Many times famous artists influence the creativity of others. Michelangelo inspiration in others is no exception!
Michelangelo Inspired Classroom
One of my favorite elementary school art lessons was influenced by Michelangelo. My students each taped a sheet of paper beneath their tables. They had a direct experience in feeling what it was like to paint above their heads. One of the most memorable student questions still makes me chuckle. Since Michelangelo took four years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel a student wondered, do we have to spend four years making our paintings? I bet you have the very same question. Being tender-hearted, I only required one class period, measured in minutes rather than years. Needless to say, my students found Michelangelo inspiration!
My Sonnet Inspiration
A sculptor first and foremost in his heart
was Michelangelo, Italian born.
When asked to paint the ceiling with his art
responded to the Pope with mighty scorn.
Well, "painting is my shame" as you can see.
The metamorphosis of marble block,
he carved until he set the angel free.
His masterpieces - cloth and skin from rock!
Consenting to the Sistine ceiling scenes,
built scaffolding so he could make his mark.
His skyward gaze provided him the means
to paint four years until the disembark.
Through cramping neck and paint dripped face he brought
to life the God whom mankind long had sought!
Copyright, Wolfe, Linda M., Lyrical Iowa, 2008
Michelangelo Inspiration for Restaurant/Gallery
Last but not least, the Bosnian immigrant and artist, Paco Rosic, was motivated by Michelangelo. Using the unconventional medium of spray paint, Paco recreated his rendition of Michelangelo’s ceiling in a Waterloo, Iowa building. It became Galleria de Paco. Until Covid-19 hit, this establishment was a restaurant offering fine European fare in a breathtaking atmosphere. This attraction drew visitors from around the world! When my husband and I dined there, despite the fact that the delicious food was beautifully arrayed on the plate, I just wanted to take in all the paintings. It was not a trip to Europe, but it was certainly the next best thing.
Paco is currently feeding his creativity. He hopes to eventually reopen as a coffee shop, utilizing the space for its original purpose of showcasing his new art.
I feel that I would be remiss if I didn’t answer a question that must be hovering in the back of your mind. Did my students also use spray paint for their paintings? While that is a logical inquiry, I feel it is time to reassure you. No, my students used watercolor paints because we weren’t allowed to apply the fresco technique on the underside of our school tables. Oh, and spray paint wasn’t lingering in my supply closet.
Contemplate who or what inspires your muse in absolutely any field or area. Imagine your possibilities!
This is very nearly a Jack and theBeanstalk story, except it has to do with a little girl, maybe even two little girls. It emphasizes that we must listen to the children. Oh, and I guess it is not a beanstalk at all, but a tree.
Listening to Our Daughter
Many, many moons ago we brought our wee, little daughter home from Sunday school. She was carrying a fragile tree seedling in a small container. Perhaps it was a gift for Mother’s Day. However, it could have been for Father’s Day. Did I tell you this was many moons ago?
We decided to place it behind our home. Of course, our daughter wanted to help plant it in the ground. It was just a little tree. it would look very nice there.
Sometime later, my husband put the hose out to water the tree. He must have gotten distracted. We left for the day. When we arrived home much later he discovered the water still running. He rumbled loudly enough for a giant to hear. Thankfully all was well. Any potential giants were sound asleep at the time. Also, the tree was very thirsty before the watering.
Over the years, the tree grew and grew and grew. It is now one of the tallest trees on our property!
Listen to the Children: Our Granddaughter
A couple of years ago our granddaughter, who was only six years old at the time, was studying this very tree. She opined of the pine, “Grandpa, why don’t you cut off some of these lower branches? Then, you could put your bench beneath the tree.”
We thought that was a marvelous idea! Grandpa did her bidding. As you can see, we have a lovely sitting area, complete with shade.
You may think this is the end of the story. It is not. Shortly after our yard remake, our daughter was visiting. She decided to sit under her tree, now shading the very bench her niece suggested moving. It soon came to her that this very little tree had grown to the Land of the Giant! However, she did not perceive this as a malevolent giant. It was a very gracious one as long as she was a paying customer. You see, her tree had become an antenna to the giant in the sky – a cell tower, far, far away.
This very little tree had developed into the only place on our property where she gets a phone signal! Our listening to two little girls made it happen!
Our world is changing. It is in need of new ideas. Listen, do you hear that sound? Do you notice the tapping of feet, the lilting of voices, the swishing of brushes? It is the children dancing, singing, painting our future into existence. Listen to the ideas of children. Sometimes they can be wise beyond their years. Let us put our hearts together and imagine our future as beautiful as can be! Quiet! Listen for the children!
Pain. Sometimes one word says it all. Pain relief, whether from physical or emotional sources, is something sought by anyone who has been given more of this burden than they can bear. Pain creates tension. Natural forms of alleviating pain seem to work by inducing a relaxation response.
I’ve worked with success by using tuning forks in reducing pain for others. The particular frequency which acts as a natural anesthetic is 174 hertz.
It is so much easier for people now that You Tube has produced many videos with various healing frequencies.
In order to try these techniques, it is recommended that one’s medical professional be consulted to be certain that it is a safe practice for you. If you do opt to try these, it is wise to allow yourself to settle before you try to stand as sometimes one can become dizzy. Having a pinch of pink Himalayan salt ready before you listen can be helpful. If you feel dizzy afterward, just dissolve the salt in your mouth and remain seated until the feeling passes.
I have included two videos with 174 hertz. The first one has an overall tone interspersed with a pleasantly resonating gong as well as other sounds. It made me fee a bit buzzy after a brief listen! The second one has some intriguingly complex visual designs if you opt for an open eye experience. This low tone on this one has an overlay of other frequencies. As both of these are quite relaxing, I recommend sitting or lying down while listening. Please take your time before you resume normal activities.
Knock down pain!
Using sound to create healing experiences is a great way to help you to feel better. For another post on healing with frequencies, see Tuning into Healing: Grief.
During this highly unusual time in which we are living, there may be a number of ways of life we miss. One of them is dining at a nice restaurant. Depending upon your location in the world, this option may or may not be available or recommended. I invite you to treat yourself to ambience!
What are the elements of that experience which one could recreate? Of course having someone else prepare the food is ideal. If that is not a choice, another aspect of fine dining to consider is the atmosphere. Sitting and interacting together with loved ones at the table is a large part of the picture.
What else could we do? How could one establish a highly ambient quality during a meal time experience? Music is the answer!
Treat Yourself to Meal Time Music!
I am so fortunate to be married to someone who gives a sense of ambience to virtually each and every meal of the day. It is highly unusual to not have this aspect to our meals. Other than a couple of meals a week consisting of popcorn, nuts, fruit and cheese in front of the television, all our other meals are consumed together at the table accompanied by music!
Enjoying music with our meals is such a lovely, decades-long detail that I very nearly take it for granted. We are each such cultural beasts that to not have this as part of our routine, it can make us feel as if all is not right with the world.
I took a tour through our treasured music collection to give you a sampling of some of my favorite dining music. The selections I’ve opted to share with you are each stylistically different, but you will notice a thematic similarity emerged. Of course, during our meals, the CDs play in their entirety rather than skipping from one artist to another.
Ambience by Raphael
The first piece, Angels of the Deep, is by Raphael. This music is classified as new age and punctuated with the mysterious calls of whales. Eva Cassidy’s melody, Wade inthe Water, is soft jazz. Acoustic guitar is featured in the final selection, AerialBoundaries, by Michael Hedges.
In the beginning of our musical journey, I’ll take you through the secrets of the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean. Perhaps we may feel our world closing in as the pandemic surrounds our lives, much as the waters of the sea. May the majestic giants of the deep beckon you to a place of calm.
Treat Yourself to Eva Cassidy Ambience
Next Eva Cassidy will transport your dancing spirit to the surface of an adjoining river. Allow her beautiful voice to gift you with an aura of calm as you imagine yourself wading in the water. Let the gently flowing water wash away any remaining residue of distress.
Ambience by Michael Hedges is a Treat
In the third and final selection, Michael Hedges takes you higher to the lofty skies with Aerial Boundaries. Permit yourself to fly free as the birds with this compelling delight. Just as your bird’s eye view of the world appears, feel any problems proportionally shrinking into nothingness.
May this musical triptych invite you to create a way to linger over your meals, savor your food and treasure your companionship. Whether you live with others or one other or the famous trio of me, myself and I, I encourage you to engage in the healthful practice of pleasurable eating with musical accompaniment. Contemplate which musicians would best enhance your meals. May you transform your dining experience into an oasis of nurturing peace!
The great Italian Renaissance artist, Michelangelo, was tasked with painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by papal request. At the time, Michelangelo was contentedly working on sculpting the tomb of Pope Julius II. This sudden change of plans prompted the artist to declare “painting is my shame!” He very strongly identified with chisels and stone rather than brushes and paint. Somewhat reluctantly he agreed to undertake this momentous project. Michelangelo found he had to reach and look up!
The Ceiling – Reach and Look Up!
Just imagine building scaffolding up to a seventy foot ceiling and painting over three hundred biblical characters during the span of a four year period! Even though Michelangelo did not consider himself a painter, he created the figures and their environments in this magnificent masterpiece as if they were quite life-like and three-dimensional.
He must have endured countless drips of paint upon his face, hands and clothing. I’ve often wondered after those years of gazing upward, how long it took him to comfortably stand straight or if his neck could bend sufficiently to view his toes.
Michelangelo – Sonneteer
Michelangelo was a poet who loved to pen sonnets. The pairing of his passions of sculpting and sonnets intrigues me. I hear his chisel and hammer continually tap in iambic pentameter. Alas, during these four years his brush, most certainly, must have inherited this innate rhythm of the sonneteer.
Michelangelo worked on this upside down surface doing a job he initially wasn’t planning to do. Prior to starting, he had to learn the technique of fresco in order to accomplish the goal. He, by necessity, had to continually reach and look up in order to do the work.
Many of us may feel as if our world is upside down. We may be doing a job that wasn’t in the plans. Some of us may need to learn new things. Just as Michelangelo, we must be willing to reach and look up. Perhaps if we all reach and look up together, we can create a better world. We can do this! Then maybe, just maybe, we will be gifted with something just as beautiful and amazing!
The Mona Lisa Effect is when the eyes of a portrait appear to follow you as you walk in front of the painting. How would you feel if you felt the eyes of a painting following you?
One year when I took my fifth grade art class to a large art museum, we had that very experience. The docent asked my students to line up and slowly walk past a portrait which convincingly appears to follow you as you pass. Of course, my students were thoroughly amazed. The painting we viewed was entitled, Russian Beauty.
At a later time, when we had returned to my classroom, we discussed the students’ impressions of our trip. The comment that stood out to me was from a boy who loved strolling in front of the portrait. He exclaimed he learned that “beauty would follow him all the days of his life!” I just found that extremely profound to hear from a youngster!
Just imagine if all of us had the attitude that beauty would always follow us throughout our lives. I would think there would be a lot less trouble in the world. We would take better care of one another. There would be no prejudiced behaviors. We would only be looking for the good and blind to anything less than that.
Here is a little poem I wrote about Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece with the mysterious smile, the one with the Mona Lisa Effect.
MONA LISA'S LOOKING
Mona Lisa's looking, looking.
What does she see?
She's looking at me!
I try to smile sweetly,
to work so discreetly.
It's sometimes distracting -
But to work as the watched,
I've totally botched...
Maybe I'll be brave, some of these days
and I'll just return her gaze!
Oh my, it appears that about a year and a half ago, scientists proved that Mona Lisa no longer cares to look at us. The Mona Lisa effect apparently does not apply to her. Well, even if Mona Lisa isn’t watching us, the world is. As we strive to right the wrongs, may we make wise choices for the good of everyone. Here is to allowing beauty follow us, no matter who is watching!
The miracles were prolific before he passed. Could there still be miracles for us? This week marks the four year anniversary since we lost our dear son, James. There is not a day, sometimes not an hour that I don’t think of him. He was with us for an amazing seven years from his pancreatic “c” word diagnosis until his passing. It would have been nine years if we had counted the time from when his symptoms began. Oh, how I longed for more miracles and duets.
For a large part of that seven year period, our refrigerator displayed a white marker board. I’d written an Albert Einstein quote upon it.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
We certainly needed and felt the presence of those miracles back then, but after he left his earthly existence it was different. I’d invested so much energy into doing what I could to help him, that my miracle mindset was dramatically subdued.
I remember a few days after his passing, I did tell his wife I’d heard if one sees a cardinal that it is a sign of our loved one. She then reminded me that he loved mourning doves. I acknowledged that was true.
Miracles and Duets
Back at our place the next morning, my husband and I were relaxing with our tea and coffee on the deck. Our attention was drawn to the electric wire across the front of the yard. Not only was there a cardinal perched upon the wire, but also a mourning dove! What’s more is that they were singing a duet! Were our miracles returning with this duet?
This seemed to be quite magnificent evidence that our loved ones can send marvelous signs to us from the other side! Perhaps miracles had not forsaken my life after all!
There are days, however, when I especially regret not having our son here. One such time was a month or two ago. There was a video someone posted on Facebook of a mother and her young adult son (From Jordan Rabjohn Music) singing the duet, Rise Up. Here is the video.
You can see and hear how this inspirational pair tugged at my heart strings. It made me long to have James here so we could sing our own duet. When he was a young boy, he, his sister and I would sing little childhood songs, then later we would vocalize along with pop music on the car radio or our home stereo system. He, of course, had vocal music in elementary school. In middle school, his vocal music teacher told him he was quite good at singing. Even though he was a sax and guitar player who loved to dance for the sheer fun of it, he opted to not take vocal music in high school. Alas, especially now, our duet was not destined to be.
Miracles of Dreams!
Just last week, I had an interesting series of dreams. It started early one morning, shortly after 3:00 or 3:30 a.m. I’d briefly awoken, then fell peacefully back to sleep. Following that, I had a string of what seemed to be abandoned dreams, immediately and disappointingly becoming aroused after each. The first was a cheerful, bright yellow Volkswagen, covered in hippy style flowers, pulling into our driveway from the east. Then, blip, it was gone.
In the second dream, I was one of a group of four standing together, facing east beneath our large maple tree north of our home. Then, boop, it disappeared. The third and last was a beautifully elaborate peacock drawn in ink upon a circular, pale golden-brown parchment paper. Then bop, this one left as well. It seemed strange and quite disconcerting to have these snippets of what appeared to be starts of wonderful dreams, then I would become abruptly alert. I figured I may as well get up as I was certainly wide eyed by now.
I did write all this down, pondering a potential meaning. Could these three unfulfilled dreams perhaps represent stunted hopes: having James in the earthly realm or experiencing a so called normalcy of post pandemic life…?
Miracles and Duets!
As my eyelids grew increasingly heavy, I eventually returned to bed around 7:00 a.m. Immediately, I dived into an unbelievable dream. James was strikingly dressed in a black tux and white shirt, strolling about a room and singing a cappella. I listened and watched in awestruck gratitude. Mysteriously, I joined in by harmonizing with him on the refrains of a melodic song I’d never heard or sung before! My heart leapt with joy! Afterwards, I gave him a big hug, requesting that we do this again. He agreed! What a beautiful dream! It was a return of the miracles and duets with this dream!
Miracle of the Birds!
The evening of that same day, guess who was on our electric wire out front? Of course, it was a mourning dove and a cardinal! I truly do not see them together often. When I do, it seems it is a special day that for some reason is strongly connected to James. The next morning, I began writing this very post. In the middle of composing it, I looked out our kitchen window. There was Mr. Cardinal on the wire again, along with a mourning dove. The cardinal was inch by inch slyly hopping ever closer to the mourning dove. Entertainingly, the dove was fluffing up its feathers as if to make itself appear more intimidating as the diminutive red bird approached! Well, sighting these two birds in an unprecedented consecutive pair of days confirmed that this time had a substantial connection to James.
In pondering my brief dreams which barely dared to play peek-a-boo, I’ve decided they were vignettes of the larger dream that was to come. Remember, there was the cheerful Volkswagen, the four figures standing together, and the beautiful peacock within the circle. These minuscule dreams seemed to be introducing a grand dream in which I would be cheerful, feeling the four (of our original family) can still connect and that there is continual beauty in the circle of life.
Do you wonder the title of the song James was singing? It was an unfamiliar version of “I Believe in Miracles”! Yes, miracles!
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Perhaps you or someone you know may be experiencing grief. Maybe it could be from losing a loved one. It could even be from trying to cope with the severe changes that our world has been experiencing. Grief could be related to economic, safety, health, bereavement or other reasons. It can cause disruptions to the body’s field of life force energy. Maybe tuning into healing can alleviate your grief.
Throughout the past decade or so, I’ve explored many different kinds of natural therapies. These could be termed complementary or alternative healing methods. Complementary in this case means that it is paired with conventional Western medical practices. An alternative method means it is used instead of the Western medical ways. The best recommendation is to consult a medical professional before you try it. This is to assure that it is a safe practice for you. I do know that those affected by seizures or similar health concerns should not listen to these frequencies. Additionally, no medical claims are made. As a result, I will only provide personal testimonial results for myself.
There is a school of thought that claims tuning forks can heal or alleviate certain symptoms. The frequency of 396 Hertz is one such example.
As a side note regarding Hertz, this term indicates the number of complete cycles per second. One Hertz is one sound wave per second.
One of the wisest scientists of all time, Nikola Tesla, stated, “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”
When I was coping with grief over losing our son, I did find considerable relief by utilizing a 396 Hz tuning fork. I found my grief easing after repeatedly striking the tuning fork for around seven minutes. As I continued listening, the effects improved. The effects stayed with me longer with sessions of fifteen to thirty minutes. It just felt that the cords of grief were loosened. My heart didn’t feel as heavy. Afterwards, a more joyful feeling filled my chest. I did find tuning into healing certainly did help my grief!
I have since discovered that there are now many YouTube videos with various frequencies. Consequently, this resource greatly simplifies the experience. It also makes it more relaxing to able to just listen. Absolutely no vehicles or machinery should be operated while listening to these. It is recommended that one be mindful that this is a very meditative experience. No other activity should be done simultaneously. (It is okay, however, for you to breathe!) Additionally, plan to sit in a comfortable position or perhaps lie flat during your session. Just to warn you, it is possible to become light headed. Please continue to sit or recline as necessary until the feeling passes. Again, please check with your medical professional to be certain that this practice would be safe for you to try.
Tuning into Healing!
I’ve found two choices for your listening pleasure. The first one is the single note electronically produced for thirty minutes. The second one is more musical and pleasant and runs for half an hour. Happy healing to you!
Vincent Van Gogh was a Dutch post impressionism painter. Prior to deciding upon the path of an artist, he tried several occupations. His attempts were a teacher, a preacher, a book seller and an art dealer. Even though his art career was only ten years long, he was extremely prolific in producing paintings during that time.
His art work is known for his gorgeous sense of color and the long, sensuous brush strokes. One of my most memorable moments of viewing some of his work was a planetarium display of some of his works. I was blown away to see images of a single painting splashed across the large planetarium dome. Generally when I think of an art work being greatly enlarged, it can lose clarity and interest. This certainly was not the case. It appeared as if each individual brush stroke had nuances of color that were unique to the nearby strokes. It literally sparkled with such a beautiful sense of color!
Below is a moving video of many of Vincent Van Gogh’s masterpieces, accompanied by Don Mclean’s epic song, Starry, Starry Night. This was a favorite of my students who enjoyed pointing out pieces they recognized by this genius painter. May you find joy in the wonder of this remarkably prolific artist.
The arts can be particularly healing, not only by sensing the creations of others, but also by finding yourself within arts of your own.
I close with one of my sonnets.
Vincent Van Gogh
Wide skies of lemon yellow, brilliant blues
with twirling, swirling, textured, twinkling spheres;
Small, sleepy steeple nightly nestled woos
a world indeed in need to calm its fears.
The fringed and frenzied, flowers kissed with sun
Imbued in butter, gold and apricot -
Do soothe our savage hearts when day is done
through amber painted petals, peace is wrought.
His knotted, gnarled, twisted trunks of trees
Seem mimicry of cruelty to him -
as storm of mental illness did not please
but made him feel he was out on a limb.
Impassioned painter, prisoned in his mind,
Set free God's beauty for all human kind!
Copyright 2011 Lyrical Iowa, Linda M. Wolfe
I hope you learned a few new things about Vincent Van Gogh!
The time is ripe and well overdue for America’s new direction. The United States of America is entering a new epoch. We are ready to make this happen. Now is when each and every disenfranchised member of humanity receives the equity, respect and rights that all of us so richly deserve. All of us must band together to voice agreement that black lives matter. Let us take our cues from nature to smooth our transition.
I invite you into our backyard to observe one way Mother Nature encourages diversity. This is a close up of one of my favorite trees. Okay, perhaps it is my best plant friend in the entire world! Part of my attraction to it is its sheer size. The circumference of this lovely maple tree measured at my shoulder height is approximately twenty-one and a half feet. While it certainly is not a redwood tree, it is good sized by Midwestern standards.
Aside from the beautiful subtlety of color within its bark, just the other day, I noticed a minute detail. My tree was playing host, or perhaps hostess, to two tiny, baby trees! It is quite common for self-perpetuated suckers to sprout from a tree trunk, but this is the first I’d ever observed two different visiting plant species latched aside a tree. It was fascinating that the left wee one was a needled coniferous while the one on the right was a leafy deciduous. I soon perceived the lesson of the tree.
Supporting Diversity and Equality in America’s New Direction
I saw that two new residents had moved to Maple Street. Miss Coniferous and Mr. Deciduous were new neighbors. Our tree was sheltering these new arrivals from the thunder and lightning of the world. In protecting the young ones as a nurturing guardian rather than a bullying warrior, our gentle giant of a tree was demonstrating a prime example of supporting diversity and equality. All of them are trees, after all.
You see, my friend, these two newborn trees could represent anything. It could be male or female, rich or poor, people of color or white people. As a leader of the forest, our stately one demonstrates total open branched, openhearted acceptance of all. Our country would do well to model America’s new direction after nature.
“I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.” Maya Angelo
Our nation has much work to do in order to be as wise in nature’s ways (as this tree appears to be) by embodying full blown acceptance of others just a bit different than ourselves. Trees have the ability to stretch their limits to the sky in full leafed glory in order to support, respect and embrace others.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer, always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Harriet Tubman
If we wanted to personify this large tree, we could imagine it is aware that the two small guests are trees as well. There appears to be no division between them. In looking at our country, some are focusing upon divisive rather than uniting factors. What is that which has the potential to hold us together?
“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” George Washington Carver
Remember or imagine the experience of being young, aged, striving, weak, or strong. Surely we could adopt the wisdom of this tree. We can have open hearts and reach for the stars to change the world. We can be tender, compassionate, sympathetic and tolerant. If we gaze in the mirror, we can see those qualities. Then, we must feel and use those characteristics for the common good. All of us are people, after all.
The wisdom of my tree tells me it is not coniferous or deciduous. It is not male or female. It is not people of color or white people.
Finally, in truth, it is deciduous and coniferous, female and male, people of color and white people. We must delete the “or” to insert “and”. It is so necessary for us to break our enslavement to the word “or” and welcome all as our true brothers and sisters. It is for you and me! This is America’s New Direction, The AND Movement of unity that will lead us toward peaceful co-existence with all.
“We’ve just forgotten that we belong to each other.” Mother Teresa