Each day I practice. Sometimes until my skin vibrates. Then I rest and review. Often, the lines I am stitching reveal an inner dialog that is not exactly sunny in its disposition.

How to turn that around? Is the moon more mysterious than the sun in its power? Do my thoughts turn to darkness because of a natural inclination to pessimism? Are my observations tinted by the dismal current of events that churn away on our media channels every day? Bobbing along with the current can often yield surprising results. I avoid the saccharine but couldn't I just maybe find a little joy in the way I look at things?

Maybe it will take a little more practice.

seeking solace

I took this picture a few years ago. It speaks to my yearning for a community that gathers with compassion. Meeting on the town square used to be a way of sharing good news and consoling those with bad news. We would keep tabs on the latest births and nod in agreement at how difficult life can be. Lending a hand if need be. Touching each other with soft embraces.

Umbrella gathering, Paula Kovarik

Today the town square has been replaced by media channels that shout about our differences and post horrific news via 140 character soundbites. Even the weather channel is now called the Severe Weather Center. Our communications have been reduced to photos with captions, videos with click bait and two-thumbed typing with hashtags. Essayists have difficulty getting published because so many publications are being gobbled up and shut down by the mega corps. Our newspaper in Memphis is now going to be produced in Nashville. How can we possibly get a feel for community that way?

Dizzy, Secret Life of Stones, Paula Kovarik

And don't even get me started on the politicians who seem to revel in fear.

Propaganda, Secret Life of Stones, Paula Kovarik

Shelter, Secret Life of Stones, Paula Kovarik

How do we stop it? How do we get back to the slow consideration of each other? Can we remember that differences add texture and depth?

Secret Life of Stones, the back, Paula Kovarik

stone faces

Thirty stone stories. One at a time.

Love the smudge on the eye. I think I'll add more of that.

I'm using a raw canvas on this piece and double batting. The texture is amplified because of it.

Adding details by hand gives more character to the stones. My fingers are sore.

Each panel has its own story. The background texture is a wavy line. I used black thread in the bobbin to reinforce the little black dots that connect the lines.

Each panel has its own story. The background texture is a wavy line. I used black thread in the bobbin to reinforce the little black dots that connect the lines.

I started this piece without a backing fabric. And I am not tying and knotting the threads. The back is pretty dang amazing. Maybe I need to add more of this texture to the front too.

child's eyes

Over and over again I am reminded that awe is the realm of wonder. Children take us there. Leaping into the unknown is their only choice. They've never been here before.

Fountain child, Paula Kovarik

My piece, Pollinators, was accepted into the Delta Arts Exhibition in Little Rock this year.

This week I went to the Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock to see my piece, Pollinators. I had the double delight of seeing an exhibition of children's artwork in the reception hall. I was awestruck.

These children have a raw sense of composition, color and energy that is unmatched. Their spontaneity and eager mark making make the art in the other rooms look like they are napping. Kudos to their teachers who must be standing by with pride and joy.

The Weird Girl by Camden Wells, first grade

Monster by Roman Serfaty, first grade

I wish I could publish all of the pieces I saw that day. They bring joy and wonder to a day filled with heartbreaking national news. If only we could channel that child-mind to our understanding of life every day. If only we could turn the course of violence into orange monsters that can be contained on sheets of newsprint. If only we could protect these innocents so that we can learn from them. If only we could see that life is joy and wonder.

And awe.

Sliding with abandon.