When Katie Wakes

Connie May Fowler

When Katie Wakes

The daughter and grand-daughter of battered women, Fowler found herself irresistibly drawn to a man who was bent on destroying her, physically and emotionally. Despite her youth, spirit, education, and wonderful talent, she was trapped in a cycle of violence and despair with no way out. Until the day she adopted an incredible puppy she named Kateland.

- From Goodreads

- More about Author Connie May Fowler


La Citadelle Freedom

Augusta Savage

Augusta Savage La Citadelle Freedom

Born in the south before women had the right to vote and decades before civil rights for African Americans, Augusta Savage (1892 – 1962) remains a celebrated American arist.  She survived poverty, criticism and discrimination to become a nationally renowned sculptor.  Her talent was recognized when she was young and as early as high school, Augusta began teaching art to others.  Some of her students also became widely known.  When she was denied admittance to a program abroad because of her race, and then again due to lack of funds, her peers and community contributed for her to attend art school in Paris.  She repaid the favor in the creation of such works as La Citadelle Freedom and The Harp.

Learn more about Augusta Savage

Healing Quote of the Day

Freedom Graffiti by Tammam Azzam: Klimt’s The Kiss superimposed over a destroyed Syrian building

“The world is not respectable; it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever; but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter; and in these, the spirit blooms timidly, and struggles to the light amid the thorns.”

-Philosopher and Writer George Santayana

-Submitted by Lauren Roedy

The Voice

Eimear Quinn

I am the voice of the past that will always be
Filled with my sorrow and blood in my fields
I am the voice of the future
Bring me your peace, bring me your peace
And my wounds they will heal
I am the voice in the wind and the pouring rain
I am the voice of your hunger and pain
I am the voice that always is calling you
I am the voice

-More music from Eimear Quinn

-Post by ShinyTune


Jimmy Stewart

A Poem for dog lovers.

Post by the Johnney Carson Youtube channel

Broken For You

Stephanie Kallos


Broken For You


When we meet septuagenarian Margaret Hughes, she is living alone in a mansion in Seattle with only a massive collection of valuable antiques for company. Enter Wanda Schultz, a young woman with a broken heart who has come west to search for her wayward boyfriend. Both women are guarding dark secrets and have spent many years building up protective armor against the outside world. As their tentative friendship evolves, the armor begins to fall away and Margaret opens her house to the younger woman. This launches a series of unanticipated events, leading Margaret to discover a way to redeem her cursed past, and Wanda to learn the true purpose of her cross-country journey. Both funny and heartbreaking, Broken for You is a testament to the saving graces of surrogate families and shows how far the tiniest repair jobs can go in righting the world’s wrongs.

-From Goodreads

-Visit Stephanie Kallos’ Website

Grand Dame

Kenojuak Ashevak

Grand Dame by Kenojuak Ashevak

Artist Kenojuak Ashevak lived most of her life in Camp Dorset, an Inuit community in the the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, Canada.  Married at 19, Kenojuak raised a large family.  But in the harsh life of this northern territory, some of her children did not reach adulthood.  She was the first woman involved in the Camp Dorset Printmaking studio and her work has received wide recognition throughout Canada and the rest of the world.  Kenojualk Ashevak died last month, at the age of 85.  She is remembered as a gifted artist with a spirit that was humble, grateful and full of joy.

More information and artwork by Kenojuak Ashevak


Is She Okay?

Dan Griffin

Daddy's Little Girl

Photo by Michael Smith


I did one thing I have never done before. I looked at Nancy, not knowing whether or not she was awake and I not-so-simply said, “Is she okay? I have been laying here afraid that something has happened to Grace.”


I was nineteen when my Aunt Eileen died. Sophomore in college. She had been sick for a long time. That was the Fall of 1991. Other than a babysitter who was tragically killed while crossing a busy street, it was my first real experience with death – and this time I was not only allowed to go to the funeral I was expected to be there. In the next six years I buried four more family members – Uncle (’93), Grandfather (’94), Father (’95), Grandmother (’97.) I am still not completely sure how that affected me. I will add to that two guys that I mentored in recovery dying of overdoses – two years apart. I got sober in ’94 so I was trying to figure out how the hell to be sober when my father got taken from me. Yes, taken from me – brutally by that cold-hearted assassin, John Barleycorn. So I have had my chess matches with Death and lost every one of them.

Then came life. Love and happiness slowly moved into my life and they have been putting down roots more and more every year. Sometimes it is harder to let Life in than to get used to living with Death, Loss, and Disappointment. But that’s an old story. A long tired old story.

This morning we woke up on our own. What is significant about that is that Grace did not wake us up. She has been our alarm clock since she was born. Every once in a while she will sleep longer than ten hours and past when Nancy has to get up to go to her at least Nine-to-Five gig. While we get to sleep and Grace gets to sleep as well there has always been one part of it that has been difficult for me.

You see when we wake up on our own and Grace has not come up to wake us up with her sing-songy, “Iz Way-cup tie-um” something inside of me thinks the worst. It is not a passing thought. It starts as a fear and slowly rises to panic. Most of the time I lay there with this going on inside of my head – and my body – with me fighting it and trying to use logic to combat something that cannot be fought by logic. My mind starts racing. I imagine going into her room and finding her unconscious. Maybe also taking it to the point of her funeral. Nancy and my marriage ending because it cannot bear the strain of the loss of such an incredibly precious gift.

Normally, I lay in bed and I fight it. I try to breathe through it. I try to trust that she is okay. She is just sleeping. And I lose. I always lose to the panic. Inevitably she coughs or wakes up and cries or comes upstairs full of piss and vinegar – but something always pushes the demons back into their dark corners. But I do not know that is going to happen. Not in the moment. It is a painful ten or thirty minutes depending on how long I am up. Nancy may be up and laying right next to me while I freefall through my deepest fears. Not surprisingly at some point later in that morning I may find myself getting into an argument with Nancy or being extra rigid with Grace – because I have never known what to do with all of that residual anxiety and panic and all of the adrenalin that comes with it.

But this morning was different.

I did one thing I have never done before. I looked at Nancy, not knowing whether or not she was awake and I not-so-simply said, “Is she okay? I have been laying here afraid that something has happened to Grace.” I gave words to it. I broke the silence. I killed the secret. Nancy slowly placed her hand on my stomach. “Oh honey, she’s just sleeping.” The thought had never occurred to Nancy. It just wasn’t even an option for her. She grabbed my hand and only a couple of minutes later we heard Grace’s cough. Then a few more coughs and then the sound of her little feet coming up the stairs to greet us with her loving smile. She was okay. She had always been okay.

-Reprinted with permission from InTheRooms Blog

-Dan Griffin is an addiction recovery consultant, counselor and an author.  He is the founder of Griffin Recovery Enterprises.

One Love

A Love Song for Valentines Day

-Song by Bob Marley

-Post by the Playing For Change Foundation, dedicated to connecting the world through music

Artist Liana Bennett

Artist Liana Bennett

Artist Liana Bennett



For all those years I used my art to earn a living, it was never just for the joy of it.  I worked for so many years doing what other people wanted me to do, it was like a slow death. So now, I don’t care if my work appeals to anyone. I do the subject matter I want and experiment with various processes and media.



Artist Liana Bennett was born to a Welsh father and an Italian mother in the town of Rhyl in northern Wales.  As a small child, she immigrated with her family to Ottawa Canada in 1952, and four years later settled in Los Angeles.  Liana’s artistic talents were noticed early on and she won awards during both junior high and high school.  During high school she received a scholarship for the Art Center College of Design and later earned a scholarship to attend Chouinard (now called California Institute of the Arts).

Throughout her adult life, Liana earned a living as a production artist and then as a commissioned portrait artist.  In 1983, searching for a better place to raise teen boys, she relocated to Washington state.  Two years later, she opened Arts Umbrella Studio in Bothell, where a variety of art instructors teach students from youth to adult.  Her family now raised, she is enjoying the freedom to fully explore her artistic muse.  She has been recognized as Artist of the Month by The Artist’s Magazine and is represented by Matzke Fine Art Gallery on Camano Island, Washington.

Liana, you have been creating art all your life. When did you first know you wanted to be an artist?

Cat's Cradle WomanI can’t remember a time that I didn’t draw. It was my identity for as long as I remember. I always felt like I was on the assembly line in heaven ready to go to earth and they forgot to throw in some left brain and over-poured on the right brain. I remember going up in front of my 2nd grade class and showing everyone how to draw a rabbit. I simply was an artist and it is so much a part of who I am. I have always been in the art field and really don’t know how to be anything else!

My father was artistically talented. He drew, acted, was on radio, had a beautiful singing voice (although the Welsh are known for that!) and played the piano. However, his creative soul was crushed by a tyrant father. When he found out my father was playing the piano (which was supposed to be only for his sisters) my grandfather smashed it. My father ultimately spent his life as a plasterer.

My mother was born and raised in Naples and hasn’t a creative bone in her body! I inherited my father’s talent for drawing and painting, and my sister and brother are extremely visual. My oldest son, Brendon, is the only one of my children to take after me as a visual artist, and he is also a writer.

How have you seen your craft evolve over the years?

I started working at 19 in a production art studio and did whatever they asked me to paint for 8 years. Then I went on to commissioned portrait work until I moved to Bothell in 1983.  I used Acrylic, gouache, tempera, almost strictly water media. In college a company called “Liquatex” gave us something called acrylics and off I went! I started teaching and demonstrating acrylics at 27 and continued until I came to Washington.

I married at 20 and had 2 children. My 1st husband joined a cult and that ended our marriage. I remarried at 27 and at 40 had a “surprise” who is now 26. During this time my children came first. How many fabulous women artists that chose their children as a first priority will never be known?

Man ReflectedFor all those years I used my art to earn a living, it was never just for the joy of it.  I worked for so many years doing what other people wanted me to do, it was like a slow death. So now, I don’t care if my work appeals to anyone. I do the subject matter I want and experiment with various processes and media.

I start my oil paintings with acrylic first, it allows me to be quick and gestural. Also it allows me to look for color ideas. It dries very quickly and I can go on to oils. Sometimes the acrylic is working so well, I’ll finish with it.

I believe drawing is the most important skill an artist can do to exercise their visual skills. It’s the practice before the game, the stretching before a run, so I regularly go to a figure drawing group. An artist’s drawing skills is like a litmus test for a representational artist. Most off my paintings are done from photographs. I bring a model in and take many pictures that I can use in different ways, or pose them in the way I need them for an idea. I work directly from my computer in my studio. Gone are the days of having to print out a photo and hope the color and detail will be good. I’ve had to bring wifi into my studio because so many students are painting from their iPads and computers!

What projects are most challenging to you?

The type of art that challenges me the most is the human form and it is the subject I paint the most. My paintings usually have a singular figure. I guess because I don’t want to take anything away from that individual personality. I did a series on women. My friend: an artist fighting a daily battle with colon cancer.  My daughter: the mother of 3 boys.  I represented her as any mother whose son has decided to go to war and must turn away from the boy and see the man, which is so painful. My sister-in-law: a survivor who grew up in LA where gangs were the way of life and who lost a brother to a gang shooting and two siblings to drugs and alcohol. My daughter-in-law: a mother who struggles to balance a personal life and children. The singular figure is so powerful by itself.

Man on a PostIn your interview for Artist’s Magazine, you described a visit to an art gallery as “nourishing”. Do you also find the process of creating art to be nourishing?

Art is nourishing to me, so much so that if I am unable to create I can go into a depression. The years of raising children were hard, but thank God that at the end of the day, creating was still something I could do!

How has being an instructor enriched your life as an artist and a person?

In 1985, through the generosity and encouragement of several friends, I opened Arts Umbrella Art Studio in Bothell,Washington. I never, for one minute, believed it would still be here 28 yrs later!

Being a teacher is so fulfilling!  ”To teach is to learn twice” is something another teacher told me many years ago. Having to guide other fellow artists has made my skills more grounded. Students are the most courageous people I know; willing to venture into areas that are so unknown to them, tackling subjects and persevering.  They amaze me. I can’t imagine not teaching. I have a huge group of artists I see every week. They nourish me, they are my friends, it’s my community.

Where do you go to find inspiration? What artists do you admire?

All good art totally amazes me, I love looking at it. It’s like eating the most decadent dessert, my mouth almost waters! There are so many artists expressing themselves in such individual ways with color, texture, forms and varied processes. I can’t imagine a world without this expression. I have Square and Circle Abstractfound something that opened my world of art: Pinterest. It enables me to see and be inspired by art from all over the world; an online cork board to collect art and artists. I used to cut out pictures from art magazines and this has totally replaced that.

In the area of abstract art, I have many artists who inspire me. Diebenkorn and Rothko are at the top of the list, but there are so many more.

What are your current and future projects?

I love doing abstract work. It is like an adventure to a land of your own making. I use acrylic and mixed media and start several at a time. I am currently exploring mixing the realistic figure and the abstract background.  I am in a gallery where the owner, Karla Matzke, is an artist and respects my constant artistic exploration.  I am so grateful for her.

Do you have a life philosophy?

In life, I try to be kind, look at each person with understanding and compassion, and have tolerance for our many foibles. Being an artist puts me in a world of fantastic people, I am grateful to be a part of this creative world. I will leave many paintings behind and maybe a small amount of fame. But it will be the time I took to raise kind human beings that will mean more in this world than the finest paintings I could paint.

Liana at Work

Liana, thank you for speaking to Healing Hamlet and for sharing your talent and the talents of other artists through your Arts Umbrella Studio.

Learn more about Liana Bennett on her website.

View Liana’s art at Matzke Fine Art Gallery.