Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Approaches-Into the Dark Holding the Light

As the Winter Solstice approaches, I am trying to place my attention on holding the I feel the dark moving into my body and soul.    

It is a time to move into the deep of the night and  to take time to dream my life anew.  With the New Year comes change and it is time for reevaluating direction and remembering to follow dreams put on hold.
Encaustic on foam core.  
"Follow your Dreams"
I am revisiting the places, people, and blogs where I find inspiration to guide me towards the light. 

I love Lanie Gerity's  Artist's Happiness Challenge and her Secrets for a Happy Artist's Life.

Find 3 good things every day, whether they are experiences, or objects or both.  
Find a way to use them in art.
Make everything special.  Embellish you life.
Look for Fairy God-mothers and Angels.  
Be ready for experiences that will delight and surprise you.
Play more often.   Look for smiling faces.
Wish everyone a happy life.
Find something to love about where you are every day.
Make art everyday. 
Create time for yourself.
Honor thy grandmothers as much as possible.
Play with the grandchildren as much as possible.
Create beauty wit what you have on hand.
Mare art with friends.  Make art as gifts.
Create a list of  secrets for a happy life and pass it on.

So please pass this on...I too am making a list for a happy life.   
Happy and Blessed Solstice to All  
 Encaustic mixed media.  3"x5"  on masonite panel
Available for purchase on my etsy store.

I have just come across this wonderful poem about the winter solstice 
and I just have to add it here.  Enjoy....

So, the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!
All the long echoes sing he same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!
Susan Cooper, The Shortest Day

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Challenging Times

These are times of change and challenge for many of us.  I too, along with so many in the country was taken by surprise this week, when I was laid off, permanently,  from my position of over 28 years, as adjunct faculty teaching at Santa Rosa Junior College.  There is a hole in my heart for the curriculum as well as the  students and program I have taught in for so many many years.    And for the field of Art Therapy. 
Transformation Through Time
Supporting people, with the powerful healing aspects of artmaking, and being able to facilitate creative growth, has been deeply enriching and rewarding for me.  I have been blessed to witness transformation on many levels, over and over, with artmaking as the catalyst.  

I am in mourning, but also filled with hope and possibilites for opportunity.  It is time for me to take my skills on the road and to share in different ways and venues.  Fear definitely rears its head, but along with it is transformation and surrender.  

Things I am grateful for:
  1. The opportunity to witness so many people grow, change and transform through art
  2. The beautiful, tragic, and inspiring individuals I have met, taught and befriended.
  3. The community and staff I have worked with through Disability Resources Dept.
  4. My creativity, strength and resourcefulness.
  6. The stories of so many individuals
  7. The opportunity to grow, change and develop professionally with like minded individuals.
  8. Many many mentors and friends.
  9. My family, husband, son  and cohorts.
  10. The synchronicity of the universe.
  11. My dog chelsea.
  12. Vision and creative impulses.
  13. Living and living in beautiful northern California.
  14. Beeswax!!! and the bees.
  15. The sanctuary of mandalas.
  16. Time for artmaking!!!!!!  And Visioning...and dreaming!
  17. And on and on and on into the future.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Grammar of Gratitude

To learn the grammar of gratitude, 
we must practice saying thank you for both happy and challenging experiences,
  for people, animals, things, memories, dreams and art.
Count your blessings, praise and give thanks 
for the simple things,
 the everyday, the easily forgotten as well as the 
big and the impressive.

Utter blessings and express appreciation to
 everything and everyone that you encounter. 
 By paying attention and blessing 
we are blessed.

This is the practice of Gratitude that makes 
each moment 
and experience sacred 
and transformative.

Happy Day of Thanksgiving.

This wonderful encaustic piece is available as a matted print at my etsy shop now.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Evolution of a Mandala -Full Moon Mandala

Here in Northern California, the changing of the seasons are subtle, on the surface it still feels like summer, yet in my body and my psyche, I can still feel the turning of the wheel of the seasons and the inevitable turn towards the dark.  Autumn exposes itself daily, in the vibrant colors of the leaves, the changing of the sunlight as it moves lower and cooler towards the horizon, and the bold orange autumn moon, rises over the valley of the moon.

Since I am so process oriented, I decided to share the  process of the drawing  of a mandala, that speaks strongly of the moon and the changing of the seasons.  This Full Moon Mandala, was created in honor of the winter solstice.  As the seasons, glide effortlessly one into the other, I continue to be drawn to this piece.   

I usually photograph as I am drawing, every step of the process, sometimes obsessively.  Here is my creative journey for this mandala.

Matted  prints of this mandala are available for sale on my etsy store
Greeting cards of this mandala, as well as T-shirts of it are also available for purchase on my 

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fall Mandalas complete

Here is the completed mandala's that I began on the Fall equinox.  Once I finished my gratitude mandala, I went straight to work on my Fall mandala.  When I start I can't now I can go back to working on my encaustics... Whew, I love drawing with color.

Small Fall Equinox mandala.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mandala Progression

I love to draw with prismacolor pencils...and whenever I begin a new mandala I am lost for days whenever I have a spare between work...and details of  a life fully lived.  Here is the Mandala I began at the last Mandala workshop.  This is a gratitude mandala, in honor of the abundance and blessings in my life

I focused on the image of the house because it symbolizes my life and all that is filled with meaning and joy.   This is as far as I have gotten...but I plan on cleaning up the inside of the house and enriching the colors encircling it.  I love to slow down and move into the soothing esthetic trance that creating mandalas with prismacolor pencils brings forth.  MOre to come.. on this piece I am sure. 

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More Mandala's from Workshop

Here are a few more photos from the Fall Illuminated Mandala Workshop.   

Fall Equinox Mandala Workshop

Last Sunday, we facilitated another Illuminated Mandala workshop at my studio.  This is a photo of the outside of my studio.   I love doing these mandala retreat days.  The process is so healing, I get to set intentions for the new season and witness what comes through for the participants.  

Here are some of the mandalas created in the group that Patricia and I taught.  

You can see the begining scale of light drawings as well as the begining of each mandala in black and and a progression of some of them.  

The work that every one did was beautiful.  We spent the day focusing on the harvest and all the gifts of abundance in our lives that we have harvested.  

It was a lovely day. 

Monday, August 25, 2008

Encaustic Tree Series - All of six them......

I have finally completed my summer time encaustic vision....photographing  trees and doing encaustic paintings and  phototransfers of the tree images on top of the paintings.  

I have learned alot in this process.  Working with the encaustics in a new way, exploring color, line and well as developing a finer eye.  I have been noticing and photographing trees for months now and began to look at trees as individuals with unique personalities, flaws and if they were people.  Here is the completed series.

I found myself looking for the perfect tree.  What were my criteria, unique tunk, branches that stood out, no background to divert attention and alot of sky showing through the branches.  Then I began to think about standards of beauty, in not only trees but people.  What is beauty, what makes imagery stand out.  Each tree had flaws, the branches were changed by life and wind, and trauma.... again and again the parallels with people began to emerge.  This has been a very powerful and evocative process for me.  

My final tree in this process, is the most subtle and evocative.  I am ready to move onto another series...I am all fired up with the possiblities.  My work with encaustics has taken another turn.  I am looking forward to more exploration of this new direction

Monday, August 11, 2008

Encaustic Process- Hummingbird Tree evolution

I have continued to do my tree series using photo transfers of tree's I have been photographing around Sonoma County.  This first attempt of a Eucalyptus tree seemed to have a far to dark and distracting background...although interesting in itself.  

so I decided to change the background to a lighter color...But once done, it didn't work and looked rather pasted together.   

So I wound up scratching the photo transfer off of the wax and using another tree image transfer.  I am learning learning learning...
Although the blue is more muted in this final piece, I like its dreamlike qualities.  I added the hummingbird and more foilage around the base of the tree.  

This is a new way of working for me with the encaustic medium.  The finish on these are smooth and glossy. I am having fun.  I am not sure where I will go next with this process, but I am appreciating the inclusion of these photo transfers as a beginning place as well as playing with the heat gun...fusing and blending the hot wax.   later I will post the entire series..

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Tree Encaustic #3- Fire on the Mountain

I have created another Tree Encaustic...using photo transfers of photos I am taking all around Sonoma County...for this series.  This one so looks like the mountain is on fire in the background.  

This tree is in the Cazadero Hills of Sonoma County, in the coastal range, on the Gualala Ranch. 
It  is not very far from where the Creighton Ridge Fire started in 1978.  With the hot dry weather and all of the fires all over NOrthern California...this piece is rather poignant.

 I am looking forward to what comes through next....

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Dreamed of Gratitude - Altered Book-Counting Blessings

Counting ongoing altered book process.  
I am so grateful for so many things........
       "If the Only prayer you said in your whole life was "thank you"  that would suffice."
                                                                         Meister Ekhart
About three weeks ago I dreamed about creating a Gratitude Book and the cover appearing in my dream.   It was called " Counting Blessings"
And so I have been slowly working in it over time...

  I have decided to post what I have done so far...

I am working on placing as much attention as possible 
in my life on what I am grateful for.  
I am grateful for so many things....

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial in acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity...It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow".                                            Melody Beattie