Creative talent finds its way through and to those who wish to see it every day. I have to share, in my many years of writing this column, that I see kind, creative gestures offered up as free as the air we breath. I know the intentions behind these acts of sharing are not always completely selfless, as we all need a little attention. But they are gifted inspirational moments nonetheless and can be often delivered exactly right when needed, like a dose of medicine. With all the political slamming and bickering that goes on inside the beltway and filters its way through our society, FaceBook has its local rockstars of creative gifts. Some are presented as words or poems, others as video clips, but most by ageless photographs. They offer up a world of peace in the face of bitterness. Please allow me to name a few.

Dorothy Kray is a local photographer whose photographs just plain make me happy. Her Facebook posts often show foxes, which I love, but nature overall, and life in the country are her predominant themes. Her macro photography is stunning. As an artist, I see a strong composition and narrative. She never misses even the simplest of the stories. You won’t find snapshots, but rather a message of how simple things can be grand. If you are lucky enough to be her friend on FaceBook, just a handful of postings will prove my point. Her photography overall is a breath of fresh air. It is artful and connects with me, as I’m sure her FaceBook friends will agree.

The same can be said of Mark Deane, another inspirational Piedmont photographer. Mark goes more for the landscape approach, and I have to admit, I feel the same essence with his work that I do in my paintings. I see his photos on FaceBook and get a strong sense of place. Sometimes you just need a solid reminder of this jewel of the Old Dominion, and Mark’s posts wonderfully deliver this. Look at the light in his photographs, and you’ll see more than luck in his use of it. Most often, you’ll see the proper harnessing of energy and the right balance of contrast.

Gomer Pyles is a rough around the edges, an authentic soul who doesn’t flinch from speaking his mind, but he’s an avid shutter-bug. We once happily found that we toted around the same camera. Gomer often presents his work on FaceBook as being “Along the path to a client’s farm.” and you can quickly tell his passionate connection for every path he takes. His wealth can be measured with mouth-watering images of the Piedmont, humorous vegetables artfully placed portrait style on the hood of his old car (now turned planter), and snapshots of creative types being creative.

David Hazard is a writer and writing coach, but he presents himself on FaceBook as an inspirer for harmonious thoughts and messages. Sometimes we all need a bit of grounded thinking and perhaps more now than ever. But David puts himself out there, bearing himself is often the most vulnerable ways to share personal pain and growth. Anyone can play tough, but we all have our broken spots. David presents himself by saying it’s okay. In my view, that is its form of toughness. 

Tom Switzer’s FaceBook posts, as one might imagine, come in on wings of compassion. As a music therapist, Tom believes even one note is the beginning of something special in the healing process, and one song can be life-changing. I could go on, but expect a lot of kindness delivered mostly in one-minute clips!

Last I mention artist Marci Nadler. With Marci’s posts, you’ll find a bit of everything, from her paintings to photography to humorous tidbits. But I mention her mostly because she’s a person who thinks just about everyone else’s well being and needs before her own. What she share’s, especially for creative types, is real agenda-less sharing, other than the hope that we all benefit. That’s powerful medicine!

There are, of course, others! Those who brighten our days and each contribute to our wellbeing. I hope I have been one to have done so throughout the years.

Live An Artful Life, Tom

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