Tag Archives: Life

Amplitude

Amplitude by Karen Gadient, 2014

Amplitude. Created with Corel Painter.
For a larger version and print, please click the image.

I’ve been out of town, stressed, full of emotions, and busy with life. I’m grateful for the chance to sit down and express my inner mind’s chaos with a bit of color.

I know things will work out; they always do with my dear David by my side. Family, also. And friends too: thank you for being here. This is my birthday week, and I find myself more thoughtful than in previous years. Guess that comes with age and change! Cheers to the rest of the year ahead, for all of us.

Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
— Kahlil Gibran

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Filed under Art, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Family, Journal, Life, Painting, Quotes

Dreams of Color

Dreams of Color by Karen Gadient, 2014

Dreams of Color. Created with Procreate for iPad and Corel Painter.

When I can’t sleep, I doodle on the iPad. And doodling, when you’re having a sleepless night, turns into a dreamlike activity.

After some rest, I brought the doodle onto the big screen and expanded upon it: creating this artwork. I guess if you have a box of crayons (digital or otherwise), insomnia can be as colorful as a dream.

Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons. — Al Hirschfeld

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Filed under Art, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Graphic Design, iPad Art, Life, Portrait, Quotes

Cats in the House

Calico Cat Watercolor

I’ve been away from blogging for a little while, as we’ve been busy with the integration of a new adult cat to our household. Glad to say it’s gone smoothly!

I’d show you a picture of her, but she was very badly matted when we found her and now she’s got quite a ridiculous haircut. Punk lion-kitty. With the online world always hungry for silly cat photos, I figure it’s better for her dignity to allow the fur some time to grow back before we post snapshots.

She’s sweet lady calico and we’re glad to have her in our family.

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul. — Jean Cocteau

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Filed under Cats, Family, Grooming, Journal, Life, Love, Pets, Quotes

Container Park in Downtown Las Vegas

Container Park in Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada

I used to live in Las Vegas and we’re still there often. This weekend, we were in town and wanted to try Chef Stacey Dougan’s Simply Pure. We’re always on the lookout for vegan options in Las Vegas and since we’d had Ronald’s Donuts for breakfast—we needed a healthy dinner.

The restaurant (which was delicious, by the way) is a part of downtown’s new Container Park. We had no idea what the place was about, but it was so cool. Really nifty architecture: tetris-land, with food and shopping. It’s built from shipping containers and very shiny.

The night we were there, they had a live disco band (called Discolicious) in front of a huge play yard for kids—which was, in true Vegas-style, not far from a hip bar for the parents. The kids could whomp each other with pool noodles while we all did The Electric Slide.

Fire Mantis at Container Park, Las Vegas

Oh, I almost forgot the the giant fire-spitting metal mantis—rumor was he’d come from Burning Man—at the front of complex. Here’s a video!

I would definitely recommend a visit to Container Park next time you’re in Vegas. There’s no gambling, but it’s a great chill spot for couples and families alike.

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Filed under Family, Food, Landscape, Las Vegas, Life, Photography

Storm at Sea

Storm at Sea by Karen Gadient, 2013

Coral – Digital block print. Created with Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop.

The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.
— Vincent Van Gogh

Speaking of sea…

Just returned from tagging along on David’s business trip to North Carolina, where I got to see Natania again. Only a day together, but there was talking and and wine and food and games—so even a day was enough.

I’m grateful for the internet, but I wish I could see friends in person more often.

On the return flight, I had the honor of beginning to read her draft of Watcher of the Skies, whose narrator happens to be Poseidon. So: sea. Water and wonder. Life and depth and flow. It’s already one of those books I love to get lost in.

Sweetest melodies are those that are by distance made more sweet.
— William Wordsworth

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Filed under Art, Color, Digital Artwork, Family, Friendship, Inspiration, Life, Mythology, Nature, Ocean, Painting, Quotes, Sea, Seascape, Writing

Still: Carlos Eyles and the Ocean

This is the first time I’ve shared a video, but this one really moved me.

Beautiful and poignant. Spirit and the ocean. Humanity.

It doesn’t matter how big your house is or how fast your car is. It’s how willing you are to open your heart to another human being. Period. — Carlos Eyles

As society enters a new era of awareness towards environmentalism on land, very much is still unknown about the sustainability of the one body that encompasses over 70% of earth: our oceans. “Still” dives into the life of Carlos Eyles, an author, free diver, and ocean photographer. Through Carlos, we are able to understand the indefinite spiritual connection between the ocean and humankind.

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January 3, 2014 · 1:00 pm

Crayon Mountains

Crayon Mountains by Karen Gadient

Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons. — Al Hirschfeld

Okay… not actually done with crayons, but digital watercolor and gouache. The design is inspired by a box of crayons recently sent to me by a friend—along with a coloring book! My inner child loved it. You’re never too old. :)

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Filed under Art, Beliefs, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Imagination, Inspiration, Journal, Life, Painting, Quotes

Find Good in Everything

The Trees by Karen Gadient

And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.

— William Shakespeare [As You Like It: Act II, Scene 1.]

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Filed under Art, Beliefs, Color, Digital Artwork, Inspiration, Journal, Life, Nature, Painting, Quotes

Autumn in Phoenix

Autumn by Karen Gadient

Wild is the music of autumnal winds
Amongst the faded woods.
– William Wordsworth

I live in a place where we don’t experience certain seasons, at least not like other parts of the United States do. Seasons here in sunny southern Arizona are: “too-damn-hot” and “bragging season”. That’s all. I mean, we get monsoon season too… but that’s not a true season. It’s just an influx of haboobs.

Luckily, we’re finally moving into bragging season. Time for the months when we can cheerfully call our sweater-wearing relatives up north: “Hey, it’s December and I’m by the pool! Whatcha doing today? Shoveling, eh? Bummmmmer.”

I don’t miss the snow. Not at all. What I do miss are the changing colors of the trees. Okay–and trees (that aren’t palm or mesquite or palo verde).

And squirrels. I swear all we have are coyotes and snakes.

Anyway… I’m happy about bragging season finally arriving. I’m tired of driving my car with oven mitts on (kidding–sorta). I’m really looking forward to the cold water taps on our sinks actually pouring out cool-ish water again (no kidding, the “cold” tap is always hotter than the “warm” one during the summer here).

So, what’s the best season of the year where you live?

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Filed under Arizona, Art, Color, Digital Artwork, Family, Journal, Life, Nature, Painting

Deep Orbit

Deep Orbit - Painting by Karen Gadient

I’ve been spending more time painting since my mother passed away. Because it gives me comfort, much of my artwork—now, more than ever—focuses on sea or space. This one is an abstract meant to be from a window of a starship… although it could also just as easily be from the view of an underwater craft.

Although I often tend to splash around heaps of kaleidoscopic color, this one is heavy on blue. Blue was my mother’s favorite color, never one of my own—but that’s changing, just like so many things in my world.

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Filed under Art, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Family, Imagination, Nature, Painting, Sea, Space

Shawarma and Synchronicity

[The following (upbeat) post was written the day before my mother had the emergency that put her in the hospital and eventually took her life. However, I felt I should post it now instead of deleting it, as we revisited the restaurant last night and the memory brought me comfort.]

Waves of Sound - Orange and Yellow

We were in a restaurant that we hadn’t been to in a while, inspired by the the post-credit scene from The Avengers. Yeah, we knew a shawarma joint about two blocks from here. Okay, more like two towns from here.

Only the place we go is trendy, unlike the one in the movie scene. Has a bar, but no dance floor. Open kitchen. Really just a family restaurant with exotic atmosphere. Plays my favorite kind of music: progressive house. Oh, sure. You didn’t know? I’m one of those graying old skool kids. Surprise. So…

We’re sitting there near the kitchen, finishing off our tasty shawarmas and people-watching. Then a song from my current repeat-playlist starts to fill the room. It’s one that speaks to me during this strange time in my life.

David knows it. He holds my hand. We listen.

But then something unusual happens: I notice an older woman nodding her head to the music. Then another woman, much younger than me, dancing by the hallway near the bar. I see a man at the bar whose lips are moving to the words. And another woman near the window tapping her hand in time with the bass line. One of the servers at the soft drink station briefly sways to the beat.

I mention it to David.

He sees another guy, sitting somewhere behind me, thrumming to the music.

“Six people.”

“Yeah. And to think when we walked in, they were strangers.”

I was struck by the idea that a song that moves me also moves others. That, for a brief time, we were all connected by one song. In a restaurant—not at a rave.

I loved it. It was a fascinating part of an already-good day.

Oh, and: no, I’m not sharing which song. ;) Maybe I’ll catch you in a restaurant one day and we’ll see what happens next. Shawarma, anyone?

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Filed under Arizona, Food, Journal, Life, Music, Phoenix

Love is the Essence of Life

Family of Flowers 3

I know I have to say this here before resuming “normal” blog posts:

My mother has passed away.

My life is not the same. She was a huge part of my world. She was a brave and exceptional individual. Much of who I am was established by who she was.

We were by her side when she passed. It was a death without pain and she was surrounded by love. Yet she left us far too suddenly and there are times I don’t believe she’s gone. I have days I fall apart and days I’m clear again.

Life is precious. Go hug your loved ones. Make the moments count.

I’ll catch up with my reading (and posting) as I’m able. Many thanks to those of you who reached out to me. I’m lucky to have such wonderful friends.

Also: don’t feel you have to comment; I would have turned off comments if WordPress had let me. Virtual hugs are better than words right now.

Update: I was able to turn off comments. But I do appreciate those already left.

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Filed under Blogging, Caregiving, Family, Friendship, Journal, Life

The Unexpected Expected

Family of Flowers 2

We’ve had some life changes here. Without going into the details, I’ll just say that we need to focus on taking care of my mother right now. I might not have time to read blogs or write posts (although I will try, as it can be therapeutic).

I will be back when time and events allow. The blogging community means a lot to me and I’ve made many friends here. If you want to reach me while I’m away, please feel free to email via the info on my ‘about me‘ page.

Take care and see you soon.

“Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles. It empties today of its strength.” — Corrie ten Boom

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Filed under Blogging, Caregiving, Family, Friendship, Journal, Life

More Power!

Overkill, David Gadient

Picture taken by David while he was working on a project in the house. Because you never know where you’ll need to drag that lamp for more light. Right?

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Filed under Arizona, Life, Photography

Surrounded by Ideas

Great Space of Creative Ideas. Digital artwork by Karen Gadient, 2013.

I had a dream last night where I saw the embodiment of ideas. My ideas, your ideas, or maybe all the ideas of Earth or the universe. Not really sure. But I got the vibe that ALL THE IDEAS was what I was looking at. And so, here goes:

It started out like a spirit guide, only a spark that I followed in darkness. It didn’t speak to me. Instead, it circled like a firefly—tiny and glowing. It had no true form and was made up of the elements. Fire, water, air, and even scattering bits of earth. It soon grew so that I could see its details better. Like a tiny galaxy, floating around the blackness where I stood.

Quickly—BAM—it expanded and surrounded me. Then it took me inside it and enveloped me so that I became part of it. I couldn’t see my hands or be sure that I still had a body. All I had was an intense warmth and the sensation of water washing over me, air I knew I was consciously breathing, and the view of what looked like a million little worlds before me.

Very super cool. I mean, I was a speck among specks, but it was awesome.

Now that I’m awake and back to reality, I’m left with a sense that we’re all so small and yet so powerful. Dreams like that drive me to not waste a moment of life.

Although I did take some time to create what I saw so that you could see it too.

Do you ever have dreams that stay with you and inspire you?

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Filed under Beliefs, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Dream Stories, Graphic Design, Ideas, Imagination, Inspiration, Journal, The Unknown

Follow Your Inner Moonlight

Inner Moonlight Quote Art

Crazy long weekend. Family time. And a meeting of friends too: I had a lovely brunch with Faye. Talked about writing and life. We have a lot in common. We both take a similar approach to the day-to-day: that you have to grab life by the… well, whatever’s handy—and make the most of it. Especially creatively.

Never mind what others say about you or what your inner editor whines. The key to success is trusting the madness and embracing what makes you unique.

Reminded me of a favorite quote. One I needed to remember. And so, I ended up doing a little art therapy and the image heading this post was the result.

Also, while I’m at it: more about Allen Ginsberg here.

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Filed under Art, Beliefs, Creativity, Friendship, Graphic Design, Inspiration, Journal, Psychology, Quotes

25 Gems About Me

Gems - Colorful Baubles

My friend Katie tagged me in one of those game-like blog thingees. I don’t usually do that stuff, and she gave me permission not to. No pressure and all that. However, I figured I should honor her by doing something in response to her thinking of me. Because, hey—friends are awesome.

So, I chose the ‘random facts’ part and made it longer.

25 Random Facts About Myself

1. I dictate most of my writing.
2. And a lot of that goes into a micro digital recorder first.
3. I skim magazines backwards.
4. I worked for years as pet groomer.
5. I like fast cars. Shiny fast cars.
6. Yet, I drive a ten-year-old car with over 300,000 miles on it.
7. I collect nail polish. And kooky socks.
8. From my home office, I can hear peacocks calling.
9. I eat salad like people eat potato chips: straight out of the bag.
10. I love to build things out of LEGO bricks.
11. I’m a Gemini. And married to a Gemini. We’re great at parties.
12. I like spiders. And snakes.
13. I have tumbleweeds on the porch to keep away solicitors.
14. I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s or Burger King in more than a decade.
15. I’ve lost more than 60 pounds in the last decade.
16. I’ve worked in three Las Vegas casinos. Two of them have since imploded.
18. I would totally go on a vacation to the moon.
19. I have a fondness for Existentialism.
20. Someday, I want to own a sailboat.
21. I support psychedelic research.
22. I love ancient cultures and tribal societies.
23. Yet, I’m just as fascinated with artificial intelligence and future science.
24. I’ve never watched Downton Abbey or Mad Men.
25. I hoard notebooks and sketchbooks.

Am I tagging any of you? Nah, I don’t do that. But if you want to write up a ‘random facts’ list for your own blog: consider yourself tagged and go for it. We’ll all learn a bit more about each other. Cheers!

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Filed under Blogging, Friendship, Games, Journal, Life, Writing

Phoenix Lights

Our Phoenix Lights, 2/18/13

Last night, we happened to go outside just as a series of strange lights passed over our house. When we first saw them, they were in a staggered zig-zag pattern. By the time I’d managed to get my dying cell phone to snap a picture, the lights had spread out to what you see above.

Neighbors were standing here and there to watch the sky too. At first I thought it was a huge group of helicopters, but my husband pointed out the lack of noise, plus the things were a very bright yellowish color.

Never saw anything like it.

After a while, I got creeped out and we hopped in the car to head off on our grocery-shopping errands. We made jokes about alien invasion and how weird Arizona can be. This state is a weird-magnet.

Eventually, the lights disappeared. Helicopters circled the area. We figured we’d see something on the news later. Nope. Not a thing. Can’t find anything about it online, other than old reports of the Phoenix Lights.

So, I’m blogging about it. Have you ever seen lights like this? Or anything else that made you consider the odds of UFOs checking out your neighborhood?

What do you think they are?

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Filed under Arizona, Journal, Life, Photography, Science Fiction, Space, The Unknown

Time is a Dressmaker

Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations. — Faith Baldwin

Life’s been throwing me curve balls lately. It looks like the game is going into extra innings and will just get crazier. However, instead of getting glum about it, I took some art therapy time and ended up with a piece of quote art. Might be doing more of these, in between cups of mojito tea and glasses of fine local wine.

Quote attributed to Faith Baldwin.

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Filed under Art, Creativity, Graphic Design, Inspiration, Journal, Life, Quotes

Ten Things Our Cats Have Taught Me

I published this just over a year ago when I first started blogging. Only I didn’t have much of a reader base at the time. Recently, I’ve been thinking about this post and how true it really is—at least for me. Cats still keep me grounded.

Mister Jones

Our cats are always by my side as I work. It’s one of the benefits of having a home office. My office window has a ledge specifically for them, and it’s just an arm’s length away from my desk. They keep me grounded. Having cats has taught me a few things, and I’d like to share them with you.

Live in the present. — It’s really all that matters. At least until you hear a can of food being opened. Or in my case, smell the coffee brewing.

Good things happen when you purr, not when you hiss. — That’s when you get treats. This applies to the online world just as much as when you step out the door. People like you better when you’re positive, and that reaps rewards.

Don’t skip a meal. — Keep your tummy happy and it won’t distract you while you’re trying to focus on other things. Our cat Jonesy (photo above), who really appreciates his food dish, taught me this one.

Meow often. — Taught to me by Nimbus, who is not even Siamese. Toot your own horn. I mean, try not to be obnoxious about it—and combine it with purrs while trying to look cute—but be proud of yourself and share with the world.

Cuddle with those you love. — Even if they’re busy, they’ll appreciate it within minutes. Plus, you’ll feel better too.

Be playful. — Have fun with daily things. Everything can be a game if you make it one.

Be curious. — That’s how you find stuff out, and some of that stuff could be the coolest thing you’ve found so far. Seriously: life-changing stuff.

Schedule time to do nothing at all. — Including naps, which are awesome. Meditate. Take a bath. Let life slow down for a bit. Take a look outside and watch the birds. Just chill.

Enjoy some inexpensive fun. — Our cats love cardboard boxes, paper bags, and rings from the milk bottle. Some of the best fun costs the least. Write in a journal, window shop at the thrift store, go to the park, check out the bargain movies, play a game of cribbage, or read a pile of library books.

Find the sunny spot and bask in it. — Stretch out. Breathe. Soak in the rays and let them warm your soul.

I’ll add another one, because there are plenty of cats and dogs (and other critters) yearning to be adopted out there: find yourself a pet—whichever kind suits you, however big or small. I’ve read that people with animal companions are less stressed and that they live longer. I’m willing to bet that it’s true.

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Filed under Cats, Inspiration, Journal, Life, Pets, Psychology