victorian woman gracious cathedral heidi presse

Stay Gracious — Victorian by Heidi Presse

victorian woman gracious cathedral heidi presse

She moves with gracious confidence, straight but not stiff, elegant but not affected. Victorian, limited edition print by Heidi Presse.

All mothers have their standard admonitions, words of wisdom aimed at our kids. When the kids are grown (into decent adults, we hope) they laugh about what Mom always said. But once they have their own kids they stop laughing because they realize — suddenly, one day — that they’re repeating their own unique, peculiar-to-them phrases.

My own mother’s favorite was, “That is a piece of equipment, not a toy.” I can’t imagine what she would think about cell phones.

Mine was, “Be gracious.”

In other words, stop sniping and biting at your siblings. Quit nitpicking. Control the eye roll. Don’t be so loud, obnoxious, rude, overbearing, arrogant, and irritating. Don’t call your sibling stupid simply because you don’t agree with them. Comport yourself with some level of dignity and decorum, courtesy and composure. Act with some loyalty toward one another, because that’s what families do.

It’s all beautifully encapsulated in two words: Be gracious.

Calm, Stately, Serene

A perfect visual of this concept of being gracious is Victorian, the limited edition print by Heidi Presse. A young woman walks, stately and serene, into a San Jose Mission church. It is no doubt a hot day, but she maintains a sense of cool composure, a measured tread that takes her where she wants to go without pushing, pulling, shoving, or foisting herself upon the situation. There is a calm serenity about her movements that inspires calm in those who see her.

A mother, say, would observe that she is setting a good example, inspiring those around her to be calm and serene themselves, not frantic or fearful, bossy or demanding, judgmental or contentious. In the act of being gracious, she is bestowing grace wherever she goes.

Stay Gracious — We’ve Got Enough Rudeness on Social Media Alone

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Victorian by Heidi Presse. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by Heidi Presse are at this link.

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mountain myth snow leaopard circumspect simon combes

Stay Circumspect — Mountain Myth by Simon Combes

mountain myth snow leaopard circumspect simon combes

Snow Leopards stay alive in a hostile environment because they are wary and canny, circumspect. Mountain Myth, limited edition print by Simon Combes.

Sometimes it’s good to run out swinging, ready for the fight. Other times, it’s best to be circumspect.

It doesn’t mean that you’ve given up. Rather, it means that you’re still in the midst of the action, but you’re watching just how and where you’ll jump.

It’s a jungle out there, you know — in social media world, in middle school classrooms where peer pressure reigns, in the public marketplace. If you think slightly differently than what mass media declares the norm, you may find yourself attacked, or at least glared at as if you were something reprehensible. Around strangers, in the midst of a crowd, it’s difficult to connect, to discuss, to reason, to question, to converse in a friendly fashion with the intent of learning from one another. (And how can we possibly learn from one another if we all think, and repeat, the same thing?)

Being circumspect means that you watch and are wary, listen sometimes without speaking, scrutinize the situation and find the best means of approaching it.

In other words, you act a bit like the Snow Leopard in Simon Combes’ limited edition print, Mountain Myth. At first, you have to look twice to even see the cat at all, so camouflaged is it against its environment. Once you see the animal, however, you notice its grace, its strength, its stance of wary watchfulness and observation.

This is an intelligent cat, one that lives by its ability to read a situation, and act accordingly. It is not timid or frightened but rather, vigilant and attentive, circumspect.

Isn’t it amazing how much the animals have to teach us?

Stay Circumspect —

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Mountain Myth by Simon Combes. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by Simon Combes are at this link.

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child sledding helpful father nostalgic harvey print art

Stay Helpful — A Child’s Hero by G. Harvey

child sledding helpful father nostalgic harvey print art

It doesn’t take billions of dollars to be helpful and carry a child’s sled uphill. It does, however, take a level of caring and time. A Child’s Hero, limited edition print by G. Harvey.

You don’t have to be a wealthy philanthropist to be helpful. Indeed, it’s questionable how many of them actually are. Helpful, that is.

“They’re so rich,” people sigh. “And they must be smart, because they make so much money. Not only that, but they give it away!”

Most of us, ordinary people, feel small in the face of the millions and billions of dollars, funneled through tax-free foundations, that wealthy philanthropists pour into their chosen venues. But the world is made up of ordinary people, the kind who understand other ordinary people, and the small things we do are bigger than we think.

Anyone who doesn’t know how to change a flat tire on the side of a remote highway knows that a helpful hand, at just the right time, makes an impact that is lasting, memorable, and meaningful.

Indeed, the degree and scope of helpful things we can do is vast, and our creativity — unlike our wallets — cannot be exhausted as we find ways to do acts of kindness for other human beings. In some ways, it puts money into perspective when we realize how many of these acts of kindness, how many helpful actions, do not require billion dollar foundations.

The Value of Time

In the artwork, A Child’s Hero by G. Harvey, a little boy is spending the day outdoors in the cold winter air, sledding. Long before he is ready to quit, he tires, his small body unable to keep up with the physical exertion of dragging the heavy sled uphill.

To his rescue comes, who else? His father (parents: you are the everyday, totally unrecognized heroes). Bigger, stronger, and caring, the father does the heavy work, traipsing down the hill that his son glides over, ready to pick up the rope for another trek uphill. As they walk together, he and his children, they talk, and the day becomes much, much more than sledding.

What did it cost to be helpful like this? Time, and the willingness to care.

Stay Helpful — It Adds Richness to Life

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is A Child’s Hero by G. Harvey. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by G. Harvey are at this link.

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Virtue woman candle nostalgic religious perceptive james christensen

Stay Perceptive — Virtue by James Christensen

Virtue woman candle nostalgic religious perceptive james christensen

One candle does not give much light, but a perceptive person doesn’t need floodlights to see. Virtue, limited edition giclee canvas by James Christensen

A perceptive person is not easily fooled.

There is an old saying about people seeing but never perceiving, hearing but never understanding. Like many old sayings, it’s worth contemplating: these old sayings become part of our cultural heritage for a reason. And while many of them aren’t as witty or sharp as a social media meme, they’re deeper, more profound. It takes some thinking to get to where they’re pointing.

A perceptive person is not satisfied with a simple table or chart, a snapshot, a listing out of “facts” — especially when these elements are interpreted for them. A perceptive person asks questions, seeks understanding, and knows enough about themselves and the world around them to not belittle intuition.

“Something about this just doesn’t feel right,” is their starting point. And rather than allow themselves to be browbeaten into mental submission, they pursue the matter. Perceptive people are the bane of dictators, emperors, and totalitarian regimes.

Perception is a Virtue

The artwork, Virtue by James Christensen, shows a young woman in a dark room with a candle. Although the flame does not give much light, it casts enough to dispel total darkness, to show movement in the shadows, to create a glow around her immediate presence. She stands still and silent — not frantically rushing about, not panting with fear, not darting forward so quickly that she snuffs the flame. To get the full good from the flame, from this limited light that she has, she knows she needs to remain still.

Like many perceptive people, she is in no hurry, does not readily acquiesce. Rather, she is unrelentingly patient, steady, even obstinate. She may not have the power of a prince, but she knows how to use the power of her mind.

Stay Perceptive — Take Time to Question, Wonder, Doubt, and Consider

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Virtue by James Christensen. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by James Christensen are at this link.

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sacred grove contemplative forest woods greg olsen

Stay Contemplative — Sacred Grove by Greg Olson

sacred grove contemplative forest woods greg olsen

A quiet, still place invites contemplation and thought. Sacred Grove, limited edition print by Greg Olsen

When is the last time you were contemplative?

Being contemplative takes time and a bit of effort, because we must find a quiet place where we can think. This means no TV, no phone, no computer screen, none of the accoutrements of  technology that factor so strongly in “modern” life. Too often, we focus on acquiring knowledge — facts, “news,” up to date reporting on trends, politics, and snippets of science — but without contemplation, we are unable to process these facts, sort them out, determine what is true and what is false.

We become human encyclopedias of stuff. Our brains are attics filled with everything from priceless paintings to broken tennis rackets. Without time to be contemplative, however, we’re unable to distinguish between the valuable and the mundane, the functional and the broken.

We need to get away from the noise and the chatter, the constant tugging on our sleeve by mass media to “Listen to this!” and “Be alarmed about that!”

Greg Olsen’s art print, Sacred Grove, takes us to such a contemplative place. It is quiet here, and very still. In this calm, hushed forest, we can think.

“But I don’t have a forest like this near where I live!” a voice objects.

That’s okay — that’s why artists create images of beauty, to invite people to step into them and be there. Look at the image. Step onto the path. Imprint it upon your mind.

Get Away to a Peaceful Place

There are always places to be contemplative — many people choose the bathroom because it generally has a lock on the door. There’s the porch. A park bench. Even the sofa on a Sunday afternoon. The important thing is to not invite the phone in on the conversation, or the TV, or the talk show, podcast, radio broadcast, newscaster, politician, medico, financier, philanthropist, Instagram celebrity, pop singer — it’s a pretty long list, isn’t it?

Indeed, the sheer quantity of mass media temptation that draws us away from being contemplative is . . . something to contemplate.

Stay Contemplative — It’s an Antidote to Fear

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Sacred Grove by Greg Olsen. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by Greg Olsen are at this link.

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early morning visitors deer welcoming country william phillips

Stay Welcoming — Early Morning Visitors by William Phillips

early morning visitors deer welcoming country william phillips

Shy, and uncertain of a true welcoming, a group of deer stand outside the farmhouse and wait. Early Morning Visitors, framed limited edition print by William Phillips.

We’ve all seen a countenance that is welcoming. A smile, a warm glance, these invite us to come closer and be part of that person’s day. We feel wanted and accepted — delightful emotions that all humans crave.

How easy it is, however, to be not welcoming — to hurt people because we are too busy, too self-absorbed, too fearful to invite them closer. The most obvious incidence of this occurs when we wear masks, physical or figurative, that block people from seeing our faces. It is difficult, if not impossible, to be transparent and open when we hide ourselves away.

The interesting thing about people in our lives is that they are not always convenient. They’re not always the people we wanted to see. They may not arrive when it’s convenient to see them. They may arrive unasked, unexpected. Or they may be late. Or too early. In a culture that prizes convenience to the point that we frequently choose it over more valuable elements, like freedom or quality, unexpected arrivals mess up our schedules. Instead of being welcoming we are — not always unreasonably — irritated or annoyed, distant or in a hurry.

Smile with Welcome

William Phillips’ artwork Early Morning Visitors, is a reminder to us to slow down, suspend our schedule, take off our masks and smile with our eyes as well as our mouths. A herd of deer hovers shyly around the outskirts of a farmhouse. Though the land “belongs” to the owner of the house, the deer do not know this, because this is their home as well. The wise person, if he wants to be welcoming to these furtive guests, keeps the dogs away. He is aware of the extreme sensitivity of these early morning guests, and responds with sensitivity as well.

It takes time, and thought, and determination to be welcoming. It is not always convenient. But it is very often worthwhile.

Stay Welcoming — The Alternative Is to Shut People Out

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Early Morning Visitors by William Phillips. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by William Phillips are at this link.

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great big world excited dog flowers sueellen ross

Stay Excited about Life — Great Big World by Suellen Ross

great big world excited dog flowers sueellen ross

Cats are cool; dogs are not. But dogs, who get excited about the world around them, seem to enjoy life more. Great Big World, framed open edition print by Sueellen Ross

Have you ever met someone who never gets excited about anything?

They may be polished, refined, sophisticated, a little cynical — all those adjectives that describe someone our society calls “cool.”

And “cool,” as we all know from  TV, movies, and the celebrity and music entertainment culture, is the ultimate thing to be.

But “cool,” with its absence of emotion, spontaneity, and childlike wonder, is also a bit boring. Cool people don’t drop down to their knees in the dirt to watch a bee pollinate a flower. Cool people don’t laugh with joy at the sight of balloons. They don’t play Catch the String with kittens.

Getting excited, about anything other than the latest trends, isn’t cool.

But maybe there’s more to life than being cool. Maybe people who aren’t so cool are more interesting, more engaged, more creative, more fun to be around.

Such is the personality of the puppy in Sueellen Ross’s framed print, Great Big World. This dog, definitely uncool, isn’t thinking about itself, isn’t focused on how it looks to others and what others think of it. Rather, this curious personality is fascinated by the world of flowers and insects, of movement and color, of shape and form and light and life. Excited by all the possibilities of the world around, this totally un-cool creature discovers the good things in life, because it’s willing to look for them.

The opposite of cool is warm. How much better to have a warm, open, engaging approach to life than a cool one!

Stay Excited about the World around You

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Great Big World by Sueellen Ross. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by Sueellen Ross are at this link.

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daydreamer imagining boy student morgan weistling

Stay Imaginative — Daydreamer by Morgan Weistling

daydreamer imaginative boy student morgan weistling

His body is behind the school desk, but his imaginative mind, is someplace else, someplace far, far more interesting. Daydreamer, limited edition giclee canvas by Morgan Weistling.

We all like to think that we are imaginative. And indeed, so should we all be, because human beings were created to think, contemplate, imagine, design, and innovate.

But the “entertainment” world — encapsulated by movies, TV, advertising, and social media — has done much to drain imagination from our souls. Content to sit before a screen, absorbing the thoughts of others, we mentally atrophy to the point that we passively accept what we are told. Our eyes are glazed, our bodies tired.

From our youngest years, as well, we are trained to subvert our imagination, ostensibly so that we can learn “important” things: science, math, social studies, dry history from a textbook, essay writing from a formula. Many a child has been scolded for daydreaming when they should be listening, letting their minds fly to faraway, fascinating places when their fingers should be filling out workbook pages.

Artist Morgan Weistling understands the mind of the imaginative child, and in his artwork, Daydreamer, he captures that faraway look we surprise on someone who is engaging in pleasant thought that has little to do with their immediate surroundings. Consistently, we are scolded for daydreaming, as if it were a bad, unnatural thing to do. But a mind that does not daydream is one that does not wonder; a mind that does not wonder is one that does not ask questions; and a mind that does not ask questions is one that too easily accepts the answers that are pushed upon it.

An imaginative mind is an active mind. It runs ahead of the crowd, and refuses to be part of the masses.

Stay Imaginative — And Stay Thinking

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Daydreamer by Morgan Weistling. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by Morgan Weistling are at this link.

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love letter communicating laramie charles wysocki

Stay Communicating: Love Letter from Laramie by Charles Wysocki

love letter communicating laramie charles wysocki

Next to a face to face conversation, a good long letter is an excellent — and private — way to communicate. Love Letter from Laramie by Charles Wysocki

Communicating with one another is essential to healthy, strong relationships.

And while this seems so painfully obvious that it’s not worth mentioning, it is worth mentioning. Because, like eating food that truly nourishes, getting out for a walk, and turning off the TV, it’s one of those things we’d be better off doing, but don’t often enough actually do.

“Oh, I keep in touch with all my friends and family by texting and posting on social media,” some say. “I’m too busy to do anything else.”

But digital chatter, as many are increasingly learning, has little to do with strengthening relationships. Communicating via social media is like sitting, tete a tete, near the nosy neighbor’s fence, trying to have a private conversation. She butts in too much, scolding us for what we say, insisting that we acquiesce to what she believes. And she’s not beyond blocking our conversation completely, for our own good and that of society, of course. Such  (community) standards she has!

Charles Wysocki’s artwork, Love Letter from Laramie, reminds us that, when we can’t see the people we love, be with the people we love, interact face to face, close and personal, with the people in our lives who matter, we stay communicating by staying creative and interactive. A young woman in the wild, inhospitable west stops everything she’s doing to read the letter from the one she loves. These are words for her eyes alone, thoughts shared between two people that do not need to be, nor should be, filtered through an algorithm.

Meaningful communication requires not only time, effort, and persistence, but also — most importantly — privacy.

Stay Communicating — It’s How We Stay Strong

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Love Letter from Laramie by Charles Wysocki. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by Charles Wysocki are at this link.

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harvest busy laborers farmers vineyard june carey art print

Stay Busy: Harvest by June Carey

harvest busy laborers farmers vineyard june carey art print

It’s a warm day in the Tuscany landscape, a day on which to be pleasantly busy, peacefully occupied. Harvest, limited edition giclee canvas by June Carey.

The word “busy” has both good and bad connotations.

At its worst it describes the frenetic nature of modern American society: we must work smarter, harder, faster, and constantly in order to get ahead. Getting ahead, we understand, means making more money than others. Making more money, when we amass enough of it, translates into power. But ordinary people, no matter how smart, hard, fast, and constantly we work, rarely, if ever, get to that top tier.

It doesn’t stop us from being too busy, however. We work long hours. Read books about being smart and fast. Follow “successful” people on Instagram. Put ourselves down for not writing our own success story.

But there’s another kind of busy, synonyms to which are “pleasantly occupied,” or “genially employed.” In this busy-ness, we move easily from task to task, concentrated, but in no particular hurry. What we are doing is meaningful and good, under conditions that are not onerous, but rather, allow our mind to gently wander as our hands work. At the end of the day we feel good because kept moving, kept engaged, and accomplished something worth doing.

Such is the scene we see in June Carey’s limited edition giclee canvas, Harvest. It’s a sunny day in Tuscany (who wouldn’t want to be in Tuscany on a sunny day?) and the people working in the vineyards move from row to row, purposefully, but not frantically. The air is fresh, the sunlight warm, the shade welcome. There is a sense of peace in the quiet, companionability in being with others, satisfaction with work that is honest.

This is a good busy indeed.

Stay Talking

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Harvest by June Carey. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by June Carey are at this link.

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