Feeling Pretty Good, How ‘Bout You?

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Friday, JANUARY 15, 2016

Lyon Speaks: Yeah, I know it’s actually Saturday.

Welcome to Living Fun loving Life the blog. It was recommended to me recently that we try posting on Fridays, you know end of the week type thing.   So this is the first time posting on  a Friday, lets see if it sticks. Here we go, Feel Good Friday.

I thought I’d keep this first Friday post of the year, short and simple, so I say to you simply . . . that I feel good today. I figure since we are all somehow connected to each other through what quantum physicists might refer to as entanglement, I bet you feel pretty good too. That said, how do you feel today?

Let me take the time now to say THANK YOU to all who have impacted our lives in some way. My wife Lauren and I appreciate ALL of you for your participation in our constant unfoldment, and for attaching your experiences to ours: Even through doing something as simple as reading this post. In the coming weeks we will share more on the specific impact that some of you have had on our lives, but for now please receive and enjoy the post born day comments from today.

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And remember . . .

“When Your Life Is Fulfilled, The World Becomes A Better Place.

So, Do Something Everyday That Makes You Happy”.

Friday, January 15, 2016

As I sit here typing this post, having now entered my 17,522nd day in this earthly realm (leap years not withstanding) I must admit that I am truly thankful and appreciative to all of you who took the time over the past couple of days to share a warm hello and happy birthday greeting with me.

It may seem like a small thing, but often times, even the little things can mean so much to someone else; more than you know. Truth is, you didn’t HAVE to do it, you made the CHOICE to do it, and for this, I share my gratitude with you.

I’ve noticed that there are those who will at times be critical of Facebook and it’s interwovenness into the fabric of our daily lives, citing it’s tendency to separate and keep us hidden behind our keyboards and smartphones, and even devaluing the ‘face-to-face’ experience. Not sure if I fully buy into that. For me, seeing the Happy Birthdays and well wishes, has served as a reminder to me that FB actually really makes the world smaller place; allowing me, if only for a moment to go back in time and reflect happily on moments and experiences that I’ve shared with many of you throughout the years.   Thank You.

Reliving these memories, has brought a smile to my face, and has served to warm the cockles of my heart once again, and no matter what happens THOSE memories and experiences can’t be taken away . . . ever. By the way, I’m not really sure what a cockle is, but mine is now warm thanks to each of you.

I believe we are all one, part of a much bigger picture, connected in ways we may never fully understand. To that end, when YOU share the love, it ALWAYS comes back to you in some special way.   So to ALL of the friends within this Facebook community, allow me to reciprocate the love by saying. . .

 

I tip my hat,

and toast to you,

because this Birthday post,

is for your Birthday too.

All the Best, Highest and Best – Hutch

Follow The Leader – This Game Of Life Just Got Real

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Follow The Leader – This Game Of Life Just Got Real

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I realize that I committed to posting once a month, maybe once a week, but this experience today, my oh my, I simply felt compelled to share.  By the way the two photos shown directly below have absolutely nothing to do with the story, I just get a kick out of seeing The Mouse in that fancy face-wear.

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The look on the faces of the people who witnessed

the below described incident firsthand.

The Lyon Speaks:

FOLLOW THE LEADER – This Game of Life Just Got Real.

Picture this, a busy street on a cold Tuesday morning at the heart of rush hour in Newark New Jersey. It’s cold, not like frozen tundra cold, but cold enough to want to be at home in your union suit, curled up by the fire with a goblet of hot cocoa. The type of cold that you really only endure if you have to. Certainly no one in their properly thawed state of mind would CHOOSE to be here if given the option to be somewhere else. That said, I’m driving along on my way home at about 8am when I approach an intersection, the light is red. I am in one of three available lanes of southbound traffic, and I’m traveling in the center as I pull to a stop. I notice to my right, a city bus picking up and dropping off passengers. To my left is another full lane of traffic, waiting anxiously to take their cue, from the driver of a late model black SUV who is idling at the front of the pack; and directly in front of me is about a half a car length’s worth of space, an empty cross walk and a clear line of sight – or so I thought.

The light turns green. And maybe it was the daydreaming, maybe it was the frostbite, but before I could step on the gas, OUT OF THE BLUE an adult male maybe in his late forties, early fifties, went scampering past me (going left to right on your blogpost dial) holding up his hand in that Diana Ross & The Supremes sort of way, in a lame attempt to, I guess . . . hold us back, while dragging what looked like a 7 or 8 year old boy in tow . . . against the light. Maybe he was in a rush to catch the bus maybe not, but the point of note here is that he had to get across four lanes of anxiously moving north/southbound traffic, against the light, with a child in tow in order to, at this point get here and be standing in front of me, blocking my lane – did I mention that it was against the light?

Now to be perfectly clear this road has a total of five lanes (not including the curb lanes) three southbound and two northbound. And there are some other important factors to consider as you begin to fill in the picture in your mind: One, the intersection was busy. Two, the light had already changed to green. Three, traffic had already started moving, likely before the two started making their way across the intersection. And four . . . there is a child involved

Even with ALL of these . . . interesting thoughts running through my head, everything seemed to work out fine. Yet at that moment, I’m not sure I was fully prepared for what was about to happen next.

Here’s where the story gets scary interesting,

Most of the witnessing drivers I’m sure breathed a collective sigh of relief, as the man, who we’ll refer to as the Adult Supervision, and child began to clear  the crosswalk and make their way, safely off to the side of the road. So, I in turn slowly and carefully began to pull away.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the driver of the late model SUV to my left, who at the first sign of clearance, slammed on the accelerator, out of the gate, and directly into the path of a second child who was playing a real life game of follow the leader in an ATTEMPT to get across five lanes of moving traffic and catch up to the others.

So naturally I stopped, and at that moment time stood still, and several thoughts went through my mind. I had a partially obstructed view of the front of the SUV, so I wondered: Was there any actual impact? Was the kid hurt or worse? Was MY angle of perception off just enough that I only THOUGHT that the kid was hit?

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As it turns out, my instinct was correct and with traffic stopped once again, (Did I mention that the light was a green and this crossing was against the light?) a scared young boy popped up and into my field of view, and continued on his way hurriedly through the crosswalk and towards the outstretched wildly gesticulating index finger of the Adult Supervision; who by the way, seemed almost angered by the kid’s behavior. Considering all that  JUST happened, this left me scratching my head and wondering what could the Adult Supervision be saying to the boy right now, that could possibly be helping the situation, right now? And really what could he be upset about?   He’s gotta know that people, especially children, are more apt to do exactly what they see us do, right?

I wanted to get out of the car, (well not really, it was too cold) hand him a full-length mirror, and ask him for his thoughts on the rule of thumb when it comes to, playing the blame game? Roughly translated the rule says that when you have one finger pointing the blame at someone else, you usually have three fingers pointing back at you. Moral of the story, take responsibility.

I have found in both personal and professional experience, that someone amongst us is ALWAYS leading by example for someone else. So humbly I ask, if we are going to be leading by example anyway, doesn’t it make sense to take the time and lead by the right example? Just sayin’ that people, especially children, will most often do what we do, and not necessarily what we say.

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Eventually I pulled away, slightly mesmerized by what just happened, and looking in my rear-view mirror I could see that the driver of the late model SUV was still sitting in the crosswalk. Not sure why, since the kid had long gone, Adult Supervision was nowhere to be seen, and traffic was back to normal once again. I betcha they were just as stunned by what happened as I was. Perhaps the shock, the fear and the confusion kinda got to ‘em, or maybe they were just very deep in thought and counting their blessings. Either that or they were just plain . . . frozen.

In spite of the length of this post, the whole incident happened in a span of about 9 seconds, and gave me yet another opportunity to count at least three of my blessings today:

“I am so happy and grateful now that . . .”

1) When it was time to stop, I came to a stop at least a full half car length from the crosswalk.

2) When it was time to go, my feet were too cold to push on the gas pedal.

3) One of the lessons I learned early in life; to look both ways before crossing the street,translates quite nicely as an adult behind the wheel of an automobile.

So what does all of this have to do with livingfunlovinglife?

Only E V E R Y T H I N G.

Every experience in our lives, has value and meaning. Whether blatant or hidden, we’ve been able to find the meaning, extract the value and apply the lessons. This has helped greatly in ordering our steps throughout the creative unfolding of our lives thus far.

Finding the humor, the meaning, the joy and the brighter side of life in any and all situations goes hand in hand with choosing everyday, to live a fun and loving life.

All The Best, Highest And Best.

 And remember . . .

“When Your Life Is Fulfilled, The World Becomes A Better Place.

So, Do Something Everyday That Makes You Happy”

 

#MidLifeLuv Linky

Food For Thought

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Food For Thought

(For the record, the commentary shared herein is intended to provide insight, discovery, and maybe even entertainment for the visitor. There is in no way any intent to provide, recommend or administer medical advice to the reader. That said . . .)

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The Lyon Speaks: FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Thanks for tuning in on this Monday, January 4th, 2016 – The start of a remarkable New Year, and a remarkable New You. Now that that’s out of the way, have you ever heard someone tell their story about something that they were supposed to do or about an event that was supposed to happen but didn’t, and the story-teller says something to the effect of, “well, what had happened was (pause for effect) life just got in the way”? I hear this and I sometimes walk away shaking my head and saying to myself, huh . . . really? Is that so? That wins the argument – life got in the way? Okay, well in MY experience, I find the interesting thing about life is that it doesn’t ever ‘get in the way’, life just . . . happens.

So what exactly does this have to do with the price of lemons at Whole Foods? Not a thing, but it got me thinking about some of the interesting things that we say. Often times just going with the flow and not REALLY realizing the impact of the words we speak.

For the record, I’d like to preface my future comments with the following statement:

I have nothing against water or sugar, in their proper proportions.  You know, everything in moderation right? However, I begin to take umbrage. . . wait, is that the right word, umbrage?  Seems like the right word, we’ll go for it. I begin to take umbrage, when one takes a perfectly perfect piece of fruit, and tries to turn it into the brunt of an expression designed to implant seeds of lack and doubt into our subconscious minds by convincing us that we should try and take nature’s goodness and somehow make it better – as if we really could.

That said, have you ever heard someone say, “aw well you know whenever life throws you lemons . . . you make lemonade”?  Ya see there it is, lemons getting a bad rap. There’s even an entire law written around the newly purchased automobile that doesn’t perform as advertised. The implication is that something bad, ie. lemons, can be turned around to something good ie lemonade. Interesting right? Well when someone throws me lemons, I catch them, squeeze them and eat them, because lemons are good, and good for you. By the way, I like lemonade too.

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Among the many valuable lessons that my mother instilled in me as a child, there’s one that really stands out. Mom used to say to me, “ . . .son, all that glitters is not gold”.   Mom knows I’ve always had expensive taste.  But here’s the point,  just because lemonade may have some, added sugar and it may taste sweeter. . . it doesn’t necessarily mean that sweeter is better. In fact in the case of lemonade, it might actually make things worse, what with the refined sugar and all.

I mean think about it, lemons are a fruit, right? They come to us naturally, through nature, right? They serve a purpose on their own merit as a valuable contributor to our creator’s big picture, right? And you can pick up a two pound bag of organic lemons for about only $4.99. Pretty cheap considering the upside potential.  Go ahead, ask your nutritionist or dietician about the benefits of fresh lemon. So why cast lemons in this disparaging light by creating this dichotomous relationship to lemonade?

Conspiracy?  Part of the grand deception?  Hmmmnnn???

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Personally, we have found many ways to utilize fresh lemon as part of our daily routine because we’ve been told that adding lemon to water actually helps to alkalize the body, which is important when seeking to function at peak performance level, and becomes useful to us as we work on decalcifying our pineal glands. Our bodies function best when in an alkaline state versus an acidic state and lemons help to level the pH playing field.

If part of your “New Year New You (emphasis on the ‘New You’) Program”, is to make more slight edge decisions in the right direction, you might consider adding lemon water to your daily routine, it might make all the difference in the world in helping your body to help itself to an even better new you this year.

So lets take time every now and again and think about the things that we say, what they mean, and most importantly how those things might impact someone else, no matter how innocent and harmless the expression may seem.

And the next time life gives you lemons. . . . well, I think you know what to do.

All The Best, Highest and Best.

And remember . . .

When Your Life Is Fulfilled, The World Becomes A Better Place.

So, Do Something Everyday That Makes You Happy!

 

2016 – The Power of New & You

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NEW YEARS DAY 

January 1, 2016

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HAPPY NEW YEAR,  HAPPY  NEW YEAR,  HAPPY NEW YEAR

Welcome/Welcome back to Living Fun Loving Life dot com. The place to visit whenever you want to check in on a couple of happy-go-lucky forty something creative types, going for it ALL this year. Stretching to make their dreams come true, and stumbling their way to success by having fun, enjoying A LOT of laughter and creating plenty joyful experiences along the way.

So take a moment and think back on whether or not you have personally accomplished ALL or ANY of your to do list items from last year? I, Mark C. Hutchinson the first, can safely say I started clearing the dust off of my list of goals for 2015 sometime in late October. So this year, we have decided to make some positive changes – and get back to the essence of what Living Fun Loving Life is at it’s core.

 

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We (The Lyon and The Mouse) created Living Fun Loving Life to be a useful resource for artists, actors, entertainers, musicians, filmmakers, entrepreneurs and the like, to take a peek behind the curtains and into the lives of two creative types, who are living in the same household working to follow their passion for the creative arts. All the while, trying not to get caught up in what Robert Kiyosaki refers to as “The Rat Race”.

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It seems that most of the adults we meet, who have a genuine interest in following their creative dreams, end up doing something ELSE in the mean time, while WAITING for that non specific “someday” to come around so that THEN, they can start doing that which they really love and want to do. Unfortunately, that “someday” becomes “maybe one day”, then so much time passes that “maybe one day”, eventually becomes none day. To paraphrase the late great Dr. Myles Munroe,  many people end up taking their dreams with them to the richest place on earth – not the diamond mines or the oil fields or even the gold reserves – but the cemetery.  Yep . . . think about that, the richest place on the planet. . . the cemetery. So many of the best designs, architecture, books, paintings, songs, sculptures, movies and ideas never get realized.  We simply take them right along with us, to the grave. This REALLY got me thinking. WHY is that the case for so many, and could it be the same for us too?

In the past, we have spent a SIGNIFICANT portion of our lives, trading that PRECIOUS commodity called TIME, for dollars; chasing after money rather than ACTUALLY creating the lives we TRULY want.

Happy to say, those days are gone. Perhaps you feel the same way. Although we have not yet arrived at the destination that we’ve chosen, we are a long way from where we were at the start. Here we are now, sharpening and sharing the tools, resources and processes that have helped us to this point; and maybe, just maybe some of this may be of value to you too. Here’s a hint: (sotto) “for us it started with the decision to focus on living fun and loving life”.

 

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GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

What can we really say about 2015? Like any of the years gone by, this one seems to have come and and in the blink of an eye . . . was gone . . . just like THAT! What’s interesting to us is that, likely before you can say “REPOST THIS” 2016 will have come and gone as well. So what are we to do? Make the same old resolutions, same old promises, same old “commitments” – only to end the year scratching our heads and wondering where in the world  the time has gone and what do we REALLY have to show for it? Do we sit back and let life just run its course without any input from us as to where we want to go? I should think not.   Lucky for us, we have plenty of practice at what not to do. We know how to take a punch; how to get knocked down, and how to get back up with more love, more joy, more peace and more compassion, while wearing a couple a big ole’ “we’re still here” smiles on our faces.  Can you relate?  Going back in time and taking an honest look at our journey thus far, we’ve come to realize that in some areas WE were in fact doing many of the same things, over and over and over and over again, year in and year out and experiencing the same less than stellar outcome over and over and over again. Yeah that’s right. A living, breathing embodiment of the very definition of insanity; doing the same things, repeatedly and expecting different results. So, as we’ve heard many times preached from the pulpits of success around the world, “if you want something different, you will have to do something different”.  And so it is with us this year. The decision has been made. The line is drawn in the sand and the gauntlet has officially been thrown to the ground. ‘THUD’! We will WIN this year, and we will WIN BIG. And guess what? The we is you . . . and you are we, and together this year’s journey begins; quite frankly, we are happy to have some company.

 SO, WELCOME ABOARD!

 F.Y.I. – THE POWER OF NEW

Did you know that in marketing and advertising circles, there is a phenomenon known as “the power of new”? Take Coca-Cola for instance. They have a new beverage, with a fancy new green label promoting it’s use of cane sugar and stevia leaf extract; called ‘Coca-Cola Life’.  Same company, possibly the same old beverage, yet a brand new look and feel for the new year. This will likely breathe new life into the company and create the momentum to drive an increase in sales. Pretty cool.

When a company wants to breathe new life into a product, organization, project or service they may opt to semi-reinvent themselves in order to keep their proposition on the forefront of everyone’s mind (top of mind awareness) by changing the look, updating the logo or colors or even sometimes changing the name. This approach serves to capture the hearts, minds and pocketbooks of supporters and consumers who are just itching for a “new” place to spend their rapidly depreciating dollar bills. It works. I suspect to the tune of billions . . . yes with a ‘b’, of dollars in revenue. Think of how a company’s overall value rises when they are able to increase revenue and meet or exceed projections and expectations.

F.Y.I. – THE POWER OF YOU

Now imagine if we, as everyday citizens of life, applied this philosophy and approach in our own lives.  Like . . . right now, like effective THIS moment of THIS year, 2016. How much would our true VALUE increase when we are able to breathe new life into OUR projects, OUR goals? How would you feel waking up everyday if you could truly breathe NEW LIFE into your DREAMS, reinvent yourself and create a whole “new you”? What if you could apply the power of new, to YOUR life? Well you REALLY can, and the time to take action is NOW.  Simply saying it’s a new year and talking about the changes may not be enough. Becoming a new you . . .  now that’s the stuff to write home about.

 

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WHAT TO EXPECT THIS YEAR WITH LIVING FUN LOVING LIFE DOT COM?

LOTS of good, new . . . stuff. 12458673_1172684529416147_1003047900_o

We will update this site consistently throughout the year starting with monthly AND possibly weekly featured entries and updates. This might be a spotlight on health, a review of one of our favorite television shows or movies, a selection from our preferred reading list, a suggested restaurant review, or any one of many other living fun loving life centric features we’ve developed for you along the way. We’ll even make an effort to include entries that are in alignment with some of our personal and professional goals.  Be sure to check out our video snippets and features as well. And for those who can truly appreciate the entrepreneurial pursuit, we will have spotlights trained on some of the available home-based business options that resonate with us the most. We’ll have interviews with industry professionals, we’ll discuss what works and why, and show you how we are utilizing passive income streams to free up the TIME desired to move from simply doing the things we have to do . . . to doing the things we WANT to do. With all this and so much more at your disposal, perhaps you too can make a positive difference in your own life, and the lives of your family and friends THIS YEAR, two thousand and sixteen and beyond.12469889_1172686116082655_1197461171_o

So lets make this year truly THE BEST YEAR EVER, together.  Thank you for taking the time to visit and read this post.  Thank you for being a part of our world, and for allowing us to be a part of yours.

 And remember . . .

“When Your Life Is Fulfilled, The World Becomes A Better Place.

So, Do Something Everyday That Makes You Happy”.

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It’s A Brand New Day

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Enjoy the journey, that’s what we say. . . enjoy the journey. There will be more on this subject in the coming days. For now, I’d just like to share with you the following thoughts: there are ALWAYS options, there are ALWAYS solutions. There is NEVER a shortage, and acting on these truths has kept us going in spite of circumstances that may otherwise have knocked us out of the game. The pictures and videos that we post on this page serve as a reminder to us to be GRATEFUL in ALL things and to appreciate the moment by moment experiences of life. Thanks for allowing us to share.
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Inspired and a Little Freaked Out

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Living Fun Loving Life dot com – The Lyon Speaks

Inspired and a Little Freaked Out:

 

There was a time when my wife used to remind me to be careful whenever I left the house; in fact she would tell me to fasten my seatbelt as she reminded me that I am her “special package”.  As time marched on I heard it so much I eventually started taking it for granted. And so every once in a while I still needed to be reminded that I AM HER special package, and to buckle up for safety. These helpful reminders go a long way, and I’m thankful that my wife cares enough to care enough.

I have officially started to refocus my attention on the things that are important to me; like my life.

Tell me if this holds true for you. You start out the year with a great plan and an awesome direction. Somewhere along the way you veer slightly off course all with the intention of making it up somewhere down the road or the day after that. Pick an area, any area of life; be it finance, fitness, health & wellness, savings, personal development, the stories are all the same. As life happens, we seem to get distracted by all the stuff that life sends our way. Little by little, a sacrifice here a compromise there, and before long, where we are looks nothing at all like where we hoped we’d be.

 

Take my weight for instance:

We all know that a little snack here and there by itself is relatively harmless, but compounded over time with a lack of proper exercise and rest . . . yikes a total recipe for disaster. So here I stand at the end of December 2013, looking up to find myself tipping the scales at a whopping 268 pounds. Yeeesh, talk about making a series of slight edge decisions in the wrong direction – compounded over time, and yielding THIS result. No one to blame but myself.

 

 

That aside for now . . .

I’m watching a rebroadcast of a television interview on The View, with the cast of the movie The Best Man HolidayNow on a personal note, I have a special place in my heart for this film because I was fortunate enough to work as the Key Set PA on The Best Man almost 15 years ago. A great experience complete with memories that I won’t soon forget.I’m watching this interview and out come the men. Taye, Harold, Morris and Terrence. And hanging in the background of the set, was a full poster sized picture of a shirtless Morris Chestnut. How can I compete?

 

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As if I’m not self-conscious enough. Now I find myself staring at this picture (as there was plenty of time to do so during the screaming applause) and I realize that, that looks nothing like me. I’m watching this show while sitting back and polishing off a plateful of non-whole wheat spaghetti from last night, sprinkled with some bacon and layered with scrambled eggs cooked in bacon grease. I’m even soakin’ up the sauce with a couple of slices salt buttered toast . . . it’s no wonder that picture looks nothing like me. Something has to change, and it has to change now. Add to the mix, the fact that my wife . . .well lets just say, she’s yelled at ME before . . .for several reasons, on many occasions, but she has nary a bad word or thought in her mind when it comes to Morris Chestnut. In fact, beaming might best describe her response to him anytime he appears on the screen. Can’t say I blame her, he is a talented handsome brother. Hey wait, I’m talented, I’m handsome . . . I used to make my wife beam, what happened?

“ One more scoop of butter pecan or dulce de leche please”. “Just one more little dollop of whipped cream”. “Yep make that a super-sized will ya? . . oh and I’ll take the diet Coke”.

Sound familiar?

Oh, maybe it’s just me.

Gone are the days I say.

As Simon Phoenix said to John Spartan in Demolition Man, “ . . .time for something new and improved.”

It’s not too late to change:

Just sharing this with each of you starts me on the road to recovery, and that’s not all. I had a conversation with one of my business mentors who gave me some very useful nutrition tips. I’ve already started running again. And most importantly I have made the DECISION to change my habits, and change my life. I will be better and I have each of you to help keep me accountable.

As I make the journey this coming year to reach my target weight, I am reminded of a brief moment I had with Morris when I was accompanying him to a rehearsal or a fitting some years ago, and he was carrying a gallon of water in a plain clear jug and he shared with me that his trainer has him drinking a gallon of water a day. I thought to myself that seems extreme. This was back in ‘98/’99. He was making slight edge decisions in the RIGHT DIRECTION   fifteen years ago, and his resuls speak for themselves.

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I too was making slight edge decisions, regrettably in the WRONG DIRECTION and justifiably, those decisions speak for themselves as well.  As you might guess, my results tell an entirely different story than his.

Perhaps this is the motivation I need to go out and get back into solid fighting form. Perhaps simply having the satisfaction of knowing that if he can do it, I can too, is enough to get me through the year. Perhaps knowing that my wife is still holding onto and showing love and support for her “special package” after all these years, is confirmation enough. Or Perhaps  knowing that I have complete control over how that package comes home to her everyday; gift wrapped to perfection, is all the satisfaction that I need.

Happy With My First Officially Commissioned Project

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Excellent News! The Red Headed Mustache Man was completed and delivered to his new home at the end of November.   All those involved were happy, charmed, and amused by him. Of course, we miss him here at home. My “studio” is the 2nd bedroom in our 2bd apartment, so any project I do becomes a part of our lives and family.  The Lyon and I make little jokes about the characters and objects I create. This one is called Alex.

THE BIRTH OF ALEX

I was commissioned to make a sculpt of my client’s friend “Alex”.  She wanted it to be a good likeness of her friend, wear a specific costume, and have a more idealized body.

So we agreed on a pose, a body, the size, the material (paper), and a price.

She e-mailed me a collection of images to reference.

PLAN TO BEGIN

“The beginning is the most important part of the work” ~ Plato

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned as a sculptor is to spend more time planning the creation process before jumping into doing the work.  I think I’ve always been more of a doer than a planner.  I love to jump in with both feet and figure things out as I go along.  Many people do make art that way.  It can be a wonderful way to work and can produce compelling results when making work that is loosely interpreted or abstract.  When making something that is realistic it is necessary to plan.

STUDY THE POSE

The requested pose was one that is very common in classical figurative art. A contrapposto pose with the weight distributed down through the right leg.  In preparation for the armature, I had to have a clear understanding of where the figure’s center would be, the proportions planned out, and the gesture (energy flow) of the pose with the hip and shoulder angles drawn up.

MEASURE TWICE CUT ONCE

Out came the anatomy books, the how-to do portrait books, the how-to sculpt a figure books.  Whatever I had, I reviewed, bookmarked, planned 1st on paper, measured, and re-measured.  The goal was to have a realistic looking figure.  Classical and correct comes with careful planning.  I nearly drove myself batty with the preliminary measurements and ‘seeing it’ before it was physically created.

THE ARMATURE

It is debatable whether or not an armature is necessary for a figure of this size.  I chose to start with an armature so that I could have more control over modifying the pose if necessary and I could guarantee that the piece could be more easily repaired if it is damaged.  I could elaborate on that, but talking about my work getting damaged gives me an icky feeling. ya know?

Here are some pics of Alex when he was just a baby… err I mean an armature.

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The armature is aluminum wire, coat hanger, and perhaps some other wire or two for good luck ( I went a little overboard with the wire ).  The aluminum foil was used as a substructure for the paper mache and to start the process of bulking up the body.  I also used an epoxy clay at the joints for strength.

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Yeah, that’s right… Alex could have been an Alien.

THE MATERIAL

Alex is made primarily of paper.  I used a combination of paper mache techniques and recipes throughout his creation.

The first layer was built up from a clay pulp made primarily from egg cartons, fast food drink holders and water.  A little PVA glue was thrown in for good measure along with a dash of saw dust.  Some paper artist’s say that one can simply tear the egg carton up and mix it with water to make a workable pulp.  There is a glue already in the carton as well as additives to prevent mold.  The mixture did not stick to itself very well though, and when dry it comes out too soft for me, so I added glue to it.

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Yup, right again…. Alex was a zombie for a little while.

See that image on my netbook in the background? That’s the pose I was going for and the body. Pretty nice, huh?! He’s got a loong road ahead of him!

For the next week or two I built Alex up in increments with a paper mache clay mixture. I varied and modified my recipes a bit from information I pieced together from around the web. My main recipe source for the clay came from Jonni at  http://www.ultimatepapermache.com/paper-mache-clay

I intentionally built it up slowly to make sure that all the layers would dry so as not to attract mold growth or bugs.

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My process involves much back and forth of building up a form and then carving material away.


THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB

I have amassed a hearty collection of modelling tools and I use them all pretty much equally.

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Many sculptors have a few favorites.  My favorites change from project to project.  In fact, I have so many tools that I choose favorites and then lose track of them throughout the creation process.

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 KEEP TAKING YOUR GAME TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Here comes the sports analogy….

To be a great athlete you have to practice the right things, the right way, you have to conquer self-doubt, and you have to always expect more from yourself every time you compete.  Sculpting is the same way.

Of all the artists I’ve known only two or three were instantly good.  The rest got good through hours and hours of deliberate practice, continuous study, and by conquering that pesky little demon that sits on their shoulder;  who tells them that they don’t have any talent and that whatever they are working on sucks.  There was a time when I thought that  I didn’t have it in me to sculpt an accurate figure much less one that seemed to have life.  I continued to practice.  I learned to get more control over my self-doubt and eventually I started to see results that I could be proud of.

Having said that, I still had a lot of self-doubt to conquer while working on Alex.  I thought that I needed to be more familiar with the material to do a good job.  I thought that my lack of experience of working on a small-scale would interfere with being successful.  I especially thought that I was too rusty because I hadn’t sculpted much for many years.

Instead of buying into all those thoughts of worry, lack, and limitation; I chose to be confident that if I focused hard enough, worked diligently enough,  continued to re-sculpt the mistakes until I got a better result, and most importantly; I believed that the final result would be something special.  All I needed was time.

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COMMISSIONED ART IS A COLLABORATIVE PROCESS

This is where I give kudos to my client who pushed but was not too pushy. Alex is a better man. Um errr…  Statue because of her critiques and requests for changes.  It helps to have a fresh pair of eyes on your work.

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He started to look much much better as you can see here. Next came some finishing touches.  A tickle here, a tickle there.

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PAINT

I painted Alex with water-mixable oils.  That added quite a bit of time to finish him because oils take a long time to dry.  I felt that I would achieve better and richer results with the oil paint though.  I think that I would like to use acrylics in the future.

By the way, the base was a pencil holder I picked up in a thrift store.  I flipped it upside down, removed the shells and starfish ( client’s choice)  and made a mosaic with paper beads where the shells once were.  He stands 13″ tall without the base.  The base is about 6″ high.

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Now on to other things.  Completing old projects.  Starting new ones. Perhaps a commission for you!

Happy New Year!

~ The Mouse