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First Snow

As much as I dislike winter, I’ll admit that this one has been pretty sweet so far. We finally got some of the white stuff after a bone-dry Christmas and lots of glorious sunshine. I can’t complain. January blizzards bring May flowers right?

I wouldn’t call this a blanket of snow though. More like a poorly-knitted afghan of snow. Still, it’s moisture and a beautiful part of nature’s cycle. I got out for a walk to enjoy this little dusting of snow while it’s still here. Maybe winter has finally kicked in…

Though I don’t mind the sunshine.

I love to see blue sky after a storm. It reminds me that nature is optimistic.

New Painting: Ribbon Dancer

I actually started this one in late September, but I just finished it last week. Sometimes it just works out that way, and that’s fun. I have a few other unfinished pieces floating around,  but the time will come.

The inspiration for this one came when I took a drive through the mountains with my husband and two of our good friends. I couldn’t believe how gorgeous it was, so of course my artist brain was going nuts. I was so enthralled by the yellow leaves and glowing sunset that I forgot to take pictures or sketch anything, which is fine too. Sometimes it’s better to look and soak in the moment than waste it by trying to capture it.

I spend the week after that reading nature poetry and taking lots of walks, try to process what I’d taken in. Finally, I painted this. I usually use references as loose guides when I paint trees, but this time I wanted them to look less realistic and more cartoonish, like story book trees. I collaged red tissue paper and string, scraped the paint on with an old library card and built up the texture by adding layers of bright color. Finally, I added a poem by my favorite poet, Emily Dickinson in the red sky, written in sumi ink:

Nature rarer uses yellow
Than another hue;
Saves she all of that for sunsets,–
Prodigal of blue,Spending scarlet like a woman,
Yellow she affords
Only scantly and selectly,
Like a lover’s words.
It just fit so perfectly.
It wasn’t quite finished, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to add. There was no figure yet, so it didn’t feel complete to me without the juxtaposition of humans and nature.
Then last week, I was going through one of my pinterest boards (by the way, if you really want a thorough look at my brain, follow me on Pinterest) and I found a picture of a woman dancing with a ribbon. Something clicked in my brain, and I knew I wanted to paint a ribbon dancer celebrating her own joy and the beauty of nature.
So I did.
This piece is available for purchase here.

Allowing Inspiration

Most of my blog post start out as journal entries. Unfortunately, this means a lot of them end up sitting on paper for awhile until I get around to typing them up and polishing them to show you. 

I just found this entry, and even though it’s a little out of season, I really wanted to share it with you. I wrote this on my trip to Lake Powell this last summer. 

One of my greatest struggles in life is allowing things; letting things happen naturally instead of forcing them, being taught instead of plowing through experiences with a machete as if they were tangled jungles.

I’m an artist and a writer, and I used to think that everything should inspire me to write or create art. Too often I wouldn’t even do that because I was too busy waiting for the urge to strike instead of accepting what the situation gifted to me.

This trip to Lake Powell for instance. Most of the time I sit on the deck and read. I expected to write here, to be moved to sketch the beauty of the landscape or capture its grace in a poem. Instead, I’ve been hiking and swimming and kayaking, paddle surfing and wave running and cliff jumping. Neglecting my body’s hunger and fullness cues a little but sleeping like the dead at night. I feel alive. Amazing. Despite the sore shoulders and arms floppy with exhaustion, I’m invigorated.

This landscape inspires me to connect with my body, to physically explore the space around me and my own body and mind. I’m connected to my child-self, to uncover the long-buried imagination like an ancient artifact from a place I lived in another life. Were I here as a child I would have climbed rocks pretending I was a Native American, swam like a mermaid in my magical realm, that this houseboat is a ship taking us to a magical place to search for an unknown treasure, something I’d recognize once I found it. I build on this story each day I’m here.

I know this will inspire me to write or make art later, but now, in the moment of being here it inspires me to be and explore, and that’s just as beautiful and creative as art and poetry. I don’t think I’ll ever be the type of artist who’s inspired to draw every beautiful thing I see, or to write an essay about every sunset as it happens, but I’d rather watch them, be there with them and store those feelings and images in my treasure box, the well deep inside my soul that I dip into each time I create. The feelings will come out eventually in some form. They’re never lost.

I promise I’ll try to be more prompt with turning my journal entries into posts. The summery post is kind of nice while it’s cold outside though. 

Saturday Links I Love 6/4/11

Well, we made it to the end of another week, older and wiser I hope. June is, in my opinion, the best month of the year, and not just because it’s my birth month. Rainy spring starts to give way to summer, but the sweltering heat hasn’t quite kicked in. Green grass, flowers, leaves on the trees and we appreciate them because we still remember the gloom of winter, but we aren’t yet jaded by summer’s heat.  I love June because it matches my creative energy beautifully; bright and blooming, but not too intense.

Here  are some of the most inspiring things I’ve found on the we this week:

  • If you missed my guest post at Health for the Whole self, check it out!
  • I love scrapbooking because it’s the art of preserving memory. I haven’t yet converted to digital scrapbooking, but my Mom, cousins and aunts all love Heritage Makers, and they create beautiful books. My mom ever became a consultant recently, and she’d be happy to show you the ropes.
  • This chocolate torte looks amazing! Angie’s recipes and photos always do.
  • Don’t miss this incredible piece about risk on Roots of She
  • If you’d like to participate in this month’s Self Discovery Word-by-Word, get the details here. If you missed my contributions for the last few months, catch them here and here.
  • And finally, I fell in love with “What does recovery look like?” at Nourishing to Soul.
What did you find online this week?