Words from the soul of an author.

One of the best things about being a freelance artist is creating illustrations for novels. I get to work with imaginative authors to bring their visions and stories to life, and often, clients become friends along the way!  This is the case with Hawaiian author Samuel Omega Salt.  He hired me in 2014 to create many pen & ink illustrations for his spiritual, intriguing auto-biographical novel and we are now working on part 2.  I found his story so interesting that I invited him to be a guest blogger to share what inspired him to write his novel, “Preacher’s Kid”…

Bio 

My Father was an ordained Missouri Synod Lutheran minister, who served God  faithfully until his untimely death. Through Christ our Lord he gave me my  foundation built on the rock which I stand. The confidence of believing what  cannot be touched or seen, taken solely on faith.

Both sets of Great Grandparents came from the old world – Germany. Pre World War I. My only claim to fame is my Grandmother on my Father’s side was  born on the ship that brought her to this large melting pot called America. 

Wait a New York minute, that’s a fib. I am living proof miracles can, do and will  happen. From birth according to Mother, I came close to death as an infant on  numerous occasion. An as a young teen, I played chicken with a train caboose. I hit that caboose broadside doing over 100 mph. I literally walked away from that  major collision on my way to church. All of this and much more is in volume I  PK  Preacher’s Kid.

I moved to Hawaii in December 2003 from the original 13 Colonies, Atlanta  Georgia. Lost my southern accent to the Hawaiian W, which is a V sound.  HavaiiEwa is Eva. Little tidbit from your uncle Earl. Hawaii is where all  rainbows come from and the Menehune like to play tricks on you. 

I also lost my sister Ariel in January 2016 and the death of my Father is still very close to the surface. Adding fuel to the fire, not just writing about the previously stated, I also have to tell the story of Izzie. The second person I have  ever fallen madly in love with. Maria being the first. Many a day tears blind me from seeing the keyboard clearly and the shadows of melancholy over power me. Don’t be disheartened, I will recover and forge ahead. I’m currently  working on volume II and talking to a new publisher. 

“PK: Preacher's Kid - Volume One” book cover

“PK: Preacher’s Kid – Volume One” book cover

Synopsis

Facing his own image in the mirror and not recognizing his reflection was the last straw. A haunting figure broken on the inside and his attire skintight, gut sticking out from under the sweatshirt and overlapping his belt and pants. You would never guess he once was a star athlete half a life ago.  Zac found his way to Dr. Phoenix Redgrave’s doorstep, emotionally dead, fragmented into a million pieces of emptiness. His last chance for atonement and survival back to humanness.

Choices, two sides of the same coin. You can call it heads or tails — choose… and accept the consequences of one’s choices that may changes one’s path and the decisions one makes thereof. A wise man once said, “Think before you act and before you speak.” Choose wisely.

SOStreeMar2014sm(c)Lauren Curtis

Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul out of troubles. Proverbs 21:23  Tree of Life Version.

Don’t talk so much. You keep putting your foot in your mouth. Be sensible and turn off the flow! Proverbs 10:19 Living Bible

Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse; all they do is run off at the mouth. Proverbs 18:The Message

An allAmerica boy your garden variety male specimen growing up in the Midwest. Zachariah Wolf is a ‘PK’, a Preacher’s Kid’. The son of a pastor means your life is always under a magnifying glass. What really happens behind closed doors is out of sight from the prying eye. From birth Zac struggled with an under-developed esophagus causing mucous to block off the air passage Zac would gasp for air. He also has a learning disability later deemed as dyslexia. This caused his mother to resort to extreme abusive tactics of discipline from as far back as he can recall. Can you memorize a prayer with your head in a toilet?  Now I lay me down to sleep…

As Zachariah grew into adolescence, the abusive relationship with his mother did not affect his athletic ability and achievements. The doors of opportunity opened as he gained popularity, he took full advantage with a full ride scholarship.

The escapades of young manhood did not escape him in college life.  Zac strutted like a rooster around campus moonlighting between two older chickadees. In reality, the women were the foxes in the coop. One got his virginity, both trained him to their pleasures of womanly wiles….

SOStombDec2014sm(c)Lauren Curtis

To read the full story you can find the book at amazon.com | Barns & Noble | iTunes | Google play

Title of the book is PK Preacher’s Kid volume one by Samuel Omega Salt 

Please write a review of the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

http://www.amazon.com/PK-Preachers-Kid-Volume-One/dp/1682131254

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pk-samuel-omega salt/1122651492?ean=2940150950245

 

 

 

Art takes Root in April

What better time than Spring to honor nature through art?  And the Tulpehaking Nature Center in New Jersey is doing just that this month!  One of my x-ray, digital photo collages has been accepted to this show so join us…details below!

Micro/Macrocom Tree (c)2010 Lauren Curtis

Digital photo collage using actual x-ray images.

ROOTED juried art exhibit at Tulpehaking Nature Center
Join us for this nature-centric art exhibit,  focusing on the importance of trees.
Opening Reception:  Fri., April 22, 2016, 6-8pm.  Exhibition on View: April 22, 2016 – September 4, 2016
157 Westscott Ave., Hamilton, NJ 08610

http://www.mercercountyparks.org
http://abbottmarshlands.org/

NOYESflyer2016
Another exhibition I’m very excited and proud to be a part of is:
The NOYES MUSEUM FINE ARTS ANNUAL
4/6/16 – 7/8/16  Opening reception Friday 4/8, 5-8pm
I have 2 of my x-ray digital collages in this important exhibit.
The Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University, 2200 Fairmount Ave., Atlantic City, NJ 08401
artsgarageac.com
The New Jersey Arts Annual is a unique series of exhibitions highlighting the works of visual artists and craftspeople in the state. Chosen for their excellence, these artists present works of drawing, photography, sculpture, painting and mixed media. Their works are compelling evidence of the outstanding talent residing in New Jersey. The Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University is pleased to host this prestigious exhibition!
New Brunswick Master (c)L.Curtis

New Brunswick Master (c)L.Curtis

And even if you missed the opening reception there’s still time to view this show:
Woodbridge Artisan Guild
presents”PHOTOGRAPHY”!

Join us for our newest exhibition, which runs thru April! (I have 3 pieces in this show!)
All works in this show have been created by local artists;
themes include landmarks, nature, portraits, travel, & more!
101 Main St., Woodbridge, NJ (732)634-1474

How to Gain Clarity with a Realistic Schedule

Everyone wants to be more organized, but no one more than a freelancer!  We have the chore of not only being our own boss, the marketer, the bookkeeper, the job searcher but during all this, if we don’t stay organized, it can be disastrous…and this can be an especially difficult task for creative people.  So, I’ve invited my friend Alisandra Wederich to share helpful information with us on the concept of organization through “unscheduling”.  Read on….

Do you (realistically) know much time you have available in a given day?

Before you answer, take a look at the image below. Does your calendar looks like the one on the left or the right?

 

 

 

 

Unschedule Diagram v1 0915 PN

This view on the left is a typical daily schedule listing meetings with other people. The view on the right is what Neil Fiore in his book, The Now Habit, calls an “Unschedule.” It’s a list of activities that most people are ALREADY DOING, but don’t take into account. Even if they’re not tracked, these tasks still take time to perform, impacting our actual availability on any given day.

Building a personal “Unschedule” provides you with a highly accurate assessment of your free time.

1. Realistic Time Assessment. Although building an unschedule can initially be stressful, it’s highly worthwhile to have a realistic understanding of your time. A realistic time assessment means the ability to plan based on your true availability. Instead of underestimating your available time and overbooking yourself, you can provide timelines that work for you instead of against you.

2. Motivation, Focus and Efficiency. Reinforcing the knowledge that your time is limited through an unschedule means an increase in valuing the time that you have. This often helps to improve focus and efficiency because it creates mindfulness around how your time is truly spent. Being distracted by email or social media notifications is a loss of valuable time, and turning those notifications off will provide you with an additional boost of focus and efficiency.

3. Time Value and Appreciation. If your time is constrained, you can be sure that the time of others is constrained as well. This means doing your part to make sure that the time you need from others is spent wisely so they are less impacted by your schedule. Alternatively, sharing your unscheduling habits with people you work with gives them a better appreciation of your time as well as their own, improving team culture and collaboration efforts.

Do It For Yourself

These instructions will work for any calendar application you use. Remember to be realistic when you’re putting these activities in.

1. Open your work calendar and/or your personal calendar.

2. Create recurring calendar entries for all your typical activities for both the weekdays and weekends.

Here are some examples that I’ve frequently seen used:

– Wake Up + Get Ready – Breakfast

– Walk Dog – Take Kids to School – Travel (To Work/Home) – Lunch – Email – Prepare Art Supplies

– Clean Up – Work Out

– Date Night – Wind Down + Sleep

Looking for more productivity tips?

Follow Double Gemini on Twitter, Facebook, G+ or Tumblr or visit our website at http://www.doublegemini.com and sign up for our free newsletter! Hope you found value in this article. Feel free to contact me with questions or comments at Alisandra@doublegemini.com.

About Double Gemini

Double Gemini is a productivity consulting and workshop firm that specializes in email, meeting, and project productivity. Our services transform team cultures and help people work better by reducing stress and increasing efficiency. Learn more about us by visiting  www.doublegemini.com

Unschedule Alisandra

Alisandra Wederich is the Creative Director of productivity start up Double Gemini in NYC, the founder and manager for NJ Artists and a professional artist going by the pseudonym Altered Aesthetic. Offering creative solutions from an artistic mind, Alisandra’s background in K-12 visual arts education has developed her natural communication skills, enabling her to find unique solutions in situations of conflict. With a history of professional multi-tasking, and constant focus on improving natural workflows in any environment, she finds joy in bringing increased productivity and efficiency to artists, clients, and everyone else she meets. She’s thrilled to be able to offer this Unschedule article and strongly encourages anyone seeking further productivity tips to get in touch with her on LinkedIn.

 

Feast for the Senses & art news

Reminisce (c)2013, watercolor and collage

You can sense the excitement in the air as spring all too slowly approaches…but it’s on the way!  And as with all new seasons, comes new art events, especially in New Jersey!  While it’s still too cold for outdoor fests and shows, there are plenty of indoor art exhibits to attend and the following I’m involved with this month are all FREE so no excuse not to check them out!  I hope you’ll join me and many other local, talented artists at these exhibitions:

Reminisce (c)2013, watercolor and collage

Reminisce (c)2013, watercolor and collage

FEAST FOR THE SENSES…Group Art Exhibit
Work by local artists (most living, some not) will be on display from March 7 through March 28, 2016, in the library’s community room. Participating artists include: Judy Brodsky, Joan Arbeiter, Lauren Curtis, Ria Glassman, Joyce Browning, Eric Escobar, Virginia Swanagan, Pat Shamy, Sydney Jean Reisen, Nadine Berkowsky, Jackie Baker, Jill Caporlingua. Deceased artists whose work will be displayed include: Jacob Landau, Stanford White, F. J. Adams, John LaFarge.

The Opening Reception for this Art Show (on Thursday, March 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM in the Carl T. Valenti Community Room) will provide light refreshments and an opportunity to meet and talk with some of the artists.  I’ll have a few paintings in this show.  Here’s Facebook invite link:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1694806214135180/

NOLA Cemetery Path (c)2010 Lauren Curtis

NOLA Cemetery Path (c)2010 Lauren Curtis

SACRED SPACES, HOLY PLACES
There’s still time to see this enlightening exhibit of sculpture & photography with 27 artists / 43 pieces of work / 13 pieces of sculpture / 30 photographs.   Aside from being an exhibit, related spiritual & cultural discussions & events typically take place during the run of the show so check the gallery’s website & Facebook page for info.  Nails in the Wall Gallery at St. Luke’s, 17 Oak Ave, Metuchen, New Jersey 08840.
I have 2 photographs in the exhibition which continues until
Sunday, May 15, 2016.

Melody Bar Art (c)2015 Lauren Curtis

Melody Bar Art (c)2015 Lauren Curtis

And a quick question…Do you have a favorite place that you wish you could visit forever?  How about immortalize a beloved home, vacation spot, hang out or historic site in ART?  Commission a pen & ink with watercolor painting of a place you’d like to remember forever!  Contact me for details: forestwalker333@hotmail.com

For more of my work, please visit my newly updated website! http://laurencurtisart.weebly.com

Thanks for reading!

~Lauren

Sacred Spaces, Holy Places

A life-sized Islamic Prayer Niche…a sculpture conveying a Jewish woman’s experience with sacred space…a nearly 5’ ilphachrome color photograph of Bernini’s Canopy in St. Peter’s in Rome…evocative photographs of both outdoor and indoor spaces…an unusual combination?  But all highlights in the upcoming exhibit at Nails in the Wall, the Gallery at St. Luke’s, the Metuchen exhibition space sponsored by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 17 Oak Ave., Metuchen, NJ. Sacred Spaces, Holy Places: an exhibit of sculpture & photography will begin the gallery’s 2016 winter exhibition season with the Opening & Artists’ Reception Saturday, January 30, 2-5pm. The event is free and open to all.

One of our goals at the gallery is always to bring together diverse voices from varied religious traditions around a common theme. In this instance, what makes a space sacred? What does a sacred space look like?  Work representing 27 artists is primarily, but not only, from the tri-state area. The photography includes a wide range of haunting images, some almost abstract, others capturing very specific locations that carry a sense of the sacred for the artist. Notable among those is the over 4’ Ilphachrome color photograph of Bernini’s Canopy in St. Peter’s in Rome by Nancy Ori (Berkeley Heights). Perhaps one of the most thought-provoking pieces, “V’at Alit”, by Miriam Stern (Teaneck) includes a series of photographs and other materials highlighting her experience of sacred space as a Jewish woman. Several very local photographers have work included in the show: Mark Harris (Edison) with his elegant figures and the carefully viewed spaces of Robert Hopkins (Metuchen). Lauren Curtis will have two 35mm black & white photos taken in the famous Louis I Cemetery in New Orleans, LA.  This above ground burial site is one of the most famous cemeteries in the US & the site where supposedly the infamous VooDoo Queen Marie LaVeaus is entombed.

NOLA.Marie's Tomb Flowers (c)2010

The 13 pieces of sculpture are very diverse in scale and materials and include free-standing pieces as well as sculptural wall works. Included in this group is a 6’ sculpture by Christina Saj (Cedar Grove), which has an exhibition history that includes, among others, St. John the Divine, NYC and the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C. Towering over that piece is Daniel Nelson’s (NYC) “Niche for Maryam.” A life-sized Islamic prayer niche known as an mihrab, the piece was designed as a site-specific installation for the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, NYC, using the proportions of the sculpture of the Virgin Mary by Bela Lyon Pratt in the Church’s Altar of the Annunciation. Nails in the Wall is honored to have it on loan from St. Paul the Apostle    for the duration of the exhibit.

Three mixed-media Mayan masks from Ronald LeMahieu (Princeton), along with a variety of the photographs, remind viewers that the sacred takes many forms beyond Church buildings.

Between 3 and 3:30pm, several artists’ talks will take place.

John Sharp, Gallery Board Member remarks, “I am amazed that despite our limiting the media accepted into this exhibit, we have been able to curate a show of such a diversity of scale and approach. It will truly be exciting to see which sacred space speaks to each visitor.”

Creating a sense of ‘sacred space’ through sound for the Reception itself, pianist, composer, and recording artist, John Bianculli will be performing. Refreshments will be provided by our ‘art partner’ The Metuchen Inn.

The exhibit will continue on view until May 15, 2016. For more information, visit http://www.nailsinthewall.com/ or contact Linda LaStella, Director@nailsinthewall.org.

The Facebook invite link is: https://www.facebook.com/events/159308764435405

NJ Community thru Art

Winter House 3, (c)Lauren Curtis 35mm B&W photo

“Jersey-ites” are a proud folk and we do have many types of communities throughout this small state; historic, artistic, cultural, musical, etc. so it’s no wonder that the Woodbridge Artistan Guild is having an exhibition focusing on this theme titled “COMMUNITY”.

Winter House 3, (c)Lauren Curtis 35mm B&W photo

Winter House 3, (c)Lauren Curtis 35mm B&W photo

Join the Woodbridge Artisan Guild on Sat., January 16th at 7pm for an opening reception of our newest exhibition!

All works in this show have been created by Woodbridge area artists and the theme of community includes local landmarks, New Jersey, family, civic pride, neighbors, and our towns.

In addition to local art this event will include live music and refreshments provided by Mulberry Street Restaurant. FREE event.  WAG Gallery, 101 Main St., Woodbridge (732)634-1474
I have three photographs in this show. 

Resolution to value art & artists

New Year’s is almost upon us….that time of year when many make resolutions, many of them empty…or well intended ones that never come to fruition.  But there are those who are disciplined enough to actually follow through and others wise enough not to make them in the first place, knowing they won’t follow through…both are honest!  But one resolution I’d like to propose, that seems simple enough to stick to, is to value art and artists in our society!

Being a full time freelance artist for several years now, it astonishes me how many people I see from across the globe who are either under valuing their own work or those who want to hire artists to create original work for literally pennies and way below minimum wage standard!  I’ve witnessed this on every freelance job site I’m a member of, which is MANY!  For the artists, selling your work for too little doesn’t do anyone any good, including the artist themselves….it sets them up for future low paying jobs, looks unprofessional and inexperienced and will lead to them getting ripped off.  It also encourages this behavior to continue from other clients which negatively effects us all!  It can also lead to the belief that artists aren’t to be taken seriously and can easily be under paid or not paid at all!  Just check out this blog about the non-payment freelance dilemma: https://www.freelancersunion.org/blog/  Nuff said right here!

Artists used to be valued so much more hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago…we were the ones who documented life, recorded history, called down the gods to our aid, and spread knowledge…then we were the communicators, the advertisers…but now that everyone and their mother have high resolution cameras on their phones, and fancy filters and photo editing programs, I guess people think being an artist is easy!  I’m NOT devaluing these technologies as I use them myself but people don’t realize that it’s the creative mind and thought process and years of education that makes a true artist, as well as knowledge of “old school” art techniques, and not just cranking out mass produced graphic images, that forms a TRUE artist…and this takes WORK!

So next time, as an artist, someone wants to pay you $20 for a company logo they can use forever, or $50 for 25 book illustrations (weeks/months of work!) or $5 per hour for graphic design work, speak out and tell them why this is insulting and unfair (but be polite, of course)!  And for those who truly just have no idea what artwork should cost, do research and don’t be afraid to ask what goes into creating and why it should demand as much money as any other skill.  As a client, you do have the right to know and to get value in return for your payment.  The old saying is often true that you do get what you pay for!

So, I leave you with this…make a resolution to see the time, effort and creativity that goes into all forms of art and have a HAPPY, HEALTHY, ART-FILLED NEW YEAR!

XraytedPowerOfWordsJan2012sm

“The Power of Words” (c) Lauren Curtis