Once Upon A Time…..and now

EXPRESSIONISM is a radical distortion of perspective to demonstrate the emotional effect of the world on the Painter, and thereby evoke mood and ideas in the Viewer. Expressionists are not looking for, or at, absolute reality. But the heart of the Expressionist Painter may assimilate life in unorthodox form and explosive color.

Which, it seems to me, is right up the alley of any kid.

Bed In Summer by Robert Louis Stevenson

In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light.

In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.
And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

Children turn into grown ups.

Georgia O’Keeffe, oil portrait by Sparhawk

When Georgia O’Keeffe grew up she ran into New Mexico’s thunderstorms to catch electricity.
   Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.
SPARHAWK is a trailblazing 1-woman 1-cottage cottage industry inspiring the world through audacity. If I were dropped in the middle of a meadow in my petticoats I would still make my way in the world.  QEI  & The Hawk


EXPRESSIONISM in all arts became a movement at the turn of the 20th Century. But its practitioners before and after included the likes of: EL GRECO, NIETZSCHE, VAN GOGH, DE KOONING, KAHLIL GIBRAN, MUNCH, ROUALT, KANDINSKY, KLEE, and SPARHAWK.

About children’s books…..I am continuing to complete a half dozen children’s books, all variously illustrated with my paintings and drawings, and my original writing. Dedicated to the unusual & possibly strange which are the bedfellows of the young.


This Wooly Mammoth is Nobody's Fool

LOOTIE is a wooly mammoth in love with a circus juggler. This is Lootie, after the first date, heading back early morning to the big tent with a rose bouquet and strawberry frappe for her fellow, Sweetie Reetie. She discovers the circus left town in the dark of night, and, in the well documented W.Mammoth tradition of certainty that love conquers all, sets out to find him.

The Outer Space Pup

The Amazing Adventures of Ginger Snap, (black terrier). Ginger describes, to her human and the house cat Babette, an earlier life on a threatened planet. Faced with scorning disbelief, forced to reveal her secrets, Ginger brings them to the edge of the earth. Thus begins an amazing adventure. Anything is possible.




The 2 Pillow Cat.

The 2 Pillow Cat. A small town is struck by disaster. Though all survive,  the town must be reconstructed. It becomes the mission (and a source of ingenious discovery) for a young girl to provide a safe haven for her cat, who has been unsettled by change, and is unable to nap, ever, at all,  with anything less than two pillows. Period.





Brilliant Child Conducts Interesting Life

Doctor Manxi and Her Inimitable Bear. Her history is shrouded in deep fogs, no one knows how she became a doctor at the age of five, nor how she comes to possess extraordinary wisdom. In her small farming village up north, she and her bear solve weighty problems while wandering the hills, and provide useful morals. It is Dr Manxi’s passion to learn something new every day. And find a delicious snack en route. Nothing, she has discovered, is too small to pay attention to. The inimitable bear concurs.

Dream Big

The Rich Dreams of A Poor Cat. (Artists Don’t Eat Every Day). A struggling city artist shares the ups and downs of fluctuating prosperity with her cat, who lives a rich fantasy life replete with servants and a 24 hour a day well staffed and loaded kitchen.




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Angels, Dancing on Treetops

Angels Dancing on Treetops, oil painting by BD Sparhawk



When I get up to the Pearly Gates, if that indeed might be where I’m headed, I will walk briskly (with a sinner’s confidence) to the Saintly vision of Peter, my arms extended in my fresh unearthly joy, and the Saint, who will know me, rising, flushed of face (and seriously annoyed) will, in exasperation, ask:
“How could you have missed THAT?”

I will be stopped in my tracks.
                           “The other day…with your friend… I heard you, and I find you did not know. You did not know? We pointed!”   he will continue.

 “We placed you in front of it, we moved you there, we poked and prodded!  Why, we even cast sunbeams and danced moonbeams on it. ”   Saint Peter turns for corroboration, hands spread wide palms up for emphasis to a cherub at his side–who nods emphatically, excitedly– “We had you live beside them. See them daily. Sleep by them nightly. We had you feed the horses there, right where they were, miles of them!”.   He will stop just short of shouting:  “In a line!”

“And here again just this brief while ago, bringing you into a new place to live so you could look down your hill into your valley below and see all the beauty, all the color…..HOW can you have missed that!”

Oh dear.

All this inspired by one of my last conversations, being told by an observant girl whose young  heart swells at the sight of the woody places, streams and trees….

“I love the Sycamore for that,” she’d said to me, “you can always trace a river or streams hidden in a forest by the Sycamores growing alongside it. Look down there, see?  Now the leaves all orange and gold; you will find the river at its roots, you will always find water….beside the Sycamore.”

It was mid December, we’d had two frosts, we’d passed the shortest day.
Honestly I was shocked.  With these  truths Saint Peter addressed to me, that everything at heaven’s command had been done to put me in the path of woodland habits, and it had all indeed overwhelmed me, an emotional feast I’d never finish, and sure I’d seen every particle…. yet I had missed this most ordinary truth.
“Oh! Of course. You’re right, you’re right!”   Hot tears leapt from my eyes.   “HOW did I miss that?”

And left me wondering how much else I’ve missed. Would the heavens be an endless scold from here through eternity. Well no, no that’s not very nice, and improbable. But what ELSE have I missed.  I thought I’d seen so much.  I’d boasted to myself of all I’d seen in my long years.

But if I failed to know the Sycamore and what they mark, and  I had lived among, then…..
…..What colors have I failed to observe. What minute’s turning to me of a friendly face, a smile I abandoned too soon. What bright light from a baby’s eyes sent to me like a piercing message I must never forget — yet did not let register. What music, what delight, what pain, what love. What gentle brush of a wagging tail. What barely felt breezes stirring from the crow’s wings. The kindness of the bus driver who stopped at the patter of my running feet. The twice-warmed coffee, the special dish, the hearty greeting. The rising sun’s heroics….. from which I had driven west.
How could I have missed that.

I think we can experience everything, you know, have it all.  We have so many receptors, unused, untried, even unknown. So that walking forward with assurance that every nuance be seized, filtered in by hair and smell and dangerously opportunistic raw flesh…..open to all of it, because knowing is living.

I’ll try.

I mean to say, the thought itself  must be a poke from heaven, must it not?

Wouldn’t it be marvelous to surprise the Saints and ourselves simply by paying attention a bit more.

Happy New Year.  Here comes 2018.


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