Friday, November 30, 2012

Gullah For Children!!!! And Music!

Pearce Hammond            Gullah Artist             from google image
Gullah. net is a site just for kids and the kid in all of us.  It is fun and informative.  Check it out.  Music too!!!!

Rabbit's Moon studio: Gullah Artists of the Low Country

Rabbit's Moon studio: Gullah Artists of the Low Country: GULLAH ART AND ARTISTS Charleston and the surrounding areas are rich with Gullah Art Capturing a rich and vibrant history of an enslave...

Gullah Artists of the Low Country

Charleston and the surrounding areas are rich with Gullah Art
Capturing a rich and vibrant history of an enslaved people who survived and prospered.
It is also a culture that is endangered in the development of coastal lands and the environment that supports their way of life.
John T. Jones represented by            Gallery                                              google image

Gullah Art by Pearce Hammon     google image

Gullah Art by Jonathan Green                      google image
Jonathan Jones       First Gullah Artist to receive formal training
Chuma Gallery, Charleston, South Carolina   
Painting by Leroy Campbell   represented by Chuma Gallery
                                       google image


Gullah or Geechie Language(click)

The language of the Gullah or Geechie (a term used in their own community) is that of West and Central Africa.  It is a fascinating sounds spoken in a rapid staccato. In Charleston, South Carolina and the surrounding areas it is not uncommon to run into people everyday speaking in Gullah.

                               YOU TUBE ON SPEAKING GULLAH

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Songs of the Gullah People

      YOU TUBE

The Gullah People were originally from the Rice Coast or Windward Coast of Africa.  They came to America as slaves to work on the large Southern Coastal Rice Plantations of South Carolina and Georgia.  They developed a rich heritage through much hardship and struggle.  Listening to this song, one can hear the soul of a people that are weary yet who are persevering through difficult times.


As we look at the Gullah art and culture so should we look at their food also. 

 Here is a recipe for shrimp and grits which is mainstay of the Gullah people.  It is hard to find a restaurant in the Low Country of South Carolina that does not have some version of shrimp and grits-and yes, for breakfast too!
When I taught about the art of a specific culture with young children I wanted them to experience as much of the culture as possible; so I would bring in food for them to sample of the people or country we were studying. We would also listen to music and watch video about the culture as well.  By surrounding the children with visual, auditory, and sensory stimuli I could envelop in the world we wanted to learn about.  Some people learn visually and others experientially, the more ways of learning we offer children and adults, the more successful they will be.  

you tube
Gullah Shrimp and Grits

The Making of Gullah Baskets

There are several films available on you tube about the Gullah people and basket making.  I thought I would include a few for you here today to watch.  I am learning as a I research for you as well. This is a fascinating part of the country that I am just experiencing in depth for the first time.  My brother and his family are relocating to Charleston, so it is giving me a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the area culture and arts. I look forward to sharing that with all of you where ever you are in the world.  From my Philippine friends to my European and Middle Eastern friends I say welcome-come with me on this journey of learning.  No matter where you are or what ever your circumstances we can travel together and I look forward to sharing what I learn with you.  

One of the things I loved about teaching art for children was doing the research and learning along the way.  As I got excited the students got even more excited.  I think it added to my creativity as a teacher.  I  was one of those rare teachers who did not save lesson plans from year to year. I wanted to force myself to always take a fresh approach for my students and myself.  I knew too many people who got into a rut relying on lessons they had perfected in the past.  I would have been a college student all my life if I could, for it is the learning I love so, but in teaching I found a new way to research, in explaining and creating experiences for others.  I also learned from the students themselves.  Never think you can not learn even from the youngest child in the room.  If you listen, if you hear, everyone has something to teach you!

  Gullah Basket Making            from you tube

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Story of a Gullah Basket Maker/History in the Making

Bin Ya!  Gichee for from here!
Riding down highway 17 just North of Charleston is an adventure in the making...literally.  It is almost like a heritage trail of artisans and basket makers.  There are dozens and dozens of stands where families of gullah people's have handed down the tradition of basket weaving using the sweet grasses from the marshes and palm leaves.  There is even a Sweetgrass Festival that show cases the Gullah baskets in February.  The grasses must be harvested from the marshes and the palm fronds  stripped with a sharp knife.  It is a long labor intense process.  To weave even a small basket can take up to 9 hours.
Celestine    Gullah Basket Maker photo by elizabeth gordon

Palm fronds in transport on highway 17
Palm fronds ready for stripping 

Road side stand next to highway 17 along North of Charlston
Large Basket in the process of being woven
We stopped at the stand that belonged to Celestine.  She was unloading her car setting up her baskets as we approached. There were Palm fronds and sweet grasses decorating the hood of her car.  I knew right away this was the right place as her welcoming smile lit up the whole place.  As we looked at her baskets we learned a great deal more about Celestine and her rich heritage.  She had learned how to weave from her Mother and her Mother before her.  The tradition of basket making was handed down from daughter to daughter.   Her Grandmother had worked at a near by rice plantation where she practiced the art of making sweetgrass baskets-a heritage brought to America from the Western side of Africa which was also known as the Rice Coast. Coiled baskets first started appearing on the South Carolina coast as early as the 17th century with the slaves that were transported from the Windward or Rice Coast.  These enslaved people were sought after by the rice  plantation owners of the low country of South Carolina.  The baskets were used for sifting and sorting rice in there earlier days, now they are highly sought after as an art form. 
I bought two baskets from Celestine and carefully wrote down all her family history...then when I sat down to write this story I could not find my notes anywhere. 
For our readers if you go to Charleston, look for Celestine's booth, she is one of the first just North of Charleston on your right on highway 17.  With the new construction of the highway it has been hard on all the basket makers to make a living.  It is a wonderful heritage. Please support Celestine and her craft.  As I get more information I will post it.  
A note to Celestine, if you read this and realize I don't have the notes will you email me at with the information and I will add it to this page.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

There are ghost among us and they call our name.  As we walk in our own world, memories from childhood creep back in no matter where we live or how old we are.   

Coke Redux                                                                   photo by elizabeth gordo

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fruit de la Mer

                                                                                                         photo by Elizabeth Gordon    
This photo was taken on a day of exploration and adventure learning about a new area of the country.  The South Carolina Low Country coast is charming with marshes and the varied culture of shrimpers, old plantations and Gullah heritage.  We stopped in an old fishing village by the name of  McClellanville, South Carolina.   Walking along the docks my attention was caught by this vision of oysters in the sea...the colors were muted and reminded me of an old Jules Verne movie...30,000 leagues under the sea.  Experiences  layer upon layer in memory filters through to another.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Portraits and Still Life /an uncommon view

Classical portraits are usually full face or side view, perhaps with a little Rembrandt lighting if we look at a three fourth's view with shading.  Typical still life's are flowers or fruits or game set in a stilted formal fashion.  But I think we can think of them both differently.  Each tells us something about the subject we are contemplating, each gives us information that helps us form an opinion and draws us in to want to know more.  I think of them as time capsules, a bit of history and culture snatched in a moments time:stolen away for the future to time travel backwards.  If quantum physics is correct and we experience time horizontally and not  in a linear fashion, then we are in the future and past at the same time. 
Here are a few portraits and still life's that tells us a story or give us information leaving work for our imaginations to do.  In art I never like to over define anything for my should leave a sense of mystery, an intriguing of the mind, and a tug at the soul.  We should all be able to bring a sense of ourselves to the art work without the artist telling us his view to overtly.  And so these pieces I have presented below offer a twist of classical formats for you perusal. 

Portrait of My Nephew

Photo portrait by Elizabeth Gordon

Shutters and Shadows/ Portrait of a Southern Lady

Charleston, South Carolina             Elizabeth Gordon

Still life Green screen and Red Barn Window

Old Leicester Road  Leicester, North Carolina              by Elizabeth Gordon

Fall leaves with Crane

Asheville, North Carolina        by Elizabeth Gordon

Boo, Mountain Dog in Repose  

          Blossom Ridge, Leiscester, North Carolina     Photo by Elizabeth A. Suggs

Friday, November 23, 2012

Artist's Quote

An Artist can not fail; It is a success to be one!
by Charles Horton Cooley

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! 

The First Thanksgiving  by Jeannie Brownscombe  1914  from google

Here in the United States families will gather, traveling by plane, car and train, to be together and give thanks.  It is an American tradition that started with the first pilgrims sharing a meal of thanks with the Native Americans who helped them survive a harsh winter.  The meal no doubt was far different from what is served today.  There may have been foul, venison, root vegetables, or course the infamous corn that native americans introduced to the newly arrived English pilgrims.  The first winter few of the first colony survived, they were unaccustomed to new environs they found themselves in.  They were in a strange land and without the help of the native Americans there is much doubt whether any of the colonies would have survived.  If you know much about American history, then you know the subsequent treatment of the native populations of American was worse than deplorable.  On the other hand I would dare say there are few Americans whose families have lived here for generations that do not have some native American heritage of their own.  In my family it was Cherokee, a large advanced civilization of peoples, who lived on the East Coast.  My ancestor's name was Dorothy Pryor.  When a Native American woman married a caucasian  man they were given what was called a "Christian name" or an English name as was in the case of Dorothy Pryor. Often Americans do not even realize that they have Native American ancestors.    

Wednesday, November 21, 2012



One of the most interesting things to me in my practice of art is that for a good part of my career I didn't realize I was a surrealist at heart. I love the symbolism, the thought of intellectualism behind the creation  and a meaning that is not obvious or easily come to.  For me art needs to be more than a reflection of an image, it must delve deeper into the soul and the mind to find relevance in my being.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

An American Thanksgiving

An American Thanksgiving

Looking at how art influences and reflects our world.  One thing art does is acts as a time capsule of our culture and times.  Norman Rockwell was an American artist that took iconic scenes in the country, capturing a moment or scene that incapsulates American culture.  Rockwell was criticized for being to commercial, his art too cartoon like, but he was very popular and he served a purpose of chronicling kernels of American culture.  For some it seemed idolized and for other nostalgic, but loved by the general public.  Approaching our Thanksgiving I thought we would give the rest of the world a window in to an American Thanksgiving through art and history.

Norman Rockwell          from google image

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than 

felt, and poetry is 

painting that is felt rather than seen.” 

from google image
 Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Healing Nature of the Arts

Recently I came across two different sites that had to do with partnerships in the arts and health care. I have a close friend who is an art therapist and has worked in that capacity within the public schools and now with the Leepa Ratner Museum.  The data for positive effect on health and the arts is tremendous.  As artists we know how the arts benefit us personally by self expression, a meditative state and connecting with others.  The you tube site I will provide below is used by the Mississippi State Mental Hospital in a healing program with patients.  Just recently, my hometown of Tampa, Florida, recently published a health care and arts partnership program.  Where ever you live, where ever you practice art, or wherever you take art classes consider bonding the arts with healing for others!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New Rabbit's Moon Studio Bench Mark

dichroic glass jewelry    by elizabeth gordon    

We hit a new daily high for reads today!  This blog has taken on a life of its own.  I am so amazed and thankful for all of your support and readership! The Arts Make a Difference and thank you for helping spread the word.

James Rosenquist and the Grand Painting

James Rosequist and the F -111
86 foot long painting!

                                            from you tube

If you had any doubt why James Rosenquist (click)would need a three football field long studio, then this will put them to rest. Few galleries can ever exhibit this piece, so count yourself lucky if you have ever seen it in person.  It is quite remarkable.  His studio in Aripeka, Florida(click)gives him the bright clear light he desires for his painting.  He goes back and forth between New York and Florida.  Locally he has been a tremendous force and supporter of the arts.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Language of Art

Georgia O'Keeffe                                         from google image

Painting is my language.  It is how I speak!
Georgia O'Keeffe

Positive Thinking for Artists!

There are days for artist when it seems the whole world is against you.  Galleries don't take your work, you are turned down for the latest show, that blank canvas won't fill itself, and some nut just walked by your work and said, "I could do that!" And many artist have another career or work multiple jobs just with the hope they can one day do their art full time? So I always love things that talk of perseverance and over coming obstacles. I ran across this on line and thought I would share it with you.  It is a great analogy of courage and positivism in overcoming obstacles. Look for things that help you, post them where you see them daily...if you can't find something make it up yourself...that is how Rabbits 5 started as a name for me.  It was hard times and I looked for rabbits in impossible places and found them! Believe in yourself and when someone says something negative do what I did...I thought to myself , consider the source! Now, get out there and believe in yourself!!!!
Donkey in A Well  by Diana              from google image
One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well.  The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.  Finally, he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.
He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him.  They all grabbed a shovel and began to shove dirt into the well.  At first the donkey realized what was happening and cries horribly.  Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.  
A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well.  He was astonished at what he saw.  With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing.  He would sake it off and take a step up.
as the neighbors and farmer continued to shovel dirt the donkey continued to shake it off and step up until he walked right out of the well!"  by anonymous


Tuesday, November 13, 2012


photos by Elizabeth Gordon

I love old buildings, red brick and tall windows.
They whisper of times past like living ghost.  This Italian restaurant is an old favorite in Asheville.  Old neon signs are neat also.  The one that shows the outline of the city and the piano bar are wonderful.  Heard some wonderful piano playing that night as well! 
photo by elizabeth gordon

photo by elizabeth gordon

photo by elizabeth gordon

Monday, November 12, 2012

Still Life with Napkins and Apples

Still Life 

This Photo was one of many I was taking around the mountain studio and I had not thought about it turning out particularly well until I was reviewing the photo's on my computer.  There is no enhancing of color, that is the way it looks.  Sometimes by accident you just get a great shot.  I love the richness of color. 
 It made me think about great still life artists of the past.  One I have always loved is Cezanne.  When I was in high school he was the very first artist I choose to study when we were ask to do a still life by our art teacher.  
And then there was Van Gogh's Sunflowers, again I was captivated. The term still life comes from the Dutch Stilleven meaning bits of fruit or flowers.  I also ran across a surprising piece when researching this for the post.  It is a still life done by Carivaggio in 1595.  I had never seen a still life of his before, only his paintings of people with the drama of pain and struggle. This was such a different look from him.  
So on one day for an artist's date as Julia Cameron calls it take out your sketch book or your camera and look for still life shots! Have fun, you just don't know what will turn up.  If you want to share your results here with us at Rabbit's Moon studio we would be honored.

photo by Elizabeth Gordon                                            Asheville Studio
Cezzane                               from google image
Van Gogh Sunflowers               from google image
Monet           Still lire with Melon   from google image
Carivaggio       1595          from google image

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Some of the Best Artists you Never Knew!

Martin Stynes

Sean Starwars 

Christopher Burdett

Nathan Mark Phillips

Monica Guerrero

Cassandra Gordon-Harris

You don't know these artists and teachers?  Well, you should!  They are exceptional people that we admire here at Rabbit's Moon and who are achieving wonderful things with great persistence in art and life. 
 They all have some common traits: Hard work, Courage, and persistence to rise over all the struggles and excused that the rest of us use not to succeed or give up.  They are prolific, they are impassioned, and they are present doing their art. Some are better known than others and some are just starting out. Artists do not have to be famous to be important, to be noted, to be cherished and to be admired.  Look around you and you will see new artists and career artists all taking the risk to express themselves, believe in themselves, and share their talents with us all.  Lets take time to honor those individuals in our lives and let us learn from their success.

Martin Stynes(click for more info.)

from google image

Ireland/Manchester, England. Professor, Abstract landscape artist. Career Artist. Prolific with an amazing output and body of work.  The sky and the horizon take on new meaning as Martin shows us how to look at our world with fresh eyes. Exhibits widely. Soul of a poet. Amazing communicator and mentor to others.

Sean Starwars(click)

from google image
Mississippi/Louisiana Printmaker of the Outlaw Artist School. Edgy prints with an attitude and humor, High school art teacher, endless energy, impassioned,exhibits widely,
huge body of work.  Wonderful advocate for art and print making!

Christopher Burdett(click for link)

Chris  Burdett's Monsters   google image

Christopher Burdett at Comicon                      from google image

Tallahassee, Florida. Fantasy/Sci Fi illustration. Relentless worker, Highly creative, remarkable draftsman,illustrates and designs for Dungeons and Dragons and many more..Constantly challenging himself, constantly educating and honing his already tremendous skills.

Nathan Mark Phillips(click for link)  

Mark Nathan Phillips   photo by elizabeth gordon
from google image

Mark Nathan Phillips is a Photographer, Artist of Digital collage, dedicated, persistent pursuit of his art and excellence, step by step self determination and courage in self expression. Letting art take him on the path it leads him to. New artist, one to keep you eye on!

Monica Guerrero

photo by elizabeth gordon
Peruvian artist/Tampa,Florida Art Historian, Museum educator, pottery, glass fusion artist, meticulous, detailed, persistent, great courage and determination in taking the risk of being a successful artist, amazing output of work.

Cassandra Gordon Harris

from google image
from google image 
Born in New Orleans, raised in South America, educated in Europe, lives in New Mexico, amazingly talented creative painter, she paints the soul of women and the feminine mystique, landscapes with an air of other worldlyness and wonder. Huge body of work, courageous in her journey into her own self and being as an artist, determined hard working artist

Michelle Varley Crosby

from google image

St. Petersburg, Florida. Potter, teacher elementary magnate school, creative, energetic, compassionate, art advocate and teacher extradonair..awarded Teacher of the Year/Elementary for the State of Florida, amazing teacher who teaches the love of art. The art of being an exceptional teacher is truly that...a fine art..honed over a lifetime of caring, overcoming obstacles and succeeding with greater passion than before with a love of art and children and learning.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Hattiesburg, Mississippi  
Look with Fresh Eyes, Look for the gifts hidden in looking closely

Hattiesburg, Mississippi
For only then do you truly start to see.  Look beyond what your brain tells you, do not name what you see...only look for its beauty in line, color, shape and pattern.  There is so much to discover when you let yourself learn to really look and to really see.

Hattiesburg,  Mississippi   Old Car   photo by Elizabeth Gordon

Detail of a fanned Palmetto Leaf

Detail of old dinner awning

Palmetto detail 

Detail of parking money slot metal

Business name detail on outside of building, Wren's Nest     New Orleans

New Orleans post, photo by elizabeth gordon

Detail of New Orleans drain spout on building

photo's by elizabeth gordon

Wires left hanging after Katrina looking very Darth Vadar
New Orleans

Electric wires against a sunset sky,  New Orleans
photo's by elizabeth gordon

Tools and hooks on the side of an 18 wheeler truck
photo by elizabeth gordon

It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it. 
Anais Nin

When I read this quote about art and writing I thought about how often as a teacher I tried to get my young students to look at something differently so they could see in a different way-in the way an artist might see.  To look not at the object and what their brain might tell them it is, but to look at the shape, the colors, and the lines.  I love rust and old metal objects, worn wood that paint has chipped away on or a siding from a barn that is weathered and bleached from the sun.  I love things that have been used, loved, touched by human hand or nature.  The colors can be more beautiful in a rusted piece of metal than one can ever can be so rich and so varied.  The only thing that can make that happen is nature itself..years, rain, sun they become a chemistry lab that creates a unique piece of art from the gods themselves.  But one must look, truly look and ignore what our brains tell us it is. 
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