Monday, March 30, 2009

not an art journal page but I wanted to share this with you:

We sent this letter to the White House, and click on the image at the bottom to read the lovely reply from Michelle Obama:

First Puppy
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington D.C. 20500

Dear First Puppy:
I want to welcome you to the White House and say how proud I am to be part of this great country where mutts like me are welcome and even celebrated. My name is Simba, which means King of the Lions in Swahili, and I heard your Master mention that his family would be looking for a dog from a shelter if possible.
I am just that kind of puppy! A short month ago, I had no home, and with my 5 sisters and brothers I was lucky enough to end up at SAVE in Princeton, New Jersey, a shelter where dogs and cats are adopted and a nice family named the Townsends took me home.
I wanted to give you some advice as you get used to living with your new family.
1. You will pee and poop on lots of rugs and chew lots of furniture. This sometimes bothers the humans, so try to do it when they are not looking.
2. When someone throws a ball, chase it and bring it back. For some reason this can entertain them for hours. They can throw it like forty times and not get tired of it – really strange.
3. If they put a leash on you, expect good things, like a walk outside. If they take you to a grassy area, watch out because if you do your business they might save it for later in a little plastic bag – crazy savers, these humans are.
4. They will give you dry pellets to eat, but don’t get confused, the real food is on their table and when they are not looking, you can jump up and sample. I got lucky and found the Halloween bag of candy unguarded and even the wrappers tasted pretty good, although the pooping for a few days was not too comfortable.
5. The smaller humans are mostly likely to give you food from the table, the large man human will be the easiest to fool (although yours seems pretty sharp), but the large female human - watch out for her, she knows all the rules and tries to make the others follow them.
6. You will be loved and petted and praised and kissed a whole bunch, and guess what – it is really great, especially if you get to sleep with them in their beds at night.
7. Oh and watch the biting – that’s the best way to end up in the dog house, literally.
Best of luck at the White House, and if you ever need a puppy play date, I would love to romp around the lawn with you, and I will even bring one of my humans, Kelsey, who is 13 and is very excited about this new change in our country. Yes We Can. And we will!

From Simba Townsend

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Planning Goals

Secret 12 of the 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women bookgroup is about achievement.
Well, it actually is about planning.
I plan and plan, but sometimes something else seems to happen.
I am pretty good at plans, not so good at seeing things to the very end.
I did appreciate the advice in this chapter to be clear -- to have very clearly stated goals, and an idea how to follow through to make it become reality.
One difficult part of the whole process for me is putting the work up for sale -- the word "marketing" is really really hard for me -- well, not so much the word as the action. I just can't focus on it.
It implies money and money isn't something that I want to be motivated by.
I loved the encouragement and motivation and mostly, the information to be clear about my path, that I learned about in this book, but there are more secrets that remain undiscovered and a bit unexplored for me:
**The secret of finding a blissful reality apart from "worldly" (i.e. monetary) success.
**The secret that life sometimes does not offer what we ask for, but learning to accept what we do get with gratitude.
**The secret that the creativity is itself the gift, and we might not get the world to pay us in money or attention for following our own personal bliss.
The 12 Secrets we learned gave me some great inspirations, and certainly meeting so many cool and creative and amazing blogging women in this bookgroup was an awesome gift.
I thank you all for visiting - and sharing in your own words how to be successful, creative women -- and a special thanks to Jamie Ridler for orchestrating this lovely collection of creative voices.

and in this journal page - my lovely daughter in NYC through my water glass with some funky collage because life is to celebrated - Collaga-palooza style!:

“There are only three things women need in life: food, water, and compliments.”
Chris Rock

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Secret eleven - subtracting serenity stealers

So we are on the eleventh secret in the book group "12 Habits of Highly Creative Women" and this is one that is probably my nemesis.
I have an A.D.D. brain which grabs onto everything and anything - racing around enthusiastically endorsing every new idea that I don't have time to act on.
So culling the herd of ideas is a constant thing I need to focus on.
Without clarity, all the great ideas just disappear into the clutter.
So this chapter is the crucial one for me to remember and incorporate.
Over-committing, over-scheduling and over-stimulation -- wow, what a list for me to remember.
I need massive time in my studio for meditation, journeying, contemplation, and just to unwind from my over active brain.
and this used to make me feel guilty - but now I allow myself this time.
It is a necessity for me, and it took me 47 years to know this clearly about myself.
Without clarity, it is hard to see anything.
Without pruning, all the branches grow so close together that they choke each other out and the tree eventually dies.
So it is ESSENTIAL to prune.
I vow to remember this!

and my journal page today?
Is a homage to Johti the parrot, who actually did a dance of joy when he saw this collage painting - how great is that? To have cross-species approval!

"As the gardener, by severe pruning, forces the sap of the tree into one or two vigorous limbs, so should you stop off your miscellaneous activity and concentrate your force on one or a few points" --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

today, just a page from the journal

"Be joyous, though you've considered all the facts."
--Wendell Berry

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chaos = Good

I love that my journal helps me sort things out.
Sometimes, the images are very chaotic and jumbled, and weirdly, I find that these are often the pages that I love the most. It seems that this life, with all its stress and confusion and noise and energy is best expressed for me with chaotic images in my collage.
and that is good.
Self expression is the goal for me, not decorating pretty pages.
I guess this is sort of my goal for anyone who jumps headfirst into creative journaling -- that letting go of the "pretty" frees your journal up so so much.
It is a bit scary - to make a mess.
We have been told our whole lives not to make messes.
But seriously - who wants to color in the lines?
Coloring in the lines is NOT fun, and it certainly isn't satisfying to see the same old same old ten thousand times repeated.
If we allow ourselves to be messy and real, how much more is our own inner self expressed and discovered?
and this is a voyage, not a destination.
Today - I am so grateful for my journal which allows we to create freely with NO expectations, no need for neatness, no requirements or critiques or editing.
Go For It.
You will love what happens.

"Chaos is everywhere – and artists, to fashion art and live truthfully, have no choice but to invite this unwanted guest right into the studio." --Eric Maisel

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Journaling Group

Last night at our Unitarian Church, 6 of us sat around tables cutting, tearing, coloring and writing.
Then we shared our pages and a bit from our lives - this is always an awesome group.
Also, I always surprise myself when I work in symphony with others - and the page I post here just thrills me, and I can't really even pin-point why.
Maybe I don't have to.

"In matters of art one's state of mind is three-quarters of what counts, so it has to be carefully nurtured if you want to do something great and lasting." --Paul Gauguin

Monday, March 16, 2009

the wilderness of intuition

Spring is almost here -- Ostera is this Friday and I am so ready for flowers and green and sun and warmth.
I am so ready to wear a lightweight scarf around my neck instead of a heavy wool one!
I love the way that, for centuries, so many spiritual traditions have decorated eggs and left them at shrines for gods and goddesses to celebrate the new life and re-awakening of this time of year.
And the seed-sowing that kept us alive for thousands of years can be part of the ritual to welcome Spring - a few herbs in pots in the kitchen will be my ritual planting to celebrate the cycle that brings new life.
Also my worm bin - I often neglect my poor worms in the winter and I am afraid they didn't survive the cold, but I know I can get new ones, add new life to the worm bin, new scraps from our kitchen that will feed them and allow them to start their cycle of biodegrading the green stuff from bits of fruits and vegetables and make for me new brown stuff that is compost for our plants, which will then, in turn, make more scraps for feeding them.
So the cycle goes. . . .
Spring comes and brings us new light and life is new again.
We leave the city of our comfort and go into the wilderness of our intuition.

"There comes a voluptuous moment when the senses and the whole skin tingle with a sharpened awareness of the body and the world around." --Anton Ehrenzweig

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Ides of March

Today is the Ides of March, the 15th day of the third month:
In Roman times, the Ides of March was a festive day dedicated to the god Mars so I dedicate today to winning the war against self-doubt.

Creative journaling is about discovering your own voice.
It is not about pretty pictures.
Because I know, for me, and probably a bit for you, making a pretty picture feels good, making a messy picture can feel scary.
But life is about facing those fears - so go for it!
happy Journaling!

"One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself." --Leonardo Da Vinci

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Living In Abundance - Secret 10

Yes - this is a chapter I love.
In the 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women bookgroup, we have finally come to a chapter that I could read over and over.
The Celebration of AbUnDaNcE!

I know that gratitude is key to feeling abundance.
Thankfulness for all the I have has been the key for me to feel satisfied in this one short life I have been given.
Instead of focusing on all that I don't have, I am learning each day to focus on all that I have.
and I loved the middle part of the chapter about caring for your body and mind - abundance and gratitude really do have to do with honoring ourselves, being self aware enough to RECEIVE the abundance that the Universe has for us.
it is there, if we just reach out and accept it.
I always find it weird when people say, "oh, you are a REAL artist" if I sell things.
As if selling has anything to do with validation.
Living in abundance has nothing to do with exterior validation, and everything to do with gratitude and acceptance of what Spirit calls us to do.
I joyfully make art in my studio each day, I don't need permission or praise to do this, I just do it, and believe in the abundance of the rewards of the work.
It might mean selling the work for money, it might mean making someone inspired to change their own path, it might mean just being allowed to do what I love.
All this is part of the abundance.
Abundance for me also means accepting some graphics work and teaching to earn some money, so my art is free of marketplace pressures.
I think this is why I love GRAFFITI art - it is so abundant and crazily free to say what it says, no need to please anyone.
and rebellious, yes, a bit of that, too.

Blessed Be for Art!

Blessed Be that the Universe allows us this self expression and communication, and that we can spread joy doing the work we love!

"Life is a field of unlimited possibilities." --Deepak Chopra

I imagine, therefore I create

My studio time has been so productive lately - I have learned to spread numerous projects out across my table and go from one to another as my mind wanders. It really just means keeping the wandering on track, while letting the muse lead me along.
I used to find this disconcerting and wonder if I would ever get anything done.
But now I see that each project meanders along at it's own pace, and with its own rhythm and finally - things get done.
I am so grateful to have the time and space to work this way, and that the "deadline" work which requires focus is only a small part of what I have to do each day.
My journal really is my helpmate/coach/therapist/diary all together.
A book that illustrates my wandering path.
I give thanks today to my journal and to this process which feels like a sacred ritual.

"Imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering." --Brenda Ueland

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

full moon tonight

I noticed circles kept creeping into the journal page today -- I had scanned some photos of nice china plates, and they just wanted to be repeated and collaged in.
Circles are so whole, and spirals are even better - a continuous spin of turning toward center, spirals always make me feel centered yet moving, they are not stagnant.
Something about postage franks, also, seems to enrich a collage. They reference history and communication and a sort of memory of past that I love to capture in my journal.
and SPRING - flowers!
Please, let it come soon, enough of this winter stuff already!
Tonight's full moon is called the "worm moon" as it marks the beginning of the hint of Spring - may we all call out the worms to come start their work for our gardens and dirt, fertilizing and aerating, and making the soil ready for the flowers to come.
Thanks to the moon, and to the worms, and the circles of life that bring us the warming days; flowers to follow!

"Often it is tiny fragments which either make a picture convincing or totally incidental." --Simone Bingemer

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

what you give, what you get

I am so happy to be in the studio.
I have a pile of papers needing to be sorted, many images that I want to add to the journal, and some that I want to add to some large canvases that have been calling to me from the corner of the studio for some time.
I also always have a few mail art/artist trading card/postcards to get out into the world, because this makes me feel connected and like I am giving back just a bit.
and did I say workshop proposals to work on?
I have a folder of those to get to today, too.
and of course, the futon where I lie down and let the muse/boss tell me what to do.

all this.
all this.
I am so grateful for a place in this world to make art, a place in my life where I am committed to making art, a place in my day for hours on end where I can let the muse speak to me and direct me.
It's hard to make a life that allows this - there are so many money pressures and societal pressures to do "real" work.
The paper-pushers of this world aren't happy when us artists get to work freely and without a box around what we do.
but the truth is, nothing is realer than this.
The chance to find the inner meaning and create work that speaks of the universal, the inner voice, the truth that all of us are looking for.
The work that ages from now, people will look back on for answers to the questions about our time.
Work that has NOTHING to do with a gallery telling us what will sell, or our Etsy shop telling us what will sell, or our checkbook telling us what will sell.

I salute all the artists who came before me who stand in a powerful circle of Artist Spirit who shout out to us doing this work:

So I shout this out to you right now. . . .

"I have walked this earth for 30 years, and, out of gratitude, want to leave some souvenir." --Vincent van Gogh

Monday, March 9, 2009

this is nice!

from Terri Thanks!

and accompanied by these words:
"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award."

playing in the journal

Joyful creation - isn't this what it's all about, after all?

“Every man in creating the beautiful appearance of the dream worlds is a perfect artist. “ ~ Friedrich W. Nietzsche

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Transcending Rejections, Chapter 9 of 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women

breath in.
breath out.
breath in.
that's what I had to do as I read this chapter.
you see, I have had numerous, (dare I say countless?) rejections in this artistic career.
Way more rejections that what the world would call successes.
My success is that I am here, in the studio, doing this work that I believe in despite what the world does (or does not bother) to tell me.
On page 57, the challenge is to list all the times you have felt rejected - ouch ouch ouch.
I just don't believe this to be a useful practice.
I have been at this long enough that I know my reasons for going forward, and the reasons the world keeps me from going forward are NOT what I need to list and stew on.
So I reject that advice.
I know this path is not swift or easy, I know this path is not going to be rewarded heavily, if at all, in this one short life, yet I still believe in what I am doing.
I still believe that my work means something to the fabric of life, even if I am not payed to do it, and I reject the idea that I have to join the machine just in order to get it into the marketplace.

The weird thing about those creative types who get to write these books, is that they have achieved some level of success or they wouldn't be writing the book!
So I take their advice on rejection with a grain of salt.

A dear friend and talented writer who went to a writer's workshop was told this, and brace yourselves:
"If you want to be a writer, the first thing to do is either have another way to support yourself, or marry someone who will support you."

That might sound like really depressing advice, but maybe it is the best idea ever -- to know our work is not going to be MONETARILY successful means we are freed up to make it have its own unique and powerful voice outside the pressures of the marketplace.
I do have to teach workshops and do graphics work to make some money, but that is SEPARATE from the art I do for my inner voice to be heard.
I will keep at it, and I won't let anyone's definition of rejection influence how successful I feel (or don't feel.)

and today instead of a journal page - I share with you my ritual candles - I light these in the studio whenever I am painting and they remind me of the sacredness of this work.
They SHINE for me and if the world of money wants one day to shine on me, too, I will accept payment, but for now, that is not the reason I do this work.

"Learn to eat rejection – it will make you stronger." --Bob Ragland

Thursday, March 5, 2009


When we were in the city Saturday, we came across a wall of graffiti in Chinatown -- the textures and layers were so brilliant, I took a bunch of photos, and when I got home, I could just print out the photos to be awesome collage starters for the journal.
The messiness and variety of so much chaos and color and line and shape is something I just love.
Inspiration comes when we least expect it, and I have learned as a collage artist to always be ready with the camera.

and my new banner up there is also made of these photos.
Here are 4 of the pages:

"Ideas pull the trigger, but instinct loads the gun." --Don Marquis

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

more on collaboration

So here are some more pages for the traveling art journal I share with Laurel in California. (Sorry, Laurel to spoil the surprise, but at least the attached envelope opens so you can look forward to finding out what it holds!)
It is so gratifying to work on a journal with another artist, since communication is the point, we get to know someone sees our work right away.
This morning I was sitting in a coffee shop getting caffeinated for the day, and looking all around me I saw so many images that were designed by someone to say something -- the art on the walls, the signs advertising the coffee, the posters and announcements, so many visual images speak to us without us really even knowing we are being spoken to.
The language of images is the new grammar, since so many of us look at screens instead of paper.
I still love the real book I work in.
The images on the screen will never replace the actual paper and paint and ink and markers I use in my collage -- But the reality is many many people see the virtual work, and, at least for now, only I see the actual journals.
That is also why it is such a pleasure to send this joint journal flying across the country back and forth -- to know another set of human hands is holding and reading it, enjoying the colors and shapes and images I played with.
So many images we see are meant to sell us something, it is pure joy to make art for the sake of bliss, and to share art for the sake of bliss, with nothing to sell.
That's why journaling is an awesome practice, and something I spend my life working on doing and sharing -- no one needs to be sold yet another commodity, what we need is to share our inner light. . . .
Think about starting a traveling journal with another artist.
Here are some of my pages:

"Caring for friends opens the heart, and gifts us with the privilege of sharing the fruits of our self-imposed and necessary solitude." --Max Elliott

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

that was fun!

My younger daughter turns 14 this week, so Saturday we did a day in the city as her present -- It was amazing, after living in New Jersey for ten years, I finally know my way around Manhatten.
First - hopped the subway to Canal St. to the knockoff bag street vendors and both scored cool new bags (big enough for everything from the day to go into.)
Then some wandering in Chinatown, and an omelet at a diner for fortification.
Then another train to midtown to Macy's where there was a 75% off sale in progress - lots of new clothes for her.
Then we walked up Broadway through Times Square to check the box offices of some theaters for tickets that night - student rush seats would be available for the evening show of Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward, with the awesome Rupert Everett.
Lunch at a nicely empty Broadway Restaurant where we repacked our purchases into our new bags. . . . everything fit!
Dessert was going to La Maison du Chocolat in Rock Center for some to-die-for hot chocolate and French macarons . . . . then stopped in to get Kels' nails done for the show.
Back to the Shubert Theater box office where the awesome box office attendant let us both get student prices in the orchestra for $26! Then a drink (for me, a juice for her) at the Times Square Marriott, while we waited for curtain time.
The play was amazing - written in 1941 it seemed to be relevant right now - about a novelist doing research for a book, who invites a kooky medium (Angela Lansbury!) to conduct a seance and she accidentally channels his dead wife - chaos ensues with first and second wives.
It was wonderful, and quite intuitively cosmic, even though it was making fun of the spirit world.

I heart NY.
(and I took some photos of some awesome graffiti - used them in the new banner - what do you think?)

"If it's not fun you're doing it wrong." --George Di Carlo

Monday, March 2, 2009


Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love gives a talk on creative genius, and the fact that we are to do our work, and let the Muse take care of the rest.
She says if you are called to do dance, then your job is to just show up and dance, every day.
If the Spirit Energy of the Universe takes your work and allows the rest of humanity to understand and see the wonderment of your process, then OLE - this is awesome and wonderful, but your job is just to show up, do the work, and know you are giving a huge gift by your sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up to do creative work in a not-always-so-supportive world.
JUST DO YOUR JOB, show up for your piece of it, and let the rest go.
Watch this and be very very inspired:

CLICK HERE for the Ted talk by Elizabeth Gilbert