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May 2016 be your best creative habit ever!

  2016 began early for me — if renewing good habits over bad has anything to do with it.

Since Christmas eve., I have been unplugged from technology and recently, TV and screens of any type. I'm sleeping better, painting better, feeling better, walking more, reading more and calling to touch base with friends  vs. texting etc. I can't tell you how life changing this has been in just one short week. Body and mind are talking to each other and creative chemistry is at work in a more focused way. The seeds are planted for some new ground rules in 2016.

I'm a total mush-ball sponge type. This  means that  if I watch a movie, I dream about it. If I engage in social media, I'm everywhere and nowhere at all. When I interact with Facebook everyone might as well be sitting around the campfire with me.

I have needed to sip camomile tea and numb out on a movie on more than one occasion to reset to  the standard mean of "thick skin".  I realized 2016 will contain better coping mechanisms. Whatever your balance metric is, this is what I wish for you in the NEW YEAR:

"Use the year like a tool - make space for creative passion, hone it, practice a little bit day by day, and make it the year of your most abundant creative habit ever — whatever that means for you."

Space to let things marinate, simmer, and move organically feels like an amazing thing to me. Nearly a luxury! Until I decide to  take a stand and do what is necessary to carve out a bit of feeling time. Suddenly problems are solving themselves, decisions get made like buttah! Even my rabbit jumps for joy more. Secret: Rabbits love creative energy. They dance to it. It's pretty funny.

I want to leave you with this video - Eve Ensler. It was passed onto me by a fellow MFA alumni and I adore it. One of the best talks I've ever seen. Made me cry actually. So INSPIRING.

If this video is not working for any reason, Click this LINK to go there.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE. Truly!

PS: The image in this post is the beginning of a series of large paintings I'm working on now. This happened this past week in my unplug mode. The second painting is in the works and all I will say is that a dreamy rabbit and hard working pony are involved. ; D

The Un-Promoter + Goldberg and Diebenkorn

  I had many plans for this holiday season that I had been lining up since late summer. The new store is filled with full cycle creations: pillows, gift certificates, story-cards, large scale rabbit posters, the art book memoir in softcover, and a new website to make it all clear and easily accessible. Communications were in ready mode. And then life happened and I contracted a nasty respiratory illness. The Christmas cards I had ordered for you never even made it into the store. It's sardonic in a way ... how plans have the power to make fools of us all.

Recently, I've been reading one of my favorite visual memoirs by Natalie Goldberg: "Living Color" A Writer Paints Her World {now in second edition}. She reflects on the time in her life when she became a painter. She had contracted a virus and thought she was going to die. It stayed with her for 2.5 months. In that time she immersed herself in the world of Richard Diebenkorn. In the state of being ill when it takes a lot of energy to move from one part of the house to the next you somehow get underneath the critical mind where the subconscious lives - it's pretty wonderful and very impressionable.

Natalie let his work in on a deep level. She reflects on the life of a man who was intensely open to the depth of life and his own experience — how color and form was layered and adventurous. Yet his character/personality was understated and at times awkward. I know what she means. Diebenkorn's work makes my knees quiver and my lil' painter's heart want so much more out of the paint. He has always given me courage.

When she began to emerge from her fugue state she promptly called a painter in Taos and asked her to teach her how to paint. She had to experience color from her own hands. She worked in this woman's studio weekly. Amazing growth that underlies "Living Color." Great things can come from downtime.

All is to say, that, though I was not up to the big Christmas promotional activities, being an un-promoter has been somewhat liberating. More plans for 2015 {to be made a fool of for...} have filled the notebooks. Much reading and camomile tea has occupied the winter weeks. I have good days when I think I'm on the way out of this and then the days that tell me I have a ways to go. So more OJ, more Natalie, more Diebenkorn, and the genuine gratitude that comes when you know it could be a lot worse.

If you are happy that I've been an un-promoter because you get enough of those right now... then, YAY! We are on the same page. But if you are disappointed because you wanted to be more informed, my sincerest apologies.

Wishing you a warm, inspiring and healthful holiday season! Enjoy this little watercolor as a token of my appreciation for your support.

Gratitude, Gravity & Grace

  The words gravity and grace have my undivided attention right now. I'm not sure why ... but I do know Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) has something to do with it.

Recently, I've been reading "The Innocent Eye" -- this is a book I've never been able to let go of and will likely see it to its raggedy end.

Considering how children express the truest character of their soul when they draw and paint. Or, when they make a mess in the kitchen trying to make pancakes. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is useless. The compassion, patience and utter abandon that is involved in the sentiment of the expression is something I feel awe for.

During the holidays it can be so easy to forget the simple magic of gratitude. Gratitude for the the things that didn't work out that makes us dig deeper in and change course if necessary. Gratitude for the daily kindnesses and simple surprises in life.

Though we may think a lot about what we want that we don't have, there is a grace in what we do have. If nothing more than an imprint of where we've been and markers for the journey forward.

I say, life isn't something to master but experience in all of it's imaginative power. Getting the "goof" on and the simple return to nature through food and love is the gravity and grace I'm aiming for this season. And I am already super duper grateful for it!

If you really want to be inspired watch Ursula LeGuin's speech as she accepts a Lifetime Achievement Award.

ps: The silly drawings are my from my daily sketchbook as I aspire to be a child everyday.