Playing with Color

Last weekend was cold & rainy, perfect for playing with my art supplies on the enclosed porch– listening to the rain, watching the birds chase one another, & looking at all my colored pencils, paints, & markers.  On this grey day, I needed color.

It’s so hard for me to decide what to play with first.  I’m addicted to it all… opaque watercolors, Prismacolor pencils, paint markers, acrylics, metallic ink,… the list is endless!  I feel like a child in a toy store every time I enter an art supply shop. Don’t even ask me about handmade papers, soft bristle brushes, & sketchbooks.  My imagination takes flight just thinking of the possibilities.

After a few moments of contemplation, I decided to use the opaque watercolors, fine tip markers, acrylics, & a corrective pen on bristol board.  My objective:  simply to PLAY.  I used some of the techniques Alisa Burke mentions in her on-line class “The Art of Abstraction” and combined them with other techniques that spring to mind as the color spreads across the white paper.

Here are the results.

It started with tangerine. Then, I added lime and raspberry colors for a fruity, fresh abstract piece painted with acrylics. Black is added to lead the eye around the paper.

I absolutely adore Prussian Blue!! That was the first color I chose before adding maroon & deep green. I painted strokes of black & white for contrast. The corrective pen gave me some fine white details.

Opaque watercolors were painted with a wet, sloppy brush so they could run in different directions. Black added with a fine tip marker & smudged with my finger. White swirls & splashes dance across the paper. I love the lighthearted feel to this piece.

These pieces are intentionally quick & emotional, quite unlike my usual collages & paintings.  By playing with the materials rather than starting with a plan (a vision of the finished piece in my mind), I could let things just happen.  I could be surprised.  I could have FUN.

When is the last time you had fun for fun’s sake?  Set some time aside soon.

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Dream Big & Believe

A friend shared her dream of starting a new career in the culinary arts.  (Her current career is one that dropped in her lap after college but has no resemblance to her dream whatsoever.)  I told her to go for it.  While I can’t promise that all of her dreams will come true, I am certain that none of them will come true if she doesn’t try.

It seems that people all around me are having the “should I be content with my present circumstances or should I follow my dreams” debate as if these have to be “either/or” choices.  I propose that we can have both.  We can have gratitude for the many blessings we have yet want to have more meaning or new experiences in our lives.  We can enjoy the present while reaching higher.

Big dreams continue to manifest in my life as big opportunities so I’m speaking from a lifetime of experience, a place of true knowing.   Dreams (and courage) got me to try spelunking (once!), buy my own home, walk away from a bad relationship, & assist with Dale Chihuly’s installation of a glass exhibit within the old city walls of Jerusalem, to name a few.  I have countless other examples of how dreams became reality for me & I’m confident they will continue to do so. 

Dreaming may sound like a luxury, especially in these challenging economic times, but it’s not.  Dreaming leads to doing.  And it’s the “doing” that improves the quality of life for us, those whose lives we touch, & our home- Mother Earth.  Many of the great self-help gurus will tell you that if you are doing well at a job you don’t like, just think how successful you can be doing something you do like!  It all starts with a dream… a thought.

  And it has to start now… ONE DREAMER AT A TIME.

What is your dream for your Self?

Ritual- For the Spiritual Journey

In the workshop that I’m leading, I asked the women to write on a slip of paper either a fear that they would like to transform into fearlessness or a hope they’d like to manifest in their lives (an activity designed by Elizabeth Fisher for her Rise Up & Call Her Name workshop).  We briefly shared what we wrote, for by saying our prayers aloud we give them greater power.  Then, we set the papers in a bowl & set them on fire.  This ritual symbolically transformed our fears into smoke & raised our hopes on the air to be heard by the Divine (whatever form that entity takes for each woman).   Spontaneous yells & cheers erupted as the last ember faded into darkness.  It was an incredibly poignant moment for us all.

Ritual, the 9th in my series of 12 collages for the Spiritual Journey, honors all of our meaningful rituals from simple ones such as greeting the sun at dawn (like the figure in the collage is doing) to something more complex like a marriage ritual.

Rituals, from the simple to the complex, should align with your true Self.

As I’ve written before, rituals mark the important transitions in our lives & connect us to what matters most.  What rituals do you perform?  Are they meaningful or do some need redefined to align with who you are now?

I’m a Tree

I’m a tree when it comes to my art, rooted in the solid earth of knowledge & experience

while reaching my limbs to the sky for inspiration & a fresh outlook.

Although I have professional experience in such diverse areas such as screen printing, collage, glass engraving, & graphic design, I’m always willing to learn more about my craft.  I love what I do but I want to keep growing creatively.

Where can we go to grow?  Local colleges, art associations, & community centers offering adult ed classes are good places to start the search.  On-line workshops make it possible for us to study with artists from around the world.  Right now, I’m sitting on the East coast while studying with Alisa Burke, a West coast artist.  “The Art of Abstraction”, one of her on-line workshops, is giving me the opportunity to revisit some old skills in a brand new way.  Check out this class & all of her others by clicking here-  Alisa Burke workshops

This class is exactly what I need, a reminder to “PLAY” with color, line, & form.  Alisa doesn’t ask me to forget my BFA degree or years of experience; she asks me to let go of the rules & let my intuition take over.

What do you need for personal or artistic growth?  Whatever it is, I hope you find it, too.

Create- For the Spiritual Journey

A dear friend’s mother passed away recently, leaving her a variety of art supplies that she had no idea how to use.  “Bring them over.  We’ll have lunch & an art date”, I suggested.  So, we enjoyed a delicious lunch on my deck & opened the wooden box that had 2 velvet-lined drawers cradling charcoal, watercolor pencils, & drawing pencils in neat rows.  My friend is a very talented musician but hadn’t done much sketching.  “What do I do with all of these?”, she asked perplexed.  I thought for a moment.  Where to begin?  I’ve had countless art courses & workshops over the years, even majoring in Fine Art in college & enjoying a career in graphic design for several years.  Do I discuss perspective?  Line?  Composition?  Hmm… I made up my mind as to the most important quality of art & gave her my advice.

“PLAY.”

“Pick a pencil & see what it can do.  Scribble with it.  Smudge it.  Splash water on it.  Don’t worry about what it looks like.  Just create for the sake of creating.”

We had the best time!  Creating without self-criticizing is so liberating!!  This collage, titled “Create”, represents our burning need to be a part of creation in some way, shape, or form from creating new life to giving birth to new ideas.  Creating is yet another way to connect to something greater than ourselves & leave a legacy for those who follow.  I am a co-creator with the Divine, affecting my life & the lives of those around me.  So are you.

Create: celebrate your role as co-creator in your life.

This is the 8th collage in my series of 12 for the spiritual journey.  How are these pieces impacting you?  Please share your thoughts.  I’d also like to hear your ideas of what I should do with them when I’m finished.  I’ve considered making a calendar, notecards, or prints.  Any other suggestions?

 

Exploring Mandalas

In preparation for my workshop focusing on woman-honoring cultures as they impact our own self-worth & divinity, I’m exploring the mandala which translates “circle” & represents wholeness & life.

Mandalas are everywhere, in all aspects of life!  Spiritually, they are found in Native American traditions, Buddhism, & Hinduism to name a few.  Emotionally, art therapists & psychologists use them to help clients reach a higher level of self-awareness.  Physically, mandalas are in natural objects from flowers to snowflakes.

One of many natural mandalas in my garden.

This Native American medicine wheel (a type of mandala) came from the website healing.about.com

This image of a Tibetan sand mandala came from princessioana.com

Before I ask others to create mandalas, I made one for myself so I can come from a place of knowing & better serve my workshop participants.  When I drew the 3 teardrops in the center, I jumped to the conclusion that this would be a gloomy mandala, revealing the frustration I’m feeling in one area of my life.  Not so!  The teardrops are the buds on thriving young plants with leaves resembling wings; the pink spiral & the smaller red spiral with dewdrops on it symbolize growth & creativity; the light radiating from the center is just as needed for growth as the rain.  I believe the springlike colors & spirals signal a time of new ideas & possibilities.  This is clearly a very positive mandala full of hope!

My first mandala, a symbol of balance, hope, & possibilities.

Trace a circle onto a piece of paper & create your own mandala.  Draw whatever comes to mind.  There is no “right” or “wrong”, only TRUTH.  Reflect on the image, getting to know your Self.

While there are many books on mandalas, I recommend the following as a starting point… Creating Mandalas by Susanne F. Fincher, Mandala:  Luminous Symbols for Healing by Judith Cornell, & The Mandala Book:  Patterns of the Universe by Lori Bailey Cunningham.

Storytelling- For the Spiritual Journey

“To restore the world, we must re-story the world.” 

Dr. Marilyn Steele

Can you recall the last time you were in a room with an engaging storyteller, a wonderfully talented person whose facial expressions, gestures, & voice brought a story to life for you?  Great storytellers cause us to think, feel deeply, or even act on what we’ve heard.

Last week, I heard women ‘re-story” African tales of Yemaya, Oshun, & Oya.  I define “re-story” as reclaiming an ancient story & making it relevant for people today.  Though my spiritual beliefs don’t include Yoruban goddesses, I could appreciate the lessons found in each tale & apply them to my life.

Storytellers wrap the audience in the tales they weave.

The experience inspired me to create Storytelling, the 7th in my series of 12 collages exploring aspects of our spiritual journeys.  In this piece, a storyteller is telling a story to a captivated audience (actually, an effective storyteller turns the audience into participants of sorts, actively engaging them both emotionally & mentally).  What’s the story about?  It could be a tale that inspires, teaches, explains, offers hope, or connects the listener to something greater– the Divine.

What stories are meaningful to you?   What is YOUR story?

Share with someone & connect to an ancient oral tradition found in every culture around the world.