Celebration

Celebration

Today LD Sledge is turning 80, a young 80, and we are celebrating him as a man and contemporary artist, a great friend and a totally amazing writer. A man full of creative ideas and curiosity. No body age is going to stop him from dreaming about the next adventure that will culminate into “Wow” art. As a matter of fact, the body has nothing to do with his urge to create.

His fight with cancer is mere noise. When he thinks of how to do this and that and presents it just so, he will again lift you up.

LD is an inspiration for all people who lived their lives while dreaming of one day doing different things – an inspiration not to get sucked into watching TV and believing that life had its peak and now will go down. An inspiration that you can make your dreams come true, no matter your body age, that the ideas you had “inside your head” can be taken up, even better after people start calling you a “senior”.

And “senior” is not a bad word after all, really. You have now started the phase of life where you can be senior to everyday musts and have to’s. There are actually many people who soar after they retire. There is a freedom to this senior thing. And we are still very blessed to have a social structure whereby you can receive a pension and/or social security and smartly adjust so you can start life as you always hoped you could live it.

Take for instance Arnold Kramer who recorded the history of the Midwest in primary colors. He did not start painting until after he retired. And then Clementine Hunter, a self taught African-American folk artist who became well known and even was called the “African-American Grandma Moses,” after Anna Mary Robertson Moses. “Grandma Moses” sold one of her paintings for $1.2 million. She did not start her painting adventure until her mid fifties.

I knew a lovely lady from Scandinavia, who at the age of 65 decided to study philosophy. To pay for her studies she created a line of figurines that were mass produced at the local pottery. As money was flowing in, she studied for 20 years while she became a very sought-after artist in Europe.

So Senior means senior. You have made your mistakes, learned your lessons, made up your mind and got to know yourself enough to dream about “what next…” In the early days the senior was the one passing on the knowledge, hard fought for, to the young and inexperienced. Many philosophers throughout history reached their peak at a ripe old age. And is there really a senior artist who is not somewhat a philosopher as well?

On this day, LD’s day, I love to invite all senior artists to celebrate with us. Wisdom and beauty caught on canvas through eyes and hands that have seen and done it all, uplifting people all around.

Now that is the way to go!

Artistry

Artistry

loveWhen I woke up this morning I had no clue that today would be special. It’s that which makes life full of hope and magic – you go about your business and wham! there appears what you so long have thought that maybe one day, maybe one day, this special thing would come your way. Undefined, not voiced, but always hoped for…

And today it happened! Today I received the purest love poem I could ever dream to have written for me. Oh, you say, it was a poem? And I answer, it was “the poem” that brought tears to my eyes, deepened the love I feel for its creator and lifted my spirit.

And it was art, pure and simple. Does art not lift the spirit?

You see, the art LD Sledge has created and you enjoy on this website is just one side of this amazing man. In the “About the Artist” section I already warned you that this artist is multi-faceted, conveying aesthetics in many different ways. And today he wrote this for me, his wife:

Grace’s Laughter

Your laughter

a jingle of sparks
fills the room with little puffs of light
that swell my heart
to smiling
nearly bursts my chest
with joy —–

your eyes

incipient mischief in themselves,
are giggles
that speak
without the need of words
saying “come on, is that all you’ve got?”

your heart

you so freely gave to me
asks for nothing more than
honesty
Trust
and love in return —–
you make it so easy for me —–

He handed this to me with eyes like universes, with a smile that looked expectantly, open and simple, just being himself.

How can I not love this man.

Artists are special people, they sprinkle the fairy dust of spirit’s creations as if to say “I see you, I know you are there, I help you look beyond the daily chores of life and help you not to forget that we all are creators of joy”. Artists…, without them a civilization would soon become glum and a lifeless rut chasing that which is only for the moment.

Artists create infinite future for the soul.

I told you, today was a very special day.

Tough Love and Art?

Tough Love and Art?

When my first husband turned to alcohol, I turned too, to my mother – hoping she would allow me back home with my two little ones. However she looked at me and sternly told me: “you made your bed, you lay in it”… Yes, my mom was a “tough love” advocate. Later, when that same husband started threatening to take the children, planning to do untold damage to my face, I knew that the only one who could save me, was me. I knew what my mother said was true, I had made my bed, but did I have to lay in it? I decided to stand instead.

Looking back on this time in my life I wonder, where was I?

I was 25 and absolutely dumb where it concerned life. I had graduated with a BA in Nursing, loved working with people – yet where it concerned life it was as if I had to wake up from a bad dream. Having lived with “now I’m supposed to be or do”, having gone with the tide, the highs and lows of what had been thrown at me so far, life had looked like a severe storm. The concept of “making my bed” would imply that I had had a plan and had executed it. And even after having “made” maybe 10,000 beds as a nurse, I had not yet reached the level of consciousness required to “make my bed”.

The idea of planning a life, having a recipe so to speak, a “B” point to arrive at – it had eluded me that you could do that. Life coaches, and self-improvement books with writing up goals and such were as far away as the creation of the cell phone. After all, this was 1972.

One thing that always had been like a patch of blue sky in my stormy youth and beyond had been Art. There were people who could create beautiful things that would lift you up. I watched my sisters graduating the Academy of Arts in Amsterdam. Their ability to create beauty each in their own field was breathtaking. I had been the happiest when associating with music and art. Would I be able to “make my bed” with art?

It took a while for me to get to the point where I actually could formulate “my bed”.
41 - waterIf it was up to me I would take 2 cups of sunlight and a knife to cut it up into colors, 1 pint of humor while adding some friendship and throwing it in the skillet of love. I would stir while warming it, add some grease of social graces and pour it all onto a big plate. And it would look like a “Sledge” painting. A wonder of light and dimensions, tasting like WOW! Filling me with fresh energy to lift my head and dive into life. Up to where the sky would just be the beginning, not the limit.

From way up there I would look down upon my life-span, beginning to end, and I would spot the path leading me to a kitchen of beautiful art. All I had to do now was to fill the sidewalk of my restaurant terraces with art, with tables and chairs, parasols, flowers and spread the word that the most delicious art is made in my kitchen, and we call it “Sledge Art.” And however many times you eat from it, there is always more to keep you going.

I am making my bed, and boy, do I want to lay in it!

Getting Lost in Art or Finding Yourself in Art, That’s The Question…

Getting Lost in Art or Finding Yourself in Art, That’s The Question…


child-at-window
As an eleven year old girl, way back when, I would challenge the gods by sneaking out at eight at night to run to church. Not to do anything religious, no, I would climb up into one of the big, wide window sills of this old church and nestle in, very concerned not to be seen.

I had stumbled on this secret place one evening when I had climbed over the balcony wall of my family home and let myself down into the street looking for a hideaway where I could peacefully contemplate my new found tidbits of life lessons. The window sill had been hidden between the branches of a stately oak tree and climbing into it had been a piece of cake.

Living in tight quarters with my very alive family and sharing a bedroom with my 2 sisters, my eagerness to create an island of space for myself had gotten the better of me again. The dark, dutch evenings gave me the cloak to sneak away.

That very first time, thinking I would find quiet and solitude – being with my life lessons one-on-one – I looked up scared as I heard the tic-tic-tic of a stick tapping wood. Was I found out? I peered through the window into the bright lit room and to my amazement there was a full orchestra sitting in folding chairs and looking up at the conductor, who had asked for their attention. I held my breath, could not believe my eyes and then my ears, as the sound of violins, cello’s, trumpets, etc. embraced me. I am sure they could not see me, but I still pushed myself to the side of the window and sat transfixed as I saw the conductor with the help of this stick create the music that I so love.

My mother had always treated herself to the most beautiful Mendelssohn, Brahms or Tchaikovsky after the kids were finally in bed, not knowing that I would lay my ear against the door to not miss a note. And now here I was, as if the whole orchestra was playing for me. I do not think that I ever experienced a more spiritual moment than the evenings I spent on that sill. Even if halted by the perfectionism of the conductor, explaining perfection to the musicians, I could lose myself in the beauty of the music. It talked to me, not in words but in wavelength – a wavelength that lifted and expanded me. And that is where I found myself. No longer concerned with day to day life lessons, I felt a curious freedom that yet was so familiar.

I had stumbled upon one of the purest kinds of aesthetics. I forgot about the sill, about hiding my body, even my body itself and stepped into the music. It was talking to me and I was listening, understanding, moving while being moved. Boundaries I so had wanted to escape were forgotten: being ugly, poor and terribly skinny did not enter my mind. Life lessons? What life lessons. I had stumbled into aesthetics, something that did not appear to be of this world – it was just…spiritual. And in a funny spiritual way I held my breath not to miss a thing.

56 universeYears later, when I first met my husband, he arrived at my house with a file in his hand. He laid it on the table, opened it and there was this amazing, painted wonderworld full of shapes and color, deep and far away as well as close up. I tumbled in and felt myself float on the wavelengths of beauty and depth, tumbling through a universe of fantasy. I pulled myself back and looked at him, what was that?

Faintly I recognized a state of mind I had not felt in a while. Patiently he showed me more and more pieces and again I held my breath not to miss a thing.

He started to explain how he wanted to create paintings that would communicate with the observer, and I knew he had just done that.

In a pure state of excitement we talked and talked about this art that would give people the wings to dive in and fly, like a Hubble telescope roaming through space encountering the most amazing constellations in their color and bursts of fire, creating breathtaking pictures. An invitation to spiritual experience, not religious, as that adds meaning to spirituality. No… just being there surrounded by space and beauty.

Once more I was lost in art, only to find myself. Now I understand why artists keep the spirit alive in the people around them. Now I understand that the need for artists and art is as basic as the need for water. As one may keep the body alive, the other keeps the spirit alive. And their works of art seen every time you walk into that room, complements you and your alive-ness, acknowledges that there is more than walls and chairs, more then curtains and sofa’s. There is a world out there that is bigger than that. And we tap into this world when we see the art pieces that inspires us. How else could it inspire us?

Beautiful art is the door between the material and the spiritual world. When you are lost in one, step through the door and find yourself in the other. And you will be beautiful.

Surround Yourself With Art That “Wows” You

Surround Yourself With Art That “Wows” You

Hendrick Avercamp - Dutch Winter Scene

Hendrick Avercamp – Dutch Winter Scene

I was born and raised in the land of the old Masters, the Netherlands, and lived in Amsterdam where you can drink coffee close to Rembrandt’s art and where the Van Gogh Museum is on the way home.  A country that allows you to look into living rooms with warm lights and beautiful green plants in the window sills; a country of November clouds so impressive, it would make you hold your breath; a country that during Winter, when covered in snow, looks surreal; a country with Summer parks where blankets of colorful tulips compete for your admiration; a country where some of the Masters’ painted scenes can still be seen in day to day life.

Frans Hals - The Lute Player

Frans Hals – The Lute Player

Masters like Johannes Vermeer, expert of the “Dutch light”, Jan Steen who was known for his homely and humoristic tableaus, and Frans Hals, whose joyful portraits made him famous. They all lived and worked in this very small country. My personal idea of why so many great artists came from this area is the weather, yes, the weather. Cold, rainy, and windy, grey as the clouds hang low and where Summer might last 3 days. The weather! No surprise people like to stay home… inside.  A desire to make the rooms of their homes warm and beautiful was given new life in the 17th century, when the economy was flourishing and traders like the Dutch East India Company invested in beautiful mansions along the waterways to Amsterdam.

The desire to beautify their interiors with rich colors, great art pieces and warmth – lots of warmth – surely had a lot to do with how these amazing artists became immortal.

Whenever a culture flourishes, so do the Arts. In Mediterranean countries the accent has been more on clothes (even today Armani, Dior, etc.), as the weather allowes people to go out and show themselves in the most beautiful garments. But for the Dutch the weather prohibits such luxury. We stay inside and specialize in beautiful living spaces.

Today the art of interior decorating with its amazing TV shows have opened the eyes of many and awakened the awareness of how to lift your spirit by surrounding yourself with beautiful things, beautiful colors, amazing art. The term “focal point” is now in everyday use and an accent wall to liven up a space is nothing new anymore. My husband got an e-mail from an interior decorator friend explaining to him the percentages of color in a room to create a desired effect. You could say that interior decorating has become a new art form. And I wholeheartedly agree. What joy to walk into an amazingly designed room. Like the old Masters, some people are fantastic with that.

79 - universeColors do influence the way you feel. Think about it, when you enter a dark room it is as if you contract, introvert and even feel fear. Masters influence your emotion. People going to a Museum walk away with a different emotion from when they entered. I once walked into a furniture store where they had a beautiful, colorful painting showing a Venice scene so beautiful, it filled me with joy and even though I walked in to buy some furniture I left with that painting. I hung it on my wall and ever since felt alive seeing this wonderful picture and could not help smiling and lift my step.

So “Masters and Interior Decorating” go hand in glove. Imagine walking into an amazingly decorated room with colors that match your disposition — man, that could make you start singing. It does for me and I have had many a shoe hit my head as a consequence. I am no Maria Callas.

Then imagine walking in a room that has no color or beauty, doesn’t that influence you? I wonder if we really are aware how much it does until we walk into a beautiful space. So the Dutch love to create beautiful homes to step in from out of the rain, the sleet, the stormy wind. And the Masters flourished.

Stephanie Pappas wrote an article for Science “Different colors describe happiness, depression” on NEWS NBC.com. (© 2012 LiveScience.com. All rights reserved.) It says:

“Are you in a gray mood today? How about a blue funk? Maybe you’re seeing red, because you’re green with jealousy. The colors we use to describe emotions may be more useful than you think, according to new research. The study found that people with depression or anxiety were more likely to associate their mood with the color gray, while happier people preferred yellow. The results, which are detailed today in the journal BMC Medical Research Methodology, could help doctors gauge the moods of children and others…”

Universe - 109It turned out that happy people went for the yellow and brighter blue where people with anxiety and depression went more for the darker blue and grey. Oh yes, and red is of course the color of love…

Well, what did I say? There have been even scientific studies done on this phenomena of color. But you and I already knew, if only instinctively, that colors influence our emotions.  Maybe this is one of the biggest reasons the art by LD Sledge resonates and creates emotional reactions, with the bright colors and open interpretation of an amazing dynamic scene, pulling us into a world that invites us to create how we feel, time and again. Like taking a spiritual shower among the stardust and sparkle of outer space.

A “Sledge”, the art for every emotion; the art to lift your spirit; the art that invites you to smile can be seen on this website and just let us know what your expression looks like while you admire these art pieces. Did you get “wow-ed”?