unconditional positive regard

unconditional positive regard…

yellow swallowtail butterfly
teenager bald eagle
Longnose Spotted Gar, endangered species!

Now, why would I have a title and definition for “unconditional positive regard” and then post a series of eclectic animal and insect pictures?

(All pictures that I took this summer. Some from my yard, some from various kayaking trips and one from a renaissance faire.)

Please ponder…



Unconditional Positive Regard…

Poet’s Canandaigua

As the day percolates to its end

I ponder the rich heritage our journey lends

The Loon and crickets weave our thoughts

Convincing sojourners to adjust, unload, and unwrought


Karin R Staples (c) 2021

This was written 8/20/2021 7:16pm after a colleague, Jeff Hough, sent me his photo of Canandaigua Lake. I replied that I could picture poets spending hours writing from that vantage point… Well, challenge presented, accepted and while watching monarch butterflies in my yard and looking at his photo, I wrote that poem… I hope you enjoyed its ponderings…

Serenity Way

Greetings from Dunkirk again! This is a painting from the perspective of being on an overlook from the cliff above, looking down onto the craggy beach. There are rock cliffs on the far side that are made of slate like layers. There are also similar slate layers of rock in the water too. Below are two pictures of one vantage point. The original pictures were of a much more detailed view, but unfortunately they did not save. So, I had to go back later to take not as impressive shots. This is Lake Erie. At Camp Dunkirk there is a lovely boardwalk and mulch lined path that corners at this view. There is also “Crayfish Creek” that winds through the woods and creeps into sort of leaking into the lake. It creates this peninsula beach. I was trying to create a painting that gave the feeling of movement of the lake water as it intersects with the cove. Also included are the color changes of the creek driving silt and debris into the lake and the interaction of everything there.

Open yourself to “Serenity Way”… … … … … …“Serenity Way” is not only an homage to the physical path that leads you through the woods and to the beach… But also, an incite into other paths in life that lead you to serenity. By using the physical, perhaps it can also lead you to the ethereal.

Dunkirkian Butterflies

Sassy Salsa Soaring” (Rachel’s idea)

… or …

Fire and Ice”

… or …

Wings Over Fagradalsfjall

Iceland’s Fagradalsfjall Volcano – photo found on internet via Kathleen

“The colors remind me of a volcano: the bright red is the fresh lava erupting, the dark red is the lava which has fallen back to the ground and cooled just enough to not be as bright red, and the swirling blue is the sky above the volcano with its clouds of smoke and gas. But the pale green background reminds me of the color of icebergs.” (Kathleen) (Thus the last title is hers.)


Sunset Groovin’

I like the feeling of movement demonstrated throughout “Sunset Groovin’ “.

Before and After Vespers Point

Freehand is a mental workout, especially when trying to be symmetrical. This freehand outline is done in yellow so that it’s actually not detectable when the painting is completed. This particular piece is the precursor for the one above. All three butterflies were completed this June at the Women’s Weekend at Camp Dunkirk and Conference Center. I’ve been graciously aloud to paint at “Mothers Memorial” each year I’ve done the spiritual retreat. I was inspired to paint butterflies because my sorority painted them during a painting party a few weeks ago. I was trying to capture the techniques that the facilitator had demonstrated… Well… I didn’t have the same chip brush and I think that greatly affected the execution of the background. When I got to the retreat, well after I painted the first one, I found out that our theme was transfiguration, transformation… Below is the photo of all our butterflies we created from a printout outline.

It’s really cool to see all the differences using the same materials. And yet isn’t that who we are? …

Part of me wants to delve deeper here about those last two lines… but I think that if you meditate on each piece, you may actually be able to reach a deeper level on your own. One that you are meant to achieve… Even including the fact that in person each piece’s colors and textures are oh, so much more vibrant than the simple phone camera lens provides on the internet display… Similarly as we all are… our character, our available offerings… are so much more rich and diverse than what we each display on the outside…

Pentecostal Butterfly

This is my Pentecost butterfly.

It was painted during a painting party Saturday 5/22/21 with my sorority, the Daughters of the Nile, who fundraise for the Shriners Hospitals for Children. We had a blast painting. Everyone’s art was completely different even though the display piece and the teachings were identical. Hmmm… think about that…

When my neighbor saw the piece she texted back: ” Oooo! A sunshiny / burning butterfly falling through a time warp!”

Today at church, Pentecost Sunday, I realized the name of the painting and the significance of the colors chosen…

“Pentecostal Butterfly”

Where has the power of God touched you in your life?

Where does the power of God touch you in your life?

What are you going to with that knowledge? That power? Your power?


This entry is another one from my hike on Horseshoe Road in Durand Eastman Park last week. I wrote this poem on the photo at the beginning of the hike. I have been uncertain about the content and have pondered it for a week now and have shared it with only a couple of people. They agree that is stands as is and that it is good to have something that can be pondered in multiple ways. Fun fact, I shared it with a couple that was also hiking and they said that their daughter would have adopted me if she had heard it at that moment! The poem is a little difficult to read on the photo, so I will re-type it below.


In the marsh I see

a fortress

not escaping me

I hold my fear

as if a bird

cold haunting

drifts away into

the fluid wind

of time

Durand Eastman Park, Horseshoe Road-ish

Friday, April 30th, turned out to be a very windy cold day… It was originally supposed to be very pleasant, so I took a vacation day and planned to go to Letchworth State Park… Well, on the day of… my hiking buddy chickened out… Oh, well, so I stayed local and went to Durand Eastman Park instead. I chose the entrance of Horseshoe Road because I had never entered that way before… and off on an adventure I went… I’d have to get a really good hikers map to tell you what pond the below pictures are from… I love the contrast of the one time I had brilliant sun and all my camera could capture was the shaded portion under the log… very cool… I even got a mini-video of the rippling wind on the pond, but it wouldn’t upload correctly… oh, well…

I think that all three photos bring out totally different modes/moods/creativeness to ponder with… to escape into… to take a mental journey into, around and splash in… enjoy!

life and death simultaneously sharing…

On Friday, May 30th I took a vacation day and hiked Horseshoe Road in Durand Eastman Park. It was a very windy chilly day. But it still was worth getting outside and pondering life beyond my work desk. I met a few couples hiking with their dogs. There were a couple of great interactions. I appreciated the people taking a moment to be in the moment with me. Lovely…

I’m not sure which pond this photo is of… I did a lot of meandering and would need a really good nature trail map to figure it out… The camera angle is to the north, facing Lake Ontario. I wrote the concept poem onto the picture while standing there on the trail…

Hanging on for The Joy – mask

The Creative Wellness Opportunities donated raw masks to use to create for an upcoming virtual art show “Unmasking Gratitude and Resiliency”.

“This workshop celebrates the spirit of community and the roles and power that gratitude and resiliency have in our lives through mask making.  In this workshop, we will create masks reflecting our lived experiences with gratitude and resilience. Masks should be an expression of a feeling, thought and mood of the themes explored but not of a culture. Your mask should reflect your inner understanding of gratitude and resiliency.”

The questions that we had to answer and submit with the mask for the show: “What roles resiliency and gratitude have played in your lived experience? How is it reflected in your mask?

What roles resiliency and gratitude have played in your lived experience?  … … My answer: Without resilience and gratitude I would not have been able to survive a year like 2020. With health issues, job issues, isolation, and watching Blossom slowly die of cancer. Deciding to make mini adventures with Blossom and for Blossom gave me the energy to also create mini adventures for myself. Admitting the need to be grateful in hand gave me the resilience that I needed. And I still honor that.

How is it reflected in your mask? … … My answer: On a very dark gloomy morning, after a windy wet storm the night before, I went outside to discover any damage to my property. I instead found inspiration in a small branch barely hooked onto a slightly larger branch which was also barely hooked onto an even bigger branch in my maple tree. They were all dangling over the street. I felt the urge to write a spiritual poem about the moment. I took this picture to document how dark and gloomy the sky could be perceived and how precariously the branches were dangling. My tangible resilient gratitude produced this poem “Hanging on for The Joy”.

“Hanging on for The Joy”

Hanging on for the joy and interaction of life

To swing in the fresh air love of neighborhood

To be in the moment of entanglement

To see the joy in just being

To smile in the precision of escape

Oh, my sweet partner, let us be love in this moment

Let us share…

Karin R. Staples © 2021

Yes, the title is capitalized differently than the poem, on purpose.

Many thanks to my MSU friend Eddie… he helped me gain perspective while I was creating the mask. I originally was going to have the poem typed up and glued on. He suggested having it written directly on the mask and to have it overlap both sides. Genius!

FYI: The mask was created by cutting my photo out and gluing it on, using a marker to pen the poem, and water color paints to fill out the emotions and mood of the poem and picture.

When the art show is ready, I will add the link to this blog entry.

I just found out that the poem and picture has been published in “The Geneseean”, which is the newsletter of the Genesee Valley Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club. May 2021 issue, page 21. https://adk-gvc.org/our-chapter/newsletter/

I also was able to read it/show it during my church zoom service on Sunday, May 2nd.

Mask Mayhem

For my birthday weekend I did some experimental pieces of art. Two were made using used face masks, two were made using medical grade gloves swirling acrylic paints and gesso. One of each were exclusively made with just a used face mask or just gloves. The center piece below is 16″ x 20″, the other two are 11″ x 14″. I have seen art with face masks worn on the characters in the painting, but I have not seen any art made exclusively with a used face mask. Thus my creative juices produced the pieces below. Enjoy!

Freeing Form or Freeing From ?

Freeing Form or Freeing From? That is both the singular title and a question to ponder when you are looking into the painting. I normally paint pretty structured paintings. I normally map out what I am doing where and how before I even start. These two face mask paintings were definitely free form, freeing motion, freeing thoughts spilled out into the canvas, while holding a lot of paint. That’s why I used gesso instead of white paint… There was a huge bucket of it at the Rochester MakerSpace, and well, it called out to come play with it, so I had to oblige.

Regaining a Grip or Losing a Grip ?

Regaining a Grip or Losing a Grip? That is both the singular title and a question to ponder when you are looking into the painting. With everything that happened in 2020 and now into 2021 it is hard to tell, even today, if we are regaining or continuing to lose our grip.

This painting was the first of the three that I painted on my Birthday Weekend. It was exclusively painted with a couple of used face masks, one of which I stuck right onto the canvas. I then carefully pulled off the glove that I was wearing and placed it onto the canvas also. For my signature, I used a metal tool to try and scrape in my signature. I did that to all three, to varying success.

My buddy Kathleen Judd came over to see my pieces drying in the sun after I had sprayed a coat of clear gloss acrylic on them. She interpreted the piece above in amazing ways. … … … Beyond the chaos is a nice orderly, tranquil garden. Humans can superimpose themselves on a landscape and see only their crap, their chaos. But the original natural landscape is always there. … … … She noticed a waterfall and its pool, a creek, flowers, a huge chrysanthemum. On the top piece she saw lava and coral.

Youthful Vision

Youthful Vision was painted using medical grade non-latex gloves. Because they were loosely fit, painting with them was challenging. The gloves would get caught in the paint even though my fingers were moving elsewhere. Therefore it was a lot harder, although equally fun, as real finger painting. I asked the gentlemen at the Rochester MakerSpace, where I was painting all three of these pieces, for their thoughts when they looked at this piece. Jay said it reminded him of growing up in the Finger Lakes. He’d look out through the trees and forest into the lake area and see the water splashing up on the edges. He loved watching the sunrises and sunsets when visiting his grandparents home. … Thus the title Youthful Vision. Thank you Jay for taking a creative moment with me!

hobby artist spreading her wings…