Hunting the Royal Bengal Tiger

Very interesting read, maybe someday in my future!

Incidental Naturalist

From the year 1754, the wilderness now known as Ranthambhore National Park (Hindi: रणथंभौर राष्ट्रीय उद्यान ), was maintained as the private hunting preserve of the Maharajas of Jaipur. In 1980 the Indian government declared the 392 km² area a National Park, dedicated to the protection of tigers. It is this former hunting ground that I chose as the place to try to get a Royal Bengal tiger in my sights.

I had been living in Singapore for less than 6 months. With a Christmas break approaching, I was looking for a week of adventure, within easy striking distance. Flights to Mumbai were cheap, and under five-and-a-half-hours, so I decided to head to India.

A wildlife enthusiast can not think of India without imagining dense, humid jungles where tigers lurk in shadows. Was it really possible to see a wild tiger, or were they too rare, or too well protected? Since childhood, I had dreamed of seeing tigers in…

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Give Up the Excuses

How many updated versions of classic songs do I like? Tons and in almost all genres! Re-makes are all about lyrics, tempo, voice quality, and renewal. As I work in the studio with teenagers every school day, I hear, “Oh, that’s my song!” It’s become a teachable moment in music history, as I share the original along-side the re-make.  Even if it’s just a sample of an oldie, but goodie we used to hear on the radio, back in the day. Even if I don’t particularly think it’s very good.
As an artist, I believe we must celebrate these small moments and use the critique process to stay open to all manner of advise, suggestions and even constructive criticism as we learn through work and play. We routinely edit each other’s papers as we go through the writing process from kindergarten on up through graduate school and into our professional lives. Isn’t it the same with visual arts? Theatre? Dance? Poetry slams and Literature? Culinary Arts? Fashion designers? We need other people’s responses to continue to grow in our creative process. Art is everywhere around us at all times.

All the popular reality show competitions (Project Runway, Skin Wars, Street Art Throwdown and even Survivor and The Bachelor type programs which don’t really focus on arts) expose us to judges who deem things worthy or not worthy. These episodes give us examples of aesthetics, design and the critique process (although the quality of these shows and the qualifications of the judges could be up for debate!) that we can share and build upon as we work with students of all ages.  They are real-life and popular culture all in one! 

As I countdown to my 29th “summer off” as an educator, I’m going to give up the excuse that it’s all been done before and there is nothing new to create. I know it’s important to do the work and share the work.

So…4-3-2-1 I’m going to take my own advice. Stay tuned!

Produce More By Removing More


Aristotle talked about three kinds of work: theoretical, practical, and poetical. The first searches for truth. The second is practical with an objective around action. The third, however, is lost in our modern culture. The philosopher Martin Heidegger called this “bringing-forth.”

In his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown describes this as an essentialist trait.

This is how the essentialist approaches execution: “An Essentialist produces more—brings forth more— by removing more instead of doing more.”

We rarely have the time to think through what we’re doing. And there is a lot of organizational pressure to be seen as doing something new.

The problem is that we think of execution in terms of addition rather than subtraction. The way to increase the production speed is to add more people. The way to get more sales is to add more salespeople. The way to do more, you need…

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Lisa Brawn’s Vibrant Woodcuts

O' Canada


 Lisa Brawn, “Bluebird”

Lisa Brawnis a Calgary-based artist who painstakingly creates exquisitely vibrant woodcuts.  Her subject matter ranges from wild animals to celebrities to pop culture icons.  Shown here are some of her amazing images of wild birds, each with an abstract background carving that nicely complements the main subject.  Brawn’s annual “Wild Bird Woodcuts”wall calendar is gorgeous and is a hot collector’s item, having quickly sold out its 2014 and 2015 print runs.  More of her fabulous art can be seen at her website here.


Lisa Brawn, “Blue Jay”


Lisa Brawn, “Vermillion Flycatcher”


Lisa Brawn, “Puffin”


Lisa Brawn, “Gray Jay”


Lisa Brawn, “Geese”

Image Credits: Lisa Brawn

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Laurence Hyde’s Southern Cross

Backwoods Lumbering During the 1880s

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‘Being an Artist is a state of mind’: Louise Nevelson’s Creative Drive


51PMV7Qf0LLOn the 17th of April 1988, American sculptor Louise Nevelson died in New York. Regarded as one of the most significant figures of 20th-century American sculpture, she serves as an example of incredible persistence in fulfilling one’s personal ambition. Born to Jewish parents in Tsarist Russia in 1899, at the age of six she moved with her family to America, where she soon discovered her inner calling to become an artist: “I knew that I was gifted because from the day you go to school, your teachers know what you have. At least they did in my school. In Maine, over seventy years ago, they felt I was an artist. They just knew it. Something about me projected it, even as a child, and I knew it. Some people are born a certain way. They really are, no doubt about it. Caruso had a voice when he…

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Voices from the Border and Beyond – understanding the root causes of migration

During our visit to Guatemala last fall, we went to a faith based relief center for people crossing the border and I felt a strong call to action while I was there. I met Amanda and her family on an earlier visit to Guatemala. They recently moved to begin mission work on the Mexican-US border. I admire their faith and service to others around this important issue that impacts all of us.

Walking with Guatemalan sisters in faith

Happy New Year 2015!

I know it has been a while since my last blog post.  The shift and transition in my work focus over the past year left me little time to dedicate to my blog.  I apologize for my absence and appreciate your understanding.

For my first blog of 2015, I want to introduce you to a unique mission trip experience.  Out of a desire to work regionally, PCUSA mission co-workers came together to create a seminar experience focused on immigration – Central America to the US migration.  Ten different mission co-workers located in the US/Mexico borderlands, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador came together to plan an experience that would give voice and face to the migration story of so many Central Americans.  Additional program offices also lent essential programmatic/educational support – Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Presbyterian Hunger Program, Office of Immigration Issues and others.  During the experience, the participants would…

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Mews: #PetsInPortraits Book Review and Competition Reminder

Katzenworld - Old please follow the main Katzenworld

Hello everyone,

With only days to go until the closure of the #PetsInPortraits competition we thought it would be a good idea to have a sneak peak at the book behind the competition!

The book is filled with over 80 photos of portraits that feature not just our favourite felines but also other animals. 🙂 For each of the featured artworks the book contains a wealth of information about the famous person and their relationship to their pet. Not just do you find out historical info but some not so well known fun facts! Additionally info on the photographer / artist behind the photo / portrait can be found for each of them.

Below are just some of the examples of feline presence in what strikes us a fantastic collection of famous pet history (Who wouldn’t love cute animals and their human companions. 😉 )

National Portrait Gallery - Pets in Portraits - Catherine ('Kitty') Fisher 1765 Catherine (‘Kitty’) Fisher 1765. © National Portrait Gallery, London

National Portrait Gallery - Pets in Portraits - NPG x31619 - Barbara Hepworth with her cat Nicholas by Ida Kar 1961 -Copyright National Portrait Gallery London Barbara…

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