Monday, April 30, 2012

Snapshots of My Life


Yesterday was spent with my husband, son, and friends playing tourists in our own backyard.

 Cosumnes River Valley, Amador County, Sierra Nevada foothills, northern California, USA

A picnic. Wine tasting. (Okay, no, the son did not get to taste wine, but he did learn how to play petanque (or boules, French style lawn bowling without the lawn, sort of). 

A fun day. A fresh perspective.

Relaxing.

Exploring.

Sharing.

I live in a beautiful place. 

When I remember to appreciate it. 

Letting go of the "have to get done's" and the "should really see to those things."

Life shines brightly in so many shades of wonderful.


Friday, April 27, 2012

The Running Season

I've been running again. I started off walking. Then "walgging" (jogging till you can't and then walking till you regain your breath). And progressing into straight jogging. Now I'm up to jogging with short bursts of actual running. Like, fast.


I've managed to not fall down. That right there is success. Grin.

There seems to be a certain rhythm to my running. Meaning, I will run consistently for many many months. Then stop. And not do it again for a long, long while.

The urge then returns. Walking, walgging, jogging... you get the idea. The pattern repeats.

Without looking back at a calendar or diary or journal, I know what this means now, when I start running again.

It's time to push through to the next thing. It's time to challenge myself. My body.

I'm moving because I can't NOT move. Something is ready to happen, and my body can't sit still. I must get off my feet and take myself to a new level.

So I lace up my shoes. I get through the panting and wheezing phase. I run. And soon enough, when I keep at it, I feel the joy instead of the pain.

Sticking with it, I see changes happen in others area of my life.

New opportunities. New possibilities. New vistas.

I'm better now at paying attention to these personal rhythms than I used to be. I see how everything is so connected.

And it's damn exciting! Let me tell you!

To see the correlations between what my body knows. And what my heart feels.

Exciting times folks! Thanks for being here right along with me!








Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's On My Easel Today

Hello Friends!

This week I'm continuing with the Art by the Inch project. 

You can read about it here.

And then you can see where we left off last week here.

Last Friday I met with a couple other artists and we worked collaboratively on a different mural.

I was kinda nervous.

First, showing my mural and what I was creating. You know, being vulnerable. 
 And second, working with other artists that I didn't know.

Oye.

And the two lovely folks I met and painted with? 
OMG! They are like, you, know, SUCCESSFUL and wonderful! 

One is a collage/paper artist (whose art I've seen for years at various art shows and exhibits in the county). The other works with feathers. THE MOST GORGEOUS pieces EVER! She's made her living through her art. Both have been creating for many years. 

I felt like such the newbie.

After being totally scared I showed them the start of my mural. They loved it. Ack. Really? And one said, "Oh, I can already see the pieces I want to cut out here, and here, and here..."

Seriously?

It felt totally surreal.

When it was time to get started our host had brought out a bunch of paint and some different types of gel mediums.
 
But here's the funny thing. Neither of them are painters. 

And so guess what?
 
They asked ME where we should start!

Me!

So I told them all about Fearless Painting. I answered their questions the best I could. Talked about my process and how I like to work. And then I got us started. Putting down some different gel mediums and then throwing down the paint.

Best afternoon ever!

I'll be going back to work on it some more this Friday and meet two other artists who will be contributing to the piece.

Here's a couple pictures, not the best, but you get the idea.


 
I'll share more photos as it evolves.

~~~

And. So. My mural piece.

Here's how it looks after today.



I spent quite a lot of time doing close up detail work.




Getting into the detail phase is so meditative for me. I could do it for hours and hours.

And I can say that after the challenges of last week? This week was WAY more FUN!

Yay!

So, stay tuned till next week... and, I have some BIG news that I'll be sharing. 

Squeeeeeee!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Snapshots of My Life


The Scents of Spring

They can be potent!

Do you have this lovely where you are?


I wish I had the exact name. Maybe one of you will know? I believe it is in the Buckthorn family.

Every spring its flowers give off this very, um, fertile scent.

Early in the morning the aroma is at its strongest. This is when I walk/jog/run. 

Boy oh boy. It's powerful. Instense. DISTRACTING!

I learned from a friend that local high school students - obviously the ones recognizing the scent quite easily - I would NOT have recognized it being the late bloomer that I was - call them cum trees.

So there you go. 

NOW maybe you know what it smells like.

Ha.

Just keeping things interesting around here folks.

Must be spring fever.

Grin. 


Friday, April 20, 2012

On Circles and Spirals and the Birdsong of Spring

I am expanding.

This feeling has been building. It’s a strange feeling. Painful even. An ache, a mounting pressure, that comes from where I do not know.

But I am reaching a point in my life where the game must change. It is time to put myself out into the world. To be seen. To lead. To become bigger than I ever imagined.

I am paying attention. I see the signs around me. One of the more unpleasant ones being a deep discomfort that is sometimes triggered when I witness others doing grand things with their lives. I alternate between envy and jealousy (the important distinction being the presence or lack of resentment towards those others). But also just as often accompanied by a healthy dose of yearning and faith … knowing that I too am capable and ready to do such awesome things.

The pieces are here. I have been slowly gathering and weaving them into my life. Bouncing around between each of them. Delving into the depths. Pulling back and observing. Wondering how the hell they will all fit together.

Perplexed. Frustrated. Impatient.

~~~

As of this month, this April, it has been 13 years that I have called this particular part of the planet home.

Every spring, there is a bird, whose song always, always, reminds me of that first April here in Amador County, on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada range. Up until that point I had spent my life in huge cities or large towns. What was I suddenly doing here, in a rural county? On a farm? Agreeing to work the land and my body in ways it had never done before? It was an intuitive and a gut level knowing – that somehow I managed to listen to - that brought me here. And I am so glad I did.

On the farm the work began early. The windows were open to the cold morning air, and to the birdsongs of spring. Alice - a farmer and visionary - and I sat with binoculars for a week, looking up into the trees, trying to spot the bird whose voice sang us awake each morning. Turns out it was a blackheaded grosbeak.

(You can see one, and listen to its song, here.)

This morning, as I type, I can hear that song. Reminding me of the long and fantastic road I have traveled the past 12 years.

~~~

Twelve is a circle. The clock as we know it, an hour. Two halves of a day. Or twelve months, a year. Broken neatly up into four seasons. Round and round we go. Through the seasons of our lives.

But 13 is a spiral. It takes us out of and beyond the circle. Growth and transformation. Endlessly evolving higher and higher. Circling back around but at a new level, with a different perspective, not quite where we were before.

I feel that this 13th year, in this place, is about to catapult me out into a new way of being.

And that it is going to happen, one way or another, whether I'm ready for it or not. I feel it in my bones.

To be honest, I keep hoping for some major external push. But the push, I know, must come from within. From me.

If I do not push out, beyond my comfort zone this year, I just may implode. And that does not seem like even the remotest of possibilities. And might be quite ugly besides.

So I am feverishly massaging the rosary of faith these days. That the tendrils I have nurtured to life recently of art, women’s gatherings, Francophile tendencies, an obsession with wine and the Rhone Valley - and Spirit - are taking me somewhere unbelievable. But I know that faith is not enough. Action must be taken.

It is within me. Waiting to be imagined, to be made real, to be birthed out into the world on a spiraling path of glitter and sparkle.

I know I can do this. The confidence that was not there before is now primed and ready to go. For that I am SO grateful.

But there is still the question of the What.

WHAT exactly is going to need action? WHAT is ready to be born?

I am aware, keenly aware, that when I stop TRYING so hard to figure it out, it will come flooding in.

This I am sure.

~~~

So today this is a note to myself.

Relax. Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep creating. It’s happening.

STOP trying to force it.

Breathe.

Believe.

~~~

Here’s to the beautiful, painful, glorious, excruciating phases and process of creating something new.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What's On My Easel Today (um, floor...)


Drum roll...

Presenting to you here... Week Two of the Art by the Inch Fundraiser Project!

(Oh, you can read more about what that is HERE.)

Ha.

I'm trying to convince myself.

This is not as "fun" as I thought it would be. Well, I knew it would be a challenge. But geez, SUCH a challenge?

Here's where we left off last week (after one go at it with some paint):


I've walked and circled this thing more times today than I can tell you. "Trying" to quiet the inner voices.

Sorry, wait, let me back up. I dove in over the weekend and got started:


So, I'm hoping that you were spared knowing a dermatologist when you were an adolescent. But I had the great misfortune of years of visits. Scars were left. Both physically and emotionally. And the start of this painting? Reminds me of one of the posters in the doc's office, showing what zits looks like close up under the skin. Nice, huh? Aren't you glad I shared that with you? My husband was much kinder and said it looked a big jelly fish gathering. To each his own.

And so I know, like those horrible teen years, this phase of the painting must happen. It is part of the process. Growing pains. Separating itself out from its origins. Establishing its own identity.

I know.

But still.

Beurk. (My new French vocabulary word for the day: gross.)

But I persevered. Circled round and round.

The "top" became the bottom and the "bottom" became the top.

It happens.

It felt good. I stuck with it. And got to here:


Walked around some more. Had lunch.

Battled layers of inner demons and "not enoughness" and pushed on.

I'm exhausted.

So here's where I'm leaving it for today.


Whew.

Maybe it's time for some chocolate. No, it's definitely time for some chocolate.

And it's also time to go pick up the little red headed child. Perfect excuse for calling it quits.

Oh, and wish me luck, I'm painting with others that are part of this project on Friday. All together in a big studio. Eek.

I'll let you know how it goes. If I survive.

Until next week friends!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Snapshots of My Life

Spring is in the air...

Blue Skies...



Blue skies, green hills...



Greens (& some blue) on a plate...




Short sleeves...




...and a little bit of fun too!



Hope your spring is finally being felt wherever you are (or, if you are in the southern hemisphere... HAPPY AUTUMN!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What's On My Easel Today - No Fear

This is what's on my "easel" today...

Well, okay, on the floor today.

See my feet down there, bottom left corner? That's a big white space to fill.

Seven feet by four feet to be exact. OMG!

Somewhere, somehow, either the planets have made a spectacular shift or I have managed to completely reprogram my molecules - or both. Because without hesitating for even a second, I signed up for this fundraiser:

Art by the Inch is an innovative fundraiser that will be a part of the June 23rd Jazzin It Up in Jackson event. Art by the Inch gives the public the opportunity to select and purchase sections of various murals painted by students and professional artists of Amador County... A person gets to choose a size of mat frame and examine the murals to decide which smaller part they’d like to buy... There is something for everyone... One can buy many sections, or just one, and there is no limit on the size you select. The murals will be easily visible in one place, hanging on a large exterior wall of a building on Main Street in Jackson. (And it's a fundraiser for arts in the schools!)


Can you believe it?

There were none of the usually loud and obnoxious inner critics telling me things like, "Who do you think you are?" or "Are you kidding? You've hardly been painting that long!" or "Surely there are plenty of other local artists that should be getting that big piece of paper rather than you?"

Nope. None of that.

Just this joyful, gleeful excitement of "Oh, wow, that would be SO much fun to do, I think I'll do it!"

WILD!!

Right?

Yep.

I am not just pushing forward fearlessly (doing despite the fear) - oh no - this time? There WAS no fear!

I'm kinda in shock over here. Just so you know.

But am I worried about that lack of fear? Missing it? Wishing I could just continue living life vicariously through others?

Ha.

You gotta be kidding me.

Hell NO!

Can I get a big WOO HOO!!

Did you know that a piece of paper that big takes up a LOT of gesso. It does.


And did you know that I'm going to need to invest in a LOT more paint. Oh darn.

So. Here's what's on my easel today:


Can't wait to show you how it progresses!

Celebrating big steps, big dreams, and BIG PAPER over here today!!

Thanks everyone for being part of it!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Snapshots of My Life



Today's card.

(These days I'm using this gorgeous deck by Cher Lyn.)

Every day I take a moment to pull a card for the day.

It's more of a chance for me to find a quiet moment in the hub bub of the morning routine than anything else.

Sometimes I don't get to it until bedtime.

Other days, I forget completely.

Usually though, I remember. Five minutes of stillness. A moment to ground myself in my body.

Today, children and our child within. "...let them articulate and express themselves..."

How are you expressing yourself today?

Is it pretty? Is it fierce?

Most importantly, is it you?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Dreams...


It's Friday.

I'm in a swirl over here. I loaded up on all kinds of goodness yesterday. Got super overwhelmed by it all too. The feeling that I must make things happen NOW! Let's GO! No delays. Right this instant!

No pressure.

The backfill... For the past year or so, okay, more like 5 years (ahem), I have wanted to do creative workshops for women. And for the past two years or so I have wanted to do weekend or week-long gatherings for women. I actually did a couple weekends for girlfriends this year and last year that filled me up like you can't believe.

And I participated in the most amazing weekend led by Connie H. of Dirty Footprints Studio last year in Sedona.

Then I read all about Flora Bowley's workshops and I drool not only because I SO want to participate in one (Bali? Yes please!) but really? Deep down? I want to TEACH workshops like this. It pulls at something deep down inside, like I know I NEED to do this.

Now, I don't have the painting experience like Connie or Flora, but you get the idea anyway. Gatherings for women where we can connect, reflect, create, relax, just be. Oh, and of course eat deliciously good food in beautiful locations.

This is my calling. Or at least one part of it.

So.

I know I hesitate because part of me is terrified and thinks ~ oh no way, not possible, you? Really? (But to be honest, this part is getting smaller and smaller, this voice is receding and becoming quieter and quieter. And can I even begin to tell you what an awesome feeling THAT is?).

Another part of me, my very Virgo self, would just jump in and start planning and organizing (because I LOVE planning and organizing!) and simply go for it.

Then there's the part of me that is a mother to a young child. That's a huge part. HUGE. To go off traveling the globe for week-long ventures half a dozen times a year? I'm having a hard time with that. Is it a sense of responsibility? Is it guilt? Or is it because deep down I know that there will be plenty of time to let these dreams unfold as he gets older?

And yet.

I have outgrown my day job. No secret to many. It is a great job. For a good cause. But my creative spirit has felt stifled for a long, long time.

I want to live in the now, to accept what is, make the changes I can at this moment, but also breathe into where I am at this point in my life.

But I feel like I'm not doing that very well. That my spirit is withering on the vine.

Sigh.

I don't write all this looking for a nice pat answer. There are as many solutions to this as there are ways to write about it. I need to write it all out to express it. To put into words all the mish mash of feelings I am experiencing. To put it outside of myself so I can look back over it and see it from a new perspective.

Or one of you could just tell me what to do?

Grin.

So that's where I'm at today. Friday. Thanks for listening!

Have yourself a wonderful spring weekend!

And stay tuned... because eventually? There WILL be workshops! Just saying.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What's On My Easel


Remember how last week I fretted about not having any alone time to paint because it's spring break?

Ha.

Well.

Turns out I have had plenty of time to paint.

Imagine that.

Both alone and with family present. I'm getting better at tuning them out I guess. But shhh, don't tell them that!

So way last fall I started a painting based on a card I had pulled. The card looks something like this, and is a Mayan glyph called Cib [k'eeb]. It also means Owl. I was basically copying the card and not feeling very inspired.


It sat for a while and then I started to change it up a bit. And this time I wanted to just paint, without any predetermined images in mind. Letting in morph into whatever it needed to be.


I still wasn't feeling very inspired. So I put it away and forgot all about it.

Until last week.

When putting some other paintings away I discovered this painting and pulled it out, ready to try again.

Later that day I saw on Facebook (the great tome of knowledge for our times, of course) that it was indeed the day of Cib on some version of the Mayan calendar.

How's that for synchronicity? Don't you just LOVE that shit?

I certainly do.

So here is the progress I made that day. Lots and lots of layers.



And it turns out another bird associated with Cib is Vulture. And I LOVE vulture! She showed up in the painting too.

And see the mermaid tail in the bottom corner?

You know, I don't consciously set out to put these images in my paintings. They show up. If that makes any sense. Often times I'm not even sure why they are appearing. But I know by now to trust the process. Trust my inner voice. And trust that they are all pieces of a very large puzzle that is slowly taking shape. A puzzle that is a mystery in many ways. But when I give in to that unknown, I swear, magic happens.

Here is the final painting.


Another theme in my recent paintings are these ethereal beings that hover about. My inner critic - quite different and more destructive than my inner voice - is telling me I'm doing it on purpose, adding them in, and that I am not REALLY listening to my inner voice, and that aren't we getting a bit boring and repetitive, and blah blah blah, on it goes.

I'd say it's a very fine line. Inner critic? Inner voice?

Or just crazy? Ha.

I don't know about you, but I'm choosing my inner voice, thank you very much. The inner critic has held sway for WAY too long. Many, many years in fact. Time to retire my friend. I've got things to do in this lifetime.

How's the balance in your world? Inner Critic and Inner Voice - how do they dance in your life?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Intentions


Setting intentions ...





Into this red yarn.


Connected to Sisters.


A reminder.


To speak my truth.


To speak up.


To share my true self.


Even when my voice shakes ...


Especially then.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dreams on Hold


Remember how I said I was going to step up my blogging experience?

My plan for the weekends was to post updates on this DREAM.

Sigh.

I wish this were an April Fool's joke.

We had an unplanned-for tax payment this year. A big one. Huge.

And so in one fell swoop. Swooooosh.

Hear that?

The sound of all of our savings being whisked off to other places.

It's not even like we can blame someone else. This was simply bad planning.

So some dreams that were on the drafting table have to be put on hold.

A road trip through the southwest to a wedding in Santa Fe.

My studio.

Yep. That too.

Whooooosh.

As you can imagine I've gone through a full range of emotions. All over the place. But I still managed to find some moments of clarity and non-attachment.

Still sucks.

Let me tell you, it's been a ride these past 24 hours.

And yet.

I know that money is just a tool, energy, something that comes and goes... If I believe that this "release" of money means that no more will ever come flowing in again... that the chance for the studio and a family road trip are forever out of reach... well, it's very possible that that is exactly what I will get.

If instead, I have faith that more money flows into my life, that the studio will still be built, that abundance is part of my life, then I have a better chance of that happening.

Thoughts become things. Have you heard that before?

But it's a choice. And the easy choice? Wallow in self-pity and give up.

The choice that takes a little more effort? Believing. Faith. Trust.

Interestingly enough, that non-attachment I mentioned? It has let me entertain the thought that Spirit-God-The One-The Universal Flow has different ideas about what's possible for me.

Sometimes we don't get the things we want because something bigger and better is waiting in the wings. Occasionally, when we slow down and touch base with that inner voice, we actually get a peek of what that might be. But not always.

I'd say my intuition has gotten pretty refined at telling me when something isn't in alignment with my dreams. (Whether I pay attention to it or not is something entirely different.)

I'm still working on the part that confirms when I'm on the right path.

Did I have an inkling about the studio? In hind sight? I wonder... Santa Fe trip? That too. Interesting.

Hmmm... gives me plenty to think about. Or not.

Instead? I'm going to break out a canvas and some paint. I'll lose myself in the present moment. Because really? That's all we have.


But I'll also be exercising those Trust and Believe muscles. Oh yes I will.