Nature Sculptures

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Yesterday we had a lovely afternoon at Bodega Bay. When we got to the beach, the first thing I noticed were these amazing sculptures made from the driftwood all over the sand. I don't know who made them, but I thought they were incredible. Take a look:

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Aren't they amazing? I'm so inspired and encouraged when I see creativity in action like this! In the next post, I'll show you some amazing "collages" made by the waves.

The Artist and Home

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Having spent a lot of time unlearning what I learned, I would say that this quote applies to more than just artists, but that probably artistic-minded people, generally speaking, have the curiosity and tenacity it takes to dip into that deep, mysterious well, unravel everything they know in order to come out with something more truthful to themselves; that is knowledge of who they are.

In my work, I frequently explore the concepts home. After much uprooting and too many moves, the physical relocations were starting to inspire emotional and psychological uprootings. I was left untethered; unmoored, and I started wondering what Home really meant to me. In exploring the concepts of home, I realized that I had to explore my personal identity as well, which was simultaneously being uprooted as well.

My observations are that we construct and create our homes based on who and what we have learned growing up. But who we truly are may or may not completely match up to the collective value system and identity from which we came. Often, something will happen in life that will challenge our responses and tightly held beliefs about our identity. Unless we are willing unravel and untangle all of those ideas and ideals we learned, we can never know ourselves and perhaps it is in the knowing of ourselves that we come to understand our home as well.

 

Re-Filling the Inspiration Well

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My Social Media Workshop went great on Saturday! Perhaps you might have seen a few posts on my Facebook page as we were practicing. :) I love doing an interactive workshop rather than just a presentation. Not only do I think people learn and remember better when they are actually doing the work, but with a workshop like social media, it allowed us to make connections in real life as well as online and it was fun!

As a reward for a job well done and to celebrate my success, I took myself on an adventure (with my camera, of course!) to Helen Putnam Regional Park. It was a partly sunny, partly cloudy kind of morning and absolutely beautiful as you can see here (there are more photos below).

I left the house feeling equal parts tired from the weekend and anxious to catch up what I set aside last week in order to put together the workshop. However, I knew that I had better first fill up my well. No good work gets done unless it's "relaxed-focused" work. In other words, I can't do good work when I'm tired, the well is about dry or when I'm feeling anxious, rushed or hurried. I have to be relaxed to be truly focused otherwise, my monkey mind really gets the best of me and starts behaving badly, making silly mistakes, forgetting things, etc. 

As I was walking, about half way through my hike, I realized that I was smiling. The few people I passed along the way all said "Good Morning", the park is absolutely gorgeous, the weather was perfect and I had my camera with me. I was indeed re-filling my well. My body is still a bit tired, but my mind is rested and feeling much more relaxed and ready to focus. 

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New Project :: Coming Soon!

I have a special project coming that I am so, so excited about! This project is the result of a personal and creative practice that I have developed over the past several years. I'll have more details soon and the first post for my project will be posted on January 1st. Look for Embracing Grace Everyday in the menu above. 

Creative Process-ing

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Art journal page in progress

It's been a long while since I've posted and I've been super busy. I have four new large pieces in the works, I'm finishing up a color theory class and a photoshop class and I'm right in the middle of teaching an art journaling class, which I am loving! I have one piece a local show and several pieces in another. {Yay!} And in my "spare" time, I've been learning how to design surface patterns. Lots of creative activity on top of regular Life, which fuels me and feeds my soul enough to handle the "everyday" challenges.  

I've been thinking lately about what I would do without my creative activity. Probably go crazy! Or at the very least be a bit grouchy and unhappy. Over the past several months, I've had a few weeks that were taken up with other activities that needed my attention, some were family things. After about three days of not painting, I found myself feeling restless, a little irritable, frustrated, and overwhelmed. I started to become unfocused and unorganized. A little scatter brained. If a week goes by, I start feeling angry and resentful. Ugh. It's a terrible feeling and state to be in! Painting is like water to me, three days without it and I'm dying. I must paint. Whether I paint well or not is not really the issue. I would like to paint well, which I hope will come with practice. But whether I paint well or paint badly, I. must. paint. 

Isn't that strange? I have no explanation. I only know what I feel like if I avoid or cannot paint for several days and what a relief I feel after I do paint. I spent years trying to "find my way" after realizing in my 20's that I had been living someone else's life, someone else's dream, someone who was no longer in my life. I was rather shocked to discover that I didn't even have a dream for myself! I resolved that my 30's would be different, though I had not a clue as to how to go about changing things. I only knew I wanted to be at home--in my place, in my relationships and in my work, my work. Little by little, I started paying attention to what I wanted and what I didn't want; what made me feel joyful and what made me feel sad or angry. Slowly, I began to make different choices whether they made sense or not. Once I reached 40, I had started to make art on a more regular basis and had begun pursuing an artistic life.  I suspected that I'd found my path although I had trouble calling myself an "artist" and still struggled with my self-esteem. I had no idea how I would know when I'd found my home, but I knew it must be there. The first time I heard the phrase "follow your bliss", I was in a yoga class and wondered what the heck "bliss" was! It certainly couldn't be the surfac-y happy feeling that is so fleeting. So what exactly was it and how do you "follow" it? Had I ever really felt "blissful"? I didn't think so. What was "bliss" to me? It must be a bit personal for everyone, right? What did I want? To be surrounded by beauty and to create, came my answer. So, I decided to practice seeing beauty all around me, do the next right thing, follow my strong impulses and focus on my work (art making). It was a rich, deeply moving, uncomfortable, heart opening, mind altering, life changing experience which lasted two years before it became "real". As a result, there were a lot of changes, some uncomfortable and some welcome. I now know that I am on MY path and have every intention of following it wherever it leads. I'm working very hard, harder than ever in my life, and I'm happy. I feel that I've finally found my Home. I learned that the decisions come first, then action in practice and the feelings follow later. Had I not made a commitment to see things through whether or not I experienced any kind of feeling, I may have quit, thinking that home was an illusion, non-existent, a fantasy. 

What I love about teaching art journaling is that it makes art accessible for everyone, and I get to have the honor of supporting someone through their process. The creative process doesn't have to be the deep, earth moving process that I had, sometimes is just an outlet for stress or creative release or simply playtime. But no matter what kind of process one has, it is sacred to witness. Because art is a reflection of the inner life of an individual, a personal expression which no one else can truly replicate. Your marks are your marks made with your hand. Because no one else has your hand, and no one uses their hand quite like you do, no one else can truly make your marks. They might look similar, but they are not the same. This concept shows up glaringly so in art journaling. No two people's art journals are the same...ever. Isn't that incredible?!? Blows me away. I can teach one technique to ten students and see ten different results. And that amazes me! And what amazes me more is that often I see things in others' work that I would never have thought of! I love that! Art is therefore, truly collaborative, wholly individual and utterly mysterious. 

 

 

Creating Sea Themed Terrariums For Air Plants

Since I got my air plants and holders, I've been wanting to dress them up and make nice little homes for my air plants. Not only would they look cute, but my air plants would be able to stand up better. It was easy and fun. Here's how:

  • Carefully pour or spoon in the sand. I found using a spoon easier. 
  • Tear some of the moss, (smaller pieces are easier to work with) and layer some of it over the sand. I found it helpful to use a chopstick and push a stem of the moss down into the sand so that it looked like a small bush. 
  • Place some shells, sticks, small stones or crystals in the moss and sand.
  • Finally, place the air plant in the terrarium.

For information about air plant care, click here.
Resources for air plants and glass containers