Written by Yvonne Dagger
Holidays this year will be quite different than those we've ever experienced throughout our lives. In the past almost 70 years that I have been living, I have never seen times like these where I can't be with my family, hug them and share in holiday festivities. We are a social society where gatherings and get togethers are so important to us. Holiday parties were all part of my holiday traditions during this joyous time of the year. Extended family parties and celebrations were the norm and have always become treasured memories. However, this year we must forego these tried and true traditions. Our gatherings must stay small and consist of just the people living in our homes. It's a very hard thing to do especially when we've never done this before.
However, it's so important that we stay vigilant and follow the guidelines that the scientists and doctors put in place of wearing a face mask, social distancing, keeping our hands clean...and celebrating with only the people living in our homes. These guidelines are not only for our own protection, but for the health and well being of the doctors, nurses, health care workers, hospital employees, and first responders. Right now they are overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases. If we follow these very simple guidelines, we will be able to see and celebrate with our loved ones again in the near future. I can't stress enough how important this is. Please, please show your love for yourself and others by following the guidelines. It will be the greatest Holiday gift that you give and get this year.
Dagger and I wish everyone a happy and healthy Holiday Season. Remember, better days are ahead.
Be safe, Stay healthy and above all stay vigilant!
With a hopeful heart, a virtual hug and a happy tale to tell,
Each and every VOTE counts
As I write this blog,
America is going through one of the most challenging times in it's history.
We have all felt the effects of the Carona Virus Pandemic. Even Dagger has felt its effects. With no workshops to look forward to and visits to rehabilitation centers he has become a bit depressed. My heart breaks to see this happen. Now, don't get me wrong, we do venture into our studio to paint and that's fun. But, it can be lonely for him and me too.
Even more saddening, lives have been lost, people are alone in hospitals without loved ones to console them as they leave this world. Our doctors, nurses and health care workers have taken the place of family members....holding the hands of people they hardly know saying "Goodbye" for their family members. God bless each and every one of them. They are our true heroes. The unsung heroes and living saints of today. Many have sacrificed their lives to care for the sick and dying. Our doctors and scientists need and deserve our respect and should be listened to. I have repeatedly posted on Dagger's social media channels the need to wear a face covering, practice social distancing and wash your hands often.
These are important mitigation tools that will help us eradicate this horrible virus.
They work...The Scientific Facts tell us so!
In just two days, we have an election to determine who will sit in the Oval Office for the next four years. I am optimistic, confident and hopeful that we will see our nation unite as we had always done. When Dagger and started our mission of bringing education and community service to all people, getting political was one thing I swore I would never ever do. However, I can't help but think of how divided our nation has become. It makes me sad to think that stores and buildings are being boarded up because of the unrest that may take place after the election.
Our great Nation has and will emerge from all of this better. I truly believe this. It's important to remember that as Americans we have overcome many obstacles that have left us stronger and prouder than ever before. We are a nation where Love prevails, Kindness matters, Compassion for our fellow neighbors and strangers is what makes us the United Nations of America and
Bullying to get what one wants is not accepted.
If you haven't voted yet, VOTE. Every vote is a person. Every vote counts. To that person, their vote is a scared right.
If it takes weeks to count each and every vote
...so be it.
I pray for a peaceful transition and a new beginning for our country.
God Bless the United States of America.
Think Positive and positive things will happen.
Happy tales to you,
Life is full of choices...
Whether we take the expressway or the scenic route...both will inevitably get us where we're going. However, how we get to our destination depends on the road we take. And sometimes the slower more scenic route may get us to our destination faster if the expressway is congested. That has happened to me many, many times! Living on Long Island we are constantly reminded of the back-ups on the L.I. Expressway going in or out of NYC at any given time of the day. So, to avoid the traffic, I will take the back roads.
Choices... Those choices...
Life is jam packed full of the choices we make and the consequences of them. The choices we make along our life's journey will inevitably effect our goal or destination. I've often thought about the choices I've made on my life's journey. In retrospect, I can say unequivocally that almost all of the choices I've made have had a positive impact on where I am today on my life's journey. I wouldn't be the mom of a famous canine artist and his muse if I hadn't made the choice to get involved in volunteering for Canine Companions for Independence and becoming a Puppy Raiser for them. In addition, I would have never pursued an art career if it hadn't been for a supportive husband and kids. Going back to school later in life was a difficult and challenging choice that I made. I learned a lot about myself during my years at Hofstra University as I sat in a classroom with students half my age. I learned that the older we get the more we don't know. There's so much to learn and understand about life through education. I also had the great pleasure of learning that as an older student the professors became my peers and friends. They encouraged me to strive to be the best I can be in every situation and never, ever give up. I truly believe that the decision to enter into the scary and unknown world of academics...a world where I thought was unattainable for me...turned out to be a world that I grew to love. While majoring in Fine Arts and Education, I never knew I was good at math and computer science. I even learned mandarin and tia chi. I had my very first solo art show at Hofstra University. To my great amazement, it was a huge success. After leaving Hofstra and earning the Golden Key Award for Academic Excellence, I entered many contests and won so many of them. Then I started pounding the pavement searching for an Art Gallery that would represent me. I will never forget those days when Denis and I would fill up the back of our Toyota Four Runner with all of my paintings stopping at almost every gallery on the east end of Long Island trying to pitch my work to a gallery. I would go into the gallery and Denis would start unloading the car showing painting after painting to the gallery owners. It was an arduous job...To say the least. It was also a lesson in humility where I was turned away numerous times by gallery owners who said they weren't looking for new artists or my work didn't fit in their gallery. It was not only depressing, but a blow to my self esteem. Then one day as we were traveling, we stopped off at a Gallery in Bridgehampton, NY called Clayton Labratory. Owned by an aunt and a niece who had been veterans in the art world, it was located in a small house on Montauk Highway. At first I was apprehensive to even enter the house knowing full well how accomplished these ladies were. But, with Denis' support I rang the bell. To my surprise, they were interested and interviewed me as I sat in their living room talking about my work. They then said, "OK, let us see what you have." As Denis was half way through bringing in my paintings...the ladies looked at each other and said to Denis, "Stop bringing in any more paintings...You have a Show!" They loved my work. That was my very first show other than my show at Hofstra U. I was even written up in the local newspaper by an art critic who gave me a great review. I had later learned that he very rarely gives positive reviews to anyone. WOW! I was over the moon thrilled. I sold almost all of the over 40 paintings in the show. After that I was represented by Chrysalis Gallery in South Hampton, NY for 12 years and now for the past 15 years I have been represented by Fitzgerald Gallery in West Hampton, NY. A Gallery owned by two of the nicest people you will ever meet. I'm proud to be showing in their Gallery. Currently, I'm still painting. I specialize in Pet Portraiture. However, my life took another turn on the highway of life...I've been traveling on a unique road for the past 3 1/2 years with my four legged famous artist, Dagger DogVinci. His life has taken me on roads that I never dreamed I'd be traveling on. It has been the greatest honor to be his master and facilitator during this exciting and wonderful journey.
The choices we make take us down roads that we never knew existed nor ventured to even go down. Life gives us choices everyday. Whatever choices we make, may they make us better individuals filling the world with goodness, kindness and love. To me that's the ultimate goal...That's the destination I want to reach. I know I have a ways to go to reach that goal. I also know that through faith, love and support I can make it...and so can you.
Because you know...
Happy Tales to you,
Life in the Studio
Life in the studio has changed greatly over the past months while in quarantine. The first and most notable occurrence is that sadly our beloved Tommy TuTu is no longer a part of our creative pack. Then something new has suddenly happened. Dagger is now fearful of going down the steps that lead to our studio. I don't know why this has suddenly happened. For close to four years now he has bounced down the two short steps that lead to our studio like a champ. Then recently, one day, he just put the brakes on and wouldn't come down the steps. It is so disheartening to me. I tried food and treat lures to get him to come down the two measly steps. Then one day, literally at my wits end, my dear friend, Ann, recommended I take him through the outside door that leads to the studio. There are no steps going that way. I tried her idea and it worked. I'm happy about that, but by the same token, I wish I knew what was going on in his mind that after so many hundreds of times going down the steps he suddenly has a fear of them. Questions like: "Did I move something around in the studio?" or "Did I add something new?" But, nothing like that ever affected him before. In fact, I've moved so many things over the years in the studio nothing... not one thing... that I've changed has ever bothered him before. I can't for the life of me figure it out. Walking in through the outside door makes him comfortable. So, here we are, another new normal. We now walk into the studio through the outside door. Go figure!!!
Upon entering, his tail wags and you can clearly tell that he is relieved that he is safely in his space. Then as we take our places, a sense of joy enters this creative space. I'm happy that that has not changed at all. Miss YaYa and Dagger's tail's wag while I begin to feel a happiness take over my being, Our studio has become for us our safe haven. A place where creativity happens and life takes a hopeful turn. So, what has changed about Dagger has little or no effect on our time in the studio. It's still the same wonderful creative world. A world where anything goes and everything happens.
The memories of how we would lose ourselves in the happiness permeates the studio space and we are once again transformed into creative creatures...learning and be inspired by each other.
It's a marvelous feeling to know that we have this place to express ourselves.
Studio's for the most part can be that creative place where we learn and become inspired by our own talent. Speaking from my own experience and easel🙂, I have had the greatest pleasure of working on many paintings and literally losing myself in time. I become transcendent into a world of creative prowess that humbles me and allows me to be...well, ME.
Kandinsky, the father of abstract art, likened his time in the studio as a transcendental time where colors were other worldly and his paintings became compositions, impressions and improvisations. Much like musical compositions. According to Wikipedia.com, Kandinsky felt that "music was the ultimate teacher." As the Der Blaue Reiter Almanac essays and theorising with composer Arnold Schoenberg indicate, Kandinsky also expressed the communion between artist and viewer as being available to both the senses and the mind (synesthesia). Hearing tones and chords as he painted, Kandinsky theorised that (for example), yellow is the colour of middle C on a brassy trumpet; black is the colour of closure, and the end of things; and that combinations of colours produce vibrational frequencies, akin to chords played on a piano. In 1871 the young Kandinsky learned to play the piano and cello.
Kandinsky also developed a theory of geometric figures and their relationships—claiming, for example, that the circle is the most peaceful shape and represents the human soul. These theories are explained in Point and Line to Plane
Published in Munich in 1911, Kandinsky's text, Über das Geistige in der Kunst, defines three types of painting; impressions, improvisations and compositions. While impressions are based on an external reality that serves as a starting point, improvisations and compositions depict images emergent from the unconscious, though composition is developed from a more formal point of view. Kandinsky compares the spiritual life of humanity to a pyramid—the artist has a mission to lead others to the pinnacle with his work. The point of the pyramid is those few, great artists. It is a spiritual pyramid, advancing and ascending slowly even if it sometimes appears immobile. During decadent periods, the soul sinks to the bottom of the pyramid; humanity searches only for external success, ignoring spiritual forces.
Colours on the painter's palette evoke a double effect: a purely physical effect on the eye which is charmed by the beauty of colours, similar to the joyful impression when we eat a delicacy. This effect can be much deeper, however, causing a vibration of the soul or an "inner resonance"—a spiritual effect in which the colour touches the soul itself."
I can't say that I'm completely likened to Wassily Kandinsky, but after learning about him, I can say that there are many times I've felt a similar way while working in our studio space. The space to me has become a spiritual kind of comfortable safe haven. It's where I feel that time has no prevalence and the tools become symbols of hope and joy. To me, that's a beautiful feeling. I think that if I was able to read Dagger's mind, he would tell me that he feels the same way too. Albeit, those pesky steps.
Do you have a space in your home that you feel is your safe haven? A space where there's a spiritual and transcendental meditative happening every time you enter in? If you don't, you may want to create one. It can be a small space or it can be a very large space. Whatever and where ever it is, it's your space. Tell me about yours...
Whether your space is large or small...it's yours. Yours to express yourself in any way you like. So, as we always say...CREATE. LEARN and INSPIRE. And I might add, forget the your steps of fear...just let your creative juices flow and your space will become your safe haven too.😘
Happy Tails to you,
Two days after I posted this Blog Dagger decided to run right down the stairs to the studio!! It was like a mini miracle.
He has gone up and down the stairs to the studio since.
The Journey of Life
The journey of life is where my true growth and learning happens. I don't need to go on a physical journey, vacation or trip to witness this growth. What it does encompass is how I view my life. Right now I find myself in a desert kind of place in my life's journey. Much to my amazement, I find that it is when I am in a desert type setting (which is where I think most people are in our current climate) I grow the most. It is in the silent whispers of nature, the rainbow that suddenly appears across the sky that I have found I've learned the most. When I take the time to reflect on the beauty in nature, I feel a sense of peace and tranquility. But, this doesn't happen all of the time. There are times when things get the better of me and it's hard to see things clearly. I was told by a very wise and wonderful man that when the road on my life's journey seems rocky I am encouraged to quiet myself down, bring myself gently and lovingly back to this place of peace and comfort...a place of hope and gratitude. This destination is of the utmost importance to me. It has helped me tremendously over these past six months. However, stopping to see these signs and practicing this type of thinking can be a challenging and daunting job one of which I sometimes find slightly difficult to do.
Then there is the road to this destination which sometimes takes me on a course that is not the easiest or fastest route on my journey through life. Yet, it has brought me to where I am today. Many things have happened in my life that I've often felt were not the way I had wished would have taken place. But, in retrospect, I can see now why they had to happen to bring me to the place I am today. Going back to school after I left my families business was traumatic to me at the time. However, if that had not happened, I would have never achieved the success I enjoy today. Through my academic years I gained the confidence to be able to stand firm in my beliefs and become independent in my thinking. I have become a successful professional fine artist and mom to a famous canine artist. Going back to school as an adult my professors became my peers and we very often had some pretty interesting conversations over lunch and coffee about the subjects they taught. I loved every course I took and reveled in learning about so many things. I excelled so much so that I was awarded the Golden Key Award for Academic Excellence. An honor I will always take pride in receiving.
As I reflect on my life, I realize that sometimes I missed what was valuable by focusing only on goals. Don't get me wrong, on the contrary, I needed those goals to obtain the success I have achieved thus far in my life. And in reality during this COVID-19 Pandemic, I see things a bit differently now. I still have goals that I'd like to achieve. However, I've come to realize that my life's journey is more than a set of goals I've placed before me. Being in quarantine since January (due to my adrenal surgery and the pandemic), my life has slowed down quite a bit. I've had more time to reflect on the beauty that surrounds me, the people and fur babies that are all part of my life's journey. I've come to appreciate them more. And even though it's been a really challenging time for all of us, it's important that we all try very hard to concentrate on being grateful for all of the blessings bestowed on us each and everyday. I want you to know that YOU are all part of the blessings and gratitude I feel. I am truly thankful for all of you being a part of my life's journey.
Talking to my oncologist the other day, he assured me that in the near future we will have a vaccine for this terrible virus. I know that almost everyone all over the world is praying for that. When it does happen and we are able to receive the vaccine and enter into our "new" normal, I hope to look back at this time in our history as a time of deep reflection of the blessings in my life. The people and pets I hold dear to my heart. And how much more they mean to me than any material possession I thought was of the utmost importance to me Pre-COVID_19.
In closing, I would like to leave you this month with a little humble advice...
Take the time to learn, create and inspire in this desert time in your lives. May the silent whispers of nature speak to you and give you the strength and courage to continue your work here on earth as you give thanks for the blessings along your journey of life each and everyday. And if you get to a place that your road's journey becomes rocky, gently and lovingly bring yourself back to that place of peace and tranquility.
Happy Tales to You,
Take one step at a time...
It's been close to four months since we first heard about the COVID-19 virus that was revenging the world. It has been a frightening and challenging time for all of us. Keeping a positive attitude during these troubled times can be one of the hardest things we can do right now. As Americans we are given a choice to either follow a set of guidelines (including wearing a face mask, washing your hands often and social distancing) or doing our own thing. This is our right as Americans. I'm a proponent of wearing a face mask and sticking to the Guidelines put forth by the CDC. I believe they're life savers. But, unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way. Some people are resistant to adhering to the Guidelines.
On Saturday, July 4th, Americans all across this great nation of ours celebrate Independence Day. This is what our forefathers fought for and our soldiers still fight for throughout the world. Independence in this day and age calls for us to be smart and steadfast in our lives. It means to stay the course and do what works scientifically.
However, being independent does not mean that we should squander these rights neither. As I write this blog today, our nation is seeing an uptick in Corona Virus cases with a sad possible second wave. Top doctors all over the world have said publicly that face masks are very effective in stopping the spread of the virus. On Dagger's Social Media channels I've repeatedly posted the great need to wear a face mask, keep your hands clean and social distancing. These guidelines will keep us independent in the long run.
Yes, face masks are not the most illustrious fashion statement and they do make it a bit harder to breathe. However, if they are going to save your life and the lives of other people, why not wear one when you are in public places? It's just a simple ask. It's the responsible thing to do. Here in New York, it is mandatory to wear a face mask in stores and businesses. Most people I know are adhering to the guidelines. We are making strides to keep the virus at bay. Let's keep it that way. The virus is still lurking around. It's our duty to see that we are all safe and protected from this terrible insidious disease. In the long run, it's the only defense...right now...we have to fight to keep our independence by staying well and keeping out of danger of contracting the virus. Please, set a good example to others. Wear a face mask.
By taking one step at a time, we will get through this. Try to stay positive. Use this time to learn something new. You may just find out that you have a hidden talent that you never knew you had. Creating a work of art or a craft that you've just learned how to do can add some positive energy to your lives. Reading a wonderful novel can take you on an adventure through a world of someone else's imagination. I just finished reading a terrific book, "Where the Crawdads Sing" written by Delia Owens. If you've read a good book recently, let me know about it.
I also recently taught myself how to crochet. It's not the best, but I'm trying. I crocheted my grandson a blanket and I am now creating one for my granddaughter. It was awesome to get a short video of him enjoying his new blanket. That made my day 😍
There are so many things that we can be grateful
and thankful for...
the sunrise, the beauty in nature, hearing the birds chirping, witnessing the magnificence of a sunset.
Try to stay positive...
Try to see the beauty in your surroundings.
Be Grateful. Be Thankful.
Stay well. Stay safe.
Happy July 4th~ Happy Independence Day!!
Happy tales to you,
I can pray...
A Place where I can Bark, Blog and Woof a Little
written by Yvonne Dagger