Sunday, September 15, 2019

When your heart speaks, listen

Make Believe

My creative expression must 
be the most important thing 
in the world to me
 if I am to live artistically, 
and it also must not matter at all 
if I am to live sanely.
                                 Elizabeth Gilbert

It started with an imaginary friend, Illa. I was four, she was timeless. 

I don't know where she came from, one day she was there; someone small just like me, someone secretly just for me.

She and I created alternative worlds to play in. We fabricated outrageous tales, went on forbidden adventures and escaped the chaos of a lonely life. I can't quite remember when she disappeared, just as she appeared, like a magic trick, she was gone. 

The fairy tales may have stopped but my search for creative expression certainly didn't. In my twenties I used my body as a canvas and my wardrobe as the paint. Eventually I turned to more traditional tools; pencils, paper, paint, and here I am today. 

The other day, my adorable Aunt (who unfortunately for me, lives an ocean away in Germany)  apologized, in an email, that she didn't understand my art. I suggested she look through the lens of colors, lines, and shapes instead of the lens of realism. 

We don't have to understand why we are drawn to a piece. Abstraction, in particular, is not meant to be understood through the reality of the visual world. Like poetry, it's meant to be filtered through the mind and felt in the heart.  

When you heart speaks, listen, just rest there, it's amazing what may bubble up to the surface of the conscious. 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Who knew mushrooms were so smart

Intoxicating Desire

I am a breathing flesh and blood painter - experimenting with new influences is what pumps my heart and keeps me jumping out of bed in the mornings. 

Another passion, learning. Currently I'm reading How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence by Michael Pollan. Who knew mushrooms were so smart! They are directors of survival. Creating an interwoven matrix of forever fields of communication using cyber like speed, sending messages and nutrients, all right under our feet, to their collaborators above. All which help to shield and nourish us. 

I marvel at the interconnections. It's as mind expanding as the entheogens Pollan explores in his book. These inner connections intrigue me and heighten my awareness of all sentient beings. I try to keep this heighten acuity while out walking my dogs, or alone. Then I bring this curiosity and reverence into my studio. Using color, lines and shapes I explore my connection, our connection, with this marvelous web of life. 

Listen -
are you breathing just a little
and calling it a life? 
                      Mary Oliver

I don't want to have made this journey and breathed just a little. 
Instead, I long to fill my lungs - pulling in all I can with all my might, embracing the everything before sending it all back - and doing that again, and again, and again, and again, until again is no more. 

Sunday, June 16, 2019



I love this glass...
but for me this glass
is already broken -

when I understand
that this glass
is already broken
every minute is precious. Ajahn Chah

We have become dream walkers skating on the surface of our lives. 

I can understand why some children fight mightily the night against sleep. They fear not waking up, and they, only new to this world, are anxious with curiosity.

Cancer invasion.
Mutant cellular body snatchers. 

Broken glass reflected in death - my mirror image - suddenly all was precious. The feel of my feet on the grass, the ease of my breath, the opera sung by the birds outside my window, the caress of the breeze, the feel of my husband's hand in mine, the gaze that spoke with no words. Life.

Friday, April 26, 2019

A language I know and speak

What is it about a hot cup of coffee that stimulates profound conversations? Perhaps it's that alluring, smoky aroma that livens up our imaginations. 

Over a cup of coffee, a friend recently asked why circles appear in much of my work? And what do they mean?

Trying to fit that inner dialogue into a suit of common conversation was difficult until a brew of sorts bubbled up as a language I know and speak.

That mystical brew poured the following words into the corrugated maze of my brain: circles represent connectedness; connectedness to each other, connectedness to the land and connectedness to the Universe. 

What is holiness but a reverence for the sacred, and we are the sacred; the manifestation of all that is in an ever "widening circle".

I read that the American Indians were puzzled and amused when settlers wanted to "buy their" land. They knew the land was not theirs to sell, it didn't belong to them, they belonged to the land. Unfortunately, that was not the story the settlers were taught. 

Over the decades as felled trees were replaced by sky scrapers, stripped forests became housing developments and fields became asphalt covered roads, we no longer hear the land speak to us. That connection has gone sadly silent. 

But I believe there are many of us who want to sing our song of being, our desire to connect to each other and all the space around us, and I believe we share a reverence for nature and try to tread lightly on her body. 

Book of Hours 12

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world. 
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.

I circle around God,
around the primordial tower.
I've been circling for thousands of years
and I still don't know:
am I a falcon, a storm, or a great song?
                                                                          Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Power of Change in Art

Complications #1
Acrylic and Ink

I am in the midst of a powerful history book, Ninth Street Women, Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, Five Painters And The Movement That Changed Modern Art by Mary Gabriel.  

The artists of that time were blazing pioneers running from the flames of two horrific World Wars and running into the flames of an art form never seen and little understood.  These then unknown artists, were driven to find a new way of expression, not found in the visual world around them, but in their down-the-rabbit-hole imaginations. 

At first, the public majority jeered and dismissed their art, imagine the courage it took to continue. 

Musician Morty Feldman captured the mood with scalpel like precision:
Art is a crucial, dangerous operation 
we perform on ourselves. 
Unless we take a chance, we die in art.

My change in direction is not nearly as daunting.  I see in this new work the underpinnings of my previous paintings, but now I no longer feel like I'm fighting against the canvas. I feel the work is  freer, flowing from my internal landscape. It's as if I have come to a point, where I feel a sense of belonging with the art. I'm creating in concert, not opposition. My ego is muted and my being has space to speak. 

After months of frustrating experimentation, I painted Complications #1, the first successful work in the new series.  And it sold within 24 hours of posting it on social media. A kiss from the Universe,  I am on the right path...for now. Because just as Feldman said decades ago, if we stagnate in our art, we die in art. 

My curiosity and excitement are bound twins in the quest of where this will lead.  

Monday, February 4, 2019

Is It Unwise To Wish For Too Much?

Beauty's Alchemy
Acrylic on board

Is it unwise to wish for too much? 
To dream a dream dreamed for us by the Divine? 

Why say; "be careful what you wish for"? 
Why not fill our baskets to the brim with good and earnest wishes 
and strive for them all? 

Isn't that why we are here?
To bear witness to the beauty, mystery and alchemy of this planet.

Beauty and creativity are mirror twins,
deny them presence, 
they lure us into the underbelly
of primordial havoc,
stripped of compassion and love,
we dive into chaos and madness. 

Beauty - a divine breath that blows the heart open.
                                                                      John O'Donohue

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

When We Were First Dreamed

I had a dream last night, or maybe I had a dream within a dream.

I was visited by a beautiful red fox. She had a little white on her face and a tip of black on her tail, as if it had been dipped in Sumi ink.  

Looking at her, I felt a sense of wonder, calm and pure, innocent joy.

An omen? A vision? Perhaps just a delightful visitor reminding me of all the miracles that surround us.

It’s 6 am on a Sunday morning. It snowed again last night. It’s still very dark outside, so I can really see how much more of this pure, white, cotton candy ice is on the ground by the light it’s reflecting.
It’s very pretty and makes the world very quiet.

My fox, she was standing in the snow.

Journal entry-February, 11, 2018