Art, Poetry & Philosophy Blog

As I wrote in “Tempo – The Rhythm and Rhyme of the Artist“:

Creating is automatic and difficult to stifle – I see something and am inspired either to celebrate its spirit, or to borrow from its essence.  It is my way of both sharing my excitement of being with the world, and of being in harmony in our world.  In each work, in some way, I comprehend and communicate the soul of what I experience, or what I wish could be, and as I create I am lost in that work, in what “is.” Oddly, once the work is done, it is almost as if someone else created it – the work becomes akin to a lost photo of a distant vacation unexpectedly found – triggering something real in my heart yet intangible in definition – a slice of a past life captured within four corners of canvas,  by its nature destined to shine from that canvas to express the “me” as I was in that moment, to the “you” as you are today. 

My art and poetry are my way of acceptance, and yet also my way of wishing, of inhaling this life through my perceptions and exhaling through my hands, as intuitive, reflexive and nearly fundamental to me as each breath I take.  The decision to create is not impacted any more by whether the results shall be hailed by others, than it matters whether a given breath I take engenders applause.  I wish to create something great in the world’s eyes, but even if that is never possible, I believe I shall nonetheless always create for … it must out.  I cannot forever inhale without exhaling, or else some part of me, perhaps even all of me, would surely suffocate.

Thinking about art and how it connects us throughout time, no matter where we are, inspired me to write the following poem:

Undiscovered dreams
an unexpected journey
Drifting along memories and hopes
a sweet yearning

Of what could be
Should be
May still

All there for my eye to see
In this painting on the wall.

The above thoughts and poem reprinted from “Tempo – The Rhythm and Rhyme of the Artist.”  (c) and TM M. Nicole van Dam.  All Rights Reserved.

Following are day-to-day thoughts from Nicole – ENJOY!

In “High Spirits!”

Artimagination : March 28, 2014 8:41 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, New Nicole Product Updates, Nicole's News Hot Sheet

Great news! My latest book “High Spirits!” has just been released on Amazon! If you like the blend of quotes, inspirations and art that you find on this site, I’ve created a book that contains encouragement, inspiration. When I was writing “High Spirits!” I was thinking about all the creatives and entrepreneurs I meet that ask for encouragement, ask me how I keep things together when it’s rough slogging. I know I was smiling by the time I finish each read through of this book – I hope it does the same for you, and THANK YOU again for supporting my creative endeavors! The cover of the book was based on my “High Spirits!” art work:

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Creativity Beyond the Canvas

Artimagination : February 9, 2014 3:56 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, New Nicole Product Updates, Nicole's News Hot Sheet, The Artist's Thoughts

I have discovered that it is so refreshing – INSPIRING – to work with other creative people. My advice to any artist who feels burned out is to have some fun working with another creative person on an entirely different type of project. It really rejuvenates the soul and makes for some great memories. For example, I have discovered I so enjoy writing lyrics. My first musical collaboration was because of the kindness and talent of Robin Frost, an international, award winning composer. Robin elected to put my poetry to music – working side-by-side with Robin in his amazing studio are some of my happiest memories. I owe quite a bit of my musical courage to him! Following is an example of one of our first bits of creative fun together. Robin Frost used my lyrics “House Cleaning Rag” to write the following ragtime song (and you can hear I won’t win any awards for my singing)!

I have been so lucky to enjoy a few musical collaborations with brilliant musician Dr. Kenneth Kafka – here is an example of the wonderful music Dr. Kafka wrote for my “Moonlight” lyrics:

Another wonderful memory was being a professional narrator (along with Dominic Byrne, a well-known BBC personality and narrator) for my children’s book, “Inca Dink, the Great Houndini.” I even took a photo of my Leonberger dog Inca with me to the recording studio, for inspiration. Here is an excerpt:

Please visit to learn more.

Creativity comes in more forms too! I am helping to design a cell phone app – that really gets the brain working in other ways! It’s very inspiring to see the genius creative software engineer at work, and maybe much more fun than you might expect. More on that in a later post!

New Fun on the Horizon: I just finished writing the lyrics for an entire musical! It will be awhile before the final product is available to the world at large – but stay tuned! Please visit to learn more.

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Great New Rain/Gardening Boot Released! NEW “Chef at the Farmer’s Market” Boot!

Artimagination : January 31, 2013 5:16 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, Gardening & Animals & Inspirations, New Nicole Product Updates, Nicole's News Hot Sheet, The Artist's Thoughts, Writer's Corner

"Chef at the Farmer's Market" gardening and rain boot, based on the artwork of M. Nicole van Dam












M. Nicole van Dam’s artwork “Chef at the Farmer’s Market” joins Nicole’s other licensed images and has been transformed into a lovely new rain and gardening boot! The colors are lively and the boots are ever so comfy! Nicole has already tested them in her organic vegetable garden and gives them a thumbs up!

The boot will be sold with an art and poetry card showing the original “Chef at the Farmer’s Market” and having a special poem based on this poem by Nicole:

Farmer’s Market Adventure

Cucumber greens
Piles upon piles of green beans
Luscious tomatoes donned in purples and reds
Enticing aromas of fresh baked breads
Glorious crisp apples and blossoms and flowers
Proof of Nature’s powers!
Farmer’s Market adventure!
Seeking Nature’s bounty!
As far as the eye can see
Tempting Earth’s gifts for you and me.

More news on this fabulous boot to come soon!

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-of Fancy Pens and Pretty Papers

Artimagination : September 26, 2012 3:42 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, Community Service & Volunteer Work, Writer's Corner

At last night Creativity Central, first we enjoyed a sneak peek of our now completed and assembled (but not yet framed) last Creativity Central project, entitled “Sea Scape”:

“Sea Scape” by Creativity Central

 Many thanks to all the Creativity Central participants who worked so creatively as a fabulous inspirational team on this unique project – Joanie, Allyson, Carol, Anita, Hannah, Martina and Alex – I think you will agree – our “Sea Scape” creation is truly BEAUTIFUL!  We will be getting it framed and it will proudly hang along with our “Jammin Jungle” project at the Cancer Resource Center.

Then we first made pens with a flourish of ostrich feathers and color, and then used our special pens to write some thoughtful journalling, using Nicole’s latest book “Exploring the Successful You,” on beautiful papers kindly provided by Kathleen of the Cancer Resource Center.  Here are some of the photos of last night’s Creativity Central:

Some of our finished Fancy Pens, on the lovely Papers created by Kathleen

Allyson’s Colroful, FUN Pen, dedicated to Sarah

Carol’s Pen – we love the pink polka’s!
Closeup of Carol’s pen

The whole collection of pens and pretty papers!
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Santa Barbara City Hall Exhibit Fun News

Artimagination : July 31, 2012 7:32 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, Exhibitions, Nicole's News Hot Sheet, Writer's Corner

This morning I met wonderful, ever-patient and supportive (and excellent musician) Debbie at Santa Barbara’s beautiful and historic City Hall, and we added my “Lake of Dreams” and “Mission at Santa Barbara” artworks to join “Voting Booth” and “Summer Afternoon” there. I hope you enjoy the pictures – I forgot to bring a camera but thankfully Debbie had her cell phone! What did we do before cell phones?

"Lake of Dreams" with pretty, patient Debbie, who posed holding my "Tempo - The Rhythm & Rhyme of the Artist" book

Debbie, taking a moment in her busy day to smile, with "Mission at Santa Barbara" in the background

Artwork which has been exhibited at Santa Barbara City Hall to date:

"Cello Fantasy" - one of the first of my works to be exhibited at Santa Barbara City Hall

Flower Celebration, also one of the first of my artworks to be exhibited at Santa Barbara City Hall

"Summer Afternoon" - one of the first of my artworks to be exhibited at Santa Barbara City Hall - and currently there :)

"Voting Booth" - currently on exhibit

"Mission at Santa Barbara" - currently on exhibit

"Lake of Dreams" - currently on exhibit

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A World of Stories

Artimagination : April 13, 2012 9:13 pm : Abstracts, Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, Emoticons, Music and The Arts, Nature and Animals, Nicole's News Hot Sheet, Portfolio, Scapes, The Human Element, Water Features

“A World of Stories” is a beautiful piece, inspired by the world’s romantic destinations, traditions, story telling and sharing inherent in our many, diverse cultures. As you look deeper into this artwork, you will see the Kokapelli, the Chinese dragon, the classic lyre, ST. Basils Cathedral, Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, the Geisha, many references to nature and its role in our folklore and religions, and so much more. All the artwork you see here is available in Limited Edition prints and many household and wearable products, at

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Life is like Knitting – and cozy fun at last night’s Creativity Central!

Artimagination : February 29, 2012 1:24 am : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, Community Service & Volunteer Work, The Artist's Thoughts

Last night’s Creativity Central creativity therapy workshop centered on knitting – knitting using a new way. Creating this knitting adventure for my creativity therapy group reminded me of a poem I had written about knitting, and life, some years ago, when I was starting anew before I met my wonderful husband. I think that poem might be timely to add here, as the poem is apropos of so many of life’s changes and decisions:

Life is Like Knitting

Life is like knitting
Sometimes each stitch falls easily into place
Each row upon row flowing with grace
And then, a mistake, not easy to erase

A choice must be had
Do we go ahead flawed, looking a bit bad
Or do we unravel and then
Begin, begin, begin again?

With each new start
The old design deliberately picked apart
Carefully the yarn from the needle unfurls
Undoing all the knits and pearls
Cautious not to harm
The tender texture of the yarn

This life’s thread must be used to stitch again
In our universal pattern of row upon row, til time’s end
There is no shame in each start anew
No matter how many restarts or how few

The rows undone
In the redoing are part of life’s fun
The lessons learned along each knitted way
Can be used another day
To last, to warm our souls a little longer
Making our life’s knitting that much stronger.

(c) 2006 M. Nicole van Dam.  All Rights Reserved.

Now about the creativity therapy workshop of last night, aka “Knitting-the-New-Way!”

Last night was the first night we used the wonderful Authentic Knitting Boards donated by the Authentic Knitting Board Company – and these knitting boards are amazing! You don’t need to know a thing about knitting to make something colorful and fun and useful, in just a few hours. Here are a few photos, and I think we all gave these wonderful knitting boards a thumbs up!

The results from the Magical Knitting Board

Close-up of the Knitting Board in Use

Wonderful Donations from Authentic Knitting Board and Kathleen


































-And of course, our earlier projects aren’t forgotten – we just picked up the framed mixed media work my creativity therapy group (“Creativity Central”) created – we call it “Jammin Jungle” and it is now on exhibit at the hospital:

"Jammin Jungle" Project

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Magical Rainbow!

Artimagination : April 23, 2011 5:57 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, Gardening & Animals & Inspirations, The Artist's Thoughts, Writer's Corner

My husband came in yesterday and took me by the hand, and raced me outside – and here is what we saw: A perfect rainbow!

A Perfect Rainbow!

Isn’t it interesting that seeing a rainbow makes us, for that moment, 5 years old again? Is it possible to see a rainbow and not be a bit awed by the magic of it all? – or wonder if there is a pot of gold at the end of it somewhere?

Here is a poem I wrote this morning, inspired by yesterday’s rainbow:

A Rainbow!
Full of hopes
Full of dreams
Every one knows what a rainbow means

This moment
Time is paused
Our eyes awed
Colorful beauty takes our breath away
Stand still

Make a wish
One for you
One for me
May our hearts’ memory ever see

I think my next artwork will have a rainbow in it :)

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New Public Exhibition of Nicole’s Artwork & Poetry

Artimagination : February 21, 2011 9:07 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, Exhibitions, Nicole's News Hot Sheet, Writer's Corner

The new Cancer Center of Community Memorial Hospital is a beautiful architectural masterpiece, and Nicole was so proud to be a small part of the building’s introduction to the community when the City of Ventura and the Cancer Center offered to include some of Nicole’s artwork and poetry in the outer window display. Today the City of Ventura team is hard at work setting up the display. Here is a photo of Julie Maechler, of the City of Ventura, and Gerald Zwers, her able artist-in-his-own-right assistant, starting to set up the exhibit:

Julie and Gerald, Preparing the Outside Window Display

Here too is a photo of some of Nicole’s artwork, as it is lined up in the windows, waiting to be hung:

It will be exciting to see the entire exhibit when it's all done!

Many thanks to Julie and Gerald for posing for this picture! Thank you Cancer Center, City of Ventura (and Denise Sindelar of the City) for including Nicole’s artwork and poetry, and for all you do for our community!

In addition to these M. Nicole van Dam works being exhibited on the outside of this lovely new building, the Cancer Center has also aquired 17 additional M. Nicole van Dam works on permament exhibition inside the new Cancer Center, pictures of this ongoing interior exhibit to be posted soon!

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If You’re in Ventura Feb 4, Hold the Date!

Artimagination : January 7, 2011 8:37 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, Exhibitions, Writer's Corner

I’ve been asked to be the “Featured Artist” in an upcoming Ventura gallery show, with a lovely reception and performance (yes, p.e.r.f.o.r.m.a.n.c.e) to be held Friday, February 4 from around 6pm to 8pm. This will mark my first public performance, so perhaps we should label this as a comedy show rather than an art show! The show will be based on my book, “Tempo – The Rhythm & Rhyme of the Artist.” Admission is free – details to come!

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