Monday, May 6, 2013

I like this Quote:

The story was the bushman’s most sacred possession. These people knew what we do not; that without a story you have not got a nation, or culture, or civilization. Without a story of your own, you haven’t got a life of your own. —Laurens Van der Post

Thursday, April 4, 2013

King of the Birds!

Recently, I created felt, bird headdresses for volunteer performers to wear while I narrate a story in front of a live audience. The story is an adaptation of a folktale from the Mayan of Southern Mexico & Guatamala. It tells how the Quetzal Bird became King of all the birds.

In the story, we find the birds needing to choose one bird to be their king. Mockingbird (above) wanted to be king, but was considered too small and plain looking, despite possessing a beautiful voice, and the ability to speak in many bird languages. 
Red Macaw (above) next wanted to be king. Red Macaw was indeed impressive to behold, very regal looking with bright, red feathers. But, his voice -YIKES! No one could bear to hear him talk for long, so he too was deemed not suitable to be king of the birds. I mean, who would want to hear him give the annual State of the Birds address?

Next was Turkey (above) who wanted to be king. Now Turkey was large and strong. He would be a great warrior king for the birds. But, the birds knew he would keep them constantly at war, and they did not want to always have war. Plus, he was rather ugly with his face so scarred and battle weary from all the fighting he had done in his life.

Many, many birds came forward wanting to be king, but none were considered suitable for the job. Standing off on the side lines watching it all was Quetzal. Queztal was a very intelligent bird, known for giving good counsel to his fellow bird friends. He possessed a fine voice and flew through the air with dignified grace. When he perched upon the branches, he did so with poise and good posture. He had so many of the qualities needed for being king of the birds - save one! On the day that the feathers had been handed out to all the birds, he had arrived late. Why? Sadly, we do not know. Normally, he was a prompt and punctual bird. But, on this day he had arrived late. There had only been a few measly, pitiful feathers left for him to wear. Thus it was..that he was...well...rather nude, save for a few feathers here and there for the sake of flight and modesty. He knew that his appearance would keep him from being king. Oh but, he was clever, that Queztal!
He looked around him and spotted Roadrunner. Roadrunner had the most magnificent feathers in red, green, yellow and blue. Roadrunner was not the brightest of birds. He possessed, unfortunately, a birdbrain to be truthful. Queztal approached him and offered him a deal.
"If you lend me your feathers, I am sure I will be chosen King of the Birds." said Queztal. "Once I am king, I will give your feathers back to you. As a thank you from me to you for the loan of the feathers, I will share the leadership you. We can be rulers together. Boss of all the birds! Deal?"
Well, that birdbrained Roadrunner didn't even think twice, let alone once before he agreed to lend Queztal his feathers. He simply knew that it would be good to be a King. Quickly he plucked his feathers out, POING, POING, POING! Ouchy.
Queztal put the feathers on and he was TRANSFORMED! The feathers looked far better on him, than they had on Roadrunner. Queztal went before all the birds and asked to be chosen their king.
They oohed and aahed over his appearance, they oohed and aahed over his regal poise, they oohed and aahed over his beautiful voice. They tweeted and twittered each other, and quickly it was agreed that Queztal should be their king. BRAVO! BRAVO! They all sang out from the trees. 


Behold the King of the Birds! Long live Queztal!  Bravo! Bravo!

 Right away Queztal became immersed in the affairs of the birds. Being king was hard work. He forgot about his promise to Roadrunner about sharing king duties. He forgot about returning his feathers! I will say he be nice.

Weeks passed. The birds began to ask each other if they had seen Roadrunner. Where was he? They began looking for him. Finally, Dove spotted Roadrunner hiding behind a coffee bush naked as could be. He was so embarrassed to be without his feathers you see, and had been in hiding. The birds felt sorry for him. It was kind hearted Dove who suggested they each give Roadrunner a feather, so he wouldn't be naked anymore. Then at least he could come out of hiding.

The birds then did give him a feather, not one of their favorate, colorful ones though. Thus it was, Roadrunner (above) ended up with an odd assortment of brown & beige feathers in various sizes. Bluebird was the only one who gave him feathers in another color; two blue ones. One for beside each eye.

After all these years, Queztal has never given Roadrunner back his feathers. He grew used to them you see, and forgot that he had ever borrowed them. Roadrunner has never forgotten! NO sirree!!! To this day, Roadrunner is still running up and down roads everywhere. He calls out, "Puhuy! Puhuy!" He is saying, "Where is he? Where is he?" in his old Mayan language.

(The story above is my retelling of an adaptation of a Mayan folktale.)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Thursday Night Activities for Creatives at the DMA

For several years, I have been attending the DMA's Thursday night Think Creatively Workshops with Dr. Magdalena Grohman. Participants are encouraged to practice using creative thinking tools in planned activities. These workshops have helped me recognize how I work best creatively. That's Magda standing in the back right wearing boots. She is beyond a doubt an excellent and inspiring professor at UTD.
I worked with a clever team on this night. Here I am reading the story we helped create together.
Another thing we do on Thursday nights is meet professional artists who generously share their creative process with us. These are called C3 Artistic Encounter's. Here we are listening to John Hernandez talk about this artwork he made some years ago.

Afterwards we went back to the art studio to create our own art inspired by his work. This is what I managed to do in one hour. Often, it can be super challenging to work so fast. On this particular evening, I actually came out with a finished piece. Wahoo!
I have really enjoyed meeting the fellow participants, the artists, learning new skills and new ways of thinking creatively. It has been an invaluable, educational experience, equal I'd say, to several art courses one might take at any college or university.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Doing What I Do...

Telling stories at the Dallas Museum of Art. This photo was taken on January 21, 2013 in the American Art Gallery. I was telling a Brer Rabbit tale in front of a collage by Romare Bearden. I was blessed with a super fun audience that day. LOVE my job!!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

My Art Doppelganger

On Monday, January 21, The Dallas Museum of Art had their launch of the return to FREE membership. It was a grand day at the museum with activities throughout the galleries. One activity had people taking artist personality quiz's to discover their art doppelganger. Selection was limited to Jackson Pollock, Georgia O'Keeffe, Frank Gehry, Pablo Picasso, Claude Money, and Piet Mondrian.
Guess who my doppelganger is?

Pablo Picasso!!! I did have a few hits with O'Keeffe, but overwhelmingly I matched up with ol' Pablo. I was like "WHAT!?!" Then I read the description:

You are Pablo Picasso. You can't seem to make up your mind about who you are and you constantly re-invent yourself. One day you're blue, the next you're pink; one month you're fascinated by African art and the next you become a political activist. You're also analytical and love to examine ideas and objects from all sides. You're not afraid to break things apart and piece them back together in a way that is appealing to you. You are a force to be reckoned with, and many people measure their success based on the standards you have set.

Not a bad match - especially about my re-inventing myself, examining ideas, breaking things apart...I love acting and telling stories because I can "become" someone, or something for a brief time. I enjoy the experience of looking through new eyes at the world. So all in all, I have to agree with the Pablo Picasso link.
 By the way, I LOVE this rooster he painted.
An anecdote about Picasso -

A visitor to Picasso's studio found the artist gazing disconsolately at a painting on the easel. 'It's a masterpiece,' said the visitor, hoping to cheer Picasso up.

'No, the nose is all wrong,' Picasso said. 'It throws the whole picture out of perspective.'

'Then why not alter the nose?'

'Impossible,' replied Picasso. 'I can't find it.'

Finger Painting by Judith Ann Braun

My daughter Lily sent me a link to this video of Judith Ann Braun painting with her fingers. Lily knows her Momma! I love to paint with my fingers & hands rather than with paintbrushes, or other tools. I watched this video, became curious about the artist, so looked her up. She must be a sort of soul sister to me. I identify with her on many levels, creatively speaking.

Love, LOVE the video she made that is posted below this one. Enjoy.

My Five Minute Life by Judith Ann Braun

This video just tickles me to no end! Love her STORY and how she presents it.