Cover Crush: Upstream (Selected Essays) by Mary Oliver

“To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

About the Cover:

This cover reminds me of the walks I used to take in the mountains of North Georgia in the fall time. The scenery was breathtaking and very much like the one you see on the cover. The misty sky evokes tone and mood, while the water invites creek walking and pebble exploring. Or one can sit along the grassy edge of the creek, while soaking up the gentle sounds of water continuously flowing, the rustling sounds in the trees and listen to the song of birds.

About the Book:

How is it that I have not yet had the pleasure of reading this author’s work? Or maybe I have? Oh, my, this will not do. I must find a copy of Upstream as soon as possible.  

The cover and book description speak to my soul. Mary Oliver has captured my attention with her admiration for nature and love of poetry writing. -Stephanie Hopkins

Book Description:

Comprising a selection of essays, Upstream finds beloved poet Mary Oliver reflecting on her astonishment and admiration for the natural world and the craft of writing. 

As she contemplates the pleasure of artistic labor, finding solace and safety within the woods, and the joyful and rhythmic beating of wings, Oliver intimately shares with her readers her quiet discoveries, boundless curiosity, and exuberance for the grandeur of our world.

This radiant collection of her work, with some pieces published here for the first time, reaffirms Oliver as a passionate and prolific observer whose thoughtful meditations on spiders, writing a poem, blue fin tuna, and Ralph Waldo Emerson inspire us all to discover wonder and awe in life’s smallest corners.

About the Author:

“In a region that has produced most of the nation’s poet laureates, it is risky to single out one fragile 71-year-old bard of Provincetown. But Mary Oliver, who won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 1983, is my choice for her joyous, accessible, intimate observations of the natural world. Her Wild Geese has become so popular it now graces posters in dorm rooms across the land. But don’t hold that against her. Read almost anything in New and Selected Poems. She teaches us the profound act of paying attention—a living wonder that makes it possible to appreciate all the others.”

Website

Mary Oliver’s profile picture and book cover are from goodreads. Be sure to check out my art journey on Instagram and at my Mixed Media Art gallery here at Layered Pages! My wish is for you to be inspired and encouraged.

Image of the Month: Water Reflection

Reflection by Stephanie Hopkins

Reflection of the soul is like looking at a pond. You can only see what is when there is calm. – Andy Fox

This picture was taken in the beginning of April when a few of the trees were still waiting for its leaves to bloom-if you will. I’ve taken pictures of this particular scene during all four seasons throughout the years, and it never gets old. I’m always discovering something new, such as reflection, color, shades of nature or volume of water. Whenever I stroll down the path that takes me to the landscape, I am filled with peace and gratitude. -Stephanie Hopkins

March Image of the Month: Spring

Check out my art journey on Instagram and at my Mixed Media Art gallery here at Layered Pages! My wish is for you to be inspired and encouraged.

Weird Wednesday: An Exploration of Our Quirky World

Sketch: A Study of Abstract Wildlife

We are delighted to welcome you to “Weird Wednesday,” a joint series, partnered with our friends at before the second sleep, that explores the often times quirky side of our world. Today, I’m exploring abstraction and this post will be my last in the exploration series. I enjoyed this adventure and I’m looking forward to exploring new upcoming series coming soon to Layered Pages.

Abstract art is seen as peculiar by many but I can assure you, it makes more sense than you realize. Abstract art is not meant to represent-if you will-an accurate image of the subject. But instead, exploring shapes, colors, form, and marks to create depth, to achieve the implied. I have observed through this medium, that abstraction helps one’s critical thinking and will heighten your sense of appreciation for simplicity and wonders in the world around you.

Sketch: Water’s Edge

The sketch to the left is not finished. I’m constancy referring to my sketches and looking for new details-like movement, lines and shapes. They help give me a new start for my actual art pieces. They are my doodles for inspiration-if you will. This particular sketch is from different landscape paintings that I collage into one piece. My mixed media art gallery shows more of my work inspired from these sketches.

When creating abstract, I am among those who do not do it for the sake of creating art, but to explore the many avenues of expression and where it leads me. Art should tell a story and moreover, the artist’s emotions often show through their creations. What we see, hear, think, feel and touch is channeled through our craft.

Acrylic Painting on Paper: Reflection in the Water

More times than not, I tend to use influences of Impressionism in my art. There are those who look at abstract in a Geometrical form, like in the tradition of Cubists artists such as Picasso and Braque. They depend more on order and calculations. They are creating rhythmic shapes- like music. While I find all that rather intriguing, I’ve noticed my art doesn’t often sway that way. Though ti might one day. Never say never.

Lately, I have been exploring the movement of water, and how objects and nature glide or reflect on the surface. The pictures in my sketch book above and the photos below, show my interest in abstract and gives me inspiration to expand on those ideas.

There is an extraordinary amount of meaning to abstraction, to explore and discuss. If you are not familiar with this style of art or do not have in mind the purpose of the medium, I highly recommend studying for yourself. You will be surprised how this form of expression will open new doors for you. I hope you enjoyed this series and I want to encourage you to explore mixed media art and the value it will bring to your life. -Stephanie

Be sure to check out my Mixed Media Art Gallery and Instagram to see more of my art journey!

Original Artwork by Stephanie Hopkins

(Images are subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie Hopkins.)

Weird Wednesday: Butterflies

Mixed Media Art by Stephanie Hopkins

An Exploration of Our Quirky World

We are delighted to welcome you to “Weird Wednesday,” a new joint series, partnered with our friends at before the second sleep, that explores the quirky side of our universe.

We live in an extraordinary quirky world that often times we forget to pause in our busy lives to notice. During these times many cannot venture outside-another great reason to pick up a book-so we are bringing our explorations to you.

Throughout the years I’ve taken pictures of butterflies during my outdoor explorations. Alas, I haven’t been able to uncover those pictures. Nonetheless, I’m obsessed with Butterflies and use their images in my art quite often. How wonderful and calming it is to see Butterflies fluttering in the air or watching them look for food and such. I often wondered how they ate or how they protected themselves from predators. I did know a few facts about them but I was pleasantly surprised to discover more.

There are a lot of fun facts about butterflies and today we are exploring some of those. You probably already know their life goes through different cycles or that they only live for a few weeks. But did you know…

Butterflies belong to the insect group called, “Lepidoptera.” I believe that means, “Scaly wings.” In Greek. What is cooler about their wings is that they’re covered with thousands of tiny scales that overlap in rows! Which is interesting because their wings are supposedly transparent.

Butterflies Live on an All-Liquid Diet: They cannot chew solids. The way they eat is basically like how we humans would drink from a straw.

Butterflies Drink from Mud Puddles: Yes, I would say they are very particular about what they eat.Ha! I have heard it said that they will even drink tears from turtles.

Butterflies Taste with Their Feet: They have taste receptors on their feet that finds food. When they land on a leaf, they drum the leaves with their feet. Apparently, they do that until the plant releases it juices…

There are so many more wonderful fun facts about Butterflies and I hope to revisit this subject another time with you.

Feel free to suggest topics and be sure to comment below and click follow to keep up with the blog content. We’ll be having contests coming up, so you’ll want to be sure to stay tuned!

Stephanie Hopkins

Curiosity Explores Reality

Curosity

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. “- Albert Einstein