Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Out of the Dark Came the Light - Features - 29/02/2012

Here in England spring hasn’t quite arrived yet. True, the days are longer and there is the odd sunny day, but mostly it is grey and dark, or at least so it feels to me. I am one of those people suffering from the lack of light in the winter and quite happily would I spend my days hidden in some cave until spring arrives once more.
Hence the theme for the features this week is leaving the dark behind and welcoming the light with open arms. However, to get to the light we are starting in the dark. Without the shadow the light would be nothing….

Starting off with our current Featured Artistif you haven’t checked her feature yet, please do – we begin with the eternal sleep; this so reminds me of Snow White and her poisoned sleep after eating the apple. There is beauty in the dark and no one shows it as well as Strawberries.

Silence speaks louder than words by © strawberries

This prose touched me deeply. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy, we trust that there will be a hero to rescue us, when all along this knight in shining armour hides somewhere else entirely.

Hero by © bjeliMis
Fear never leaves you. It just lies under your skin like inspiration, waiting for the opportune moment to slip into your eyes and show the mirror what you always are and always will be. A child. scared and wondering what’s going to happen and who’s going to do it. It always comes back, and when it does there is no more man there is only fear and the cover that holds it. You. You cannot hope to have people understand why fear looks the way it does in your eyes because it certainly looks different in another’s. That’s why the only person that can really save you is your own self. There is never going to be a knight in white armor. You must be the Knight, the sword, and the armor. And you must understand that you need to get broken and dirty and ugly to save the thing you instinctively find the most important. Yourself. Fear isn’t the enemy it’s the motive and you must be your own effector and savior.

We hide who we are, we keep silent about how we feel and we linger in the shadows….

she glued her lips together by © Isabela Lamuño

Worlds secreted away deep in the recesses of our mind shining and flowing when we dream.

Nocturnes By Xochiquetzal by © MoonlightLover
Painting nocturnes in the pale moonlight
On a balmy doggone night
Within me sits a winged child, white
like the brightness of snow
Holding a brush in a crossbow.
The liquid darkness sunsets before me
A guiding power of forces I cannot see
A storm sweeps across the canvas with the stroke of a brush
From jagged clouds, comes arrows of haste and lust.
Come quickly as the incuba of thought is like a dying comet,
Travelling so recklessly in my universal closet
Falling in love with you feels like dying unfulfilled
The mighty whirl of a orb so minuscule.
O just look at those unimaginable shapes!
Confined and cornered in a world it
cannot escape,
Over each other with a thousand motions
An intricate web of sound, tone and emotion.
The tempestous dawn came all too effortlessly
Amidst us our lurking vampires burn so majestically,
A prism of sunlight reveals an awful truth
A masterpiece of chaos, a picture of a misguided youth.

The memories, the hurts and the pain we experience weigh down our hearts and make it difficult to move on, but move on we must, because the world never stops and carries us on into the future, and how can we decide what this future will be if we don’t take part in shaping it?

Heavy Heart To Carry by © Heather King

What can I say? Where there’s life there’s hope….

A Heart Rejected by © Rhenastarr
Shadows lonely
Drift over her
Solemn form
Rain pounding the
World outside her window
Adds it’s chill
To a soul lost
And alone
Thunder rolls
Across her dazed
Dark and ominous
It echoes
A heart weakened
By an oppressive
Drape of sorrow
Beats a slow moving
A tempo of despair
The light that once
Illuminated her path
To love
Has dimmed,
It’s glow now an
Eerie presence
Against deceit’s
Winning hand
Felled and crippled
By the heavy weight
Of her now ever present
Doubt and recriminations
A figure of pathos
Huddles against the wall
Of heartbreak’s rigid
Eyes seek but do not find
Arms reach but do not find
A voice cries out for
Ears remain deaf to her
She feels the tug of
Withering once flourishing
Seeds of love
In a ruined garden of
In the deep valley of
Her wounded soul
Remains a fertile soil
Glowing softly
A glimmer of hope
To plant in the spring
Of her renewal
Tears of hope
Will water and germinate
The fragile seeds
Warmth will return to
A spirit disillusioned by
Love’s cruel game
There will be a new dawn
On a journey to recover
What lies beneath her
Wounded core
There within her
Quietly beating heart
And her still believing spirit
She will once again
Seek and find

How can you appreciate the light if you haven’t seen darkness; how can you be found if you haven’t been lost?

Perdu dans Paris by © Lissie Rustage

And so the journey into the light begins with a single step and the yearning to find what will make us whole.

Blind by the vision by © Sukhwinder Flora
Following the road ahead
Lies a hunter and a cave.
Picking up the broken thread
I try my best to find my way.
That you called
All the clouds of smoke and grey
Was all I needed
To make me make me human, once again
Strolling through the trees
I sense im not walking on my own
The mist conceals a meaning
Revealing the truth when i am gone
I thought i saw
With your open arms
It was only a shade
Of a thought that had drifted, once again
Lost in the fever
Of wanting to find you
My soul friend
Blind by the vision
Of knowing i will see you
Once again

Clad in clouds and mystery and the hope for light we soldier on.

cirrus dress by © Cynthia Lund Torroll

We search for signs of those who came before inside us and carve out our own path.

(Grand)ma by © Katie Leonatti
I gaze into the photo of those
Chocolate moon eyes that no
Longer reflect gauzy sunlight rays.
I never saw those moon eyes shine,
But I look for her in prism
Rainbows and neon geometric
Patterns everywhere.
I wonder if her handwriting drips
From my finger and saturates pages.
My arched P’s were extracted from
Someone’s fluorescent gene pool.
Did she create like I do, did
She envision paint jump from walls
To brush bristles
When the pen smacked the paper?
I gather photos of her the way
A mind hoards memories,
But these are scenes I was never
Perched in, I’ll never be part of.
Her arms were delicate ivory,
Altruistic limbs that will never
Shelter me.
Maple hair is curled like mine -
I see these ringlets
Shine like the moon.
What I like to believe is
She scans Earth through
Tattered cotton clouds to
Observe me,
And when I skipped across
The stage at graduation or
Eased a car into a tight parking
Space for the first time,
She beamed and
She held her breath
For just one moment.

We dream our dreams and sometimes like caterpillars they become butterflies and go out in the world to make it a better more beautiful place.

Dreaming in red by © Catrin Welz-Stein

Finally, here is the hope that what we do and who we are matters.

The eternal quest by © su2anne
Is who we are
What defines us?
Do our actions
Speak for themselves?
Is our future
Determined by our past?
And what of Humanity?
Is the collective
Greater than the individual?
Who loses most
When all is lost?
The path that we
Follow is
Choice itself.
It’s width
It’s length
Go on
Get through
Be brave
Be true
Listen to your
Embrace your
Intellect and your
Existence will
Make the world a
Better place and
Collectively the Will of
Many can be

Hopefully this brightened a dark and grey day and lead you all back to the light and creativity. Please tell the artists and writers featured here if you felt better for viewing or reading their work.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A Room of One's Own - Midweek Features - 21/02/2012

The features this week are inspired by Tammara’s beautiful image. Her description made me pause and consider the need for us all to have such a room, be it a physical space where we can create, a psychological space where we can allow our emotions to breathe and where we can rediscover our true selves, or even a virtual space where we can meet up with like-minded women and explore the many thoughts and feelings that we share. Without such spaces we are liable to feel isolated and thus become dependant on others for our psychological and emotional well being. So today, we make that space to consider who we are, what we are and what we want from our lives.

Here is Tammera’s description of her image which sets the scene for today’s features:
“In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf imagines that Shakespeare had a sister—a sister equal to Shakespeare in talent, and equal in genius, but whose legacy is radically different. This imaginary woman never writes a word and dies by her own hand, her genius unexpressed. If only she had found the means to create, argues Woolf, she would have reached the same heights as her immortal sibling. In this classic essay, she takes on the establishment, using her gift of language to dissect the world around her and give voice to those who are without. Her message is a simple one: women must have a fixed income and a room of their own in order to have the freedom to create.”

A ROOM OF ONE © by Tammera

A poem to bring a smile to our faces expressing sentiments that we can all relate to.

Yvo’s © by Cynthia Lund Torroll
Her room sings – okay – it does more than sing:
THAT PLACE HUMS. (And neighbors may say that it bellows.)
Its harmonics are tuned to her barometer.
There are bits of paper and fabric and sunflower seeds forming helixes over her head.
She dashes about it.
She leaves trails.
She gets out a flyswatter and bats bits away splattering energy onto the walls.
She jumps up.
Oh yes! In her undies, raccoon hat and striped knee-high socks she has JUST
created another masterpiece. Where’s my friggin camera?!
She speaks forever of straightening her studio.
Doesn’t she know yet
it’s all part of her art?

When we do not allow ourselves such spaces our dreams can become shattered.

Broken dreams….. © by Renate Dartois

Sometimes we just need to let go in order to find our true selves.

Will you… © by Su2anne
Each rib picked clean. A gnarled spine
Bent over. A spleen lost an age ago. I am
Grateful for the
Mange that is my hair. My
Disillusioned soul too
Restless for sleep. The
Scourge of
Hopelessness is upon me.
My sightless eyes
Peer out and see that
Nothing yet has
Changed. So I
A breath so foul
Steeped in self-pity utters forth
Ahhhh…”To have the
To climb.
To ascend
Into life’s abyss.
Now that takes a
Belly full of
Gaul with a
Touch of
So with a hapless sense of
Mirth. I figure “What’s there to lose?”
With a heave of reluctance I let go of the
Past and scramble out of
Black slime rank of things better left
Un-thought. I slough off yesteryear and
Shame mixed with glee I decide to have a go
And not a care…
Will you…

We need time to reflect on the consequences of allowing our dreams to fade away in our need to give out all that we have to other people.

the consequence © by strawberries

There is a price to pay for having the strength to discover ourselves, but here, the cost is worth it.

Definitions © by RC de Winter
It must be that our dictionaries differ
in more than just the binding round the spine.
Perhaps mine is an earlier edition
while yours is of a novel new design.
They could be printed each in different language
for all the similarities there be.
In mine the definitions are more constant,
yours bend to fit what circumstance you see.
I will not ask to borrow yours if ever
my volume should appear hopelessly lost.
I’d rather write a new one from my memory
than stoop to borrow yours to cut the cost.
And yes, my pages, printed small, are lengthy,
admitting no convenience to the now.
But better on the shelf, ignored, unopened,
than cheaply made and incomplete somehow.

Sometimes you just need a little spark to set you on the road to self discovery.
Marge Thompson

Resurrection © by Marg Thomson Photography & Fine Art

The greatest gift is allowing ourselves to be who we are.

you, yourself and you © by autumnwind
did you step into disappointment
an unwelcome collapse of color that maybe
made you uneasy
did you only imagine what you needed…
before you tried to rest your weary head
upon a pillow you assumed would
never burst like a rain cloud
how much can one absorb without release
how long does it take to fill up the sky
not very long…
or maybe a lifetime
go then…
climb the walls and fly
do not laden your wings
with darker things
that anchor
for I would rather die
than oppress
that which thrives
I have seen
the winds of change
beneath your expanse
it finds me still
beneath green and stone
in a field of heaven and dandelions
…soon to be the sparrow
it finds you still lovely as a rose
standing proud
blooming bright
in a crack between the pavement
cardinal red
and happiest perhaps…

Let's celebrate our new beginnings.

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”

I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day… © by ARIANA1985

We sometimes think that we have to be different from who we are, when the irony is that we just have to rediscover what was there all along.

So there! © by Su2anne
Insanity is it?
To not accept
WELL I don’t
Like mine at
So if I
Bring about change and
Become who I’m
Not. So what?
Sad can be
Glee. Mad can be
To do whatever
She wants!

So, make the space to pause awhile and catch your dreams.

Catch Your Dreams Today © by Heather King

Sometimes we need to give up what is safe and secure and grasp life with both hands.

Sometimes © by Maree Cardinale
To give up one’s extremes even with all its associated discomforts is untenable.
To exist in the glutinous comfort of what should be.
The confines of sameness.
Please, I’d rather live in what could be.
Exquisite, rather than nice.
Exquisite pleasure, even with its partner, the pain.
I don’t welcome, rather expect.
Don’t want, rather know.
Shades of grey are nice. But black and white are powerful entities.
Defeat to me is the act of not taking life by the throat. Defect in character.
Defeat in the lust for life. Defeat in being.
Blood. Pulse. My me.
I don’t want that. It’s unpalatable. Unthinkable. Impossible.
Did someone once ask ‘To be, or not to be?’
How could one choose not to be?
To deny, and deny, and deny.
Why, why, why?
I recognise the darkness, the searching
the never ending contest
I recognise the endless search
I know the serpent’s quest.
I feel the guilt of a good woman.
Knowing all this.
But as I am, and am also not, a good woman.
That not part of me is unquenchable.
And sometimes if I often feel like I’m running to stand still, well so be it.
To be taken somewhere else, totally away.
To be totally here, and nowhere else.
That is it!
Me soaring. Me roaring. Me igniting. Me
Seeing. Knowing. Knowing.
Who are ‘they’ to deny that?
I defy that!
I will pay the price if I have to.
You don’t scare me life.

The Art of Grace and Poise - Midweek Features -15/02/2012

Many—if not all—of the women who inspire me most are those who live a life that surpasses their circumstances. The kind of courageous and determined women who continuously rise above the things intended to defeat them, to weigh them down, or to snuff out their ambition and purpose. Whenever I feel like giving up and letting go, I’ll be reminded or made aware of one of these extraordinary women. What’s most inspiring about these women’s stories isn’t limited to their ability to simply overcome: what’s equally impressive is how they hold and carry themselves while they are enduring, as they are overcoming, and at times, even as they are being defeated by things beyond their control.

This week’s feature collection has been comprised of images and poetry that is reminiscent of this graceful endurance. The examples of dynamic and courageous women that adorn PPM’s gallery and writing forums are too many to include. Please feel free to post and share additional images and writing that inspire you in these ways.

She carries her daily load with a level of grace that surpasses understanding, and she does so without faltering in her course.

From my window © Valerie Rosen

Her cries are stored in her secret garden of silent suffering. She’s all too aware that no one needs to be weighed down by her burdens.

The Silent Cry—Self Portrait © Jaeda DeWalt

There is a narrow path between the human doormat and the bitter door-crasher. Even blindfolded, the determined woman will find her way.

equilibrium © autumnwind
is a tricky thing
years ago
I decided
not to be a doormat
my warrior kicked in
big time
didn’t realize
it was always there…
my sword came out
quite shiny and new
I thrashed my way
through brambles
stabbing my targets
straight through the heart
it felt freeing
it was a force
to be reckoned with…
as they say
…it felt awful
the more I wounded
the more I killed
the more I died
is a tricky thing
how could I not realize
with every little death
with every drop of blood
from every mark I hit
there came a rebound
someone dear to me
too many I love
were sprayed
by shards
in the shattering
what have I done
what had I done
gone mad
in my revenge
I put my sword down
kept it by my side
where still
it fiercely resides
yet balance…
is a tricky thing
we are born and raised
who we are
with choices
of who we become yet
I decide to choose balance
but it is a tricky thing
letting myself be hurt
by those who need to…
lash out
I’d rather be her
filled with love
though wounded
rather than she
filled with rage
… the one lashing out
vengeance is not mine
and this lesson
so difficult still
to learn
I am only human
do not suppress me
for balance is tricky
and my weapon weighs heavy
upon my side

Beneath the composure is the branded soul who’s been seasoned by the consequences of experience and the many faces of growth. No one gets to see the tears that stream behind toughened skin.

Into My Soul © AmbientKreation

Her courage cannot be feigned, for she’s looked death in the eye and said, “Oh no you don’t; not today.”

The Operation © Agent7

You will not hear her cry out her regrets for the absent help and protection that should be surrounding her. Those things are locked away behind the rattling gate of her heart.

Heart sore © Su2anne
This pain is not some
Malady. Some
Ill begotten
Ailment. Nor are my
Tears shed unforgotten
Like stones left at your
Grave. Your daughter’s
Grief; though years have
Passed, does not
Slacken. My rheumy
Heart; a constant
Ache, of what it is
Missing. For the
Child in this
Woman needs her
Father still.

And even in the midst of her agony, to the onlooking eye she’s blossoming.

an agonizing sorrow © strawberries

Even through the dark, she taps into that internal drive and pushes through, pushes on.

Blind © annacuypers

There are times of survival she holds steady and convinces herself these moments of everyday monotony will pass.

nothing at all © Sybille Sterk
little drops of poison,
held in check
by a rigid position
a knife glinting sharp
stopped next to my jugular
with just a thought
of nothing at allin everyday humdrum
this is working
but what about dreams
when the toxins
seep through the cracks
the blade doesn’t stop
but goes straight for the heart
when all that saves me
is letting go and holding on
swallowing morning tears
burning as they run down
the back of my throat
honing my skill
that special talent
of thinking
of nothing at allfree floating
in a cloud of
everyday monotony
there is
no poison
no knife
no life

Oh, how graceful a performer is she who masters silencing the drama with such poise.
Gloria Swanson Echos by © Moon Black

Like the hermit crab, the survivor knows when and how to crawl into safekeeping and sit it out a spell.

Safe Passage © Anita Inverarity

She’ll shed her cloak of grey regret, and clothe herself in royal colours where she’ll walk her days in an elegance that rises above her circumstances.

Sea Change © RC deWinter
This morning, I did not put on the solemn shades
of sorrow, for I am done for good and all with that.
Away dull greys and blacks, those shadow shrouds
fit only for Persephone in chains.
Oh yes, she was a queen,
but only of the crumbling pit,
the sad and stray remains
of life no more.
Instead, to match the sunrise,
I arrayed myself most royally in crimson, gold and blue:
the crimson of my passion, the gold my steadfast heart,
the blue the bowl of heaven – the colors of a living queen.
And on my silver tresses sits a chaplet
woven wonderfully of flowers from the field;
my feet in satin slippers meant for dancing,
not for death.
Taking up a crystal flask
I scented softly all my veils
with the breath of sandalwood
and clove and fern.
Then, thus accoutred, forth I went
to meet what must be met,
no more the slave of sorrow,
no more cloaked in regret.
No, I shall live in sunshine
and cherish all delight,
no more to haunt the corridors
of unlit starless night.

The Artist Eating Strawberries - Featured Artist February 2012


Strawberries is one of the first artists here on RB I put on my watchlist and she’s a firm favourite here on Pink Panther with the often controversial topics and subjects she depicts.

Her art always fascinated me – the expression, the colour and processing and, most of all, the depth of emotion in each of her images is amazing. Many of her subjects are close to my heart, from lost love to who we (women) are in this world and where we are going.

Here’s the interview:
My name is Strawberries; I don’t use my real name when I practice, so I can attempt to split up the reality form the insanity, but it very rarely works.

I joined Redbubble in January 2010, and have never looked back. Now I host 8 groups, run an online gallery, have had 2 solo exhibitions and been involved in 4 group exhibitions. I occasionally show progression of my work and talk about my decisions on my blog. I have 4 YouTube videos, which I made myself, music and all. I also a have a published book; Outcast, which is a collection of my work and is available for sale on

I come from a small rural town in Victoria, Australia called Briagolong. It has very few people, no public transport and fantastic mountain views. I have lived there all my life, but that will soon change, as I will be moving to Los Angeles in the middle of the year.

People and personalities fascinate me, and I am curious about emotions and memories, and how someone can be so affected by an idea. There is strong focus a lot on people and portraiture because of a fascination with psychology; what people think, what people feel, their secrets, their desires, their hate and their fear in my work. I think this has something to do with my rural locality, as people are more guarded and introverted about their true selves in the country, there is a clear line between right and wrong behaviors, and I fall into the wrong category!

To create my work I use a selection of ever-growing cameras, a Pentax *ist DL, a Nikon D3000, a fujifinepix S1800fd and a SVP Aqua 5300. Combined with my digital darkroom, Photoshop Elements 7, and you get the work you all know and love.

How did you get started with your art?
Art has always been second nature, as natural as breathing, to me. I can’t pinpoint where I started any more, though I think the crayon doodles on the wall could help locate a date!
However, the transition from all art forms to specializing photography and digital began in 2009 when I was in my first year at university. I found that digital photography and Photoshop were better at defining the themes and issues I wanted to discuss.

What excites you about your work?
A lot of my work is begun on intuition, I very rarely actually plan a shoot, and thankfully those who work with me know me well enough to just go with the flow.

So my favorite moment is when I get all my images on the computer and I’m editing them down to the ones that will be processed through Photoshop (and sometimes simply resized) and you find the shot that defines you as an artist, that shot that brings everything together in a way you could never have planned; the light, the color, the way the model looks at you. I find it exciting when you stumble across that image and you ask yourself, “Did I really do that?"

What/Who are your main influences?
I have many influences, some I won’t mention.

But a few things that influence the work I do are things like music; if anyone was to spend a day in my head you’d find it an epic place to be, the whole thing is like one big continuous movie, soundtrack and all thanks to musicians like The Apples in Stereo, Evanescence, The Beatles, Sleigh Bells, Saya Concept, Bjork, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Muse, Smashing Pumpkins, Christina Perri, Dido, The Corrs, Tame Impala, Radiohead, Crippled Black Phoenix, David Bowie, Joan Jett, Suzie Q, Lykke Li, Sia, Pink Floyd, Gotye, The Strokes, P!nk, Florence and the Machine, Shakira and so many others that deserve mention, but would take up too much time.

Movies and Television play a major role in the influence of my work. I’ve been told that TV is a bad thing, but it actually helps with rolling out quick witty punches sometimes, shows like Downton Abbey, Wilfred, Sherlock, Dr Who, Horrible Histories, Avatar; the last airbender, and The Simpsons. But films help me often to consider and contemplate bigger issues; sometimes I’m looking for ideas on a theme or a new way of expressing an age old idea. Movies like Lord of the Rings, Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind, The Duchess, Red Riding Hood, Romeo and Juliet, Dead Man, Paris je t’amie, 9, Howls Moving Castle, Pan’s Labyrinth, Ned Kelly, Memoirs of a Geisha, Stardust, Black Swan, The book of Eli, The Runaways, Moulin Rouge, Marie Antoinette, Transformers, Some like it Hot, Harvey, Funny Face, Picnic at Hanging rock, Kingdom of Heaven, Scott Pilgrim versus the world, Happy Feet, Avatar, and God knows what else are just part of the complexities that make my work. You’ll notice that a lot of these have big costume productions, which is also something that I draw upon.

And finally, I will mention the works of Annie Leibovitz and Autumn de Wilde; both women photographers who create epic works that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also deeply meaningful (I have studied Leibovitz’s work a number of times and probably have enough discussion notes and saved info to write a book on the woman, she’s so amazing), and de Wilde’s work has a similar aesthetic to my own work which allows me to connect with it on a personal level. Having two huge influences helps me to grow as an artist.

Are there any recurring themes running through your work?
Because I focus a lot on psychology and emotions, recurring themes tend to be centered on specific emotions, the idea of Insanity, insecurity, depression, obsession, courage, submission and loss. It may sound odd to say that I often do this in a positive way, especially knowing how dark my work can appear, but having lived through all of these emotions, and having seen others struggle and adapt daily to these, I can see how one can continue to survive in such a way, and I suppose in a funny way it’s almost like a tribute to them, those little nasties that make life a torment, but help us to grow as people and come out twice as strong on the other side.

Strawberries favorite image is “Sweet Surrender”:

I think it’s because it sums up how I’ve lived my life so far, that whilst I have been in control I have allowed myself to be swayed any which way, and just accepted what others have told me to do.

Now that I’ve finished university, I’m starting to break away from the easy acceptance, but until now, I’ve simply surrendered to what everyone else wanted, to some extent. My use of flowers in “Sweet Surrender” was a simple solution to my idea of Australian Gothic. Bright and vibrant, but doomed to die and fade in a matter of days- a personal symbol for my theme of surrender and chaos, like me, the flowers had no say, they stayed beautiful when the stem was cut, but they wouldn’t last in an environment like that, much like a person who doesn’t decide anything, they will eventually lose sight of themselves.. The skull was the idea of decay making a new kind of beautiful, perhaps the positive part, that change is inevitable, but in the end necessary.

It’s also my fav image, because I feel like I came together at that moment as an artist, like a switch was flipped and I found the confidence to be me. I always knew others liked my work, but it wasn’t till that point that I like my work.

Here are some of my favourite images by Strawberries – there are too many favourites really to choose, but these twelve shall stand for all of them. :-) Please add your own favourites in the comments to this post. :-)
This is just so spot on and encapsulates the feeling of feeling petrified by all that has gone before and not knowing where to go next or even if we can go on. The image also seemed a great start for the series of images as many deal with those disappointments.

Heart of Stone by © strawberries

This made me grin when I first saw it. It IS funny, but it’s also terribly sad, and I liked that it made me laugh first because then it didn’t hurt quite so much to think about it.

I could have sworn I left my sanity here… by © strawberries

This is a topic many of us know. How often do we hold back our own hurt to save someone else pain, or just because there’s no one to listen or care?

Time engraves our faces with all the tears we have not shed by © strawberries

The truths we speak, the lies we make up and the hurt both cause us more often than not….

Truth and Lies by © strawberries

This image came in just when I was putting the feature together and it struck me on so many levels – the cage and the dolls symbolise so much and, as per usual, Strawberries managed to show a deeply disturbing topic in an aesthetically pleasing way. This is probably THE image that shows why feminism is so real and needed even today. We are still brainwashed by the way we are brought up to become the women of yesterday.

A cage for you and me by © strawberries

Looking at this I am not sure if the muteness is self inflicted or inflicted by the outside world. Possibly a bit of both. What do you think?

no words by © strawberries

I love the Gothic feel of this. It reminds me of Ophelia and the Lady of Shalott, but there’s also something distinctly modern about it, something that seems to have only just woken up. So, for me there’s a little bit of Sleeping Beauty about this, too, but maybe a Sleeping Beauty who has decided that she’s waited long enough?

a flower without her petals by © strawberries

Who hasn’t wished to be able to do that. Get rid of a thought, a feeling, memories, a lost love and start afresh. I love the ethereal, delicate feeling and the depth of emotion in this.

I’ll Smoke you out of my Soul by © strawberries

The juxtaposition of the dragonfly wings against the gas mask is so poignant. It stirs up so many feelings in me, from the desire to protect to thoughts about the environment to helplessness.

Poisoned Hearts by © strawberries

This image hurts so much. We all want to be loved and cherished and so often we don’t find anyone to love us for who we are and the pain of that can be excruciating. There is little hope in this image, although to me it looks like a memory or maybe a reminder.

Turmoil by © strawberries

The colour of this image is so perfect – intelligent and educated women used to be called Bluestocking. Seems this is still apt today, even if we’re called Nerd instead of Bluestocking….

Intelligence by © strawberries

This seemed the perfect image to end my little gallery of Strawberries art. Nowadays we all seem to define ourselves by the brands we can afford (or sometimes not afford but buy anyway). Everything is about the make, the brand, the flavour, and so little about the content. Faceless, just like the woman int his picture.

Insert brand name here by © strawberries

I hope you enjoyed this feature and if you did, please congratulate Strawberries. I loved ‘meeting’ her and finding out more about her. A lot of her answers (although we come from different sides of the world) are very similar to ones I could have given and it showed me that sisters live all over the world.

A big thank you to Strawberries for being our featured artist for February.

unBound and Determined - Midweek Features - 01/02/2012

There is so much to be said about the depth of soul and spirit that’s infused into the writing that comes into Pink Panther Magazine. Many pieces may be filled with trials, with erroneous conclusions and experience outcomes, or with pain that cuts so deep even the reader feels the burn. Yet beneath the perceived piles of ruin, below the surface of ground zero, within the barren womb is the restless spirit who never quite gives up altogether. It’s an extraordinary phenomena—surrounding this creature called woman—that through history no matter how much opposition presses in, how much restriction encloses, or how much loss is endured, this warrior spirit finds some inner strength, courage, and drive to push to get past it all.

This topic has been dominating my meditations as I am currently analysing “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “A Rose for Emily.” I saw this quote included in our first feature poem and it got me thinking beyond the surface of such a statement. “No one can hurt you if you don’t let them.” ~Gandhi. I suppose such a statement can be true for those who are truly free. Remain trapped and subjected to abuse without a way out and I wonder how such a statement would resonate with the one who has simply been worn down over time with no way of escape. Such realities, whether historically or present-day applicable, remind me not to take my feminist freedoms for granted.

In honour of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” this week’s journey begins with a glimpse into breaking free from cages that bind.

Countess of Cages © Lilynoelle
Your heart is a metropolis
collecting souls,
that dance nimbly down its chambered halls
FREE THEM written
in blood on the walls;
you: the prison guard, breaking those lives apart as
rain pours madly down your tattered heart.
Ecstasy, indulgence, sin;
those souls you’ve trapped
buried deep within
are breaking bones as they escape
your fragile and primitive rape.
Lies, beautifully crafted: you are a Master
you tell them easily, you tell them faster
than the truth can be told, and
you almost had me, I could have sold
myself to you:
your blood, a potent witch’s brew.
Drink it up, you’ll cry,
breathe it in, you’ll sigh
and one by one
those lost souls die
… victims of a gorgeous fraud
like Mesmer: all is spellbinding
but innately, sorely flawed.
Open up your heart,
unlatch your prison bars
wipe the mud from their eyes
let them see the damned stars
that shine in ways you’d never understand:
for they were crafted by an honest Hand.
Don’t you dare ever reach out for me
all you caused was grief
and instability.
unshackle your prisoners,
you inelegant femme fatale –
release them all.

For the times a slipping soul needs new life and love breathed into her.

untitled © autumnwind
slipping yet again
slowly but surely
why must I beg
for your hand
don’t you know me
…even yet?
the edge is ever near
I smell its dark
I feel overwhelmed
I am breaking…
my wings now black
are reminder
of the disappointment
I see
in everyone’s eyes
when they look at me
what do you see
when you look at me
do you ever look…
we are all
self consumed
even I
as I write a heart
am guilty
as charged
I have no rights
I am a spec of dust
in the wind
even now
what do I want?
I don’t even know
something more
please…free me
please…heal me
my tears shed
the depths of remnants
still sealed and tucked away
in my soul
these bits of me
away..away…so far away
will someone please
breathe me in
spitting me out….

For the occasions the glass should be considered half full.

I want to believe © msdebbie
I want to believe
in the goodness of people;
hopeful optimist.
I want your beliefs
to inspire and move people;
rosy idealist.
I want self-belief
in the face of pessimists;
positive realist.

For those times the journeyer must go it alone.

The Loneliness © Art of Ella Brown
then time has past,
the green has faded and the light has cast,
its shadows on my path,
where then shall i wonder now to ponder how i see this life,
all in a gasp of air at night ,
under moon and stars and night owls cries and birds that sing and do not sleep,
through teary eyed lonely streets
and cold in my heart and cold in my feet
and all the people that i have known and all the places i have been shown,
a throne a harp a zither a loan ,
a painting made to make me whole,
a song a drum a passage of time,
a melting crystal a message in rhyme,
then where is this that i find myself ,
in misty morn in this old hell
and yet its warmer than the stealth of never being true to my inner most wealth,
so ways lead onwards and yet its so dark,
i see a glimmer i see a mark that’s been made truly and deeply hurts,
the stark,
the bare the loneliness.

There are times woman simply needs to pick up her purpose at the box office.

The Calling © RC deWinter
The universe is speaking
in a voice as aimed and deadly
as the arrows of Sebastian,
piercing through the hesitations
that cause me to falter
when the saboteur creeps in stealthily,
brandishing the sharpened steel of self-doubt.
This voice!
Insistent, firm, compelling,
that tells me things I do not want to hear
or obey
but resonates with such a truth I cannot
turn away.
“Harness yourself,” it instructs.
“Gird on the leathern straps of discipline,
lace tight the corset of purpose.
Pick up the sword of knowledge,
the shield of judgment.
You must, at last, grow up.
No more the softsilk robes,
the hoods that blind your sightline
to what surrounds.
Instead, affix that crown pretended,
the one you bought so long ago
but never fitted.”
“Listen well!” it cries.
“You can be yielding yet wise;
You can be, truly, mistress of the skies.
You can be loved and loving without compromise.”

Sometimes you must simply “cut the umbilical cord that tethers you to your past.”

A ghost’s memory © su2anne
Do you want to be
Mere shadows of
Yourselves; two
Dimensional, a grey
Blur scurrying quickly
Through the
To catch a
Glimpse of other
Possibilities you must
Cut the
Umbilical cord that
Tethers you to your
Take the
Risk that will; like the
Insistent cry of
Newling born,
Demand to be fed. That
Done there comes a
Hunger to
Extricate one’s self from this
Security blanket of
Momentum. And
Perhaps be of
Substance and
Make a difference.
I hear your
Sigh …a
Dissipation of potential.
Awaken suckered
Fools to your
Mindless reality!

’tis true: in the end, woman waits for no one.

Languishing in the House of Desire restlessd
I suppose you think I wait for you?
You suppose that this is all I do.
Whilst I spend my time just waiting to see.
Whilst you spend your time away from me.
Ah, silly boy you are mistaken
Tis not my heart that you have taken.
My heart is not for you to hold
You’ve lost that right, if truth be told.
I prefer the silence of forgotten pain
No longer will I allow hurt to gain
A hold upon my head and heart,
I will stop that aching before it starts.
I say these words to remind myself
That no man shall put me upon a shelf.
I will not allow these dreams of fire
As if languishing in this house of desire.

Sometimes the storm of emotions stirs awake the courage to live and love again.

A tidal wave of emotions © shelleybabe2
A tidal wave of emotions
rise up from below the ocean.
Erupt into a storm,
spread out into the calm.
the innocent and vulnerable;
the ones that are so gullible.
A fool in which they believed.
A fool in where they were deceived.
And once from the ocean deep
and into the light,
they gathered up strength
with all their might
from all the trail
and lived to love again.

For the times woman needs to break free of the night terrors that chain her down.

First break © bejeliMis
There’s a clear little road on this side of town
With black naked trees and untouched snow ground
With the side of the highway, as our background noise
A bruising layer backdrop yet to be turned
A Coat is not much for muscle, bone, skin
The ghost of our breathing hovers before us
We are the ever changing
Not weather
Not forests
Let time move the wind
A slow ebb of morning crawls up the horizon
Fire daubing the vanishing point
In color
In silence
Pushing the blood to our faces
We tremble from our interior coverings
Light has spread across this vista
But not through our skins

There are those moments when picking oneself back up again is the only line of defense.

I Found Myself © mermanda
When I look in the mirror
I am finally happy with what I see
the little girl
who was once lost out at sea
that little girl
evolutionized into me
morphed in and out of sanity
second hand thoughts
spinning typhoons of clarity
then bouts of doubt
I am the creator
this is my kingdom
I look out and see
the places I own
I am a force to reckon with
a beacon of light
a strong force of wind
a tornado of delight
I could mow you over
but I am better than that
I love like no other
and that is a fact
I trust in your heart
but I will never hit you back
that voodoo doll you’re holding
dressed to my T
she is consuming your thoughts
you’re hellbent on destroying me
don’t for a second think
I won’t walk away
because your thoughts can’t hurt me
I don’t care anyway
now that I pushed you aside
the mirror is free of your shadow
and your face that you hide
I can see my own eyes
they are vivid blue
now its easy to see
why your covered in envious drool
the woman I have become
I realized I don’t need anyone
to tell me I am unique
to make me feel alive
now get out of my way
so I can pick myself up
tired of waiting for you to to see
how special I am
you have taken advantage of me
over and over again
I am better
than your mediocre letter
full of deception
promises of things getting better
here is your stupid mirror back
so stand in that stagnant pool of drool
I hope you have fun
you stupid fucking fool

For the warrior maiden in us all.

Visual World © rivysue
Shall I go out or not?
Literal stains I cannot see
A permanent blot
A human shell I am
I fought
But could not be free
My Mustang
It represents me
Who I could be
If I were free
I run into another obstruction
A dark obelisk
Hiding and taunting
I feel rage that it’s there
In the first place
Want to strike out in madness
But take it with everyday grace
My nicks, cuts and bruises
Are a part of me
My disability
But they don’t define me
I am a warrior
Inside and out
I’m always failing
But never stop
My life goal
To compensate
For my chains
Give my family
Padded comfort
Maybe that will set me free
I see talent in my friends and family
See their potential
I want to challenge them
To be
More successful
But they don’t listen to me
Because I don’t have the credibility
I’m not the example
I want to be
That I’m meant to be
Back in the shell
That I’m always

Sometimes that last thing to do is to break through the dawn of revelation in order to latch onto our promise(s).

Awaken RhenaStarr
Listen closely with you heart
And you will hear
Love slipping softly in
Breaking through the surface
Of your soul
Filling it with the brilliant colors
Of love’s exuberant emotions
Disillusions dissipate
As joy is released
Spilling forth in unearthed
Dormant feelings
Too long hidden from the
World of light
Complex these emotions
Yet simple when two hearts
Casting out shadows
As a new dawn of understanding
Laces heart and soul
Passion’s fire ignites
As lips too long untested
Savor the honey silk of heated
Ripples on a stagnant pond
As touches from questing hands
Reaffirm that all is not quiet
In the stillness that had waited
Between chaos and disillusions
And hopes and dreams unfulfilled
Wasted nights and days
In virtues self imposed denial
In the vast domain of human
There is a spark ready to
Once again flame
In a fever pitch
Seductions of the flesh
Become an unbearable heat
A thirst needing to be quenched
A road needing to be once more
A journey of the body, mind and spirit
That says I am alive
I am ready to begin to live
To let life become an endless flame
That will keeps the fires of
New adventures, new passions
New creativity burning
With the awakened power of love
Of emotions denied
To a place that will challenge the day to day
To be
To feel
To cry
To laugh
To love
To live

Interconnectivity - Midweek Features - 25/01/2102

he features this week were inspired by the beautiful and vibrant image by Nadya Johnson.
Although the concept of interconnectivity relates to our connectedness with the the universe as a whole, here, the art signifies the interconnectiveness in families and in our relationships with others. If anyone would like to explore this subject more fully, there are some great articles here, and in relation to systems theory and sexual abuse within families, here
The family is a system in which each member has a role to play and rules to respect. Members of the system are expected to respond to each other in a certain way according to their role, which is determined by relationship agreements. Within the boundaries of the system, patterns develop as certain family member’s behavior is caused by and causes other family member’s behaviors in predictable ways. Maintaining the same pattern of behaviors within a system may lead to balance in the family system, but also to dysfunction. For example, if a partner is depressive and cannot cope, the other partner may need to take up more responsibilities to pick up the slack. The change in roles may maintain the stability in the relationship, but it may also push the family towards a different equilibrium. This new equilibrium may lead to dysfunction as the other partner may not be able to maintain this overachieving role over a long period of time.
The emotional interdependence presumably evolved to promote the cohesiveness and cooperation families require to protect, shelter, and feed their members. Heightened tension, however, can intensify these processes that promote unity and teamwork, and this can lead to problems. When family members get anxious, the anxiety can escalate by spreading infectiously among them. As anxiety goes up, the emotional connectedness of family members becomes more stressful than comforting. Eventually, one or more members feel overwhelmed, isolated, or out of control.
These are the people who accommodate the most to reduce tension in others. It is a reciprocal interaction. For example, a person takes too much responsibility for the distress of others in relationship to their unrealistic expectations of him. The one accommodating the most literally “absorbs” anxiety and thus is the family member most vulnerable to problems such as depression, alcoholism, affairs, or physical illness.
I have chosen to feature art this month,, as these images jumped out at me. So much of the art that comes into the group depicts the pain of damaged relationships or the joy of connectedness with others. I apologise to the poets, but would love it if you could post here, any other poems that also relate to this subject.

Nadya depict so beautifully the joy of connectedness.

Inter-connectivity © by Nadya Johnson

And Judy the sorrow when we feel totally alone.

The sad intangible who grieve and yearn… © by judyjones

Helene dramatically depicts the connectedness that can come through pain and suffering.

reflections from the soul © by helene ruiz

This haunting image from Cynthia shows the isolation that can take place in dysfunctional relationships, and reminds me that it was not so long ago that women were labelled as insane simply as a means to get them locked away in asylums.

Lunatique © by Cynthia Lund Torroll

Heather’s image, with its huge emotional punch needs no explanation.

foreboding © by Heather King

Unbeknown depicts so well the struggle to become whole again.

The Broken Woman © by unbeknown

Jessica’s lovely and poignant image, together with the poem, shows how we strive to find some freedoms in our emotional prisons.

why the caged bird sings © by Jessica Islam Lia

Whereas Strawberries so well depicts the angst of isolation.

I could have sworn I left my sanity here… © by strawberries

Sharon shows so well the powere of the loving bond between mother and child which should have been there for us all.

Nurturer © by Sharon Elliott

This wonderful image by Rosy, moves me to tears as she speaks hauntingly about the loss of a child and how that affects one for ever.

A Time of Thorns © by Rosy H

When interconnectedness works between us, it bring a feeling of completeness.

Forever Sisters © by jacqleen

Such a strong image which screams aloneness and what it does to us.

SOB © by Agent7

Already featured, I just could not resist adding an extra image to those already here today as Dorina depicts our dreams of connectedness to our consciousness.

Chrysalids © by dorina costras

Monday, 27 February 2012

Seeming, Beeing and the Treasure at the Heart of it - Features - 18/01/2012

My first features of this year and I wanted to make them a little bit special. The end of one year and the birth of a new one always makes us think about what we have achieved so far and what we still want to achieve or maybe we just want to let go of things and make a fresh start.
It’s funny how we seem to be so many different things to other people, how we are other things to ourselves and at the bottom of it maybe we are all the things we seem to be and all the things we feel ourselves to be. So this is the topic for this week. :-)
Let’s jump right in.

This is the image that started my train of thought, or rather the title of the image. We rarely share all that we are with others, and, even if we try, it doesn’t always come across. There are always pockets too deep to fathom.

you think you know me …. you only kow half of what i want you to know by © ARIANA1985

And maybe it’s what we need to find happiness, to keep some special secrets from others and treasure them, bits of self that are safely hidden from view.

The Moon I Was Born Under by © Katie Leonatti
This is the moon I was born under
After the sun’s blades churned away
And all that clung to the sky was
An orb of white,
Steady and beady like a cyclops’ eye.
My heart is feathery,
Hot silver pulsates through my veins.
I am no longer the invisible woman
Who can only wave good bye.
I have reached that spot in my mind
Where the sorbet paved road
Races parallel to the blushing
Cherry blossoms.
I gingerly cradle muted pink
Petals in the palm of my pocket.
I must protect my pouches of happiness.

Although there are of course always those that know us like no one else does and accept us in a way no one else ever could.

~ at last ~ by © jacqleen

The knowledge that there is at least one other who knows and accepts us allows us to go deeper and find more hidden treasures, little secrets hidden even from ourselves.

Taking the plunge by © msdebbie
Taking the plunge,
diving for hidden
treasure. To know
myself completely.
Saturate myself;
soaked through
the slippery slide
of life unfolding
like a sea urchin.
I wash away my doubts,
forget my clumsiness,
floating like clouds;
not drifting aimlessly,
I am purposeful.
Immersion is
powerful, a comfort.
I watch the water;
outside the gate,
I watch you smile.
You who lacks
delight in the dive,
but knows my
love for waves,
wetness, water.
Whether tangled
in the seaweed,
or caught in the
undertow, my love,
I feel the currents
flow between us.
I gush while
Your love helps
me breathe,
release the water
within, so I recall
how to float, how
to find myself.
Still, peaceful,
carefree, empowered.
Plunging perfectly,
diving for the
hidden treasure
we find in each other.

Fear plays a big role in self discovery because only by facing them can we learn more about ourselves and grow.

fear’s a man’s best friend by © annacuypers

And then there is doubt, the child of fear, that makes us consider and re-consider the steps we take, but in conquering doubt we find wisdom.

Faraway by © Sukhwinder Flora
Will they see us in the Sun.
The Seas are burning
But everyone,
Watches standing by.
No one asks,
No reasons why.
The Oceans have all gone.
Foreign clay.
The kids have fled,
Are on the run.
The bubble bursts
And I’m alone
The clouds are grey outside
The tears don’t seem to dry
When the day is
Gone and done
The skies ablaze.
I’m tired of singing,
On my own.
Wax and wane.
The phases break
Among old stones
A bird, a broken branch,
Us strolling hand in hand.
All signs say you’re the one.
Choice awaits.
Shakes my foundation to the core.
He’s changing fate.
I know i’ve felt this way before.
You haven’t sung in a while
And the flames gone from your eyes
Your heart is turning numb.
You move, in shades.
My cave of feathers turn to ash.
Heart beat waves,
Burns a hole towards the past.
Im the dreamer in his songs.
I never was meant to belong.
Wont you come and take me home?
It feels too late,
Some think the paths already paved.
Light the way.
With your wisdom, overcome.
These hands have turned to dust,
And my veins begin to rust,
I move further from the truth.
State of mind,
While everyone
Is passing by.
On and on.
They turn
They look
They smile
But there’s nothing in those eyes
Aluminium tongues

Our past is the ground we build upon and it can be shaky ground indeed or terra firma that allows us to build our dream castles.

Afore by © Agent7

What went before is what makes us who we are now and we can only be whole if the whole is accepted and maybe we should be the first ones to accept ourselves, rather than waiting for someone to do it for us?

The Plastic Bottle by © LauraBroussard
I was lost……
in a sea of my own emotions.
Feeling like a tossed plastic bottle……
I reached the shore.
Would anyone ever find me,
and the letter written inside of my body ?
Just cast against the wash of thrash on the shore….
But, inside the bottle,
a letter waited for someone to find.
Would I ever be found ?
it is hard to say……..
because, I was just thrown against this shore,
and, I look like trash.
But, what they didn’t know,
was that my life story,
had been written in that letter – -
that letter that had been stuffed with gentle fingertips …..
into that plastic bottle……….
before it had been cast out into the sea.
We shall never know…..
if I will be “found” ……….
maybe, I’ll wash back out to sea, ……..
and, bobb around for a while more.
January 8, 2012.

Sometimes it may seem that our dreams are impossible and that from where we are right now they are as far away as the stars, but only by believing will we ever reach them.

Hold fast to your dreams, for without them life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.Langston Hughes by © laruecherie

So often it seems that it is others that hold us back, when in fact it is we, ourselves, our fears and doubts keeping us on the ground. Time to grow wings.

the monkey bars by © autumnwind
I don’t belong here
I am not good enough
keep pushing me down
as you torture my soul
I’m sure I will drown
I will never live up
to your expectations
making it hard
to ever know of my own
keep kicking my spirit
while you spit in my face
stick the knife in
yet deeper
and then dig me my grave
there are shadow people

you know that dream
the simple one
of just being accepted
for who you are
the burning desire
to be free
of all those things
that limit you
hold on tight
it will come
your saving light
and spread its wings
of freedom
into your every day
and lonely night…
dream with me
and hold on tight
I’ve seen it happen
I know I’m right
while you’re crying
blood laden tears
a tomorrow awaits you
bereft of all fears
is not just a word
it’s a living
of visions you hold
deep in your heart
of what tomorrow
will bring
while you are crying
blood laden tears
a tomorrow awaits you
bereft of all fears

And sometimes the adversities we face are the building blocks of the life we make, they can hold us back or help us become.

faceless by © April Mansilla

Sometimes the things we want the most are those we cannot have, but we still have the sense of them, the hint of just the possibility to hold and treasure.

Immortal Goodbye by © mermanda
Laying in my grave
underneath the veiled sunlight
your dead erratic heart beating
locked in a chest next to mine
the key was lost
through centuries of time
you fade away to moonlight
we meet only then
sunrise and sunset
the beginning and the end
that small moment where light meets day
a million butterflies
their colors to reconstruct
fluttering to the rhythm
you resonate a reason to not give up
keep searching for the key
to unlock the love
and set us free
but for now
our love is being bound
ground into stone
in a chest our hearts beat alone
statues of stories going untold
so mortal humans they continue to lie
you smile
but I cry
painful bliss
we meet like this
a teaser of love
to reach but never touch
that kiss from a million years ago
the immortal goodbye
is all the life we know

Quite a journey today! Hope you enjoyed. Please remember to tell the artists and writers if you were touched by their art and writing.