You just made me realize I've insulted myself for creative escapism more than everyone else has. I should stop that. I've made my living as a painter for forty years. Patrons who come back for more say, "Your work makes me happy." My joke reply is, "Oh good. Now I don't have to get a therapist license and a practical job." What you wrote urges me stop being mean to me, or quite so dismissive of what I do. Thanks!

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Epic visual nerd list. I especially appreciate the restriction to hand craftsmanship and like all the masterpieces added here. I'll add to the bottom of the list John Toll's cinematography in Wind, which gave the ocean and sailboat racing the eye candy that Barry Lyndon did for the 18th century and Blade Runner for the 21st (only with a dumber story).

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I'm a painter and absolutely agree—an artist's essence is not only embedded, but emits that energy. I can 'dark night of the soul' in literature, but not on my walls. My favorite way to buy art is directly from artists I have made an effort to meet, talk with and determine if I want them (their work) to be the equivalent of a roommate for a long time. Open Studios & smaller art festivals is where you can find affordable originals while supporting a living person whose energy is uplifting and ideals inspire. As it happens, they are most often female artists. The walls of my home are beautiful and happy... bookshelves are where the controversy lies.

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I graduated with a liberal arts degree in 1977. I worked nights & weekends in retail 4 solid years and emerged debt-free—possible back then. Useful contacts? No. Job I qualified for? Flower girl at the Tropicana Hotel. Worth it then? Yes & no. Worth it now? Liberal arts at a…

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Mernie Buchanan

Mernie paints and writes in Woodstock NY. All images are her original art & photos, with more at www.mernie.com