Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hope and Love in Savannah, GA

Hello dear freinds

Please sit down and grab a tall glass of sweet tea and let me tell you about my recent travels.


A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Savannah, GA for the first time. It was absolutely beautiful, steeped in history and culture. I went for a romantic beach wedding of a friend. Very romantic but Hot even at 10:00 am. I was hopping to discover some authentic low country art while there well, I didn't get a chance to visit very many galleries, however, I did find some great art down on River St. The one amazing thing that I finally did,  I confirmed the belief that the sun does shine brighter and the sky is much bluer in the South. No really, its true. The sky in the South is a beautiful vibrant confectionery blue unlike any where else and with the backdrop of Savannah it was picturesque.

It's funny where you find inspiration, sometimes in the most unexpected places, well I surely found it under the sunny Savannah sky. I am here to tell you that "The ATL" aint the only gem to be found in GA. Savannah with its wonderful old mansions, charming Southern neighborhoods and tree lined streets is wrought with natural beauty. River St is the main attraction. It reminds you of the New Orleans French Quarter; boasting night clubs, restaurant, galleries, gift shops and cobblestone streets.


Although the charm of the city was very attractive, where I found my inspiration is in "Savannah's urban forest' which is basically everywhere, trees all over the city; there are these wonderful tree lined streets where the branches reach and lean right over the street, dripping with gorgeous Spanish moss. It is my beleief that trees are the holders of secrets, I read that many of these trees were planted in the late 1890's. Graceful and lucious, I plan on doing a whole series of paintings with these trees as the back drop. I have always loved the natural setting of the outdoors, in fact my "Divine Grace of the Sun" series features the colors and feeling of a long and brilliant summer day. I am not done with this series because it brings me so much joy, and what I plan on doing is incorporating trees in that series, then transitioning into a new series that I will also call something like "Urban Heaven." I am sure the name will change but naming a series, is like naming a business it helps me to put structure around my idea, yet allowing me the freedom to flow creatively within a concept. Anyway, the new series will reflect trees as the main event and will feature warmer colors like deep reds, burnt oranges, and moss greens. Of course, the trees will have that strange yet wonderful Spanish moss, I feel I can really explore/exploit the moss in many creative ways.


Another interesting experience I had in Savannah was I found a neat little antique shop right across from the SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Designs contemporary art gallery. The place was an old warehouse; very charming filled to the brim with almost too much stuff, including bags of jewelery, crates of of record albums, furniture stacked upon furniture; some very interesting unique stuff. If it was 90 degrees outside, it was 98 degrees inside this place. Right as I was about to leave I found an old vintage hat box full of dusty old black and white photographs. My mind starting spinning as I rummaged through the various plastic baggies of old photos, looking at the hairdos, clothes and cars. I grabbed a handful not even considering price until I go to register until the cashier told me  that some were as much as 3 bucks each. Really, there were thousands of them. I gave her the bunch and told her I only wanted 10.00 worth of $1 shots, she could pick. Of course she took her sweet time going through each one till she finally found 10 that she would part with. By now I am dripping in sweat and frustrated but I was determined to take some authentic history home with me. It was fun to imagine what was going on in the lives of these complete strangers way back when and I wanted to capture their essence.  I thought it would be neat borrowing some of the old time imagery from the photo for use in my current day work.

As far as the wedding, it was at Tybee Island right on the beach; it was a beautiful sunny day, which included your typical southern pop-up shower. At first I felt bad for the bride and groom that their lovely day would be rained out and I stopped to get an umbrella. When we got to the beach, the clouds slowly began to part away giving way for that hot demanding sun. I thought about my book, "An Umbrella in Case of Rain"  I just had to smile when I realized that I didn't need my umbrella for the rain but I did need it for that unforgiving sun. It was then a new inspiration hit me. Like the little Travelocity gnome that takes pictures of himself in every new and exciting location, I will too! The umbrella represents God's protection which I take with me every where any way, now I will keep a photographed record of it. Anyway the wedding was simply wonderful and quaint, it was off to the side among beach goers and the open ocean, that they said their "I do's." it was lovely.

As I said earlier, it is funny where one finds inspiration. I want to encourage you to find your inspiration by following your creative bliss. Whether it is writing, painting or sewing. You have creativity in you, everyone does. Grab a pencil and paper and just start drawing or listing creative ideas that you'd like to explore. I implore you to get a journal and commit to write in it daily, even if it is only a word or two. Then periodically go back and review, put your faith into action and go forward with some of the ideas. I have so many journals that I keep in the house, in the car, at the office, in my studio and I even keep a smaller one in my purse. I want to capture every God given thought and action and feel as if I have a responsibility to follow through with them, whether in a poem or in a painting. I have found this process has been good for my creativity and spirituality, because many of my entries are also prayers. For the sake of sharing, I found an old journal that I started in 2008 and randomly chose a selection. I found my very own definition of hope, here are a few lines:

"Hope is a God given gift to set a positive and loving mindset of expectancy. It is a reminder that we as people, are not yet done. Hope and change go hand and hand, like sisters. Hope gives you the determination and inspiration to face change, to look positively toward the future...hope is the reward for patience, hope is the opposite of worry, it is grounded in God's love for us"

Wow, sometimes it is good to hear from my old self, this was from 4 years ago and it still applies today. Please allow me the opportunity to add one more nugget of "Hope" for today; Hope is art manifested in me. I am asking you to now please explore your creative self and manifest hope in you too. 
     
With sincere thanks, peace and blessings until next time
Lisa M. Cliff

PS, Don't forget your umbrella!

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