The Artist at Work

The Artist at Work
The Artist at Work

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Santa's Elves: A gallery

Amanda and Jim in for the long haul
The scene at Marcus and Anne's house was transformed this week as they packed and shipped tons of copies of Flight of the Mind: A Painter's Journey Through Paralysis. Books will be arriving on doorsteps in time for Christmas! Special thanks to the brave and hearty elves that made light work with their many hands. And to the Fed-Ex guy, who deserves much applause!

At Art Accents in Weaverville, Bob and Carla hosted a wonderful meet and greet with Marcus yesterday evening as folks came by to pick up their books in person. Smiles all around! Books are available there if you still need to pick up your order. Or you can purchase a book there as well from now through the holidays. Stay tuned for a gallery of this happy event.

dining room no more

Anne, leader of the pack-ing

Carla at her station
got books

Marcus autographed every book

got boxes

First book ready to ship!

Judy handling orders

note the raven trying to escape the wall of books

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wait No More: The Books Are Here!

We are pleased to announce that at long last, the books have arrived! Flight of the Mind feels as beautiful as it looks. Currently we are packing orders to ship, and those going up and down the east coast are expected to arrive in plenty of time for Christmas. Sit back and have a cocktail, Santa, our elves are cheerful, happy and on the job!

We invite all our local friends and readers to celebrate with us! Tomorrow, Tuesday, December 18th, we will be at Art Accents on Main Street, Weaverville from 4:30-7:00pm. Folks will be picking up their orders. You can also purchase a book at Art Accents beginning tomorrow night through the holidays.

And of course, if Weaverville, NC is too far away for easy travel, we are still taking orders online for all three editions, while supplies last.

If you live nearby or are passing through, come meet the artist and the author tomorrow evening. We'd love to see you and show off our labor of love!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Grace in the Waiting

Marcus and Anne with advance copy of Flight of the Mind.
The promise that "good things come to those who wait," is perhaps as old as Christmas. To a child awaiting the arrival of a parade or party, the reassurance often rings like a hollow admonishment to be patient and quell her rising excitement. For those of us hurtling head-long towards the end of the year, the promise, though cliche, can serve as a reminder of how harmful it can be to rush only to arrive at the inevitable unprepared, with spent souls.

In the Christian calendar we are currently in the midst of Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Our culture doesn't give Advent much shrift, but it serves as an observance of a necessary waiting period, time to prepare for the gift of the incarnation, getting ready for the possibility of God becoming Human. Advent coincides with the longest nights of the year, leading up to Solstice, the longest actual night and the pivot point of the year, getting the world ready for the possibility of a fresh start in seasons to come.

It takes grace to wait with patience. Ask any expectant mother, any artist, any child, any commuter waiting on the morning traffic, any lover awaiting the return of the beloved. Whether we wait in fear, anxiety, or peace, it is often the hardest (and perhaps the most necessary) part of any journey.

Just ask Marcus and Anne, for that matter! We are currently in a forced period of waiting on the book, Flight of the Mind. A testament that has been 26 years in the living and a year and half in the making is now, at the eleventh hour, held up in a port in California, hostage to a union strike. Honestly, we would have preferred pirates. Repeating the mantra, "good things come, good things come" still doesn't keep us from nail-biting, bargaining with powers beyond our control, and wishing the books could literally grow the wings of Marcus' imagination. If you have ordered a book, you will be receiving communication soon about the outlook on arrival.

Along with grace, it never hurts to have a little fortification against long nights and seemingly endless periods of anticipation. The tradition of luminaries, lighting the way for the advent of the awaited event, does the work of shoring us up for the long haul. A illuminated path marked out in the formless void and darkness of the wait provides a thread to follow, directing the soul to the ultimate point. This evening from 6-9pm, Weaverville hosts its Annual Candlelight Stroll through downtown, complete with a luminary leading visitors to celebrate with music, horse and buggy rides, shopping and Santa. Marcus and Anne will be at Art Accents on Main Street with an advance copy of the book, the first official preview of Fight of the Mind. By all accounts, the book is beautiful and well worth the wait. Come see for yourself and join us in our grace-full wait. In this journey of a lifetime, a little patience could be a good thing in itself.      

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Care-full and Thank-Full

Every year around Thanksgiving, I always want to get in touch with all my friends and family, just about everyone I know, and share a meal, throw a party, write each person a tribute and tell them exactly why I love having him or her in my life. I never quite accomplish this ambition, but it usually carries me through Christmas and New Years.

This year the impulse is especially compelling, for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the growing sense of how fragile life is. We must be care-full in the basic sense of the word. More and more, I am strengthened in my conviction that all that really matters is caring for one another and the place we inhabit.

Each individual on earth is capable of caring in a particular way, specific to talent, temperament, vocation. Some of us are especially lucky in that our gifts complement someone else's gifts and we happen to discover each other in the course of our journey. This has been the case with Marcus and Anne, and Marcus, Anne and me.

I got nostalgic and looked back at last year's Thanksgiving post about time and what we make with it, and found it as true this year, with the added gratitude of another blessed year of writing and doing this work. The physical manifestation of our care will be in our hands soon, and you can get a sneak peek if you are around Greensboro this weekend, where Anne and Marcus will have an advance copy of Flight of the Mind and the Craftsman Classic at the Greensboro Coliseum.

It was also a year or so ago that Bob Peck of Asheville Multimedia filmed me interviewing Marcus for the DVD companion to Flight of the Mind. So, dear reader (for whom we are also so thankful) I'll leave you with this Thanksgiving gift from the completed work as we all continue care-full-y along our wandering, wild and miraculous journeys. May our paths cross in good time!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Good Life for All

Anyone who has been to an art show to see Marcus' work knows the familiar face and irreverent laughter of his sister Amanda. In every kind of weather and over thousands of cumulative miles, she is a friendly and forceful presence in Marcus' and Anne's life and career, giving freely of her time, muscle, heart, and humor.

Amanda is also a force to be reckoned with in her work with Homeward Bound, the Asheville organization that works tirelessly for social justice, operating shelters and programs that feed, clothe and locate housing for the city's homeless. Following a calling she's known since college, Amanda devotes her spirited energy and gifts to serving people who exist in the cold, uncomfortable margins of what most of us consider normal everyday life.

Though it seems incongruous to pair Biltmore Estate with Homeward Bound, leave it to Marcus and Anne to combine the two in a brilliant "thank-you" (with a kick!) to Amanda.

Twelve bottles of Marcus' Christmas wine were signed by Biltmore Estate wine makers Bernard Deleille and Sharon Fenchak. Marcus signed these bottles as well and is making them available for a $60 donation to Homeward Bound. Wine warms the heart quite well, but to sweeten the deal, your donation also includes a 25% discount on an original Marcus Thomas print and  15% off framing the print at Art Accents on Main Street in Weaverville, NC.

Marcus and Amanda
Fine wine and beautiful art work together in so many ways as luxuries of "the good life." With this opportunity, you can join Amanda in working to make basic creature comforts a reality for those who don't have it quite so good. Like the days of Christmas, these twelve bottles of Biltmore's Christmas wine, featuring Marcus' piece Biltmore Winter will go quickly. They are available at Art Accents in Weaverville, where we hope to see you on December 7th for the preview book party. More on that event to come!   

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hunt for Beauty on the Art Safari

One thing that distinguishes humans from all other life (except perhaps hummingbirds) is the desire and longing for beauty. So great is the longing that alone among all other creatures, human beings, with much practice, are able to create beauty . . . in works of art.

You can satisfy your quest for beauty and glimpse the inner workings of its creation in many forms - from paint to metal to paper, pottery and wood - this weekend in Weaverville, NC at the Fall Art Safari. The event offers a unique opportunity to meet artists in the natural habitat of their own studios and experience their work.

Marcus and Anne Thomas open their studio for the Safari and welcome visitors from 10am-6pm. Stop by to see Marcus, and get a peek at work in progress and more. Flight of the Mind information and ordering details will also be available. Nothing compares to an up-close-and-personal encounter with a true artist except for perhaps an encounter with undeniable and lasting beauty. This weekend's safari offers both. (Please, no firearms required!)

Monday, October 22, 2012

October is a tease (and Marcus plays along)

What's that red-gold flame on the horizon? A bird? A sailplane? The mountains set alight by October's mischievous, fleeting leave-taking? A magical realist poem in color and shape, painted by a man who laughs with his paintbrush in his mouth?

October is a month of warm colors and chilly winds. She's a tease, but we don't love her any less. In fact, she endears the days to us, tiding us over with golden light, woodsmoke, pumpkins and trees that burn with beauty, spoiling us before the austerity of winter.

The month has been full of bright activity for us. A reading at Mars Hill College homecoming officially gave the public a peek at the book and orders are well underway.  The Laurel of Asheville published a bright, friendly piece on Marcus and the book. And on the cusp of all this excitement, Marcus took to the skies himself.

In the spirit of October we've got a teaser of our own. In addition to the book, we are offering a DVD created by Bob Peck of Asheville Multimedia which delves deeper into Marcus' life, work and imagination. Below is a short excerpt from the film. Savor it as you would the days of October and enjoy it while it lasts!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Homecoming at Mars Hill College

In Of Time and the River, Thomas Wolfe declares, "All things on earth point home in old October: sailors to sea, travelers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken--all things that live upon this earth return, return."

The Quad
This weekend Mars Hill College celebrates Homecoming and both Marcus and I will be returning as alumni of the school. Marcus will be showing his art in the Montague Building, a gallery exhibit to mark the launch of Flight of the Mind. I'll be giving a reading and presentation, a sneak preview of the page design and images. 

Marcus' painting, The Quad is a tribute to our alma mater and it captures the spirit (and perhaps the ghosts) of the place: homesickness tempered with whimsy, meaning deepened by mystery.

Thomas Wolfe, who I read as a student at Mars Hill College, winding my way through sentences thick as the ivy that once grew on the Montague Building, seemed to have known Mars Hill College in October when he wrote the quote above.* We return from our far-flung journeys, changed. Yet recognized. Our memories of the place, and of our earlier selves, seem as real as leaf and stone, flesh and blood. We meet ourselves coming and going in October in the mountains and it seems only right to bring out the best work we have and celebrate the timing of the full circle.

Whether you've ever been to Mars Hill College or not, all are invited to join us there as Marcus returns to the place where his love of nature, once lived through his body, now lives in his art. In honor of his journey and the work born of the soaring travels of his spirit, the college will be recognizing Marcus as Alumnus of the Year.

The exhibit opens at 9am with the reading at 11am. The Alumni of the Year presentation precedes the game at 12:45pm. The entire weekend is full of activities from music concerts to an invitational alumni art exhibit to the game itself. Get the full schedule here. You can even sit beneath a maple in full autumn glory and read Thomas Wolfe.

*Special thanks to Brandon Johnson for the Wolfe quote.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Marcus' Flight: A Gallery

Marcus entered what he calls "surreal-abstract space" on Saturday at the New Castle Airport.  
Many of these pictures were taken by Anne. The aerial shots were taken by Dalila from the chaser plane. Breathtaking.

And he's still smiling. Might be a permanent grin.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Marcus takes to the skies and lives his metaphor. Literally.

Transcending all metaphor and leaving his paintbrush behind, Marcus C. Thomas the artist will launch into the great blue yonder over the Shenandoah valley tomorrow morning at 11am.

It is a rare occurrence when an artist takes the metaphors through which he has made reality shine, and reverses the equation, leaping into reality through the living of his favorite metaphor. But leave it to Marcus to do just that.

The Fourth Flight
For 25 years, he has painted the magic and mystery of flight represented in all manifestations: fierce birds of prey, delicate songbirds, ethereal hummingbirds, and the ingenious inventions my early pioneers of the art of flight. The Fourth Flight, pictured here, depicts the Wright Brothers at the Outer Banks, launching their handmade creation into the sea winds. This trial, the fourth, was the successful one that once and for all proved that human beings - featherless and equipped with wings only in the imagination - were capable of flight. The top photo shows the sailplane that will carry Marcus tomorrow; a non-motorized enclosed glider. In reality, and in Marcus' art, flight has come a long way on those same wings of imagination.

Tomorrow morning, he will coast the thermals, shared with his favorite raptors, in a two-seater sailplane, piloted by Matt Broughton, a lawyer from Roanoke and a good friend who has known Marcus since high school. The flight will be a leap into the ever-enticing unknown, a celebration of the completion of Flight of the Mind, and a chance for Marcus to confirm his own lofty visions and soaring adventures of imagination from a bird's eye angle.

Read the press release on his sailplane flight from New Castle airport here, and send him soaring blessings and the luckiest skies for tomorrow! May the wind bless your wings, Marcus.
See a gallery of photos from the flight itself here. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Biltmore Wine Unveiling

Time seems to be speeding up a bit as we anticipate the arrival of the book, begin to take our first orders, and prepare for the Mars Hill College Homecoming reading. Intoxicated by the season and the winds of change, we are giddy. Or could that headlong rush be the wine. . .?

This past Saturday, Marcus and Anne celebrated the unveiling of the Biltmore Christmas wine, a beautiful bottle emblazoned with Marcus' painting, Biltmore Winter. The lovely winter-blue vision sets the perfect scene for the wine, a semi-sweet blend of Gerwurztamier, Riesling and Muscat. The wine will soon be officially available at the Estate. The full-sized painting is included, with the blessings and permission of the Biltmore Company, in the book, Flight of the Mind. The gathering at Lake James was festive and included Dini Pickering, vice-chair of the Biltmore Board of Directors and granddaughter of George Vanderbilt, who we are sure would have recognized the magic in Marcus' scene. 

We can't think of a better way to spend a winter evening than sipping a glass of wine and getting lost in Marcus' vision of winter wonder.
Marcus and Anne toast with Dini and Chuck Pickering.
But those clean crisp snows are still a few months away, and there are many adventures in store for fall. . . This Saturday, we hope Marcus takes a bottle or two with him as he takes to the skies, literally. Stay tuned for a detailed account of his airborne odyssey on the thermals and over the mountain landscape inhabited by the birds he paints so well. . ..

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Flights Made to Order

The time has come! We are proudly accepting orders for Flight of the Mind, the 25-year retrospective and true labor of love for Anne and Marcus Thomas.

Currently, we are tracking the progress of the book, still in the care of our publisher, as it leaves the presses, receives all the finishing touches - a little gold leaf here, an embossed image there - finally to be bundled up and released into the wide world. We expect the first printing to land on our doorstep in the first week of December. All orders will be fulfilled immediately at that time, soaring straight and true to light underneath your Christmas Tree.

We know, too well, how uncertain, time, life, and the weather can be, so the arrival date is not 100% guaranteed. But there's also a chance we are being conservative with our arrival estimate. We can promise to stay in touch as the shipment of the first printing approaches. Please visit our Ordering FAQ page for detailed information on the process.

From now until October 15th, you will receive a 15% preferred customer discount. Gold and Platinum Editions include wonderful supplements to Marcus' story, such as a classy slipcover, a DVD showcasing everyday rituals and a cast of characters from life and art, and original signed prints - hummingbirds to lift the roof of your mind to heights of inspiration.

On Saturday, October 13th at 11am, we will be offering a special reading and preview of the book and DVD at Mars Hill College Homecoming.  All weekend, Marcus will be exhibiting his work in the Montague Building on the college campus. On Saturday morning, Leslee Johnson, author, will give a reading of selections accompanied by slides of the book itself. We're excited to share this glimpse of our work and love and look forward to seeing as many of our faithful readers, in so many ways our beloved community far and wide for whom we built this book, as possible.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

*Flight of the Mind* Becomes Reality: A Book is Born

Anne, Marcus and Leslee toast as we finish the final proofing.
Our eyes are tired, but all the i's are dotted and the t's crossed.
Special thanks to our readers, whose eyes were a gift.
It is official! The book, Flight of the Mind: A Painter's Journey through Paralysis, is complete and on its way to the presses where it will be printed in full-bleed color, on paper specifically chosen for its weight and quality, and encased in an embossed, cloth-bound hard-cover.  Then, dear reader, Flight of the Mind will find its way into your hands, and you will no longer have to settle for this computer screen to experience the world and work of Marcus Thomas.

The existence of this book and other books like it - books that are carefully created, and crafted with painstaking attention to detail - are a testament to the intrinsic value of the art of book-making. Beautiful books are an experience in themselves - to the eyes, the mind, the imagination. This experience can be enjoyed in the busiest metropolis, in the most remote corner of the backcountry, anywhere, again and again. A good book offers an experience that can be shared, passed down through generations, shared from hand to hand, neighbor to neighbor, pored over together at the kitchen table or the school library. And even once the book itself has aged to tatters, a particularly fine book lives on in the minds, eyes and hands of those who loved it, who remember turning its pages and experiencing the world it invited them into every time they opened the cover.  

After more than a year of good, hard labor, to see Flight of the Mind come to into the world, clothed in paper and ink is akin to the birth of a long-awaited beloved child. So we invite you to celebrate with us! Raise a glass to Flight of the Mind. And join us on this blog as we announce the pre-ordering details in the coming days, so that you can move beyond this blog, and hold our hard-won and well-loved work in your hands.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Why Marcus' Life Is Really Big News

Opening shot from Dellinger's story.
Derek Dellinger met Marcus and Anne about three years ago in Florida. He immediately saw the makings of a great story, heroic and inspiring enough to be broadcast and shared with people everywhere. At the time he worked for a news station in Florida, so he pitched the story of the Thomas' creative odyssey. But the station turned the story down. The housing market was crashing, the economy had tanked, unemployment was rampant, and there didn't seem to be much time and space for a story about a man and a woman who defied tremendous odds and accomplished herculean tasks to make art.

We all know that most of the news of our time and place is bad. Horrific, in fact. Right before I began to write this, I read the latest headlines. I had to look away in sick despair, and it's a good thing I did, because in that instant, I caught sight of a goldfinch lighting on the birch tree outside my window. The news is bad, but we don't have to confine ourselves to that reality; bad news is not the whole story. Marcus and Anne know this truth. Marcus' life flies in the face of bad news and as such, becomes really big news.

Mr. Dellinger knows this truth too.

Painting a frigate bird - a still from the story.
When the Florida station turned down his story, he didn't give up. When he moved to Greenville, South Carolina and began work as a correspondent at FOX Carolina, he looked up Marcus and Anne with the idea of pitching the story again. This time, the story took hold, came before the right eyes and hearts, and it aired last week.

We want to thank Derek Dellinger for knowing a good story when he meets it and for telling this story in such a fine, intelligent and sensitive way. Here it is for all to see and share (click the link below). Tell your friends; there is good news.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Flight of the Mind: The Multimedia Experience

Bob and Marcus in the recording studio.
Happy Independence Day to all. I am realizing this holiday was more fun when I was a child, a little more innocent and a lot more impressionable. These days, the fireworks I like best are of the mental, spiritual and creative sort.

Here in our camp, independence and freedom are treasures never to be taken lightly! Because of Marcus and Anne's determination to live independently after the accident, they embraced the creativity of the artist's life and have some metaphorical fireworks of their own to show for it. Marcus' personal quest for freedom led him straight to the realm of imagination realized in color and paint. And that's certainly something to celebrate.

Leslee reading the text.
We also have some fireworks up our sleeves (sounds dangerous!) of the multimedia variety, and this experience is sure to elicit 'oohs' and 'aahs.' As part of the offerings that come with the book, Flight of the Mind: A Painter's Journey through Paralysis, we've been working on a Flight of the Mind DVD, full of additional material and exclusive interviews with the artist, and an audio-book recording of the narrative text. Both of these broaden our reach and make a full experience of the work available to all.

We've recently completed the audiobook, recorded at ProComm studios in Fletcher, NC, by Bob Peck. Bob is also the mastermind behind the DVD portion of the project, and you can read about some of our early shoots here. Founder of Asheville Multimedia, Bob does good work bringing ideas to life with all the audiovisual arts at his disposal. Today's excerpt is courtesy of Bob and Asheville Multimedia, the first bit (a little teaser!) of the book, read by me, the author.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy Anniversary, How Time Flies!

The month of June, which is fleeting and nearly past us, marks the one-year anniversary of the collaboration between Marcus, Anne and myself as writer of the narrative text of Flight of the Mind. It has been a magical year of lovely conversation and exciting creative work. A passage from the chapter, "Timing" reads as a nice anthem for this occasion and the promise of things to come:

The art of timing is subtle. But we all know when we've been blessed by virtue of being at the right place at the right time, with the right person. Timing, maybe even ore than mere time, is also inter-relational and gives birth to moments that have the quality of eternity - moments that can last forever.  . . . "You start with small ideas. You sell calendars door to door and work your way up to writing a book," Anne's vision for the future is as vivid as one of Marcus' painting. "We want people to understand that against all odds, great achievements can be made.

It is also the anniversary of the book's signature image, emblem and prevailing metaphor: How Time Flies with its rowdy raven and the artist's eye gazing out from the stolen pocketwatch. One year ago this month, the first sketches took shape, emerging out of the blue depths of Marcus' imagination.

We've also been blogging about our thoughts, dreams and progress on the book for a full year now, and on the anniversary of a retrospective, it's good to look back. The blog is representative of some of our best work and conversations, and it served as a testing space for many sections of the book. From reflection on the nature of time, to the nature of art, from poetry, to philosophy, to the labor of love all good work requires, we've had the time of our lives on this adventure!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Truth in a Mask: Conclusion

Production of Flight of the Mind continues to soar and we will treat our readers to another excerpt later this week. In the meantime, exciting news has come from the Denver Hospice Mask Project. 

Every two years, the Denver Hospice solicits masks designed by celebrities, authors, artists, musicians and local personalities. Read about this year's fascinating array of masks here.  In the spring, the masks are auctioned off online and in Denver. All the money goes to the hospice to make compassionate care-taking accessible to families whose loved ones are nearing death. 

Marcus' mask, an interpretive rendition of the painting, How Time Flies, brought in a good amount to go towards helping make end-of-life care and comfort a reality for many people. So many of the masks were astonishing, and the whole endeavor shows a bright and hopeful face, a testament to what can happen when creative people come together for a cause. Visit the Mask Project site to see a showcase of these faces, all true and beautiful.

Read about Marcus' mask in our entry, The Mask Revealed. For curious minds, who want to see the process of creation, read our post, Beauty and Truth in a Mask.   

Stay tuned and subscribe to this blog for more (and more frequent as the completion nears) updates and excerpts of the book, Flight of the Mind: An Artist's Journey through Paralysis

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Cover . . . Uncovered

Drumroll, please. We are proud to present the beautifully designed cover of Flight of the Mind. You will probably recognize the cover from Marcus's magical interpretation, "How Time Flies." We think the raven soaring into the deep blue sky trailing a stolen pocket watch is the perfect emblem for this artist's life. But the watch is no ordinary timepiece. The face of the watch is the artist's eye, weeping the dear, well-used tools of a lifetime of creative work. A feather wafts above the fray, followed by piece of parchment, with the artist's wish, dream and intimate knowledge of time. "It's a message," says Marcus, "we can all put our minds around."

An entire chapter of the forthcoming book is devoted to the creation of this piece. It begins with a quote from Poe's seminal poem: "Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore." The following is an excerpt to tease out your own reflection on the rough and ready tumble of the time of our lives.

In his mind's eye, Marcus knew the colors he would use - black, blue and gold, colors he relishes. The elements appeared complete in his vision: the raven and a golden pocket watch. And the narrative thrust was clear: "The vision of the raven flying away with, or stealing, my pocket watch was a perfect representation of my deepest frustration with the flashing speed at which my life is moving." When asked why, of all birds, he chose the raven, Marcus's smile betrays his intimate knowledge of a bird that haunts heroes and poets alike. "The raven is reality - a worthy adversary who deserves all the respect we can muster."

We hate to rush time, of course, but are counting down the days to October, when the book will be launched. Check back soon for information on how you can pre-order the book, and sign up on Marcus and Anne's email list to get preferred customer pricing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A new page every day

Bet you didn't know Marcus could levitate.
It's mid-Spring, when the whole world is under the spell of the May Queen. In the spirit of all things mercurial, it's time to tease our faithful readers with glimpses of the forthcoming book, aptly named: Flight of the Mind . . . We are cruising through the design of the book, captioning pictures, choosing pull-out quotes, dotting our i's and crossing our t's. The cover has been designed and we've secured some stellar endorsements. The book website is in the works, and the presses are warming up.

On this forum, we'll reveal a glimpse at a time. For today, an enticing quote, that describes Marcus's painting, the work of art that is this book, and you, dear reader:

“People are trying to engage,” says Marcus when asked about audience reaction to his work.  “You make quality paintings and love them yourself first. Each is an extension of me, not just a product.  That intimate connection radiates outward. People want something to engage with, so give it all you got, and if you love the work you create, then somebody’s going to catch on.  People catch on fast.” 

Catch us here, now.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

New Moon Masks

Masthead for The Mask Project
Here we are again at the new moon, and the Denver Hospice Mast Project is in full swing. From now until mid-May you can bid online for over 400 masks created by artists, celebrities and local Denver, CO movers and shakers. All the proceeds from this bi-annual benefit go to Denver Hospice to aid their mission of providing end-of-life care that "encircles those facing advanced illness with unprecedented levels of comfort, compassion and expertise."

A visit to the auction site reveals an astonishing array of masks - from funny, to lovely, to seriously odd - a virtual catalogue of expressions, all valid responses to the human condition! You'll find masks by artists and well-known personalities, such as David Sedaris, Sarah McLachlan, Kevin Nealon, Paul Simon, The Manhattan Project, and the entire cast of The Office, just to name a few! Marcus created a mask to donate and we documented his process over the course of a moon cycle in the last several blogs. See his creation here.

Visit the site and tell us about your favorites. It's a perfect activity for the new moon as we all face the season ahead, fascinated and ready to be astonished.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The mask revealed

The finished mask.
This weekend has been earmarked since the beginning of the year as one for sacred celebration. The first full moon after the spring equinox, known as the paschal moon, marks the Jewish observance of Passover. And the Christian holiday of Easter is always on the Sunday following the paschal moon.

And what a moon! On Friday night, we saw the moon rise above the French Broad river and the pale golden light on the water looked like a pathway into worlds beyond the imagination. All the dogwood blossoms unfurled this week, to receive the moon's clean light and glow from within. And all weekend long when the apple trees shed their blossoms into the wind and sunlight, one could almost imagine flecks of moon dust sifting down to glitter every leaf and blade of grass.

As the moon revealed her full face, Marcus completed the mask for the Denver Mask project. Following the raven from How Time Flies, the mask reveals a world beyond imagination, a world the paschal moon coaxes us into believing. Along the planes of a human face, the raven disappears beyond the ridge of the left eye, into a scene of grand calm and flowing beauty. The watch, embodied in the right eye, trails along. And the eye that inhabits the watch is astonished. The face of the mask is about to fold in on itself and reveal everything in one fell swoop.

Just as the paschal moon wakes us up to the sacred celebrations of spring, the full face of Marcus's mask can wake us up to a world beyond imagination that glows as if lit from within.

We might all see something different when we look up at the full moon. I see a woman's face, and she appears to be singing. Some people see a rabbit; some see the man in the moon, some see blue cheese, some see different things in different seasons. The same is true of Marcus's mask. What do you see when you look the mask in the eye? You are welcome to share your thoughts below.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A book, a bottle and a toast!

The Biltmore Estate has announced the winner of the wine label contest. . .
Out of nine fine designs, the winner was Marcus's creation, Biltmore Winter.

Visit the Biltmore Estate site to see the ranking and official announcement.

Visit our post about Marcus's idea behind Biltmore Winter.

Here's what Marcus and Anne have to say about the matter:

What a joy to report Biltmore Estate wine label success!
Biltmore Winter will be the 2012 Christmas wine LABEL!
This victory that would not have been achieved without the enormous networking effort generously provided by an overwhelming amount of people, family, friends and friends of friends. The networking puzzle is an intricate process that generated the energy to achieve the impossible.
Sincere thanks to everyone who shared the passion.
Hugs, handshakes and a hearty toast.....
Marcus, Anne

The book Flight of the Mind will be available by the time Biltmore releases their Christmas wine in the late summer/early autumn. There's talk of "A Book and a Bottle" launch. Check back for more details on the festivities as we finish up work on the book and raise a glass to the impossible possibility!