Artists thrive on positive responses to their artwork and I was delighted to receive the following message – “Congratulations, Vanessa! You have been selected as our ‘Up Close & Personal’ featured artist in ‘A Woman’s Touch’!!
Rose Pink Swirl Macro Photography Vanessa Thomas
Later tonight or early tomorrow [Sunday] morning, this gorgeous rose macro swirl & a brief bio will grace our homepage for the week beginning 9.6.20. You are invited to share the homepage featuring your work on Social Media, with family & friends, and in any group discussions thread that fits. Fvl.” Brooks Garten Hauschild
Brooks Garten Hauschild has led a remarkable creative journey and it’s wonderful that she has decided to support other female artists in this way!
It’s a week away from my fiftieth birthday so it’s been a time of reflecting on years gone by, appreciating what I have in my life and planning for things I’d still like to do.
With my 50th looming I had one specific goal to achieve before then – which was to publish a self illustrated picture book. So on that subject, I would like to introduce you to the lead character of my recently e-published picture book – Joa Jerboa. I wanted a character that was African, friendly, kind, adventurous and that mixed raced kids like my own could connect with so Joa was born. Joa has her own unique style and like the typical jerboa looks like a mixture of a mouse and a kangaroo. What makes her unique is the addition of a magical tail which has a story of its own.
The picture book is called “Days of the Week with Joa Jerboa” and is now on sale in the Kindle Store on Amazon. The rhyming story was originally written while we were in the United Kingdom when my son was little and learning to read and I then posted a narrated video on YouTube just using some free clipart to illustrate it. It had always been my plan to illustrate it myself one day and with my early birthday gift of an XP-PEN drawing tablet from my husband that plan reached fruition today!
A closer look at the cover art on the picture book reveals the little blue flowers inspired by Forget Me Nots. One does not reach this age without experiencing highs and lows and lately there seem to be more of the latter. My thoughts have turned to those I’ve loved but who are no longer around to celebrate this milestone with me – like my parents.
Whenever I look at Forget-Me-Nots my thoughts go to those who have passed on and I whisper a prayer acknowledging what they meant to me. It’s no surprise that Forget Me Nots are associated with remembrance but interestingly their genus is Myosotis derived from the ancient greek word for “mouse’s ear” because of the shape of their leaves.
It is therefore apt that Forget Me Nots are scattered throughout the picture book published in my fiftieth year of existence and paying homage to all those past and present, near and far, who make my life more meaningful, purposeful and beautiful.
Today is a gift, and I celebrate the joy of surviving planet earth for half a century. Tomorrow is not guaranteed so today I hope you dance with your being and hold those you love close in your heart. There is no time like the present to be kind to yourself, to honor your journey and what you’ve overcome and to keep on making your ruckus!
Like so many other families we adopted a puppy after the first couple of months of lockdown. Thankfully the Valley Humane Society was still arranging adoptions with special safety measures in place.
Little Archie has been a playful, fun and cute addition to our household and has drawn our attention to certain things that had become part of the background. The ornamental Plum tree in our garden being one of those!
Spring Awakening Photograph by Vanessa Thomas
It’s a tree that produces the prettiest blossoms in Spring and an abundance of tiny plums in Summer so it’s a pleasure to have in the garden. Little Archie was excited to play with the little burgundy fruit balls which of course was a nightmare because plums pits are toxic to dogs!
So on a blistering hot Summer’s day during a Zoom call break my husband took on the task of pruning the tree and I helped to collect some of the fallen fruit. What a task!
It seemed such a waste to simply add them to the garden refuse so of course I set a few aside to photograph first. For those of you who are interested – here is also a pic of little Sir Archie.
A Chair to Remember – The journey of an Adirondack Chair as part of a Temporary Public Art Program by the City of Dublin, California https://dublin.ca.gov/. The chair named “Of Poppies and Pollinators” was designed by Vanessa Thomas. Local Artist Teresa Yue assisted with the painting and assembly process.
The design for this Chair is inspired by the flora in Dublin with the added theme of protecting pollinators vital to our planet’s well-being.
This chair design raises awareness of the important work of bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds and others.
The problem of declining populations of native pollinators is complex, and there are multiple factors at work. But population decline can be largely be attributed to habitat loss, diseases and parasites, pollution and pesticide use.
The home gardener can help support native pollinators by creating pollinator-friendly landscapes and gardens.
A total of 20 Chairs were created by local artists and are up for auction via the City of Dublin website until September 2020.
Images used in this design have all been photographed in the Dublin area by Vanessa Thomas and include:
Image 1: Wisteria from Emerald Glen Park
Wisteria in Emerald Glen Park, Dublin, California
Image 2: California Poppies in the Meadow in Scarlett Drive
A pair of Californian wild Poppies
Image 3: Baby Blue Eyes wildflowers photographed in Fallon Sports Park
It’s been great to connect to fellow artists during shelter-in-place and some of us shared our thoughts with the Pleasanton Art League.
Our vulnerability has been highlighted in no uncertain terms in the current pandemic and rapid and complex changes have placed us in extraordinarily stressful times. Yet in the midst of it I am recalling quotes that have inspired and motivated me and I hope that by sharing them they can lighten your load a bit as well.
Pink Spring Blossoms in our neighborhood
Quote 1: The first was shared by my artist friend, Sawsan, who was making some jewelry and found an inscription on a piece of metal which read: “Every problem has a gift for you in its hands.” (Richard Bach) When I set aside my anxiety and looked for a gift in this unprecedented situation I came to realize that there were indeed gifts – closeness of family that I don’t usually get to enjoy, stepping off the hamster- wheel of meetings and events and finding quiet spaces to connect with my passions of writing and floral photography.
To read further please visit the Pleasanton Art League website and click here.
Passion for the things we love can take us many places. My love of flowers led me to photography which has taken me on journey of wonder and discovery and recently led me to the stage at TEDx Emerald Glen Park.
Butterflies in the Poppies:
My passions for storytelling, community and all things floral collided in a blissful moment that urged me to encourage others to follow the paths where they seek to make a difference.
It’s not for everyone but it might just be for you.
PS: Flowers at the TEDx Event:
Amazing that it included a pincushion bloom from the Western Cape in South Africa! Stocks symbolize a happy life and contented existence. Orange roses represent enthusiasm, passion and gratitude. The Feverfew daisy-like flowers are a medicinal plant for treating headaches so this is a perfect TEDx bouquet!