Monday, February 29, 2016

Rubbermaid and Vegan Socks

It's several months after Christmas
I'm finally far enough out
to admit that
this Christmas I cried in front of everyone
not silent pretty tears
but the awkward kind that makes your face contort
and you just can't stop
so you cover your face with your hands
as your children present
a gift purchased with their own money
from their own personal view
on their own time
Maybe I'm getting more sentimental
knowing they are on their way out into their own lives
because no one cries over Rubbermaid Stacking Storage containers
unless you know your child paid attention to you struggling to find the right lid for the right size
so he bought a set that all the sizes use the same lid and are all the same color
"So it would be easier mom, and you can get rid of all the rest"
And you cry over socks that say Vegan because your child knows it was a big life change
and that kindness and not harming others is everything you stand for
and she says, "geez mom it's just socks, don't cry"
But you can't stop crying because you realize in that moment
that you did alright
that your kids turned out beautiful and kind and caring
that you didn't screw up all that bad
And you can't stop crying because
from now on you can't look at them the same
because they aren't little kids anymore
but young adults finding their way
you realize all at once
there will be struggles you can't fix
or kiss away
but you have also seen that they are strong and independent
capable of looking outside of themselves
So you just cry
bitter sweet tears
of rejoicing
of letting go
and everyone comes over and hugs you
and tells you it's going to be alright

Friday, May 30, 2014

What a Lovely Morning

What a lovely morning. 

The sound of a thousand crickets chirp as if saying hello to the sun. The air that wafts out of the Canyon is heavy with the sweet thick scent of Russian Olive trees, overwhelming my senses like ripe honeydew melon in an enclosed room. 
The creek babbles with stories of the eons, chortling with joyous remembrance, and quiet murmurs of changing times. 
My mind becomes still and the present envelopes me. 

It is a wonder I get anything done, ever.
I would much rather sit here surrounded by the blue sky, listen to crows mock, feel the breeze and sun on my skin, than enter the world of busyness and accumulation.

The words of Mary Oliver come to mind, "It is what I was born for- to look, to listen, to lose myself inside this soft world- to instruct myself over and over in joy and acclamation."

Ahhhh- it is a lovely morning!

Wishing everyone "a peace in the moment" day 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Natural Respite

Nature is respite.

 Where else can you exist without judgement?

Nature does not weigh in on whether you are attractive, overweight or underweight. Nature cares nothing about what you have, if your clothes are in style, who you are sleeping with, your race, your religion, your sexuality, your past, or your future.

Nature goes about its business. Once you melt into the landscape you merely exist. No name, no story. 

How refreshing!

When you are feeling beaten down and worn out, tired of your story or what other's think, or have forgotten how to just be, it's time to check out of the rat race and get back to your roots.

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Preview To A Kiss

I had the most wonderful, art filled, inspiring day. It was the first really warm 50 degree sun filled morning without wind, and the thought of sitting at my desk sending out bids and billing clients was reviling.

Reading a few of my last posts I realized that part of my unease is that I enjoy the "artful living" aspect of art; being out in the natural world, taking notes, photographing and collecting items for my art,  not necessarily the making of the art. So, I decided it was a day to do whatever I would do if I quit my regular job of custom art and faux finishes, and held the current "dream" job of being a fine artist, blogger, and naturalist.

I didn't even open email. I slurped two espressos down and felt a twinge of guilt as I left breakfast dishes on the counter, grabbed my camera and walked out the door.

I drove a mile up the road and pulled over at the Zintel Canyon Greenway. I have been working on a painting of a Red-Winged Blackbird nest nestled in cattails and needed a few cattails to paint from. I ended up spending a couple of hours taking photos, sitting by the pond edge observing and immersing my self into the natural world. Time seemed to completely stop.

Somehow I pulled myself away and went back home for a little brunch, blogging and painting. I felt so inspired I wrote a poem (see "The Short Walk"), edited photos, Facebooked, and then painted for about an hour.

The dogs were becoming restless so I said, "What the heck, let's go on another walk". We drove a couple miles out and took our regular walking route through sagebrush trails. The wild flowers are just starting and I spent my time taking photos and creating a wildflower a guide book in my head. After an hour and a half the dogs were hot and ready to head back. 

I spent a little more time painting and editing photos before the kids came home from school. After a trip to the grocery store I made dinner and decided to continue my "free day" into the eve. I edited a few more photos before and after dinner and researched a few native plants. 

I'm now in bed feeling very blissful and calm. I'm dreaming and planning for my new job...and dreading tomorrow as now I have twice as much to do! But today was a much needed peek into where my heart is calling me to go. It made my heart happy and my soul feels fulfilled. Yes, artful living is my compulsion, my passion. I just have to make it fit into what feels right for me, not just doing the art part without the living part.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Short Walk

The Short Walk

I only meant to go for a short walk

but the trees beckoned me to go a little deeper
the red-winged blackbird clicked at me to follow.

The wet smells of earth and compost wafted by
as dried stalks of last years cattails crunched under my feet.

The bullfrog tempted me over to the pond to find him
while I was waiting
a quail couple came for a drink.

As the veil of my own mind fell
reflections of trees opened to me
silky sunlit spider webs drifted by.

A robin took a bath in front of me
honeybees flitted across the mud bank
while invisible creatures underwater rippled the surface.

Small birds darted in and out
of the blackberry bushes taking sips of water
preening their wings.

Mating rituals and shrills of spring delight
surrounded me in stereophonic cacophony.

Eventually the shadows of morning grew short
 the air became dry and dusty.

The hours had passed so quickly.

A touch of melancholy caused my heart to skip a beat
when the bullfrog teased me to stay longer and find him.

"Another day!" I said to no one.
 With gratitude and renewed spirit
I took the short walk home.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

9 Years and New Beginnings

The last few months have been nothing short of transformative.  It's as though I've finally given myself permission to develop the fullness of who I am as an artist. Relinquishing the comfort of playing it safe with my creativity, letting go of expressing what is sanitized and commercially viable. Throughout my life I've dabbled in so many areas of art; photography, book arts, mixed media, poetry, prose, essays, acrylic painting, watercolor, graphite, but it's always been one thing at a time. I've never allowed myself the freedom until lately to bring any or all of these things together.  I suppose like many other artists, the mental scars of childhood mockery and ridicule for attempting to stand out still serve as reminders when one dares to express who they are. Or sharing your most private poetry with those who just didn't get it or didn't recognize your soul on paper. Maybe part of it was growing up in a community with very little art and art direction. The voices of expressed opinion were not often educated nor kind when it came to critiquing work. The reward of doing something technically "perfect" fed the ego often enough to make a habit of  pleasing other's tastes.

 It's not that what I've been doing is not of merit or value. I am celebrating nine years of being trusted to be the creative medium between people and their desires. I feel honored to leave my energy fingerprint in their lives. Of course I will continue with that work as well. This change is something for me and for those who also have struggled to share their voice. It is to finally realize that I have nothing to hide or fear.
 I hope you come along with me and share my ride.  Please share with me your stories, your fears and successes as we all try to make sense of creative source that is innate within us.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Artist's Rant

Winter Walk Inspiration

Art has been my main vocation for around 15 years. But art has been a part of my entire life, as least as far back as I can remember. I'm nearly 44 now, so that's a long time as far as I'm concerned.

I've tried to be lots of things beside being an artist. In fact, at times I'd rather be anything than be an artist.  It's not that it hasn't been a great gig. It's not that it hasn't put food on my table, paid my mortgage, and paid for a vacation or two. It's allowed me a flexible schedule and to raise kids first and foremost, and keep most of my sanity by only working part time.

But I'm going to spill a secret, and I'm hoping, just hoping, there may be others that feel the same....

I don't make art because it's fun. I don't make art because it is always relaxing. I make art because I HAVE to-  no, I don't mean just to earn a living, because there are many other career paths I could have taken. When people say they love making art, I do get it. I remember when I was a kid I loved making art. It was and still can be meditation, but attaching the word fun and love to it now isn't quite the right definition. 

Being creative is a compulsion for me. It's serious. It's left and right brained work. Maybe that's why I don't mass produce art. It's not about me being's about capturing a perfect moment or a message or bringing an idea alive. I create constantly. If I'm not physically creating something, I'm creating in my mind. It is like trying to ignore a perpetual mosquito bite.

The need to create "beauty" as it is seen through my eyes in that moment is overwhelmingly important. I'm not frenetic about it, I'm actually pretty calm and centered about it. But it has to be done in some manner, in some medium. Like breathing, I just can't not do it. I have a hard time explaining it, even to myself. 

Why do I do it then? What do I get out of it? I do love being in the present. I love walking, gathering inspiration, seeing the perfection of the natural world. I am in love with that feeling of being in the moment- actually the feeling of after the moment, because when you are in the moment you don't recognize it until you are out of it. The hard part is bringing back that moment and creating something tangible that will invite another to see something maybe they've never REALLY seen before. To help them put on artist eyes for a second and invite them in, and hopefully let them experience a moment of their own.

What is this desire to capture a moment, a piece of earthly perfection, a lens into my world....which at times doesn't feel like "my" world?  
When I'm fully immersed I feel like I'm just an instrument sharing a piece of the bigger picture.
I'm getting pretty deep now. If it's not my world, my work... Whose is it? What is the purpose?

As an artist I  search for answers to these and other questions. I have internal struggles, an internal rebellion, at times feel those "tortured soul"  attributes of being an artist. Well, those are my thoughts today.

Rant over...back to creating. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Art-a- Day Challenge


Today was the 2nd day of the Art-a-Day challenge. There are numerous versions of this, our local version  was started 6 years ago by Bobi Wilson, a Tri-Cities artist.The rules are loose. Create art in your own way every day for the month of January. I missed last years event due to some life challenges but this year am ready to give it a go.
   I'm not one to create art without an incentive, challenge or goal. It's difficult sometimes to create art for fun when it's what you do for a living. I could use the art from my regular job but forcing myself to do art for me is a real challenge.
  Here are the first my posts for art-a-day:

Winter Walk Book Art Album

I am intrigued by frost. I love the quiet on a cold frosty day. It seems as if nature goes completely silent. There is an eerie, solemn, and desolate feel walking amidst the frost laden landscape. 

On this particular day two years ago, walking through the vineyard of Hedges Estate on Red Mountain, it was 19 degrees and the only sounds were the crunching of my footsteps and gentle breathing. 

It wasn't until this fall that I was inspired to use my pictures. They were beautiful on their own, I needn't paint a picture from them. Sitting in my digital files did not do them justice nor a store bought album. I decided a handmade book would be so much more interesting, maybe an heirloom my family would hold onto.

I started out with store bought handmade paper with unfinished edges. I tore each 13" X 13" sheet into two pieces.
Using black tea, I stained the edges by rubbing the tea bag over the edges. I'm an impatient artist so I used a blow dryer to dry the pages.

The pages were a bit too antiqued for the pictures. What I was after was a worn feel and something that reflected the colors of dried grass and snow. I covered the pages with gesso leaving some of the tea stained edges untouched.

 I painted on Porcelain Crackle Paint by Perfetto. It has to be used thickly for a deep crackled affect.

I folded each paper in half and used a dull knife edge to make a crisp fold. I then used a thin jewelry twine to sew each of the folded pages together.

I used stick flat glue to attach the pictures, finding pictures that complemented each other. I left a page blank to insert an original poem on a future date as I'm trying my hand at calligraphy this winter. My last step was to print a small title onto a piece of vellum and attach to the cover.

I am so thrilled by the finished product. I'm going to create more book albums like this and maybe expand the idea onto canvases for wall art.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Latest Works- Go Cougs!

Last month I was lucky to land a lettering and logo project at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington in the Beasley Coliseum. Lettering and large logos are hard work but the pay is decent and the reward of creating a large work, although simple in design, is very satisfying.