Posts in Happenings
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.


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

June Writing Retreat in Cortona Italy: What is narrative painting?

Getting pretty excited about Italy in June. It's now February, which means I will need to fill up that crazy child enthusiasm with substitutes until June arrives.

Questions are coming in about the retreat and sign ups are happening. There are 2 private rooms left. First come, first serve. But I must say a few things first about this retreat that makes it a bit off-beat from others. I mean you really need all the facts! You don't want to be in the clutches of a Italy-going-redhead with in Tuscan lands, a salt water swimming pool and 2 awesome kitchens to cook in unless it's your cup of tea (or wine).

What is Narrative Painting? How is it different from Story Painting?

Story painting is what I did in 2013 daily that fills the pages of The Art of Daily Cultivation. It begins with a painting of 'anything' that fascinates you in the moment. Once the painting is complete, the painting then serves as a prompt that inspires a micro-story. A few paragraphs. The painting can be a scene or a one subject piece. Character or scene... the story naturally unravels. Magic? Nope. Just making a bit of space in an otherwise hectic life for the natural muse to feel safe enough to come in for tea and express herself through the brush and pen.

I am calling the Italy Retreat "Narrative Painting" because our subject is chosen. It is Italy. And the lands of Cortona are paved with history, many stories from the past; many stories in the moment that we will be there. In the cafes, the Etruscan caves, Lake Trasimeno, the little wine shops and flower shops in the villa, the food, the panoramic views from the beautiful retreat home where we will live for these days. We as a group will add our sketches to the narrative already embedded in the land and culture of Cortona.

VOICE: Some folks in the workshop will enjoy the facts as prompts as much as their sketches and may write longer prose. Some will sketch and paint more than write.  I see this retreat as an opportunity to explore  Tuscany on its terms while amplifying and honoring what we experience and learn with our brushes and pens — and the sharp (and oh so fun) tool of imagination. I see the retreat as a writing retreat using illustration as a prompt and support.

People will go home with a full first draft of their Tuscany stories in words and images. And I just love that!

Here is a sample of a 'story painting' that I did for the book but it is about Italy. The fat pigeons in particular. It's silly and short. My quirky style. However, what I love about teaching this work is that everyone does something very different. The individual voice and style emerge as the story takes over.

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That's all. I hope you are all having a wonderful Feb. I'll be blogging about what I will cook next. Fascinated by Italian cooking.

Please visit me on Pinterest for inspiration. I have a Cortona Board started that will show you the close up and personal magic of this particular place on earth.

ps: If you live in Portland Oregon and if you are considering this adventure. Flights are low right now (about 700.00 less than average).


Photo of a fat pigeon in Cortona. See what I mean?

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Full Circle

  A very sweet surprise came across my desk today. A collector of my art ordered prints of fishes and flowers for her therapy office. She is very persistent in creating exactly the right space for her clients. In her words ... "I love the energy your art contributes to my practice ... a space for safety, compassion & healing."

I just want to extend a heartfelt thank you to Lisha - I am so honored. Who knew my fishes and flowers would be in such good company and doing their good work along with her. I love art -- love, love, love the journey it seems to go on without me.

Happy Friday!

Are you in Vermont?

  Do you love art, snow and beautiful lighting? I do. Though I am not in Stowe. Vermont right now, my lil Chicken is. "Love a Chicken" oil painting and "Rabbit Over the Moon" silk painting are now showing in a group exhibit until December 28th. I see so many lovely pieces in this show (unique gifts for special lovies). And friends tell me The Helen Day Gallery is something special. So if you are in Vermont you might want to take a gander through the exhibit and say hello to the snow, the gallery and a hot cup of cocoa for me!

Click on the image below to see all of the information. I feel so good that they put my lil chicken on the cover of their newsletter. I just knew she wanted a home in Vermont.

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Happy holidays! Stay warm.