Category Archives: Art as Expression

Shirlena Johnson – Be You and Change the World

As I clicked on my Yahoo email account the news came up first as it always does until I log into my account. The top story showing at the time was about the UK Talent Show ‘The X Factor’ which aired Saturday 28th and caused quite a stir as it often does. The stir in question was regarding Shirlena Johnson’s rendition of  Duffy’s ‘Mercy’.

Shirlena stunned the audience and judges as you can see in the video of her performance.

Shirlena made it through to the next round but has since been dropped due to questions surrounding her mental state of mind. News reports say that she has been taking medication for stress since her fathers death.

Now I do not know Shirlena and only have the same newspaper reports accessed from the internet and this video footage to go on, but before you judge Shirlena too harshly, or the TV producers, please pay attention to the audience and judges and their response to Shirlena’s performance. She seems to have a message and watch how the audience’s reaction to her changes throughout her performance. She speaks to the audience and asks them a question to which they reply.

Shirlena’s medical records apparently were not available until after the show and there is some controversary here but my reason for writing this post is that  sometimes what appear to be ‘mistakes’ can reveal so much and lead us all down new paths.  It will be interesting to see where this story goes and what capacity Shirlena has for engaging the public. What else is possibe here for her and us?

An excerpt of the article from the Daily article

“X Factor contestant Shirlena Johnson has begged show bosses to reinstate her, insisting she is mentally prepared to handle the pressure.

The 30-year-old single mother was axed by ITV bosses after making it  to the programme’s boot camp, after fears were raised over her mental well-being.

But she declared last night she ‘wasn’t crazy’ and begged to be given the chance to provide a better life for her three-year-old daughter Mariah.

This decision could spoil my life and desires – I’m now labelled as a crazy person,’ she told The Sun.

‘They’re worried I can’t cope, but this has been the craziest week of my life and I’m still standing. I’m still trying to turn my life around – I’m begging them to give me another chance.
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Beryl’s Expression Through Poems and Photographs

Butterfly Art and Poetry

Beryl Stockman has been expressing herself through her poetry for many years. She draws on her immediate surroundings and feelings for inspiration. She has recently added photography of her local surroundings as a means of expression.

Living and working in North London, Beryl runs the very popular Butterfly Tarot unit in Camden Lock Market along with internationally acclaimed Tarot Reader, Paul Hughes-Barlow. Butterfly Tarot is a lovely spot in the bustling Market to stop by and peruse the interesting array of books,  mystical, London and Camden themed artwork and crystals.

grafitti-8Take a wonder around beryl’s websites and

Evening, the air is hung with honey,
With moistness that clings and enfolds,
Soft sounds ruffle the silence,
A single star pierces the crepuscular gloom,
Stillness surrounds the world outside the gate, Continue reading

A Beautiful Orchid Garden

Mikes Orchids 1Mikes Expression Through His Orchids

We all express ourselves in different ways.

Walk through this beautiful Orchid Garden which was Mikes most expressive form of life.Mikes Orchids 4

His love of nature came easily to him.

In nature he could see all that was beautiful and ever changing. Constantly living, thriving, dying and regenerating.

Mike00025So few of us notice the changing seasons, the change in temperature, the direction the breeze blows, the phase the moon is in.

Take time out of your busy life and notice nature and all the messages she brings us.

Take time out of your busy day to enjoy these photographs of these most beautiful orchids that were grown merely for their reason for being.

Mikes Orchids 27Mikes Orchids 6Mikes Orchids 10Mikes Orchids 42Mikes Orchids 15Mikes Orchids 3

Art as a Therapeutic Necessity

The (as yet) Undiscovered Barbadian Talent of Joanne O’Neal

JoAnn O’Neal is probably one of the undiscovered talents from the Island of Barbados. PICT1895 Born and living on the tiny Island of Barbados, JoAnn lives in the Parish of St. Thomas in the higher elevations of the Island. Barbados is by no means a ‘lofty’ Island but JoAnn’s talent certainly is.

Even though thoughts of the Caribbean may bring pictures of an ‘ideal life’, to those living there they will tell you that this can be further from the truth than anyone could imagine. Barbados is classed these days as ‘New World’. An up grade from 3rd World. It can boast, probably one of the finest infrastructures of all the Caribbean Islands. Along with this comes the stess and strains of modern day living.

Many of the Islanders have all of the mod cons of modern living and the abundance of technology is evident. Barbados is the most easterly in the chain of Caribbean Islands and is an important strategic point for communications systems around the world. But this is getting away from the topic of this Post.

To escape the pressures of everyday life that JoAnn found herself in, holding an important and stressful position with a leading motor vechicle importer on the Island, JoAnn turned to painting to ease the stresses of her day.

PICT1908 Her talent showed through from the moment she put paint to canvas, winning awards        almost instantaneously.

I hope to be able to show more of JoAnn’s work as it becomes available in photographic form.

For those that are interested in her work you may contact me directly or call JoAnn in Barbados at (246) 433-8868.

Don’t forget, even though she is on Island time, the times they are a changing and she may not get back to you immediately. Will this be due to the hurried time of the ‘New World’ or is JoAnn finding her ‘Island Time’. PICT1924PICT1948PICT1915PICT1896PICT1897PICT1888PICT1912PICT1902PICT1931PICT1900PICT1941

Kenneth Blackman ‘The Wood Surgeon’

Barbados 2009 062‘Black Art’

Nestled in a rocky paradise in ‘Durant’s Village’ you will find Kenneth Blackmans ‘Black Art’.

He is the ‘Wood Surgeon’ of Mahogany. Taking no live tree as his victim, Kenneth accepts Mahogany from whomever wishes to make him aware of it once it is no longer ‘living’.Barbados 2009 069

Kenneth has the uncanny ability to bring to life the everyday circumstances that wind their way through our entire state of being. He is unafraid to express the depths and secrets of our souls. The hidden aspects of ourselves that we strive to keep hidden from public view for fear of ridicule and alienation. The very core of our ‘being’.

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“Talking hands, so dark, so deep,
What are the secrets that you keep…”

‘Journey’, is a ‘mother-and-child’ sculpture , a tribute to black womanhood.

Another Yoruba inspired piece is ‘Garments of Rope’, two women tightly wrapped in ropes carrying the burden of a heavy tabletop.

In 1990 his submission to the Crop Over Fine Arts Exhibition was rejected. The judges found ‘Crisis’, a life size, skeletal Mother and Child mahogany comment on the Gulf War and AIDS epidemic offensive. It was 10 years before its time and can still be viewed on the wooden wall of his simple studio. Barbados 2009 046

“As an African, Caribbean person, Barbadian, I used my art to preserve the culture, beauty and people I see and interact with. I am a sculptor and as is best said by Joseph Ki Zerbo, “Without identity we are objects of history, an instrument used by other. Like a utensil. Identity is an assumed role. It is like being in the theatre where everyone is given a role to play.” I know my role.”

As so many of us do at some stage of our lives, Kenneth embarked on a journey in search of his identity in the 1980’s. He found it in his African heritage and took a closer look at the work of Barbadian artists. He was inspired by the works of Grafton Woodpecker, a fellow sculptor, who I had the pleasure of meeting on a recent visit to the Island. Kenneth was also inspired by the music of Bob Marley.

He had carved as a hobby and worked specializing in old fashioned pickling and as a carpenter. He was waking up in the night coughing and having lost two of his friends and workmates to cancer decided that there must be another way and took up carving fulltime. Starting out with only one chisel, he now has plenty, a gift that was given to him from a friend passing on. Barbados 2009 043

His hilltop ‘paradise’ is quiet and peaceful, no sounds of machinery can be heard as there are none. Kenneth uses an axe to cut the wood from the broken boughs of mahogany. Each piece already telling a story before he has even placed a chisel upon it. No stains or varnish are used. Each piece is hand-sanded smooth. Over time the mahogany takes on its own deep, rich colour as it continues it’s relationship with the elements.ba001L

Kenneth draws his inspiration from his surroundings, whether that be human, animal or spiritual. All are intermingled and entwined as this Universe in reality is. Kenneth has the ability to express this like no other artist I have yet met.Barbados 2009 049

He has won numerous awards on the Island and has also taught youngsters the art of carving. He is passionate about his art. It is personal to him. He has been ‘let down’ on numerous occasions but the currents of nature still run deep within him. As is true of all gifts anyone has been given by the ‘Great Mystery’ they are our gifts to treasure and share with the rest of the World. The timing may not always be as we may want or expect it, as seems to be the case with so many great artists. But so often these visionaries seem to be way ahead of their time. Living guides perhaps along the way, for the masses to be awakened by, followed, and be inspired by.

Barbados 2009 065Kenneth welcomes visitors to his piece of ‘paradise’ at ‘Durant’s Village’, St. James, Barbados. You will find him just off of Holders Hill. Just ask for him by name or ‘The Wood Carver’. You will find him.

My digital camera cannot possibly do justice to this work. You will have to check it out for yourself.

You can contact Kenneth at:- (246)244 0127 providing he hasn’t lost his cell phone in the sea or (246) 432 0145

Barbados 2009 060 Barbados 2009 061 Barbados 2009 052

Art as Expression

Art……. What is Art?

To me, it is any form of expression of the human Spirit.

As expression takes place, healing begins.

Perhaps it is visual in the form of a painting or sculpture, which is perhaps how the majority of people perceive it to be. As a photograph, a moment in time captured for eternity or the visual stimulation of a beautiful const 006 Barbados 2009 052

But it can quite easily be in the form of voice, as in poetry,  storytelling, or song.

In the form of movement like dance or even synchronized swimming.

It could be in something as simple as flying a kite on a windy day on the hills surrounding the town where you live or surfing the waves of the local or holiday beach.

Perhaps it is the simple movement of rollerblading up and down your own hometown street or singing in your local pub.

Barbados 2009 156Maybe you see it in the form of a pool of water nestled within the safety of a rocky pool, or the wildness of waves crashing on an untamed land.Barbados 2009 160

Sexual union is Art. The expressive passion of people deeply in love. In love with life.

Art is simply expression. Expression is something that moves us from stagnation into life. It is something that frees our soul to express what we feel within us. What we observe around us, what we desire to express and release from the depths of our being.

My aim is to expand the perceptions of life, in this category, by sharing the expression of others.

To express without fear or worry of ridicule or judgement is to be free. To express with total abandonment is freedom at its most basic level of existence.

Enjoy the expression of some of my favourite artists.