Art, Poetry & Philosophy Blog

As I wrote in “Tempo – The Rhythm and Rhyme of the Artist“:

My creations are perhaps the best of me, the most optimistic view of me. Through my art I journey from our complex world to a place I better understand, for I have had a larger hand in its making.   My canvas, my words, are my sanctuary of solace from weaknesses, insecurities, disappointments, strifes and petty jealousies.   My creations are also my way of acceptance and of wishing, of expressing passion, of shouting this is wonderful or unfair, this needs attention, this must be enjoyed or changed.

Through my work I can transport myself, and I hope you, to a more carefree place or to a realm of contemplation. For that is another facet of my work – it is my reaching out to you.   I hope my work provides a bridge to my life from yours, from the common threads of that which I have needed to accept, or wish to have in my life, to the complex weave of your past, your present and future.   For the brief moments you read my words, you see my art, you are giving my life the gift of blending with yours, and for that, I Thank You.

The act of creating is my way of inhaling this life through my perceptions and exhaling through my hands, as intuitive, reflexive and nearly fundamental to me as each breath I take.  The decision to create is not a decision for me – I would create whether or not people value my creations, just as I would breathe whether or not a given breath I take engenders applause.   I wish to create something great in the world’s eyes, but even if that is never possible, I believe I shall nonetheless always create for … it must out.   I cannot forever inhale without exhaling, or else some part of me, perhaps even all of me, would surely suffocate.

Creating is automatic and difficult to stifle – I see something and am inspired to celebrate its spirit, borrow from its essence, or comment on its presence.  Creating is also my way of sharing my excitement of being with the world, and of being in harmony in our world.   In each work, in some way, I comprehend and communicate the soul of what I experience, or what I wish could be.   As I create I am lost in that work, in what “is.”   Oddly, once the work is done, it is almost as if someone else created it – the work becomes akin to a lost photo of a distant vacation unexpectedly found – triggering something real in my heart yet intangible in definition – a slice of a past life captured within four corners of canvas, by its nature destined to shine from that canvas to express the “me” as I was in that moment, to the “you” as you are today.   When people like my work it is like a personal affirmation of who I am, at my very core.

 

Thinking about art and how it connects us throughout time, no matter where we are, inspired me to write the following poem:

 
Undiscovered dreams
an unexpected journey
Drifting along memories and hopes
a sweet yearning

Of what could be
Should be
May still

All there for my eye to see
In this painting
On the wall.

The above thoughts and poem reprinted from “Tempo – The Rhythm and Rhyme of the Artist.”  (c) and trademark by M. Nicole van Dam.  All Rights Reserved.

Following is a televised reading of one of my short stories “Nessie” that was televised five times in 2017. In this short story, I had fun juxtaposing the traditional with modern and futuristic themes.

Following are day-to-day thoughts from Nicole – ENJOY!

“Tempo – The Rhythm & Rhyme of the Artist” now in its 2d Edition

Artimagination : September 28, 2015 6:53 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, New Nicole Product Updates, Nicole's News Hot Sheet, The Artist's Thoughts

“Tempo-The Rhythm and Rhyme of the Artist”™ (which is the second book in the Artimagination® Inspiration Books series) is now in its 2d Edition.

This 2d Edition includes a few new artworks, poems, and inspirational sayings, and also includes a few new artistic features in its layout. I am very proud of Tempo-The Rhythm and Rhyme of the Artist because creating this book was a true labor of love. I hope you find it to be a unique book that is a both heartfelt and inspirational. I also love it when people send me emails about this book, it’s so rewarding to hear when I’ve expressed something well!   I hope you enjoy this selection of my art, poetry and philosophy.

Below is an excerpt from this new Edition of “Tempo – The Rhythm and Rhyme of the Artist”™. Enjoy!
raining cats banner

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parched

When I am in the city
I never hear a plane
My mind drowns out the extra noise
Like my heart drowns out your name

When rain fell ev’ry winter
No drip or drop was heard
My ears didn’t measure rain’s sound
I didn’t treasure your words

Now we’re in a long drought
I’m missing the rain almost as much as I miss you
A no lie cloudless sky
My mistakes in clear view

I’m so parched for love
You’re the one I’m thinking of
I can’t grow without you
Let the torrents of heaven run free
Rain on me

I can’t blame you, only me
For my sorry, scorched heart
I didn’t forecast all the pain
That comes from being apart

Hope I hear and feel rain again
Hope to be with you too
Miss dancing in rolling thunder
Loving you with all its wonder

I’m so parched for love
You’re the one I’m thinking of
I can’t grow without you
Let the torrents of heaven run free
Rain on me

Here’s wishing you
Missing you
Rain
Rain on me

 

(above artwork is an excerpt from M. Nicole van Dam’s “Raining Cats & Dogs”)

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Updated Purchase Links for Children’s Books

Artimagination : September 19, 2015 6:47 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, Children's Books, Nicole's News Hot Sheet

Greetings!  The Amazon gremlin has been at it again – for those of you seeking the current links to purchase my children’s books, here they are, and THANK YOU again for supporting my work:

As always, the books you buy on Amazon are not signed personally by me, but instead are shipped directly to you by the seller (not me).

I’m always happy to sign books for you!  If you would like for me to sign books (and write a personal note to someone), I’ll be happy to do that, please contact me for details.  The process entails your shipping your book(s) to me, in a box with the following things: (1) a legible note to me giving me the name(s) you want on the books and something about each person (helps me write the personal notes); and (2) everything I will need to ship the book back to you (i.e., postage pre-paid packaging addressed to you).   Please make sure you give me enough time!  Especially in the holiday season!

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Season’s Sparrow

Artimagination : February 15, 2015 4:26 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, Gardening & Animals & Inspirations, Nicole's News Hot Sheet, The Artist's Thoughts, Writer's Corner

So often the lovely sparrow is overlooked, but I love the sparrows in my garden. For one of my first licensing projects, I was asked to design a 3D jar, and I decided to create a jar honoring the sparrows that cheer me through every season. I called the jar “Seasons Sparrow,” and part of the design was that inside the jar it said, “Beauty in All Things.” I also wrote a companion poem “Seasons Sparrow” that was published in the company’s international collector magazine, which was a fun treat – I still have my copy of the magazine. The President of the company told me it was their favorite jar they had ever made, which meant a lot to me. Here’s the artwork, the poem, and how the lovely jar looked:

Seasons Sparrow

Sparrow of Winter
Where did you go
Almost disappearing
Behind drifts of snow
You live in a world of crystal
Glittering ice lining each branch and thistle
Sparkling as you flit your quiet dance
Before you take flight

Sparrow of Spring
In the dogwoods I hear your sweet song
You will be well hidden amidst the leaves
Before long
I see you flying, seeking your mate
Soaring through pastel skies on nature’s date
Building your nest amidst blossoms, buds and green
Your nursery soon full and not easily seen

Sparrow of Summer
Awash in a sea of leaves
Happily singing in the lazy breeze
Your job is done, an empty nest
Testifying that you’ve earned your rest
But ‘tis not all chirp and play
As you busily store Summer’s abundance
For another day

Sparrow of Autumn
Luminous fluttering falling leaves barely distract your eye
As you curiously watch plain me pass by
Raking leaves
You should know me by now, I think you do
I am the one, rain or shine, to fill your feeder for you
Framed by this world jeweled gold and red
The table is well set for my Sparrow to be fed

My Sparrow of Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn
My dear, dear friend
I looking forward to spending the seasons with you again.

Seasons Sparrow artwork, name and design (TM) and (c) M. Nicole van Dam. All Rights Reserved.

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In “High Spirits!”

Artimagination : March 28, 2014 8:41 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, New Nicole Product Updates, Nicole's News Hot Sheet


Great news! My latest book “High Spirits!” has just been released on Amazon! If you like the blend of quotes, inspirations and art that you find on this site, I’ve created a book that contains encouragement, inspiration. When I was writing “High Spirits!” I was thinking about all the creatives and entrepreneurs I meet that ask for encouragement, ask me how I keep things together when it’s rough slogging. I know I was smiling by the time I finish each read through of this book – I hope it does the same for you, and THANK YOU again for supporting my creative endeavors! The cover of the book was based on my “High Spirits!” art work:

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Creativity Beyond the Canvas

Artimagination : February 9, 2014 3:56 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, New Nicole Product Updates, Nicole's News Hot Sheet, The Artist's Thoughts

I have discovered that it is so refreshing – INSPIRING – to work with other creative people. My advice to any artist who feels burned out is to have some fun working with another creative person on an entirely different type of project. It really rejuvenates the soul and makes for some great memories. For example, I have discovered I so enjoy writing lyrics. My first musical collaboration was because of the kindness and talent of Robin Frost, an international, award winning composer. Robin elected to put my poetry to music – working side-by-side with Robin in his amazing studio are some of my happiest memories. I owe quite a bit of my musical courage to him! Following is an example of one of our first bits of creative fun together. Robin Frost used my lyrics “House Cleaning Rag” to write the following ragtime song (and you can hear I won’t win any awards for my singing)!

I have been so lucky to enjoy a few musical collaborations with brilliant musician Dr. Kenneth Kafka – here is an example of the wonderful music Dr. Kafka wrote for my “Moonlight” lyrics:

Another wonderful memory was being a professional narrator (along with Dominic Byrne, a well-known BBC personality and narrator) for my children’s book, “Inca Dink, the Great Houndini.” I even took a photo of my Leonberger dog Inca with me to the recording studio, for inspiration. Here is an excerpt:

Please visit IncaDink.com to learn more.

Creativity comes in more forms too! I am helping to design a cell phone app – that really gets the brain working in other ways! It’s very inspiring to see the genius creative software engineer at work, and maybe much more fun than you might expect. More on that in a later post!

New Fun on the Horizon: I just finished writing the lyrics for an entire musical! It will be awhile before the final product is available to the world at large – but stay tuned! Please visit TuneSmith.bz to learn more.

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Great New Rain/Gardening Boot Released! NEW “Chef at the Farmer’s Market” Boot!

Artimagination : January 31, 2013 5:16 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, Gardening & Animals & Inspirations, New Nicole Product Updates, Nicole's News Hot Sheet, The Artist's Thoughts, Writer's Corner

“Chef at the Farmer’s Market” gardening and rain boot, based on the artwork of M. Nicole van Dam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M. Nicole van Dam’s artwork “Chef at the Farmer’s Market” joins Nicole’s other licensed images and has been transformed into a lovely new rain and gardening boot! The colors are lively and the boots are ever so comfy! Nicole has already tested them in her organic vegetable garden and gives them a thumbs up!

The boot will be sold with an art and poetry card showing the original “Chef at the Farmer’s Market” and having a special poem based on this poem by Nicole:

Farmer’s Market Adventure

Cucumber greens
Piles upon piles of green beans
Luscious tomatoes donned in purples and reds
Enticing aromas of fresh baked breads
Glorious crisp apples and blossoms and flowers
Proof of Nature’s powers!
Farmer’s Market adventure!
Seeking Nature’s bounty!
As far as the eye can see
Tempting Earth’s gifts for you and me.

More news on this fabulous boot to come soon!

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-of Fancy Pens and Pretty Papers

Artimagination : September 26, 2012 3:42 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, Community Service & Volunteer Work, Writer's Corner

At last night Creativity Central, first we enjoyed a sneak peek of our now completed and assembled (but not yet framed) last Creativity Central project, entitled “Sea Scape”:

“Sea Scape” by Creativity Central

 Many thanks to all the Creativity Central participants who worked so creatively as a fabulous inspirational team on this unique project – Joanie, Allyson, Carol, Anita, Hannah, Martina and Alex – I think you will agree – our “Sea Scape” creation is truly BEAUTIFUL!  We will be getting it framed and it will proudly hang along with our “Jammin Jungle” project at the Cancer Resource Center.

Then we first made pens with a flourish of ostrich feathers and color, and then used our special pens to write some thoughtful journalling, using Nicole’s latest book “Exploring the Successful You,” on beautiful papers kindly provided by Kathleen of the Cancer Resource Center.  Here are some of the photos of last night’s Creativity Central:

Some of our finished Fancy Pens, on the lovely Papers created by Kathleen

Allyson’s Colroful, FUN Pen, dedicated to Sarah

Carol’s Pen – we love the pink polka’s!
Closeup of Carol’s pen

The whole collection of pens and pretty papers!
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Santa Barbara City Hall Exhibit Fun News

Artimagination : July 31, 2012 7:32 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, Exhibitions, Nicole's News Hot Sheet, Writer's Corner

This morning I met wonderful, ever-patient and supportive (and excellent musician) Debbie at Santa Barbara’s beautiful and historic City Hall, and we added my “Lake of Dreams” and “Mission at Santa Barbara” artworks to join “Voting Booth” and “Summer Afternoon” there. I hope you enjoy the pictures – I forgot to bring a camera but thankfully Debbie had her cell phone! What did we do before cell phones?

"Lake of Dreams" with pretty, patient Debbie, who posed holding my "Tempo - The Rhythm & Rhyme of the Artist" book


Debbie, taking a moment in her busy day to smile, with "Mission at Santa Barbara" in the background


Artwork which has been exhibited at Santa Barbara City Hall to date:

"Cello Fantasy" - one of the first of my works to be exhibited at Santa Barbara City Hall


Flower Celebration, also one of the first of my artworks to be exhibited at Santa Barbara City Hall


"Summer Afternoon" - one of the first of my artworks to be exhibited at Santa Barbara City Hall - and currently there 🙂


"Voting Booth" - currently on exhibit


"Mission at Santa Barbara" - currently on exhibit


"Lake of Dreams" - currently on exhibit

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A World of Stories

Artimagination : April 13, 2012 9:13 pm : Abstracts, Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, Emoticons, Music and The Arts, Nature and Animals, Nicole's News Hot Sheet, Portfolio, Scapes, The Human Element, Water Features


“A World of Stories” is a beautiful piece, inspired by the world’s romantic destinations, traditions, story telling and sharing inherent in our many, diverse cultures. As you look deeper into this artwork, you will see the Kokapelli, the Chinese dragon, the classic lyre, ST. Basils Cathedral, Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, the Geisha, many references to nature and its role in our folklore and religions, and so much more. All the artwork you see here is available in Limited Edition prints and many household and wearable products, at Create.bz.

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Life is like Knitting – and cozy fun at last night’s Creativity Central!

Artimagination : February 29, 2012 1:24 am : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, Community Service & Volunteer Work, The Artist's Thoughts

Last night’s Creativity Central creativity therapy workshop centered on knitting – knitting using a new way. Creating this knitting adventure for my creativity therapy group reminded me of a poem I had written about knitting, and life, some years ago, when I was starting anew before I met my wonderful husband. I think that poem might be timely to add here, as the poem is apropos of so many of life’s changes and decisions:

Life is Like Knitting

Life is like knitting
Sometimes each stitch falls easily into place
Each row upon row flowing with grace
And then, a mistake, not easy to erase

A choice must be had
Do we go ahead flawed, looking a bit bad
Or do we unravel and then
Begin, begin, begin again?

With each new start
The old design deliberately picked apart
Carefully the yarn from the needle unfurls
Undoing all the knits and pearls
Cautious not to harm
The tender texture of the yarn

This life’s thread must be used to stitch again
In our universal pattern of row upon row, til time’s end
There is no shame in each start anew
No matter how many restarts or how few

The rows undone
In the redoing are part of life’s fun
The lessons learned along each knitted way
Can be used another day
To last, to warm our souls a little longer
Making our life’s knitting that much stronger.

(c) 2006 M. Nicole van Dam.  All Rights Reserved.

Now about the creativity therapy workshop of last night, aka “Knitting-the-New-Way!”

Last night was the first night we used the wonderful Authentic Knitting Boards donated by the Authentic Knitting Board Company – and these knitting boards are amazing! You don’t need to know a thing about knitting to make something colorful and fun and useful, in just a few hours. Here are a few photos, and I think we all gave these wonderful knitting boards a thumbs up!

The results from the Magical Knitting Board

Close-up of the Knitting Board in Use

Wonderful Donations from Authentic Knitting Board and Kathleen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-And of course, our earlier projects aren’t forgotten – we just picked up the framed mixed media work my creativity therapy group (“Creativity Central”) created – we call it “Jammin Jungle” and it is now on exhibit at the hospital:

“Jammin Jungle” Project

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