Colour, Creativity and Connection ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 317

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

I have been following a blog for some time now that combines Colour, Creativity and Connection most beautifully through the words and art of its inspirational creator, Benjamin Prewitt.

Autumn's Passing Artist: Benjamin Prewitt
Autumn’s Passing
Artist: Benjamin Prewitt

I just love Benjamin’s Artist’s Statement – Evolution:

My current series of acrylics and oil is a study in movement, texture, color and light, designed to evoke thought, feeling and conversation.The subjects of my compositions are found in the space between our challenges and rewards, that process that brings both endings and rebirth to our lives. Deep human emotional connection, nature and my perspective on the society in which we all live are the constant inspiration for my life and body of work.

For me, painting exists as a spark of recognition of the magical moments that remain outside of time and just beyond our fingertips. The framed brush strokes are not the half forgotten memories or long remembered dreams themselves; they are an invitation and the means to remember. My goal isn’t abstraction, but true and definitive expression. These compositions are the experiences that we have the hardest time finding the words to describe but to which we most easily relate.

I draw my inspiration from the greats: Miro, with his use of the space in between; Pollock, with his untamed yet calculated passion; Dali with a gift and vision only his mind could truly create and Picasso a master who’s brilliance needs no explanation. As a poet I draw additional inspiration from Bukowski, Emerson, Cummings, Shakespeare, Platt and countless more.

The human condition allows us all to love and lose, prosper and suffer. It’s my hope that art reminds us of our similarities, of our shared existence, and our collective memory. I believe that art can evoke long-lost passion or draw tears of memorable joy. It was only since I was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease that I truly have been able to see the gift I have been given, not the ability to do art or be a painter but the ability to live my life with clarity and purpose, hope and strength.It is through this process of art that I hope to share these gifts with all whom I come in contact with.

I guarantee that your Novembers and, indeed every month, will be brightened by following Benjamin’s brilliant and heart-warming  work


Van and Bob ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 315

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

I only realised today that Van and Bob came into my life on the same day, October 5th, 2011.

No, I’m not talking about Van Morrison and Bob Dylan. Rather,  I’m referring to two American men who connected with me through the poetry thread that I started on Linkedin back in late September, 2011, and who are  pillars of  ongoing fun, support, sensitivity and sheer friendship.

This pair have been instrumental in introducing me to all sorts of creative works and in deepening my love for others. Van has a huge interest in Mark Twain, who was such a part of my growing up, and he has also sprung the most delicious surprises on the poetry thread, like bringing me to the poetry, as well as the songs, of Leonard Cohen.

Knowing of my love for bridges, Bob sent me this photograph for The Festival of Colour, Creatvity and Connection:

It doesn’t surprise me in the least that it’s a bit surreal as Bob loves to stretch minds and emotions. I reckon this is the teacher coming out in him as well as the multi-layered man that he is.

So with Thanksgiving looming, I want to send special thanks to Van and Bob for lending such colour to my life and for knowing how to make me smile. This is for you!

The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.

e e cummings


November’s Loveliest Smiles ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 313

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

I am an avid follower of the hauntingly beautiful blog, A Silver Voice from Ireland is written by Angela Gallagher. I was thrilled when Angela agreed to submit ‘something’ to my Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection and was like a child waiting to see what would arrive, as this is a woman with a wide range of interests but, most of all, a warmth and exquisite way of describing places, events, emotions, memories ….

I just love the multi-layered offering that arrived ~ one which shows how colour, creativity and connection are inextricably interwoven.

Hi Jean. I just love these crab apples as they bring me back across the decades to my teens. On my first trip to England we went to visit my aunt, a nun who had entered in 1935 but at that time was not ever allowed to come home.

We took afternoon tea in the beautiful convent in the heart of Ashdown Forest in Sussex.

On the walls were several prints by an artist Margaret W. Tarrant. These were of Fairies partying in the woods and I recall the beautiful little colourful crab apples in the exquisitely detailed paintings. I have found some of her work on the internet, but never discovered those exact prints, that hung in the visitors parlour of that beautiful place ( now a 5 Star hotel)

The pictures ( possibly not prints at all, but originals) were all ‘Fairies of the Forest ‘ – one was entitled Harvest Home and another was the Fairy Wedding. I would love to have them, but am very happy to recall them and that different time and place when admiring my crab apples. So I am transported from Limerick to Ashdown Forest, East Sussex at this time every year by these beautiful little fruits.

Crab Apples Photo: Angela Gallagher
Crab Apples
Photo: Angela Gallagher

Sunday Morning Connections ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 312

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

I’ve been rather surprised that no one has submitted a song or, indeed music,  of any description to the Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection here on Social Bridge over the last few weeks.

Songs are all about connections to me and  ever since I mentioned Kris Kristofferson at the weekend that Winter-time started here in Ireland, he’s been more and more on my mind.

Kris Kristofferson brings me back to my teenage years in the 1970s and, most of all, I associate him with sitting on an oil heater in the drawing-room of the Bank House in Drogheda, playing his Greatest Hits, over and over and over and … again.

Listening back to the songs over the last week or so, they make me feel like Kris Kristofferson  was my introduction to the roller-coaster of emotions that are associated with  growing up, loving, leaving, losing, living …..

I must have played Me and Bobby McGee a million times visualising myself in that van with the wind-shield wipers slappin’ time … and contemplating the words: Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose …

I don’t think there’s been a Sunday morning since those teenage days that I haven’t had thought of  Sunday Morning Coming Down. More than anywhere, it hit me when I ventured out on my first day in America – San Francisco  ~ a Sunday, January 2, in 1983.

I’d love to hear what songs/music have extra-special connections for you?

Heart and Soul ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 311

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

As the Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection here on Social Bridge enters its final week, I am becoming more and more amazed by the way in which blogging has the capacity to create bonds right across the world.

Thanks to Anne-Marie, who is an American woman with Irish ancestry, I have been introduced to the work of her  highly talented photographer friend, Rod Figaro, and brought to bridges in Central Park, New York ~ a place I would dearly love to visit.

Central Park, New York.
Photo: Rod Figaro

I particularly like the way Anne-Marie talks about photography and her words resonate very deeply, especially when I think of  my late father’s vast collection:

As we know, it is the heart and soul of the photographer that shines through in the photographs that move us and connect us.

Cental Park, New York.
Photo: Rod Figaro 

Should you wish to participate in this Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection, please send me prose, poetry, artwork … anything that brings warmth and colour to your November life wherever you are. Please email me at I look forward to hearing from you!


‘Next Stop Waterford…’ ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 310

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

For so long, Friday evenings meant travelling home by train from Dublin to Waterford, being met by Father at the station, and feeling so comfortable crossing Rice Bridge as we chatted our way for the eight miles out to Tramore.

The second I saw this aerial photograph, taken by Jamie Malone, I thought of that special bond ~ Dad and me in a place we loved.

Jamie Malone is a man with an obvious passion for Ireland and Co. Waterford ~ all you have to do is look at his special brand of aerial photography on his ever- increasingly liked Facebook Page:

I was intrigued to hear Jamie’s story as I’ve been admiring his photos for some time now. Here’s how he described himself in his email to me:

I’m a 32 year old Electrician, who has tried the Canada and Australia thing to further my career due to the collapse in the building trade in Ireland.  But after my wife and I had a baby in Canada we got the longing to return home to Ireland and face the music of a battered economy. I realized if I was to gain employment it would be off my own back so I reinvented myself and from my love of Photography I combined a new interest with an old interest and started Aerial Photography…..

I want to show the world the way I see it and the beauty that can be found on our lovely Little Isle!!

Thru my eyes quickly gained a following and I was getting requests to photograph various things for people for a commission. Everyday is now an adventure,  meeting new people and travelling to places I once may have overlooked …..

To me, Jamie’s ‘adventure’  is all about connections, and indeed, being highly creative in terms of re-building his career. How fortunate we are that he returned to Co. Waterford!

Winter Woollies ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 308

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

I rank today as the coldest day of November, here in Tramore anyway, and while out walking on the beach I was noticing how everyone was all wrapped up in thick jackets, hats, scarves, gloves ….. the lot!  It brought me back to the days of my childhood when the ‘winter woollies’ were produced out of drawers lined with brown paper and a scattering of dried lavender.  Layers and layers of clothes and the inevitable white vest. I still don’t know why vests were always white!

This memory of dull white vests has been completely overturned this year by Lauren Scott’s contribution to the Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection which brings a blast of warm, vibrant colours and not a trace of white or yellowy-white!

Lauren, who is from Northern California is one of my ‘must-read’ bloggers as she writes mind and heart-bending poetry. Check out her blog at

Here’s the timely haiku and photo which Lauren sent:

Our Little Lost Bridge ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 307

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

Today, I want to tell you about one of the first submissions I got for this Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection. The very fact that it has taken until now to write about it gives some indication of  how stunned I was to receive it.

Garrarus Beach, as many of you will know by now, is one of my most deeply treasured haunts and it’s where I go swimming all year round. For years now, I’ve been exchanging waves with a man out walking his dog on the road to the shore and I’d noticed a few times when the sea was maybe a bit on the rough side that he seemed to wait very unobtrusively to be sure that I was back safely on dry land. That was something I really appreciated.

Somehow, it never entered my consciousness that this man,who is such a part of  my precious relationship with Garrarus,  could be a reader of my blog. For one thing, I can never get any signal for phone or internet in that area! Nor, did I think that the Garrarus area could have a more delightful little  stone bridge than the one that stands at the turn off from the ‘main road’ for that last lovely stretch down to the beach.

So imagine my surprise when I received this email from the man whose name I now know is Liam:

Hello Jean,
I just stumbled on your blog Social Bridge recently.
I am enjoying your writing and photos especially the ones of Garrarus Strand.
I am very fortunate to live on the road that leads down to the Strand and the dog and myself  visit at least a couple of times a day.
I am attaching a couple of photos of another bridge in Garrarus.  Sadly it was knocked down about thirty years ago by a cement lorry.
This bridge was directly across the road from our house and was the start of the lane that runs up to the next road.
I just learned recently that our old friend Oliver Cromwell is said to have travelled this lane on his way to attack Dunhill Castle and would have crossed this bridge…..

Garrarus really is a special place and I feel so privileged to live here. I look forward to your treatment of our little lost bridge.



Well, Liam, I can feel Garrarus calling as the clouds have lifted and the sun is pouring down.  Thanks for telling me about ‘our little lost bridge’ and for taking the trouble to meet me on this one!

Toys with Connection ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 306

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

I had an absolute passion for kaleidoscopes as a child and it’s only now that I’ve learned that they were invented in 1817 in Scotland by Sir David Brewster.

I spent hours and hours just marvelling at the different shapes and colours that would appear with the mere turn of the dial at the top of the many kaleidoscopes that passed through my young hands. I wish I had one here now!

I got thinking about kaleidoscopes the other day as I was twirling around taking photographs of  trees and foliage as they played in the November light.

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When I got into these thoughts of toys with connection and colour, I began to think about spinning tops and, of course, my red scooter that still lives in the garden shed! What toys have special meaning for you and connect you to your childhood?

Should you wish to join in my Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection which I’m hosting here for the month of November, please email me at It’s all about adding warmth and colour to what can be the darkness of this wintery month!

Safe Harbour ~ Gatherings from Ireland #305

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

Dummore East, here in Co. Waterford, is a place that has huge significance in my life ~ so significant, in fact, that I chose to have my wedding reception there.

So, I was thrilled when Sinead Boyle submitted a photograph of  Dunmore East Harbour for my Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection. Sinead is a photographer from Tramore and it means the world to me that her decision to enter the world of photography was inspired by seeing exhibitions which my late father held when she was a youngster.

Dunmore East, Co. Waterford Photo: Sinead Boyle
Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
Photo: Sinead Boyle

As a result, this particular photograph is all about connections as well as colour to me. For Sinead, though, the image conjures up thoughts about creativity which I find very interesting:

Dunmore’s  reflections lend colour to this image.  The water transforms into a natural canvas  to create its own landscape. Nature is by far the best creator; here it is definitely a case of:  to create a picture,  just add water. 

To see more of Sinead’s work, be sure to follow her via Tramore Art Craft and Design

As we move into the second half of November, may I invite you to join the Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection by sharing prose, poetry, photographs, songs, artwork ….. anything that even whispers Colour, Creativity or Connection to you. Just email me at: I look forward to hearing from you!