Archives for November 2017

Art of the Week: Insomnia

Rachael Ikins
Central New York Branch (Art and Letters)
Torn Tissue Collage

Most often, Rachael Ikins is inspired by nature and the faces and eyes of animals. This piece, however, was a self-portrait. Drawing is usually Ikins go-to medium for enjoyment, but tearing up tissue paper proved to be extremely therapeutic, fun, and speaking to her need to be impressionistic.


Insomnia was juried into the 2017 New York State Fair Fine Arts competition. After that exhibit, it hung on Ikins studio wall looking at her. “One day as I walked past, I realized the title is ‘Insomnia’. It juried into another show some months ago and a judge mentioned how well the title fit, appreciating the humor. I guess most of us have been there, staring in the dark unable to escape the conscious mind.”


Poem of the Week: Earthsong

Dawn Huntley Spitz
Cape Cod Branch


A Sonnet

We love you, our Mother Earth, who gave us birth

We bless the land so fair you gladly share

We thank you for all you give that we may live

Your majesty we praise through all our days.

And yet we in our greed take much more than we need,

Plundering without remorse our very source,

Destroying by degrees our wildlife and our trees

We waste without concern, we slash and burn.

O creatures of the earth, you respect its worth,

This precious home on which you live and roam

Before mankind arrived, you flourished and you thrived.

But humans lack the key to harmony

And if we do not learn, before the point of no return,

To make amends… our story ends.


Art of the Week: Fancy Nancy

Jen Walls
Fort Lauderdale Branch
Fancy Nancy
Mixed Media on Aquaboard


Mixed-media artist and mark-maker, Jen Walls, is often inspired by mythology, folklore and stories of indigenous peoples. Self-taught, her art is the result of disciplined studio time, a regimen of exploratory and experimental projects and a good dose of magic. Her whimsical characters invite the viewer to explore the transformative nature of fairytales…entering the woods at night, conquering our fears and emerging on the other side as stronger, more compassionate versions of ourselves.


Jen considers storytelling to be the primary finishing medium in art. Her workshops explore personal storytelling and archetypes, along with a bit of quirky whimsy.


Unconventional materials are part of Jen’s standard repertoire, including wood reclaimed from scrap heaps and dumpsters as supports. Her preferred tools are paper towels, old credit cards and fingers, though she will occasionally use an actual paint brush. Her works consist of many layers of watercolor, acrylic, ink and paper. Hand- printed papers are part of the “clothing” of her whimsical characters.


Her first collaborative book, Blue Wild, was published in 2016, and features paintings “illustrated” by the haiku poetry of kindred spirit and writer Mary W. Cox. She was a featured artist in the 2017 book 100 Love Notes by author Hyong Yi.


Jen writes an introspective (and sometimes humorous) blog piece to accompany each new work of art, allowing a peek into the thought process and methods of every creation. An advocate for doodling in the classroom, the waiting room and the board room, she lives in Florida with her husband, son and assorted mischievous wildlife.


Art of the Week: Reflection

Diana Kaye Obe
Pensacola FL Branch
Charcoal on tan paper

Reflection is a tribute to the original peoples who populated our land for many generations.  These ancestors greeted Europeans stepping down from huge sailing ships into the “New World” centuries prior.  A wide variety of native cultures still continue to contribute dance, song, art, and culture throughout the great land of America.

Lost in her reflections, this Crow woman seems demure, serious, and thought-filled in her poise.  A hint of sadness upon her face captivated me and I wanted to record her on her wooden seat, by drawing with a piece of the earth, a charcoal medium, to convey and capture, at the very least, a depth of nature in which the native peoples of this country lived closely for centuries.  I strive to honor her customs and beauty.

Diana Kaye Obe


Art of the Week: The Glory of Aaron

Vivian Bergenthal
Connecticut Branch
The Glory of Aaron

Enamored of the landscape as subject matter, my reactions can be likened to a dance. The formula for each dance lies in the following symbiosis:  the give and take of rhythms, the sense of contrasts in color, shape and texture, and the compositions seen through the naked eye in combination with that of a camera lens. The ability to work successfully with mixed media has enabled me to achieve a kind of immediacy in my work. That I have been able to translate my initial responses to whatever images inspired me, to my handling of a variety of appropriate techniques has brought me great satisfaction.


Oftentimes, I find the world with all its uncertainties encroaching insistently upon the peaceful aura of a special moment in time that I am enjoying. Responding with my innermost being, an overwhelming desire to avenge injustice takes precedence over the concept of “beauty for beauty’s sake.”


Being involved in the arts is a blessing, for within the very process of creating art, transformation on various levels for both the artist and onlooker must occur. To be an open conduit for inspiration has always been my primary goal. The words of Ralph Waldo Emerson continue to resonate within me: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared with what lies within us.”