Monday, June 29, 2009

Where I Roam for Inspiration....

Whenever I need a hit of inspiration I go to Lanie Gerity's  14 Secrets For a Happy Artist's life blog.  Today while waiting frustratingly for some repairmen....I went online an checked out her blog and came across this wonderful music video for Tanya Davis' song ART by Andrea Dorfman, all  about Art.  Check it out for a reminder about ART , ART art..... in a delightful song and visual watercolor journey.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

4 Elements Mandala Workshop

Our Mandala Workshop focusing on the Four Elements was a lovely, inspiring day for everyone who attended.  The Cosmic Cowgirls Studios was bright and vibrant.  Some of these photos give a sense of the colorful walls filled with the art of Shiloh McCloud, founder of the studio.  We felt invigorated by the surroundings, and inspired as well.

Here is Diana Rose helping us in the morning with set up putting prismacolor pencils at tables all around the room.
The walls show off the paintings of many Cosmic Cowgirls...our altar is in the center of the space, surrounded by tables forming a circle, so we all can sit and view each other as we drew.
Getting ready in the morning as participants arrived.
Here is Patricia and Diana Rose.  Patricia and I have been facilitating the Illuminated Mandala Retreat days for over 10 years.  We are both Certified Facilitators of Judith Cornell's Healing Mandala Process.
We work in circle  paying attention to the center of our beings opening to the light within and the compassion of heart energy.  I love seeing the winged heart hanging over the window in the background.
We begin with small black and white mandala's practicing the scale of light, imagining our pencils to be light wands that connect with the divine light within and bringing it into form on the procreative dark ground of the womb of the paper.

Here is a small mandala done as a Healing Mandala for Harriet Wadeson, one of the grandmother mentors of the field of art therapy, with color added.

In the afternoon we began our larger pieces, focusing on the Four Elements and our associations with them as well as how the elements of earth, water, fire and air resonate in our bodies and our lives.
We always give participants permission to do whatever they are impelled to these workshops, and it is always a gift to witness what evolves and the personal healing the occurs as a result of the drawing process, meditations, visualizations and personal intentions for the day.

Each mandala is as unique as the individual who creates them.  At the end of the day we share the inner stories that unfolded as a result of the process.  It is such a blessing to do this work.
The Four Elements

Unfortunately, I did not take photos of many of the completed mandalas.  By the end of the day I was a bit exhausted and since  our timing went over a bit, everyone was ready to move into the rest of their evening.  But these images give a sense of the ongoing process and the day.  I have begun a mandala and will post it's progress on later blog posts.  Most people don't complete in the day.  Drawing mandalas and  working with prismacolor pencils is a slow and meditative, dreamlike experience that  often take a while to unfold into completion.   The next Mandala Retreat Day will be in September right around the Autumal Equinox, I will post the dates here, when we have settled on exactly where and when we will facilitate it.  Blessings to All .  Enjoy the Summer!!!!  

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sun Mandala- Finally Complete

As I prepared my supplies for teaching tomorrow's mandala workshop, I pulled out this mandala that I did at last years summer solstice retreat day.  It just didn't feel complete and I realized that it needed something more.  I found myself wonderfully lost for hours several evenings in a row, drawing in more rays to  make it more of a Sun Mandala.  Here is the completed ( at least for now) mandala.  

I definitely like it a lot more now and it really expresses the energy of expansion that the summer, and the sun makes me feel.   Mary Oliver has a wonderful poem about the sun.   Here it is.

The Sun


Have you ever seen 


in your life 

more wonderful 

than the way the sun, 

every evening, 

relaxed and easy, 

floats toward the horizon 

and into the clouds or the hills, 

or the rumpled sea, 

and is gone-- 

and how it slides again 

out of the blackness, 

every morning, 

on the other side of the world, 

like a red flower 

streaming upward on its heavenly oils, 

say, on a morning in early summer, 

at its perfect imperial distance-- 

and have you ever felt for anything 

such wild love-- 

do you think there is anywhere, in any language, 

a word billowing enough 

for the pleasure 

that fills you, 

as the sun 

reaches out, 

as it warms you 

as you stand there, 


or have you too 

turned from this world-- 

or have you too 

gone crazy 

for power, 

for things?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mandala Workshop REFLECTIONS

Summer Solstice is upon us and this Sunday we are facilitating  the Summer Solstice Mandala Retreat Workshop.  In honor of this   I thought I would post some of my Summer Solstice Mandalas,   as  well as one of  Mary Oliver's most powerful poems.  

Through the ages  there have been traditions and rituals upheld during this 
time, from the Native American Indians to the Nordic and the Celtic people.  Awed by the great power of the sun, the amazing Mandala in the sky, the cycles of the seasons, the earth we live on and the great circular womb of creation, civilizations celebrated the first day of Summer. 

In ancient times, it was considered a time of fullness, worldly blessings and celebration.  Not much has changed for us as we live outdoors, celebrate with friends,  connect with the bounty of the earth with all of  its beauty and  savor life.  I love the experience of stopping   time when I draw mandalas.  When we transition from season to season,   honoring this change and  reflecting on my life  cycles, in always enhanced when I create mandala's in community with others.  This Sunday we will pay homage to Earth, Water, Fire and Air,  the Four Elements in our Mandala Workshop.  I look forward to seeing the that  art will emerge from this day, I will post images next week.

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean--

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down,

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.


I don't know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?



~ Mary Oliver ~


Saturday, June 13, 2009

And Another Encaustic- Quan Yin in the Garden

Here is another encaustic mixed media painting that I recently brought home.    Quan Yin in the Garden is 5"x7" on hardboard.

I love to look at  her she is so serene.  I have incorporated stones and fabric, gold leaf and lot of hand carving into this mixed media encaustic painting  

I posted this piece in my etsy store.  I have so many encaustic paintings that I have done over the years, that I am hoping to move them out into the world, to justify creating new pieces.  

Friday, June 12, 2009

Encaustic listed on EBAY---trying it again

I brought home some encaustic paintings from Art and All That Jazz last week, after switching them with some newer work.  I love this little piece, which I call the Flowering Sea.  It reminds me of all those magical, wonder-filled  flowers that you see in Maui, floating on the sea.  I love the mysterious enchantment of them, and this encaustic mixed media painting does honor to them.

I decided to post it on ebay instead of my etsy site 
to see if perhaps another online venue for selling my art would bring results.   

This textural encaustic painting is 5"x7" on hardboard and looks enchanting framed.  The experiment continues for a week, take a look if you want.   Here is the link:  The Flowering Sea.

Today I am having another meeting of the Medicine Art Group, so  I am off to get ready.  

Monday, June 8, 2009

Art Journaling - Mixed Media and Gathering with Others....

On Friday I facilitated and Art Gathering with a group of my women friends, who I used to work with at Santa Rosa Junior College.  

After teaching there for over 25 years, alongside many of these friend/co-workers, it was like playing with family.  

It saddened me to hear how everyone who still works there is still feeling the effects of the budget crisis and the worries about if they will have a job or not in the fall.  I feel like I was part of the first wave of layoffs...and am grateful to feel on the other side of the fear, worry and tension that comes with the possibility of layoff.  The worst thing is the absolute demolishing of the cutting edge/deeply humanist department that I worked in for so long.

However...the art we did...mixed media exploration, was healing, joyful and a soothing balm to everyone.  I love how creative engagement shifts energy and acts as a healing medicine and joyful play.   It was a deeply satisfying day of artmaking, friendship and food.   

It brings me back to my new idea of creating Art Gatherings for existing groups of women, to bring life, joy and creative play into peoples lives.    

I have been working on developing pages for another mixed media Art JOurnal.  I am combining collage, and focused free write as well as doodling into it.  

This process is bringing together many of the elements that I taught in my Creative Process class for all those years.  Again thinking perhaps to offer this as a ongoing class in the fall.  Who knows.  These are some photos from this new Journal I am working on.   
The final collage is a mixed media piece that I continue to work on, adding text and more collage imagery.  I love playing, adding, reframing and transforming art that I did earlier.  

This Goddess of the Sweet LIfe, is a copy of an earlier collage, that I continue to play with.  All is grist for the mill.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mandala Workshop coming up....gearing up

As we approach the Summer Solstice, Patricia and I are gearing up for our next Illuminated Mandala Retreat Day.  We will be focusing on the 4 elements in this mandala workshops, as well as honoring the change in the Seasons and the onset of the summer.  

The following images show the progression of one of my mandalas, to give a sense of the evolving process of this wonderful way of creating mandalas.  We are facilitators of Judith Cornell's Mandala Process, and incorporate her powerful healing technique with our own style and person centered focus for creating art.  

This workshop will be held at an interesting and colorful art studio in Healdsburg called the Cosmic Cowgirls Studio.   I love that metaphor, having your feet on the ground and your spirit in the sky.  The studio space is bright, colorful and visually entrancing, filled with a very positive healing energy.  We are excited over the prospect of spending the day there drawing healing mandala's with others.  

We have been on the search for the perfect retreat space for our workshops.  Since we stopped using Mountain Home Ranch we have been trying out a variety of new spaces for our day long retreats.  So we are anticipating a unique experience and lovely day at this studio a few blocks from the Plaza in Healdsburg, California, the heart of the wine country by the way.

If you have ever considered doing this workshop, this is the perfect time.  Come join us in Healdsburg on June 21st.  Please check out our Creative Arts Studio website for more information.  This process is a wonderful way to set intentions for a new cycle, place attention on the healing energies of the mandala, as well as learn how to draw in a unique and easy way in a supportive and safe setting.  Hope some of you can make it!!