BRAVE new world…and a bionic one

 “Modern medical advances have helped millions of people live longer, healthier lives.”    Ike Skelton

I’m going to be off a few weeks – working at becoming the Bionic Woman, one hip at a time. (This will be my second and shoulder next). But the prospect of joint replacement surgery got me thinking about the incredible time we live in in terms of medical advances. I’m old enough to remember the very first heart transplant ever, to have had to reschedule my wedding because a beloved member of our wedding party had found a donor and was going to have a kidney transplant – a rare and tricky procedure then that is commonplace today. I remember discussing the prognosis for our friend and hearing the word that the expectation was that the transplant – if it worked at all – would give our friend five more years of life. He is, thank God, still very much alive and that was 45 years ago.

I remember too, a time when there was no such thing as joint replacement – if your knees went bad or your hips gave out, you lived with a lot of pain and wound up in a wheel chair. Arthritis is not a forgiving disease – you can slow it down but you can’t completely restore function once a joint is badly worn. But today, the miracles of modern medicine let us opt to replace knees, hips, shoulders with titanium parts or to fuse the vertebrae in the spine with metal rods. Most people come through such surgeries extremely well and after several months of physical therapy, they are almost as good as new! I’m pretty sure that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the kinds of advances that are going to keep people living and living well well into their second centuries of life. It is indeed a Brave New World – and I’m grateful that I get to be a part of it.

So I hope your first weeks of summer are filled with light and warmth and joy and I’ll see you when I get back around the end of the month. I’ll be looking forward to catching up on all your “discoveries” and creations when I get back

Brave New World digital seascape painting by Lianne Schneider buy

The GUITAR is king…

“Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart.”

Andre Segovia

From classical guitarist, Andre Segovia to the hard-rocking, Kurt Cobain, guitarists throughout the ages have played this beautifully expressive instrument and moved our souls, lifted our spirits and brought us to tears. We may debate whether Robert Johnson, the ground-breaking black Mississippi blues singer and guitarist should be ranked #1 among the best guitar players in the world or whether that honor should go to Jimi Hendrix, but in the end, that’s less important than the influence they have had on music. Johnson’s legacy of recordings is the undisputed foundation upon which all modern blues and rock music rests. Hendrix took every possible sound from acoustic to electric and blended it into something that went so far beyond the drugs that it left people high who had never taken a drug in their lives.

Guitars and guitar players have been the most essential component of contemporary music since John Lee Hooker stuck a microphone in his guitar while singing those angry, raspy Delta blues back in the early 1940s. The never to be forgotten B.B. King made that inevitable. Once the big band orchestra style era ended, the guitar became the backdrop for almost all popular music and that’s still true today. (It has been brought to my attention by a reader that I neglected one of the most talented and innovative guitarists of our time – the legendary Les Paul – whose design and electronic contributions to guitar manufacturing really can’t be measured. Dozens of superstars like Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney have played a Gibson-Les Paul guitar.)

In 1968, Beatles member, George Harrison wrote a song that was eventually to be listed as #136 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”, #7 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time, and #10 on their list of The Beatles 100 Greatest Songs. In an online poll held by Guitar World magazine in February 2012, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was voted the best of Harrison’s Beatle-era songs. The recorded version includes a guitar solo by another of the top 20 guitar players of all time – Eric Clapton. Arguably one of the Beatles finest songs, it never won the acclaim of other hits. But the lyrics can’t help but touch your heart.

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You can see my entire portfolio or purchase a print of this image at:

http://lianne-schneider.artistwebsites.com

While My Guitar Gently Weeps by Lianne Schneider buy print

TRAVEL bug…wishing it were so

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
― Augustine of Hippo

I used to love to travel before my old bones started protesting and airlines starting charging so much just to pack enough clothes for a week, before direct flights from my small city became a thing of the past. When I was a bit younger, I drove everywhere I could, never minding 14 hour days on the road, loving the freedom to reach my destination by the most out of the way and indirect route. Nowadays…I don’t travel much and if I do it’s vicariously much of the time.

For example, I have friends who just returned from a 10 day trip to England. Personally, 10 days in the UK would never be enough for me. My mother and I once spent three weeks and have bemoaned the fact that we saw so little of what we’d have loved to see. We weren’t on “tour.” We were driving around setting only daily destinations as they struck us, stopping in out of the way places, eating in local pubs and except for a few “mandatory” tourist spots like Canterbury or the Tower of London, we found ourselves on narrow little country rounds and fell in love with Cotswold villages and forgotten ruins like the castle in Astley.

Worse than too short a trip – they took a similar short hop to France a couple of years ago – is the fact that my friends spent seven of the ten days on a ship going over! I’d have hated losing that time confined to a ship no matter how elegant. On an arranged tour, they missed this gorgeous little village in France called Loubressac. Considered one of the most beautiful medieval villages in all of France, it’s also one of the many “villages fleuris” or villages in bloom scattered throughout the countryside. This is the kind of place that deserves whatever time it takes to explore without having to settle for an hour’s stop on a tour bus.

I must admit I still get the travel bug something fierce and I’m longing to go back to Scotland to see much I missed and ferry over to Ireland. Perhaps…when I’ve rehabilitated my titanium hips enough to bear the flight over!!

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You can browse my entire portfolio and purchase a print at:

http://lianne-schneider.artistwebsites.com

Village de Fleuris digital painting by Lianne Schneider buy

WONDERS in my own back yard

                    “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting                                for our senses to grow sharper”

W.B Yeats

Mighty Niagara

                                                                Mighty Niagara

How often has it happened to you…you have a wondrous, magical, incredible tourist destination in your own back yard…and you almost never go there? Or you long to see some other place completely forgetting that there are a million beauties right at home that you’ve never really seen?

I live not very far from one of the wonders of the world – Niagara Falls – and seen from either side of the border, it’s a majestic sight indeed. Day or night, just the sound of the water thundering over the escarpment and on to the rocks below makes one’s heart beat a little faster. Standing on a lookout that sticks right out over the river or riding the Maid of the Mist to get close, you get drenched with the heavy mist. You have to photograph through a plastic bag or be constantly wiping your camera lens. It’s an inspiring and almost overwhelming experience.

And yet, in truth, I have only been to Niagara Falls a few times – and that is only when out of state company comes to visit and they want to see what I take for granted. Each time I go, I see this wonder through new eyes – theirs – and discover something new…a reminder to me not to overlook the magical and wondrous sights right in my own back yard.

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You can browse my entire portfolio or purchase a print at:

http://lianne-schneider.artistwebsites.com

mightyniagarabuy

 

 

DREAMER, Dream No More

I walked beside the evening sea

And dreamed a dream that could not be;

The waves that plunged along the shore

Said only: “Dreamer, dream no more!”

                       – – -George William Curtis

I’VE NEVER LIVED BESIDE THE SEA

I’ve never lived beside the sea 

though I feel as if I have

but the sea fascinates me.

Its power, its moods, its vastness…are somehow

an endless source of inspiration to me.

I think of an ocean in a raging storm and I’m reminded

of the storms that life can bring to us

and the deceptive calm that often precedes them.

I think of the ship of my life

occasionally adrift, no wind to lift the sail,

and at times, no landfall or welcoming shore in sight.

Some nights the stars wink out

and all seems black and endless,

my astrolabe of little use.

But now and then I see a lighthouse

and I know that there is somewhere –

in a friend’s heart, a lover’s touch –

a light to guide me through.

I think of the journey each of us is on…

our own personal quest for peace,

for truth, for wholeness…

the journey of self-discovery –

and it takes me to the sea.

© Lianne Schneider

 

This digital painting is from my “Sea Stories” collection and you can see the rest or purchase a print at http://lianne-schneider.artistwebsites.com/

Dreamer Dream No More digital painting by Lianne Schneider buy

Light in the Darkness

“Your true heart is not subject to chaos or limited by pain, fear and neuroses, but is joyful, creative and loving…It is the core, the essence of your being, a reservoir of joy, powerful love and infinite compassion that lies within you.”
I’ve been writing a lot in my other blog about living wholeheartedly and the only way one can do that is to begin to listen to the heart instead of the mind. In many ways, especially when we find ourselves in a dark time in our lives – that proverbial “dark night of the soul” – our hearts are our best guides, an eternal light in the darkness. You can read more in depth if you’d like at http://seasonsofsongandspirit.blogspot.com/2014/05/begin-to-listen-to-your-heart-how-to.html
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Light in the Darkness by Lianne Schneider digital painting buy

 

Purchase a print or giclee canvas of this image at http://lianne-schneider.artistwebsites.com/featured/light-in-the-darkness-lianne-schneider.html