Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Poetry by McCrae T. Harrison

Birch Keys #2, 24x24, collage on panel, 
Grand Bohemian Gallery, Asheville NC
©St.Hilaire Nelson

i have listened to chopin
19th century musical genius
on a rainy new england afternoon
i just came from the river
my skin is red and burning for warmth
i have listented to chopin
as i draw treble clefs on the condensation
watch the heavier bits begin to tumble
roll down the face of the bus window
growing and growing
until they reach the sill
i have listened to chopin
and i wonder that life must be the same way
we begin from a bit of sheet music
some divine symphony
traced into condensation
on the windows of time and existence
i have listened to chopin.

I just love this poem. Ironically, McCrae is another New Englander (from CT) who has been transplanted to the South, she now lives in Alabama and is a Vessel Inspector with the US Coast Guard. I met McCrae through Israel J. Parker, author of The Anne Marie. You can read more of her poetry on Israel's blog.

McCrae T. Harrison, poet

Friday, May 20, 2011

Guest Blogger: Israel Parker

Cover art for The Anne Marie, collage on panel, ©St.Hilaire Nelson

Friends of Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson,

I know that you are all familiar with Elizabeth's work. She is a super talented and I am proud to call her my friend. Some of you are aware that she has recently constructed the cover of a book for a young up and coming writer. It just so happens -that I am that writer. New writers have it tough, just as any new artist does. With that said I feel an obligation to explain the details that led to the construction of my book "The Anne Marie" and why you should own a copy.

Well, the truth is, I have been a closet writer for the past nine years. Only those who are really close to me have known this. I hid this fact, and in the quiet solitude of each night I wrote my little stories.
Last year I awoke in the middle of the night with one of my old stories rolling around in my head. So I went to my computer and found this old short story about a dog and the sinking of a fishing boat.
I had written this story shortly after a Search and Rescue case I had been on when I used to be a Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue Swimmer in New Orleans. Without going into intimate detail of the event -We responded to a boat in distress and I was deployed to the boat, and there were a couple of moments where I thought that I might lose my life. I survived that night -but several mariners did not.
After that night I did what any other writer would do after an event like that. I wrote a fictional short story- I guess this was part of my coping process.

A year ago and that night I stared down this story in the middle of the darkness. I re-read the story - it was raw, but powerful. That night I saw beyond that short story in my mind and wondered what happened to the dog in the story? So again I began to write.

While I wrote beyond the short story, the tide of both that fateful night on the water and my time flying into the devastating storm Katrina and its aftermath waded over me in a blanket of devilish familiarity. As I typed onto my computer that feeling of life and loss, the kind that is brought by catastrophic life changing events, breathed its essence on my pages. When I was done I had built a story of depth and inspiration, to which I named, “The Anne Marie."

If you do decide to pick up "The Anne Marie", prepare yourselves for a ride you will not forget and a story with more heart than you can possibly imagine.

On May 20, 2011 - I will release the first chapter of my book on my website (in conjunction with a reading I will do at Auburn Junior School in Auburn, Alabama)

I encourage you to please Pre-Order a signed copy of “The Anne Marie" Today

Israel J. Parker, Author of The Anne Marie

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Winter Park Autumn Art Festival Poster Artist

Bird of a Different Feather, 20x24 collage on panel, ©St.Hilaire Nelson

It's Official! I have been chosen as the Winter Park Autumn Art Festival Poster Artist!

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am! This is a wonderful festival on Park Avenue in Winter Park, FL.

The 38th Annual Festival will be held Saturday, October 8 and Sunday, October 9 in Central Park along beautiful Park Avenue. The festival is open from 9am to 5pm on both days and admission is free. Newly renovated Central Park is located at 111 N. Park Avenue and offers a spacious venue for artists, food vendors and entertainment.

The Winter Park Autumn Art Festival is the only juried festival to feature Florida artists exclusively. Art Categories include: Painting (all media), Ceramics, Fine Crafts, Drawing and Graphics, Fibers, Sculpture, Jewelry and Photography.

Official Winter Park Autumn Art Festival Posters, t-shirts, tote bags and note cards featuring my collage "Bird of a Different Feather" will be available at three merchandise booths during festival hours!

I am super proud to be the official artist for this festival.

South Lake Hospital Collection

Juicy Orange (top) and Undulation and Improvisation A&B (bottom) ©St.Hilaire Nelson

I'm proud to announce that giclée prints of my collage work have been purchased and installed in the new South Lake Hospital in Clermont, FL.

The prints are larger than the originals and they look great. If you are anywhere near the hospital, you can stop by and enjoy my pieces as well as a collection of work by many talented artists. I'm proud to say that my work was chosen for the main lobby. The hospital printed an art brochure that gives you a listing of all the art and artists in the collection which is throughout the hospital.

Thanks to Douglas Nesbitt for taking these great photos at the grand opening celebration, and to BOBOSART for including me in the project!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Atlanta, GA Worskhop

New Dates!!

Binders Art Supply has heard from their customers that although four days of collage making sounds like heaven, lots of folks just cannot get the time off from work during the week.

Binders has now reduced the June workshop to TWO DAYS, Saturday and Sunday June 11 & 12. Their website still says four-days so you will need to contact them directly to register and discuss new pricing.

Eli Pelizza: eli@bindersart.com

Workshop in Asheville, NC

This is a reminder that the Asheville, NC workshop is coming up in the beginning of June and we still have a few spots left!

See all the details here.

I know you are going to love this 5-star boutique hotel located in the Biltmore Village.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Triathlon Results

For those of you who do not follow my Facebook Fan Page, I have gotten a few emails asking how I did in the race on Sunday! Well I'm happy to say that I shaved 3:55 off my time from last year, I placed third in my age group out of 95 women aged 40-45, and I placed 19th overall 820 women competing, including elite athletes.

So I'm super happy with my results. My time was significantly better than my last Danskin Triathlon and in the end, you are truly competing against yourself.

Many thanks to my husband and family for coming out and supporting me and for providing me with awesome photos!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In Addition To Art

It's Triathlon Season in Florida!
I have been training for four months for the Danskin Women's Triathlon which comes to Orlando every year on Mother's Day. I have competed in this race twice before, and my goal is to beat my own time and to come in at a respectable place in my age group. I have been seriously training for the past four months in preparation for this race, and I can't think of a better way to spend Mother's Day morning!

The race takes place at Fort Wilderness Camp Grounds at Disney. My family and I will head down there on Friday afternoon and spend the weekend. It's so much easier to just walk down to the beach on race morning than to have to deal with getting up at 4am, driving and taking the bus to the parks.

The Danskin Women's Triathlon is a sprint distance race, that means it's half of an Olympic distance. It's a half mile swim, a 12 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run. This race has been inspiring female athletes, novice and expert, for over 20 years. The first year I did this race I did it with my sister Aimée who talked me off the couch and into a lifestyle of swim, bike, run that she herself had been enjoying for years. These days I'm addicted to triathlon training and I have her to thank for it.

This race is the largest and longest running triathlon series in the world and it will be in seven US cities including Orlando. Check it out, you might be able to compete in one near you. A portion of monies raised go to Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Sally Edward's Team Survivor Foundation who's goal is to return fitness and health to women who have received a cancer diagnosis.

Training is always better when you have a specific goal to work toward. So what will I be working toward come Monday? My goal is to compete in a full or Olympic distance triathlon here in Orlando on July 10th, three days before my 43rd birthday! A new year, another new experience. Living life to the fullest.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Art With Heart; Raising Money for Cherie

Indian Paintbrush #1 and #2 purchased by Andrew for Cherie

If you are new to this blog you must know that since last September I've been trying to help out a friend who was paralyzed from the shoulders down in a car accident. See her stories here.

Recently I received photos and a couple of emails from a VERY generous man who purchased two Indian Paintbrush paintings from me when I offered them for sale with all of the profits going to Cherie and her family.

Andrew has had hard times in his life when he was down on his luck and did not know where he was going to get money to pay his rent. He lost his job and at times lived day-to-day. Andrew's mother raised him with an appreciation for art and music that he never forgot, even in hard times.

I am a fan of the band Cake and through their newsletter I found out that they were coming to Orlando. I went online to purchase my tickets and out in the right hand column, I clicked "like" and left a comment that I was a big fan. Andrew is also a big fan of Cake, and he does not live in Orlando, he lives all the way on the other side of the country in CA! He saw my comment in the side bar and decided to follow my art links. Andrew found my blog, saw my Cherie story and was touched, he wanted to help. Just at the time Andrew landed on my blog, I had put a wildflower collage up for sale for Cherie. The original collage sold to the trauma nurse at the hospital who cared for Cherie for over a month. I told Andrew that I would offer a second piece for the same reduced price, with 100% of the money also going to Cherie.

Wildflowers #2 Purchased for Cherie by Crista

Andrew and I communicated back and forth and ultimately he picked TWO pieces he wanted to purchase, Indian Paintbrush #1 and #2. This was a BIG deal for Andrew because it was a LOT of money to spend in one fell swoop, especially for someone who had experienced money troubles and knew how easy it was to loose your job in today's economy. This was also a BIG deal for Cherie and her family, as Andrew purchased two paintings and Crista had already purchased the first one. And it was a big deal for me because I was using my art sales for my very best childhood friend.

Andrew emailed me with some of the most kind words about my art that I have ever received and I wanted to share them with you.

OMG, amazing.  I love the art so much that words can't articulate.  It is what art is - something that you sense and feel and experience.  And I love it.  I am so, so glad I followed my instincts and got over my fears (which I told you about) and went for it.  When I take in art that speaks to me, I can feel it in my gut and my heart and my head and my eyes.  And I am experiencing all of that now.  Art is such a trip that way with me...

I said I can't explain but I'm trying but certainly failing anyway.  So perhaps I should express gratitude.  Thank you for being you and being so nice and patient and generous.  Artists such as yourself, or CAKE or whoever make this world a much better place.



Ultimately Andrew shared one of the paintings with his mother, since she was the one who taught him his appreciation of art and music. He was hesitant to tell me that he had split up the set, but I think giving one to his Mom was really very appropriate.

Indian Paintbrush #1 at Andrew's Mom's house

Indian Paintbrush #2 from Andrews perspective!

"I love it there as it is the last thing see at night and the first thing I see in the morning.  I love it at least as much, maybe even more, than when I opened the box."

I'm teaching a workshop this weekend in Atlanta and if I have said it once to my students, I have said it 10 times, the generosity of others never ceases to amaze me. I have been graciously given art supplies, papers, postage stamp collections, old style Starbucks bags, hand painted papers, and cancelled envelopes all the way from Greece to name a few. Artists even donated their work to Art With Heart my fundraising book for Cherie.

Most recently a friend from our hometown has offered to donate proceeds from a wonderful product he invented, to Cherie's charitable trust. Traveler-ER's PERFECT card is something that everyone and anyone can use to store their medical records and emergency contacts on a tiny USB drive, right in their wallet. Please check it out and remember to use the promo code that gives you free shipping and handling, and makes sure that the money goes to Cherie.

Cherie and I on her birthday

Thanks to EVERYONE who has helped me support Cherie. I have to tell you that just last week her sister in law told me that she has some NEW MOVEMENT in her forearms, we are very excited about the possibilities of this.