I finished editing this lovely image of a rickety old bridge and was searching for a good quote to go along with it for posting on social media. I liked this one by Turkish playwright Mehmet Murat Ildan:
"In the middle of nowhere, an old wooden bridge is a golden bridge!"
Fitting as it was, I found this one by Stephen Covey, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People guy:
"Most people don't listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply."
And I decided to go with the Covey quote because this is a topic that I've been obsessing on lately. The older I get, the more I realize that people are seemingly intent upon speaking more, dominating a conversation, word vomiting and getting the last word. A lot of folks lack the skill to listen and process what the other person is saying (empathy, anyone?) and are hell-bent on being right (even if they're wrong).
When I was younger, I had the impression that those who speak a lot must be smarter than me. Not always true! By nature, I'm an observer and a listener. I'd rather listen and learn, and speak when I know what I'm talking about. I'm not the best at thinking on my feet or bullshitting my way through a conversation. In fact, I'm a deer in headlights if I don't know how to respond, causing the other person to say things like, "Are you with me?" Yes, I am, but this is my processing face. Or, my "listening to understand" face as Covey so eloquently phrases it.
Unfortunately, when I'm done processing and ready to speak, I often can't get a word in. I open my mouth to speak and the other person is already speaking over me and onto the next topic. Or they've completely cut me off or finished my sentence for me. A great example of this phenomenon can be seen nightly on CNN when there's a panel of 3 or 4 "experts" and they're all speaking over each other and saying things like, "let me finish, let me finish, let me finish." There's always that person who will keep speaking about nothing over others, just to prove they can be the dominant speaker. Those aren't conversations, they're competitions and completely unproductive.
If what I've said resonates with you, maybe you can try listening to understand a little more. Covey call this listening with empathy: "When you listen with empathy to another person, you give that person psychological air. And after that vital need is met, you can then focus on influencing or problem solving."
I have been nostalgic for all things New York since I left the place in 1991, but the trip I took back there last month somehow intensified those feelings and I've been in a New York State of Mind ever since I returned to San Diego. Funny thing is, while growing up there (in Chelsea), I constantly complained about it, loathed the subways and piles of trash on the sidewalks, and dreamed of living in the suburbs. So what gives? It seems to me that many who move away from their hometown ultimately crave the comforts or familiarity of home regardless of where they're from. I know I'm not alone in my sentiments and, in fact, surveyed a few of my friends on Fine Art America regarding this notion. Most of them responded in some way that they do miss various aspects of home. David King, for example, was raised in the Salt Lake Valley and didn't take to flat land, apparently. "I did live somewhere else that was a plains type landscape for two years and missed the mountains dearly," he says.
Dora Hathazi Mendez who was raised in Hungary and finally settled in Portugal says she has nostalgic feelings for her little native city. "I always swallow tears at the airport when I start to hear Hungarian language around me," she says. But she's quick to add that the feelings go away fast because upon returning for a visit, she feels more like a stranger these days. One thing that keeps her yearning for her hometown though, is the food. "When I go back, or my mom comes to visit the grandchildren, I bring or ask for food. Taste of my childhood, mainly unhealthy things, like smoked sausages, a special brand of salami, Hungarian red minced pepper because the goulash soup taste with it like home. A little slice of bacon from home can make miracles," she says.
Abbie Shores didn't even realize she was homesick for her hometown in the UK until she went back to visit. She points out, however, that moving back would not resolve those feelings. "I did not think I was homesick until this week when I traveled back to Yorkshire for more or less the first time since I left. Driving into Leeds and walking around, I realized I was really homesick. It was like a deep pang in the pit of my stomach. I am not sure moving back would be the same as before, as much of my love for the area was then. Homesick? Yes, absolutely, but part of that is for what was back then, not what could be in the future."
I understand that deep pang in my stomach that Abbie speaks of, but I also think to some extent I've romanticized and glorified some of my memories. There's a Welsh word for this phenomenon, which is "hiraeth." It means a feeling of homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was, and the nostalgia, the yearning and the grief for the lost places of your past. Believe it or not, I discovered this concept from watching a documentary about Gloria Vanderbilt called, "Nothing Left Unsaid." Known predominantly as an heiress and fashion designer, Ms. Vanderbilt, 94, is also a talented artist who speaks about the idea in the film and describes the drawing she created with this notion explicitly in mind (hence it's title, Hiraeth, seen here, with a blog post written by someone who I can relate to on all levels considering the loss of my mother when I was a young girl).
Kathleen Bishop understands the hiraeth feeling too. "I'm particularly sensitive to fragrances and the memories they evoke," she says. "I grew up along a creek in a redwood forest beside the Pacific. Whenever I travel home, I always stop at a funky little market in Boonville to grab a sandwich."
But not everyone longs for home. Chuck Staley is perfectly happy to be living the Hollywood life, a world away from the south where he is originally from. "I was born in Memphis right after the depression, so there were 9 of us from my great-grandmother down to me living in this house," he says. "When I got out of the army, I worked in Memphis for a couple of years, then my wife and I moved to Hollywood, each of our lifelong dreams. I never wish to go back to any of those places in which I grew up. I always felt out of place," he adds.
And Kathy Anselmo simply states, "I couldn't move far enough from where I grew up."
How about you? Have you moved away and do you feel a sense of longing? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Here is an example of a gallery wrapped canvas print with mirrored sides. The sheen on this one is glossy, but matte is also available upon check out. The canvas is stretched around a wood frame and finished with a wire backing so it's ready to hang. My printer is top of the line when it comes to quality. I know other vendors use a faux canvas but this is the real deal! Most importantly, the details of the image stand out as crisp and clean and translate onto the canvas as tack sharp as the appear in the digital image.
This one is entitled, "Kittie's Orchid," but if you are looking for another option for floral wall art, there are several choices in my Floral Gallery. Shipping rates apply and each item is securely packed and safely shipped directly to you. As always, there is a 100% satisfaction guarantee for 30 days. Feel free to contact me for further information.
I entered the annual "Best of San Marcos" photo contest through the City of San Marcos and won first place! My image, Discovery Street, will be featured in the next issue of San Marcos 360 magazine as well as on the city's website, promotional materials and other city publications.
The image holds significance in the sense that this particular area along Discovery Street is due for development in the next few years. The future "Creek District" infrastructure will include two new bridges for flood relief (the area always floods when it rains) but from what I can tell, they are going to preserve a lot of the open space. When we first moved to the neighborhood I was taken by the pure country feel of this road and after several years, the novelty has yet to wear off. It reminds me of the feeling I used to get when my family would travel out to the country from NYC for the weekends. Ah, that peaceful, easy feeling.
San Marcos 360 magazine, the City's news and recreation guide, is published three times per year. The next issue is due out in April 2018.
Spring is just around the corner and these pieces are not only perfect for the season, but quite reasonably priced. Check them out:
Now is the time to order these special beachy Easter cards. Customize the inside message upon ordering. Order single cards, packs of 10 or packs of 25. Drop me a line if you have any questions! Don't forget to like us on Facebook and share with all of your friends. #NaturAli
This week's wall art picks are wrapped canvas pieces with a vintage feel and are priced right! Check them out:
If you will be in or around the NYC area next week, be sure to check out the Art on Paper Fair at Manhattan's Pier 36, March 8-11, where eighty galleries will feature top modern and contemporary paper-based art. At booth 311, Garvey Simon will feature a painting by Emma Tapley, whose work is currently on display at the gallery's back office on W. 27th Street. Her piece for the Art on Paper Fair will be Clover (pictured), a 9" x 12" oil painting on paper, mounted on a board. "I mounted the paper to the board with a product called Beva," says Tapley. "It is a glue that you iron onto the panel and then iron the paper to the glued board. I then gilded the sides with a gold called palladium leaf and varnished," she adds.
Emma is a life-long artist whose work has appeared in numerous group and solo shows in and around the NYC area and DC. Last year, her Icelandic Sketches were shown at the TheoGanz studio in Beacon, NY, after she completed a month long residency in Siglufjöður, the northernmost town in Iceland. In addition to her fine art work, Emma is a well-known decorative painter. Among her specialties is Faux Bois, which translates from French to "false wood" or "imitation wood," and it can be applied to walls, doors, cabinets and pieces of furniture. Emma has worked all over the city doing decorative painting projects at private residences as well as for Boyd Reath at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art where she helped complete a wall finish in one of the gallery rooms for the Artistic Furniture of the Gilded Age exhibit in 2015.
Limited edition giclee prints of Clover are available. Contact Emma Tapley for details. To purchase tickets for the Art on Paper Fair visit http://thepaperfair.com/tickets
So, you've browsed through all the Naturali Images galleries and you're ready to purchase a a canvas print, right? Before adding it to the cart, make sure you're aware of all the options available, especially the type of "wrap," which in my opinion is a crucial choice.
The first step is to choose a size. Hard to miss this as it's front and center on the ordering page. But just to the right of the size option is "step 2," which is Frame choice. You either choose Yes or No. Now don't get me wrong, canvas prints look great in a frame, but I prefer a frameless canvas. On to "step 3," which is Canvas. This is a simple choice of either glossy or matte finish. I go back and forth on my opinion. I went through my glossy days and then my matte phase and I still have no preference. I guess it depends on the image.
Okay, "step 4," is Wrap. This can make or break your your excitement about receiving your order. Luckily, a clear preview is shown with each choice but make sure you understand what's what here. Now this is just my opinion, but I think the best choice is "Gallery Wrap, Mirrored Sides." This means the canvas is stretched around the wood frame and the sides still include part of the image. Other choices will leave you with black sides or white sides. The choice is yours, but just sayin', I like the mirrored sides.
Now you're ready to add to cart. If you have any questions about ordering a canvas print or any other item, feel free to comment below or contact me direct.
When I was searching for a way to sell my greeting cards, I went through several options before deciding on Fine Art America as my vendor. I have a ton of samples from various companies, even Walmart! There were pros and cons to each. Some were preferable because there was no outside company logo on the back but the print quality was poor. Some looked like they came right off my home inkjet printer. One company didn't offer envelopes with the cards, which I thought was bizarre. Needless to say, I went through quite a bit of research.
Ultimately what led me to Fine Art America was the exceptional quality, drop shipping option (I don't need to stock inventory), the ability for buyers to customize the cards (try it!), user-friendly interface and reasonable membership fees. Then I discovered in addition to greeting cards, I can offer prints, framed prints (with a ton of options), metal prints, acrylic prints, wood prints and a host of products including cell phone cases, yoga mats, mugs, totes and more.
Basically, Fine Art America (FAA) is an online marketplace founded by Sean Broihier in 2006. From what I understand, Broihier wanted a more universal name for the company so he changed it to Pixels. Pixels and FAA are basically the same thing. All of my work is available on both sites at the same price points. Interchangeable. An artist's membership also comes with an individualized site known at the Artist Website (AW). So for a nominal annual fee, customers can find my images on Pixels.com, Fineartamerica.com and on my AW, alison-frank.pixels.com. And by visiting the store right here on naturaliimages.com, you can browse through all my products (seriously, there's a lot).
So that's it! I get to do the fun stuff (creating images) and the rest is up to FAA/Pixels. Now, feel free to browse!