More Nina & some dragonflies ♥♥♥

Barb Toland Featured Artist

Hope this finds you enjoying your day!!!!

Thank you for taking a minute to read this blog post. You didn't have to take the time out of your busy day to do it, and so I'm appreciative that you wanted to pause & read what I've got for you today.

And I'm also hoping that by giving yourself a break from the overwhelming world out there, that you'll feel a bit more refreshed when you go back to it.

So let's get on with the show, shall we?

In today's blog post we'll talk more about this first piece in my newest body of work, Becoming Visible: Nina.

This series is meant to honor the female artists who, because they had the courage to be seen & heard, greatly changed the course of our lives in the most profound ways. And they did so during a time when the world wasn't always quite ready for them.

As I was telling you last week, I do want to tease this reveal out a bit. Since Nina Simone & her music had such a huge influence on the civil rights movement — as a celebration, I've decided it's only appropriate to do the final reveal on Juneteenth.

So more about Nina Simone in a minute.

In addition to sharing more about this new piece today, you'll also get introduced to this week's featured print, Dragonfly Springs.

So grab a cup of joe, settle in for a few minutes, and get a big dose of art & creativity!

I talked a bit about Nina Simone's early childhood in last week's post. She was born in Tryon NC (about 45 miles south of Asheville), and her given name was Eunice Waymon.

She took on the stage name Nina Simone when she began performing at bars in Atlantic City, and didn't want her mother (who was a preacher) to find out what she was up to, even though she was doing so to help her family out financially.

She started playing piano when she was 4, and it was then her family knew she was gifted.

Nina's mother was a housekeeper in the home of a well-to-do white woman, Katherine Miller. When Mrs. Miller first heard Nina play, she saw the talent Nina had and volunteered to pay for lessons so that her piano skills could be developed further.

Nina took her first of what would be many lessons from the classical piano teacher, Mrs. Mazzonovich, at the age of 6.

It was during these lessons from "Miss Mazzy" that Nina Simone fell in love with the music of Johann Sebastian Bach — she was convinced that this passion for classical music and for Bach, would lead her to become a classical pianist as an adult.

But as many of you know, the world had other plans for her.

Over the course of the six years of classical piano lessons from her beloved Miss Mazzy, the town rallied around her talent and raised the money, not only to continue her piano lessons, but to also pay for her education at Allen High School for Girls in Asheville NC.

This is just a taste of Nina Simone's story, I'll be adding more to it as we go.


For now, I'll leave you with two more things about Nina...
First this quote from her, where she had this to say about the influence music had on her life from the day she was born:

“Everything that happened to me as a child involved music. It was part of everyday life, as automatic as breathing.”

And if you want to sample another of her powerful & uplifting songs, then go listen to this one — it will get you feeling good!
Now without further ado — here's the next piece of the puzzle below, leading up to the final reveal of Becoming Visible: Nina on Juneteenth:
<<Pinch & zoom to get a close up>>
And now for this week's featured art print:
Dragonfly Springs
<<Pinch & zoom to get a close up>>
This painting was born because I wanted to have some fun. Like Nina crooned in the song I just shared with you, I wanted to feel good!
I painted it wet-on-wet, which is wet paint on a wet canvas — where the paint can mix in magical ways on the watercolor paper, if you let it.
There were lots of splashes, and even though you may think this was child's play, and in a way it was — this style of painting also takes a great deal of experience & control to get it right.
It's really tempting to try to overcontrol the paint at the expense of spontaneity, and the colors can get muddied into a big old mess pretty easily.
But this one turned out even better than I could have hoped for!
This was one of several I did in the series, "Fast & Loose" and it was definitely my favorite of all of them. It just makes me want to go run & jump & play :-)
You can find the print on my website here — the original has already been sold.
Ok, that's a wrap. Be sure to go have some fun this weekend  it'll do your mind & heart some good!
With love & affection 💕
P.S. If you're currently not in the market for art, but enjoy reading this blog & would like to support my creative journey – you can buy me a cup of coffee here.

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