Archives For ink

I read every day…a lot. I get up early and read books that shape me. In the afternoon I read books that are a little lighter, but from which I can still learn. At night I read old mysteries by Valentine Williams and E. Philips Oppenheim, passed down from my grandfather. I keep a journal by my books and I record notable quotes and thoughts, which end up being like a map of learning.

At the beginning of this year, I looked through my notebooks from 2017 and created a summary of what I read and learned. Below are some rough notes about important things I took away from each book. Excuse the format, my running thoughts, and know that you will probably uncover different things than what touched me. I realize after reviewing my year that if we want to be better, to shape our world, indeed to save our world from where we stand, it takes work like everything else. Reading and processing is how I “practice” being a better, more peaceful, present and loving person. Some days it is exhausting. But when you look back over a year, how encouraging it is to see a path that you stumbled upon.

Since the year began, I’ve also been *trying* (key word) to draw or paint something each day, usually inspired but what I’ve read or learned. So here is a summary of art and reading. I hope some of these books will inspire you and shape you as they have done for me.

“Caminante, no hay camino, se hace al andar. 

Traveler, there is no path, the path must be forged as you walk” -Antonio Machado

(or read?)

Dorothy Day: Selected Writings – inspired to take action and lead, little by little, taking small steps knowing they can be greater than you think, living simply and being open and hospitable

Documentary “Minimalism” and articles by the Minimalists: create more, consume less; I could write so much more. Just go watch it.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson – “You can’t understand most of the important things from a distance…you have to get close,” lose fear and “beat the drum for justice,” be a “stone catcher” when people throw them at others

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – embrace mystery, follow dreams, don’t fear, walk forward; the soul of the world is love, immerse your “soul into the universal current of life,” “I must not be afraid to change my life”

Mary Oliver, several different poetry collections – “I don’t want to be demure or respectable. I was that way, asleep, for years…” I could just list all her poems…they are amazing

Thoreau, Civil Disobedience – did he write that yesterday? It mirrored our current cultural and political climate so closely. “Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine” of injustice

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass – find beauty everywhere

We Make the Road by Walking , Brian McLaren- don’t uphold the status quo; rethink everything; be “creative nonconformists,” a “community where anyone who wants to be a part of us will be welcome”

The Rebirthing of God, John Philip Newell – heartbeat of God is in all things; “dream the way forward”

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, Rambunctious Garden by Emma Harris, Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy, and Planting: A New Perspective by Piet Oudolf – books about nature that changed the way I look at the world and our role in it; “Let nature be your teacher”

Emotional Agility by Susan David- Life’s beauty is inseparable from its fragility

Illuminate by Nancy Duarte and Patti Sanchez – be a torchbearer, leading the way forward, dreamers, pioneers, leades

Awareness by Anthony de Mello – Wake up! Unlearn, listen, see, put on a new mind. I love this book. He doesn’t mess around. I read it 2 times this year. Then I read The Way to Love and Song of the Bird

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari – history of Sapiens and human culture; ” the pursuit of an easier life led to much hardship.” You can clearly see the path that has led us to today. A very interesting book.

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist – “charm…your act is easy,” be good, not perfect; break addiction to achievement, image management

The Sabbath, by Abraham Joshua Heschel- rest and reclaim your dignity, the soul and body to be wise

The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher Heuertz – find beauty in our imperfection, trust your feelings, don’t fear; cultivate emotional intelligence. Great leaps in understanding myself through reading this book

Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown – be brave; don’t “sort” people, very relevant to our current climate (I could write a lot more…)

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown – shame/vulnerability; “share is the fear of being vulnerable,” foster creativity and self-compassion

The Remarkable Ordinary by Frederick Buechner – art says stop and see; go out into the world, not hiding, even if you’re scared

Rising Strong by Brene Brown – 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown – culture of scarcity, “never enough”; shame/vulnerability, build “shame resistance” and self-compassion; a really great book – every one should read this! Changed the way I see myself, the way I parent and interact with everyone.

The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey – set intention, follow your bliss, so many good, good things in this book

The short notes above, summaries from the short notes in my notebooks, are barely shadows of the treasures found in each of these books. Several of these books are or have been in our Little Free Library, and I’m always happy to lend one if you want to read!

Across the Sea

Mary Liz Ingram —  September 18, 2016 — 2 Comments

We met a man in Santorini who told me that when you come expecting good things, with a good heart and good intention, you will find goodness returned to you. When your eyes are open and your heart is willing, you see magic things all around you. You notice the hummingbird moth on the yellow thistle, the feathers on the ground, the adventure to be found.

Be a child with wide open eyes, welcoming whatever arises. -Sister Dang Nghiem

At the end of July, my husband and I were so grateful to be able to travel to the Mediterranean, journeying through Greece, Montenegro and Italy. Through the whirlwind of experiences, I watched for the twisting of the olive trees, the constellations in the sky, the plants I knew and those that I had never seen. We put our feet through the black pebbles on the Aegean coast, rode a Moped through low-growing vineyards, climbed the Acropolis in Athens, wandered through dark catacombs, ran around Rome at night. I watched the moon over the waves and knew each experience was shaping me a little bit more.

Traveling with a great group of people, we collectively reflected upon our days in the Mediterranean. I wrote in my journal on the last night in Rome, sifting through images and snatches of thoughts I had collected:

I’ve been amazed, felt filled with adventure and life, I have been worn and tired, I have felt relaxed and at peace. I have wondered after the wisp that catches my attention every now and then. I have tried to be present, at home with every step. It has been impressed upon me even more deeply than before that I am a part of the whole of creation – that the bee, the bird, the sea, the sky, the trees, the air, the land, the past, the steps and people are all so interconnected – we are a family on earth, and each place is our home. The mystery of the sea and sky and life itself seems even deeper and more mysterious and wonderfully complex than before. I am ever more convinced that love must grow, that unity and patience and an embrace of the other is necessary and compelling. There is no other way. We are all one – all one. Brother, sister all around from the people who smile to the people who push you – the bee on my plate, the cats on the pillars, the trees twisting and reaching, the sparkling sea and stars that guide. Unified as one body, God is in the wild places, all around and in and through.

Now that we are back home, I try to keep that spirit with me. The open eyes, the sense of adventure, the unity and connectedness of life on this earth. During our travels, I drew pieces and places that I collected each day, from little flowers to towering columns. I like to flip through them and remember.

I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world. -Mary Anne Radmacher

 

Birds

Mary Liz Ingram —  January 26, 2016 — 1 Comment
Tree full, ink doodle

Tree full, ink doodle

I cracked the window an inch,

letting in an icy draft

filled with the chattering of birds,

dotting the yards,

punctuating the trees.

The smallest movement sends them

flying in a blur.

Red-wing blackbirds, waxwings, grackles

cowbirds and red-breasted robins,

a congregation of busy, nervous feathers.

Cat comes running up the sidewalk,

her body alive with eagerness for a feast

if she can catch one.

No luck yet.

“I meant to do my work today but a brown bird sang in the apple tree…” -Richard Le Gallienne

Gift Cards

Mary Liz Ingram —  December 1, 2015 — Leave a comment

Sometimes it’s so hard to choose a piece of art for a friend! Or you want to commission a portrait for a family member, but you’re not sure which photo they would like. If you’re stuck, I have an option for you:

Gift Cards for artwork!

Gift cards can be purchased in any amount and are redeemable for commissioned or available pastel paintings of chosen value. From pastel portraits, to ink doodles, to watercolors…so many options available for your friend or family member to choose from!

Gift Card

Gift cards will be written for the amount paid & purchase intention noted (ex: 5×7 framed pastel; 8×10 unframed portrait, etc.). Gift cards will be signed by the artist for authenticity. Those receiving gift cards may upgrade to higher-priced artwork by paying the balance. 

Pet Portraits

Mary Liz Ingram —  October 21, 2015 — Leave a comment

A portrait is a wonderful way to create a lasting memory of your pet…any pet! Either in black & white or full color, I so enjoy creating a true-to-life painting to bring out the personality behind the photograph. With each detail captured, from the glint in the eye to the many hues in the fur, these portraits can be valued for generations. I’ve drawn everything from fish and dogs, to cows and chickens, to rabbits and cats.

Pet portraits make wonderful gifts…in order to ensure completion for Christmas, contact me today! marylizingramart@gmail.com

Pet Portrait Pricing:

8 x 10″: $175 ink or charcoal, $225 color pastel; add $90 for each additional subject

9 x 12″: $200 ink or charcoal, $260 color pastel; add $100 for each additional subject

11 x 14″: $250 ink or charcoal, $325 color pastel; add $125 for each additional subject

16 x 20″: $400 ink or charcoal, $465 color pastel; add $200 for each additional subject

18 x 24″: $550 ink or charcoal, $625 color pastel; add $275 for each additional subject

24 x 36″: $750 ink or charcoal, $850 color pastel; add $400 for each additional subject

Prices for other subjects and sizes available upon request.

Ready to goWhen you constantly create art, you eventually run out of room.

Time for a Summer Art Sale!

The pieces below are marked down for the next 2 weeks only, July 31-August 14.

Pastels, ink doodles, framed, unframed…there are lots of options. Some of them are my favorites, and they would love to find a home on a wall near you!

Contact me today to purchase your favorite! marylizingramart@gmail.com 

Art is available for immediate pick up or shipping (shipping costs apply). Cash, check and credit card accepted.

Click on the image to see the full view

 

Home Grown

Mary Liz Ingram —  July 4, 2015 — Leave a comment

“This land is your land, this land is my land…”

It’s the 4th of July, Independence Day here in the USofA.

Front Garden

We make our homes, build our lives, work to provide and strive to enjoy our days together, like just about every human being.

Here at the Ingram household, we have dug up 2/3 of our front yard (remember last fall?) and are growing our first spring and summer garden. And good grief, is it ever a fight. You’d think you could just plop some seeds in the dirt and they will grow into full, lush plants dripping with fruit. Not so much. Amending the soil, not over-watering nor under-watering, picking off those (bleepity-bleep) cabbage worms, fighting off the ants, beetles, birds, cats…

It takes consistency, perseverance, problem-solving, patience – much like life.

My garden daily calls me to consider my life.

A good life, a well-spent life, takes all of these things that the garden requires. You must get your hands in the thick of it to make a difference, to live outside your safe walls. You must persevere and admit you have no idea what to do next sometimes. You have to keep trying, being okay with failure here and there, knowing you will get where you want to go in the end – somewhere good and full of life.

We have successfully eaten food from the garden; we will, with working hands and honest eyes, find progress toward good things. 

Bugs!My frontyard garden puts me closer to community. I can’t hide in my backyard privacy fence, caring only for my own. And I don’t want to. My neighbors see my yellow tomato plant, give me advice on how to get the beetles off my bean plants, ask me how my lavender has stayed alive. I’ve met so many people while pulling weeds near the road. My garden has led me to some of my greatest new friends, like Ms. Gladys from Haiti. People I may never have met.

Forcing myself out front in the garden helps me put myself “out there,” taking greater chances in community. It has given me courage to speak to people in our community who know little English, not as worried if I look like a miming fool. And the fruits of these awkward conversations have been beautiful.

This land is OUR land…all of us together, with our glorious diversity. 

Our news is currently filled with examples and actions of hate in our nation. Intolerance, pointing fingers, pointing guns… we are better than this, surely. Our nation is founded in diversity, a country made of immigrants. It should flourish in its diversity.

We have so much to learn from each other, if we can open our eyes and work with love. Get our hands dirty, and be willing to look a little stupid sometimes when we feel unsure. Live with kindness, courage and understanding, not hate, fear or suspicion.

Let’s celebrate together, grow together and move forward together.

Spare Time

Mary Liz Ingram —  July 2, 2015 — Leave a comment

Back in late December, when we often reflect upon the year almost past and what we hope for in the days to come, my fingers started itching.

Actually, now that I remember, they were literally itching. I kept googling “itching fingers,” but that is apparently a silly thing to google and I found no answers that applied. They always seemed to itch in carpool line. I decided to blame it on the heater. Who knows. They don’t itch anymore, anyway…

They also itched to move.

More specifically, an idea implanted itself in my whim-loving mind, and my fingers itched to play the banjo. That’s right, the banjo.

My understanding husband and family humored my whim for awhile, probably hoping it would pass (insert chuckle). But it didn’t! I saved up money, and kept pestering Stephen, and a month or so later, came home to a brand new banjo waiting for me (thanks Stephen!).

Since then, I’ve practiced and practiced and can play “You are My Sunshine” fairly well, and am learning two other tunes. Yee haw!

It is very therapeutic – kind of like typing away on my old typewriter – and I just really like it.

Here’s to my banjo!

Banjo

Winter Trees

Mary Liz Ingram —  February 23, 2015 — Leave a comment

Everyday, lately, I watch the winter trees. Some days they are dancing in the wind, some days they stand still as statues. Often they are mobbed with chattering black birds.

The dark, bare branches look like ink against the gray sky, so I drew them. I let the ink drip down the crinkled paper, as I held it upside down. When I turned it right side up, I found a tree:

Winter Tree, ink

Winter Tree, ink

Today, the trees were rain-soaked and slowly moving, here and there. I wrote down a little poem while I sipped my coffee:

The trees stand

like frozen sentinels

drenched by a cold winter rain.

They watch me with

arms spread high and wide

daring me to hear them

to feel the bare morning

to come out of my house

and reach to the sky.

Wet to the bone

they tease me

as I sit in my warm chair

wrapped and snug.

With waving wet arms

they tell me to come out and see

come out and dance

and feel the rain.

Birmingham Doodles

Mary Liz Ingram —  November 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

Introducing my new series of Birmingham doodles… I’m happy and surprised to say they are going fast! Ranging from $25 – $45 for original drawings, to $20 sets of notecards, these make great gifts for the holidays. I enjoy capturing the iconic landmarks of my wonderful city, and sharing them with YOU!

These doodles will make their debut, along with my pastels, at the Mountain Brook Art Association Holiday Show, open December 5th – December 19th at Brookwood Mall. Hope to see you at the opening reception December 5th from 6:00- 8:00!

2014-holiday-card-hi-rez