Tuesday, September 30, 2008

the world. . . .

Well the news has been getting me down a bit. The Election. The Economy. The focus is just so foul. Last night, I got out one of my old journals and read the whole thing. It was from 2003, and in it, I was spouting off a lot about the ridiculous reasons for going to war in Iraq. Here we are, 6 years later, same stuff.
Here in New Jersey, lots of our friends and neighbors have connections to Wall Street and yesterday was bad news for them.
and us, I guess.
But I just can't spend my time dwelling in that place. The place of the naysayers and analysts.
I NEVER watch the news. and on some level, I feel guilty like I am ignoring important "realities."
but here's the thing -- I would rather let those others deal with that reality, I will be busy creating my own.
I worked in the studio yesterday on 7 new collages (images will show up in my journal, I am sure) and listened to lots of good music.
I walked in a glorious rainy woods.
I just have to focus on the beauty I can make, not the damaged world that needs it so much.
We each have our own voice, and mine is to work in my journal, make art in my studio, try to love my family and friends as best as I can.
I can't do more than that right now, and even just doing that sometimes feels like an epic task.
I will imagine the reality I want, and work toward that.
I don't need this reality that the news and it's interpretation of current events tell me is upon us.
I will march on in my beautiful alternate reality - come join me.

"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure . . . than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
--Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, September 29, 2008

today I will. . . .

make some art
walk in the woods
add something beautiful in the world.

Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.
--Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, September 28, 2008

and this:

Thanks, Margaret Ann - I love your art blog, too!

deliriously happy

Are you ever that?
So happy you just can't believe it?
Yesterday I went into the city - my husband, and middle daughter, and I, we went to the Pagan Pride Festival, and I met a wonderful friend I had not seen in a long time. She hugged me so hugely, she hugged my family whom she had never met, she squealed with delight at seeing me.
You know how good that made me feel?
Awesomely good.
(Thanks Mary!)
Then we went to my very favorite restaurant on the planet - Rissoteria, which has gluten free pizza.
and I mean gluten free pizza to die for.
and we had a bottle, yes, I said that, a bottle of wonderful Spanish wine, and boy did that make me happy, too. I don't usually drink so much, but a bottle of good wine, and wandering around Greenwich Village on a rainy Saturday with loved ones, that is good stuff right there.
We walked up to a Soho market called the Young Designers Market, a sort of flea-marketey place where up and coming artisans sell their creations. I wish I had taken photos to show you, but I was too caught up in all the extraordinary things. There are some talented artists out there. My husband and I bought new matching silver wedding bands, created out of a wax carving, and a druzy stone ring made from a chunk of volcano, by a very talented artist named Kim from California.
My daughter bought some beautiful coppery-green underwear, jewelry, a knitted headband, and a dress. It was a perfect day.
How can I not be so grateful for all I have?

"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." --E. M. Forster

Friday, September 26, 2008


What do you do to still your mind?
I have learned that some yoga, meditation, or journeying are essential to me each day. If I don't do these things, I know it in a few days. I start to get agitated and irritable. My journaling work also, helps me focus and center. I started this work using my journal as a stepping stone into the artwork I was doing in the studio. It helped to make a loose messy collage in my art journal, write some words, then get to work.
There are many tools to get our brains calmed and centered, to deal with the stress of this life.
Walks in nature.
and breathing some more.
and a bit more. . . .
Yesterday, I reached my stress limit, so I pulled out all the tools - yoga, meditation, journaling, walking.
I made it through.
I also have learned to listen to myself more closely, and try to slow down and relax before the stress reaches critical mass.
Hormones, family problems, health problems, those hold messages whenever you call any business you need to resolve issues with, just the speed of daily life and all it's obligations can tell us we can't make art, art is frivolous.
Art is Essential.
It's that simple.
So go make some today!
Happy Friday!

"If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation." --Chuang Tzu

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I like messes.
I like confusion.
This has taken me a long time to embrace. because I also like order. How can that be? I am, in some ways, obsessive compulsive about order - I love a clean kitchen, dishes all put away and counters spotless. I love when my bed is made with tight crisp corners, everything geometric and neat. I love organizing my studio, my bathroom, my closet, my dresser, my finances.
So how is it that my art is so layered and complex?
I think most of our lives we are trying to create order out of the chaos. But I have learned the secret of embracing the chaos enough to make a dance out of it.
It's all in the balance. Those tight ass people who think they can control everything, first of all they are fighting a losing battle, and second of all, that control so so so often involves a lack of freedom on either their own parts or others'.
and not to get too political here (there are way too many other places on the internet for political discussions) but isn't that what conservatism is about? Creating a controlled world where only certain ideas are allowed?
No gay marriage? WHAT? how does that impose on anyone's rights . . . .
but I digress, forgive me.
ChAoS -- embrace it in your art, in your journal, in your life, enjoy all the world's messy layered complicated beauty. There is a beautiful perfection in your IMPERFECTION.
Nature is really not at all tidy.
I try to practice this in my journal, and it does my soul good.

"You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star." --Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Do the Right Thing.

I did the following page in my journaling group last week. When I collaged in the frilly antique photo in my journal, it sort of bothered me -- women a hundred years ago were so suppressed and using an image that belittled them in that way sort of bothers me, so I added the jailed suffragette photo and that seemed to express my sentiments better.
But the truth for me is that I want to express myself, but I don't always to be immersed in the suffering and pain in the world. I use my journal to cheer myself up in some ways, not to dwell in problems, mine or others'.
I watched a movie called "Without The King" about Swaziland's monarchy -- a moving documentary the King's incredible wealth and indulgence in a country with a 38% Aids infection rate and an average daily income of less than a dollar. People drink out of muddy puddles while he jets around the world with his 14 wives and 22 kids.
Horrible Injustice.
Part of me says I need to make art that addresses these kinds of monsterous inequities in life, I get so angry and want to do something, then the reality of the hugeness of the world's troubles get to me and I feel helpless and sad.
But THEN, after all that, I realize that I can do a small part in my own small corner of the world. I can work for justice in small ways, and do my part, and also work to add beauty as I can.
Be aware.
Add beauty where we can.
What else can we do?

"The barn's burnt down.
Now I can see the moon."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Where inspiration comes from. . . .

Life is sometimes hard.
Life is sometimes easy.
Yesterday I had a glorious day of walking in the woods, meditating, making journal pages, taking photos, fresh healthy food from Whole Earth co-op, reading a book about Shamanism while sitting in the sun on my deck.
Yes, there were also errands and chores.
and even some bloodwork, ouch--needles.
But the hours I had to do my art work fed my soul enough so I had a song for the other times as well.
Make sure you nurture your spirit. Feed the muse, so she stays near.
That's the secret.

"The cyclone ends. The sun returns; the lofty coconut trees lift up their plumes again; man does likewise. The great anguish is over; joy has returned; the sea smiles like a child." --Paul Gauguin

Monday, September 22, 2008

the Inner Voice

Today is the first day of Fall, also known as Mabon, and it is a good time to take stock.
Are you listening to your inner voice?
What does this voice whisper in your ear?
There is such deep resonance for me in seasonal passings, nature's cycles. The trees just keep on, even though they lose their leaves and face a death each year. The animals face a cold winter, and hunger and dark. Right behind our (very urban) house, there is a swale where the deer hang out in Winter, and I am eager to see them again. I have taken to lying in their pine needle covered spot, amongst all the deer poop, and listening to the wind in the trees. I hope I have not made them unwilling to come rest there -- last Winter I could count on about 4 or 5 of them almost every day to come and just hang out there all day, laying down and chewing pine needles and waiting. From where I am sitting right now at my desk in the dining room, I could see them out the window. They didn't come all summer, so I am hoping this is a seasonal thing, and they will reappear soon.
Fall feels like a time to be productive, and I have been journaling quite a bit, letting the color and images flow, and seeing where it leads. My thoughts emerge in the chaos of collage, and I find a voice.

"I never violate an inner rhythm. I loathe to force anything... I don't know if the inner rhythm is Eastern or Western. I know it is essential for me. I listen to it and I stay with it. I have always been this way. I have regards for the inner voice." --Lee Krasner

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Burning Man?

From Wikipedia:
Burning Man is an annual event held in the Black Rock Desert, in Northern Nevada. The event starts on the Monday before, and ends on the day of, the American Labor Day holiday. It takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy on Saturday evening.

The event is described by many participants as an experiment in community, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance. Organizers have noted, "Trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind."

I haven't been, but I would like to go. No, I AM going to go -- next year.
Anyone want to make a journaling tent with me?
A Sacred Space of Self Expression?
Magical Journaling in Community?
We could have blank books, lots of supplies, and just journal our hearts out together for a week.
I want to experience the color and life and joy that is Burning Man, and I want to be creating while I am there . . . . I think it would be amazing.
I can also see hanging huge paper banners and creating a journaling wall - a mural that anyone can add color and images and words on to. . . .
Mark your calenders - Labor Day 2009. Look for me there.

"Both Burning Man and the Internet make it possible to re-gather the tribe of mankind.... We must use technology to create space stations here on planet Earth, islands of intense and living contact."
- Larry Harvey, January 1997

"[Burning Man] reinforced the idea that what we believe in or what we make of things is all that is real ... I was just blown away by the fact that ... it had this mystical quality that demolished the barriers between people. And I thought about it ... "What magical quality makes that happen?"
- Philip Rosedale, founder of Second Life, after his 1999 burn

Friday, September 19, 2008

FRIDAY, already?

Where does the time go?
Have a great weekend!

"To expose your ideas, your dreams, before a crowd is to risk their loss. But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing." --Anonymous

Thursday, September 18, 2008

time marches on. . . .

The nights are getting chilly, finally, and it is time for an extra cover on the bed, and the sleeping is good!
Yesterday I filled the last page of my journal, and below is the final spread. It always feels sad when a book is all the way full, and set on a shelf with the other journals which came before it. For a few short months, the pages in this book are my voice, my therapist, a listening ear to my wanderings. The pages of this book have gone with me and recorded my tearing of paper, and gluings and wanderings and experiments in paper and color and ink.
and words.
My journal feels so essential and such an important part of my life, then it is full, and put away to be opened only on the rare occasion.
When one is done, as I label it and add it to the shelf, I often open up old journals and page through them -- oh, I say, remember that? A photo of kids younger, a trip I had forgotten, time spent somewhere long ago, a time of illness or joy or stress, all the memories come flooding back to me.
I am so thankful for this process, and thankful for the pages of these books which hold my thoughts and feelings for me so loyally.
Now, on to the new book.
It is so empty and new and blank and ready.
Ready to be filled.

"Everything in life seems geared for speed so I think it would be easy to miss one's life altogether. Being able to block out and be inside oneself for just 2 minutes can be enough to inspire and relax." --Elaine Fraser

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

joy and despair do go hand in hand

Without darkness, where is the light?
not there.
My journal helps me choose the path of joy each day.
Thank Goddess for my journal.

Today my counter will hit 5000 -- PARTY AT MY PLACE!

"No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit." --Helen Keller

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Take a magic carpet. . . . .

Hop on it -- where would it take you?
I love thinking this way - just brainstorming, letting my mind create whatever scene it wants to create.
I spend lots of time imagining. I also learn what I want by collaging "randomly" although I think there is really no randomness involved. If an image of Paris calls to me, I tear it out and collage with it. I make lots of messes about Paris using ephemera and photos and drawings related to Paris. (Paris being just one example, here.) I am learning to trust these instinctive intuitive urges, to listen to their voices.
I now think there is some reason in my sub-conscious for these urges, and that they have a story to tell me. Stories, and dreams too, are the messengers from our inner selves, the secrets we need to have whispered in our ears.
Secrets from LIFE that have something to teach us.
I also think we are connected on this level to all of LIFE, and so listening to this is our highest wisdom. This is what I learn from my journal - to trust my inner instincts and follow the path created with my random attraction to strange visions and ideas. . . .
I thank my journal for helping me on this journey!

"Travelers, there is no path, paths are made by walking." --Antonio Machado

Monday, September 15, 2008


In the last entry I proposed a joint journal that we pass around and all add to.
If you never have collaborated, it is a really fun way to get the creative juices flowing. I have an art letter, a little moleskin, which I mail around with 3 other artists and we sort of just shoot the breeze to each other in it. It is so inspiring when it comes in the mail. I also have another set of two journals I mail back and forth with Studio Lolo (find her on the list on the right) and every time it comes, it's an excellent mail day for me!
I also find whenever I meet with my journaling group, my pages just seem to take on a new energy and feeling. About 6 or 8 of us get together once a month to work in our journals, we share supplies and talk at the end of the session about our pages and share collage tips - it's also a great way to spread the news that art journaling is for everyone, not just "serious" artists.
SO, try it -- work with others. It's great for adding new life and energy to this work.

"Let's you and I conjure together. You watch me and I'll watch you and I will show you how to show me how to show you how to do our marvelous human tricks together." --Courtney Milne

Friday, September 12, 2008

first of all . . . .

I just want to say thanks for stopping in and I love you all! Yesterday someone bought a book, and I had a visitor from Qatar! We truly are all connected and I am so honored for your interest in this journaling work. Please make your own voice a priority as you negotiate through a life with so many other stresses -- it ain't easy to make art a priority in this busy life, and just the fact that you are HERE means you have the spark of creativity that honors the creative force that binds us all together - thank you for honoring that urge!
Make a mess, write some words, express yourself!

and speaking of connection - there is a little box off over there to your right - it shows where everyone who has clicked on this page is on the planet, and I just love seeing you come here from all over the globe. I dream of a paper journal that I mail around the world, with each of you adding a page.
IN fact, if this sounds interesting to you - send me an e-mail with your address (but only if you are really serious - you would have to add your art, and mail it along to the next person who might be in a place that requires lots of postage for the book to get there. . . . )
I will make a list of the first ten journalers who want to add pages to a joint book -- and send you all out an e-mail and I will start a group journal that travels around and is filled in by YOU. Then I can post the pages here when it gets back home to me.
Sound cool?
a JOURNALING club!!!!
So e-mail me your address, and I will organize a joint traveling journal.
e-mail me at:
emtheartist (at) YAHOO dot com.

you all are awesome!

"A picture is nothing but a bridge between the soul of the artist and that of the spectator." --Eugene Delacroix

Thursday, September 11, 2008

what choice is there but JOY?

I have been learning something very radical -- that there are only two choices in life -- only two ways to respond to anything:
acceptance or change.
Either you accept something as it is, or you change it.
The only way you need to respond to any situation in your life is one of two ways: Action to improve the thing, or allowing it to be as it is.
Griping and whining and being mad and complaining and being unhappy with something or taking out your anger on others is simply NOT A CHOICE.
Every situation in life has a downside, and every cloud has a silver lining. (not a black lining, as lots of the world would have you think.)
It is that simple.
Maybe some would call that naive, or being like a camel with it's head in the sand or polly-anna-ish.
I know myself, I know what I can give to the world, I know my calling and my gifts, and I simply am NOT one of those called to point out all the problems and evils, not one to send along an e-mail about awful politicians, or point out what a train wreck our society is right now. I will leave that to the pundits and I will make my art.
I am one to look at the joy and spread the news of hope.
Despair is not a choice for me.
What about you?

"The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures... shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers." --Rabindranath Tagore

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the inward journey

Yesterday I mentioned wanting to discover new places, explore, reach out into the world and find adventure.
Yesterday, I also spent a lovely 6 hours in my studio, a small 10 x 12 foot space making art, cleaning and sorting. . . . and it was so nice.
Sometimes, the space we are looking for is right under our noses. I often use books and movies to go places, and this is sure a lot cheaper and easier than booking a plane ticket and a hotel.
The mind has infinite possibility to explore, and I know I am not limited, even if I can't up and go.
My brother is planning a trip to Thailand and he asked for some help finding hotels, something I love to do -- trowel the internet for secret affordable funky places. There are amazing resources right now with this connected world we live in, I love the couchsurfing website for asking locals travel questions, and lonely planet has a really awesome forum where members post their findings. The irony is that you sort of hope that the secret places stay secret long enough for them not to get overrun before YOU go there. . . . as the world becomes more connected, the fear is that we lose our diversity, but I find just the opposite -- that all our individual quirkiness seems to have a place to be acknowledged and celebrated.
and the landscape of the mind can also be explored and communicated, which is what my journal does for me - the journal page today:

"Through the years, a man peoples space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, tools, stars, horses, and people. Shortly before his death, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the image of his own face." --Jorge Luis Borges

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I am restless.
I always am dreaming of upping and going.
I read travel books endlessly. Not vacationing, I am not looking for comfort or escape. It is more that I understand that when I go totally outside of my own usual place, I seem to learn about myself. I love deeply connecting to other cultures, and seeing what it means about my own.
If I had time and money, I would spend a month once a year living in another place, then I would come home to journal and write and make art about that place until I understood what I had seen and learned.
I used to feel guilty about this longing -- like maybe I was just trying to escape my own daily obligations of family and community.
But now I give myself the benefit of the doubt - I am learning to trust my urges and maybe, just maybe, believe they are there for a reason.
I have been learning about healing the earth through our intention -- and if we go somewhere with an open heart, and try to send healing energy, that is a worthwhile gift to give.
The environment certainly needs our loving intention right now: global warming, greenhouse gasses, the loss of species daily, the loss of indigenous culture and languages -- but instead of being afraid of the earth my children will inherit, I am going to make it my job this last third of my life to explore, document, and embrace the changing world that is now, the parts of the world that are rapidly being lost, and try to make that change for the better instead of just wailing over the destruction I hear about.
I am not a biologist, not a linguist, not an anthropologist, or not even an energy researcher, but I am an artist and a blogger, and I can take that role seriously to understand and nurture all life on earth that I feel the urge to connect to.
and if that culture is in Thailand or Bali, or Scotland or Greece, or even New York City, I guess I just better figure out how to get there and go for it!

"Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe." --Anatole France

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday morning.

I am ready to get into the Fall swing of things. My kind sweet husband removed the air conditioner from the studio yesterday so I have a little more LIGHT there! Light is good.
and when the NY Times Magazine came and it was the men's fashion issue, I did what I do when I see nice paper - I tore it right up! I don't need the slick images of skinny men in fancy clothes, but I love the colors and textures of the paper, and find it makes great collages.
I love using what is meant as ads for the culture of materialism and making them into images about something lovely, natural, expressive, and personal.
The next few days are pages in my journal using those papers as background, see what you think:
(and yes, that is Javier Bardem peeking out from behind my collage, because that man is a God!)

"We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality." --Iris Murdoch

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

for today . . . .

I will choose to make a beautiful day.

"Beauty is life when life unveils her holy face. But you are life and you are the veil. Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror." --Kahlil Gibran

Thursday, September 4, 2008

first day of school!

Summer ends.
I painted this dragonfly, scanned an incense package and made a frame out of the nice Indian looking decorative stamps on it . . . . seeemed my words needed a space.
I still am working on knowing deep within that I am in just the right place at just the right time today, and that doing this work is what I am meant to do.
It is so good to know this!

"The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature." --Joseph Campbell

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I was looking at a blank paper.
I tore an old collage sheet in peices, glued two parts down, added some green ink and orange dots, and I liked it.
Life can be so easy sometimes.

"Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it. Do something else to it." --Jasper Johns

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

a talk about worms

At my Unitarian church, I gave the kids a lesson on the circle of life, as expressed in the alchemy of a worm bin - the worms eat vegetable scraps and poop them out as rich organic fertilizer which goes on the vegetable plants which makes them produce four times as many vegetables, which we eat, and we put the extra vegetable parts in the worm bin to be turned into fertilizer and the circle of life goes round and round, and the world is a better place for us all helping each other.
I had to make a journal page about this -- I really enjoy sharing this wisdom and preaching the truth that we all should be worm farmers.
The kids loved the worms, as kids tend to do, and I wished the parents were there to learn the truth of composting with worms.
I guess the kids will get the message out . . . .

"We can think of ourselves not as teachers but as gardeners. A gardener does not 'grow' flowers; he tries to give them what he thinks they need and they grow by themselves." --John Holt

Monday, September 1, 2008


Choose to make your day a work of art.

"If you take any activity, any art, any discipline, any skill, take it and push it as far as it will go, push it beyond where it has ever been before, push it to the wildest edge of edges, then you force it into the realm of magic." --Tom Robbins