Beth Markel

Does an April Birthday make one an April Fool?

Posted on April 7, 2013 by Beth Markel

Well the first week of April is in the history books, and for me, personally, it’s always a challenge.  My mother’s birthday would have been April 3rd, and she would have 88 years old.  My earliest memories include my mother handing me a small, spiral, memo pad she carried in her pocketbook, along with a box of 5 or 6 colored pencils she always had at the ready – when she needed my younger brother and me to entertain ourselves…sometimes in the grocery store, sometimes the very last seat (facing backwards) in our Ford Fairlane Station Wagon, and sometimes in church when Reverend Rogencamp began to drone. 

In the afternoons, my younger brother took naps, and I vividly recall sitting at our little-kid-size picnic table with a brand-spanking new, completely blank watercolor pad, and a new set of the five-and-dime watercolors with a black-handled brush.  The feeling I had was that ANYTHING was possible!  Both my mother and my Grandma Broyles always said I would be an artist, and looking back, I see they helped speak that reality into existence.  When my Dad got home from work, he would always praise whatever silly scribble or scene I had done, often changing the “art” on the front of our refrigerator.  It is amazing how words of either praise or discouragement can affect a child…or an adult.

So this week, I have continued to look for and catalogue “What inspires Me?” as part of a year-long expedition into creativity.  Here in Michigan it continues to be seriously gray, day after day, and downright chilly, 32° in the mornings, with one day last week breaking 55° – woot?  We had 2 mornings where the sun was out – I was so giddy, I cranked up some tunes and danced for 10 minutes…I’m finding joy in the simple things…and joy sparks my creativity!


Nino's Produce - Would these make good wine?

Nino’s Produce – Would these make good wine?




Granted, these images are radically different, but they both inspired me – on the same day, in fact – to keep working in a series.  Even when you have something as mundane as grocery shopping and running errands, you can contemplate what sparks your creativity.  Grapes are just grapes, until you look at the different color variations, hues, depth of color, saturation, gray or dusty highlights, the differences in size and shape, and ultimately what the different textures are between the grapes, the woody stems which are spring green, and the shadows or depth of field. 

Just Nail Polish - Nooo - Inspiration!

Just Nail Polish – Nooo – Inspiration!


 Yes, these are “just nail polish” to some, but they really caught my eye as I walked by.  The display made me REALLY stop and look.  The brights really jumped out at me, much like true brights do in my work.  The dark tops stood like little soldiers waiting for orders.  The more muted shades were necessary to balance the brights.  So…if you had a quilt that was all brights, even neon shades, while it would be wildly colorful, it would have no real depth, as there would be nothing that interesting for the eye to compare it to…OK, I have to go off and contemplate that now!

Happy Possibilities!




Kim W on April 7, 2013

YOU are an inspiration, Beth. Forever encouraging & up-lifting in your friendship & what you share with others. A rainbow or blessings to you from Ohio, dear friend.

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