Monday, April 30, 2012

An Excellent New Book About Introverts Called "Quiet"

I am reading an intriguing, empowering, beautifully written new book called Quiet,The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. When I first heard about this book on a Public Radio interview with the author, Susan Cain, I immediately searched our public library web site and placed a hold on it. The fact that I was about 28th in the waiting line gives you a clue as to the demand for this powerful read. Once my turn finally came, and I began reading, the brief introduction thoroughly captured my interest. Quiet continues to fascinate me and also to affirm me, an introvert who likes being myself.
However, all readers, whatever their personality types, can enjoy and benefit from this superbly well-researched and readable book. As a Harvard Law School honors graduate, business consultant, and negotiation skills teacher, Susan Cain offers a compelling argument that businesses, communities, and American society at large lose valuable insights, innovative ideas, and leadership potential by falling in step with the prevailing undervaluing of the unique gifts of introverts.
Cain convincingly marshals the latest research from psychology and neuroscience combined with inspiring narratives about real people demonstrating the complementary viewpoints and range of skills characteristic of both introverts and extroverts. She tracks the history of the focus on the qualities of extroverts as being more desirable in both business and relationships--then documents the evidence that we all lose when 1/3 or more of our people are undervalued or even discounted because they are introverts. She charmingly debunks the myths that all introverts (or extroverts, for that matter) are alike and affirms the contributions all make.
I like this book because it upholds who I am, but it offers much more than that. Cain's insights into relationships (especially between different personality types), parenting, cooperation in groups, and business management are pure gold.
When I started this blog about creative everyday life, I expected to post about the books I read fairly often, as I am a voracious reader. However, for some reason, that has not happened. Perhaps if blog readers enjoy hearing about this book and respond to the post, I will discuss my reading--of a wide variety of books, both fiction and non-fiction--more often.
Question of the day: What have you read lately that has entertained or informed you and enriched your life?

Friday, April 20, 2012

New Orleans Visit, Part III--Riverboat Tour

While we were in New Orleans last month, we took a Mississippi River tour on a stern-wheel driven steamboat (one of the last authentic steamboats on the Mississippi River). The informative commentary brought the busy harbor, various city parishes, and a stretch of the mighty river alive for us. Except for the photo of the paddle boat itself, you are seeing views from the boat.
You can see Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral again (see recent post for more information) as we pull away from the French Quarter. The USS Cape Kennedy is a large naval cargo ship; one photo shows the stern hatch of its sister ship open with its ramp out for loading or unloading tanks and other heavy equipment. We also got a sense of what a busy shipping port New Orleans is, with commercial cargo ships from all over the world coming, going, docked, loading, and unloading. Returning from a fascinating 2-hour cruise, we enjoyed stunning views of the city.
Question of the day: Do you also gravitate to bodies of water, water tours, and water recreation when you travel or relax near home? We enjoy cities, mountains, desert vistas, and more--but have to admit that nothing beats rivers, oceans, lakes, etc. for beauty and enjoyment for us.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Art of Framing Paintings--New Look for Cypress Swamp Painting

In a few days I will share one more post from our visit to New Orleans. Today, I wanted to show you the frame I found for the 8" x10" Cypress Swamp painting. I do most of my work on gallery-wrapped canvas with the painting wrapping around to the sides, top, and bottom. These can be hung without a frame for a nice, contemporary look, or clients can frame them if they prefer.
However, for small studies, like this painting of a cypress swamp scene near Punta Gorda, Florida (more information, in earlier posts), I sometimes use canvas-covered boards. These are best framed (so that they don't warp, as well as for appearance), but I don't feel confident choosing frames on my own and seek advice, either from my husband, who has a great eye for the best frame or from a framing expert in a shop.
Our local art supply store, Reddi Arts, which is a treasure trove of lovely, unique gifts as well as a bonanza of well-priced supplies for all types of artists and crafters, has the best framers around. They also have an extensive supply of ready-made frames in all price ranges. When I frame a piece that will be for sale, like this one, I do not want to invest in an expensive custom framing job. This would add too much to the price of the piece--and may not even be to the client's taste (many art buyers replace the frame a work comes in to suit their taste and decor). On the other hand, I want the piece to look as nice as possible and not to cheapen it with a shabby or poorly chosen frame.
At Reddi Arts, the staff is as careful and helpful assisting a customer seeking a $20 - $25 frame as when someone brings in a large piece for expensive custom framing. This particular painting is a bit tricky because the prevailing cool tones don't look right with most wood finishes or metallics--yet a plain black frame didn't add much either. The framer there walked through the entire department with me and found this attractive frame, which looks terrific--better than I seem to be able to show you in a photo--sorry about that. The finish has both muted silvery and gold touches on a neutral wood tone that picked up the touches of brown in the cypress roots perfectly. The right side of the photo is not true to the color of the frame; it's less brown and cooler toned than it looks on that side. I was pleased--AND the frame was only $23, a very good price for the look of quality it has. So, the total price of the painting can stay reasonable (about $150). Unlike some artists, I do not try to make money on frames--just pass on the basic cost.
Question of the day: What guides you in choosing frames for art work?