body movement. They learn to become conscious of the inner experience and process of doing an exercise, as well as of its precise outer form. True’s customized workouts stretch and strengthen muscles, promote concentration, reduce stress, and deepen understanding of the body. Clients leave her studio not only feeling taller, stronger, and rejuvenated but also prepared to apply pilates principles to daily life. More broadly, True’s approach empowers people to make the most of the body they have. She welcomes the opportunity to find a way to help the body function at its best, from elite artists and performers to people confronting serious impediments to the active lifestyle they want to live. True is a registered somatic movement therapist, certified laban movement analyst, and a certified pilates and pelvic floor pilates (pfilates™) instructor. She has been teaching pilates-based workouts for over 15 years, first at Canyon ranch in the Berkshires and then in her own fully-equipped pilates studio in Great Barrington. These years of teaching, together with her commitment to continuing her own education, give clients the benefit of a vast array of experience to effectively address their goals and concerns. She is an expert partner and guide in the discovery of an exercise program that works and is a pleasure to do. Act now to find core support for the activities you love, and to start making the most of the body you have. Contact Sharon True at sharontrue@roadrunner.com, or phone 413-528-2465, 9 am-9 pm.

COLLINS/EDITIONS formerly BERKSHIRE DIGITAL

After seven years of working for artists and photographers as Berkshire digital, we have changed our name to collins|editions. We are a fine art reproduction service that offers the highest quality digital photography & reproduction of paintings as well as Giclée printing on archival papers and canvas with sizes up to 42” x 90”. Artists & photographers use us to create limited editions of their images. private collectors and galleries use us to document their collections. Whether the reproduction needs are for archiving, printing, books, magazines, postcards or internet use, Bd adheres to very strict color controls along with delivering stunning detail by using either a large format camera with a Better light™ digital scanning back for making giclee prints as well as the best dSlr cameras for publication & internet uses. In addition to the photography and printing services, collins|editions also offers graphic design, enabling clients to create show announcements, post cards and brochures. The website, www.Collinseditions.com has a complete overview, lots of information and pricing. The owner, fred Collins, has been a commercial photographer for over 30 years having had studios in Boston and Stamford. he offers 20 years of experience with photoshop™ enabling retouching, restoration and enhancement. The studio is located in Mt Washington but dropoff and pu can be arranged at other locations. Collins|editions studio, 220 East St, Mt Washington, Massachusetts; 413-644-9663, www.Collinseditions.com

John Lawson, No Man’s Land

-John Lawson

10 • The ArTful MInd MId WInTer ISSue AnnIverSArY ISSue 20 YeArS! 2014

NovemberJanuary 1997 issue


STIll lIfe pAInTInGS

JANET RICKUS By Eunice Agar

Still life is one of the oldest and easiest to “read” subjects of representational art.There are vignettes in the frescoes at pompeii, in particular a plate of eggs in between two vessels with birds clustered on the wall above depicted on a horizontal block.That image relates directly to Chardin’s head on compositions on a flat shelf. The clarity of this simple format makes it easy to overlook the immense subtlety of color, form and abstract design in the best examples. Janet rickus, a Great Barrington artist, works directly with that classical structure developed by Chardin and yet manages to add a contemporary twist with strong but carefully calibrated colors, controlled lighting, and a subtle vibration, a feeling of life that has been noted by other writers. In fact, there is something discretely sexy about the way a luscious orange squash (squash is a favorite subject) snuggles into a pillow or a cluster of oranges appears to be propagating by parthenogenesis. Within a supposedly restricted format she has designed an endless variety of compositions. In l972 she moved to the Berkshires in response to an ad in the Boston Globe for a teacher of business education at Mt. everett high School. It was a subject she had studied at Central Connecticut State university. She was born in Chicopee, Mass and had been living on the Cape. She first started painting by taking classes with two local artists, now deceased – Stanley phillips and Shelly fink. Still life is a standard subject in beginning art classes because the initial setup is not complicated. Somehow it be-

Composition of lemons and limes by Janet RIckus.

came her subject, a perfect fit, and she has been refining it ever since. rickus lives in a victorian house filled with other people’s work and beautiful plants. She works in a small room, sitting at an easel with a window providing north light behind her right shoulder shining directly on a table on her right placed directly at eye level. She looks straight at her subject. There are no odd angles, views from above or below. Objects are

A melon and a pear by Janet Rickus

clustered toward the center of the shelf with space above and below the main horizon. There is no dramatic lighting. Just the suffused light from the north windowsculpt the form. Shelves in the room contain a large collection, hundreds, of small bowls, cups, teapots, ceramic containers of all kinds averaging six to eight inches high, in luscious colors, mostly

Composition of two jugs with cord by Janet Rickus

plain. There are very few patterned pieces. Some appear to be fiesta ware, a type of ceramic dinnerware that was popular in the fifties and Sixties and now considered quite collectible. fruits and vegetables depend on the season. pieces of cloth, napkins and towels, are hung at angles from the shelf and provide interesting diagonals. rickus does not use photographs but paints directly from her set up. Though totally real, there are no sharp contours and hard color and value contrasts usual in photo real images. The beauty of her work consists in the exquisite subtlety of her modeled form and the controlled detail, nothing ever overdone, overworked, just enough to be clear. The key to the success of her images is the absolute sureness of placement, the exquisite rightness of the abstract design in each piece. Though all effective painting is based on abstract design principles, the simplicity of still life makes it a crossover mode between abstraction and realism and thus one of the most difficult subjects to master. rickus does it well. Her work is popular with collectors and has attracted the attention of a number of writers. In 2006 Rickus received a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant. In New York for a number of years she was represented by Hoorn Ashby Gallery and now shows there at Gallery Henoch. She had a very successful exhibit at the Springfield Museum of Fine Art, and most recently has shown at Clark Gallery in Lincoln, Mass (2012), a two person show with Colin Brant at the Berkshire Museum (2013) and another with Stanley Bielen at the Harrison Gallery in g Williamstown (2013).

Apples, cups and two limes by Janet Rickus

The ArTful MInd MId WInTer AnnIverSArY ISSue 2014 • 11


porters. We never knew for sure it was going to work, but we felt a strong guiding intuition at the outset that we should give it a chance and take the leap.

OAKES & SMITH MUSICAL DUO

Interview by Harryet Candee photographs by Sabine Vollmer von Falken

Harryet Candee: Well, congratulations! “First Flight” has taken flight—at long last… How long have the two of you been on the campaign trail? Thank you, harryet! We started working on first flight during the summer of 2011. And now, we’re so excited to have released it on november 19, 2013. Since then, we’ve been promoting it online and we’ve done some local radio interviews. There was also an article in The Berkshire eagle and rural Intelligence. I think you have taken an interesting and new approach in raising monetary funds for the album to get into production and out the door. What was the plan, and did you know it was sure to work?

12 • Mid WInter issue... happy Anniversary! 2014 The ArTful MInd

photo: Sabine vollmer von falken

Before all this, how did you coordinate the writing of the songs and Katherine’s artwork that illustrate each song? Did you work side by side? Or did you pass the music and art back and forth? The songs were the starting point. They were already written when Kate set about creating the images that would accompany them. The idea was to paint or draw a single iconic image that would capture the essence of the tune, to express visually what the song was saying with music and words. In some cases, we would both talk about what the imagery could be before Kate sat down to draw or paint it. In other cases, Kate had a clear vision already in mind and just went for it. Actually, one of the images—the one for factory Girl—was not originally created to accompany the song. That one comes from a series of four paintings that Kate did back in 2008, long before we even thought of making an album together. It just seemed to fit the spirit of the song so well that we decided to use it for the album, as well.

The project was funded in a couple different ways. To get started, we both worked some extra side jobs and squirreled the money away. We also saved some of the money we earned playing gigs. We cut back on some things we might have spent our money on and used it, instead, to pay for the initial tracking in summer 2011. That got us started, but to bring things to the finish line, we needed a boost. We decided, in the summer of 2012, to run a campaign on Kickstarter, a web-based fundraising platform that allows artists to engage directly with supporters. We made a case for our project through a written article and a video, offered a series of rewards, set a dollar amount goal and a deadline. We then spent about six weeks promoting the campaign, asking people to make a pledge. We were so moved to see how so many people mobilized in support of the project, making pledges and helping to spread the word. By the stroke of midnight on the last day of the campaign, we had reached our goal with the help of these sup-

Tell us a little story about how you two met and found this interest in music and art and voice to share? How long ago was that? We met in the summer of 2007. Kate was a student in the acting program at uCOnn in Storrs, CT and decided to spend the summer here in the Berkshires, where robert has lived since 2003. She discovered robert’s music online and felt moved to write him to let him know how much she liked it. robert was equally moved by the images and words that Kate had posted online and was completely blown away when he heard her sing. When Kate arrived in the Berkshires that summer, we decided to meet in person, and it wasn’t long before we were finding ways to collaborate. At the time, robert was working on a solo album called ‘heart Broken Open.’ robert invited Kate to become involved in that project, singing on a few of the songs and creating album art. On one of our first meetings, actually, we were sitting at a table at the red lion Inn dreaming up ideas for a music video for one of the songs on the album. We’d talk about certain visuals and then Kate would start drawing them out on napkins, placemats, then sketchbooks. We both felt such a spark of inspiration. It was so exciting to discover how compatible our creative sensibilities were. In time, Kate began singing on robert’s songs. Then, we began writing songs together and creating music to celebrate and express this new union that was forming. How does your music and art reflect with your steady careers? What kind of work do you do? After moving to the Berkshires, Kate went back to school to finish her degree. She studied at Simon’s rock and graduated in May 2013 with a degree in studio art. She’s been doing a number of different jobs to help support herself while finishing the degree and getting the music and art off the ground. robert has done writing, editing and multimedia production for years, both here in the Berkshires and in his home state of new Jersey. he’s also worked as a guide for some of the local museums, such as the Bidwell house Museum in Monterey and The Mount in lenox. We’ve managed to balance our jobs with our music and art, and they do feed one another. There are so many ways to be creative and to engage with people and make connection. We try to bring that presence to all of our work and to all the interactions we have with people.

Katherine Smith, Factory Girl


Working on new songs

It must be nice to constantly teach one other and be able to recognize the innuendos of the music and art that lead to a working culmination. When does this show up as not a happening thing? What makes it work? honestly, it’s a little mysterious. There are many different elements at play and everything has to align in order for something to work. does a certain lyric choice get at the meaning without getting in the way? does a certain key work for both our voices? Which of us should sing the melody, which the harmony? Should a tune be up-tempo? Slow and meditative? And with the imagery, does it reflect the mood and meaning of the song? And when is something finished? When does it need more work? We’re guided a lot by intuition and feeling. When something feels right, we know it’s true. We have had experiences of working and re-working things to try to get them to align. Sometimes, that leads to a discovery—an a-ha! moment—when we see what the piece is trying to be. Other times, no matter how much we work things, it just doesn’t feel right, and those pieces tend to fall by the wayside. Sometimes, it’s just that it’s not the right time for that piece to come through. A number of the songs we now perform are tunes robert wrote years ago. They may not have felt quite right back then, but now, because of this collaboration with Kate, they have found their moment to come shining through.

Robert, you say you like the piano, what instruments do you play? I do like to bring different sounds into the music, or to try experimenting by writing on different instruments or using different recording tools. So, yes, I do play piano and guitar and also bass, percussion, and bamboo flute. I also like to work a bit with electronic music software, which is a tool I find helpful, not only for creating sounds and textures in recording but also for writing and arranging songs. piano is an instrument that’s very near to my heart. In the house I grew up in, there was an upright acoustic piano in the living room, and I spent many, many hours there writing songs. I love how big and resonant the sound can be, and I love how it feels to be enveloped by all that vibration. Also, something about how it’s laid out feels good under my fingers.

Katherine, have you formally studied art? Or, poetry, or? I studied painting at Bard College at Simon’s rock and graduated with a degree in studio art. I also studied acting at the Connecticut repertory Theater as part of the undergrad acting program at uCOnn before moving to the Berkshires. Throughout high school, I was part of large choral groups—including chamber choir—that trained my ear and helped me develop an ability to

sing harmonies. I also studied voice privately during that time. Apart from english classes in school, I’ve never studied writing formally, but I’ve always enjoyed writing my own poetry and journaling.

How do you plan on celebrating this wonderful and successful collaboration? Where do you plan on taking it? We are now doing several full-band shows to celebrate the release of the album and share it with our friends, families, fans and supporters. We did our first one here in the Berkshires in november at Shakespeare & Co. We’ll do another one in January at The pomfret School in pomfret, CT, which is where Kate is from. And then, we will do another in new Jersey, where robert comes from. Our plan is to continue to promote the album with the help of a publicist. We’ll seek reviews in music magazines and blogs and to get it played on Internet and traditional radio, Tv, etc. We will also focus on playing more shows and expanding our reach into new regions through touring.

Katherine Smith, By the Ocean

How have you made really creative use with your duo team? Teaching in schools? Workshops? We are definitely interested in exploring all the ways we can engage with people through music and art. We traveled to Ohio in October to play at a festival that celebrated music, yoga and vegan food. While there, we were asked to provide live music for a “Yoga for love” class, and it was such a beautiful experience, playing our songs for people who were deep in a meditative yoga practice with a focus on love and expanding the heart. We would love to do more of that sort of thing. Along the way, you must have met a slew full of interesting artists. Perhaps there are a few people that you would like to mention that were in particular strong forces behind this album?

Photo: Sabine Vollmer von Falken

A number of other wonderful artists helped us make this album: pianist Zack Cross, guitarist and recording engineer Justin hillman, bassist dan fabricatore, drummer Conor Meehan, drummer Stephen Chopek, cellists Melissa hyman and noah hoffeld, violinist eric Martin, guitarists Gregoire pearce and Ken rosser, vocalist Sarah St. denis, producers Thom Soriano, Jason loughlin and Jemal Wade hines, engineers d. James Goodwin and eli Walker, mixing engineer Oz fritz and mastering engineer Garrett haines.

HuDost! I heard them play, the first time – I was wowed. Were they linked in any way to your work? We love hudost! Jemal Wade hines and Moksha Sommer have been good friends and strong supporters. As we have grown and developed our act, Jemal and Moksha have offered encouragement and guidance and have helped connect us with people like the fantastic engineer Oz fritz, who mixed the album. We’ve also done shows with them and have performed on each other’s music.

Robert and Katherine, where did you grow up? Describe a chapter of your life as a child to us. You might say that robert is the city mouse and Kate the country mouse. robert comes from just outside of new York City, born and raised in the bustling suburbs of northern new Jersey. Kate comes from rural northeastern Connecticut, which is known as “The Quiet Corner.” robert was an imaginative kid, always dreaming up ways to transform his environment of strip malls, row houses and highways into something more magical. Whenever he could, he would escape to the woods or the ocean to connect with the spirit of nature. he often made music with his brother, who is a drummer, and with his dad, who was a singer and drummer. Kate spent a lot of time playing outdoors, imagining. She would also draw along to music, inspired to make images by the sounds she heard. She had very creative siblings and they would “make believe” and go on many adventures together. her parents fostered a creative environment in the home, encouraging the kids to play in an imaginative way, rather than passively sitting in front of the Tv. Do you have a favorite song on the album? Which one, and why? How do you feel about the artwork that goes with it? It’s really hard to pick a favorite song. It may sound trite, but we really do love them all for different reasons. Interestingly, we have gotten feedback from lots of people who let us know their favorite song. each one is different, which is really wonderful to hear; different songs speak to different people. Continued on next page...

The ArTful MInd MId WInTer ISSue CeleBrATInG Our 20Th!! 2014 • 13


Oakes & Smith continued

robert: The song Once, which starts the album, first came to me over a decade ago. And when it did, it was a very slow and sad song that lamented the loss of childlike innocence and wonder. I was remembering how, when I was young, I was fiercely creative, reimagining my life as I dreamed it could be and not yet troubled much by certain realities that threatened to shatter those beautiful visions. By the time I started writing that song, I had come to feel a lot of loss and disappointment, sad that those dreams never came true. The first version of Once really was a cry of grief. I never finished writing the song, then. I put it on the shelf, and it stayed there until, years later, while singing with Kate, I felt a new sense of possibility. I hadn’t forgotten about those certain realities, but I came to see that just giving in to them was not the answer. I pulled Once back out and reworked it so that it became a kind of battle cry, a call not to give up on my dreams but instead to become smarter and work harder to make them real. Katherine: Being Broken is one the first songs that robert and I collaborated on. I had a piece of poetry and robert had a melody that fit the feeling of the words perfectly. When I wrote the poem, I had been reflecting on relationships and the breaking of emotional barriers. Oftentimes, when our guard is let down, we finally find the love and beauty that we were seeking all along.

Portrait of Katherine and Robert by Sabine Vollmer von Falken

Any plans for traveling abroad to get your music listened to by people who speak in other languages? Maybe you will be translating music to some of these countries one day! We would love to travel abroad and bring our music to other places in the world. We don’t have anything planned, yet, but it’s definitely something we want to do someday.

how do you decide on who gets to play the other instruments in a song? What qualities do you look for that make the blend jive? We look for players who are sensitive to the kind of music we’re trying to create, players who love finding ways to use their instrument in support of the song and to help evoke the mood and meaning we’re trying to convey. And of course, we look for good chemistry between the players. That means so much.

larger world. It’s important to have time apart to go within and develop our craft and our vision, but it’s also vital to share that work with the world and receive what others have to give and teach. Ideally, we would have the ability to do both, to go within and also to venture out, to give and to receive. We hope, too, to see our work continue to grow so that we can truly build a life upon it and give it all of our love and attention. Take some of your favorite song words and explain the story behind it, if you can. Something that is not obvious to anyone.

What is the most challenging part about creating words for a song you already have the tune for? Or, the other way around: Do you ever get writers or artist’s block when under pressure to create music? We don’t feel a lot of pressure to write the songs. Mostly, it’s happened pretty organically—an inspiration will start us down a certain path; a certain lyric or melody or chord pattern will come that will start a process of development and discovery. There have been times when robert has had a piece of music with no words and Kate will have words with no music, and we’ll find they work well together (this is how our song Being Broken, which is on the album, came about). Or times when Kate has had some unfinished words and a melody and robert will pick it up and develop it and help finish it. There have even been times, believe it or not, when we were writing simultaneously in different places and then brought to each other what we were working on only to find that they blended seamlessly. probably the most important thing for us to remember when writing a song is to stay out of the way of the spirit that’s looking to come through. We often feel like some kind of presence is trying to express itself through us, and the more we can put ourselves in harmony with it, the more pure and true the music is and the less difficulty we face while producing it.

How do you see you want to live your life? What kind of lifestyle do you wish for? We want to be able to continue to make music and art and to share that with as many people as possible. We enjoy living in this quiet and beautiful place, but we also recognize that it can be easy where we live to be a little too cut off from the

14 • Mid Winter issue

Happy 20 years! The ArTful MInd

Robert, have you ever illustrated? Katherine, have you ever played the guitar and sang? Role reversal? Anything come close? Yes, we’ve both attempted to do what the other’s strength is in. And we’ve found that we both have some ability in the other. This is probably what makes us able to work so well with one another. Inside robert is a closeted visual artist and inside Kate is a budding instrumentalist and songwriter. Singing is certainly a common ground for us, but it’s not the only way we overlap. As time goes on, perhaps we will continue to share roles and grow toward one another in this way.

How do you benefit from being artists by living in the Berkshires? There are so many ways living here helps us to realize our potential as artists. There is a supportive community of people who share the creative impulse. There are many organizations meant to celebrate and support the arts. And there is a presence in the air here that seems to want us to grow our art as best we can. It is a very nurturing place for artists. I am all out of questions, but please feel free to add… One thing we’d like to add is that, if anyone would like to buy a copy of first flight, they can find it at Crystal essence, Tune Street and The Music Store in Great Barrington and at Woods Brothers in pittsfield. They can also buy it at any of our shows. Also, it’s available on iTunes and Amazon.com. And they can find out more about us at www.oakesandsmith.net

Katherine Smith, YBM

Robert and Katherine will be playing at the No. Six Depot in West Stockbridge on Friday, Feb 21 from 8-10pm’ish. Their web address is sixdepot.com

Wood cut for CD cover First Flight

photo: Sabine Vollmer von Falken


CASTInG MAnhOle COverS part 1

From No Cure For The Medieval Mind By Richard Britell

I have reached this point and I have not yet introduced myself. You know that I am a retired postal clerk, and that I am traveling from france down into Italy in order to make plaster casts of roman artifacts. My name is richard Bretelsby; I am 63 years old. My artistic education does not amount to much. I only began going to the museum in the city I lived in after I retired and was looking for something to do. At the museum they offered classes in sketching, watercolor, and sculpture, so I signed up for the sculpture class that met on Saturday afternoon. It was there that I was introduced to this business of making a plaster cast with latex, and casting things into plaster. It was there also where I saw you could then paint them with pigmented stain and it came out looking like it was made of bronze. The first thing we cast was our hand and the result was so lifelike that you could see all the little hairs and pores of the skin. I took it home and showed it to my wife who said it looked like an amputation, and would I please keep it out in the garage. I took it out to the garage and painted it with some orange latex paint. The next day the first thing I did was go out to the garage to admire my hand sculpture, but all the paint had peeled up from it and it looked like a model for some skin disease.

even though my plaster hand looked like it had skin disease, and even though it was a little deformed looking because the latex mold had bent when it was being cast, Mrs. festini thought it was wonderful. She said certain ancient polychrome painted wooden statues in europe were covered over with peeled and chipping paint, and also all kinds of folk art had no value at all unless most of the paint had chipped of it. All this may not sound like it has anything to do with that argument that was going on between the professor and the duck in the back seat of the 2Cv, but it has everything to do with it. Mrs. festini thought my cast plaster hand was a work of art, peeling paint and all, and my wife put it in the garbage on Monday morning without even mentioning it to me. Just consider the difference between my wife and Mrs. festini about the plaster hand. That was the difference between the duck and the professor. What one loved the other hated; what one revered, the other thought belonged in the garbage can. My wife had very little good to say about Mrs. festini either, saying that she couldn’t afford to have a studio in her back yard except that her husband was a doctor. But I did not know what to think. I was very proud that Mrs. festini, who taught sculpture at the museum, thought my plaster hand was a work of art, but then her painting “roses in a pewter vase” was turned down for the annual art show at the museum when they had a curator from detroit to be the judge. last year the judge was from Toledo, and she won a blue ribbon. I did not want to hurt Mrs. festini’s feelings, but I had to ask her why her painting was turned down. In reply she told me all about van Gogh, and about the “Salon des refusés,” which was the start of the impressionist movement, and how if one does not have one's things rejected they can’t be worth very much, just like the folk art has to have peeling paint. One of my wife’s friends teaches at the museum along with Mrs. festini; her name is Bernice. She is an expert in feng Shui, and teaches a course on the subject. My wife invited Bernice over to the house to have a look at the layout. She had suggested to my wife that the bad feng Shui of our house might be the reason my wife and I were not getting along. Bernice did not come right out and say it was the reason for the trouble between me and my wife, and as far as I know, there wasn't any trouble except for her objecting to my taking the sculpture classes on Saturday from Mrs. festini, but she went through our house from top to bottom and her suggestions amounted to nothing short of tearing the whole house down and starting from scratch. It was very odd the way Bernice did not seem to understand that reconstruction was not an option. She felt the problems were so obvious, and the solutions so beneficial, that only an ignoramus would be raising objections. first of all the house faced the wrong way and

was not tall enough for its width. her husband had to nearly tear down their house so perhaps that is why she did not view it as an obstacle. When I finally was able to convince her that I could not tear down the house, she said there were some things I had to do to get things going in the right direction. first was the front door, it had to be painted blue immediately, this was no problem. Then we had to find a different place for the refrigerator. The refrigerator was set in such a way that one was facing west when one opened the door. Bernice explained that if the refrigerator was placed where it was it meant that one was facing west when one opened the door. West is the direction of the setting of the sun, so obviously opening the refrigerator door was inviting death into the kitchen. The object had to be placed so that one looked east when the door was opened. The contents of the refrigerator, on view to Bernice's inquiring eye only confirmed her diagnosis. The thing had to be moved, but it also had to be emptied. no more baloney, no more Miracle Whip, no more bacon and eggs, iceberg lettuce or pepsi. All that seems so long ago now, that period of starvation, and the inconvenience of having to put the refrigerator down in the cellar so it faced in the correct direction. All of those changes did not make things better at home for me. I tried my best to go along with the changes in my diet. I also began to exercise regularly, for the first time in my life. I would go for a long walk after dinner, sometimes for up to two hours. At first I went out about seven, but I took to going out later and later for my constitutional, and toward the end I would be out from two till six in the morning. I had retired; I had nothing to do. I was 63, and was living like a tortured prisoner in my own house. I thought to myself, "What if I live to be 88? My God, 24 years of watching television and eating sprouts." for the first time in my life I began to hate living, and then I started taking the sculpture class. Mrs. festini was my salvation. g

Too Much of a Good Thing is Good!

The ArTful MInd AnnIverSArY ISSue 2014 • 15


Watercolors by Sue Maney MacVeety (Sumac)

Member HVAL Housatonic Valley Art League Paintings available at: Rouge, West Stockbridge,Ma. The Bridge, Sheffield,Ma. Berkshire Gold and Silversmith,Gt.Barrington,Ma. For more information email

suemacveety@gmail.com

16 • Anniversary issue! 2014 The Artful Mind


GArneT eArrInGS, lAurIe dOnOvAn

SpeSSArTITeS, SApphIre BrIOleTTeS, lAurIe dOnOvAn

LAURIE DONOVAN DESIGNS dIAMOnd flOrAl, lAurIe dOnOvAn

GOldSMITh, fIne JeWelrY And GeMS

laurie donovan has been designing and creating jewelry for over 35 years; during this time she created numerous pieces of jewelry either for private customers or collections for galleries throughout the country. using gold, silver, or platinum, donovan creates unique pieces of jewelry inspired by the shapes and colors in nature, often emulating the perfect asymmetrical balance found in our Berkshire landscape. The beautiful colors of the most pristine gemstones in the world have been at her disposal to provide the focal point to the piece, or to inspire textures and colors of precious metals. Gems provided by a local cutter include the most beautiful tourmalines of all colors, sunny yellow heliodor, fancy colored zircons, Caribbean blue aquamarines, and burgundy colored garnets, to name a few. however, she has set spectacular opals, the deepest soft richness of the finest sapphires, and “the truest red rubies I have ever seen. none can be placed above another because they are all truly unique and beautiful” states donovan. her plans for the new store are to continue to provide the same quality and service of jewelry that has been provided at this location in lenox for over 35 years. “I intend to emphasize custom orders in a comfortable relaxed atmosphere.” laurie donovan is excited to be back in lenox and have a home for her business and “I am looking forward to seeing familiar faces and friends…. I enjoy working with people, solving jewelry problems, and providing a unique service.” Laurie Donovan Designs, 81 Church Street, Lenox, Massachusetts. Call 413-637-1589 or 413-637-1572, or emailldonovan@lauriedonovan.com. Website: www.lauriedonovan.com

The ArTful MInd MId WInTer AnnIverSArY ISSue 2014 • 17


Planet Waves

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Give partners and loved ones extra time and wiggle room to hesitate. Give them extra space to be self-centered. While you're at it, give yourself that space as well; once you figure out you need these things, you'll be more understanding of why others do as well. Over the next few weeks, you will gain a better understanding of where both you and partners are coming from. remember that a partner or loved one's lack of confidence may be associated with a memory that long predates your association. people will often allow their own past impressions to influence or even dictate what happens in a present-time situation. Ideally we would not do this, however, it's more likely that the first step is learning to notice when it's happening. This is the theme of the year for you -- to know and understand the nature of projection, perhaps the most common psychological phenomenon. projection is when you see something about yourself existing exclusively outside of yourself. As a clever writer recently pointed out, projection can only happen in the dark. So the first step is to gradually turn up the lights so you can see what is happening. The second step is to keep asking yourself what belongs to you and what belongs to someone else, and not being satisfied with an answer till you have several points of documentation.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)

venus recently completed a rare retrograde (nothing of its kind has happened since 1803), which has taught you many things about the social conditioning that helped shape your character. One theme is the extent to which people who influenced you as a child were serving their own interests but tried to make it seem like they were doing you a favor. While this helped make you into the gritty and self-reliant person that you are, it's taken a cost -and you seem determined to reclaim what you've given up. Since the retrograde ended on Jan. 31, you may be left with the feeling that you've come close to some profound truth but could not break through to the core idea. The barrier between how far you've gone and what you want to actually possess is thin enough to push your hand through. It may not look that way, it will feel that way if you use your tactile senses. In practical terms, when you encounter a belief about yourself or about the world, notice how you feel. Anything involving guilt can be considered suspect. Same for obligation you feel that does not have something productive in it for everyone, or where you come out on the short end of the deal. Question any form of any equation that includes, "You should dislike yourself because..."

Gemini (May 20-June 21)

Current aspects may have you rethinking a career or business plan. That's actually a great idea. You seem to have a good idea,

18 • Mid WInter Issue 2014 The Artful Mind 20th Anniversary!

February

2014

though what you need to do is balance your idealistic concept of what is possible against a diversity of practical concerns. Give yourself time for this -- you seem to be involved in a thought process that will take about six weeks. My first question is not 'is this thing too idealistic' but rather, are you reaching for what you know would be the very best goal? however, before you get there, I suggest you strip your plan down to its most basic elements -what you want and why, what you need and why, what you want to accomplish. Consider how you manage your reputation. To what extent is your strategy defensive (laying low, protecting your supposed image) and to what extent is your strategy proactive (carefully cultivate the reputation you want, and deserve, for what you've accomplished)? Gradually, your logical mind will take over, and I suggest you run all your ideas through this particular mental filter. Keep reducing your idea till you've arrived at the bare essence, and understand every element of your plan or idea. Then toward the end of the month, you're likely to rethink it yet again, only this time with greater clarity. Then you will find the missing piece, the creative gem, the love in the dream.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

I suggest you concern yourself less about how you are perceived by others and use that energy to focus on the substance of your goals. We live in a time when appearances are dangerously overtaking reality, and when glamour as a metric is prevailing over the quality of someone's character. You could say this has been going on since the first motion picture was released, yet in truth it's something that is happening from moment to moment. You continually get the choice which to feed, appearance or reality. Meanwhile, in a similar vein, you seem ready to question a belief that until now you've taken for granted. This belief is influencing a relationship. It's not showing up as definitively helpful or unhelpful, but rather as something that you need to understand thoroughly. The belief is influencing the way you make your agreements with others, in a sense, biasing you. It will indeed be helpful if you know what that bias is, and you will soon have the clarity and mental tools to do so. This is a matter calling for careful analysis, of your own thought patterns as well as the specific elements of your commitments. What do you expect of others and what do they expect of you? how realistic are those expectations and what are they grounded in? You will have happier relationships for knowing these things.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)

You seem to be seeking a compromise on a matter involving shared finances, or perhaps more accurately, a question about sexual values in an intimate relationship. The scenario seems to be going in the direction of someone's fantasy of how things can be, though leaving out some of the more obvious practicalities. This

by Eric Francis

is definitely a scenario that deserves to have logic, data or some form of science prevail, rather than any form of make-believe or let's see what happens. And logic will indeed prevail, so I suggest you hold the line and be patient while the planets shuffle around in a pattern that describes the renegotiation of the relationship in a more holistic way. In other words, the discussion is likely to start on one topic, and then expand into other topics that are related on the level of shared values. This comes down to understanding the values you have in common, and those that you do not. I would remind you here that you're in a somewhat vulnerable position when it comes to others overpowering you. It will not work so well to resist forcefully, so instead, I suggest you use persistence. Time is on your side. What is obvious to you will become obvious to others as the discussion moves along, and the result will be a new understanding of your relationship, built on level ground.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)

If you're hesitating about a relationship commitment, I would remind you that there is no rush. You may sense that you're heading for deep water, or like you're gradually being drawn into a situation that you don't fully understand. When you are ready, this may be fully appropriate. Yet if you're uncertain of yourself, slow down and observe your environment. The first thing to listen to is your intuition. If you suspect that you're not being given full information, or if you have a hunch that you're in any way being deceived, then pause and begin to look more deeply into the facts. You don't need to do this in an accusatory way, but rather in a way that seeks grounding in objective information. Consciously seek the truth, and make sure that you actually understand what you learn. Address any denial factor that may be present; be mindful of what you 'don't want to know' or 'refuse to believe'. This process will take a bit of scrupulous honesty with yourself, though there may be clues that get you closer to the heart of the matter. I suggest you investigate with extra care any situation involving alcohol, or the influence of mood-altering drugs, be they prescription or otherwise. The question to ask is: how is this influencing your relationship to reality? how is it influencing intimacy? You want to know.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)

The past five weeks of venus retrograde seem to have been designed to help you understand the impact of your family history, and your complex emotions. The two are related; partly why your emotions are so complex is because you filter them through so many past impressions and memories. Yet many of those are not your own; they are habits and values you picked up from various people who influenced you. Take the time to sort out what belongs to you and what does not. Once you claim what is your own and let go of what belongs to others, you will feel a lot less lost, and be able to call yourself more fully present. This does not necessarily involve severing ties to anyone, though at times that is necessary. But it will help you immensely to know when someone else's emotions became a point of orientation for you more important than your own feelings, and to see the distortion that created. That may go in two directions at once -- being overly self-centered at times, and not being able to find your center at others. understanding why you are the way you are is a theme that persists through most of the year. You're likely to continue your review of the past, which is for the sole purpose of helping you know yourself better. That, in turn, will help you have clearer, more trusting relationships.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) It's essential for your wellbeing to sort out what influences in your life are nourishing and which are depleting. This is not as easy as it seems in a society where it's considered normal for people to eat unhealthy food for the sake of eating, have relationships for the sake of relationships and purchase many things that they don't need and barely even want. Since that is the cultural standard, it's necessary to take the time to figure out whether something you take in -- be it food, entertainment, information, family influences


or emotional contact -- actually sustains you. It would be worthwhile to consider this question in the context of any sexual influence as well. I think the concept of 'addiction' is overused and misunderstood, but it begins to have meaning when there is the quality of some influence potentially controlling your life. If during the next few weeks you find yourself at a full stop, or feel like you can no longer effectively negotiate with yourself, that's the time to take some time and inquire about the issue of control. There is often an associated issue about whether you want the responsibility implied by self-determination. The most common reason I've seen people abandon their power is because it seems to offer liberation from the consequences of their own mistakes. That's one form of liberation that will never serve you.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) You could have things be a lot easier than they currently are; you seem to have figured out that allowing yourself to be involved in complex situations is a way of learning about yourself. You seem to be in a scenario where your connection to someone else is like a personal development laboratory, or where you're seeking selfactualization in the context of a relationship. You may have also figured out that such a thing does not work for you, and are resisting being so immersed in someone else, or anyone, with every cell in your being. There does seem to be a question lurking behind all of this, which is the extent to which you allow yourself to feel your feelings, and whether you need the assistance of someone else who resonates with you. This is a good question, with many implications -- though the main theme is that of emotional independence. You would do well to ask, especially under your current astrology, whether that is possible, and if it is, what it means. At one extreme of the spectrum is the loner, with no emotional investments. At the other is someone codependent, whose emotional state is totally invested in what others think. The balancing point is healthy interdependence. That is built of mutual respect, self-reflection, communication and honoring for yourself and for everyone else what measure of freedom we have here on earth.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) Something seems to have happened to you over the past couple of months, involving coming into deeper contact with your creative gifts and your sexuality. You probably know or can guess that I consider these elements of humanity to be closely related, stemming right from the same source. To develop one, it's essential to develop the other. venus retrograde in your sign beginning at the solstice, spanning through the end of January, has done something magnificent for you: you have embodied something that was previously abstract or that existed in potential. You have taken steps to reclaim gifts that may have previously made you nervous, that you took for granted or considered something that only had relevance when you were younger. here is the ongoing challenge: devotion to artistry and the arts of erotic love requires self-focus. even in our narcissistic culture, that can be considered suspect, and it can certainly be an irritant (or threatening) to people who have never considered any such quest. You need courage to persist on this mission, and you need to be willing to wrap your whole life around what will seem like a form of over-focus. Yet the idea is not to get lost in yourself -- in order for your work or your discovery to have relevance, it's necessary to find yourself. You are well on the way. Keep going. Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)

Something is shifting for you on a deep inward level, which may feel like the healing of a kind of isolation or loneliness that has followed you around for a while. This has taken you a step closer to your soul, just when you were wondering if such a thing was even possible. pay attention and you'll notice that this keeps happening, with a slightly different feeling each time, though each time feeling like you've seated yourself in your own existence a little more firmly. It helps to make peace with the solitary nature of existence, or at least the compelling sensation of that effect. It's the feeling of being alone in the universe that is a step in the awakening of every spiritually conscious person. That sensation of isolation does two things -- it can come with the choice to give up looking outside yourself for what you can only find within; and it's what opens the space to have the awakening of how alone

you are not. That awakening is the dawn of authentic selflove. nearly everyone who arrives there has earned it. They have faced their own darkness, to some real extent, and the mystery of their own existence. You are not done, but if your charts mean anything, you're working with many more resources than you had just a few short months ago.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) You may feel like you're dancing around the choice to immerse yourself totally in who you are -- as if you're playing a game of approach-avoid. let's assume that is true for a moment. When you feel any kind of approach-avoid, the first thing to check for is guilt. fully soaking in your own reality implies that you will be yourself, and express yourself, without any reservations. Approach-avoid might show up as hesitancy with people knowing who you actually are, as if hiding it from yourself could in some way prevent them from finding out. That almost never works. people already recognize you and most are grateful for the example you provide. Some don't seem that way, it's true; you make some people nervous. I suggest, however, that you not underestimate the influence you have even on their lives. That said, it does not matter what anyone else thinks. rather than avoiding anything, you actually seem to have come close to a discovery that you want to investigate, or have made an observation about yourself that you want to verify with some additional inner questing. I believe you're about to discover how much sense you make; that is, that your seemingly most unworldly dreams, when subjected to logical analysis, actually make perfect sense. My saying this matters little, though -- when you figure it out, it'll rock your world and boost your confidence. ~ Read Eric Francis daily at PlanetWaves.net

Simply Sasha

by Sasha Seymour

Celebrate life! Celebrate Art! Happy 20th Anniversary Artful Mind! Those lucky Black eyed peas!

happy new Year art lovers! every new Year's day we are invited to a party friends of ours throw to celebrate new beginnings. It is a lively affair, and everyone brings a new Year "lucky" dish. A few black eyed pea dishes were served, and I found out that black eyed peas represent success. each pea symbolizes a coin and a whole serving of them equals prosperity! pork is also an option in this recipe as it represents progress, because the pig is known for pushing forward. however, if you are a vegetarian, leave out the pig and move forward on your own! peace in 2014! 2 Tbsp olive oil 2 Shallots, diced 2 large carrots, chopped 1 Sweet potato 2 Cups of collard greens 2 cups of black eyed peas 5 cups of vege stock, or water Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook shallots a few minutes in the oil. 2. Add carrots and potato, and sautĂŠ for a few more minutes. Then add the greens. 3. Add peas and h2O and simmer about 2 hours. 4. Add salt and pepper, but not too much salt!

Enjoy!

THE ARTFUL MIND

MId-WInTer AnnIverSArY ISSue 2014 •19


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