A perfect pair.

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photo by Linda Laino

Each artist and writer has their own approach to the creative act, and what leads them to arrive at the essence of their particular expression, but regardless of the outcome, and whatever its materials, at its core, every creative form contains structure and beauty. These two attributes meld perfectly to help form meaning in art.

They’re evident in the plastic and functional arts, but also dance, music and all forms of writing. Structure not only provides the foundation as the word suggests, but can contribute to the very beauty that captivates us: the visible vaulted ribs of a 15th century Gothic cathedral adds to its grandeur and genius of engineering. Or the elegance of a simple spider web in the forest. …

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Photo: National Geographic

A poem

A poem

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Coloured lithograph by W. G. Smith, c. 1863,

I Peel The Garlic

and think of skin
pale and open
and wanting, like yours.
Mine the color of cherries
languid and sea-varnished.
Its thin veneer heals
each night like Prometheus,
his eagle greets me again
at dawn with a talon tear.

I peel the garlic
the static crackle
recalls your savage wail
roaring mythical
like a beast
cut down, chained
and haunted your fire
doused in grief,
even lemons can’t hide
the coppery smell
the cindered flesh.

I peel the garlic
the papery petals scratch,
tear like stridulous insects
cocoon casings upturned
panicked paper boats
uncertain of rescue.

Garlic is an ancient and bulbous vegetable.
Allium flower sweet and seductive,
It won’t grow separated for long.
leaves me leery of the deep roots.
Its lantern skin is
crawling with them. …

In painting and writing.

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“Profound Remembrance”, Linda Laino , 2010 (collection, Buckingham Branch Railroad, Virginia)

“Tell me, doesn’t your painting interfere with your writing?”

“Quite the contrary: they love each other dearly.” ~ e.e.cummings

This response from poet, e.e. cummings resonates deeply since my visual art and my writing often look to and play off each other as he describes. I’ve been grateful for the intersection. Some days, however, I immerse myself in painting in order to avoid writing. And some days I write (mostly in random ways) when I want to avoid painting. This pinging back and forth feels like a game of creative dodge ball that signals my brain to regress into doubt.

In between breakthroughs of semi-brilliance in the studio, artists move between doubt and fear most of their lives. …

Ode to my old studio muse.

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Pablo Picasso. Photo: allposters.com

I’m thinking a lot about cigarettes and how nice it would be to have one. As a long time smoker (and long-time quitter) living alone during this quarantine, I’m remembering how they used to be such good company, especially in the studio where cigarettes measured brush strokes and decisions and executions. Also triumphs and failures. While it’s not PC to say, I simply loved smoking. I suppose that’s why vices are vices: what is bad for us sometimes feels so good. There is a payoff somewhere, no matter how sinister that may turn out to be.

If you are a smoker, a cigarette is one of those things that is always what you want while going through practically anything. Angry? Have a cigarette to calm down. Stressed? Have a cigarette to sort through the problem. Sad? Have a cigarette to wallow in your wine and cry. Celebrating? Pop the cork and then share a cigarette with friends! Besides being an emotional crutch, smoking was so much a part of my creative tool box, that I mourned its necessary passing with true grief. …

It’s more than just tubes of paint.

Painting, six panels, walnut in decay laying of swaths of fabric with marigolds
Painting, six panels, walnut in decay laying of swaths of fabric with marigolds
“Memento Mori: Reliquary”Watercolor and ink on rice paper, by Linda Laino

What is the public perception of artists? I have encountered many. Everything from fascination, to perplexity, to preconceived notions, to disregard, to envy. That last one is the kicker. Many people believe that artists live a “free” life, unhindered by schedules, bosses, cubicles or clock punching.

They spend their time doing what they love and to many, that is an enviable position to be in. Artists do love what they do. Making art brings deep meaning and beauty to its practitioners, and serious artists are compelled to keep making it.

Even though the artist profession like everything else in life is a choice, artists know that their sanity depends on creating, so choosing not to may tend to put anyone in their path at risk. The part that non-artists tend to overlook is the price that artists pay for that choice. …

Should you consider healthcare in another country?

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Less than a week after surgery in downtown Ghent, Belgium (all photos: Linda Laino)

Medical tourism is on the rise, and with good solid reason. If you live in the U.S. where the cost of healthcare is the most expensive in the world, even with insurance, a hospital stay has a good chance of wiping you out financially. More and more people are looking to other countries to take care of their needs.

There are many articles on this topic that can provide statistics and information regarding most visited countries and most popular procedures. While this information is useful, I’d like to share a personal story.

When I was 29 years old, I was in a horrific car accident that landed me in the hospital with surgery and traction for five weeks. A fractured pelvis was serious business but I was young enough that my doc didn’t recommend a hip replacement at the time. He patched me up with metal plates and screws, and tons of physical therapy. It was nearly a year before I was walking without a crutch, pain and a limp. While I was functional, I still had permanent damage in the form of limited mobility. At the time, I was told that more surgery in my distant future was likely. …

A poem

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Photo by ᴊᴀᴄʜʏᴍ ᴍɪᴄʜᴀʟ on Unsplash

The truth is,
I am afraid of you.
I detected a squirm under
my skin but I
failed to listen I
am failing at a lot
of things lately such as sleeping
through the night like an easy
baby or keeping the dishes
clean like a surly teenager.
Intermittent stress and sloth I guess.

I also failed to
listen that night you
showed me part of who
you are, it lit me
up like a drunken lamplighter
trying to beam some sense
into my cells where all the red flags
were waving but they waved
goodbye seduced by the light
procession tunneling
from your eyes. …


Linda Laino

Artist/Poet attempting to make sense of the world through words and images. www.lindalaino.com

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