Saturday, July 31, 2010

Living in a Story-Telling Consciousness

We watched this movie called "Mythic Journeys" last night, about myth and story telling, and I want to watch it over and over until I absorb it's amazing message.
We really do choose our reality, where we allow our mind to go, there we are. Focusing on the heroic and inspirational will make our path stronger, deeper, more authentic, more in line with a higher calling.
Simple, yet so profound when we deeply understand what that means and act accordingly with our lives.

“You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices.” --Deepak Chopra

Friday, July 30, 2010

The tumbled stone is the one that gets polished.

"Where there is ruin, there is hope for treasure." --Rumi

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Learning to trust the journey . . .

"There is an art to wandering. If I have a destination, a plan – an objective – I've lost the ability to find serendipity. I am on a quest, not a ramble. I search for the Holy Grail of particularity and miss the chalice freely offered, filled and overflowing." --Cathy Johnson

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

self expression vs. pretty pages

It's a constant push and pull -- do you take time and care and worry to make a perfect and pretty page?
or do you let loose, have the ink and paint fly around and maybe make a mess but get it out.
Chuck Close started by painting huge abstract expressionist canvases which were totally non representational.
He said it felt great to do, but it wasn't something he wanted to hang on the wall. His later work (after he ended up in a wheelchair) are the most exacting, careful photo representative works you have ever seen, and they are stunning . . . .
I work with this tension all the time in my art journal -- I want to just "get it out" and be free to make a mess, but truthfully, there is also something very satisfying about making a page I like to look at after the fact. And I always feel the slight tension of the idea that I will post my pages here on line for the world to see. I do get many more comments for "pretty" pages than for the messy ones.
So after working for years in art journaling, I have come to the reality that I do want to be pleased with my pages, and if there is a way to have BOTH/AND rather than EITHER/OR, I will choose that.
I don't want to put them in frames and treat them with kid gloves, but I certainly don't mind if they look nice.
Very expressive, yet "pretty" pages.
Why not have it all?

"If it doesn't sit right I'm not really saying it. Getting it to sit right is another thing – complicated, time-consuming, wasteful. It comes around to what is contained in 'sitting right.' This is what the picture is about." Richard Diebenkorn

Friday, July 16, 2010

just messing around, glad to be back working in my journal:

"We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails." --Dolly Parton

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Finally, a journal date!

Here is what my workspace looks like right now (it all has to fit on a card table at my brother's house . . . and yes, I watch stuff on the computer while I work):

I was getting quite ansy, depressed, stressed, just basically out of sorts.
Then I realized, I had not worked in my journal in almost a month! I pulled out the supply bag, paints, inks, pens, papers, glues.
I just fiddled around.
and, voila, I felt so so much better. . . .
I am missing my studio tons, my papers and my sewing machine; I long to sew a book binding, tear some watercolor paper, have my paints and supplies all "to hand" (as they say in the UK), but I have one more week here on the East Coast, then a week at Spiralheart camp.
So I want to, at least, leave you with a journal image, and a note that lots more will follow in August when I get home.
Art does heal.
Try being creative, and see what happens.

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."
--Albert Einstein

Monday, July 12, 2010


How could I not share some of my owl photos with you here?
These birds are so magnificent, and the Owl Trust at Muncaster Castle in Cumbria was wonderful. It is no wonder that for millennia humans have believed in the magical power of owls . . . who could have invented an animal that can turn its head 180 degrees or hear a mouse twitch 100 yards away or mate for life with one partner.
Some owls keep pet snakes in their nests to help clean out insects and larvae. Yes, owls keep pets.
Who Knew?

"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

Sunday, July 11, 2010

hat shopping in Edinburgh

So here is another little photo essay documenting our adventures. We took a hop on, hop off bus tour of Edinburgh and it was lovely - so much stone in that town, castles and museums and pubs and inns all built 300-500 years ago, something I love about the UK.
We went to a hat shop and I think I tried on every style of hat in the place, but couldn't find one that worked with my face. My daughter looked great in them all, but alas, no hat was purchased, so all I have is these photos to remember the day.
The wonderful hats made me want to become a milliner - feathers and beads and leather and felting, I could enjoy that so much.
I seem to need to make things, some ancient urge to decorate the self with beautiful things.
Maybe it will be a hat shop one day. or a bag shop.
I am learning to shut out the naysaying critic in me that says all of that will fail. If I believe deeply, it can't fail.
Following one's bliss can never be a blind trail, can it?
So how about you look for my handmade elaborately decorated outrageous bags or hats one day on that little side bar over there, I am starting to envision this more clearly, and think it will happen within the year . . . .

“I believe that the trade of critic, in literature, music, and the drama, is the most degraded of all trades, and that it has no real value. However, let it go, it is the will of God that we must have critics, and missionaries, and Congressmen, and humorists, and we must bear the burden.” --Mark Twain

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cockermouth, Cumbria, UK

A few more photos, I am still not home so I won't be getting journal pages done until I am at my printer and can reproduce some of these images and start collaging.
Cockermouth was a charming town in the Lake District, where Wordsworth lived, look at these colors on the buildings:

perhaps inspired by the flowers, June is the greatest time to visit the north, amazing colors in these apricot poppies:

and just as we drove by, this magnificent funereal glass carriage was getting ready for a procession through the town:

"Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country." --Anais Nin

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My project for camp

Some sandals + some flowers + a few ribbons = some shoes to wear at Spiralheart Camp:

"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, July 7, 2010

the stone circle in Keswick

The stone circle near Keswick in Cumbria, called Castlerigg, is thought to be one of the earliest, dating to 3000 B.C. There are 38 stones in a 100 foot circle, and another 10 stones in a small rectangle. There are some local signs calling it Druid's circle, but the Druids came 2000 years later, so the name must have been added much after the fact.
Humans have lived near this circle for 5000 years, so I bet that some of the beliefs about it must still be intact.
Look at the three apples left as offering at one of the bases of the stones. . . .
Again, I get the sense not that the stones are here because people wanted them to mark some reoccurring human behavior, but that they are there because they mark something about the Earth herself. We in our species-centric modern way of thinking have a hard time understanding maybe it is not about the humans at all.
Anyway - it was wonderful to visit and try to connect to the mystery of this place.

"The Eternal looked upon me for a moment with His eye of power, and annihilated me in His being, and become manifest to me in His essence. I saw I existed through Him." --Rumi

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We do get our wishes sometimes!

If you have read this a bit, or visited my website, you will know I have a thing for owls.
One fantastic thing I got to do in Cumbria was visit Muncaster Castle, which just happens to have one of the best owl preserves in the world.
I got to take many photos of these magnificent birds, and now these will be showing up in many of my journal pages and collages.
I didn't plan this, it just happened for me, which seems to be how it goes a lot these days.
When you ask Spirit "What can I give?" rather than "What can I get?" it feels like the blessings start to just come on their own, sometimes things you never would have figured out if left to your own research and brain power.
Awesome, no?

“He respects Owl, because you can't help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn't spell it right.” --A.A. Milne

Monday, July 5, 2010


I do have to post some photos, don't I?
It will take me weeks, months to process all my photos and make collaged journal pages, so in the meantime, some tidbits from the week in London:

The Voice of the Stones

I am very drawn to stone circles. I was thrilled to find out my brother's house in Cumbria is only ten minutes from the Ennerdale Bridge Stone circle called Blakley Raise, so we visited when there. The cab driver I called to take us there had many stories of the circle, including that his grandfather said if you run around it three times saying your wish, it would come true.
While there, a bunch of local horses were herded across the plain, and we got to watch their beautiful procession across the mooreland, and we hiked through the peat bog above to get a view, soaking our feet.
I am building theories about these circles, and that cab driver's story of local ritual supports the idea that the stones were put on power spots, not that the ancients themselves thought they were making power by adding the stones to the site.
I also was lucky to have a lovely short lecture by a passing bike rider who knew his art history, and made clear for me the difference between a henge (a rock monument surrounded by a ditch) and a stone circle like Blakely Raise, (no ditch.)
I did a shamanic journey to the spirit of the stones, and received very important information and encouragement for my path.
AND lo and behold, I now have a scholarship to attend Spiralheart camp again this year, and to be in the one of the only stone circles currently on our North American continent - last year it was half complete so I am so happy to spend time there again and see how far along the circle has come.
I thank the Stones, both in the UK and here in the US for all I received - and I think they will be a part of my work for some time.

"Stonehenge, where the demons dwell, Where the banshees live, and they do live well, Stonehenge." --Spinal Tap

Thursday, July 1, 2010

David Hockney in homage to Van Gogh

I saw this gem at the van Gogh Institute in Arles, where various artists painted or photographed visions inspired by Vincent.
We are all working in a matrix of information, we borrow and "copy" and share our creative ideas in our work. . . . I am so excited to be teaching again this Fall at the Evergreen Art Center, and I know I will learn so much from my students.
Especially in our journals, we can try each others techniques, make some messes, explore the boundaries of what we think is safe and looks good, just see where it takes us. Art can be an adventure!

"We live in an age where the artist is forgotten. He is a researcher. I see myself that way." --David Hockney