Featured Art: Alison’s Cat

Alison's Cat by Doris Mady

“Alison’s Cat,” 10×7 oil by Doris Mady, Greenwich Branch (Connecticut)


From the artist:

I painted a picture of my dog, Kerry, about a year before he passed. I called it “Unconditional Love” and placed it in the local library’s art show in November. The day after Thanksgiving, I received nine commissions for Christmas gifts! Painting pets is now one of my favorite things to do. I love the attitudes of my subjects.

            Alison was looking for a Christmas gift for her boyfriend and wanted something other than shirts and ties. Here’s what Alison had to say:

            “I wanted a painting because I saw Doris’ painting of Kerry. We had just adopted Oxnard from the humane society and didn’t have many photos of him yet. I commissioned a painting of a photo I took of him relaxing on the windowsill in natural light. At the time, it was the only picture of him that had any color. Now the painting is hanging in our home and we show it to everyone who visits.”


Featured Poem: Slants and Rants — Observations for Writers

By Mary L. Gardner
CNY Branch


Being Clear

There’s not a follicle of truth

in a colleague’s chronicled memoir

that observing a tropical botanical

requires a monocle.


Footnotes for Thesis Writers

Straight from a reputable source

comes a cautionary corollary:   

* Use one’s trove of melancholia with caution. 

* Make time for sheer bacchanalia.  

* Be not deterred

 by the weight of scholarly tomes and texts

 in the pursuit of intent, color and cadence,

 and the laying down of lyrical lines.



Though the elegant Narcissus spurned

the maiden Echo’s love  

(herself denied the gift of speech)

and was consigned forever

to a watery view of himself,

it does not follow that midday narcolepsy

in the pursuit of artful prosody

is the result of narcissistic obsession

nor the folly of spinning meter & rhyme

in the middle of the night,

though upon waking,

it seems the intent of these lines

has gone awry in this

overwrought writ.



Featured Art: Woman in White Chair




“Woman in White Chair,” acrylic, 27.5 x 22.5
By E. Marie Francis, Vero Beach Branch, Florida


From the Artist:

“Me Ladies” is the name of a series of drawings that I created over 30 years ago. The early pieces were simple pen and ink line drawings — rather abstract pieces. I later added watercolor paints in order to jazz them up. Over the last 19 years, I started using acrylic paint and a limited palette of white, black, red, and gold. Lately, the themes seem to be a little whimsical. Right now, a little whimsy is nice.  

The Woman in the White Chair

The woman in the white Queen’s chair,

had been reading her love poems with care.

Her thoughts have now carried her into

a dreamlike state,

putting a sweet smile on her face

completely unawares.


Featured Poem: Oakland Giraffes

Patricia Doyne
Diablo-Alameda Branch, California



(Based on Giraphics by muralist Dan Fontes)



The freeway overpass

pulses with cars, pick-ups, buses, big-rigs, motorcycles.

All day they speed up, change lanes,

weave in, out, and on.



Underneath the overpass,

drivers pass the huge support pillars emblazoned with—


A giraffe stretching to feed,

a giraffe bending to drink,

two giraffes angling their necks to check out the neighborhood.

Comic surrealism peeks out

amid the apartments, small stores and ever-moving traffic.



“When the freeway fell down in ’89,”

says the artist, “these pillars

had to be enlarged. An old giraffe is still inside.

Can you hear him?”

The child puts her ear to the pillar.

Her face brightens.

“Yes,” she burbles, “He’s saying,

‘Mmm, mmuh-uh-uh, mmmuh.”



So now there’s a new spirit

haunting the Oakland street scene.

Not political. Not gang-related. Not religious.

This spirit makes you smile as you pass by,

shaking your head.

A giraffe poses photo-realistically on the pillar,

leaving homeland camouflage behind.

But his very presence echoes the Serengeti

in this unlikely cement place:

Mmm, mmuh-uh-uh, mmmuh.”

Or perhaps,

We came, unwilling, from Africa.

Now Africa leaves a keepsake in our midst.


Featured Poem: One Moment

Mary Joan Meagher
Minnesota Branch


The present tense is tricky

When the one you love

No longer is

But has become a was.

Existence is measured in moments.

Moments are long when

Is no longer describes

The one who was immediacy,

The one who was forever.

Now a moment shocks,

Now a moment stretches,

Now a moment is eternity.

An eternity without,

An eternity bereft,

An eternity of empty.

One’s sight is blurred,

One’s hearing is gone,

One’s touch is numbed,

One’s moment is bloated

With grief.

Existence depends on the gyroscope

Of time and space

Returning to is,

Not was.

One’s moment becomes a merry-go-round of




Featured Art: Pelicans Sitting in the Sun

Pelicans photo

“Pelicans Sitting in the Sun” by Judy Barnett, Golden Gate-Marin Branch, California
McAbee Beach on Cannery Row in Monterey, California

Judy Barnett expresses her creativity through jewelry design, fiber sculpture, wire and metal sculpture, and photography. She enthusiastically tries new media whenever she can. She recently purchased an iPhone 8 Plus and is having fun taking classes and learning about all of its features. 

“I like this photo because it looks like a watercolor painting,” Barnett says.

You can view her other art on Facebook.


Featured Poem: After the Fruit

Christina Laurie
Cape Cod Branch, Massachusetts 


When the serpent beckoned Eve
and she tasted the ripe softness
of the pink fruit from the forbidden tree,
she felt the energy of earth
pour into her bones,
teasing the marrow with cool sweetness
and the memory of being.


Then she knew of knowledge,
and adventure begged at her back door.
She galloped into the new world
with insight and understanding
that her husband only sensed
as he watched her frolic in the fields of gold,
free, beautiful and sensual.


She knew that, up until that moment,
all she had known was isolation
of green and blue, of earth and sky
and gentle walks with God.
His voice called her to His evening stroll,
but after the fruit, all she knew
that what had touched her tongue
was only partial truth.



Featured art: Madonna


“Madonna” by Renata Fackler, Central Ohio Branch


Two bronze sculptures by Renate Fackler, “Madonna and Baby Jesus” and “Mrs. Plank,” are featured in the Garden of Peace at St. Mary’s Church in German Village in Columbus, Ohio. The Kelley family, who are grandchildren of Mrs. Plank, are responsible for the beautiful garden and the sculptural additions that where installed in the summer of 2019.


Featured Poem: Something’s Missing, Something’s Gone


Dr. Carmen Meadows
Atlanta Branch



Carefree days outside I played 

Come cloud or sun I’d laugh and run


To see bugs crawl or scale a wall

I’d pick a flower build a tower


Something’s missing, something’s gone


We fell in love and made a promise 

My heart’s desire to be your wife, 

Bear your children, share my life


Our babies came and grew so fast 

I thought it should forever last


Something’s missing, something’s gone


We built a business, watched it grow

Had to see it crumble though

Together we could bear it strong


Something’s missing, something’s gone


Time doesn’t seem to want to brake

I watch our parents bend and shake


They aren’t too sure they know our face

How sad to think they’ve left the race


Something’s missing, something’s gone


Today we have the moment sure

I look into your eyes and smile 

Thankful for the time at hand


In love and loss we spend our days

Grateful we have passed this way


As I look back it’s plain to see


Something’s missing, something’s gone


If Grace is granted now as then

There’s still a bloom and call to hear

“Come play and run and laugh again”


All isn’t as it seems


The thing that’s missing’s yet to come

What seems a loss is part of all

A stone once hewn and set in place


All understood when face to face




Featured Art: The Princess and the Unicorn

The Princess and the Unicorn

“The Princess and the Unicorn” (22×18) by Patricia Lipe   
Jacksonville Branch


Artist’s statement

This is a painting that literally came on its own. Surrealism, perhaps? I was painting landscapes in southern France and wiped the extra oil paint with a palette knife onto an empty canvas. Later, I looked at that canvas, turned it upside down, and there they were – the princess and the unicorn.

I had seen the original unicorn tapestry in Avignon, but this rendition was not planned. I did add the dragon, however. The painting depicts good (the unicorn who represents creativity) and evil (the dragon). The princess holds up the mirror so the unicorn cannot see the “evil” lurking in the woods.

I used this painting on the cover of my book “Myth, Magic and Metaphor: A Journey into the Heart of Creativity.”