Monday, January 30, 2012

Healing heART - waxing poetic

This past week, I finally got into my studio and began to do some encaustic painting, 
after a very, very long hiatus. 
 So much has been going on, with my dear friends decline, and trying to fit life into my life, that making art and especially cranking up the hot plate and doing encaustic painting, has totally fallen by the way side.
 But it was exactly what the doctor ordered, so to speak.  I decided to create some loosely related Valentine encaustic paintings, with the thought of having some of it   being  included in a group show.   around Valentines Day,  but what really happened was my opening up to HEART energy.
 Working on these pieces, had the effect of not only opening my heart, but soothing my heart, which has been in various stages of grief for over 6 weeks now.  I lost track of time, slowing down and being engulfed in color, image and playful exploration.  Trying to get in touch with what was I trying to say, or express and then letting go.  To say it way healing for me is an understatement.  I found myself in bliss, happier than I had been in the very least.  I loved what I was doing, and found myself returning to the studio even in the evening, when it is cold, cold, cold out there.  Happy as a clam ( a clam being enclosed in a protective shell, which is what I was doing with my art making...)
This final one, of the series so far, really brought me in touch with release, letting go and letting love guide me.  I love how each of these is so filled with vibrant color, which of course is one of the beauties of encaustic paint, as well of how much they speak to what is going on for me right now, as well as love in all its varieties and depths.

No one has to remind me of how creating art is healing, but I had to remind myself again, as I became immersed in this process, finding happiness and joy in the moment, self soothing myself through color combinations, and the placement of images that called to me.  I am thankful and can't wait to get back into my studio again this week, and let the molten hot colors take me away to another land, a land of joyful creative abandon.  Blessings to all... Ciao

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Doesn't Everything Die at Last and Too Soon?"

I haven't written here since the beginning of the year.  I have a good, dear long time friend, who has been my business partner, teacher, sister and more, who is dying of cancer right now.  My life has been thrown to the winds, as I have tried, along with other close friends, to be there, respond to crisis after crisis and all the needs that arise as someone moves towards the end of their life.

I have been overwhelmed with grief, sick of heart, and also in a state of sacred grace and awe at this process of letting go, and caregiving in different ways.  Facilitating a helping hands website to provide information on her needs and journey, has engulfed my life and time.

Patricia  and I met in the masters program at Sonoma State University in 1985, in a co-counseling class.  We became co-counselors during the semester, and  deep friends over time.  When I first met her, I told her point blank, now don't get any ideas about becoming friends, I am overwhelmed and have to many friends in my life, so I don't want or need any friends.  That first statement, became a story we laughed over many times.   During our time in the Creative Art Therapies program, we were always stunned, by how parallel our art was.  I would be working on a piece and not see her for a month or so, and we would realize that  we were both be working on a similar image, theme or visual statement.

We became co-partners in the Creative Arts Studio, and for  almost 20 years we had a community expressive arts studio, here in Santa Rosa, at 3 different locations.  In 1992, right after my mother died, Patricia treated me to a weekend Mandala Retreat at the Angela Center in Santa Rosa, with the late Judith Cornell.  That was the beginning of our both taking every class we could from her, training and then teaching her work and becoming facilitators of Judith's Illuminated Mandala Process.
Our lives have been very intertwined.

I had not planned on writing this story here, I rarely disclose my deep personal experiences here, but this feels right.  So I have shared one of Patricia's mandala's done in response to Mary Oliver's poetry.
(She turned me on to Mary Oliver as well, what a gift)
So this is an honoring of Patricia, her art, her gifts and her loving generosity.

Patricia setting up at a Mandala workshop that we taught at the Cosmic Cowgirl Studio in Healdsburg.

The Summer Day

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 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

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year to All

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover 
Mark Twain

May your life be filled with blessings and may you take the time to slow down and recognize them.
Happy New Year.