Category Archives: Guest Posts and Series

Featuring Nancy Murphree Davis On Art Wednesday

Nancy Murphree Davis is an incredibly talented artist across many mediums. I am in love with her paintings and hope to acquire one soon. If you like her work and want to see more or learn more about her work and process please visit her blog and social media profiles after reading her post. Thank you! -Lillian

Nancy Murphree Davis Art Featured On Art Wednesday
Tough Nut To Crack by Nancy Murphree Davis. Copyright belongs to the artist.

First, I would like to thank Lillian for asking me to be a guest blogger on It’s a Dome Life. What a thrill! I love her artwork as well as her truthful, funny, and positive approach to life. Life may throw us lemons, but we make lemonade. And Lillian probably makes cookies too.

Lillian asked me when I knew I was an artist. I guess I have always been an artist, but I didn’t grow up with structured opportunities to do much art and was too distracted by other interests to do it on my own. I didn’t see art as a career that I could make a living doing, so I didn’t pursue it for a long time. In the end, I learned that my artistic talent is something I couldn’t quash and embraced it. I’ve never been happier. I now tell people that I am an artist and if they ask questions, I give them my business card and tell them to visit my website. [link to:] or my Facebook page Nancy Murphree Davis Art [link to:].

I am inspired by almost everything I see. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t see something that gives me an idea for art. Thank goodness for smartphone cameras so that I can record ideas visually! In good weather, I take walks in nature and photograph the most random things. My recent alcohol ink paintings reflect this. [link to:] The photos don’t look like much, but somehow I know when I see them that they have potential as art.

Nancy Murphree Davis Art Featured On Art Wednesday
Point Sur Light Station by Nancy Murphree Davis

In recent years I have been unable to travel much except for several moves, but I am inspired by architecture, both rural and urban near my home. Luckily, I currently live just outside Washington, D.C so I have a wealth of interesting buildings as well as rolling hills, lakes and ponds, etc. I also love the play of shadows across manmade structures, steel towers and industrial scenes.

I work in many different mediums, but I tend to concentrate on one for several months and then something will inspire me to switch. I find that I do more watercolors in the summer when it is sunny and more alcohol ink painting in the winter because the bright color are cheerful during the cold and gray days. If forced to choose a favorite, I guess I would choose watercolor. I mainly use

Nancy Murphree Davis Art Featured On Art Wednesday
Summer Legacy by Nancy Murphree Davis. Copyright belongs to the artist.

Daniel Smith watercolors and I’m kind of obsessed with my new Loew Cornell watercolor brushes. They hold a point really well. My current love is the #14. I also adore Arches 300# rough paper.

My advice to those starting out would be to make lots of art. Then, make more art. Whether you do this on your own or with a group doesn’t matter much, but find your own voice. Cultivate artist friends who can give you feedback. Ignore any negative comments related to the actual appearance of your art or subject matter. Listen to your gut. Heed any criticism in regards to craftsmanship or presentation if the source is credible. Try to pursue new venues to show your art; don’t stagnate in one place. Each place will make you new contacts that can result in new opportunities. Don’t be afraid to try new things or new mediums. Push yourself. Promote yourself. Believe in yourself. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t sell a lot. I still couldn’t support myself unless I lived in a tent, but fortunately, I am now turning a meager profit. My big “pie in the sky” dreams would be to open a small gallery and to be accepted into nationally recognized watercolor organizations. I would also love to see my work featured in a catalog or magazine publication.

I make art because I love to paint and create and because I have so many ideas in my head that I need to get out! I sell because I can’t keep it all and when a art collector truly loves a piece and wants to own it, my heart overflows with joy. I want my art to make people see the subject in a new way. I want them to bring their own feelings and emotions to the piece and have it radiate good thoughts or memories into their lives. I want them to feel joy (or peace) every time they see it on their wall. I also make art because I love artists and the communities that artists create. They are some of the kindest and most giving people on Earth, like Lillian.

Nancy is a member of the Potomac Valley Watercolorists and a gallery member at Gallery Underground. She displays her work in the bin gallery at the Art League inside the historic Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA and enters many juried shows both there and with arts organizations in the DC metro area. Her awards include Best of Show in both the Arlington Artists Alliance Washington Color Field Show and the Pintores Art League Spring Fling, first place in the Audi of Arlington Art Showcase as well as honorable mentions with the Springfield Art Guild and the Art League Gallery.

Nancy is a an active user of Facebook (Nancy Murphree Davis Art) and a very occasional Twitter user (handle @nmd_art). Her website provides links for the purchase of original works, reproduction prints and cards. Her blog My Many Impressions ( shares longer tales of artist pursuits, techniques, and thoughts on art. She maintains a studio [] in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia.

Share The Love Sunday: Recipes with Fruits and Vegetables in Unusual Places

It’s Share The Love Sunday. It’s so special it only happens when the wind blows West, the stars align and something spectacular gets found on the Internet. I’m all about sharing the good stuff.  This week it’s fruits and vegetables in unusual places. I know it sounds weird, and it is, but it’s also delicious.

Brussel sprouts
Brussels Sprouts: Not actually in any of these recipes, but is in fact an unusual vegetable.

I made pizza with fruit on it this week. One had apples and one had peaches. Intrigued? Click these links and get the recipes. Add some more fruits and vegetables to your diet. And add more pizza. Every diet needs more pizza, right?

They were both excellent! I promise.

BBQ Chicken Apple Pizza by Lemon Tree Dwelling.

Summer Peach and Balsamic Pizza by love and olive oil.

*Disclaimer: I used whole wheat pizza crust that I made myself for both recipes. I also added bacon because bacon means nobody can complain. Nobody did either. Both pizza’s were a hit!

I also made zucchini cookies. I know, sounds strange, right? They are delicious. Tiny-Small gobbled them up and I laughed my maniacal laugh because I tricked her into eating something green.  Awesome.

Zucchini Bread Cookies by Vanilla & Spice.

Strawberry cake anyone? Fresh strawberries, real butter, lots of Greek yogurt? It’s all in here. This cake is so moist and delicious. I didn’t even make the frosting for it. Seriously, it’s that good.

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake by A Spicy Perspective.

Do you ever put fruits and vegetables in unusual places? In food…I only want to know about the food. Recipes. Nothing else…lalalalalalala. That’s me plugging my ears to all of you pranksters and humorists out there. I meant do you have any recipes with fruits and vegetables that are kind of unusual?

Happy Sunday! Tiny-Small says, “Eat more fruits and vegetables.”

OK, that was really me saying that with a big helping of wishful thinking. Tiny-Small would tell you to eat more candy. She really would. She’s three. She’s got candy on the brain 24-7, unless, of course, she’s thinking about ice cream.



Examining The Creative Mind: Alex Iwashyna

Today on Examining The Creative Mind we have poet and blogger Alex Iwashyna.

Alex Iwashyna:

Where do you do your writing?
I write wherever. I once had an office, but we are in the process of moving so it’s not mine anymore. Sometimes I write in bed. Sometimes on the couch. Right now, I’m using my very messy kitchen desk.

Late Enough Workspace
Late Enough Workspace                      Photo Courtesy of Alex Iwashyna

One place I never write is outside. It’s too distracting and bright. I try, but I can’t and end up playing with my dog or cats instead.

Can you tells us a little about who you are and the kind of work that you do?

I once wanted to be a philosopher, but it seemed impractical so while I majored in political philosophy, I also took all the requirements to attend medical school. After I graduated from medical school and had my first baby, I decided to stay home instead of going on to a pediatric residency where I would be gone 60-80 hours per week from my son. After a year and a half, I missed my first love from before family or philosophy: poetry. I found a local class and a mentor found me. I wrote and published until I had my second child. After six months, I turned to blogging as a way to write daily and be accountable to an audience because I didn’t have the time and space and energy to work words into poems. My blog grew, and I fell in love with the genre.

What genre do you prefer to write in and why?

While I love blogging for the ease of finding an audience, it is demanding and fast-paced and unforgiving in some ways. For example, nothing can be taken off the Internet or a misspelled word can garner more comments than a well-sourced thesis. However, it is also too forgiving in that an emotional peek behind the curtain with no value beyond OMG LOL or a controversial slam with no science or research can be shared and talked about for days or weeks. Although I guess “days or weeks” aren’t that long. And I get to write in fragments much like my poems. If I had all the time in the world and needed no sleep to thrive as a kind human being, my preferred genre is poetry.

What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you practice?

I am a regimented writer. I do not give myself weeks off or only write when I “feel like it.” Writing is work and takes energy that I rarely want to give. What I mean is that I often feel a compulsion to give it, but the act of getting a story from my head to my screen or paper seems insurmountable. So I practice 3-6 times a week getting over the mountain. I also edit and edit and edit. I don’t sit down and write and am done. I write and rewrite and beg someone to read it after I’ve reread it five times. Yet still I find errors and embarrassments and the following day I can think of better titles. Writing is disappointment within triumph as people laugh and share and think and yell with and at me.

Are you influenced by any other creative mediums such as music, dance, art or film?

One of the most dangerous things I can do is get so immersed in only writing that I forget to dance or listen to music or take a walk in nature or laugh with my children or watch a movie (oh, how I love the movies). I have had weeks where I forget to live, and I find myself with nothing to write.

As a writer, is there anything specific you hope to accomplish?

I wanted my blog to be where I practiced my voice enough to write a book because I knew that writing poetry at regular intervals was (and still is) far off for me. I have both a fiction and a nonfiction book in mind. I have even run the nonfiction work by a well-published author and received a thumbs-up. But I let blogging and my freelance writing become so big that I haven’t had time to work on it anymore. These years of blogging have become a push and pull between making money and how many labors of love I chose to do.

As a writer, how do you define success?

I would like to say that I define it as a piece I am proud to read a week or a month later. I have caught myself defining success by how much money I make in a month or a year. I have been surprised by the success of a piece being defined by how much turmoil or joy with which it is shared across the Internet. I imagine success is more like my 86-year-old Nana using my blog as a jumping off place for her weekly Bible study when I haven’t mentioned God at all.

What do you think is your biggest strength?

I believe in deadlines even if I’m setting them for myself. Even the best bloggers, writers and artist fail when they stop creating work.

What is your biggest weakness?

I want to write about everything. I think if I had stuck to one or two areas of interest, my blog would have grown much larger much quicker. I would’ve been miserable though so it would not have been worth it. Probably.

Do you approach your work within a framework of rules or moral code?

I have a strong lines of public and private on my blog. I never blog about anything that would hurt another person to the best of my knowledge or ability. If I am telling a story that involves a stranger, I change all the details to hide their identity. For stories closer to home? Well, I have many stories that would make my blog more popular or daring, but I don’t believe are my stories to tell. I will tell people one-on-one if they glean something and reach out to me. An adult has approved of the story if they are in it as themselves. Children are trickier because even if they say, “Yes, that’s okay,” my kids are too young to understand what that means. So I don’t blog about my children daily, and I try to protect them in other ways by not using many identifiers. I also use the line, “Would we tell this story at their engagement party?” when I’m writing a post. If the answer is no, the post doesn’t go up. (I don’t actually care if they married — it’s just for perspective.)

What is the most important idea, belief, or dilemma you hope to address through your work? Is there a theme at the core of the work you do?

We aren’t defined by one belief. We, as thoughtful human beings, can come together to laugh and think and agree and disagree and come back the next day to the same thing.

Thank you, Alex!