Category Archives: Words on a Whim

2 Flags, 3 Shrines, 4 Mice and a Word About Sin

The last two weeks have been extremely busy. I even skipped my morning workout several days in a row in order to give my inventory a much-needed boost. I have also forced myself to learn to respectfully decline every new demand that would lead me to sin.

This tiny, yet hugely powerful world takes on precise significance the older I get. Since I love etymology, I will pause here briefly to observe how incredibly suitable it is that spiritual masters would invite us to avoid sin at all cost. Indeed, our general understanding of the word “sin” does not begin to scratch the surface. It means far more than the images that first come to mind. To sin means, “To stray from the target.” It is an archery term.

Perhaps it would be easier for us to learn to focus on the target, rather than to aspire to avoid sin. With only one target in sight, the rest takes care of itself. With only one target in sight, there is no doubt about the course to take and whether the course is good or bad, or sinful. If we choose to do good, then good it is in a layers of life, and most of all in becoming the very best expression of what it is to be human. The cost of not doing this is high indeed.

The masters might as well have said, “Do your best,” but such common sense words clearly do not have the same striking impact as “Do not sin.” The masters knew they needed to use wording that would somehow endure through the ages. It was meant as a loving warning; we sometimes take it as a dare, and resist. Our loss.

As you can see, I’ve had plenty of time to ponder these things lately while I spend hour upon hour doing my best to give shape to my creative ideas. Doing this is inevitable, after all. There is one powerful lesson I am learning over and over as I continue on this course. That lesson blows my mind every time I put it into practice. In fact, I believe it is the key to peace of mind: Live without unfinished business. 

This means: No procrastination. But more than this, it must shape every moment. I have come to understand that every single time I feel impatient or uncertain or unable to focus, I must ask this question: What is unfinished? What was left undone? Then, the only logical response is to always act in a manner that resolves the question, one little mundane or creative task at a time. The progress I have made by applying this simple personal rule is astonishing. Target in sight. Target in sight. Target in sight.

I love that the fruit of my labor and efforts took me on the road for a second trip to Grand Isle Art Works, yesterday, to deliver new creations. Driving is one of my guilty pleasures, and a perfect reward to conclude new steps forward and pause before continuing the journey.

The shrine is a prototype; a starting point. I had postponed making this because I worried it would not be perfect, yet it is in making these first three that I was able to see what else it could become. So these are perfect after all.

The flags were a wonderful nudge to explore new ideas. They were provided by Grand Isle Art Works with an invitation to design according to whim. They will be displayed through the summer as part of their Sweet Harmony by the Lake Art Show, beginning July 10th. The guidelines were simple and fun. Each color has a theme. Mine were red for fire and green for water. The mice are a recent creation and a must-have addition to the Grand Isle collection. I think there are more critters about to come out of my mind in the days to come.

Gotta get back to work.

Artist Collective

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Setting sail. Today’s wind was an appropriate companion to Artists’ Mediums new Art Shop, in Cambridge, for as much as the wind can represent a challenge, it is also a mighty force, launching a vessel upon a grand journey.

The vessel, in this case, is a collective of nearly 40 Vermont artists. Jess Polanshek captains this ship with savoir faire and a keen eye for inspired horizons. Jess is an Illustrator who draws most of her inspiration from the wooded hills of Vermont.

I missed Friday’s soft opening (Grand Opening is coming up in May), but was able to stop by for a visit today. I am fortunate enough to be among the artists who now showcase their work here and looked forward to seeing how Jess had arranged the great, wide open space of her new art gallery.

When I delivered my own inventory here, two weeks ago, there was but a table to sign in artists as we came in for our appointed delivery time, and a few tables and displays set aside for the great staging ahead.

Today, I asked Jess how she wrapped her head around creating the right display flow for the many different styles of art she had brought under this one roof. “I started with a few prints on the wall, and asked myself what felt right next to this. Everything fell into place in this way… one thing leading to the other,” she explained.

It is not that it was effortless, but rather inevitable. Form and color calling upon form and color to weave a display that would be soothing to the eye and inviting to the soul. You’ll see. I will not point out specific artists so that you may be curious and come discover them for yourself.

artists mediums art shop paper mache animal

Many thoughts crossed my mind as I entered, but one stands out among all others. As I drove away, contemplating this truly distinguished new Art Shop atop a hill in Cambridge, Vermont, and remembering Jess’ pragmatic approach to setting the stage for 40 artists, the true meaning of the word “collective” came to light in my mind. So often, we see the world as a competitive place. We assume this might be especially true for artists, but this grand little shop is proving that it is not.

Artists do not compete for exposure in this space; they complement each other by sharing it. We may do similar work in slightly different styles or widely different styles, or we may do widely different work. In the end, all of it comes together like a story book, with each artist offering a new, intriguing chapter.

People who see our work take home the bits and pieces that speak to them the loudest. They may purchase a piece, or walk away inspired. One thing leads to another. Either way, they come out with a fresh impression on the canvas of their minds; one that was painted by many hands. Everyone wins, for inspiration is the greatest gift we can share.

The wind subsided, but this artful journey has just begun. I invite you to step on board, visit Jess Polanshek’s astonishing illustration collection here and on her website, Polanshek of the Hills . And I invite you to be curious about things to come on the Artists’ Mediums Art Shop Facebook Page.


Artists’ Mediums Art shop is an artist-run gallery with a primary focus on all the amazing art and handmade goods that Vermonters create. It is located at 286 Old Route 15, Cambridge, Vermont, across from Boyden Valley Winery & Spirits.

Top Photo Source: Artists Mediums Art Shop Facebook Page… Go LIKE it!

artists mediums art shop