Archive for the ‘art, life, illustration, philosophy’ Category

Life begins with a budding vine

June 21, 2010
New Life by Cheryl McDonald

New life begins with a budding vine

Today is the first day of the rest of your life

yes we have all heard that over and over and over again. Even though it is true, it has become such a cliché that we no longer pay attention to it. We are creatures of habit and it is very very easy to get ourselves so accustomed to our surroundings and what things and people and even rituals that we have in our every day lives that we forget the joy and the light and the luxury and even the reasons why we choose to have these things as part of our lives. We do agree, I am sure, (at least most of the time) that we do have a choice and we do choose everything that we allow to be part of our lives. so everything in our day-to-day living is because we choose it to be there. This is a subject we could discuss at length, but for today I choose to use this as just a lead-in to my story.

Forgotten Dreams by Cheryl McDonald

A spider's web, falls apart if the spider does not care for it

If you have read this blog, you know that I have chosen to give up my apartment and do some exploration by house sitting, travel and visiting friends. This week and next I am in Oakland, CA taking care of the home and pets of a friend of a friend. What I am noticing about staying in other peoples homes, is that even though we all have very much the same needs for living, we choose to do things differently. Whether this is because routines are passed on by generations or we have come across purely by accident ways that we prefer to do things, there are many many different ways to do the same thing.

Sunshine on my face by Cheryl McDonald

Marlena enjoys a bit of sunshine on the back porch

What I am also finding is that I very much miss having a pet. Here I am blessed with the company of a sweet and feisty Jack Russel Terrier named Marlena and a beautiful cat named Leona, who are so full of love and very happy to share it. Marlena and I walk everyday and get out to see the world together. A very fun partner she is!

String of Prayers

A string of Tibetan prayer clothes graces the front porch

So this week I am finding myself paying attention to details. Not lofty mountain tops or desert valleys, but light in the garden, and art of a friend, life details that make this place a home.

I have always noticed how much more I appreciate my home when I have been away from it for a while. Now that I am grounded within myself rather than a place, I find that I can appreciate the details where ever I am, with much more appreciation. It has caused me to re-evaluate the way I do things and why. What are the rituals I want to keep, how can I have the opportunity to do the things I love to do, such as art, journaling, gardening, and finding ways to share my creative abilities with new communities? Everything is up for evaluation and I like the changes that are occurring in me.

Green by Cheryl McDonald

New Leaves awaken in the light

So what are the details that you appreciate in your life, in your work? Are you still noticing them and enjoying them or have they gotten covered over by the rush to get through the day? I invite you to take a moment and see where you are and what is the goodness of this moment? Find those details and take them in again, it really will add new dimension to the life that you lead.

So today, this moment really is the first moment of the rest of your life why not make the most of it?

Light Abstracts by Cheryl McDonald

light abstracts and old table against the wall

Cheryl McDonald is the owner of Passions at Play Art & Design. Photo essays, landscape photography, and watercolor illustration.

To see her latest published photo and story check out Snapixel Magazine- Travel edition on


A Moment in Time, May 2, 2010, 8am pacific

May 3, 2010
Bernie's Coffee, photo by Cheryl McDonald

Bernie's Coffee, Noe Valley,San Francisco

So yesterday, Sunday the 2nd of May at 8am around the world, the New York Times held a call for photos and over 10,000 people responded! People from all around the globe uploaded one image of what they were doing, where they were, or what was important to them at 8am their time. Pretty exciting and there are some really amazing pictures so far. You should check out the blog site Lens. They are still in the process of loading and organizing images so I sure the site will change a lot in the next few days.

I was one of the people in the world that responded to their call for entries. I learned about it last week, set my alarm to remind me and started thinking about where I wanted to be on Sunday morning. I thought about what I wanted to share with the world that is something about my world. I did not seem to have any great ideas-  at least none that were not contrived and hoaky,  so I decided to take a walk down on 24th Street in Noe Valley with my camera and see what showed up. I love doing this on Sunday mornings. It is a good healthy walk down the hill and an even healthier walk up the hill!

It was a beautiful sunshine morning yesterday, even so, 8 am is a bit early for people to be out in this neighborhood. There are usually lot’s of young families with strollers, toddlers and dogs on leashes, but not this morning, so it was a quiet leisurely walk. There are a variety of places I like to visit on 24th Street depending on what I am in the mood for. Usually I walk up and down the main drag seeing what captures my interest before I make my selection.

Ohla and Jesus, photo by Cheryl McDonald

Ohla and Jesus staff the coffee bar at Bernie's

Well yesterday morning, at 8am it just so happened that I was in front of one of the great coffee establishments in San Francisco- Bernie’s Coffee- 3966 24th Street. So what better image to capture to share with the world then a view of a warm and friendly place here in this great city. Ohla and Jesus were behind the counter and were happy to accommodate me and my camera with a great portrait of the 2 of them, which is the image I sent in to the Times.

Ohla selling muffins, photo by Cheryl McDonald

Ohla selling muffins at Bernie's

Here are a couple more of them hard at work

Jesus in a blur of busy-ness, photo by Cheryl McDonald

Jesus is a blur

and of course there has to be a dog picture at a coffee shop, so I have added one of those as well.

Waiting for treats, photo by Cheryl McDonald

Waiting for treats outside

Bernie’s coffee is owned by Bernie Melvin, “a local girl” and is located at 3966 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114. There is a Facebook page and you can find it and all Bernie’s fans here- Bernie’s Coffee Fanatics

On the Path to Serenity

June 17, 2009
by Cheryl McDonald, 1997

by Cheryl McDonald, 1997

What does it take to bring you to serenity? Have you ever even been serene?

If you are an in mainstream American culture or World culture for that matter- probably not. We all lead unbeliveably busy lives and find ourselves looking forward to the moment when we will have time. Guess what- now is the time. If we cannot find a way to bring joy and peace to this moment then we are doomed to continue in the chaos that we are surrounded by- more to the point- the chaos that we generate in the choices we make about each moment that we experience. I know that for myself it is a daily process to stay focused on what matters to me and how I can share that with everyone I meet. When it comes to art and design, my goal is to deliver the message- clearly, simply and with just a touch of innovation, and fun. It is very easy to get serious about everything going on in this very busy and chaotic world and we really need to find ways to create joy.So to help you on your journey to peace and serenity, I have decided to start a print of the month sale and this is the first print- A Path to Serenity

This graphite and colored pencil drawing was created in 1997- it is a bit on the surreal side (not likely to see many orchids hanging in the sky) and the reason I have chosen this piece is that it is very timely for us all now. The stone path leads to a lotus altar on which Buddha sits. The path is marked with benches for resting in the garden. A chinese peasant carries his burden at the other end reminding us that life is about the labor of living. The more we give, the more we get in return.

When I did the piece I also wrote a simple inspirational poem to accompany it.

Simplicity, Spirituality, Authenticity
These are things that lead us
Down the path to serenity

So between now and the 31st of July I will offer a 20% discount on the purchase of a signed archival giclee that is matted in a 16″x20″ white mat ready for your frame. It is packaged in a clear plastic sleeve and shipping and tax will be extra. The cost of the print is normally $100.00 each so the sale price will be $80.00. The print is available on my website only and you can place your order via PayPal from my site.

to order this print

Looking for peace is a challenge for everyone and it is important to surround yourself with people and things that remind you of who you are and of the great value to this world that you are. So if by chance this image can help you in that quest it would be a great joy to me to share it with you!

peace, love and prosperity requires creativity!