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Annie Olson

"Artist Musings"

Come into my shell with me! My "Artist Musings" will give you an insight into my inner workings and why I create these faux shells and other works of art.

October 7, 2021


Phil got an email from Community Action House this morning about an open house at their new food distribution center on Paw Paw Drive.


Paw Paws. A tree, a native tree here in lower west Michigan. A favorite of my moms. She planted one by our home on Grand Ridge Court. It’s still alive and offering fruit to anyone aware of how good they taste.


And Paw Paw Drive. Their last home was on Paw Paw across from the entrance to the cemetery where Ron is buried.


So we drove up to the old Semco building to attend this open house. A lot of cars but no people milling around to attend. But we went up to the front door and it opened. To find out that it’s to be on the 23rd instead.


A kind young woman invited us to look around. Showed us the layout. And pointed up to a wall high above. Of a mural being painted.


Joel Tanis (picture from his website)

I do art. I guess I’m an artist. So I was excited to see this man in his 50’s I think

Painting a Mural! All greens at this point. This as yet un-named man high on a ladder.


Phil was busy talking with the young woman so I took this opportunity to share a story with him I thought he’d appreciate. Since he was painting a mural.


The story I told him goes like this.


“Do you remember Cherry Lane Pre-school?" He replied, yes I do. So I go on to tell him that this was once the office for a large chicken hatchery that burned down. And that the house next door we lived in was built by the owner of the said chicken hatchery.


I go on to explain we renovated our bathroom the winter of 2011. I think. Doesn’t matter. So I was still spry enough to strip off the old tiles and knock down the bathtub enclosure. Finding a note for a treasure map. The layout of the yard and X marking the spot. Now below the gravel of The Church of God of Prophecy parking lot. (The property was split up when Mr. Lemmen passed away)


By the way, my great great grandmother who came from the old country, her maiden name was Lemmen also. So I suspect I am related to these people.


I got to the back wall of the tub and I find this strange “window” that was all covered up. Wondering what it was. Lines and paint. Strange.


Well I don’t know how I found her name. But I did. I hope I can find it to finish this story. Because she told me what it was!


I was so surprise and delighted to find out that her father, this Dutch relative had engaged an artist when the house was being built to paint a mural on the wall above the tub!


She went on to share about being a little girl sitting there with her friends watching this pastoral scene being painted for her to enjoy.


So this is what I shared with this un-named man up on his ladder with green paint all over his pants and hands.


Hoping he enjoyed the story. I think he did. And then I asked his name to put in my iPhone telling him I think this would be great story to go with the opening for the paper.


In fact, as I write this, I see this as a story to hand out to all the people attending on the 23rd and for the Holland Sentinel.


He said his first name. Joel. Didn’t dawn on me yet. Then he spells his last name.


Tanis! Oh, of course! Joel Tanis! Remembering him painting murals for Lincoln School. I was also doing my clay art with the kids at Lincoln.


20 years. I don’t think Joel remembers me but I remember him. His colorful and happy art. Art that all of us around Holland love.


An example of Joel's wonderful art

So driving home from there an hour ago I realized that for me stories like this are like murals I see with my minds eye. Like a tree. The trunk, three large branches that branch by threes smaller and smaller Full of leaves and fruit.


So I hope my Tree Mural gives you pleasure as you read it as I’ve had writing it.


I’m outside. Naturally. Sitting on my old lawn chair that I hate to give up. Rainy out but not cold. Almost 70 degrees.


Asking the question I’ve found myself asking many times in my life.


Was this just a chance convergence of related life details? Or not?


I leave it with you to decide!


Annie Olson (Pink Eagle)


Be sure to check out Joel at: http://www.joelschoontanisart.com/

Follow him on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/joel.schoon.tanis.art/

“So powerful is the Light of Unity that It can illumine the whole world.” - Baha’i


Sitting here pondering our world and the Dilemma we’re in together, I again come back to this statement of the Baha’i Faith.


Kent, Sharon and I. Together. Saw this.


Dogmas, like pigment, together create Mud. Uniformity.


But, spiritual knowing that each of us carry from our unique perspectives, are like ……. I need a word. For separate yet one. At the same time. UNITY/LIGHT!


Physics. Light. Particle or a wave.


I also need a word for what Humans have done to their Earth Mother and all Her Children. No word. Either.


So you ask about needing words. Why metaphors are so important, vital, necessary to express “things” that a single word is unable to convey.


Tlingit. E-Shawn. I cannot explain this word. You’d have to live in Yakutat. Live Tlingit. Be adopted. To know this word.


It is as if The Creator is saying this to us all. At the same time. E-Shawn.


Like a teenager that’s got himself into a Gordian Knot and cannot see any way out. But won’t admit it. Too prideful. Like the prodigal son. The Vision. All about letting go of our pride.

a proverbial term for a problem solvable only by bold action
The Gordion Knot

So each ray from the sun is each of us. Separate yet together. Each of us a soul. A part of the One Soul. No word either for separate yet one. Except Unity.


We hear the concept now of full spectrum light. To see with.


As an artist who is extremely focused on color and seeing as well as possible, I Get It!


With a full spectrum light I can see the best to create my shells and animals. And also for the ones seeing my soul and the animal soul United in my polymer clay. My companion best. With full spectrum light too.


A few people are able to really see our united soul when they look at them. In the movie “Avatar” it is expressed so well. “I see you!” I so appreciate when that happens and myself and this person are United. Like a person playing a violin. Unity of the composer, violin maker, the wood. The strings. And so on. And then the person hearing. United.



So remember this! As Bahais when we speak of Unity realize that The Unity we strive for is Full Spectrum Unity.


The more complete Our Unity, the better we will be able like in “Oh God!” the movie to SEE solutions to our collective dilemmas that are really One Dilemma.


Hearing The Great Mystery saying

E-Shawn to us all.


Written September 28, 2021. Phil in the hospital.

Updated: May 4

Almost 70 degrees out Lovely wind. Sunny April 27, 2021


I watched my grandson Matthew last week run three races at a track meet in Gobles with his mother Kathryn, my youngest child. Two were solo races he won. Handily! And the third race was a relay run with his three team mates. Which they won handily also.


This afternoon, sitting in the sun and feeling the wind enveloping me, I said to myself words I’ve said many times. In so many ways.


“Will someone please take the baton from me! I’m tired and can’t carry this any longer.”


Then it hit me, as THEY SAY. I can’t pass The Baton on to someone who isn’t up to speed! What I watched last Thursday in Gobles with my daughter. Of each team mate getting up to speed so they could take the baton without momentum being lost.


Which obviously forced me to clarify my statement. The Baton I was given long ago wasn’t a baton made of dead wood. But a Living Tree instead! With many branches full of fruit. Fruit I’ve been privileged to be nourished by all my life.


But I’m old now. I can no longer take proper care of this Tree. I can no longer prune the dead and unproductive limbs. Nor have I been able to distribute the delicious and beneficial fruit to others. Too foreign to them. Afraid to take even a bite. Except for a few brave souls. Who just love the fruit of “MY” Tree.



Not My Tree. I don’t own Her. I find myself the care-taker. Not owner. Realizing that I was up to speed as a young child. Why I found myself given this Living Baton. That I had no clue of what It was. Back then. But now, so clear.


The Tree of Life is there are for all of us. But we need first to get up to speed. To take The Living Baton and eat Her Fruit.