Perfectly imperfect

This is my way of procrastinating. I have every intention of starting a new novel that’s been churning around in my head for a while, and I started working on a book of inspirational prose and poetry entitled, Echoes. And then stopped.

But I digress. This is about filling one’s time in the age of COVID. Lower case or uppercase? Depends on how pissed off I am when I’m typing the word. The restrictions caused by this pandemic keep loved ones from being with the people they need most – family. It makes me crazy, and yet… I know people in medical care of any kind are more vulnerable and I do not want my dear one to be exposed to the virus, so not being with him is in his best interest… I guess. I feel as though I am in isolation as well, which is ridiculous. I can – and do – get out and about, but life isn’t the same without him by my side. Enough of that!


And back to the topic. I’ve been doing other things to occupy my time, instead of writing. Well, not really, if you follow this blog you know I write now and then, essays and poems, and about local folks and how they are coping with Covid-19. But some of what I’ve been up to has nothing to do with writing at all: keeping my potted plants alive in this dry, dry weather; trimming the indoor plants so my patio doesn’t turn into a jungle; cleaning closets; working with Patti Romero and Susie Tsyitee (and now Mary Rose Henssler) in the development of the Las Vegas Literary Salon series of events for writers and readers; church committees and projects… and a real departure for me, painting furniture. I was inspired by Juli Salman and Angela Meron who are WAY better at this than I am, but it was something to do and I wanted to try it out. I’m also dabbling in watercolor, but we won’t go there. I’m a little heavy-handed with the brush.

Anyway, the table belonged to Bob’s mom. It has been painted and repainted a number of times. I suspect there is decent wood under all the layers, but I decided to give it a bit of flair, with what I consider to be a fairly decent result. It is perfectly imperfect in every possible way. Close inspection will reveal some quirks and mishaps, but I consider these to be marks of unintended panache.

The table has gone from being functional as a plant stand to being… I don’t know what the heck! Anyway, the table has been transformed and my writing is waiting in the wings. My book, Echoes is taking shape; I just need to get back to it. I’m writing a review of Ray John de Aragon’s latest publication, Eerie New Mexico, and will have an interview with him on my blog sometime next week. This is in advance of his spot as a guest on the Las Vegas Literary Salon’s Zoom A Visit With the Author, Sept. 27 from 4-5 p.m. And yes, this is an invitation to register and be in the virtual audience. Go to to register. Type September Salon in the subject line.


Back to the table. I really enjoyed working on this piece. It took me about a week, not counting the drying time between coats of shellac. And it fired up my brain with writing ideas, so in terms of writing, it was not a complete loss. (Smiley Face Here!) Mostly it energized my flagging spirit. When you have a family member (in my case members) dealing with illness and you can’t be there physically, it does drain you and whittles away at your resolve to be upright and bright. You know what I’m talking about; having a positive attitude goes only so far when the control you thought you had is taken away. Covid-19 did that to many of us. Ask any business person, health care practitioner, those who have lost a jobs… You get it. You know what it means.

What the perfectly imperfect table did for me is help me remember that I’m not the sum of current circumstances; I am someone who knows that defeat is the end game only if I let it be. I have a choice every day to use what God gave me and make the most of it. So, back to writing and back to being creative in the best way I know how. I’m not the bubble gum pink table, I’m the bright new-looking one with something to say. I hope. Anyway, I will be doing it in my perfectly imperfect way.

Thank you for being a reader/subscriber. It is my goal to present informative, interesting and creative content on this site. Your likes, shares and comments are welcomed and hugely appreciated. I am an indie author of six books and two chap books of poetry. Check the BOOKS tab to find out more. Follow me at,, Amazon Author Central. I frequently write about my town, Las Vegas, N.M. Occasionally I use interesting and helpful content from other sources. I also invite guest posts. If you have a topic you would like to share, send to fsharon@msn. com.

Painting With Brush Strokes & Words

Dwelling PlaceNew Mexico award winning artist, Linda Wooten-Green is a painter of Landscapes, Portraits, etc., with a contemporary abstracted point of view. Her work is in public and private collections throughout the United States.

She received an MS in Art Education from Wayne State University in Wayne, Nebraska. She has done graduate work in Studio Art, Art History, and Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Minnesota, Duluth, University of Guadalajara, Mexico, and Hartwick College, New York. She received a BFA from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

She was an Art Teacher, Chairperson of the Fine & Performing Arts at West Point Public Schools in West Point, Nebraska for 17 years, and has been exhibiting her work in solo and group exhibits throughout the country for 36 years. Bio provided by the artist

Q. You have two quotes on your website about landscape and the earth. Talk about how and why you are influenced/inspired by natural settings.
The primary purpose of my landscape work is to give homage to the places and spaces in which we dwell. As much as I like people, and the excitement of city life, there is a very real desire in me for solitude and the need to feel a kind of kinship with the natural landscape. Using paint, I delight in exploring movement, shape, pattern, form, and color in nature amid seasonal changes.

For example, a twisted, somewhat deformed cottonwood tree (featured image) becomes a metaphor for the struggle to live, survive and offer shade and shelter to a myriad of living species. My layers of painted, scrubbed, and glazed surfaces express my own explorations in rendering what this painted living object might evoke emotionally, spiritually, and aesthetically. My personal search for meaning uses the creative processes inherent in making paintings that allow me to explore who I am, what I mean, and what I feel.

We are the landscape of all we have seen. (Isamu Noguche)

If I pollute the earth, the land, the water, etc., either personally or through corporate collusion, I ultimately destroy healthy life on this planet for myself and future generations.

Q. When did you decide to become and artist, or is it a calling?
I wanted to be an artist from the time I was old enough to hold a pencil or a crayon. I’ve always liked to draw. I looked forward to Friday afternoon “art” class in the 1st Grade. Poetry and literature were areas of study I’ve treasured as well. Words portray imagery through the mind’s eye.

I can truly claim that I have done “art” at some level throughout my life. For nearly 20 years, I taught art (history and processes) at the junior and senior high levels, as well as at adult level workshops. If one chooses to respond to an inner need in a visual manner, then I believe that one is “called” to do so.

Q. I noticed you have poetry paired with some of your paintings. Talk about why and how words and art express emotions in different but complimentary ways.
Most days, I spend time in my studio working on paintings or projects. Recent autumn trips to Bosque del Apache in Southern New Mexico became an inspiration for new paintings, as well as the enjoyment and appreciation of unusual yucca plant forms in a friend’s garden. The discovery of a fishing lake near Albuquerque led to the appreciation of exquisite water lilies that danced across the water like spiraling ballerinas on reflective surfaces. I use tools at my disposal: oil pastels, charcoal, and cameras to record via plein aire, and through photograph images used to inspire creative work. I continually read about both historical and contemporary art and artists.

An example: Looking southwest from my studio window, I contemplate the olive tree bordering the acequia and the empty field beyond.

Dwelling Place

 The ancient Olive tree stands sentry
a minutes march from my studio window.
Its gray green branches reflect myriad glints
of bronze and silver,
as light changes course across the arc of the day.
Whitened limbs bend and bow,
breezes play with flickering leaves.
The tree’s sturdy rootedness and easy flexibility
amid wind shifts and weather changes
leave daily grace notes —
reminders of my aging body
within nature’s landscapes.
The tree’s shapes and patterns and range of motion
offer an edge of awed silence
and wonder at movement and form —
A sense of sacred presence.
A Dwelling Place.

Linda Wooten-Green

The tree becomes a metaphor for my own aging body and in turn a deeper appreciation for the gift of life, at any age. The painting of the same tree is an abstracted way, though inspired by the olive tree, gives way to a kind of metaphoric sunset experience. The tree inspires word with an emotional twinge with references to age, flexibility, and weather changes, as well as being a metaphor for my own feelings.

The painting of the tree suggests, hopefully, the sunset time of life, silver flickering leaves in changing life situations with light and color.

Q. What artists do you most identify with and why?
I admire and appreciate the work of so many artists, both historically and in contemporary life, that I hesitate to name them. The “breakthrough” work of Paul Cezanne and his recognition and response to patterned forms in his Mont Sainte-Victoire paintings; the impressionistic landscape work of Claude Monet; the early 20th Century work of Georgia O’Keefe and Charles Burchfield; the abstracted landscapes of Richard Diebenkorn, and the landscapes of Fairfield Porter.

Q. What’s your strongest memory of your childhood that shaped you as an artist?
I treasure the gentle support of both my parents. My mother loved to see me sitting at the dining room table working on drawings. I also recall a large print above the living room sofa of a pastoral rural scene featuring grazing cows in a serene setting. I could look at the scene and create an imaginary narrative about it.

Q. What do you most want people to know about you as an artist?
I want people to appreciate the beauty, health, and fragile sustainability of the earth as a living organism. If one truly loves the land, and that which grows and depends on the land for survival, then anything that poisons the land, renders and threatens animal life toward extinction, should not be tolerated.

Q. If you could go anywhere and paint anything, what would you choose, and why?
If I could go anywhere and paint anything? What a difficult question! At present, I would hope to visit and spend time working in Costa Rica, and perhaps Ecuador, for the sheer multitude of temperate zones and array of wildlife dependent on the zones available in those countries.

Q. You will have a show at the Plaza April 1-May 31. How do you select pieces from your body of work when you mount an exhibit?
The Plaza show at present is in the vestibule bordering the ballroom: April 1-May 31. The work in this exhibit represents scenes of abstracted landscapes of the Southwest. The pieces are generally done as part of a series in a similar style and motif.

Q. What are you most proud of as an artist, and why?
In 2001-2002, I painted a series of rural images in the Midwest area (Iowa/Nebraska) that represented areas of the landscape suffering from the Farm Crisis. My husband Ron (a writer) had been working on a well-researched manuscript dealing with chemical contamination of water and soil, connecting this practice with the eventual sickness and death of young women diagnosed with cancer.

My work for this project consisted of about a dozen rural scenes. The images were interspersed with my husband’s narratives from his manuscript on the subject. The exhibit was featured at several galleries and health center in the Midwest. It was also featured through the Nebraska Arts Council at the Governor’s Mansion in Lincoln, Nebraska for a month.

The exhibit at the Plaza Hotel is an open venue available for viewing throughout the day. For more information about the artist and her work go to

The exhibits at the Plaza are part of the Las Vegas Arts Council and Plaza Hotel ongoing partnership to support and promote the arts and artists of Las Vegas and the area.

Artistic Adventure

Artists at WorkNote: I don’t have names of the people in these photos, but they were having as much fun as we were at the “Wine and Paint” event held on Saturday at the El Fidel Restaurant. Lots of interpretations and lots of laughs.

More years ago than I want to remember I took painting lessons. I gave up because I could tell right away that “great artist” wasn’t something anyone would ever call me. Not even “mediocre artist.” Bob, who was far more talented than me, took lessons as well, back when he was in the Army. He should have stuck with it, but that whole thing of being an optometrist got in the way. He concentrated on his patients and didn’t pick up a paint brush again until recently, when he started taking lessons from gifted artist Duffy Peterson.

So, along comes this thing called “Wine and Paint,” a fund raiser for the Media Arts Club at Highlands. It looked like fun and a neat way to support a worthwhile organization. And it was something we could do together. So we paid the very small fee ($35 per person with all the supplies provided), and entered into “Wine and Paint,” with a boatload of trepidation. Would every one there be a really good artist? How would it work? Would we be the only “mature” (okay, old) people there?

From the minute we arrived our concerns disappeared like a bad painting under a thick coat of gesso.

It was just plain fun. We were the only – ahem – older folks there, but the HU students and one HU prof and his wife made up a congenial group.

The cat's meowWe found out pretty quickly the instructions were simple; the application perhaps not so much, but it was fun anyway. We laughed. We complimented each other. We ordered wine and food. We painted. We laughed.

The El Fidel Restaurant staff members were gracious and the food was yummy. Not every one ate. Bob and I had the fondue with bread and apples. It was fantastic! The wine and food where not part of the fee, but all in all, it was an evening of entertainment for very little cost.

We learned two important lessons (or at least I did, Bob probably already knew both): water is your friend, and you write with your wrist, you paint with you elbow. Okay, if you don’t get it, all I can say is you had to be there.

In the end we all came up with a variation on the painting we were recreating, or interpreting. One person who said she didn’t much like cats, painted stylized flowers using the color palette provided. Another did gargoyles.

Bob said his cats looked like they’d been out all night and had a time of it. I said we should title the painting, “We might look like we’ve been in a cat fight, but we won!” I have to say his cats and my cats sort of resemble us. His were thin and scrappy, mine – umm – plump and complacent.

We asked Angela Meron, the instructor and an assistant professor in Media Arts at Highlands, to let us know when the club has another event. We want to be there.

This is not thWine and Painte only paint-a-painting in a single session opportunity in Las Vegas. Melody Perez of Running Horses Studio has a similar program. Paint Out is designed for beginners and first time painters, with full instruction and all materials supplied. To find out more about Melody’s great opportunities  check out her website at We will likely do one of her classes soon.

For us, the main thing is to enjoy life, and this painting thing is one way to do it. Now we have two – hmmm – rather interesting paintings to show for our experience, and you know what? Every time we look at them, we smile.