A Day with Eric Sommer: My Kind of Music – Slapping, Sliding, Stabbing

Ever hear a musician for the first time and say, “Wow, I could listen to this music all day!”? For me, it’s a rarity. I consider myself a music snob…I know what I like, and that’s that. (I’m also a comedy snob, but that’s another story.) Back in October, Bill and I were headed to a Halloween festival. We had read about the performer, Eric Sommer, whose music was billed as folk/blues/Americana/rock influenced by the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Steve Howe, Randy Travis, and Elvis Costello. Wait a minute…really? A favorite guitarist in our household is Steve Howe. We were intrigued, yet skeptical that perhaps there was some hyperbole in this write-up.

Indeed, we were blown away on that Halloween evening, listening to Sommer’s music and banter with the crowd. There was no exaggeration in that initial write-up. Bill and I knew right away this was a musician who belongs on WildesArt and whose music deserves to be heard by the masses.

Fast forward two months, and I find myself reflecting on a day spent video-recording the awe-inspiring singer/songwriter and guitar master, Eric Sommer. Setting up in the old Chatham Mills building in downtown Pittsboro, North Carolina, Sommer strolled through the door, a black Vivian Westwood fedora atop his head, carrying guitar upon guitar: a Jay Tercer parlor guitar; twin black and white checked Trinity River guitars; a Taylor acoustic embellished with mother-of-pearl inlay; a 1951 Sears Silverstone that looked as though it was once strummed in the doorway of an Airstream trailer on a lazy summer afternoon; and the Holy Grail of guitars: an ageless Fender Telecaster, worn from years of use, its fret-board patina announcing a history of glory days.

With steel finger picks on each finger of Sommer’s “strumming” hand (I use that term lightly, as his playing is better described in terms of slaps, slides, and stabs), one foot on a volume pedal and the other foot tapping out the beat on a kick box, Sommer drove us through a catalog of songs. These are tunes that tell a story…some are epic poetry laced with a guitar riffs and chorus. Others are fusion instrumentals or inspired by old-time Americana and bluegrass tunes. These songs will never fit into a one-hit-wonder mold. For instance, the song, Do Re Mi, played on the Jay Tercer, is not your kid’s note-scale music lesson. This song touches upon the psychedelic, using frequency waves a la Jimmy Page, and glides to superior riffs reminiscent of Steve Howe. Then, turning his instrument face-up flat, Sommer punctuates with a jolt of guitar bongos.

After eight hours of filling the old brick and wood warehouse with instruments and video equipment, the air still vibrating with music, it was a wrap. Eric will soon be setting off on national and European tours, and Bill will be working his wizardry on editing and packaging this collection of music videos. And I will be anxiously awaiting the release of each of these creations. Stay tuned…you won’t be disappointed.

Visit Eric Sommer’s website: www.EricSommer.com
Follow Eric on Facebook:  @ericsommermusic

Subscribe to WildesArt and to our WildesArt YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on new releases.

Special thanks to Chatham Mills.

Creative Treasure in Siler City, NC

Chatham County, North Carolina, is teeming with creativity.  Creative people, murals, artwork, art galleries…  You name it, and it seems like we’ve got it.  And if we don’t…we’ll create it!  But finding the space in which to create can be difficult.  I’ve carved out a room in our house for my studio, and I know others who love to paint, draw, or write outside…plein air…  

Then yesterday, I ventured out to Siler City, known as the last home and burial site of Francis Bavier (a.k.a. Aunt Bee from The Andy Griffith Show).  The more I travel Route 64 West, the more I fall in love with the scenery:  dairy farms, open space, a stained glass warehouse, and an alpaca farm.  Once I reach the city limits, however, it looks like Anytown U.S.A., with a Walmart, gas stations, convenience stores…you get the idea.  

Yet, driving just a mile or so into “Historic Downtown Siler City,” sits this humble small city, subtle in its beauty.  At least 9 murals decorate buildings within walking distance to one another, with more being planned.  And in the heart of it all is the NC Arts Incubator.  

I met with the Incubator’s new director, April Weaver, who took me on a tour of this impressive space.  Within these walls is housed a retail gallery, a new exhibit gallery,  studio space, workshop space, and a coffee shop.  This is a colorful, warm, and inviting place.  April took me downstairs to a large clay studio, where I was lucky to see two clay artists at work. Afterward, when we entered  the painting cooperative studios next door, the smell of oils and acrylics piqued my desire to put paint to canvas again.  Anyone who is looking for affordable, cooperative studio space, this is the place!

I’m looking forward to getting more involved with this non-profit organization.  April, the board, and volunteers have great vision for this space, and I encourage folks to go visit and see what they’re up to…and maybe buy a piece of art while you’re there.  

Their Holiday Art Market is open November 17-December 29. This is a chance to shop for handmade holiday gifts by local artists. Art such as paintings, pottery, jewelry, fiber products and notecards will be available.  (I’ll have some work available for sale, too.)  Opening night is Friday, November 17th during the 3rd Friday Artwalk. There will be live music inside at Courtyard Coffee and the Holiday Art Market in the PAF Gallery. The perfect opportunity to Shop Local!

Holiday Art Market:  November 17-December 29: Wednesdays through Fridays 10-6 and Saturdays 10–4. 

If you see me there, please say hi!

Visit: NC Arts Incubator:  223 N Chatham Avenue, Siler City, NC 27344  (919) 663-1335

www:ncartsincubator.org   email: info@ncartsincubator.org

 

Finding Community: Just Show Up

 
 

Bill and I recently showed up and celebrated author Tara Lynne Groth’s book launch.

Creating art or writing are reclusive practices.  Sure, I look for inspiration from others who create.  But I bring ideas into my lair (a.k.a. my art studio which I call my Zen Room).  There, I ponder these inspirations in solitude as contemplation massages the right side of my brain,

A while back, a friend told me, “Just show up.”  Simple, yet powerful words.  But for introverted artists and writers, this can be difficult.  Just show up equals Put yourself out there.  And that can be downright scary.

However, by just showing up, I have become a part of a community…actually, I’ve become a part of a few communities.  I have been showing up at classes and critique groups, and that has made all the difference (tip of the hat to Robert Frost).

For writers in the North Carolina Triangle area, I highly recommend Triangle Writers, a creative writing group of over 900 members that curates events and activities with the goal of getting published.  I’ve been to many seminars and a few critique sessions through this freelance group.  In fact, in December, I’m hosting a Children’s Book Critique Group in Pittsboro/Chapel Hill through Triangle Writers.

A few months ago, I came across a post for Children’s Book Writing classes through IgnitingWriting.com and I showed up.  I’ve made great friends and have challenged my creativity, taking it in new directions through these classes and groups led by children’s literature expert Susie Wilde.

When I attend Living Poetry meetups and author talks, I buy their books which give me encouragement to publish my own.

Check out MeetUp groups near you.  There’s so much to do, to learn…if you just show up.

Are there other communities that have made a difference in your creative world?  Tell me about them, so I can spread the word and all the good that happens when we just show up.

– Barbara

Marching to the Beat of Her Own Drum – Jennifer Locke

Freelance writer and friend, Tara Lynne Groth, and I often exchange creative ideas…we always seem to be planning something!  So when she suggested I read Jennifer Locke’s blog and that I connect with Jennifer, I looked into her work.  Jennifer and I have started a creativity dialogue, and I have, of course, asked her the question…

What ignites your creativity?

“I’m a writer, so I’m a reader first. Reading exceptional books never fails to inspire me and encourage me to get to the page. However, I’m inspired by anyone excelling in any creative endeavor–music, visual art, drama, etc. In general, people living creative lives give me hope. I love seeing people who’ve said “no” to the “rules” society has laid out and are choosing to march to the beat of their own drums.

“When I need to get in touch with my own creativity, journaling is a big help. I’m a big fan of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, especially the morning pages. I enjoy listening to inspirational podcasts. A long walk can give me time to mull over a particular plot problem or other story element. Baking pies can get me out of my head (and provide a sweet reward for my labor!). Sometimes it’s a matter of clearing figurative “space” for the words to come; lighting a candle, playing stimulating music, tuning out distractions so that I can be in the flow of words. When that happens, it’s a true gift.”

***

Jennifer Locke is a freelance writer and blogger for hire, as well as a YA author. She specializes in health, parenting, and the craft of writing. Jennifer writes articles, blog posts, and site content. When not writing, she’s usually wrangling her toddler twin daughters or nose-deep in a great book. Follow her on Twitter @jamlo525 and visit her website, jenniferlockewrites.com .

Whimsical Creativity – Featured Artist: Tamara Brown

I love the whimsical, airy paintings of Tamara Brown.  She seems so at ease with experimenting with technique and color.  So, of course, I had to ask Tamara…

What ignites your creativity?

 

“Living life fully and joyfully helps bring me most inspiration…a fresh perspective always helps, too…getting out and experiencing a new coffee shop with a friend, my children, a drive down a street I normally don’t drive down, pausing to notice the things that seem to speak to me for my attention (lines of buildings, colors of flowers, sunlight hitting trees).  When my heart and soul are full, I feel the most creative and free.

I wholeheartedly think our gifts are ultimately given to us from our Creator and have always loved this quote a creative mentor told me years ago…”Creativity is the closest thing to divinity; it comes from above.”

You can learn more about Tamara and her art by reading my Visiting Artist interview with her.

View and purchase her work at www.TamaraBrownArt.com.

“Allow for the Time” – Stephan Meyers

Words of wisdom from musician Stephan Meyers (Breadfoot):  “Allow for the time…”, when I asked Stephan what ignites his creativity.  I needed to hear those words today…

Photo courtesy of Breadfoot

What ignites your creativity?

“Ain’t one thing that ignites it.  Not like ya just flip a switch or smoke a joint and Shazam!, yer creative.  It’s either in ya or it ain’t, and the only thing that can tease it out proper, in my opinion, is allowing for the time.

Ya need to get past it all being so precious.  Better to do something rather than nothing, even if the result may be crap.  Or conversely, do nothing.  Flannery O’Connor used to put aside about 4 hours a day for writing, whether she wrote or not, she did nothing else.  Again, it all comes down to allowing for the time.”

*****

Facing a blank canvas today, I listened to Stephan and allowed for the time.  I spent hours poring through ephemera, poetry, and other books, seeking inspiration for my next painted collage.  I still have to “get past it being so precious,” and I will…once I allow for the time.

Watch Breadfoot’s newly released video, Room in Her Heart, off his new album, Salvatella.

And visit Breadfoot’s website:  www.Breadfoot.com

So…how do YOU allow for the time?

Igniting Creativity – Featured Artist: Pamela Robinson-Thompson

I recently asked a group of creatives…

What ignites your creativity?  

My friend, Pamela Robinson-Thompson, a successful business/life coach and artist based in Texas, reflected on this question.  Personally, I was so inspired by her response, as well as by the whimsical creations she shared with me, that I knew I had to share them with you!  

Enjoy Pam’s thoughts and artwork..

*****

“I mostly get inspired by nature, other artists and the Universe. I sincerely feel a lot of my work is really divinely inspired. Ideas will just pop into my head, as if they are downloaded through the Universe. A lot of times my work inspires me, too. The ones I keep & share are of course the ones I enjoy. When I’m having a tough time creatively, and I really want to create something that feels good-I’ll look at my past work. Then I think, Wow, I did that, let me see if I can create something that feels as good as that or even better! Then I get on a roll. I was art journaling last night- only happy with a couple things I did. Then I looked at this :

Which inspired me to create this:

I drew them and then digitally changed them to create different feelings and color schemes.

I do love to look at other artists’ work, I think it’s a compliment to them when they inspire me. I never copy another artist – mostly I try to copy the feelings their piece evokes from me. I love fun and whimsical! I recently started to watch videos on SkillShare that other artists have posted. It about $11 a month after the free trial and I find the other artists very inspiring. The first video I watched was this one…

She inspired me to draw this lady-

But I liked the crispness of the colors done digitally so I then was inspired to draw a better one-

Since then I’ve been on a roll with drawing people’s faces- something I was intimidated with.

My alcohol ink paintings were also inspired by an artist on SkillShare.

Kellie Chasse was great at teaching the process. After her videos I created mine- such fun!

One thing then seems to lead to another. Then I started drawing dragon flies digitally too. I now have a lot of my work up on Society6 for sale.

Mostly I create to make myself & others happy!! My final thought is that all of the feedback from others on Facebook inspires me. I never even considered myself to be an artist until I started posting my drawings- just for the fun of it and received so much amazing positive feedback! I was encouraged by friend on Facebook to create a book- my first was in 2014 and now I have 5 adult coloring books and 4 self help books published. One of my books made #1 new release best seller on Amazon. That inspired me to want to create & share more of my work.”

*****

If you’d like to see more of Pam’s fun work, following her on Facebook.  You may contact Pam at focusonyoursuccess@gmail.com .

And check out her Society6 page! 

So tell me, what ignites YOUR creativity?

 

 

 

Creating Joy

How do you create joy?  An existential question, to which I’m sure we all have many different answers.  A hug.  A smile.  Gut-clenching laughter with a friend.  Kindness to self.  Kindness to others. Petting a cat or dog.  Eating a piece of decadent chocolate cake.  

How about that word, “create”?  To me, the act of creating creates joy!  Getting into the flow of the creative process.  Losing myself in the ethereal world of creating art.  Watching a sketch come to life through shading and colors.  

You know, the more I think about, the more I realize we could all use a little more joy in our lives.  So, how ’bout it?  How do you create joy?