I Need the Ocean Because…Mondays are Exhausting

“Ripples of Blessings,” Postcard made by Trang K.

Thalassophile (n.) a lover of the sea; someone who loves the sea, the ocean.

Mondays are exhausting, so I thought you–like me–might need the calming blues and purples of the sea. The lovely postcard above was made especially for me by the personalized postcard queen–Trang K. She blesses so many with her art from the heart.

Trang sent these “ripples of blessings”  to make me “smile and bring peace.” She has an uncanny knack for knowing what a person needs and getting it to them at the right time–and at this moment, I can use the calming vibes of an ocean, river, lake, or stream. Of course, that’s not feasible, so I’ll accept the ocean in the card.

Thanks, Trang!

[Note: the scan does no justice to this postcard].

The Fortunate One: St. Josephine Bakhita

Seeing the sun, the moon and the stars, I said to myself, ‘Who could be the Master of these beautiful things?’ I felt a great desire to see him, to know him and to pay him homage.    –St. Josephine Bakhita

Today’s “Focus on Black” post comes because I was a little surprised to learn that many people I spoke with could not name one Black saint, though even if not Catholic, they knew the names of European saints. Indeed, the only individuals I spoke to who knew about Black saints were two students who attended Catholic primary and secondary schools.

So, though there are many Black saints, today I’m introducing you to St. Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947), Patron Saint of the Sudan.

Saint Josephine Bakhita, 2003. Oil on canvas. Artist, Janet McKenzie

We know very little about Bakhita’s early life, but she was born into a prominent family in the western Darfur region of Sudan. Her path to sainthood began with terror:

She and a friend were walking through a field in her native Sudan when she was abducted by armed slave traders.  She was so terrified upon capture that she forgot her name. The slavers called her “Bakhita,” which means fortunate.

Bakhita endured terrible cruelty at the hands of a succession of owners. Her fortunes truly changed when she was

purchased by Italian consul Callisto Legnani, who treated her with kindness and respect. Legani left her with a friend, Augusto Michieli, and his wife in Italy.  Bakhita served as caretaker of their newborn daughter, Mimmina.  When business required the Michielis to travel, they entrusted the girls to the Canossia Sisters of the Institute of the Catechumens in Venice. There, Bakhita came to understand the God who had given her the fortitude to overcome the hardships of slavery. After several months, she received the sacraments of initiation and was given the name Josephine. She remained with the Sisters and served as a nun for the rest of her life, beloved for her kindness to children and visitors to the Institute.  When she died her body was displayed for several days as thousands came to pay their respects. –from 365 Days of Black History, I Only Know the Story

St. Josephine Bakhita, the first saint of Sudan, was canonized–made a saint–on October 1, 2000.

At her canonization ceremony, Pope John II said of her:

In today’s world, countless women continue to be victimized, even in developed modern societies. In St. Josephine Bakhita we find a shining advocate of genuine emancipation. The history of her life inspires not passive acceptance but the firm resolve to work effectively to free girls and women from oppression and violence, and to return them to their dignity in the full exercise of their rights.

To learn more, see:

For more black saints, see:

Until next time…

 

Virginia Woolf Wrote Postcards Too!

Instead of showcasing more children’s book illustration postcards today, as planned, I’ve decided to share a few Virginia Woolf postcards. Why? Because today is Virginia Woolf’s birthday, of course. Now, I know we just celebrated A.A. Milne and Winnie-the-Pooh last week, but rest assured, Pics and Posts will not become the blog that celebrates all the birthdays of all the famous people.

I’ve had some Woolf postcards that have been in the “to be blogged” box for quite some time–so what better time to bring them out than her birthday?

Virginia Woolf. Photograph by George C. Beresford/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

This postcard comes from a collection I’m not to crazy about because there are too few women and two few people of color. But I do love this “classic” portrait of Woolf.

Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room, 1922. From BIBLIOPHILIA: 100 Literary Postcards, Obvious State Studio, 2015.

The “wild horse” postcard comes from Bibliophilia: 100 Literary Postcards. The collection offers postcards featuring quotes from favorite authors. Most are dead white men, but the quotes and artwork make the omission forgivable.  Somewhat.

Virginia Woolf. Art by Adolfo Falces Delgado. Collection, Literary Celebrities, 2016.

The postcard above is by far the best Virginia Woolf postcard I’ve seen (yet). My friend Cy picked it up for me at a museum in Madrid during her travels last summer.  It has a literary twin that I will share another time.

I didn’t encounter Virginia Woolf till I was working on my master’s degree at the University of Florida (Go Gators!).  I studied her works in both Modern British Literature and Feminist Theories, facilitated by the inimitable Drs. R. Brandon Kershner and Elizabeth Langland, respectively. I appreciated her works–for many “critical” reasons–especially because Woolf and her texts gave me, a person who  studies mental illness in literature, a lot to think about and discuss.

Here are a few of my favorite Woolf quotes– if I can stop at a few!

On madness:

All extremes of feeling are allied with madness.

On bookish people:

When the Day of Judgment dawns and people, great and small, come marching in to receive their heavenly rewards, the Almighty will gaze upon the mere bookworms and say to Peter, “Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them. They have loved reading.”

On women and creativity:

A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.

I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

If you prefer something a bit more “lowbrow” from Woolf, check out her “most savage insults” at the Literary Hub.

Brain Pickings offers a worthwhile read on media’s misinterpretation of Woolf’s suicide letter.   [There are links to other Brain Pickings articles on Woolf, so you might want to check those out too].

And of course, Woolf wrote lots of letters and postcards too! 😉

I’m tempted to dig through my papers and find my essays on Woolf.  I recall taking issue with a section of A Room of One’s Own, but I still appreciate who she was as a writer and thinker.

Literary Wisdom: Still Lives…Waiting

“Chaton entre des livres” (Kitten Between Books)

Life is change. If you aren’t growing and evolving, you’re standing still, and the rest of the world is surging ahead. Most of the people are very immature. They lead “still” lives, waiting.  —Louise Penny, Still Life

Note: A-dor-a-ble postcard from Heather F. (AZmom on swap-bot) for the Cup and Chaucer group’s Literary Wisdom Swap #1. For the series, swappers send partners a book-related postcard with a quote from a fictional or poetic work that enlightens, inspires, or “shows us the way.” [I host the swap in two groups on swap-bot].

 

Color Harmony: Can There Be Harmony on One Side of the Wheel?

Icy cold temperatures kept me indoors quite a bit over the last few weeks, and since I’d rather explore and experiment with my camera outdoors, I delayed work on Dogwood’s Week 3 prompt when I looked at the forecast and saw that this week promises warmer weather.

I managed to complete the Week 2 prompt more than a week ago. Somewhat.

The prompt, “Color Harmony,” under the “composition” category, called for photographers to:

Get out your color wheel. Do opposites attract? Can there be harmony with opposite colors? Does the Hulk wear purple pants? Mix warm and cool colors.

I had a number of things working against me. The weather (rainy and/or cold), meetings, and the beginning of a new semester conspired to limit my time and energy for photographic creativity. Here’s what I managed:

[Shot with my Canon].  I like the silhouette of the the house and trees in this photo of the sunset sky as the evening clouds began to roll in, but I’m not pleased with the composition.  At the moment of the shot, I was focused on the sky and getting out of the cold! I should have changed my position a bit to get the right balance. Few things can compete with the beauty of a naturally painted sky–and this one offers a nice blend of pink to orange to yellow masking the blue day sky.

I snapped this one on my iPhone while racing through Walmart. I’m not a fan of fake flowers, but the pink and purple “silk” flowers on display drew my attention. Why? Pink and purple, of course! I edited the photo because I couldn’t tolerate the fact that they were so obviously fake.  Now, they have a reason to look “unreal.”  The conundrum here was trying to determine if the photo captures “warm” and “cool” colors. Purple and pink are straddlers. The pink feels a bit warmer than cool to me; the purple a bit cooler than warm. What do you think?

Lastly, another one snapped on my phone. These are my mom’s forever sunflowers. I forgive them for being fake because they are so realistic that many people think they’re the real thing. Furthermore, I accept sunflowers in all forms.  😉

Do they meet the challenge? I’m not convinced there were enough opposite or warm and cool colors to create interest.

I’ll keep working on “color harmony”–when the weather warms a bit.


Week 1: Vision: Looking Ahead

Happy Winnie-the-Pooh Day!

Map of the “100 Aker Wood”–Drawn by Christopher Robin with the help of Mr. Shepard.

Today we celebrate Edward Bear–known as “Winnie-the-Pooh”–and the birth of the beloved bear’s creator, A.A. Milne, who was born January 18, 1882! I’ve been writing Pooh-Bear postcards all week, so I thought I’d drop by and share a few from my collection with a tiny bit of Pooh wisdom.

“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels perhaps there isn’t. Anyhow, here is is at the bottom, and ready to be introduced to you. Winnie-the-Pooh.

I’ve loved the Pooh characters since I was a kid, and I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the 100 Acre Wood with my own little one.  Although he watched some episodes of Disney’s “new” Winnie-the-Pooh (My Friends Tigger and Pooh)with Darby not Christopher Robin–we read every original Milne story with E.H. Shepard’s art.

I appreciate Disney for introducing the classics to a younger generation of kiddos, but I don’t think anything can top the Milne/Shepard duo. The art is sweet and innocent and the plots are cute, but what keeps us returning to Pooh is the simple wisdom we glean from the interactions of Pooh and friends.

“Pooh and Piglet walked thoughtfully home together in the golden evening, and for a long time they were silent.” Illustration from Christopher Robin Gives Pooh a Party.

Through Winnie-the-Pooh Milne inspired books and articles that focus on the life lessons and wisdom offered through Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, Roo and the rest. My favorite bit of wisdom for today is:

Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.  –Piglet in Pooh’s Little Instruction Book

I’m looking forward to the weekend when I can spend a day of “not bothering.” Do you have a favorite bit of Pooh wisdom to share?

Children’s Book Illustration Postcards: Cute Animals and Naughty Children

As I was writing postcards for Children’s Book Illustration Postcards swaps yesterday, I realized I hadn’t posted about the swaps in 11 months!

When I began the second series of the swaps, I’d planned to post about the cards received every two to four weeks. Today, I’m sending off swap #31, but the last time I shared was swap #12. I have a lot of catching up to do!

I hosts two children’s book illustration swaps on swap-bot every two weeks–a public swap that any swapper can join and a swap for members in the Book Lovers Congregate group. Needless to say, I have a nice stack of images to share. But instead of overwhelming you with images, I’ll try to share 2-10 postcards once or twice per week until I get caught up.

Today’s post features an eclectic collection of postcards sent from Germany, Israel, Sweden, and the Netherlands, but they share a bit of commonality–mischievous children and/or cute animals.

The first pair of cards, sent for swaps #13 (the group and public swaps), came from Lihior of Israel. You are probably familiar with Beatrix Potter and her series of children’s books, but if not, click an image for a closer look and details about the card.

Roosje of the Netherlands and Sissi of Germany sent postcards for swaps #14.  I’ve loved the “naughty toddlers” Jip and Janneke [Roosje] since a Postcrosser introduced them to me many years ago.

Jip and Janneke. Written by Annie M.G. Schmidt. Illustrated Fiep Westendorp

Pettson and the cute cat Findus [Sissi] are quickly finding a place in my heart.

Pettson and Findus. Author/Illustrator, Sven Nordqvist

For swaps #15, Stargazer008 of Germany sent another Pettson and Findus (same card as above),  and Lihior sent “The Frog King.”

“The Frog King”

Finally, for swaps #16, Lihior sent a postcard from the World of Eric Carle postcard collection. (Poor Lihior, she couldn’t shake me for a few weeks).

Eric Carle, Draw Me a Star, 1992

And Pei04, from Sweden, sent a Pippi Longstocking illustration.  This one brought back fond memories of the Saturday afternoons I spent absorbed in the Pippi books when I was a little girl.

Pippi Langstrump by Astrid Lindgren. Illustrated by Ingrid Vang Nyman

The illustrated postage stamps on the back of a couple of Lihior’s postcards rivaled the postcards for attention.

Postage from Israel: (L) “The Fox in the Vineyard.” “R) “The Reed and the Cedar.”

Postage from Israel

Don’t you love how each panel tells a story?

That’s it for today. Look for more children’s book illustration postcards next week. Enjoy!