Plein Air, Painting the American Landscape - Alaska Episodes

One of the most fun aspects of searching out and providing content for the Platinum Pearls® web pages is the opportunity to recommend sources that I personally know to be good.

In the case of this DVD, I have worked with two of the three featured artists, Matt Smith and Kenn Backhaus. Both have taught at the artistically prestigious Scottsdale Artists School.
I studied with each of them there, both in the studio and in the desert surround. I can heartily recommend the experience and their instructional abilities.

The first three episodes of Plein Air, Painting the American Landscape feature artists Matt Smith, Jean LeGassick, and Kenn Backhaus as they paint in Alaska. The trio paints Mt. McKinley on a rare, glorious September afternoon complete with a visit from a blonde grizzly.
Next our three artists tackle the Tongass Rain Forest, renowned for towering old growth cedar, hanging moss and incessant rainfall, proving that it takes tenacity, good gear, and considerable know-how to paint in a rain forest.
The last stop is beautiful Resurrection Bay, gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. With the towering Chugach Mountains as a backdrop, the artists paint in a derelict boatyard.

Historical perspective is provided through the Plein Air paintings created by George Brown while climbing Mt. McKinley as a member of the 1974 Bradford Washburn Mt. McKinley Expedition, and an introduction to Alaskan Plein Air artists and adventurers Eustace Ziegler, Ted Lambert and iconoclastic painter Sidney Laurence whose paintings from the early 1900s have come to epitomize the Alaskan landscape. I can enthusiastically recommend this DVD Plein Air, Painting the American Landscape - Alaska Episodes.
Please visit the Visual Arts pages at for more information about painting, photography or your favorite creative outlet.

If I Had a Dollar For Every Time I Have Used This Book, I Would Be Writing This in Napa Valley 

Pat Pattison is a professor of music and songwriting at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he developed the curriculum for their degree in songwriting--the first of its kind anywhere. He was a regular contributor to Home and Studio Recording Magazine. He lives in North Hampton, New Hampshire.

I first met Pat in Nashville. I was living and writing there for awhile, and Pat would come down from the Boston area and spend his summers in Nashville, working with some of the great songwriters in the area, as well as teaching seminars. We had mutual friends, and soon I was visiting his summer house on a weekly basis, at the foot of the master. He is a joy to work with.

In this book, Pat presents a unique, in-depth approach to the process of lyric writing. Apprentice songwriters will examine 17 extraordinary songs and learn the distinct elements that make them so effective. Pattison then presents more than 30 lyric-writing exercises designed to help them achieve the same results. From generating lyric ideas and managing repetition to developing verses, it's all here. Songwriters will:

* find warm-up exercises that revolutionize songwriting imagery
* use a rhyming dictionary and a thesaurus to generate ideas and find snappy rhymes
* create meaningful metaphors and similes while avoiding clich├ęs
* develop verses by using or by breaking conventional rules
* experiment with point of view in every lyric to make a song stand out.
For more music tips, visit and search out the "Music Picks" page. Or, if you are really into songwriting, click on In any event, keep listening, keep writing, keep it fresh.

We Are All Artists, Some Still Looking For Our Medium

A very important part of living a more fulfilling life is the exploration of your creative self to release the imaginative potential awaiting there.

Many people have gone through life never stepping outside the traces of humdrum everyday activities long enough to find out who they really are, creatively speaking. You may have harbored urges to "someday" spend more time on that dream of becoming and living more artistically, but have never taken the time to actually do it. Well, someday just started, so get busy.

You may have an art or craft that you are already involved in. If so, good for you! Hopefully, on the pages you will find information that will inspire you to a higher level of creativity and satisfaction in your art.

If if have not ventured into the arts environment before, come and find out what you have been missing. You will discover the many rewards of your "time away from the real world". Working just a few hours each week at your favorite artistic release will soon become mini-vacations that refresh and relax you, and clear your mind from the work-a-day clutter.

Just choose something that appeals to you and go for it. Everyone started as a beginner, and you'll find a lot of interesting people willing to help you every step of the way.

For example, "Painting Word Pictures" a Platinum Pearls® workshop, focuses on writing creatively. Strong sensory images can make your writing or lyrics sparkle. The workshop helps you learn how to tap into an endless well of creative imagery.

"Music Picks" takes you into the world of music, writing, playing or just listening and enjoying.

The pages of "Create It Yourself " are your pathway to a host of creative endeavors including pottery, jewelry and metalsmithing, woodworking, carving, and fiber and needle arts, and there is more to come.

If you are into the visual arts of photography, painting or video creation, the spot for you is our "Visual Arts" section, which we hope to expand soon to encompass graphic design and sculpture.

We'd like you to consider sharing information, ideas, helpful tips or sources for your favorite creative outlet with other readers and members. After all, we are a community.

Join us on a Platinum Pearls® Adventure - Discovery Retreat or Workshop!

Designed to both "get away from things" and "get into things", the workshops, adventures and retreats presented or recommended by Platinum Pearls® represent a wide range of topics, settings and experiences. For example, our "Discovery Weekend" is designed as two extremely laid-back days in a very small group, everyone learning, everyone teaching, personally accompanied by Tom Hays, the founder of Platinum Pearls®, where the important thing is fun, relaxation and expanded awareness of life's possibilities. Four sites have been selected for the coming year.
"Spirit of the Stones" in the Sedona, Arizona area and the Hopi Indian Reservation features small, four day group retreats that offer an intense setting for personal shifts. Available energies are magnified within the shared focus. You have opportunities for learning from each other's experiences, for integrating the experiences with your dreams, meditation insights and feelings that come up over the course of the four days. You are encouraged to develop awareness practices to carry back into the rest of your life.
"Painting Word Pictures" focuses on writing creatively. Strong sensory images make your writing or lyrics sparkle! Learn how to paint pictures with your words by tapping into an endless well of creative imagery. The purpose of this workshop is to help you find the wellspring of “sensory memory” inside you, to learn to turn it on at will, and to help you direct that flow of creative energy into stronger, more effective writing … writing filled with images that allow your words to say more, connect better emotionally with the readers or listeners. Whatever your writing goals, you will come away from this workshop with new tools to work with, a new way of approaching the creative process.
You are encouraged to browse each of the many featured workshops at, find one that fits you, and then dive into the pool! The rest of your life just started. Make the best of it.

Life. . . it’s a tide pool and you are an oyster.

The waters of change come sweeping over the shifting sands of life.

If you can imagine, you can see the crystalline sandy particles rolling past in the movement of the waves as they come in and then move out, come in and move out, these "waves of change", bringing with them more sand to our lives, more debris, more "things" to deal with.

And in your imagination you look closer, and you see that the sand grains gleam and sparkle through the water when the sunlight catches them. And you suddenly realize that, even the worst of them, the ugliest, sharpest of them all, with some honing and polishing can become things of beauty, things made better because you've seen them in a different light, things that offer you something that will enhance and perhaps even fulfill your life… jewels to cherish, instead of problems to be put up with.

So you learn to scoop them up and look them over, savor them and find the opportunities to polish them, take off the rough edges, work them into fine gems to add to your collection. Life gives you the sand. You must make the pearls.

Look at life's changes in a different light, explore for the beauty, the opportunities to improve the circumstances that the waves of change have brought you.

With so many changes occurring in life, there are also so many chances to change. You can choose to see more sand to deal with, or you can see the chance to make pearls. You can do it. You can be a "pearl builder".

Get more lifestyle enhancement information at