Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Newbury Street Gallery!

I was recently contacted by a Newbury Street art gallery called L'Attitude. They are putting together a large exhibition of paintings by Worcester-area artists in a brand new building going up at UMass medical complex. It will be the cancer infusion center, and word has it that it will be a "green" building. Very cool.

L'Attitude commissioned me for two 18" x 18" paintings for that project, and I am happy to say that they were pleased with my work and have just commissioned two MORE for different UMass medical buildings! I am thrilled to say the least.

Monday, June 14, 2010

At least someone's solved that vexing problem!

I love this blog post by a fellow Creative who calls herself Scoutie Girl. She is taking her stand against the guilt that plagues so many artists who are also wives & mothers: the feeling that we somehow have to do it all (hint: she doesn't even try!):

Click here for the article

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Two great quotes from Ann Lamott

Ann Lamott is one of my favorite writers. Her book, Bird by Bird (about the process of writing)is a DELIGHT to read. Here are two quotes that I enjoy in particular:

"It helps to resign as the controller of your fate. All that energy we expend to keep things running right is not what's keeping things running right. We're bugs struggling in the river, brightly visible to the trout below."


"Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft." (which, Ann explains, is important and unavoidable first step in writing)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I've started art journaling

I like to go to Barnes & Noble on my free nights, and have a coffee (or caramel latte) while I read inspirational artsy books. One recent visit took me to a publication in the magazine rack. (It looked and felt like a soft-cover book, but it was in the magazine rack, so I guess it's technically a magazine?)

Anyway, the publication is called Art Journaling, published by Somerset Studio. There are a lot of books and magazines out there about art journaling, altered books, and collage, but this one spoke to me so powerfully and directly that I just had to take it home. It has been a wonderful resource, and I think it's because it not only talks about the technical side of doing art journaling, but also the emotional side. It addresses for me the stumbling blocks that had, until now, kept me from diving into collage or mixed-media art.

I will try and see if I can put it into my little store (the one here on the blog), but if I can't get that going, here is a link to it:

What is amazing is that when I Googled "Art Journaling Somerset Studio," I got the page I just shared with you. And THAT wasn't even the book I bought! So apparently there are MORE ISSUES of this amazing book! Oh my. Somebody stop me before I spend all my money....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My first public poem

Yesterday, out in front of the art museum on a gorgeous sunny Saturday with spring starting to make itself known, I started to wish I could write poetry. But I always seem to have this blockage. And suddenly it dawned on me. My wish has always been to write poetry....not to write GOOD poetry! LOL!! It's just been my perfectionistic voice that put up all these barriers to my attempting it. A familiar feeling that "others" can do it but not me. What garbage! I am the wordsmith! Always have been. So I decided that if I didn't really care if my poetry was any good, but that instead I wanted to honor and play with words and let them OUT of my head,then I would declare myself a poet. So today I declared myself a poet. And then wrote a big long poem and didn't care if it was a "real" poem or any good or anything. It was just what came out. Here it is:

"I am a wordsmith,"
I always say,
But a wordsmith wouldn't abuse her words
by keeping them so tightly under wraps.

I always keep the gate up
like they're going to gallop off
and embarrass me.

I wait until they're lined up
like prim girls in party dresses,
legs twined at the frilled ankles,
patent-leather shoes shining, squeaking uncomfortably as they rub.
Little halo-crowns gleaming on their
little-girl heads. The words are me.

Do you love me now?
They ask to the empty room,
the audience having died,
the clothes no longer fitting,

the lonely emptiness being the most palpable
and important thing that's left.

(Ashamed but only seen by herself, she
takes off the ill-fitting shame.
Drops it in a heap. Steps out.
Brushes off. Throws open the window and leans out,
squinting at the brightness.)

In the beginning was the word
and the word was good
and the word was God.

Below the window, the little girl sees
the words of others gamboling down the street,
shining and twirling and establishing themselves

for the words are our thoughts
and they must be free
because thoughts
and words
are what we build lives with.
It's what the world is made of.

Without my words,
I'm not quite real.
And without air and sun my words die.
And so will I.

(So the little girl ventures
down the steps of the empty house.
Out the front door.
She reaches into her pocket
for a handful of tattered, rumpled words and

flings them to the wind.....)


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Writing myself a new day

Today has within it the seeds of possibility.

A blank canvas, my day can have an image of great beauty painted on it. My day is a white journal page, and the thoughts I write on it can speak of miracles.

But fears bay at my doorstep like eager hounds.

I want them to go away, so I'm tempted to let them in and give them something.

They're louder and louder. My legs and hands go numb as I think of the mistakes in my past, the mistakes built into my family system for generations. Like a tiny rocket, I need powerful boosters to escape the downward pull. The atmosphere here is heavy with regret.

But then I remember my metaphor of The Footbridge from an article I'm writing:

"Imagine crossing a footbridge. It’s not so hard, really. You just put one foot in front of the other. Even if it’s as old and ratty as the one Indiana Jones always seems to be crossing, you hold on. You worry, you persist, and after a little creaking and swaying, you get there.
Now imagine you’re crossing a footbridge that doesn’t yet exist. You’re building it as you walk. Each plank appears only as you step down. You have to take it on faith that the bridge will be there when you shift your weight with each footfall.
Now imagine that you don’t even know if the other end of the bridge is attached at the destination you’ve chosen, or whether you’re going to step off it to discover you’re ten miles south of where you wanted to be.

That’s how it is to try and be the good mother you never had."

I realize it's not just a metaphor about parenting. It's about creating a life when I have no clue how.

A thousand metaphors sing to me from faiths of others: "leap and the road will appear; a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step; today is the first day of the rest of your life..."

My heart aches, wondering if I can be forgiven for my mistakes. Wondering why I should believe I deserve second chances.

But that's a story for another day.

As the words flow from me this morning, I realize it's suddenly quiet. The hounds are gone, at least for now.

Time to pour my coffee and start the day.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A creative approach to life through Law of Attraction

Creativity isn't just pen & pencil or paint. Since my last post here (can you see how busy I've been? It's been a long time), I was exposed to an idea called Law of Attraction. It's fascinating to me, and I have found that discussing the ideas of it at length with others on the same path is very valuable. So I will now include posts that include my thoughts on that subject here in my "Creativity Blog." Because if a creative approach to life doesn't belong on this blog...nothing does! Here goes:


Looking out the back picture window on a Sunday morning. Dave and Nate had just left for church, and I awaited their driving by. To beep & wave at me in the picture window is our custom.

They were taking a long time, so I was able to look around at leisure. Suddenly a chipmunk popped up out of the ground and sat there in the snow, looking around. A chipmunk? I thought they hibernated all winter. Does this mean something? It sat still as a statue for the longest time. I wondered why; its behind must be getting cold sitting with its rear end in the snow like that. It occurred to me that it may have seen my movement in the window. Sure enough, as soon as I moved it disappeared quickly into a little hole right there in the yard!

My eyes swept the snowy lawn, and I noticed the tire tracks left by the car. Dave drives into the yard every time there's music equipment to pack or unload. The members of my husband's band do, too. We've been taking care not to leave the yard by doing the usual 3-point turn. I mean, I don't know why Dave doesn't do the 3-point turn. Speaking strictly for myself, I stopped doing it as soon as Nate started making his "trails" in the snow and caring what happened to them. So I back out, reusing the tracks I made coming in, and I'm not very good at it. I nearly wiped out that little fir tree that one of the Bonedogs ran over last summer. At the time, we had all been encouraged that the little tree wasn't killed by that act of carelessness. But this month I noticed that the small and valiant little evergreen was not actually green any longer. It is brown. I was tempted to think that it's dead, but I don't know that for sure. I don't know what's going on down there in its depths, or what Mother Nature has planned for it. I was tempted to do something, to prune it or some stupid move designed to "help" it, and then I remembered that it is precisely that sort of action that gets things all wrong.

First of all, Nature doesn't really need my help. Moreover, my helping sometimes just wrecks things. I will never forget that giant insect I found in Illinois back in the 90's. I had been pumping gas on a busy suburban street. The bug was sitting on the concrete, right next to the pump. I had looked around and saw noplace that the thing could go. No green plants or grass anywhere. I was sure it would just sit there, helplessly, and get stepped on. Why I didn't think it would fly away escapes me now; maybe it was a wingless creature. In any case I had picked it up with the intention of bringing it to the tree-lined college campus where I was going. I no longer remember the reason for the errand. But no sooner did I put it on the dashboard than it feel down into the vent between the dashboard and the window, never to be seen again. I was crushed. The bug would have been better off without my help. As vividly as I remember that incident, it took many more instances of helping and meddling in everything from nature to interpersonal affairs to my own career before I finally realized that none of this is my job.
As I looked out the back window I thought of the new philosophy I am studying, called Law of Attraction. What excites me about LoA is the way in which, as I listen to Abraham or other LoA teachers, I hear echoes of philosophies and wisdoms of all kinds, which I've heard all my life. It's like they are all being tied together now, suddenly making sense. It reminds me of those trick pictures that you can get where you stare at a supposedly abstract design long enough, and suddenly you can see an image.

I thought about the little brown fir tree, and started to think about it growing. I wanted to send out vibrations about it growing. But you know, there's a fine line between believing that wishing something will make it so and trying to pre-pave for a desired outcome--as Abraham calls it--with our thoughts. A conundrum, this fine line is only fine in the visual sense. It's so fine one can barely see it, but with discernment you can see that it's actually wide as the ocean. Another illusion! The difference is this: with wishing something into being, you act as though the locus of control is still with YOU. With Law of Attraction, on the other hand, your thoughts are sort of preparing the way for something to happen, but it is not really you who makes it happen. Here's another echo that came to me as I typed this. That old song I sang in high school: "prepare ye the way of the Lord." Picturing a road, with Jesus riding on a donkey, people putting down palm branches which serve no practical purpose at all, but yet they were pre-paving the way for him. But therein lies the difference and it just came to me this morning. With wishing, it is still YOU thinking that YOU are in control of how things go. But that's not the way it is. The Universe (God? Reality? Spirit?) is in control, and I think just wants us to admit it. Once we do, it's surprisingly generous. Reminds me of a parent.