I'm Not Saying Goodbye to Summer ~ by Darlene Kuncytes

Say it isn’t so! 

July 4th has come and gone and for all intents and purposes, with it, so has summer. 

But…as a stubborn, die-hard summer girl - I refuse to accept that it’s the end! 

Go ahead stores…put your bathing suits, pool floats, and yard decor on clearance! I look forward to it! It just saves me all the more money!  

It has been this way forever. July 4th was always the start of the beginning of the end for us Mid-Westerners. It was when we realized that the lazy days of playing outside and floating in the pool were limited. That school would soon rear its ugly head.
Back in the day, we got out of school at the beginning of June and didn’t go back until after Labor Day. But even back then, come July 5th, school supplies would start popping up in stores. Taunting us.  Trying to ruin our fun! 

Of course, not as blatantly as they do now. I mean, who are we kidding. Halloween decorations will be on the shelves come the end of August! 

Ugh. 

Nowadays, school starts so much earlier. It seems that they want to strip summer from us as soon as possible, but I will not go down without a fight!  I’m just not ready for the cold and the snow. I want sunshine and days floating in the pool on those clearance-priced rafts!





In this new normal we now call life; I want to make the option of being outside last for as long as I possibly can.  I don’t want it being squelched and taken from me too soon!

So, this month and next (I, myself, am going for well into October! lol)  I urge you to enjoy the sun. Breathe deeply into your lungs the scent of fresh cut grass and blooming flowers, and make it a point to cherish these moments. They are so precious! 

We too often take for granted the sunshine and fresh air, and it seems lately with everything else going on, our minds need these little de-stressors more than ever.

So, be sure to take that moment and make it a point to go sit outside for a while and just enjoy. 

Sit out there with your coffee, iced tea, cocktail…whatever, in your hand and just celebrate today! 

Celebrate summer!
Cheers!

Hugs and kisses!
Darlene


The How and Why I Write ~ by Monica Reents

Nothing captures who I am more than when I am creating art,
Photo: Deposit Photos
whether with words or paint. The mix of my emotions, thoughts, imagination, and feelings with the words I choose to work with is nothing short of magical (for what it does for my soul, anyway). It’s my love of creating that has always drawn me to writing. But it’s not my love of writing that brought me to sharing my work. Life events opened that door and changed everything about the how and why I write.

Writing was something I always did in my free time before shoving it in a drawer or saving it on some random file on my laptop.

Like so many, I have had a lifelong love affair with books. The
Photo: Deposit Photos
written word garnered a special place in my heart before I even began kindergarten. I excitedly read everything I could get my hands on, looking to escape into the fantastical worlds born from genius minds, as far as I was concerned. It was in middle school that I decided maybe I could write a book. A friend and I tried to write and illustrate a book together. I have no memory of what the book was about or what happened to what we wrote, but a need to write was born.

If you ask someone who writes, why do you write? You’ll gather various answers, but the principal reason may simply come down to need. That’s my why. It offers a release that nothing else compares to. But always keeping it to myself, that came from fear. Much of my writing is dark and emotional. Most of it has no tangible origin, it just comes to me.

Without giving you an entire timeline of my life, let’s jump to 2011. I had been writing poems and short stories for many years, never sharing them. Most people who know me never knew that I wrote. It was for me and, while I wanted to write and publish novels (someday), I was fine writing for myself (for now). Newly married, working on blending our families, and working full time as a pediatric ophthalmic surgical assistant, I didn’t have time to write and I needed the creative outlet it provided. Little did I know that my opportunity was fast approaching.

In July 2011, I began having severe chest pain that radiated up into my shoulder, across my upper back, and down my left arm. I was experiencing numbness and tingling, along with loss of sensation on my left side. After two or three days of coping with increasing pain, I went to the emergency room and was quickly taken back and hooked up to an EKG (electrocardiogram). My results came back normal. Which was great, but the pain persisted.  A week later, an MRI (magnetic resonance image) was taken of my entire back.

This scan changed my life.

The first neurosurgeon I saw (I’m leaving names out for privacy) read the results of my MRI to me, and my husband (of three weeks). Walking into the office, I felt fairly confident that I had a pinched nerve in my neck from a herniated disc. We weren’t worried.

Once the surgeon began speaking, I felt myself becoming hot, nervous, then came the tears. So many tears. I sobbed until breathing became difficult. I became a mess while hearing words like tumor… largest I’ve ever seen… entire spinal cord… not surgical… and about a year left… even, now, knowing that I beat the odds, it’s still emotional

At the age of 34, I was diagnosed with syringomyelia. My tumor (syrinx) was from C2 to T12 (2nd vertebrae in the neck to the last rib vertebrae)
and was extremely swollen. He was surprised that I could walk and still had use of my arms.

Syringomyelia is a rare spinal cord disease that creates a fluid filled sac (cyst) within the spinal cord. The cyst, called a syrinx, can expand and elongate, destroying the spinal cord. The damage can result in chronic pain, loss of feeling, loss of sensation, paralysis, weakness, stiffness in the neck, back, and extremities. There is no treatment or cure for this progressive disease.

It was a long, quiet ride home from that first appointment. By the time we had made it home, my husband had decided what he was going to do. He made me comfortable on the couch and then made  a phone call. We couldn’t accept that I only had one year left to live and our minds were racing with anxious thoughts. But that phone call he made, saved my life.

He called his cousin who works for a very talented neurosurgeon. I had an appointment within a week and surgery two weeks after that… these amazing people literally saved my life!

I survived surgery (obviously), moreover, I have survived ten surgeries!

Every day is different for me. Some days are ‘fine,’ I go about doing whatever I want as long as I can maintain a level of pain to my level of tolerance. Other days are high pain days and I don’t even get dressed, staying in my robe, minimal physical activity, and dozing whenever I need to. I’ve learned to listen to my body because I know that having a busy day means not having a busy day for the next two to four days. 

Post sx 2016
My life is all about the balance of activities. I hate nothing more than a wasted day, so I use my love of list writing and planning to try to prevent from overexerting myself. I see a pain management doctor once a month that helps me track my ever changing symptoms, as well as a myriad of medications. I’m thankful to say, that I have been stable for about a year and a half now. I have a lot to be thankful for.

It was during the recovery of my first surgery in August 2011 that I told my husband about my writing. He was surprised, but not overly. He knows how much I love books, so wanting to write them wasn’t a far stretch. I asked him for a notebook and pen; explaining how I had hidden everything I had ever written in the past and never even talked about it with anyone.

Here is where I walked through that life changing door I mentioned. I immediately began filling the pages with poems and story ideas, character profiles, world building thoughts, and plans for the hopeful future of my writing.

I read my poems to my husband every night. Now, he isn’t a reader, but he listened, said each one was great, and supported me as I had just (re)discovered what I was going to do with my life.

For me, writing out in the open has been a dream come true! I have had several major bumps in the road since announcing to my family and friends, most importantly to myself, that I wanted to publish my writing. Unfortunately, I was paralyzed for about a year in 2016 and was unable to write. I had a year of therapy and have regained use of my body, but I don’t have much sensation and my balance is questionable. Again, a lot to be thankful for. 

I have been diagnosed with several other diseases since learning about my syringomyelia. It makes writing challenging, if you want to publish, because chronic pain hurts more than your body. After years of pain, I have found that my mind isn’t always clear. It becomes a reflection of what my body feels, leaving me tired and weary. Later, reading what I write in those moments isn’t always anything I keep. I’ve learned to listen to what my body is telling me. I never feel rested or that I've had a good night’s sleep. So, I have again adjusted my thinking on what determines a “good night’s rest.” I know that I do best when I sleep from about 10 pm to 6 am. My writing feels most productive in the afternoon into the evening as long as I haven’t been physically active. It’s all a balancing act. But so worth it to have the opportunity to do what I love.


I have published two poems. The first one was in 2014 in the Cogs in Time 2 anthology, called Darkened Love. The second poem, Whispering Seduction, is in the novel Tempted by Kristine Raymond.

Currently, I’m working on a poetry collection and a debut novel. I know that I will publish, but I don’t have a clear deadline as to when. As long as I am taking steps forward, that’s okay with me.

Monica Reents was born and raised in Kansas, where she lives with her husband and Bentley, their dog. She grew up with a love of books and found a passion for crafting her own stories and poems in High School after reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. 
   Monica also runs a blog, My Chronic Happiness. She designed her blog to be a reflection of who she is. It is informative for anyone living with chronic illness, as well as anyone interested in the world of writing and books. You can find her at the links below.



Ruby, Ruby, Ruby Will You Be Mine? ~ by Grace Augustine

Photo: Deposit Photos

Did you know that the ruby is considered the “king of all gems”? I’m assuming that is because of the beautiful, vibrant color and belief that the stone carries the properties of love, health, wisdom, and good fortune. Rubies aren't only for women, as evidenced by this gorgeous men's ring below.



The deep red of the ruby comes from the mineral corundum. The more corundum, the more color. The finest of all would be if the gem had a touch of purple, referred to as ‘pigeon’s blood’.

On the Mohs scale of hardness, the ruby is second only to the diamond for durability.



“In ancient India, ruby was called the “king of precious stones” for its rarity, hardness (second only to diamond), beauty and seemingly mystical powers. Long associated with the life force blood, ruby was a symbol of power and youthful energy in Indian jewelry. In past centuries, some believed this birthstone for July could predict misfortune or danger, and others claimed it would cure inflammatory diseases and soothe anger. Burmese warriors believed it made them invincible in battle. Medieval Europeans maintained that rubies bestowed health, wisdom, wealth and success in love.” **


Rubies are most prominently found in Myanmar, Vietnam. Mozambique, Thailand, Cambodia, and Madagascar.



Caring for this precious gem is easy…a simple wash in a mild soapy solution and make sure to completely dry your stone. For more information on this beauty, please visit 

 
To read more of my birthstone series, please visit my page by clicking HERE.

**information from gia.edu.
**Jewelry photos courtesy of Riddle Jewelers

Fishy & Felicitous Friends by Ruth Ross Saucier


     When I was a bit down over getting divorced, a good friend, Chloe, became worried about me.  She read an article about how people who live alone live longer and higher quality lives if they have a pet. Determined to enrich and lengthen my life, she walked into my office one day with a large bag containing a bubble-fronted fish tank and a little fatso of a goldfish, complete with huge cheeks. 

     Immediately he was dubbed “Bubbles”. His tank was installed on one of my office shelves, since I was working ten-hour days, six days a week and  wouldn’t see Bubbles if he lived at home.   The janitor fed Bubbles over the weekend, and during the week, the staff would stop in to say hello to Bubbles even more than they came to see me. 


     Bubbles kept us all company for several months before the day he went to that big fish tank in the sky. But his sendoff by way of the local commode seemed inadequate somehow.  The staff, who had been working furiously all through the dark winter to recover from the library’s roof collapse,* were dismayed and quickly hatched a plot to see Bubbles off with pomp and ceremony. The next night we descended on a local restaurant (the Boat Shed, a fitting place to say farewell to a fish). Fourteen or more of us took over the western end of the Boat Shed where we drank several toasts to our little golden friend and saluted his service.


The Boat Shed, Bremerton, WA
      During the course of our drinks and meal and more drinks, we heard from my administrative assistant that her sister, Miss Danielle, was actually in the Boat Shed as well. Danielle was there on a blind date--and was meeting her new friend in the bar at the far end of the Boat Shed.   It didn’t take long for all of us to decide that we needed to offer our lubricated and unsolicited advice to Miss Danielle on the acceptability of her date--despite never having met Danielle or her date! I led the parade as we abandoned our dinner (but took our drinks) and ALL of us proceeded to march the length of the restaurant to introduce ourselves to Miss Danielle and this Mathew fella to see if we approved of her latest “find”.

     The conga line spanned the length of the bar AND the restaurant as each of us introduced ourselves and asked pointed questions of Mathew regarding his intentions and his suitability as, well, a suitor. But when we discovered he owned a local hot tub store, the lobbying began in earnest.  We had just lost 2/3 of our library-media building* and were in the process of planning the new facility.  Would he consider donating a hot tub? We were quick to share our aches, pains, insomnia, and various
conditions that would be alleviated by a soak.  We also had a flat roof right outside the staff lunchroom, and with a little effort, we could possibly talk the architects into making the lunchroom window into a door.

     The heckling went on, likely commensurate with the amount of alcohol imbibed, until the last of the staff had introduced themselves. Once we returned to our table, all of us noted how Danielle and Matthew had laughed their heads off through the entire exercise. We conferred and readily agreed Matthew had the staff’s medal of approval. 


     But while our instincts were excellent (they are still together more than 20 years later), we never got that hot tub.


*a story for another day

Just Do It! ~ by S. N. Bronstein

S.N. Bronstein


After serving for 34 years as an educator, crisis counselor, children
at risk investigator, and Regional Administrator, I retired from a large public school system.




I found my second career as a writer as I sensed a need to share ‘the book that was in me’. This led to ultimately writing The Fairlington Lavender Detective Series for adult readers. Soon after, I felt that middle grade students would love age appropriate books about detective work but with a twist. That twist turned out to be a series about two sister cats who became private detectives. These stories became the Private Eye Cats books.

My love for writing both adult and children’s books reinforced in my mind the belief that everyone has a story to tell. I constantly encourage people of all ages to just sit down and write. The rules are…there are no rules. Just tell your story. Don’t count pages, don’t count words, and don’t make a science out of an art.

Writing all genre of books do require proper grammatical formats and research to assure that the story is not only readable but also factual. Even fiction stories have to be credible or readers quickly lose interest in the author.

Writing is easy. Editing is a necessary but great challenge. Getting

published by a traditional house is a bigger challenge yet. Marketing and selling your work is the biggest frustration of all.

But never, never, never, give up. If there is ‘a book in you,’ go for it. Write, and the more you do, the better you will get. Few experiences are more rewarding than opening a package from a publisher and holding in your hands for the first time your book. Your creation. Your months or years of blood, sweat, and tears.

Do it!

To connect with S.N. Bronstein, please click links below.

Rut, Routine, or Ritual?



Photo by Photo by Ca Ku on Unsplash


What defines a rut, routine, or ritual, and does it matter? 

One definition I found for a rut is "Metaphorically being stuck in a rut means your life is not going where you want it to but you cannot escape."

routine is "a self-imposed adherence to a set of activities". Routines help you be more productive.


A ritual may be something that grounds us, like that morning cup of coffee or the first big stretch of the day. Is it really the caffeine that gets us started, or is it the familiar, grounding activity of starting our day with the first inhale of roasted coffee beans?


I have a tightly scheduled work day, known as defensive calendaring. This practice protects my time so I can do work. At home a schedule helps me focus. Routines allow me to get things done without giving them much thought, such as doing the dishes or starting another load of laundry. 

I view a routine as setting the pace and course for my mind. Throughout the day I have a plan and get things done. 

Photo by howling red on Unsplash
When there’s no routine I often find myself at a loss as to what to do and end up doing housework because I'm just too tired to think about how to use that unplanned, free time. 

It's often that when I'm busy an article or a favorite topic piques my interest. Unless I jot these ideas down, I don't recall them in those weekend hours where I have space on my calendar for my own interests.


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
How can you tell whether something is a rut, routine, or ritual? Some clues are found in how you feel. Are you just going through drab motions? Sounds like the rut that was defined above.





A routine may feel like you're in the groove and getting things done efficiently. Maybe robotically, but at least it's not taxing and you're accomplishing things. :) 

But the ritual...ah, that brings balance back into life. Those are the moments to inhale, maybe close your eyes, and feel your own rhythm.



Photo by Deniz Altindas on Unsplash

Meet our members

Linda Boulanger

Linda Boulanger is a happily-ever-after author, wife, and mother of four human children and two fur babies. She has an eclectic mix of published books, numerous story singles and short stories in a few group anthologies, plus a slew of always evolving works in progress.

Along with being an author, she designs book covers for herself and others through Tell~Tale Book Covers and TreasureLine Designs, all from her desk just north of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Please click on Linda's page to read her prior posts and to view her work.

Lessons from the Grandsons ~ Jacquolyn McMurray

Three story treehouse.
I’m a little late with my blog post this month for the best possible reason--our daughter and two grandsons are visiting. Due to the pandemic, I have not seen their family as often as usual, so I'm trying to maximize my time with them. And since they flew to Hawai'i from Washington state, we are all quarantined on the farm for fourteen days.





The extended time in isolation has brought an amazing opportunity for hubby and I to get out of our comfortable routines and experience the benefits of organizing our days around an almost eight-year-old and almost four-year-old.

Here's ten lessons I've learned from changing my routine during our grandsons' visit:


1) Since the boys change out of their pajamas before breakfast, I follow suit and don't lounge in my jammies half the morning. It gets me outdoors earlier in the day.

2) No willy-nilly, eat breakfast whenever I please. The boys are hungry soon after getting up, so I eat with them. The benefit? I tend to drink less coffee when I eat breakfast earlier.

3) On our walks around the farm, the boys point out geckos, daddy longlegs, and spiders. They notice the sounds of the mourning doves and the mating call of the coqui frogs. Their awareness heightens my awareness of my natural environment.


Female Jackson chameleon on tree bark.
The not quite four-year-old spotted this female Jackson chameleon from four feet away!











Early reader



4) We read together every day. Both boys love silly books and we spend a lot of time discussing the stories and repeating the funny lines. What a health benefit to laugh every day!



Words and pictures by Mo Willems.


















5) An evening outdoors to roast marshmallows for s’mores, coupled with the boys' excitement when they spot the first visible star in the sky, reminds me to be grateful we live in a place where stars are visible.

6) Although not aerobic, I’m getting in my steps while doing the chores with the boys, climbing up to the third story of the treehouse Grandpa constructed for their visit, and playing croquet. I'm using muscles I've not used in a while and feeling the benefits of not sitting so much.


7) I have not watched TV during the visit. Instead, I’m choosing  to play games with the boys. In the last week I’ve learned how to play Mancala, exercised my aging brain with Memory cards, and taught the almost four-year-old a new board game.





8) A snack in the afternoon is like a little tea party. Instead of eating at my desk in front of my computer, I sit with the boys, enjoy their silliness, and take a real break.

9) An art table takes up most of one wall in the dining room and we’ve converted the living room into a playroom. I can't remember the last time I rearranged furniture. Interesting how adding a table to a room or moving a rocking chair gives the area a new look and feel.



10) One of my favorite parts of the visit is the opportunity to hear the boys' language development. The not quite eight-year-old loves to try out long scientific words and the not quite four-year-old is in the stage where nouns get turned into verbs indicating some sense of word usage. He uses words like crayoning and scissoring to describe his work at the art table.

We are only half way through our grandsons' visit. I can't wait to see what the next ten days bring.


On Writing Historicals ~ by Tim Walker

Tim Walker/Roman town wall at Calleva Atrebatum
My name is Tim Walker and I’m now in my late-50s - a British/Irish man, once again single, living in Windsor, England. Although I can see Windsor Castle on a short walk, I don’t personally know my neighbour, Queen Elizabeth. I have previously lived in Hong Kong, Zambia, South Wales, Liverpool, and London. I once owned and edited magazines and newspapers, so researching, interviewing subjects, editing news items and reporting events is something I’m comfortable with. 

I only tried creative writing in 2013 as a consequence of being unable to work due to cancer treatment and slow recovery. I undertook an online creative writing course that encouraged writing short stories based on familiar themes and locations, and use of the senses to describe settings. There were also helpful tips on narrative structure and drawing your characters. This was a new form of writing for me, and I approached it in a structured way. But once I’d formulated my stories, then the creative process kicked-in and the words spilled into a Word document in a magical and unexpected way. I was soon hooked on telling my story and sharing my interests in fictional stories.

I wandered along the Thames river path, gradually recovering my strength, and thinking up ideas for stories. My interest in history and current affairs channeled my ideas, and before long I had written an eclectic set of stories whose emergent theme was tales reflecting the history, legend and current affairs of Thames Valley towns and places. I had joined a writers’ group in Windsor, where we read bits of our prose to each other and gave feedback. We also invited guest speakers to talk on aspects of writing, such as characterisation, plot, structure, etc. I was introduced to a local author who was looking for copyediting work, and engaged her to proofread and copy edit my first collection of short stories, Thames Valley Tales. She really gave me the confidence to believe in my work and encouraged me to ‘put it out there’. Given my publishing background, self-publishing seemed a natural choice for me. I soon learned to format for e-book and paperback using the Amazon Kindle platform, and organised my own advertising and promotion.



I had to endure health complications that kept me signed-off from work by my doctors, and threw myself into writing during those few hours of the day when I felt up to it. After 12 months, I was retired by my employer on health grounds. Thames Valley Tales, published in July 2015, was soon followed by a short novella, Abandoned, later that year. Abandoned was inspired by a visit to the site of a former Roman town not far from where I lived, now called Silchester, but once Calleva Atrebatum – ‘the wooded place of the Atrebates’. The Romans had built a stone-walled town on the site of the main tribal settlement of the Atrebates tribe, and, having placated them, duly named their town after their new partners. 

The more I read about the history of Roman Britain and in particular, Calleva Atrebatum, the more embroiled I became in dreaming up answers to questions such as, “How would the locals have felt after the Romans packed up and left around the year 410 AD?” Surely, after nearly 400 years of occupation, they would be Romano-British subjects of Rome, and fully integrated into a way of life much advanced to their predecessor’s Iron Age lifestyle. For some, it would have been a moment of opportunity, whilst others would have fretted at the protective shield of the Roman legions being removed. Also, many of their own young men who served in the auxiliary forces attached to legions, were also ordered away to fight barbarians in Gaul (France). It’s unlikely that many, if any, returned. Abandoned centres on the fear that grips the town of Calleva in the months after their Roman occupants left, when a roving warband of Saxons turns up, eying them for plunder.

Little was I to know that Abandoned, originally an 18,000-word short story/novella, was to be the starting point of a book series that now stands at five books and over 350,000 words. Whilst always having the next historical novel bubbling away on the stove, I would occasionally divert my mind to writing short stories and verse, producing a second book of short stories, Postcards from London, in 2017, and Perverse in 2020.

As my knowledge and interest in Britain in the post-Roman years (the fifth and sixth centuries) grew, I continued with book two, Ambrosius: Last of the Romans (2017). A name for the emerging series, A Light in the Dark Ages, came to mind when plotting book three, Uther’s Destiny (2018). Then came the thorny issue of, “Do I want to take on writing about King Arthur, but from a historical perspective?”

I thought about this for a few months and did some more reading.
An article by historian David Ford Nash, gave me a way in. One of the earliest mentions of a real, historical figure called Arthur, is by the monk, Nennius, who published his ‘History of the Britons’ around the year 820 – three hundred years after Arthur had died and his story had passed into legend. Nash takes Nennius’s description of twelve battles in which Arthur was victorious and attempts to locate them, giving his interpretation of the obscure places named. I decided to build my narrative around the likely locations of Arthur’s twelve battles, thus giving myself a toehold in the hazy history of early Dark Ages Britain.
Arthur Dux Bellorum (2019) and now the new book, Arthur Rex Brittonum (2020), outline my life of Arthur – an imagined life of a real figure whose name was later linked to the romantic legend of Camelot by Middle Ages romantics.

I also began writing a children’s book series with my teenage daughter, Cathy – The Adventures of Charly Holme, and we will soon launch the third and final book in our series, Charly in Space. Cathy is now sixteen and embroiled in exams, so I feel it has run its course as a fun, holiday activity. 

We all grow and learn new things, as I am acutely aware, now I’m in my fifth decade. In addition to writing, I help run a local charity called Men’s Matters, and I write a weekly lock-down newsletter and organise zoom meetings for our old men, many of whom live alone.

Never accept defeat – there are always new opportunities around the next corner.

If you would like to keep up to date with Tim's writing, please click on the link below.


**photos are property of Tim Walker and may not be used without permission.

Rabbits...How's a Girl to Get Any Rest ~ by Bou

I thought I'd drop by and visit a bit with you. It's been a while. I hope you all are behaving, practicing good hygiene--washing your paws frequently, eating a balanced diet, self distancing, and getting lots of sleep.


It's summer! Finally, my humans have opened the sliding glass door and I can breathe in the fresh outside air. The noise from the air conditioner gets old fast when it is running all the time.


Mommy rabbit
Baby bunny
As you can see by the photos throughout my post, I've been very
 busy! There seems to be an influx of furry little bunnies and their moms that think my patio is a raceway. And, Mom, gotta love her, decided they needed some treats, so she put out apple cores and steel cut oats. I think the rabbits sounded the alarm because now the chipmunks and squirrels are in on the feast.





I watched a squirrel at the water bowl (yeah, the demented woman did that, too) drink for 10 minutes. I timed her. Poor thing, she limped away like her leg hurt. I hope she's okay.




I celebrated a birthday since last we visited. I am now 6 years old. Can you believe it? That makes me 41 in human years. We didn't celebrate, other than lots of love and an extra portion of the "nip", if you know what I mean. **paw to mouth snickers.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my outdoor friends. Have a good summer and stay safe and healthy.  You never know when I might pop by!  Oh, yeah, and make sure you keep up on the antics of my best friend Mazie here on the blog. To view more of my blog posts, stop by my Mom's page by clicking HERE. I know she'd like if you read some of hers, too. =^.^=





**Kitteh purrs and love until next time!

The Art of Screen Printing ~ by Andrew Tyler

 Screen printing, or serigraphy, is a technique where a mesh is used to transfer ink onto a substrate, except in areas made impermeable to the ink by a blocking stencil. A blade is moved across the screen to fill the mesh apertures with ink. Whilst maintaining downward pressure on the screen, a second stroke of the blade causes the mesh to touch the substrate momentarily along a line of contact. This causes the ink to wet the substrate and be pulled out of the mesh apertures as the screen springs back after the blade has passed. One color is printed at a time, so several screens can be used to produce a multi-coloured image. 

Based upon a scale drawing or sketch, each of my screen prints are printed in a bespoke manner - there is no limit to how many printings or colours I might add...when the print looks complete, then I stop. In a way they are more like printed paintings. 


‘Without the Aid of a Safety Net' is fairly typical of my approach. My method is termed 'reduction printing' as I start by printing a black square, this representing the whole of the image area to be printed and coloured. Next, I do a drawing using a brush dipped in a water based solution, so that, wherever I paint will block the screen mesh, leaving a black outline below it. 

After that it is a question of filling in the colours in to the unblocked mesh, jigsaw fashion, gradually 'reducing' the printable area. This particular screen print has, in the region of approximately twenty opaque colours, after which I cleaned off the screen and, once again using blue filler, painted and then printed a grading tinted sequence, usually varying from black to a deeper blue/black on top of the previous opaque colours making a richness and depth of colour unusual in most screen printing personal processes. 


Crazy but, true...all that effort and detail for a tiny edition of only nine. The images show the process and finished item, number 3 of 9, 13” x 17”

Andrew Tyler
Andrew Tyler is a Worcestershire-based artist and musician whose creative narrative exposes the duality of the human condition with humour and irreverence. 

A masters graduate of Chelsea School of Art, exhibitions include The Royal Academy of Arts (Stowell’s silver prize), Bradford British International Print Biennale, Angela Flowers Gallery, Wrexham Print International, Cheltenham Gallery (prize winner 2004) , The Kowalsky Gallery, Number 8, Worcester Arts Workshop & Worcester Museum and Art Gallery. He has appeared in Time Out, Average Art Magazine, The Face & Worcestershire Living .” Simultaneously serious, amusing, touching and daring to unravel”, his art is in the collections of notables such as Bill Wyman and Oscar Grillo.

He produces his work organically, without conscious preconceptions, opening the field to whatever ideas and themes emerge from his subconscious or his experience. He then combines these ideas with other, more calculated objects and concepts to further stress these seemingly ‘miraculuous apparitions’. His uncompromising graphic style explores love, sex, romance, vulnerability, female empowerment, nightmares, loneliness, the list goes on; the very ‘lived experience’ of being human, in its beauty and in its darkness, in its joy and in its tragedy.

Breaking conventions from the outset (his most memorable early piece being a depiction of his primary school being blown to smithereens) Andrew has been equally defiant in his experimentation with etching, printing, painting and hand-drawn work. Unsettling and alienating the gatekeepers of the art establishment ‘Cabal’ along the way, Andrew continues to produce prolifically. He awaits your engagement, your applause, hiss or boo.
To connect with Andrew, please click on the links below.




**All photos are property of Andrew Tyler and may not be used without permission.





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