Wednesday, December 7, 2016

New Art and Poetry Journeys

Yes it has been a very long time since I posted on this blog! You see we have been busy moving across the country from New York to California. It began with an online search of apartments in Southern California back in January and then in May we flew out here to find a new place to live.

We are settled now and loving life on the west coast.

Now of course it's time to get back to art and poetry.

I plan to expand this blog a bit and incorporate more of my own poems turned into art work as well as share some of the special poems I've read and enjoy over and over again. To me poetry, both writing and reading it, is a form of meditation. Art serves that purpose as well, helping me to stay focused and block our the negativity of today's world. I find solace in art and poems and want to spread that feeling of calm serenity to my readers. My hope is that my posts will bring that same sense of peace to you. 

I would like to call this blog Zen Poet and will work on refiguring this blog design to match that mode.

In the meantime here are a few new art journal layouts for you to peek at.

Hope you enjoy these until I return with more art and poetry!

copyright by Renee Howard Cassese

Thursday, April 14, 2016

National Poetry Month and Mother's Day

April is National Poetry Month and so I am writing more poems and sending my present collection out for more contests and publishers and hoping for the best. Next month is Mothers' Day, actually only in a few weeks so it's a good time to write another poem about mothers and to tell you about my upcoming event.

in the glass
I see your face,
clear loving eyes
a slight smile,
I trace the tracks
that frame your eyes
and that soft mouth,
tracks made in joy
and sadness,
I know it's me
in this early morning
half light,
I stare at your face
wishing I could touch
the sweet papery smoothness
of your cheek,
wishing I could hear
the conviction in your voice
as you tell me
which way I should turn
as I contemplate
the years
left to me,
wishing I could bring you back
to share them with me.

I dedicated my first collection of poems to my mother, even naming it for her--"I am My Mother's Only Poem." And now as Mothers' Day approaches I am happy to be doing a reading and an art exhibit at Long Island Writers House on May 7 from 1:00-4:00.

I hope to see my blog readers there as I discuss the marriage of poetry and art and why I find it to be the most rewarding of my creative pursuits.

You can find information at 

Come on out and hear some poetry, look at some art, and have some refreshments!

Art and books will be for sale and would make perfect Mothers' Day presents!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Serendipity in the Land of Art and Poetry

Those who believe in the Law of Attraction know that what you emit you also attract into your life. I also believe that if you focus your thoughts on what you want to achieve the universe will reward you with unexpected opportunities. The past couple of weeks have gifted me with many magical opportunities and chances to expand my creative life.

The first was an email from the Long Island Romance Writers group announcing an author book event at the South Huntington Library. I have applied and been accepted and will be offering my books for sale and hoping to meet and speak to other writers and share the triumphs and tribulations of a writer's life.

The event will be held on April 9. I believe this opportunity came to me because I have been focused on writing my romantic women's fiction series and have consequently rekindled my interest and participation both in LIRW and Romance Writers of America.

I also came across a post on facebook about Long Island Writers House in Huntington Village. I looked at the website, shared the discovery with the women in my writers' group and then put it aside. But while participating this month in Write A Thin, sponsored by the Womens Fiction Writers Association, I decided to pursue it a little further. I emailed LIWH and made contact with the founder and director of this wonderful new establishment offering many opportunites for writers. 

A return email from Karen Levine created a new connection with a wonderful friend in the making. After viewing my blog she suggested an art exhibit and poetry reading at Long Island Writers House and we have scheduled that for May 7. You can find more information at

In addition I met with Karen and discovered we have quite a bit in common and spent an exciting and enjoyable two and a half hours chatting about art and writing. She also offered her space as a venue for me to teach Journal to the Self writing workshops which I have been wanting to do since I became certified as a Journal Instructor.

I can see this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

So many wonderful writing things are coming to me now that I am spending more of my time thinking about writing and actually working on a solid writing project like the romantic women's fiction series.

I also recently discovered a bookstore/wine bar in Rockville Centre called The Turn of the Corkscrew which offers self-published authors a chance to sell books through their author events. Though I missed out on the one being held tomorrow there will be others in the future that I plan to participate in.

The world is conspiring to boost my writing life and I am immensely grateful.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Haiku Poem and Winter Art

between snowflakes
silence is a symphony
no one else hears

This is what I have in mind as I continue on this blog, hopefully posting more frequently and providing more about materials and techniques and inspiration.

I used a photograph Frank took from our window during the massive snow storm yesterday. Strips of ice were clinging to the screen and everything outside was shadowed and fuzzy from the falling snow.

I used gesso and Distress Paints from Ranger for the background then used a stencil to create bricks around the image with light molding paste tinted with charcoal spray ink.  I stamped a script stamp randomly around the page for a bit more interest.

The haiku on the page was something I wrote last month during an online holiday haiku class with Lorraine Mejia-Green, a fantastic poet and teacher.

Making Poetic Adjustments

I changed the design of this art and poetry blog and would love opinions about the new look.

I also want to revamp what I do here and focus a bit more. My other blog is all about short story writing while this blog is all about my art and poetry. But I have played around so much this past year that I need to narrow my focus.

I want to include images of my art journal pages because that is the kind of art I am into right now. Not art for sale or display but the artistic and poetic ramblings of my crazy and tangled mind. Art journaling is a combination of images--photos, free images from the internet, stamped images and images cut from magazines. It combines an image or two with various background techniques and allows me to experiment with different media like watercolor, acrylics, inks, collage which I find so pleasurable.

All of this visual stuff is then translated into words which can be stamped from phrase stamps, cut from magazines, or written in my own handwriting (not my preferred addition to art journal pages.) For this blog I want to add poems to the art. The poems will either be incorporated to the journal layout or posted separately. It all depends on what comes through when I'm in the process of creating.

I look forward to working more in this blog. Sharing poems I create in online classes and discussing the craft and process of poetry writing. 

It's all a learning process for me and I hope it will become a learning journey for you as you read and share my blog posts.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Blending of Poetry and Art

Since I've been retired every day seems like a weekend, but a Saturday amidst a blizzard is an especially artsy poetic day. 

Over the past months I've shared a lot of my art here on the blog but that seems to be veering away from the concept of putting art and poetry together. I am still trying to work out a style that I like to blend my poems with my art and here is a new attempt that I think works.

from the emptiness
of the lute's soul
haunted melodies
pray for fullness

I liked the green background with the brown of the lute image but my preference is for softer colors so have to work on some backgrounds and pair them with images and poems.

As for the etsy shop I am thinking to create these poem art pieces in an 8x8 or 8x10 size for wall hangings and then create notecards and/or bookmarks from the same art pieces.

The shop by the way will be called "The Artsy Poet's Shop" and I hope that works. I will be selling my poetry book in the shop as well. And, hopefully, a new collection when it gets published. I am saying "when" not "if" to keep a positive outlook.

I'll let you know when the etsy shop is open for business. I'm aiming for the next day or two as soon as I figure out how to do this!

I have a wonderful photo of the snow outside our window that Frank took this morning.

I'm going to turn it into a mixed media piece and write a poem to go with it. Looks a bit ethereal to me so I will lean in that direction for the mood of the poem and the art.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Question about Art

As the first snowflakes of the year begin to fall outside my window I am about to enter a brand new venture. I am going to open up a shop on etsy to sell the art I create that incorporates my poems. Of course there are other forms of art and perhaps books that I can sell, but one corner of the shop at a time.

The first step in getting an etsy shop is to come up with a name for the shop. The name has to incorporate keywords that search engines will use to drive customers to my store. For me those key words are "art," "poetry," "mixed media." So Frank helped me brainstorm a little this morning and we came up with a few ideas. I'd love my readers to vote on these titles so I can get this shop opened up.

Here are our thoughts:

  • Poetic Art by Renee
  • Poetic Art Inspirations
  • The Artsy Poet's Shop
  • Renee's Poetic Art
Please send in your votes so I can get rolling!!!

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Diversity of Creativity

Today seems to be about finding myself--yet again.

As most of you know my creative projects veer off in many directions. It could be art journals or mixed media, it could be poetry or short stories, or it could revert to novel writing. My desires seem to shift from day to day and sometimes from minute to minute. Today I am torn between each of these endeavors and the urge to return to fiction--novel or short stories is strong.

Part of the reason I feel so torn I suppose is that the blank page or a white canvas does not intimidate me. Rather it inspires me as I feel it holds, in its vast blankness, a world of possibilities. Once a few words are written, or some color laid down limitations automatically arise. Though things may change in the creation of the story or painting there is already a directed commitment. 

I want to learn how to accept that I am a divergent creative person and I will never settle into any one form but that always brings up a lack of focus that makes me uncomfortable. If I can become comfortable with that I will be okay.

But in looking at my various forms of creative expression I have noticed something. While my fiction tends to lean toward the dark side of life and people my art seems to be all about happiness.

This art journal layout says it all. While my writing tries to expose the problems in life and show how my characters overcome it, my art wants to shout to the world that there is beauty all around us. 

I am the kind of person who stops to smell the roses, pauses to watch a sunset or sunrise as its colors change from second to second, or stills to hear the songs of birds in the morning. I want my art and poetry to show all the beauty in the world and encourage others to stop in the middle of their hurried lives to witness it all.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

My new publications

Hello all!
Please go to the above link to find 2 e-books edited by the fabulous Matilda Butler. These collections hold the heartfelt stories of women who have travelled miraculous journeys and overcome obstacles to create warm and rewarding lives for themselves. Matilda is a wonderful guide along the journey of memoir writing.

I've worked with Matilda in various venues over the years and her guidance and suggestions in honing the two stories of mine that appear in this collection did much to turn ragged drafts in workable revisions and finally into gems of stories that share my past and speak to the success of my present life.

I invite you to read and share my stories as well as the stories of the other women who opened their hearts and souls to expose the tender sprouts that grow into lives well lived.

Please enjoy!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Art Journal Fun

So while Frank and I are delving into this exciting business venture I still will find time to art journal. Journaling is a way to express the feelings in my soul but writing my 3 pages every morning wasn't enough anymore. I needed to add art to the mix. More and more I am finding that art is my preferred expressive mode. So in between researching esty information and other online selling sites I finished the layout I started last week.

These art journal layouts won't be something I can sell but it's a way to practice techniques and mediums that I can use in mixed media pieces.

the seet aromas
set senses spinning
thoughts awaken
nudging creative muses
to share what they know

A Marriage of Poetry and Art

So today it seems the title of this blog is particularly appropriate. As Frank and I sat on the couch, sipping coffee and absorbing the bright sunshine we came up with a plan. True we have been brewing this idea for a long while but with the help of some outside inspiration and the time I now have since I've retired it's time to put our plan into action.

Marriage is the key word here. I've been working toward a style of marrying my art with my poems. Frank and I, of course, are married. And we are looking for a way to create an online business that marries my poetry with his art. We are also looking for venues from which to sell all the pieces of art that are accumulating in our little apartment in order to create space for more inspired art and poetry to flow.

So we are toasting to our new adventure!

It will take some time to figure this all out. To create a bigger online presence. Expand this blog and post more frequently. And to establish an etsy shop as well as finding other places to sell our work.

While we work at the business end we will continue to create art.

Frank will paint more scenes from photos we have taken.

I am creating a notebook of his paintings and writing poems to pair with them in order to make an art and poetry book.

This is a very exciting adventure. We hope you will follow along as we keep you updated on our progress.

Wish us luck and please comment with any advice or suggestions! We will need much help along the way!