Travel Break: Quarantined Water Art

In the past decade, the word “Travel” ignited the imagery of beautiful beaches, exotic forests, and the City of Lights, Paris. With the world at a standstill due to COVID-19, the new norm is “boredom.” Any form of travel for me is freedom. From a hike on Cumberland island to a four day trip in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina was what I lived for in my free time. Now, for the sake of preventing the spread of the deadly virus, I have had to dive deep into my favorite past time hobby, watercolor painting. With so much time on my hands, I could do more than just paint for a hobby. I can find a way to let it benefit me financially.

I recently went to the Riverside Arts Market in my home city, Jacksonville. I bought two pieces of watercolor art from a painter and fashion designer named Teresa Cook. Her work was original and fun to me. I envied her technique and the confidence she has in her work. It didn’t hit me until I got home that I might have the talent to make a little money on it myself. I only use to paint when I became too stressed out or my bad days with depression would take hold of me. I never wanted my hobby to become work, and it would take away the therapy I received from it.

Until I can get myself together with how I will come to make watercolor art financially beneficial for me, I will enjoy my thoughtless doodles and splashes of imaginary wonders on paper. I can’t wait for the moment when we could all get back to traveling and appreciating this gorgeous Earth.

Check out Teresa Cook’s instagram page, @teresacookartanddesigns.

De-stress on the Banks of the Marina

It’s that time of year when every company in the country is amping up for the holidays to roll around. In fact, the warehouse I work at is already going through peak season. That means mandatory overtime and instead of our usual ten-hour shifts, we now work eleven-hour shifts. Don’t get me wrong, the paychecks are astounding and with the new raise headed by way in about two weeks, I am all down for the mandatory overtime. It also means watch out Santa, it’s going to be a hell of a Christmas this year from yours truly.

Despite racking up these checks and making it rain on my bills, which one would say is a great thing, stress, depression and anxiety also comes with the territory. Last week, I worked six days straight, this week five. So before the eleven-hour shifts begin this week, I decided to take advantage of my two little days off and go somewhere and de-stress.

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I recently revisted a park that I’ve been to several times before, Mandarin Park. It’s next to a marina and has a children’s play area, a huge pond, nature trails and a dock for people to view out at the river and fish. With winter coming around the bend, the walks at the park get better and better. At least now I’m not sweating even in the shade as what often happens under the Floridian sun. The mosquitoes have retired… until the next rain storm.

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I stayed out there for a little over an hour and got to see some turtles, fish and enough dogs to fill up a stadium. I kept to myself as I usually do and allowed nature to work it’s magic. The shore of the rver is covered with large entangled roots and very exotic looking flowering weeds. The trails are now being covered with leaves that have already begun to change color and fall. The scenery was enough to take the edge off of my mind that felt boggled down from work, home, and other dramas.

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It was a good day today and I would suggest to anyone that when the work week has pulled you into a darker place, take advantage of the free time you have and do the thing that makes you feel the most alive. It may not have that same 100% effect on you as it may have done in the past, but any percentage it has on you to help you get back to the stress-free you is a job well done.

 

Grace Bio, Living in History

The downtown library in Jacksonville, FL recently won Library of the Year for their extreme involvement in local art and culture. I haven’t been there in forever (because I hate downtown parking and one-way streets) so I thought it would be good to be in a new environment while I worked on my screenplays, travel blog, and photoshop projects. I could barely get through the main lobby before I whipped out my Nikon and started snapping.

The library presented a new collection of local artwork called, “Living in History.” Local artists created works that represented anything in history. Most of the work was fantastic, but one took me away. Grace Bio, a local painter whose work seems to stand above the rest with the smooth, bold colors splashed on the canvas creating an image symbolizing the beauty of American History.

My favorite of hers (hard to choose) was the “Offering,” piece. It was as if she painted the Native American woman straight from life. Every detail of the woman’s age, wisdom and grace are right on the canvas for all the world to see. Looking at the woman, it reminds me of one of my all-time favorite Disney films, Pocahontas.

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What I love most is her ability to draw you in not just because of her use of bright colors, but her ability to create an image of something that makes you curious about what other underlying messages she may have hidden in her work. For example, the painting, “Family Tree” would probably mean just that, a family tree, but what other message is hidden? Could it be a plea for African American families to get back to the days of strong family ties? Is it a message of stating that without family, we are lost?

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O, the possibilities!

Regardless of what is obvious or hidden, the fact remains, Grace Bio is talented. Her artwork is a reflection of her passion and her eye to see things in a different light.

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For more on her, check out her Facebook page.

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Grace Bio – Painter, Lightworker