Friday, December 30, 2011

quiet

“Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” He also famously remarked that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone. I am working out a whole new set of journaling ideas for 2012. Come back soon and we can start the new year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

and the holidays are upon us

I have not been journaling much; I've been busy making soap, fixing our travel plans, and finishing up a large painting. (and having one sick child at home.) I am hoping in the new year to be back here more, so do return then and let's see what 2012 brings.
"This is not the inert silence of a stone, but creative silence. We have to find it for ourselves. We decrease activity until silence becomes creative, and we sit in creative silence and close the gates of perception for insight into the content of life." --Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Thursday, December 1, 2011

and from the world of commerce:

Here is my table at the JUC art/craft show - soaps, cards, and mixed media collage. I only hope I make enough to cover the money I will spend on all the fabulous things my fellow artists and artisans are selling - total local shopping for me!
"Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it's not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won't. It's whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere." --Barack Obama

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

your task of tasks

Joseph Campbell talks about the Hero's Journey, where in Celtic (and many other mythologies) the hunter is lured into the woods by a deer or boar, then finds himself lost and in the dark forest, needing to find his path home. In some weird way, life is like this -- we take on challenges and responsibilities, and then find ourselves in the wilderness. I am just finishing up 25 years of child-rearing, the two oldest are on their own and the youngest is almost. During all these years I focused mainly on my family, while still doing art. But suddenly now for the first time, I find myself with a studio and time and the ability to really follow my bliss with abandon. And weirdly, it does sort of feel like I have been left in the wilderness. All the structure of jobs and carpooling and cooking and caretaking is replaced with a day I get to choose how to fill. I have been making art, teaching, working in journals all along, but never before has it felt this open-ended, and it is a bit unnerving. We also moved 3 times in the last 3 years, including 3000 miles across the country, and I faced serious health challenges which required surgery. So now, here I am, I have followed the deer into the wilderness, and I find myself in a new place, ready to figure out how to get home. . . . I am eager to see what happens.
Carl Jung suddenly realized "what it means to live with a myth, and what it means to live without one." Jung asked himself, What myth am I living by? Finding that he did not know, he wrote, "I took it upon myself to get to know 'my' myth, and I regarded this as the task of tasks."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

a service art can provide

"The work of the artist is to present objects to you in such a way that they will shine.  Through the rhythm of the artist's formation, the object that you have looked at with indifferencee will be radiant, and you will be fixed in esthetic arrest."

--Joseph Campbell

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Where have I been?

I have been busy getting ready for my soap selling table at our local Holiday Craft Fair, so my journals are getting a little dusty.
You can read about the soap here:  WhiteOwlBotanicals

Me and my journals will have a lot of art*dates in the new year to get to know each other again - and we will share our adventures here, with of course, lots of quotes to keep our inspiration jars filled.
NaMaste!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Inspiration Connection

**Link Love** So here's a shout-out to all the kids in the digital photography class at JFK High School in Iselin, NJ. Your oh-so-nice teacher pointed to my blog as a source for inspiration, and I want to thank her and YOU for visiting with this little promise: if you submit a photo to me, I will put it in the next issue of Creativity Cafe Magazine. You can send a high res (300 dpi) image of your own, to me at emily.townsend@gmail.com. Make sure you have your name as you would like it published and any info you want as a caption. I will post a note here when the magazine is out, early Spring. As payment for your submission, I can send you a copy for free, and hey - go ahead and add "published photographer" to your resume, although peeking at your work, I bet some of you already are! (If you would like an issue, do let me know your address, which won't be published.) Don't you love the internet?
"Never exclude anything - open your eyes for the unknown and uncommon and take your camera to collect these ideas. It may be worthwhile." --Petra Voegtle

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

wisdom

"As the design scientist Buckminster Fuller noted, most of the work that our society creates produces no real benefit for the earth, and in fact subtracts from it. Most of the work we do requires pointless expenditures of energy and makes more waste. Rather than having people drive to jobs and use up endless Styrofoam containers and toner cartridges, it would be cheaper -- in the real terms of the vitality and thrive-ability of the earth -- to subsidize them to remain in their home communities, support them to grow their own food, foster permaculture projects to increase biodiversity, and encourage them to educate themselves and their children, to make art and perform ritual if they felt so inclined, and to generally celebrate the sacred mystery of being with a minimum of interference." --Daniel Pinchbeck

Saturday, November 12, 2011

my tin kettle

"As if the fullness of the soul did not sometimes overflow in the emptiest of metaphors, since no one can ever give the exact measure of his needs, nor of his conceptions, nor of his sorrows; and since human speech is like a cracked tin kettle on which we hammer out tunes to make the bears dance, when we long to move the stars." --Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

Monday, November 7, 2011

Where do you find your joy?

Because that's your life calling. I know we all have bills to pay, so it might take some creativity to figure out how to make your joy into your job. I read an article on macarons (my favorite French cookie) recently in the New York Times, and one of the bakers was a Ph.D. from Princeton, who had opened a French Bakery in Brooklyn. That got my attention because some of us spend a lot of time getting on a track that is not our truest calling, and it is quite scary to jump off that train and begin following the real calling of our hearts. I think her years studying at Princeton are only adding to the glory of making French cookies that are exquisite and wonderful. (I want to go get some!) I also have been very inspired by people who understand that a life in the arts means pairing down, living on almost nothing, and learning to find happiness with little material comfort. It can be done! Go to the library and get a book called "No Impact Man" by Colin Beavin. You will read how a couple in NYC spends a year making no impact on the environment, and in the process learns that just being together brings more rewards than running around consuming. and for some of us, following our bliss can mean a regular job that supports us and our family, but we can fill in the cracks with our dream work, our art or music or dance or acting or whatever it is that adds joy to your world. Try it. Following your bliss does take creativity, but what is the alternative?
"What a curious phenomenon it is that you can get men to die for the liberty of the world who will not make the little sacrifice that is needed to free themselves from their own individual bondage." --Bruce Barton

Monday, October 31, 2011

Shamanism and Creativity

The next issue of Creativity Cafe Magazine is due out this Spring and will focus on Shamanism and Creativity -- feel free to submit artwork, articles, poems, ideas, writings, ramblings, doodles, etc. for consideration for publication. Any writing/art from the heart with your personal ideas and experiences is very welcome. See more at: Creativity Cafe and to see the last issue on-line, go here and click on show preview: Issue One

Saturday, October 29, 2011

the cure

"The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears, or the sea." --Isak Dinesen

Friday, October 21, 2011

why visual journaling?

I think a lot about why I do this work. Spending a life making art means loss of income, a bit of isolation, even some disdain from a culture that values money and success. Some family members don't understand what I do. Lots of people I cross paths with don't understand what I do. But Joseph Campbell did - his deep investigation of the meaning of things, the way we use myth and story and art to understand the Mystery -- this is why we do this work. It's not at all about decorating the walls, which is how lots of people see the work of making art. The first question 95% of the time posed to you when you mention you are an artist, is: "Do you sell your work?" Because that's how our culture validates being an artist. After ten days away from the studio (a nice break at the beach gifted to us by family who understand our money situation) I was so glad to be back in the studio, back working with my pens and paints and papers, back playing in my journal, paper up on the wall ready to take splashes of paint. . . . Flipping through the books I have been working in, I know I am onto something, no matter what the world says to be about the validity of being a Visual Journaler. Thank you to all the mystics, wanderers, artistic explorers who gave us the example that it is okay for us to dedicate our lives to the search. May we all have the courage to follow the idea that our lives can be the Yoga of being true to our calling.
"Life as an art and art as a game—as action for its own sake, without thought of gain or of loss, praise or blame -- is the key, then, to the turning of living itself into a yoga, and art into the means to such a life." --Joseph Campbell

Thursday, October 20, 2011

my hand

"Figures can be considered forms of landscapes; in the natural landscape, figurative forms abound. To recognize the analogy is to approach an understanding of harmony." --Ian Semple

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

been at the beach . . .

"Stress is related to the environment you live in. As an artist, the ideal is to live in calm, peaceful and intriguing surroundings where earth meets atmosphere." --Lida van Bers

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

paint

Part of the joy of art journaling is the freedom to work in lots of media. Yesterday I hung 3 large sheets of watercolor paper on the wall, and put on some awesome energetic music (A Cirque Du Soleil soundtrack from the library) and just let myself have fun with paint. After they dried, I turned them over and painted the backs.
I can now tear up these sheets to use as covers or pages in journals.
I also scanned them to use in my collage work.
Some of them came out a bit muddy, but others just sing with joy! WooHoo!
So if you feel stuck, get out some paint, put on some music, and have some fun splashing some color on paper.
Color Therapy = awesome.

"Making art is a lot about just seeing what happens if you put some energy into something." --Kiki Smith

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

words

I posted this page a few days ago before I had added words to it.
Sometimes it feels like words ruin the page, adding data and chatter which interfere with a more serene and calm visual experience.
Other times the words just make the page sing.
I have a feeling it is the words themselves that might disrupt things -- I always try to work with image and color to evoke that inner authenticity that comes directly from the subconscious, and I know that words can almost sabotage that direct line from Truth.
But in this case, I sorta like the words:

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart..." --William Wordsworth

Sunday, October 2, 2011

a show of Visual Journals

The show of 25 artists' journals at the Abecedarian Gallery, here in Denver, closed yesterday; I did get some photos.
There was a wonderful variety of journals, from delicate watercolors, to travel journals, to even just a pile of beautifully collaged pages which were boxed rather than bound. The nice thing was a viewing table, and the permission to handle the books. Alicia Bailey, the gallery owner, said that many people stayed a long long time, pouring over the books and reading some cover to cover, enjoying the chance to get into an artist's mind in a very intimate way.
Lots of inspiration for unique ways to journal.
Catalog available HERE as a PDF.









Saturday, October 1, 2011

dreams/journaling

I heard the idea that our dreams are sometimes our subconscious's attempt to tell the stories we need told.
I actually have lots of anxiety dreams all the time, and this made me really think about the work that we do while dreaming and the work we do while journaling.
I know that journaling also channels some of this energy - from our untold stories to self-expression that relieves our need to tell and feel heard, even if just by ourselves.
I now have a special journal dedicated to remembering my dreams, as well as my shamanic journeys, and it is so interesting to see how the patterns are emerging.
To be heard, to say what we need to say, dreams and journaling - awesome ways to do this!

"Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning." --Gloria Steinem

Friday, September 30, 2011

W.W.F.D.?

When in doubt, look to Frida.
Fearless, tireless, even in pain, moving forward toward expressing herself.
and we see that in her powerful and raw paintings.
She told her truth, no matter what people thought or said about it.
Today if you are wondering how to move forward in your creative life, ask your self what would Frida do?

"If you become more sensitive to beauty, to poetry, that means your love has blossomed. And all the energy that has been left by fear, anger and hate, will be taken over by your love, your sensitivity, your compassion, your creativity. This is the whole alchemy of changing base metals into gold." --Osho

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I finished a Journal:

video

This is a torn watercolor paper handbound journal. First I tore two large watercolor sheets into three 22" strips, so each page ends up having a fold-out.
I bound the 6 pages with a simple pamphlet binding, then added paint.
When dry, I collaged with ephemera, photos, stencils, lettering, paint, and odds and ends from the scrap paper pile.
You might have seen some of the individual images in previous posts, but I wanted you to see how the whole journal looks, with the pages opening out.
Although I started with the intention of making travel the subject, lots of owls seemed to creep in.
Go Figure.

Thanks to Teesha Moore for sharing this technique!

(and thanks Neil Young for the background music.)

awareness

How much of our lives do we just cruise on auto-pilot, not even aware of the details all around us?
In the garden this morning, I had to stop and admire a little brown spider squarely resting in the middle of a perfect octagonal web, all the fine filaments catching the early sun. What a beautiful work of architecture it was.
This chant is a great way to start the day:
Morning Sun
Morning Sun
Come my way
Come my way
Morning Sun
Morning Sun
Light my day
Light my day.
I hope you have a blessed and AWARE day today!

"I went into a McDonald's yesterday and said "I'd like some fries."
The girl at the counter said, "Would you like some fries with that?"
--Jay Leno

Monday, September 26, 2011

experiments


My newest journal is entitled experiments.
I am trying to do some new things, and let the page just move where it moves without too much mental interference and carefulness.
I already have some messy strange pages, but I am moving on, hoping to find something original and magic in the exhuberance of not knowing what I am doing.
I will share the not so great pages here, so see what you think.
Judgement really does dampen the work, so I am trying to leave my head behind. . . .

"The glass I drink from is not large, but at least it is my own." --Alfred de Musset

Friday, September 23, 2011

why visual journal?

Meld into the work.
Let it flow from the inner truest place of you.
Don't think about how it looks or who will see it.
As you do the practice on and on and on, some inner truth emerges.
Some connectedness.
Sometimes the pages thrill me, other times I wonder what it was all about.
But the total of the work is so revealing and pleasing.
My journaling is part of my spiritual practice.
and it shows me things I just don't know how to see otherwise.
Thank Goddess for Journaling.

"I would give all the wealth of the world, and all the deeds of all the heroes, for one true vision." --Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, September 22, 2011

expression = joy



"I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy." --Rabindranath Tagore

"When you do things from your soul you feel a river moving in you, a joy." --Rumi

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

balance.


"Logic and intellect can take an artist to the dance, but intuition and creativity are the dance itself." --Gregory Packard

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

what do you see when you make your art?


"I have the feeling that I've seen everything, but failed to notice the elephants." --Anton Chekhov

Monday, September 19, 2011

looking at the natural world


"To look at a thing is very different from seeing it." --Oscar Wilde

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I've been in the garden.

The colors are just starting to change, and lots of clean up is happening. The colors are just stunning, and I am so happy to be outside with cool air and bright sun. I had to share these bits here, more journaling pages will come soon, and some of these images just might sneak into my journal.
When in doubt, go outside!





"The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses." --Hanna Rion

Friday, September 16, 2011

Today.


"Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don't claim them. Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent." --Rumi

Thursday, September 15, 2011

more owls.


"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." --William Wordsworth

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Why are we here?

Listening to Christina Pratt talking to Stephan Beyer about finding joy in life in a podcast, Christina shared a beautiful story of working with Tom Cowan at a Shamanic retreat. Asking the Spirit of a Place what they should do, the Place said "sing the song of this place, when all life was in balance and harmony." They answered "we don't know that song."
"Yes, you do," said the Spirit of that Place.
Tom Cowan thought to a time he felt deeply lovingly connected to Nature, and said, "oh, I guess I do know that song."
SO - we DO know the joy of connection with Nature.
We DO know the joy of service to others, being with people we love, channeling Spirit in a way that we know deeply we are connected and in right relation to all life.
This deep joy of connection and love IS THE STORY we need to remember and focus on.
It should be our work.
Accumulating possessions - what a waste of time and our life energy.
It is the love connection that lasts.
All else will rust and rot and decay and go away.
Working in my art journal helps me connect and feel that joy.
What do you spend your time on?
That is what you value.

"For the 99 percent of the time we've been on Earth, we were hunter and gatherers, our lives dependent on knowing the fine, small details of our world. Deep inside, we still have a longing to be reconnected with the nature that shaped our imagination, our language, our song and dance, our sense of the divine." --Janine M. Benyus

Monday, September 5, 2011

time in the garden


"My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant's point of view." -- H.Fred Ale