Pantone Greenery

(Thank you note to Pantone)

Pantone-Greenery

Fall 2016 Collection is now in the shop. Prints and originals available.

 

Dear Pantone,

Did you pick this year’s color, Greenery, just for me? I know you didn’t, but it sure feels like it.

Pantone, you’ve been a part of my life since art school, eons ago. So now, I’m always interested in the color you choose every year. Loved the orange a few years back! And that orchid in 2015. Gorgeous.

But this year is noteworthy.

Greenery. This glorious yellow-green shade appears in so many of my paintings. Especially in my Fall Collections. Where would I be without this color? How would my leaves come to life on paper?

My palettes are covered with variations of Greenery.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I LOVE all colors. ALL OF THEM. (Except maybe not when a dark brown appears instead of the gorgeous purple I was going for. Sh*t happens.)

Greenery. No color has made me happier or feel more productive.

So Pantone, thank you for this choice. For making 2017 the year that honors one of my favorite colors. A color I can’t be without. A color that helps bring my leaves to life.

Greenery is my forever color.

With thanks,
Ani-signature

 

 

 

 

 

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Jungle Fever

When you’re looking for art, there’s only one thing to know. How does it make you feel?

New York City, December, 2010. It was a bitter cold Friday morning, and the last day of a 3-day trip. I had a couple of hours to kill before my bus home to Boston.

So I went to MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art.

I waited in line forever to check my bag and coat, then I took the elevator to start at the top. Because now there wasn’t much time.

The museum was packed. I wondered about, stopping here and there. And then I saw it. Henri Rousseau’s, “The Dream.”

It was like a movie scene when a person stands still and people move around in blurred fast motion. The person feels alone in the crowd. That was me. I don’t know how long I stood staring at the Rousseau. It’s a HUGE painting (almost 7 x 10 feet!) and I was lost in it.

Jungle fever

Flashback

Flashback to the painting studio in art school. I pictured myself in the clothes I used to wear. A classmate (Barbara?) was painting a jungle scene, à la Rousseau. My own painting was a portrait of a paper maché bird on a square canvas. (My preference of drawing and painting within squares must have started around then and I still paint birds.)

After art school, life happened —husband, jobs, children, house, housework, social life — did I mention children? All good and happy but I didn’t paint much. (My fault really because there are no excuses. If I wanted to, I would have. Sorry. I digress.) Paint dried up in unused tubes and my brushes collected dust. Sigh.

Right before that trip in 2010, I started painting again. Not much, but whenever I could squeeze it into the rest of my life.

Now it IS my life. (but that’s another blog post.)

Jungle Fever

Jungle sounds were playing in my head.

I identified with Rousseau painting “The Dream” a hundred years ago in 1910. (Wait. What? That sounds ridiculous. It’s Rousseau!)

I know what it’s like to have a blank canvas or a piece of paper and some paint, and an idea. And after a while, magic! There’s a painting or a drawing. That’s how I identified with Rousseau.

Had “The Dream” influenced me back then? Maybe. Probably. Definitely.

The charms of nature inspire me. I always seem to paint vegetation — leaves, flowers, and vegetables. Sometimes realistic and sometimes, not so much. Always nature in some form.

Earth to Ani

How long was I was standing there? Who knows, but human voices became clear around me as jungle sounds faded. It was almost time for my bus. I awakened from my “Dream.”

A matter of the art

Recently, a friend of mine told me she wanted to buy some art while on vacation. “How can I tell if the art is good?” she asked me.

At first I didn’t know how to answer her.  But then I remembered the Rousseau.

“Ask yourself,” I told her, “How does it make me feel?” And you’ll know.

And that friends, is all there is to it. It’s a matter of the heart. Or art.

 

 

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It takes over 30 hours to make my bed.

A few days ago I had to leave the house by 8:00 AM for an appointment. For me this means I have to get up at the crack of dawn. (Okay, well, 6:00 AM. I need 2 hours of waking up time.) I was rushing around, running late (I hate you, SNOOZE button.) Since I always like to make the bed in the morning, I looked at the clock — 7:53 AM. Plenty of time. So I made the bed and glanced at the clock again — 7:57 AM. Done in 3-4 minutes. Not bad, with 3 minutes to spare.

This got me thinking.

Say I spend 4 minutes every day making the bed. That’s 28 minutes a week and 1,460 minutes a year. So how many hours is that? 24.3 hours.

And what about changing the bed? I want to sleep on clean sheets. So I added 10 minutes a week, calculating an extra 8.6 hours, bringing the yearly total to 32.9 -ish hours!

Yes. It takes over 30 hours to make my bed. What?

It’s a pretty simple queen bed setup. But still. Over 30 hours.

bed

I started thinking of other personal daily essentials that amount to big chunks of time.

• Walking an hour a day, 4-6 days a week, depending on weather: 208–312 hours a year
• Brushing and flossing, twice daily, total 6 minutes: 36.5 hours a year
• Showering, 5-7 minutes per day:  30–42 hours a year, and that doesn’t include blow drying.

(And there’s so much more. Well you know what I mean. All the things we do as humans. Wink.)

And that doesn’t include work. Which is a whole other discussion. (Can you say, Facebook?)

So now I’m scheming ways to steal time from myself.

Here’s a big one.

One of my arch enemies, winning battles against me, almost every day, is the SNOOZE button. Set for 10 minutes, I confess it defeats me at least 5 times a week. That’s over 43 hours a year. 43 hours! That’s a whole work week. With overtime.

I’ve tried. Really I have. No, really. But SNOOZE is tempting, powerful, and relentless. It’s addictive.

But now that I know nasty SNOOZE is robbing me of 43 hours, it’s time for me to win the battle.

From now on, SNOOZE, you lose.
I refuse to give you 43 hours.

 

 

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Fannie Farmer

A remarkable entrepreneur

For years, I’ve baked the same marble cake recipe from an old Fannie Farmer paperback. Never thought much about it.

Until today.

Fannie Farmer

On January 7th, 1896, a revised, modern edition of The Boston Cooking School Cookbook published.

Fanny Farmer listed each ingredient separately, and instructed how to correctly measure everything. She used a scientific, precise method of measuring, never before used in recipes.

Imagine the amount of time required for recipe testing during this undertaking!

Her publisher, Little, Brown, and Company wasn’t convinced that the book would sell. So they asked Fannie Farmer to pay for the printing of 3000 copies. Self-publishing! This granted her copy rights, which was lucky, since the book was a huge success and made her quite wealthy.

The latest (13th) anniversary edition is still in bookstores.)

About Fannie Farmer.

  • As a result of a stroke while still in high school, she wasn’t able to seek higher education
  • After recovering, she learned to cook and took over domestic duties of the household.
  • Later, she enrolled at The Boston Cooking School. Upon graduation in 1889, at age 32, she became Assistant Director.
  • At 37, she became Director of the Boston Cooking School
  • In 1896, at age 39, she tweaked and republished the Boston Cooking School Cookbook. Later she published several other cookbooks.
  • In 1902, she left to open her own school, Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery in Boston. The school trained housewives and nurses in cooking and was in business until 1944.
  • In 1905, she wrote articles for Woman’s Home Companion magazine, until her death in 1915.

Fannie Farmer didn’t let anything stop her.

She found something she loved and pursued it with passion. She wrote books, ran a school, opened another school, taught, and gave lectures. (TED talks of her day?) She was a cook, a baker, a writer, a businesswoman, and a publisher. Fannie Farmer was an entrepreneur. And all before 1915.

Despite another stroke near the end of her life, she continued to teach and lecture. Nothing stopped her.

And so I bake marble Cake. But from now on, it will be a little more special. I’ll think of the remarkable Fanny Farmer, and her many accomplishments.

 

 

 

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Art in the Kitchen

2 easy-to-make and delicious appetizers

Appetizers are my favorite! I love to make, serve and enjoy them. Sometimes I make an entire meal of appetizers, which is a lot of fun. Perfect for any occasion.

These recipes are easy to make and suitable in any season. Great served with bread or crackers or to accompany meats or seafood.

white-bean-spread

white bean spread

1 15-ounce can cannellini, or great northern beans
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 teaspoon dried thyme (even better if you have fresh thyme)
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Drain and rinse beans. Mash beans (a pastry blender works great!) in a bowl until slightly chunky. Add lemon juice, yogurt, olive oil, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue mashing until creamy and well incorporated. Garnish with more thyme if desired.

red-pepper-spread

red pepper walnut spread

1 cup roasted red peppers
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste

Place the walnuts, red peppers and lemon in the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse 5 to 6 times until mixed but still a bit chunky. Add salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Garnish with more chopped walnuts if desired.

 

 

Find more easy to make and delicious recipes in my cookbook.

Appetizers and small dishes

Over 30 easy to make vegetarian recipes
Plan your next gathering. With ease. $9

 

 

BONUS!

Get a checklist of everything you need for ALL the recipes, including pantry staples and fresh ingredients. Convenient to take along to the market.

 

 


 

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Flowers in the attic.

Flowersintheattic

Utopia.

Bells on the front door welcomed customers into the tiny space. Cozy, with carpets layered on top of each other, covering and cushioning the floor. Inviting. Every inch of the small space devoted to showcasing jewelry and artifacts.

Not one empty spot.

Shallow glass cases displayed silver, gold, and enamel jewelry. There were bracelets, rings, necklaces, and pendants, some adorned with colorful semi-precious stones. Endless varieties from all over the world exploding with beauty and art and history.

A magical store like no other I’ve ever seen.

One look, or even two or three, was never enough to spot all the amazing and affordable treasures. Everything positioned close to each other with the surface of a shelf hardly showing. It was the perfect place to buy gifts, and I could never resist adding to my own collection. Most of the inventory was vintage, from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and so on.

And now it’s gone. Closed. Just like that.

It was like a museum and store in one. Besides jewelry, there were vintage housewares. So many beautiful things to choose from! Among them, little silver spoons, antique etched glasses, vases, teacups, and linens.

Like Mary Poppins’ bottomless bag.

Except that it was a store. There was a mysterious back room hidden by a thick curtain, or maybe a rug, used as a curtain. Who knows what was back there. Maybe Iris Apfel was hiding out?

I once wanted to buy a pin. I looked in the cases. And looked again.

Then a little cardboard box appeared in front of me from somewhere behind the counter.

It was old and covered in a gold floral patterned paper. There was an assortment of pins inside, each in its own tiny plastic bag with it’s own tiny price tag attached. Nothing fancy and all under $10. I was in costume jewelry heaven.

There were velvet-lined trays upon trays of pins and rings and bracelets all sorted by type or era. I can close my eyes and picture their contents. Sigh.

Memories.

I visited the store many times with one of my closest friends. As old friends we have a comfortable banter. Think Lucy and Ethel. Laverne and Shirley. Tina and Amy. Thelma and Louise (well, maybe not them.)

We often amused the owner.

I’m sure he was especially happy since we always bought something. ALWAYS.

“Look at this bracelet. Try it on.”
“I LOVE that! You should get it.”
“Maybe. What else is there?” Oh look at this one!”
“Yeah. I don’t know. I like the other one better.”
“Look at this necklace. That would look great on you.”
“Yeah. But enough with those necklaces. I always wear that type. I should get something longer.”
“Did you see this one? Try it on.”
“What do you think? Um. Maybe. Not sure. Can I try it?”
“Remember that bracelet you got last time? This would look great with that.”
“Yeah, maybe. But I like this one …”
“I’m sorry. Could I just see that ring? NO. That one. Third one from the left.”
“That’s nice.”
“I LOVE that! Don’t you?”

And so on.

Sigh.

I’m going to miss that.

Premonition.

Just this week, my friend was visiting. I said to her, “You know that store will close some day. The guy is older and there doesn’t seem to be anyone to take over.” That was Monday. The store was never open on Mondays.

Tuesday, I went there to buy a gift and the store was gone.

Empty. Deserted. Sad.

All that beauty gone. Disappeared. No notice. No sign in the window. Nothing.

I was on the phone almost immediately.

“Hi. I have some terrible news.” [First I made sure she knew it wasn’t HORRIBLE. I didn’t want to scare her.]

“What? What’s the matter?”
“The store closed.”

She knew right away what I was talking about.

“You predicted it!”

Imagine the conversation, if you will. I’ll spare you the details of the cursing and carrying on. Oh. The drama.

“What are we going to do?”

There’s nothing similar.

Because it was not just a store. It was a place to make memories with a dear friend. A place to buy gifts for others. A place that inspired me for my own art. A place to learn about different types of jewelry. Even a museum could not have the variety of jewelry and artifacts crammed into such a small space.

Inquiries.

My friend called the store number. A recording something like this:

“We still have all our inventory. If you have an inquiry, please leave a message. We will have more information at the beginning of the year.”

Maybe there will be a new store. There’s hope.

In the meantime, where’s the inventory? Is all that glorious stock in a storage facility, or maybe in the basement, or in a spare bedroom? Is it in the attic?

Are the flowers in the attic?

The flower picture was taken a couple of months before closing. I’m so happy now to have it!

 

 

 

 

8 Responses to Flowers in the attic.

  1. Oh, how I hope someone is planning to reopen your treasure trove! I live near a town in Ohio that was always known for its antiques and collectibles shops. I used to love spending a day just roaming through them. Now many have closed and it is not the same and I seldom go back.

    • I know how you feel, Charmaine. It’s fun to search treasures from the past. There’s a great antique store in a neighboring town, and now I’m worried about its demise! I used to collect Fiesta and heard that Ohio was the place for it, but I’m guessing that’s changed now too.

  2. I love how your story pulled me in. You captured my attention and heart! Love that you started bkogging! It fed my heart today. Thank you.

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I’ve been dead wrong about Halloween.

halloween-birds

Halloween was fun when I was a kid. When my kids were little, Halloween was an adventure! Zany creativity took over the house. (But that’s not what I’m wrong about.)

Having an artist for a mother (me!) meant we made costumes.

A red monster with horns (a little red devil?), a wizard, and a cowboy. Several pirate versions, and a mad scientist with colorful bugs sewn on a lab coat, for my son. As for my daughter, witches, a cowgirl, a “fancy” lady, a hippie, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. All cute stuff.

Many involved sewing and in the case of the wizard, painting. First I made a robe with blue satin fabric. Then stayed up half the night painting moons and stars all over it. Let me tell you, blue satin fabric is NOT like canvas. Paint doesn’t want to stay on it.

To complicate things, I added glitter before the paint dried. There was a conical hat to top it off. Phew. I’m exhausted just writing about it. Did I mention that I was eight months pregnant?

Eight years later, Laura Ingalls Wilder wore a long skirt with a ruffled hem. And layers of petticoats. Enough said.

We set a special Halloween table and made Halloween desserts. We painted a face on a pumpkin or two. Carving isn’t my thing.

There was even a party or two. A haunted house in the hallway with black crepe paper hanging from the ceiling. The sounds of screaming and giggling girls. Skull-shaped pizza and ghost sugar cookies.

It was great fun!

 

Confession.

I stopped enjoying Halloween when my kids got older. Now I buy candy at the last minute. I never decorate. Maybe a tiny naked pumpkin on the porch. If I think of it. My dog barks every time the doorbell rings. Some children don’t even bother saying, “trick or treat.” Sure, many are adorable, with good manners. And that’s sweet. I love to see them in their costumes. It’s all about the kids and making them happy.

Isn’t it?

Halloween is now a “holiday.” But it’s not an official holiday. It’s business. People spend over seven billion dollars per year on costumes, candy, and decorations. Seven billion! Even dogs are dressing up now. (Not mine.)

All this time, I thought adults had taken over Halloween and made it into a “holiday.”

I was wrong. So wrong.

It’s the children who took over.

I googled to research this post. And learned that Halloween originates in Celtic paganism. The Celts believed that ghosts of the dead mingled with the living once a year. They offered treats and sacrifices so the dead would be happy and leave them alone. Creepy.

Fast forward a few hundred years.

More googling. Images this time. Vintage Halloween costumes. Adults (and children) dressed in the oddest and creepiest costumes I have ever seen. Strange scenes enough to give you nightmares. Copyright laws scare me too much (boo!) so that I’m not posting any of the images here. If you’re curious, google images of vintage Halloween costumes. But don’t do it right before bedtime.

I’m warning you.

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to I’ve been dead wrong about Halloween.

  1. Enjoyed your post……….I too loved Halloween when my children were young…..now I live in a retirement community so there are never any children ringing the doorbell….have to admit I do miss seeing the little ones. They can be so adorable. Your prints are lovely!

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Coconut crazy

Coconut seems to be everywhere lately.
It’s a fashionable flavor. An “it” ingredient.

Coconut crazy

Coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut water, coconut flour, and coconut flakes. There’s a lot of debate about its health benefits all over the internet. I say it’s not good to overdo anything. Moderation is the key for me.

Recently for a dinner party, I made dessert. But I wanted something more. Another taste.

And I wanted it to be coconut.

So I made a regular old vanilla pudding but I coconut-ized the hell out of it, with coconut milk and dried coconut. I didn’t know it would work, but I already had the baklava so it was worth the risk. I had no idea if coconut milk would be an adequate substitute for cow’s milk. It worked!

It was quick and easy to make. And everyone loved it. So if you’re coconut crazy, here’s the recipe.

Coconut pudding

adapted from an old McCall’s recipe, “Vanilla Blanc Mange,” circa 1965
(6 servings)
2 1/4 cups coconut milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar (scant)
pinch salt
1/2 cup dried coconut flakes
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a small saucepan, heat 2 cups coconut milk over low heat just until bubbles form around edge of pan.
2. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, sugar and salt with remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk. Mix well.
3. Stir coconut flakes into hot milk. Then gradually stir in cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, over low heat. Boil for 1 minute, stirring, until thickened.
4. Remove from heat and stir in extracts.

Pour into serving dishes or glasses. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate until well chilled.
Garnish with berries or shaved chocolate. Enjoy!

(Next time, I may try rum instead of the extracts.)

 

 

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How thinking about art made going to the dentist less unpleasant.

Is there anyone who enjoys going to the dentist for anything other than a cleaning?

Going-to-the-dentist

My sweet little Heidi looks “ferocious,” but she won’t be going to the dentist!

After the novocaine

I think of things to pass the time. I decorate, sketch a painting in my head, and write stories, which I’ll never remember even though I pretend I will.

You get the idea. I try to distract myself and not focus on what’s going on inside my mouth.

I try to block the awful noise of the drill.

In the middle of my recent, not-so-bad-this-time visit, I thought: Wait, my dentist is an artist. This is her art. Her artistry. Her creativity.

She’s sculpting in there, choosing a shade to match the rest of my teeth, aligning my bite, and smoothing everything out.

My mouth is her canvas. The dental implements are her “brushes.”

Silly? Maybe. Did it help pass the time and make the visit a little less uncomfortable? Yes. Whatever it takes.

After the final rinse

I told my dentist that she’s an artist. She agreed and was so happy. I meant it.

Imagine if a dentist fixed a cavity or slapped on a crown and didn’t pay any attention to how it fit or matched the rest of your teeth.

We don’t want Picasso’s cubist period in there. Definitely not.

So I’m thrilled that my dentist is an artist who pays attention to her craft.

 

 

 

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“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

When an artist creates work and doesn’t show it, is it art?

If a tree falls in a forest

 

 

What good is art if the artist doesn’t share it?

  • A chef creates a delicious dish. What’s the point if the dish just sits on the table and no one eats it?
  • A writer writes a book. It’s not published and no one reads it. What’s the point?
  • A jeweler designs a gorgeous necklace and it’s never worn. That’s just sad.

If artists didn’t share, museums would be empty and there would be no galleries. Everything would be plain. Imagine every item of clothing plain. Every dish, every napkin, every rug, every chair, every truck, everything — plain. No jewelry, no high fashion, no movies, nothing. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but you get the idea.

Boring.

Art is the artist’s gift to the world.

Picasso said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Children draw something. Anything. And are eager to show it off. They are proud of their creations.

Is it enough to remain an artist?

I’m lucky that art stayed with me. It’s the biggest part of me. And who I am.  But I make art and don’t always show it. Sure, friends see my artwork. Some of it. The pieces I choose to prop up on furniture around the house. But that’s about it. It’s time to change that. I’m not saying I’ll share everything. Hell no. There are many experiments in every studio, after all. No one wants to see the painting that turned to mud. Or the oil-painted flower cut in half because I was careless with my scissors. But sharing a curated collection. Definitely.

 

Art is a solitary profession, sometimes exasperating, but also often euphoric. Sharing when it brings the artist joy will bring others happiness as well.

Isn’t that the point?

 

 

 

 

6 Responses to “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

  1. You know. I once heard it said a long time back that kindergarten aged kiddos’ when asked if they are an artist they will jump up and down and say Yes, I’m an artist I want to be an artist when I grow up. Then, every year (especially after they reach 9 or 10) there are way less kids that are raising their hand and saying they are artists.

    This always made me so sad. Because I think everyone needs art like they need a little sunshine.

    I hope my daughter keeps raising her hand when she gets asked if she’s an artist…forever. Just like you do every day Ani.

    Your art is like sunshine and hugs of the biggest kind.

    • Dear Kimberly. I don’t know what to say. I’m so touched by your comment. (You made me cry.)

      Your daughter is lucky to have you. Some of us artists back in the day were afraid to be full time artists because of that stupid “starving artist” mentality.

      Hugs back!

  2. This totally resonates with me too, Ani. And I also loved Kimberly’s (sad) story! I recently realized that I’ve been holding my own art a little too close…which is counter-intuitive because deep down I make it because I want to connect. When fear stops me from sharing, I definitely don’t get that sense of connection!

  3. This is a challenging question for me. I agree that an artist who wants to make their artwork their primary source of income need to show it. I also think there is great value in creating simply for creation’s sake, without the need for public exhibition. We often forget to allow art to be a hobby, simply a pleasure. Yes, children want to show off their creations. They also have no hesitancy to create and create and create without the need for their creations to be seen, simply for the love of it, the make-believe of it. So I’m of two equal minds on this. And I love that you shared your thoughts!

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The Art of the Armenian Alphabet

Celebrating the Art of the Armenian Alphabet

In 405 AD, Mesrob Mashdots, a monk, theologian and linguist (artist and genius!) established the Armenian alphabet, translating the language into written form. What an undertaking it must have been!

The language gave Armenians their cultural and religious identity. It gave them the means to survive as a people, despite efforts to destroy them, again and again.

The art of the Armenian alphabet

My old pencil and ink rendering of the alphabet

 

The alphabet originated with 36 letters. Later, in the middle ages, two characters were added. It’s curious that after reciting the first 36, one says, “and,” before finishing up with the last two letters!

I can still recite the alphabet, which I learned as a child. But speaking my own language is becoming increasingly difficult. Older people who speak the language so beautifully, and correctly, are leaving us.

And reading and writing? That’s another story. It’s hard to explain, but for instance, there’s a soft “k” sound, and a hard “k” sound. Same goes for a “t.” So which one do you use? And the complexity doesn’t stop there. There are letters for different sounds and combinations of sounds. Correct spelling seems impossible.

The art of the Armenian alphabet

My name (Ani) in Armenian. And the font’s name happens to be “Ani” too

A work of art.

This alphabet, an ancient and beautiful work of art, represents the language and the rich, artful, and haunting heritage of the Armenian people.

 

 

 

 

 

8 Responses to The Art of the Armenian Alphabet

  1. Having sung in a group focusing on the music (and dance) of the world for several decades, I love hearing about this. Alphabets and languages are so mysterious. I’m particularly fond of Armenian music and dance and sung one particular Armenian song to my daughter as a lullaby for many years.

    The song was sent to the group on a cassette with a note say, “I’d love to hear Libana sing this”. We loved it too and went about trying to find someone in the closeby Armenian community of Watertown, Ma to translate it for us. We went from dentist to priest to copy shop owner, as each person had the same response. “I’ve heard this song, I love this song, but it’s in a dialect from the eastern part of western Armenia.”

    3 years later we were performing in a small town in Pennsylvania and chatting with our hosts, telling them this story. One of them said, hold on right there and left the room. In a few minutes he was back with a sheet of paper in his hand with the lyrics and translation of the song! It turned out that he was a folk dancer and learned this song in California many years earlier and had remembered it. Armed with our paper, we returned to the Watertown community and had them help us with the pronunciation. It’s called Daroni
    You can here us singing it here http://www.libana.com/listen_to_libana/s/daroni

    • That is quite a story, Linda! Life is full of coincidences. I never heard that particular song, but there are a couple my father used to sing that I miss hearing. Your recording was lovely! And the music so haunting. Thank you for sharing the link.

  2. Language really is an art form and such a beautiful one at that. From my experience of historical music, mainly medieval and some viking, the sounds and tonality of the music can be mesmerising, the sounds of the words so evocative and rich. Even the letters themselves have such visual beauty and depth as your drawing shows so well.

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Mushroom Cultivation

Inspiration

Where does inspiration come from? What influences us? Why are we drawn to certain subjects? And why do we save certain things?

Recently, I decided to reread some books in my personal library. And I’ve kept a few beloved books from childhood. The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron is one of them. A literary treasure on my bookshelf. From long-ago grade school.

Why did I save that book and only a few others? I must have read a variety of books. The imaginative fantasy of the science fiction story spoke to my creative side. I was in a homemade rocket ship with two boys, going to the mushroom planet. It was an adventure. A “wonderful” one.

mushroom cultivationCreativity

Sometimes, creativity eludes even the most creative people. When this happens to me, I look to the past. I tinker. I look at old notebooks from long ago to see what inspired me then. I look within. I look at my old artwork and writing. See what’s on my bookshelves and in my cabinets. I explore the familiar. And then my creativity returns and I can get back to it. (Going for a walk helps too!)

Mushroom cultivation

I love to draw and paint mushrooms. When I saw this book again recently, I decided that it must be the reason why. One reason anyway. It makes sense. What else can it be?

So thank you Eleanor Cameron (1912–1996) for writing this wonderful book. A work of art. And thank you to Robert Henneberger (1921–1999) for the charming artwork on the cover and throughout. The pages in my book are yellow with age and falling out. But that makes it even more precious to me.

Art is everywhere. All around. We just have to find it.

 

 

 

 

6 Responses to Mushroom Cultivation

  1. I absolutely love this discussion of creativity and the truth of its sometimes elusive nature.

    For me, to get the muse back, it’s definitely about the walks.

  2. Hi Ani — I love how you shared a glimpse of your creative process! I also look to the past for inspiration — my journal is a big source of inspiration for me! I looked through one just recently and found 3 words that are now incorporated into the work that I do in my business.

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