Matisse Flowers

Today I’ve been looking at the work of Matisse. His still life and flowers, and others as well. I thought I’d post a few that I’ve enjoyed.

“Calla Lilies, Irises & Mimosas” – 1913

“Flowers in a Pitcher” – 1908

“Landscape Viewed from a Window” – 1913

See music? Taste shapes?

Many artists are synthetes, like David Hockney

Many artists are synthetes, like David Hockney


What is it? Well, it’s cool as hell. Have you heard phrases like “she’s so sweet?” Or “eye candy?”People with synthesia, or synthetes, invented metaphors like this. It’s because many of them can actually see music, or taste shapes.

I’m a synthete. I suspect my expanded sensory experiences are one of the main things that makes me “weird.” That said, I think even most non-synthetes can relate to the experience, because there is SO much sensory confusion in our language. My version of synthesia mainly manifests in personification – in other words – things that aren’t alive have personalities in my world. And I’m not crazy, I have an extraordinary ability.

Synesthesia is not a disability. It’s actually an enhanced ability, kind of like ESP, at least in my fantasies.  Those who have it typically become artists, writers, musicians and chefs. Those who weren’t blessed with this genetic quirk may encounter it when under the influence of psychedelic drugs. Some of us are lucky enough not to need them.

There are many varieties. Some people see a private laser show when they listen to music. Others associate colors with letters of the alphabet. My personal experience with it is that numbers have colors, genders and personalities. I know it sounds strange, but I’ve always had a strange bond to the number two. It’s yellow, female, gentle and kind. Often, synthesitic experiences are somewhat logical. For example, a book I read said that a gentleman tasted sausages every time he read the word village. It rhymes so it must be true!

I have other symptoms of synthesia. For example, Thursday is burnt orange. Colored days of the week and picturing time in a physical space is also common for synthetes. Tuesday, for me, of course is yellow (like its friend, the number two). People and animals often have colors and flavors for me too.

Since it’s pet month, I’ll disclose more of my weirdness. My pet Scout is butter pecan or peanut brittle. My Airedales have both tasted like pumpkin (in my mind, though I haven’t taken a bite, yet). My dog Cowboy is white bread, biscuits and country gravy. He’s an all American boy. And Todd’s dog, the Rottweiler is licorice and anise.

I’m told about one in twenty people have synesthesia. I would love to hear from you, if like David Hockney, Tori Amos and Duke Ellington, you have it too.

When In Doubt, Ad More Glitter – Advice from the Beauties of Blue Lotus, Part 2



Part 2 – Stage Beauty

Who better than the beautiful Blue Lotus belly dancers to offer advice for looking beautiful for the stage and photos. Here are their words of wisdom:



Liz  says “1)  Foundation on the eyelids keeps eye shadow from creasing, 2)  Chilling pencils (eye or lip liner) in the fridge for a few minutes before using keeps them from becoming soft and smudgy (editor’s note: I love this tip!), 3)  A little spritz of hair spray on your face keeps your foundation from running, this is extremely helpful when we do shows outside in the summer time (editor’s note – my skin would react like an acid burn, but I know many people with less sensitive skin could do this).”

Annie says “I have slightly down-turned eyes, which I don’t like, so when I apply eyeliner I do a heavy cat eye on the top lid and a very thin line on the bottom.  This disguises the natural shape of my eyes.”

Meg says “Liquid eyeliner, finished with a brushed on powder eyeliner make for a dramatic eye.”



All of the Blue Lotus girls agree, false eye lashes are essential for stage and photos. I’d like to share the tips taught to me by a Belly Dance Superstar for applying false eyelashes. First, protect your delicate eyelid by applying your eye shadow, liquid liner and a layer of dark powder eye shadow over the liquid liner while it is still wet. Next, using a cotton swab or even a toothpick, apply eye lash glue to the lash. Set it aside. Let the glue partially dry before applying. Use tweezers to tug into place.

Here are some great opportunities to see Blue Lotus live. Don’t miss them at Arts Fest, for me, they are the best part of the whole event!

Psychedelic Show and Seminars, Friday June 10 and Saturday June11

Sandstorm Show and Seminars, Friday June 17 and Saturday June18

Salt Lake City Arts Festival, Friday June 24 at 6:30 on the City & County Building Steps

Summer Oasis Show and Seminars, Friday August 5 and Saturday Aug 6

When In Doubt, Ad More Glitter – Advice from the Beauties of Blue Lotus



Part 1 – Street Beauty

I love Utah. But one thing about our state makes me sad. No matter where you go, you are guaranteed to be surrounded by people who think a pony tail and U of U sweatshirt are glamorous enough for any occasion. Yes, I have seen Birkenstocks at Ballet West, Abravanel Hall and even the opera. I think a little beauty, fashion and glamour, while not necessary for lounging at home, can certainly put a little more spice in life. That’s why I asked the fairest of them all – the girls of the Blue Lotus Belly Dance Company – to share their beauty tips with us.

First, some tips for every day street style:



Meg says, “I try and care for myself from the inside out. Eat well and get your blood pumping however you like best! For a happy healthy woman, glowing skin, and a cascade of shining hair are some of my favorite things when watching a beautiful dancer.”

Angela says “1) Respect your skin. Never sleep in your make up! My favorite skin cleaner is Cetaphil.  2) Invest in a high quality moisturizer. After all, we are talking about your face and you are worth it! 3) Pick a focus area, lips OR eyes. Don’t do both unless you are going for a stage makeup look. 4) Don’t wear heavy layers of make up on a hot day …. your face will melt and rub off on people you hug. Gross.”

Kelsey says “1)Make sure your brows are shaped nicely, and filled in with a brow pencil one shade darker than your hair color, 2) Also, use a light vanilla shimmering eyeshadow to highlight the brow bone. Works wonders! 3) Choose a blush that compliments your natural undertone. Smile while applying.”

Natalie says, “I like to keep my skin fresh by exfoliating once a week and then adding in an at home peel once or twice a month. For the at home peel I start with my regular exfoliatant and then layer a low-strength glycolic or vitamin A product on my face, neck and chest. I do this before bed and sleep with the product on overnight. In the morning I wash it off and put on a nice hydrating mask for 3-5 minutes; just while I’m getting ready to go.”



My favorite every day beauty tip comes from Angela. I can’t emphasize this enough – “Wear sun block on your face and neck! Sunburns (and tanning) make you look old prematurely and dehydrate your skin. Keeping your skin healthy is the number one key to beauty!”

Might I add it can also prevent melanoma, a deadly form of cancer. If you are concerned about being to pale, look to the likes of Nicole Kidman and Scarlet Johansen, these women are so white they glow and are considered the most beautiful actresses in the world.

Angela - Photo by Davey Wilson Photography