Post Script

My hometown in Pennsylvania

My hometown in Pennsylvania

When the Violin


The violin

Can forgive the past

It starts singing.

When the violin can stop worrying

About the future

You will become

Such a drunk laughing nuisance

That God

Will then lean down

And stare combing you into



When the violin can forgive

Every wound caused by


The heart starts singing.”   —Hafiz; Translated by Daniel Ladinsky


Peace Convocation; Asheville, N.C. Peace doves released. Photograph taken by Barbara Mattio 10-10-10. Copyright 2010 by Barbara Mattio

Peace Convocation; Asheville, N.C. Peace doves released. Photograph taken by Barbara Mattio 10-10-10. Copyright 2010 by Barbara Mattio

Acrylic painting. Jackson Square, French Quarter Painting done and Copyrighted 2009

Acrylic painting. Jackson Square, French Quarter Painting done and Copyrighted 2009 by Barbara Mattio

A Message From an Artist

Between November of 1881 and July of 1890, Vincent van Gogh painted almost 900 paintings. Since his death, he has become one of the most famous painters in the world. Van Gogh’s paintings have captured the minds and

hearts of millions of art lovers and have made art lovers of those new to world of art. The following excerpts are from letters that Van Gogh wrote expressing how he evolved as a painter. There are also links to pages describing some of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous paintings,Starry NightSunflowersIrises,PoppiesThe Bedroom,Blossoming Almond TreeThe Mulberry TreeThe Night Café, and The Potato Eaters, in great detail.

In December of 1881, at the age of 28 just as he began his first paintings Vincent wrote to his brother Theo about becoming a painter,

“Theo, I am so very happy with my paintbox, and I think my getting it now, after having drawn almost exclusively for at least a year, better than if I had started with it immediately…

For, Theo, with painting my real career begins. Don’t you think I am right to consider it so?”

Vincent van Gogh Starry Night Painting


Van Gogh worked at a feverish pace costing him money, causing him mental and physical stress and leaving him no time for any other source of income. But he was persistent. In a letter from March of 1882, Van Gogh wrote again to his brother Theo,

“Although I find myself in financial difficulties, I nevertheless have the feeling that there is nothing more solid than a `handicraft’ in the literal sense of working with one’s hands. If you became a painter, one of the things that would surprise you is that painting and everything connected with it is quite hard work in physical terms. Leaving aside the mental exertion, the hard thought, it demands considerable physical effort, and that day after day.”

In the same letter to Theo from 1882, Van Gogh writes, “There are two ways of thinking about painting, how not to do it and how to do it: how to do it – with much drawing and little colour; how not to do it – with much colour and little drawing.

Van Gogh Sunflowers

Van Gogh firmly believed that to be a great painter you had to first master drawing before adding color. Over the years Van Gogh clearly mastered drawing and began to use more color. In time, one of the most recognizable aspects of Van Gogh’s paintings became his bold use of color. This is evident in both Van Gogh’s landscapes and his still life paintings

About a year before his death Van Gogh predicted that there would be a great “painter of the future” who would know how to use color like no one else and would become the future of painting. He expressed this in a letter to his brother Theo in May of 1888,

“As for me, I shall go on working, and here and there something of my work will prove of lasting value – but who will there be to achieve for figure painting what Claude Monet has achieved for landscape? However, you must feel, as I do, that someone like that is on the way – Rodin? – he does not use colour – it won’t be him. But the painter of the future will bea colourist the like of which has never yet been seen.

Van Gogh Potato Eaters

But I’m sure I am right to think that it will come in a later generation, and it is up to us to do all we can to encourage it, without question or complaint.”

During his lifetime Van Gogh was never famous as a painter and struggled to make a living as an artist. Van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime The Red Vineyard. This painting sold in Brussels for 400 Francs only a few months before his death.

Vincent van Gogh died at the age of 37 bringing his career as a painter to an end, but beginning his legacy as the great painter of the future who inspired the world.

About a week after his death, Van Gogh’s brother Theo wrote to his sister Elizabeth about Van Gogh’s legacy as a great artist,

“In the last letter which he wrote me and which dates from some four days before his death, it says, “I try to do as well as certain painters whom I have greatly loved and admired.” People should realize that he was a great artist, something which often coincides with being a great human being. In the course of time this will surely be acknowledged, and many will regret his early death.”

Vincent van Gogh died at the age of 37 bringing his career as a painter to an end, but beginning his legacy as the great painter of the future who inspired the world. Today it remains a mystery as to what Van Gogh’s last painting was before his death. Find out more about which paintings among his final works are considered to be perhaps Vincent van Gogh’s last painting.—excerpted from Van Gogh website


Van Gogh Irises

Van Gogh Irises

still life//Sunflowers

still life//Sunflowers

” Because I have now such a broad, ample feeling for art and for life itself,

of which art is the essence,

the voices of people who try

to constrict me

sound shrill and false.

What I want

and aim at is confoundedly difficult;

yet I do not think I aim too high.

It has always seemed to me that when

an artist shows his work to the public, he has the right to keep to

himself the inward struggle of his

own private life (which is directly and fatally

connected with the peculiar

difficulties involved in producing

a work of art). It is very improper for a

critic to dig up a man’s private life

when his work is above approach.”   —Vincent Van Gogh





I believe that Vincent had two jobs. One was to be the artist he was born to be. The other was to rise above and fight his clinical depression. It has alway been thought that he committed suicide. The he took his easel and paints out to a field. He began to paint and then killed himself. Now, there are sources that believe that he was murdered. Either way, he was too young. Was he happy? I am sure not all of the time, but talent is a great responsibility, In addition to the responsibility, there are always those who have no creative chromasomes and will stand in judgement of an artist’s work. Did the great master’s feel this judgement? Yes. A creative person has more emotions to deal with and often the public is a harsh critic. So if there are times that you love what you have created, don’t listen to the negativity. The world would be poorer, without your creations. No matter what medium you work in (and they all count) you give the world something that no one else can. You give beauty and music and poetry and stories that edify or take people away. Your photograph will freeze a moment and catch it for eternity. It will live longer than you will. That is art. The lasting gifts we leave the world. Be proud, I don’t care if only one person loves your work, then you were born to create that piece for that one person. You were chosen to influence someone for the better. Happy, perhaps. Given an opportunity, yes. So create and be proud. Create and ignore the world. Create and give it to the world.

Stars over the river

Stars over the river

Thank you to every artist who opens him/herself up and pulls out all of that talent and shares it with all of the world. It isn’t easy to do. You do it brilliantly.


Amazing grace

Very well done. Hugs, Barbara

The Hurt Healer

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” Lao Tzu

If you are struggling with feeling ‘not being good enough’, or holding on to shame that is preventing you from accepting who you are, you are not alone. Society idolises celebrity status, bombards us with images of what we should look like, and manipulates what we should have and aspire to be. And there is an expectation to be perfect in everything and in every way.

Yet perfectionism is a myth. It’s a powerful myth that damages lives. Because when you fail to live up to those expectations, it can have devastating effects on your self-esteem. It’s natural to feel disappointed if you make a mistake or fail to do something, but if that feeling turns to shame then you could be heading down a spiral of self-destruct.

If the shame…

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Vic has left home for the last time…

I honor the extreme bravery of my friend atresia. She is a courageous woman. She is grieving now, but she has kept Vic alive by sharing her with the world. We won’t forget.

Vic's Final Journey

For a long time after Vic had breathed her last breath I lay next to her.  I touched her face and hugged her close to me.  Something I could not do in life as I may have fractured a bone or two.  Everybody left me alone with Vic.  I was so grateful for that precious time with my angel child.

I washed Vic and dressed her in her favourite pyjamas.  It was so difficult trying to dress her limp body.  Although I knew it did not matter anymore I was scared I would hurt her.  Years of conditioning I suppose.  I was shocked to see that a large part of her body had already discoloured.  Her right hand shoulder, her back and the top of her legs were black and blue.  When I washed her little body at 7am that morning, a mere 3.5 hours earlier, only her little…

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Pop-in-the-mouth Energy Balls with citrus zest …. gluten free with no added sugar

Smile. Healthy food.

Lea Hogg


There is something so satisfying when you know exactly what your’re eating. I use a mix of dates, figs, prunes, added almonds and lots of fresh tangerine zest.


These energy balls are very easy to make and a good activity with the kids. I coated half the balls in sesame seeds and the other half in coconut. You can also make a very large batch and store them in airtight containers or jars.


You will need:
2 cups pitted dates, roughly chopped
2 cups coconut
1 cup figs
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup grated citrus zest, I used local tangerines
1/2 cup honey, I used local eucalyptus carob honey
1/2 cup chopped flaked almonds
1/4 cup fruit juice, usually I use orange but this time I used purple carrot juice
For rolling balls : 2 cups sesame seeds and 2 cups coconut


You can use a…

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