Thursday, November 15, 2007

Excellent or Perfect?

This photo was taken in a small town in the highlands of Guatemala. I didn't have to do a thing but point and shoot. The bowl existed in a small area between an artist's studio/gallery and his living area. I looked out of a window in the gallery and there was the bowl in such beautiful light. It made me think of an instructor I had who would talk about painting and process.

One of the things he used to stress was that it was excellence we were after in our work, not perfection. Excellence is obtained by making and learning from mistakes, like life. So it is only by jumping in and making the effort that we will find out where our excellence exists. Those in his classes learned to never be afraid of making mistakes during the struggles of creating. What a great gift that was.

I will forever be greatful to that teacher for giving me the freedom and the wisdom to not hang on to the pain of expansion and to look for the answers, the indications towards excellence mistakes provide.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Thought Life

Sometimes my mind gets the better of me. Feeling uncreative, from experience I realize that it is only how I am thinking. If I can think of what I am doing in a different way, or take a different approach, then I change how I feel and how my body feels. So, working through the resistance to creating, ignoring all the snarky little thoughts like "no time" or "really should do this or that" or "maybe some other time" it seems all the chatter disappears and the making, the creating takes over.

It keeps me in the timeless present and makes a present of timelessness.

Friday, August 31, 2007


Everything in life changes and it may also recycle to present a similar learning opportunity again unless I learn from my journey. During times of stress when the changing causes a little chaos in my thoughts and I don't find my way to the art supplies - it is good to do some form of self nurturing to care and keep my spirit well. I think I will make a good cup of tea and while enjoying that tea, I will ponder the things I am grateful for instead of feeling adrift.

Gratitude lists seem to be so healing. Perhaps gratitude attitudes and lists are a creative act in themselves. Those actions towards gratitude for the abundance of life (rather than it's more obvious difficulties) help to ammend how one is feeling. Gratitude promotes well being.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Creative tides

The urge towards creating can be conflicting sometimes. When I am creating, my mind will pester me about the things I am not doing. When I am doing the things I must do for living, my mind pesters me about ideas and creating.

Paradox. Synergy. When I make jewelry, I see paintings. When I make paintings I see jewelry.

Sometimes, the urges to make something is like a rising tide behind a sea wall. An invisible presence pushing and growing to achieve fruition. It is tangible and can be uncomfortable. During times like this, if I can't paint, I will write. If I can't write, I will draw inside my journal or sketch book. If I can't do any of that I will work with the tools of my creating. Brushes, colored pencils, tactile beads and silver wire all bring comfort. I will neaten their containers,rearrange their storage areas and listen to the whispers of promises of what they will become. The peace of knowing they are there, ready and waiting for the creating gives me peace.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mayan Dreams

During the beginning of 2006, I made a journey to Guatemala. There I visited the Maya people in the mountains in the west, Lake Atitlan, and the ruins of the great city of Tikal in the northeast. Forever moved by the temples and the art of the Mayan people, I have a strong yearning to return. The scribes of the Maya people really resonate with me.

The Mayan scribes created pottery, standing sculptures, books full of illustrations and story and much more. Sculptors, painters, historians (they could be called a spin doctor today), astronomers, and record keepers, they lived within the city, received great educations but were often killed if the governing body they belonged to was overthrown. They were the keepers of knowledge and made art that endures and is beautiful today. Sadly, most of the written histories and myths were destroyed by invasive cultures. I crave to talk to them about their lives and beliefs especially their system of time keeping and calendar but I'll have to be a time traveler to do it. This trip still inspires me today.

A gift from a dream.

Where do we get our inspirations?

This one came one night during a dream. Struggling with subjects of a series for an upcoming show, I couldn't think of a direction I wanted to paint. Meditating about my desires for the series, I drifted off to sleep. That night, I dreamed of a huge red grizzly bear that gently whispered in my ear "Remember the Medicine Wheel." When I woke, I felt very inspired and used the medicine wheel as a basis for the series.

My painting is the result of listening to my inner bear (who is also in the painting). After the painting was done, I named it "Turns to the West". It is created with acrylics and stands 2' wide by 3' tall.

Only upon completion did I discover the bear would watch you no matter where you were in the room. After my show it journeyed with its new owner to Oregon, then while exploring art online, I ran into it again! The bear is in an on-line gallery originating from Canada. What an extraordinary red bear! It took up its own life after leaving my care.