Amy Barlow Liberatore… stories of lost years, wild times, mental variety, faith, and lots of jazz

Tag Archives: Artists

Scherzo (acrylic poured on canvas) by Suzanne LaFleur, used by permission of artist


Sprawling surface awaits her first pour
Thirsty for colors to caress
Thick acrylic syrup on parched canvas

Today is a lively melange
Cobalt and crimson, a bit of honey
In her mind, they crackle with life

Red tastes of ripest berries…
That lovely boulangerie last fall
as she lounged by the Seine

Blue, that glass sculpture, sheer perfection
She spent an hour gazing at the world
through its evening light

To be inside her head as she creates…

She is Artiste (Personified)
Effortless, this, while others bend over backwards to
pursue The Image

Her chiffon scarf danced between us
as we glided arm in arm down Julia Street
searching for abstracts, finding
last-minute Basquiats
Too much art, not enough time

New Yorker and European
by taste and by temperament
Awards are nice
but she thrives among others
who, too, hold art as sacred

Suzanne the Abstract

(c) 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Suzanne LaFleur (yes, do click and see her work!) is another force of nature I met during my stay in New Orleans. She is an award-winning artist specializing in abstract art (like I said, click the link!), a classy-as-hell dame, and possesses that extra oomph one needs to succeed in the arts. I know we will stay in touch, and I look forward to seeing her continue to blossom.  I am linking this to ABC Wednesday for X (X-quisite!) and to the sidebar at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads.

Folks, I regret not posting this sooner and perusing your blogs, but the Perfect Storm of computer changeover, malware on new computer, and That Old Gray Magic That I Know So Well (winter depression) converged and quite blew me out to sea.

Better days are coming.  I look at Suzanne’s art, all your blogs, and know smoother seas are ahead.  Peace, Amy


Virginia Deep

Bittersweet days and
sleepless nights

Days spent on park benches
regarding passersby
as butterflies
tethered to their lives
Wings pinned down by convention

Nights in her convent
the room of her own:
Smoke, coffee, tension
The quill stung with her blood
No control and again
voices voices voices

No rest, no cure
No choice, save the obvious
Stop the voices
Drown them
Condemn them to
watery oblivion

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Mama Zen gave us a challenge: Write about Virginia Woolf. I have not been posting much lately, but this was inspiring to the nth degree. Thanks, Mama, I knew you could raise me from my slumber! Peace, Amy

The Book of Nina
(for her parents and Team Nina)

Her last chapter finished too soon
Take a look at her book
Pages of stories, of friendships

Several paintings: Cerulean, Manganese
All shades of blue
White for the waves capping
The sea, the surf, her board,
and suddenly our own feet bare,
warmed by sunned sand

Turn the page and bubbles stream out
When they rise and pop,
her laughter rings out again and again

More and more art…

One page, a pool table
Look closely as the balls roll around
and pocket themselves at the hand of
the pool shark

Sad to see the book’s author
lost so young
with such promise
with so much talent

And yet, we will hold Nina’s book close
Take it out often
Leaf through a life well-lived
Not a moment wasted

And we will scribble our memories
in the margins

We miss you

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

The subject of my last, hopeful poem, Nina Fitzpatrick, has passed over to the other side. She was – and is – a formidable presence in the lives of many students at Laguna Beach Institute of Art and Design. Check out her FaceBook page and see her in her glory. She was awake at the time of the accident and even posted a message complaining about all the CT scans…then there came an irreversible swelling of the brain and she ceased connection with the physical realm. although they talked to her and were sure she could hear… her soul suspended between the bed and the beyond.

Nina, like Riley, decided early on that she would never want to be held in a vegetative state and that she wanted her organs donated. Her parents, surrounded by “Team Nina” (Riley and other close friends), were there 24/7, a testament to love and hope – and finally to the heartbreaking act of saying goodbye.

Nina will graduate from LCAD. Students are now pushing harder for an overpass to avoid that unbelievably dangerous crosswalk. Let’s hope the city is shamed into finally taking action. It’s too late for Nina, but she will be watching, I know. BECOME AN ORGAN DONOR if you’re not already.

This will go in as a Memorium to ABC Wednesday, Letter M.  Thanks for reading this. Amy

Image by L. Diane Wolfe, used by permission of the artist


In the left corner
maneuver this heady circumference

Rough and jagged as
and just as blue
Stepping lightly, lest

fall into the bowl
scratching again with nails
bloody from the task

See the marks from
years past
No one else here so

continue my inchworming
Whoops! that damned crag
hit it last time around

Slipdip and down
go, clawing my way to the top
like a silicone starlet

There is no end to this
circumspect circumnavigation
am doomed, Sisyphus in ceramic

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Ella interview L. Diane Wolfe, a photographer whose work has been evolving for over 23 years; Ella found her on Diane graciously offered the Toads some of her pieces to use as inspiration for poetry.

Also “in the margin” at Poets United, my other outlet!  Peace, Amy

Last day of Poem a Day, or National Poetry Writing Month. It’s only fitting that I should “pass the torch,” in the form of a poem about our girl Riley, the artist. I’ve included one of her recent works, so PLEASE respect her copyright on this. For Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, an “A to Z” write.  Enjoy! Proud Mom Amy, who also took the picture years ago, when she was three.

Riley Little Artist

Portrait of the Artist as a Little Girl
Artist, budding
Crayons, drawings,
echo from goodgone hours

I just kindled logical moppets’s
newfound outlet
(preference, quietude)

Riley, shading timber umber
Visioning whales,
xysts, yurts… zebras

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Girl Chases Soldier

Painting by L.R. Weinberger © 2013, all rights reserved.
Used by permission of artist.

My Uncle Joe's art

Watercolor by Joseph William Arcier, my uncle

Uncle Joe

Rags-to-riches to rags and sandals…
The millionaire, bouncing carefree
around posh New Canaan in Bermuda
shorts. Wife said, “Joe, that’s not right.”

He succeeded at iconic artwork,
but his real artistry was in the stock market:
A short, stubby man, possessed of a brain
lithe, literal, and shining bright.

Uncle Joe hung with Robert Frost and
the edgy, eclectic artsy set. We’d visit
each summer; Joe and my mom, Charlotte,
sat up drinking, crooning tunes out of spite

for his wife Caroline, virtuous virago, waving
her washed-out Mayflower credentials. The
Barlows looked down at Mom, the sister-in-law
who sang in clubs, hair bleached Harlow white.

Joe and Charlotte both married into this
marred mix of thoroughbred and “We
Lost it all in the Crash.” My dad was
the only anti-snob we girls could cite.

Joe, cigar in the ashtray and a
parchdry martini close by,
taught me to dance, my small bare
feet on his Fred Flintstones each night.

Up late, singing show tunes; Caroline
would appear, her long (natural) blonde hair
pulled into a bun so tight – severe as
Judgment Day. We singers got tight

as beer and vermouthless martinis.
Olives floated easily, like our voices.
Dad couldn’t keep up, nor my sisters.
Just the three of us howling at moonlight.

When Joe died, it was quick as his smile.
The twinkle in his eye dimmed, he coughed
and fell off the chair face down. His
cigar butt burned a hole in the white white

carpet, and Caroline fretted about it
throughout the funeral. I stayed back home
to tend dear old Auntie Ruth. Didn’t
have the courage to see Joe dead, not quite.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter J; also for Three Word Wednesday, who gave us Edgy, Iconic, and Lithe as prompt challenges.

Uncle Joe was indeed a fine watercolorist, as you can see in his work above. He considered himself an artist first and a rich man second. Funniest moment? In the expansive, expensive back yard, which sported a huge glacial rock and a bocce court, he once took a deep breath and exhaled mightily. “You know what that smell is?” he asked his nieces. Dramatic pause, then his reply: “Money.”

His idea of the perfect martini was a lot of gin and then the cap from the vermouth bottle waved somewhere over the top of the shaker. He was a funny, wry, clever man who drank to excess and invested in the post-Depression market to unbelievable success.

He was Aunt Caroline’s polar opposite. He was the rain forest to Caroline’s Arctic; the happy-go-lucky slob to her pearls and tortoise shell hair combs. His habit of bopping around New Canaan, Connecticut (home to IBM scion Thomas J. Watson and many others) in shorts, Hawaiian shirt, and sandals drove my aunt nuts. This only made me love him more. He was an iconoclast: Well-read, poorly bred, bald head, lots of bread. Frost was indeed a friend, but he never bragged about it. Man, I miss that little big man. Peace, Amy

Longing Becomes Art (also for Riley)

Longing becomes art.
Art becomes enjoyment.
Enjoyment becomes shows.
Shows become employment.

Employment because aaaargh!
Aaaargh becomes strain.
Strain becomes I Need A Vacation
For My Addled Brain.

Brain senses loss.
Loss becomes lack.
Lack of inspiration.
Inspiration slack.

Slacking, she wonders,
where did it start?
Time gives her longing.
Longing becomes art.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Poetic Bloomings asked us to take the last line from one of our old poems and use it as a springboard for a new work. The first line is from “Artistic,” about my daughter, Riley. The final line was, “Longing becomes art.” To see the original poem, head to this link,