Archive for the ‘by the sea’ category

The Saturday Book Shop – The Snail with the Right Heart

February 13, 2021

Most book stores do not have a section labelled “Simply Enchanting”, but they ought to, and this book definitely falls into that category of undefinable magic (mixed with true science) that will no doubt make it a contemporary classic for young readers—and everyone young at heart too.

The Snail with the Right Heart: A True Story by Maria Popova with illustrations by Ping Zhu is a children’s book that holds a fascinating story with down-to-earth wisdom alongside soaring wonder of the ages within its covers. (And if you’re a book printing/design geek like me, you’ll notice that not only the stunning pages, but even the end papers of the covers are delicately and brilliantly illustrated. The tiny details of book production, along with the inner workings of tiny gliding snails zing me.) Three years in the making, the book is quite timely, especially in these times:

“A love story, a time story, an invitation not to mistake difference for defect and to welcome, across the accordion scales of time and space, diversity as nature’s wellspring of resilience and beauty.” – Maria Popova

Maria Popova’s name is familiar if you’re a reader of her fabulous BrainPickings site where she mesmerizes us all with her passionate and poetic writings about all things books, art, design, poetry, music, marvels, philosophy: LIFE.

Popova is after my own heart here when she describes so wonderfully what I have long felt about the best of children’s books:

“Great children’s books move young hearts, yes, but they also move the great common heart that beats in the chest of humanity by articulating in the language of children, which is the language of simplicity and absolute sincerity, the elemental truths of being: what it means to love, what it means to be mortal, what it means to live with our fragilities and our frissons. As such, children’s books are miniature works of philosophy, works of wonder and wonderment that bypass our ordinary resistances and our cerebral modes of understanding, entering the backdoor of consciousness with their soft, surefooted gait to remind us who and what we are.” – Maria Popova

There’s more to Popova’s behind-the-scenes about writing this gem, as well as more photos of the gorgeous inside pages of the book here.

And while we’re on the subject of snails, and because it’s the day before Valentine’s, I’ll leave you with a little poem I wrote back in 2014 about embracing the spirit of snails and all they can teach us about unexpected blessings of perspective, whether we’re in full tilt hummingbird-heartbeat doings mode or embracing the reminders of slow and steady rhythms of just being that come our way … Happy Heart Day All! ❤️❤️❤️

OF SNAILS AND TRAILS
by Paula Boyd Farrington

 

I read about Totem Animals
whose essence shows The Way
The article said if you don’t know yours,
Be aware: it will somehow speak to you; show up during your day
 
And there you were
when I went out to the car
In plain view—a darling little snail
On the rear view mirror: driver’s side
 
Oh no, I groan …
I don’t want my totem to be a SNAIL!
Sluggish. Slow. Escargot.
No, thank you. No. Just … no.
 
But there you are again
In the evening dusk
climbing outside the kitchen window,
seemingly everywhere I look.
 
Oh my. Not what I wanted to see.
Why couldn’t I have glimpsed a National Geographic Gazelle?
A Lion. A Jaguar. A Hawk. A Flamingo!
Something powerful or exotic. Oh hell.
 
But there you are.
Carrying your likeness of a gratitude symbol
upon your mandala of a spiral shell,
your home right with you, wherever you may dwell.
 
Let me look closer, your antennae sweeping out
Stretching forward, inquisitively sensing the air
I watch you quietly know where you’re going,
on your own glossy path, climbing here and there.
 
Let me rethink this tiny powerhouse of Now
to warm to What Is
seeing anew the natural grace
In everything that lives.
 
This little snail is more than cute,
It fulfills an important role
Recycles organic matter,
Strong and steady it goes and goes.
 
And your giant ocean cousin?
All pink lipped with curvy shell,
known as an aphrodisiac,
her majesty feeds the islands well.
 
Named the Queen Conch.
She sometimes sports a pearl.
A royal snail in aqua seas
Classic beauty, a crown of whorls.
 
So can I embrace this totem tale?
As a celebration of gentler slower trails?
Of gliding along smoothly through time & tide?
The heart’s humble wisdom says: oh, snail—be mine! ❤️
Paula Boyd Farrington ©2014Oh! And one last time-oriented p.s. … I had the pleasure of getting to create the art for the cover of this Exumas: The Kingdom of Blue coffee table book (and wrote a poem inside about my first flight to Exuma!). The book is filled with gorgeous photos by Alessandro Sarno, holding a reverent gaze on life in this beautiful chain of islands surrounded by some of the most stunning clear ocean waters anywhere. It’s perfect for anyone who loves The Bahamas or whose heart wants to visit. The publisher is offering a 20% discount through Valentine’s Weekend. Link to the site is here.

 

Enjoy & see you back next week at The Saturday Book Shop!

 

Monday Musings

January 25, 2021

Mixing up a vintage ARTChix mermaid image with layers of ink painted papers, and wisps of photos for a digi-collage ocean dreamscape to gently stir the imagination when it’s easy to feel a bit underwater these days. Wishing you waves of whimsy and wonder splashed throughout your week … 🧜‍♀️

The Saturday Book Shop – January 2, 2021

January 2, 2021

“A hymn of love to the world.”

That’s what author Elizabeth Gilbert says about the book I want to share with you today—and what a true description it is.

I am totally enthralled by Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

What a treasure this book is. The stories captivate with a blend of gentle beauty, facts, history, reverence, humor, and gratitude that are expertly and unforgettably woven together to help: “…people remember that what’s good for the land is also good for the people.”

It seems a good place to be, here in this first Saturday of 2021. A place where we’ve had more time to reflect and pause to notice the generous gifts of the earth while contemplating how we reciprocate that grace and care. This is what Robin Wall Kimmerer writes about so well, so wholeheartedly.

My beloved Bahamas is right now facing a potential threat to the pristine, abundant, and incredibly gorgeous waters that surround their 700 cays and islands. Pleas, petitions, and every know legal action and prayer are engaged today in urging that no further licenses be issued to drill oil in these irreplaceable waters. To risk an oil spill is unthinkable. The current administration did not negotiate the current drilling permits and has stated their opposition to it. Public support in The Bahamas and abroad is strong to cease the oil drilling, and it needs to be stronger yet. If you want to sign this petition to help save The Bahamas from oil drilling, please sign here. More background information on the situation is here.


… AND A REMINDER ABOUT MORE PLACES TO FIND WONDERFUL BOOKS & TERRIFIC WRITINGS ABOUT BOOKS IN THE NEW YEAR …

In my original post about the start of The Saturday Book Shop, I noted that I’m especially fond of the marvelously thoughtful Brain Pickings by Maria Popova, as well as Austin Kleon’s brilliant and eclectic weekly newsletter and blog. Elizabeth Gilbert has a new Onward book club that’s worth checking out too. All of these sources offer a wide wealth of writings and inspirations about books. Well worth being on their mailing lists.

That’s it for now, other than an ongoing plea to support local independent booksellerswhenever you can—these intrepid entrepreneurs have made the publishing world go round for a long long time and are essential nooks of civilization and creative caffeine everywhere!

What are you reading to begin this New Year? Would love to hear what’s on your nightstand table or in your book bag or e-reader if you want to share in the comments. See you next Saturday … 📚

“A book is a present you can open again and again.”

 

Ocean and Sunset Artist Trading Cards

April 12, 2016

Ocean.ATC.Stirred.Sea

Creating Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) with the fabulous Helga Strauss Stevens of ARTchix Studio was a big part of how I discovered my love of making collage and mixed media art.  It’s also how I made the e-acquaintance of the delightful artist, Lenna Young Andrews, who is hosting an Ocean & Sunset themed swap of these small, almost-business-card-sized works of heart—all made just for the love of art and sharing the joy with other artists and crafters!

I couldn’t resist this theme, especially with such glorious sunsets by the sea and crystal-clear aqua waters around here.baby.turtle

Sunset.Inspiration.WestEnd.GBSo, I set out to have some fun with warm tones and cool blues, making 3 of each theme (and a couple extras for personal swapping). I started with watercolor paper and acrylic paints for the Sunset cards … yellows and oranges and a touch of red mixed in with some gold highlights:

1st.Layer.SunsetATCs.2016 2nd.Layer.Sunset.ATCs.2016 3rd.Layer.SunsetATCs.2016 4th.Layer.Sunset.ATCs.2016For the Ocean cards, I let my love of gelli-printing on tissue paper lead the way and started layering that in with various bits of collected paper (and vintage ARTchix sheets):Tissue.Paper.GelliPrints.4Ocean

Beginnings.Ocean.ATCs

With all the backgrounds ready …

Ocean.Sunset.Backgrounds4ea

… I started browsing through my stash of image sheets from ARTchix, and paired pictures with some other wisps of paper, stamping, some typed “by the sea” words (on yellow tissue to blend with the paint), and little embellishments to bring the ATCs together … I kept the colors separate in the Sunset & Ocean themes (warm and cool), but loved playing and mixing the themes together in the content, with bathing beauties and sea creatures cavorting on the Sunset cards too! The little veined marks in the backgrounds of some of the Sunset cards (almost reef-like) was made by letting a little water into the paint mix and pressing the cards together … it added to the blending of the colors and I’m totally in love with how water creates these little rivulets—patterns that show up in paint, in tree roots and branches, in underwater coral fans, in our veins, in trickling raindrops … it’s an organic flow that shows up everywhere water makes its mark!

Sunset.ATC.Seahorse

Sunset.ATC.BySea.w.Fish

Sunset.ATC.bySea.Flower.Shell Sunset.ATC.Love.Sunsets

Sunset.ATC.BySea.Mermaids

A quick picture of the fine line needle tip applicator that I used for putting little gold highlights on the cards—shown in front of my beloved trusty 1955 Royal Quiet Deluxe typewriter—I love pecking collage words out on this machine as much as I love hearing the carriage return bell DING!

fineline.applicator

I finished off the backs of the Sunset cards with snippets of polka dotted papers gleaned mostly from odd bits of wrapping paper and smudges of paint in the same warm tones … just because I love dots dots dots … and paint!

Sunset.ATC.Seahorse.Back

Totally enjoyed finding more bathing beauties and images and sea-inspired touches for the Ocean themed cards … snip, snip, glue, stamp … there’s even a thin layer of clear pouring medium over the blues to give them more of a water feel …

Ocean.ATC.LiveIN.Sea

OceanATC.EnjoyToday

Ocean.ATC.MerryMermaid

Ocean.ATC.Beachcomber

Finishing them off on the back with more polka dots, along with Starfish postage stamps from The Bahamas (they have especially pretty postage stamps in The Bahamas that I seem to use more in collage than in mailing letters! 🙂 )

Ocean.ATC.Card.Back.ET

Thank you, Lenna, for hosting such a wonderful swap—I really enjoyed the process of making these—and what fun it will be to find ATCs from other artists waiting for me in my mailbox in a few weeks!! Swaps swirl with shared joy and the glow of art enthusiasm … just like sunsets and the oceans of creativity sparkling out there … enjoy!!

Picture Postcard Kind of Day

January 25, 2015

Banana.Bay.1.25.2015

© paula boyd farrington 2015

 

Enjoying the afternoon at Banana Bay … a true Grand Bahama paradise kind of day … straight out of a picture postcard. The combination of brilliant and soft-blended blues, an intensely-gentle warming sun, a just-enough breeze, and low humidity all came together today in one stellar “Ahhhhh ….” that begs both simple enjoyment and a cyber-singing of its praises.

It is after all High Gratitude season here.  When I first moved here, people told me this idyllic time of year was sometimes referred to as “gloating season”—that is not my intent here. And we year-round island residents have waded through our share of summer heat and high humidity to get to these glorious days of dewy-free revelry. These slice-of-heaven days may already be well-enough celebrated in the tourism brochures, but those images don’t capture all the little moments of day-to-day warm winter bliss …  the long rays of dawn glinting off the cat’s fur …

cat.w.sun.glinting

… the delight of finding that the avocado tree in the back garden is offering up yet one more late-ripening gift of green goodness …

late.ripening.avocado.1.2015the silhouette of a shorebird wading in late afternoon liquid gold glimmers …

silhouettes.shorebirdsAhhhh indeed.  Perhaps today is received with extra gratitude and thanks because it was blustery and somewhat gray yesterday—a grand day in its own way with the palm fronds applauding madly in gusts, as if cheering wildly for the cool front to get here—sweeping a path clear for silky sun and cyan sky kisses that take your breath away. And give you pause to take an extra-deep breath and offer up a quiet hallelujah for natural wonders—and absolutely exquisite island days.  Here’s to the sunshine of the heart, wherever your paradise …

 

Art in the Mail: International Postcard Swap

May 17, 2014

Postcard10

Postcard9.Mermaidens

Postcard7

Postcard8.Bahamas

Postcard6

Postcard5.SeaSiren

Postcard4

Postcard.3A

Postcard2

Postcard1Enjoyed creating these mixed media collage postcards for iHanna International Postcard Swap.  These cards are crafted out of recycled pieces of cardboard,  along with some vintage ARTchix Studio images, scraps of old sewing patterns, bits of imprinted paper napkins, acrylic paint, gelli prints, and odd wisps of wrapping paper—a blend of textures and colors and fun celebrating the abundant sea and aqua blue waters that make this archipelago nation of 700 Bahama cays and isles extra delightful—along with a vibrant international community that calls these island home!  These 10 cards are winging their way to various parts of the world, and I’ll soon photograph and post those that land here too!  Handmade art. Snail mail. Adventuring art hearts! Thanks, iHanna.nu for coordinating this lovely exchange!

 

An Art Garland of Sea Scallops

November 19, 2013

Garland.Day.At.BeachGarland.Sea.Frolic Garland.Sea.Star Garland.Shell.Chaise Garland.Swim.In.FlowersGarland.Mermaid.Silhouette

I created these scallop-shaped collages for an ARTchix Studio swap at the end of summer—all with a sea theme, and splashes of mixed media goodies:  vintage bathing beauty images and laser wood cuts (from ARTchix), plus tropical umbrella-paper & stamped cupcake-liner toppers, colorful blue/green background papers, tissue paper, watercolor crayons, and even snippets of paper doily “scallops” painted with gelato sticks and fortified with layers of Mod Podge® to make them more durable.  The art-scallops string together with ribbons and festive ties into one see-worthy garland 🙂 … oceans of fun!

And deep oceans of thanks to the amazing Helga Strauss Stevens, owner/creator of ARTchix for inspiring so much creative joy, not only with this theme and so many others over the years, but also as a pioneer in supplying vintage & contemporary mixed media images, custom-made embellishments, and ephemera and cool stuff of all kinds when she started ARTchix 12 years ago.  She’s the one who started me on my collage journey, and I am heartily grateful, and ever in awe of her talents, generosity, kindnesses, and fun-loving spirit. Brava, Helga, Brava!!

p.s. … and here are the lovely, beautifully-detailed, whimsical, and smile-inducing scalloped artworks I received in the swap … waves of thanks to all the artists who made these and the extra bonus goodies in the packages too … thank you!

sea scallop collage by Michelle McLean of artfulembellishments.com

sea scallop collage by Michelle McLean of artfulembellishments.com

sea scallop collage by Lisa Robinson
sea scallop collage by Lisa Robinson

sea scallop collage by Naomi Walsh

sea scallop collage by Naomi Walsh

sea scallop collage by Ronetta Bantly

sea scallop collage by Ronetta Bantly

sea scallop collage by Julo Twombley

sea scallop collage by Julo Twombley

 

Avast! It’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day

September 19, 2011

September 19th is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. This is the official day to practice saying “arrrggghh, matey”—and other plank-walkin’ talk—an occasion dreamed up by a couple fun guys who were bored one day, but had plenty of Pirattitude. They told funny guy/author, Dave Barry, about it back in 2002, and he put it in his Miami Herald column. The rest is shiver-me-timbers history, and people all over the world now use this date as an excuse to swagger about in their swashbuckling finest and to think about stirring some rum into their coffee. Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway, it’s all about having fun—and got me thinking about Grand Bahama’s own brush with fictional pirate fame.

Filming for some of Disney’s Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Pirates of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides took place on Grand Bahama Island, back in 2006/2007. It was a thrill to see The Black Pearl and Davy Jones’ Flying Dutchman cinema-ships up close and to catch random sightings of the cast and crew out and about on the island.

We were all swept up in the movie-making excitement—especially my daughter and her friends, who had a great time devising their own buccaneer ensembles in which to search for treasure and adventure during Ye Olde Playtimes.Halloween at our house that year included a rather commanding and fierce-looking Pirate Princess known as Sparrowla—an imaginary long-lost sister of Captain Jack Sparrow:Here’s to sailing the Seven Seas of Imagination and Laughter for as long as you can! Yo ho, me hearties, yo ho!

 

 

 

Out of The Blue: A September 11th Anniversary Tribute

September 11, 2011

 I wrote this poem in the weeks following the tragedy of September 11th. My heart wanted to wrap everyone in the healing waters here in The Bahamas—the starfish I saw was such a stark contrast to the horrific devastation, such a reminder of how amazing life can be when we’re not terrorizing one other. The poem originally appeared in Grand Bahama Island Magazine—a welcome digest my husband and I published for many years. I post it here with prayers and remembrance on this 10th anniversary of September 11th, and blessings of natural wonder and grace and hope.

Out of The Blue

The waters of The Bahamas

shine so clear and blue

reflecting a kind of peace

that is eternal and renewed

Catching sight of a simple starfish

resting of the sand beneath the waves

there’s wonder and a sense God put it there

as a natural tribute, just for you

For everyone who lost their lives

and those who labor still

to heal and defend

the freedoms we all hold very dear

Where do we go for comfort

to find the strength within

to fight the good fight without fear

to find the peace again?

We lift our eyes up heavenward

and then look here on earth

for reminders of a paradise unlost

where hope can be rebirthed

… and under the liquid surface

of waters that sparkle true blue

we gaze upon a simple starfish

and find the courage to love and live anew.

— Paula Boyd Farrington

Bahama Blue Bathing Beauties

May 30, 2011

The color BLUE dazzles in The Bahamas. Countless variegated shades of aqua, cyan, cerulean, azure, sky, royal, indigo, and sapphire surround us in the shifting seas and are celebrated in all kinds of art—including these artist trading card collages I created for the blue-themed ARTchix challenge.

 

I loved making these vintage Bathing Beauty mixed media collages. The backgrounds came from photos of tropical-water-hued fabric prints in my fashion wardrobe, photographed and printed onto paper, then layered with some retro-fun ARTchix Studio images and historic postcard text.

I love splashing into waves of blue and frollicking in art.

Tra-la.

 


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