Cecily Dreams of Umbrellas (Watercolor, Illustration, Story Art, Portraits)

Cecily Dreams of Umbrellas by Cindy Adelle Richard

Cecily Dreams of Umbrellas by Cindy Adelle Richard

Imaginative Vignette: Cecily Dreams of Umbrellas

Wade stumbled upon Cecily on a gloomy, rainy afternoon – it was one of his favorite types of of days because it necessitated the need for an umbrella. On this particular afternoon, Wade spotted a spectacular multi-hued umbrella about six feet in front of him; it was burgundy, pink, blue, yellow, and green and arranged like a color wheel. He just had to know who was attached to this rainbow confection. To his delight, the owner was equally charming: a kind face, sparkling eyes, and softly curling hair beneath a raspberry beret. After introductions, they walked along companionably discussing their favorite subject (umbrellas). Cecily even admitted that she dreams of umbrella – Wade secretly thought she was the perfect woman. Wade told Cecily he was in need of an assistant (he wasn’t) at his umbrella shop because he did not want their association to end, and it was the first thing that came to mind. Cecily was thrilled at the prospect of this opportunity. Cecily started working at Wade’s umbrella shop the following afternoon.

It has been six months since Cecily started working at the shop, and Wade still has not worked up the nerve to ask her out. In the meantime, they keep building their friendship and indulging in their shared passion for umbrellas while Wade admires her from afar.

The Word Wrangler

The Word Wrangler by Cindy Adelle Richard, Illustration, Art, Forest

The Word Wrangler by Cindy Adelle Richard

Gigi Halliwell, otherwise known as The Word Wrangler, swirls among the fireflies, letting words emanate from her core. She is oblivious to her surroundings, completely lost in the land of intuition. Letters float through the air, and she is able to reach out to touch each of the letters and rearrange them to spell something profound. She has tried conjuring these words in different locations, but the middle of the forest seems to work best. In the forest, she is close to nature, away from prying eyes and opinions. The letters seems to come alive – glowing and moving about in graceful swoops. They always seem to attract fireflies; they can sense whenever Gigi enters the forest and swarm around her emanating more light.  Gigi grabs a stick to record the message in the dirt. The letters stay in place only for a moment, and then they resume floating in the air. At first, the words do not always make sense alone but when she copies and rearranges them in a notebook, they make beautiful poetry. Haikus to be exact. One poem a day is about all she can manage.  She shares her poems at The Wily Word Cafe in the middle of town, writing each one on the chalkboard the proprietor set up especially for her. The haikus always tell the citizens of Peacock Mountain what they must reflect upon that day – things that nature wants them to know. They all respect these messages.

Poetry Plans for 2020 and Tips from the Book “How Poetry Can Change Your Heart”

How Poetry Can Change Your Heart Book

How Poetry Can Change Your Heart Book

I read an excellent, slim volume called “How Poetry Can Change Your Heart” by Andrea Gibson and Megan Falley, and I wanted to share some of the great tips I picked up from the book. I made a commitment to study poetry deeply this year, and a few days later, I stumbled upon this book in a bookstore. These are points that I want to remember, but I always like to share when I find content that is inspiring and useful… so here goes:

“There is a poet out there who is fluent in you (pg. 8) .” – The authors are encouraging readers to keep searching until they find the poets that resonate with them; I needed to hear this because it is often frustrating for me to find poets I really love. This reminds me not to give up hope, to keep searching for poets that know just the right words to awaken the dreamer in me.

“Ayurvedic medicine suggests the root of disease is often undigested emotion. Therefore, to feel is to heal (pg. 30).” – Writing poetry helps us to express emotions that are not always easy to express in day to day life, and in so doing, it helps to keep our energy flowing. I suspect a lot of us suffer from repressed emotions, so I loved this sentiment.

“One of the absolute coolest rules of writing is the Great Paradox, or, the fact that the more specific something is, the more universal it becomes (pg. 38).” – This helps to encourage me to write specific words related to my own unique experience. I often wonder if others will be able to relate to content that is unique to me, but this gives me permission to be uber specific – the details make the difference.

“There is no wrong way to experience poetry (pg. 49).” – The authors said that you should avoid writing the types of poems that turned you off from poetry in the first place (at least when you are first starting). For me, that is all the forms of poetry with lots of rules (i.e. couplets, tercets, quatrains, etc.) – as a result, I gravitate to free verse poetry because I want my writing to be as free as possible. Write the poetry that excites you!

“Poetry is the pen-and-paper version of paying wondrous attention (pg. 99).” – The authors talked about the importance of noticing – really, truly slowing down and paying attention to your surroundings and your life. And keeping a notebook with you at all times so you don’t forget the details.

“Make a list of things you could speak about for thirty minutes or longer. Review the list (pg. 111).” – This point addresses the age old question of “what should I write?” Well, write what you can’t stop talking about when you are given free reign to talk. And keep an ongoing list of those topics so you will always have a starting point when you sit down to write.

“Once you start to write and read every day, you will begin to think in poetics (pg. 119).” – It is important to establish a habit of reading and writing regularly if you want to get better at writing poetry – this is something we all know, but we constantly have to be reminded of it (or at least I do).

I hope you enjoyed my brief list of tips on reading and writing poetry. I would definitely recommend this book – if you like books such as “Steal Like an Artist” and “The Artist’s Way”, you will probably like this book for its straightforward, practical advice.

 

Flora and Feathers

Flora and Feathers by Cindy Adelle Richard

Flora and Feathers by Cindy Adelle Richard

Bernadette “Birdie” McGee is the founder of the bird sanctuary and the local bird shop on The Isle of Adelle. Birdie is the resident expert on all species of birds, and she is careful to fill new bird owners in on everything necessary to take excellent care of their bird friends. There are a few rules that every new bird owner must follow when purchasing a bird: 1) they must allow them to be free (the birds cages in her shop are just for decoration because the bottoms are all open) 2) they must bring the birds to her shop for proper grooming and regular check-ups and 3) they must participate in special training sessions to learn about their particular species of bird.

Birdie learned everything she knows from her grandmother, Agatha, a noted ornithologist at the Sorbonne. Birdie decided not to go to school (on account of being painfully shy – the thought of attending a huge university terrified her), but she learned everything intuitively by reading her grandmother’s books and taking lessons from her. She is still painfully shy with a quiet and gentle demeanor; her days are peaceful, well-ordered, and allow plenty of alone time – exactly how she likes it. The only time she becomes unusually vocal and strong is when it comes to speaking up for the health and well-being of her birds.

Birdie’s shop is attached to a vast bird sanctuary that is open to the community (there are well over 300 species of birds at the sanctuary). One of her favorite things to do each morning is to go into the bird sanctuary before everyone else is awake with a cup of tea and listen to the beautiful chorus of birdsong. She wrote a little poem to commemorate her favorite activity:

Morning Birdsong

Alone among trees

sipping cherry blossom tea

a soul-stirring melody

fills the air with harmony.

Birdie’s painting is available on Etsy

The Umbrella Man

The Umbrella Man by Cindy Adelle Richard

The Umbrella Man by Cindy Adelle Richard

Wade believes in making rainy days more amenable by adding joyful surprises inside each of his umbrella – surprises like pops of bright color, lights, glitter, and clouds. No matter what is happening in the sky, when his customers look up, they only see images that make them happy. There is something special about having joyful umbrellas to make it through a wet weather event. People order Wade’s umbrella’s from far and wide, and he will customize each one to match the personalities of his customers. How? Wade has developed a set of 5 profound questions to figure out all that he needs to know about a person (they are top-secret of course).

I created a brief poem to accompany Wade’s mini-story:

Idiomatic Umbrellas

The rain taps lightly above.

Inside their dome

people gaze up

happy to be home.

Umbrella Man is now available on Etsy 

Carousel in the Sky

Carousel in the Sky by Cindy Adelle Richard

Carousel in the Sky by Cindy Adelle Richard

This image of miniature carousel horses has been floating around in my head since Christmas, so I am relieved to finally get it down on paper so that I can share it with you. The woman featured in this painting is Cayley, and she has one of the coolest professions I could think of – she creates life-sized and miniature carousel horses. Not only does she craft these beauties out of wood, she has a secret talent for bringing them to life as well. She loves carousels so much that she created a special park full of her creations, and each one performs a little differently so that riders will have a unique experience no matter which one they ride. Once the park closes for the day, she makes a point of riding her favorite carousel, the one with show horses and spinning teacups – it reminds her of the feelings of sheer delight she experienced the first time she rode a carousel as a small child.

I also created a brief poem – I hope you enjoy it:

Carousel in the Sky

Floating horses

swirling in splendid circles

the height of bliss.

This painting is available in my Etsy shop (an original and prints) Click Here

My NaNoWriMo Project 2018

Adelle by Cindy Adelle Richard

November is one of my favorite times of year because 1) I get to take a week off for Thanksgiving, and I use it to watch lots of T.V., read lots of books, and take lots of naps and 2) it is National Novel Writing Month. I attend meetups to write with the NaNo North Shore group, a wonderful group of people who encourage each other and have fun together. We always hold an event one day each November where we write all day and night (24 hours), eat lots of food, and talk in between writing (another November favorite). I never actually do what I am supposed to do during NaNoWriMo (write a novel that is at least 50,000 words); I usually use the time to work on whatever project has been brewing in my head for a while. This year I have decided to spend the month fleshing out this fictional art colony that has been taking shape in my mind since January. The paintings I have been creating this year have come about because of this fictional place which I have named The Isle of Adelle. I imagine that Adelle, the woman pictured above, founded this special art colony on an island off of the coast of France circa 1920. You will hear more about this special place after I have a chance to fully imagine what it is all about – who the people are, what they do each day, the climate, and so on. I am excited by the idea of building my own world and letting it take shape on paper. If you are participating in NaNoWriMo this year, happy writing!

The Dream Maker

The Dream Maker by Cindy Adelle Richard An African American Woman with floating feathers and a hummingbird

The Dream Maker by Cindy Adelle Richard

Esme always had an affinity for birds – feathers, nests, eggs, and birdhouses in particular. Her favorite bird was a hummingbird because of its diminutive size and feisty spirit. She collected all of her avian treasures as a child in a little fort in the back yard, and old garden shed that her parents no longer used. Esme made it cozy with green walls, white bedding, and lots of shelves lined with bird treasures. She put three birdhouses just outside the door, each with different types of bird seed to attract different birds.

Esme’s friends would often come to visit, and there was one visit from her friend Carrie that would prove to be life changing. Carrie accidentally knocked over the contents of one shelf and all the feathers landed in a pile on the floor. Before she could bend down to pick them up, they started floating under Esme’s gaze, surprising them both. They swirled slowly in a circle as if held together by an invisible globe. Esme fell into a sort of trance, and she saw Carrie as an adult performing as a trapeze artist at a circus and loving all aspects of circus life. Carrie gasped because she had never told anyone about her secret daydreams for fear that they would think she was silly, but it thrilled her to think that what her friend said might come true. From that day forward, Esme asked her friends to choose the feathers that spoke to them and then she would make them float, go into a trance, and tell them the most vital parts of their future. Then she would give them a feather to keep as a good luck talisman to ensure that they would always remember their dream and that it would come true.

Over the years, Esme’s abilities grew to the point that she could alter the visions to fit some of the desires expressed by her clients, but only if they were in line with their big dream – their destiny. Over time, she came to be known as the Dream Maker, and was respected and beloved in her community.

This illustration is available on Etsy

The Milliner

The Milliner by Cindy Adelle Richard a woman dressed in vintage clothes and a hat with a hat shop as a backdrop

The Milliner by Cindy Adelle Richard

Sayuri has always loved hats. She had the good fortune to be born to an exceptional milliner and his wife in a small Japanese village during the early part of the 20th century. Her father learned his craft from his grandparents and he passed along everything he knew to Sayuri, his only child. Her mother functioned as his assistant, helping the customers and managing the hat shop with the utmost care.

Even as a young child, Sayuri wore the finest hats with confidence and finesse. Because of her confidence, she was never teased for wearing hats – instead, they became her signature. Sayuri worked in her parents’ shop when she was not at school, and nothing made her happier. She enjoyed every part of hat making – picking the materials, stitching the hats, displaying them just so to appeal to customers.

Once Sayuri grew up, moved away, and established her own shop, she truly realized the power of her sartorial gifts. For you see, she can take one look at a customer, and know exactly what hat will suit them – the style, colors, and lifestyle. She is able to intuit their personality and preferences without them saying a word. For this reason, she tends to make custom hats. She has some hats on display just for show, but the real magic happens when she creates a hat just for the person who orders it. Each time she sees one of her hats out and about and perched just so on top of her clients’ heads, she smiles to herself and feels satisfied.

This illustration is available on Etsy