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Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Barnett

La Luzia!!

None of the following images are mine; I don’t take pictures or video of Cirque performances at their request. That doesn’t mean I don’t find helpful ones online from the DVD and promotions etc when I can help it.

For part of the proposal my Fiance prepared, he bought us tickets to Cirque Du Soleil. This year, the traveling circus is entitled:

My heritage is of Mexican extraction partially, so this meant a lot just because of that, but also on top of that, Cirque du Soleil has been a part of my life since my childhood and the combination of those two factors and the sheer beauty of the artistry brought us to tears.

The show opens with hummingbirds and a sea of marigolds! The hummingbirds pull out little wagons with robots on them, that are fully functional and interact with the flowers and audience, without people inside of them. And they have watering cans for heads! It’s so cute.

But then there is the powerful presentation of the running woman and the monarch. The woman running was so incredibly beautiful, that I savor the image. She looked so free, so delighted, going somewhere and taking me with her.

Some of my other favorite highlights include:

The hummingbirds! They are all acrobats and they look like they are flying as they fling themselves through hoops!

And some more random parts:

And the singer’s dress started white and transitioned to red during the show so innocuously I almost missed it:

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Let me conclude my brief all-of-the-photos back to the beginning, since that’s how the ending of the show felt.

Cirque du Soleil has been in my life as a powerful imaginative and transformative force since I was a child.

Starting with Saltimbanco, I was introduced to what I have heard called an operatic dream ballet; all I knew was that it was a world where fantasy and reality collided, the impossible was kissed by the sheer skill of the performers, and the costumes allowed my imagination to spin into rainbows of beauty. It’s a world where gender, skin color, background, anything at all that you might bring to the table doesn’t matter; humans and animals and strange fantastical beings intermingle and the only rule is that you contribute to the most of your capability. If you make yourself the best at leaping from one pole to the next, or tossing a soccer ball around, playing music, or directing the lighting from behind the scenes where no one would think about it, sewing or strength, smarts or flexibility or anything at all, that is what you do. It becomes what no one else can do. Sometimes the simplest talents become the most beautiful and valued.

As I’ve grown, I’ve seen more Cirque; my first experiences were on VHS, and then DVD. But when my fiance heard how much passion I have for this circus, he bought me tickets to the traveling show as it passes through Denver.

We went to see Cirque in person.

I have never felt more like a child, like a princess, like a fantasy or a dream. We walked across the parking lot and the music that I heard took us away even before we got inside. The atmosphere is heady; you breathe it in and it makes your chest explode into galaxies.

Amaluna begins with the sound of rainforest and women’s whispers, with a great arch of reeds or poles or feathers of a peacock, and tells a rendition of Shakespeare’s the Tempest which is all about women’s power and presence, their strength and resources, and a beautiful romance. Of all the women showed, and men as well, I liked best the goddess of balance. She stepped forward in silence and the sound of her own breath, took a feather from her hair and one after another built the ribs of a leaf, or a whale, or something unknown. Even the train whistle that vibrated through the silence of every single one of us holding our breaths didn’t distract her.

Of all the women showed, and men as well, I liked best the goddess of balance. She stepped forward in silence and the sound of her own breath, took a feather from her hair and one after another built the ribs of a leaf, or a whale, or something unknown. Even the train whistle that vibrated through the silence of every single one of us holding our breaths didn’t distract her.

See her do it here at Ted Talks (Without the train): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELROG7uppps

The architecture and artistry of the sets, the costumes, the way each story is created wordlessly makes each experience unreal and somehow precious. And as time has progressed, even the traveling shows have begun to incorporate movement of their stage, water components, and other incredible techniques that further the enchantment.

I went home after that night and dreamed of a world of magic.

The next we saw was Kurios.

Steampunk itself as a genre is a place where that which is outcast, Other, unusual, strange, and generally outside the dominant culture is allowed to play freely with questions of sexuality, gender, race, religion, politics, all set back in an unknown Victorian Era. It is not largely expressed in Western society as having roots outside of Europe, but there is steampunk found across the globe, most notably in New Zealand.

As a culture, it blends well with what Cirque does anyway; take the mundane, the strange, the Other, and make it beautiful, unique, worthwhile and familiar.

Needless to say, I loved every bit of it.

I have watched so many Cirques by way of video, being able to actually breathe the air and see the performers, watch their faces and see them pass by me in the aisles is more than a dream. It’s a realization of a phenomenal presence in my life that has inspired the way I look at life and people and culture, the limits of possibility and imagination. It influences my art, and my writing, and my sense of aesthetic. It has helped make me into the person I am.

So today, when I was blessed enough to see Luzia, it touched me deeply because here was a blending of what made me as a child and what has made my family. I saw people like my uncles and aunts and cousins on that stage, I saw beauty and power and honoring in what is created.

If you ever get the chance, O Reader, I really hope you go. Cirque is my waking dream, not just of Mexico, but of what we can aspire to.

Go dream in the sunlight circus.

With silver bells and cockleshells, and so my garden grows!

We’ve had quite a growth spurt in the garden lately, but also in the twenty-four hours since I took the picture of the strawberries some beast in the garden has devoured the leaves – but not the strawberries – off our strawberry pots!!!

Well, such is life. I will hope that they grow back and that we can prevent whatever it was (deer? maybe?) from doing it again.

Our wildflowers are all in bloom; when I look out of my window there are roses galore! Also, we had a surprise lily bloom, with a couple more on the way. It’s such a beautiful startlement of color.

This is our little raspberry bramble we planted this year. It’s already putting out berries and trying to catch up to its big siblings in the front yard. Little overachiever. We’ll see if they’re tasty; right now they’re only the size of my pinky nail. You can get an estimate based on the size of the popsicle stick.

Fiance put up the hanging basket! It has moonflowers and blue morning glories in it. I’m hoping they’ll trail over and bloom like crazy. It would be so pretty to see. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ll do.

These are my little wildflowers in a bucket! They have cousins up front in the big planter box which I somehow keep forgetting to take pictures of. These ones seem to have taken advice from the gardening bucket, as they are “Just doing it!” everywhere. They are inviting lots of butterflies and bees and pollinators into the yard as promised, and are delightful to smell.

Our two planter boxes. We have one of our sunflowers getting ready to bloom, even though it’s grown sideways and also upwards only two feet? It’s confused. I am confused. There is much confusion.

As you can see on the left, we also have harvested the chard and some of the lettuce and eaten it already! There is still lots and lots. I am not sure any of us anticipated that much greenery, but that will happen.

The sunflower box also has a LOT of onions growing in it. I also did not prepare for nearly so much onion. I do not know what we will do with this much onion. We may have to give it away.

Fiance and Golden Avenger finished up the garden box in the back! We have planted the over excited basil and tomatoes and marigolds in there. I’m hoping the devouring beast of the backyard will not get into the tomatoes as well.

Isn’t it pretty? It’s two levels of stone that we inherited from my parents so they would stop being part of the ‘burial mound’ in the backyard – aka, a heap of rubble that weeds grow on and no one loves that looks kind of creepy unless you know what it is.

Side note: we have a lot of basil. I’m hoping for good pesto this year.

Our little sprouts indoors (The second batch of seeds, the kitchen herbs, and my little fuschia plant), the lavender, the rosemary, and the little aloe plant are also still hanging in there, though the kitchen herbs and fuschia plant are struggling for life. We replanted the kitchen herbs since the pots they were in were way too small. Hopefully, they will survive the transplant and I can show you hopeful pictures sooner rather than later.

The lavender is thriving in its pot outdoors, and the rosemary is…. well, healthy. It hasn’t done much.

Instead of showing you those, I will save them for another date. I will, however, briefly show a couple of things I saw at Fiance’s parents’ house when we went for dinner the other night.

I’m not sure what kind of nest that is in the tree, because it looks a little smaller for squirrels, but it is difficult to get a good picture of it because of all the trees.

THIS WAS SUCH A COOL DISCOVERY. In the fire pit outside Fiance’s house, there was a pile of ash that had built up from previous fires. It hadn’t been touched for a long time, so when we went out we saw a bunch of little green sprouts that had begun to grow in the ash and charcoal! We emptied out the fire pit, so now they’ll have to take to living in the dirt instead, but I’m sure they’ll be fine. They’re hardy seeming and got off to a good start.

So, these are the garden updates! And now it is time for me to sleep, and my computer as well. We are both low on energy.

That’s how my garden grows!

 

Patreon

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I have heard over and over from Youtube artists at the end of their videos that I can support them via Patreon. I have also heard of other artists using this platform.

I am interested in experimenting with it.

Recreating all of those paintings looks like insanity. Can you imagine how long that took with oil as a medium?

The Painting is called the “The Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in his Picture Gallery at Brussels”, painted 1647-1651, Oil on Copperplate, by David Teniers the Younger.

Patreon most obviously takes a root from “Patron.” Patron is a word with historical context going back in time to the Medieval and Renaissance eras, if not further. It is a system where a person who is able to becomes a supporter of an artist or a writer, covering their expenses so that they can create. Patrons have historically had influence over what the author (in the sense of ” one that originates or creates something”) produces; because support had to come from the affluent and influential, the author might be limited or redirected.

money-and-art

That still might be true today. I am open to commissioned works, as a painter or a writer. But I feel strongly that the things I do have an inherent beauty for some people, so in order to keep doing those things I want to do, I am trying something difficult. I am asking for help.

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You can get a copy at her store here: https://shop.amandapalmer.net/

Amanda Palmer gave a really important TEDtalk entitled “The Art of Asking“. In it, she talks about the connection, and the need to learn how to ask when you need help, or to find a way to reach your dreams. You “fall into the audience, and you [trust] each other”. That idea is beautiful. The idea is trusting that what I do is something beautiful, and something that makes a difference in your day, O Reader. And I am going to try trusting that the difference that I make is something that you, O Reader, would like to see continue. I would like to work to a point where I can make beautiful things all day, and share them, give them away freely in the knowledge that someone would really appreciate them. I know I can’t get there on my own, but I also know that I know people who have loved the art and stories I make. So I am asking; it stings a little, but only because fear always stings, and trust is calming.

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If you would like to and are able to, please help support me in my artistic endeavors. Please help me to a point where I can write and draw for you all day, and I will give you my heart and soul on the page. It doesn’t matter if it’s something small; enough pennies can add up to a chai to keep me going during long writing stints, or dinner when I’m home. Raindrops together make the sea, after all. And any support at all has an even bigger meaning to me. It means that somewhere out there, O Reader, you think I can make this dream happen. It means I made a difference in your life, enough that you wanted to let me know, even anonymously. It means that you thought of someone else that you wanted to share my stuff with so their day can be more awesome. Your comments have made me proud and joyful and so thankful that I can’t stand it.  If you can help support me in reaching my dreams, even a little, I will try to give back something special to thank you for the difference you make in my life. Just let me know what you would like to see!

Thank you for reading and for taking the time to see what I am passionate about creating, O Reader. I appreciate you for all you do, and I hope you know it.

Be my patron

Find me here

 

Kitchen Robot!

 

 

 

A birthday card! More to come. I have a lot of May/June Birthdays to paint for all in a row. 😀

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Barnett

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Barnett

Hello, O Reader! Did I worry you with that last page of only text? I wanted to do a full two-page image for this so I had a little more room. Back to normal again after this. Probably.

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Barnett

Hello, O Reader. I am making a return from a camping trip followed by a successful BolderBoulder! I have also had some time to think in the last two days, mostly about why I was too tired to write!
But here I am, sitting on the couch, where our own little puppy-Daredevil is keeping me from sleeping, and my sweet Chaucer is hovering around the edges in hopes the puppy will move so he can come curl up with me, and I’m watching Tyra Banks’ Top Model series and wondering why I haven’t turned it off.

But!

More on that later.

First! Camping and BolderBoulder!

(Apparently so many exclamation points.)

We went camping up in the mountains over the weekend. One of my favorite things about living in Colorado is that you can drive forty-five minutes out from town and find yourself in some of the most majestic and empty places. The beautiful stretch of sky overhead is blue like wow……! Here are a few pictures I took with my phone. Lady Dr. Doolittle took some with her camera that will be clearer, when I get the chance to post them. But, here are some of mine!

It rained off and on while we were up there, but we stayed warm, and it was a wonderfully relaxing trip while I rested. It’s so nice to get away from all the hubbub and just breathe a little. Also, campfires and marshmallows!!!!

Then, we came back right into the thick of the hubbub! The BolderBoulder wraps all the way around the neighborhood, including our more permanent abode. We woke up early and walked to the start, then took off on the course!

We finished in about an hour and a half; our mile estimate was about 14-15 minute mile. It as so much fun; we discovered that I have the power to run as long as I get my hair watered down; every time we passed a hose, sprinkler, or super soaker, I ran through it and asked people to get my hair damp. I love the Bolder Boulder for many reasons, including the amount of cheering and enthusiasm of the entire city. Everyone gets involved, in one way or another, even if they aren’t walking or jogging, or running. And the costumes have been fabulous every time I’ve lost myself in the crowd. It really makes kids days to see their favorite characters going running past, and it’s great for everyone to just take a day to play in the street with a parade of happy, runner’s high people going past, followed by the actual professional race. It’s just such a joyful experience.

Now that I’ve started into an extremely long rant!

This is Chaucer! The Black Panther is on adventures elsewhere, but I have adopted my sweet boy, and he is fitting in…. about as well as would be expected for two cats of a certain age.

My happy kitty!

And finally, after all that, I am resting on the couch after weeding the front garden and trying to figure out what to write. Yesterday, I fell asleep on the giant bean bag instead of writing. It’s funny, because despite everything I did get to do, everything I achieved, and everything that was wonderful, my mind keeps rotating back to the need to write and the fact that I haven’t for this weekend. So, I’m breaking that cycle of negative thought. I’m posting. And now, O Reader, I’m going to go cuddle with my Chaucer, rest my legs, and prepare for the next adventure!

As an aside: Good luck to science and scientists as we press on. I was able to enjoy all of the luxuries that I had this weekend of clean air, mist rolling down the mountain through just the top of the trees, green grass and fertile soil, and sunlight warming me up from our extravagant use of water and other resources because of the work being done to protect them. Let’s keep on, so other people can also be a part of the beauty of everything. Amen? Amen.

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Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Barnett

This is a rant about a problem I have which is a very first world problem. I’m sorry to anyone who finds this to be nit-picking flaws in opportunity and privilege; the problem of phones is not necessarily only first world, but the complaining about privilege sure feels like it.  Nonetheless, I am still going to write this.

I have had a deep-rooted dislike of phones for most of my life. I feel a lot of anxiety when making calls, or receiving them, and as a result, I am typically very hard to get a hold of, either by phone, text, or email.

                                  From:            http://cartoonsmix.com/cartoons/can-telephone-cartoon.html

 Most of the people I know have mostly given up on timely responses. I’ll hear voicemail six months after it was intended to be heard, see texts and not answer them until I see the person who sent it and they ask in person, and my email backlog is insane. I’m buried in it. Part of the build up is because of a number of things I ask my friends to send me, images and story ideas and such, and part of it is because I have the same anxiety I do with phones and text, appointments and just things I miss. I start feeling existential dread that I haven’t responded yet, and it stresses me out to the point where I can’t respond because of how worked up in my brain the not-answering has gotten to. I can’t find the right thing to say, even if it’s obvious because I’ve taken so long to respond in the first place.

I’ll tell people I don’t like phones, but in this crazy, connected world we live in, the ‘dislike’ gets overlooked and becomes an unhelpful pattern, a problem that irritates other people. One friend even has concluded that if I haven’t responded to a person in a timely manner, it just shows that I don’t care enough. I don’t care enough to respond, I don’t care enough to be engaged in their life and their conversations and the things they need from me.

It doesn’t matter that I have tried to explain that I do care, but that I don’t like phones. It’s hard for me to express how much stress and panic the text and phone communication causes for me because I feel so irritated that it’s a problem for me at all. Usually, I try to just cover it up and compensate for it, but… well, it’s a big problem for me.

From: http://www.keywordsuggests.com/MsYM80XeMuN7eOKRVHGU2JmymoXHFDaCkf%7COVr0f0UnB%7CAW11WgGEbgZk2H0GVekhzIoG4u*n2FOXXr02QUzWw/

At my work now, I have to call people and answer the phone tens of times a day. And I put on my work face, and pretend it doesn’t bother me, and go home and feel emotionally and mentally exhausted. I can do this, I can keep doing this because I have to. But it wears on me.

Originally a quote from the TV series “Archer”

And I come home, and there are still people on my phone; expecting me to respond on their time, intruding on my brain space and my capacity. It’s an invasion of my space. When I come home, I want to be home. And since it’s not possible to just drop off the map for a while, when someone starts or continues a conversation with me, I feel like I have to respond — or show them that I don’t care, or that I’m too lazy, or selfish, or or or. It’s not a good feeling, and it quickly escalates into the guilt cycle of not having responded making it harder to do so at all.

The spin cycle struggle is real.

But with all of this said, I really like writing letters. There is something so incredibly beautiful about the written word on the page, the smell of the ink and paper, the feel of your tools in your hand, watching the words emerge from the tip of the pen or pencil or brush, whatever your favorite instrument is, and creating something that is a very real and finite intention of communication from you to the recipient.

They build up so wonderfully for you, in a stack of potential and secrecy, veiled love and statements and demands and questions that wait for you in a basket or on the floor, whatever your favorite storage system is, and the response demanded is not instantaneous. There is an expectation that travel time is included along with comprehension time and reaction. There is an expectation that when you put a letter in the mailbox, you might get one back, or you might not. It can get lost. It can be read and ignored. But there is nothing which grabs you by the ribs and demands your immediate intention. They’re on a timetable of when the USPS delivers them. The timing is slower, gentler, more permissive.

And that’s just the transportation of letters.

Letters themselves can be full of artistry and creation. Everything from the handwriting, to the introduction of olfactory potentials, and the content matters. You can have a very serious letter which is blocked out, black and white, demanding and self-important. You can have a letter which is illuminated like medieval manuscripts, torn at the edges and stained with the writer’s coffee.

You can include knights fighting giant snails. Because why not? From: http://io9.gizmodo.com/bizarre-and-vulgar-illustrations-from-illuminated-medie-1456202572

You can include comics, pressed flowers, clippings of other writing, pictures, glitter, gifts and all sorts of surprises.

Phones don’t have this quality for me. Maybe we will have that, someday. But right now, it is a separation from the people I care about, not something that brings me closer. It frightens me, instead of opening up possibility. If I had my druthers, I would wait for the mail everyday to see who had written me what, and what was important enough for them to take the extra time to sit down and actually write to me. Not a Snapchat, or Tweet, or Tumble, but actually a private and special message to me. That seems to embody more caring than text or phone.

This is entirely impractical. People need to be in touch with me more constantly, for more reasons, and I know I have to stretch beyond what frightens me and overwhelms me. I need to work on putting other people’s needs in the order that is appropriate to make sure that when I am contacted there is a response that is helpful and productive.

But I don’t want to. Not because I don’t care, but because if there is one thing that I want to do for myself, it’s allow myself this barrier. I won’t answer the phone, most likely, and I will probably wait until I see you in person to talk about your text. And heaven help you if you send me an email.

But I am trying. I do care about you, and I want to know how you’re doing and what I can do to help. I am trying, and maybe I’ll get better at it as time passes. But in the meantime all I can ask is that people understand that for me, this is hard. And maybe, just maybe, if you aren’t too busy, you might write me a letter.

I would love to talk to you.