Saturday, March 31, 2012

going outside right now. . . .

"The earth is the earth as a peasant sees it, the world is the world as a duchess sees it, and anyway a duchess would be nothing if the earth was not there as the peasant sees it." --Gertrude Stein

Monday, March 19, 2012

women who journal

I got an interesting note from a small boutique publisher in New York who is launching a kickstarter campaign to publish an historical diary: THE JOURNALS OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF.

Marie was a Russian Noble teenager, who went to live in France, and wrote of her Belle Epoque experiences, she died in Paris at 25. She painted quite beautifully, and soaked in all of life in that creative time. To be able to read the thoughts and ideas of someone living at the cusp of Modernism sounds amazing, and gives us all hope that our work, although intensely personal, also creates a legacy of the time in which we live -- here is a link where you can donate as little as $1 to help this book become available:

 and here is Marie:

Play in your journal

Where do you find your wisdom? I play in a journal, let the images, colors, paint and ink allow my mind to wander. I might love the image I make but even if not, I always love the sense of play and creation and freedom that working without goal or direction allows. Art for the wall is one thing, messing around in your journal is another. Make a mess, it's okay, you might find something unexpected.
“Wisdom sits in places.” --Apache Proverb

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

nature encourages creativity

Don't you love this time of year? Time to get outside, see the green shoots bursting through the dry soil, hear the birds singing outrageous songs of Springtime joy. Crocuses are here, it's time to clean up the debris of the Winter, get ready for the new growth of Spring. In my art, I am doing this as well, organizing and cleaning and getting ready for new work to blossom. Spring Cleaning of the Soul -- how nice to be here another season to breathe in all the blessings.
"Wildness we might consider as a route of the authentic spontaneities of any being.  It is that wellspring of creativity whence come the instinctive activities that enable all living beings to obtain their food, to find shelter, to bring forth their young, to sing and dance and fly through the air and swim through the depths of the sea.  This is the same inner tendency that evokes the insight of the poet, the skill of the artist and the power of the shaman."
--Thomas Berry

Saturday, March 10, 2012

new beginnings

"Save some room in your heart for the unimaginable."
--Mary Oliver

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Ten ladies met at Jefferson Unitarian Church for a one day workshop in creative journaling.  I think most of them had never attempted visual journaling before, and the results were wonderful.  Six hours was just barely enough time for us to get our work done. We started by making our journals with torn watercolor paper into thirds. Then we did a hand binding with a simple pamphlet stitch, and added color.   After breaking for lunch, we added collage and finally some stamps, doodles, and words.

Everyone did such stunning work:
Measuring the binding cord.
starting to paint the pages.
More Paint
The papertowels used to dry the pages end up so beautiful we will save them for future use.
This is the amazing lunch Sandy made us.

WONDERFUL job ladies, it was a joy to work with you!

and two quotes from the day:
"Be very exhuberant with your papertoweling."
"Oh - thank you for pre-lettucing our pitas!"

Thursday, March 1, 2012

lots of words.

Digging up an old interview -- just in case you want to know more about Moi:

 Interviewed by Galen Wong for 1000 Journals

GW: Your background is in architecture and art. When working on an art piece do you use the same thinking method as in when you do architecture work or do you use a totally different thinking method:
ET: I got into architecture because I wanted to creatively affect the environment - making art really is the same impulse. In creating anything, I try to make something meaningful and beautiful that will also be functional. My early work as an architect also gave me some powerful tools I still use in my work: strong graphics to communicate clearly, and an ability to follow through on projects that I might not have had without that vigorous architecture training.

GW: On your website there is an article about your work in the group Jfive ; a group of artist you did collaborative painting with; as a group did you all decide to take the piece in one direction? Or did everyone add onto it and let the piece go in it’s own direction?
ET: j5, later j4, was a very powerful experiment in collaboration for me - we were from three different countries (American, Japan and Germany) and we all painted simultaneously on very large canvases. We never planned, we never directed, we never decided anything before taking up our brushes, squirting out some colors, and going for it together. Sometimes we got paint on each other! This act of collaborative creation together was very joyful. Sadly, as our work progressed into the marketplace, that's where our communication suffered, and we couldn't sustain that level of joy when dollars and galleries came into the picture. The few years we worked together, and the resulting canvases were quite wonderful.

GW: I love your journal entries posted on your journal blog and the stories and process you go through in creating them. Can you share with us the kind of process in creating your journal pieces?
ET: Funny to even think of them as "pieces." Journaling for me has always been about powerful self expression, about the process of getting it out, and not about what it will look like. I find if I even consider what the page will look like, this interferes with the freedom to make a mess, and make a mistake, and find the hidden inner voice that I am trying to free. I do have a sort of method, though - I start with color, add some images, add some words, and see what happens. I teach this method, then encourage students to take the work to their own place. Mostly we need to learn to let go of our carefulness, messy is always better in my mind, because that touches the intuitive pre-verbal place in our brains, which I believe is more connected to our authentic voice.

GW: When you create a journal entry is it for self-expression or communicating with others?
ET: See above - 99 percent self expression. but I admit that when others connect to my work, it feels quite validating as an artist. But I try not to have this affect my process.

GW: When did you begin your artistic relationship with shamanic influences in your artwork?
ET: The Shamanism sort of found me. In my first studio, another tenant in the building asked me if I wanted to drum together in the morning. I would drum for twenty minutes with him, then go to my studio and start work. Without me even understanding what was happening, the voice of the drum found it's way into my art. I ended up studying Shamanism for the last 20 years, and now it is an essential part of what I do. They say the drumbeat is the heartbeat of the Earth, and I have certainly been drawn into a desire to help heal the environment and protect Mother Earth as part of my art consciousnesss.

GW: When working on your journal entries do you allow the physical pages to limit your expression?
ET: If you are wondering if the ink and paper and glue ends up plastered on my work surface - ha! Yes! But I also have some canvases around, and some postcards around, and mail art around, and they all receive the blessings of my messes. I could never work on just one thing at a time.

GW: Many of your journal entries are made mixed media. Where do you look for your materials? Do you store materials before you use them or do you work with whatever you have at the moment you begin?
ET: Piles and piles of books and magazines and papers surround me. I love buying old books and tearing them apart. I am a paper-holic. I just have bags and bags of stuff at hand, and grab what I grab. One reason I love travel, is I save all the lovely scraps and bits of ephemera. All these bits and pieces end up in the collages.

GW: Being that your journals are a personal project do you set deadlines for yourself? Or do you continue and to add on to it as you feel like.
ET: I heard one artist say in an interview that "if she doesn't get to do her art, someone will get hurt." I find that if I don't work in my journal, after a few days, I turn into a very grouchy unhappy person. For me this is an essential spiritual practice, so there is no question that I work as much as I can. Sometimes other work gets in the way, but I prefer to start every day with journaling, then let the other work flow from that.

GW: What is next for your career as an artist? Where are you planning to show next?
ET: I am planning on launching a practice doing environmental Shamanism - using drumming and connection with spirit helpers to heal place and space and answer questions for clients. This will be in conjunction with my journaling work, and my magazine, "Creativity Cafe" which helps hold all these different interests in one place where I can share them. And as a shameless plug -- you can find out more about my magazine here:

GW: Is there anything new that you want to learn as an artist to explore more possibilities in your work?
ET: Healing the planet is a priority for me, as I see so much environmental devastation in our food, in our air, in our ridiculous levels of consumption which have been normalized by big business. and for me, I have learned that healing the Self is the first step in healing the World. Since my journaling is the first step of self healing I know I will always be firmly committed to continuing and sharing this essential practice. Although it seems so personal, it really is part of the wholeness of all life that needs our nurturing.