Monday, July 20, 2015

art lately


loves, it's been a super hot and humid summer.  and while i miss all the hiking and hammock lollygagging and other outside frolicking that this prevents for me, i'm loving all the indoor painting time.   i've been busy splashing some color on canvas in between dayjobwork and organizing the studio and all the other bits and pieces of life.

the piece above is a reworking of a practice canvas (the surface on which i try out colors and marks and techniques).  it's always funny to me how they end up being some of my favorites; probably because i'm not thinking too hard about what it needs to be.  the stage above is the hardest part of the mixed-media process for me:  when i am in absolute love with the way it looks, but i know it still needs some evolving.  i don't want to let go of any of it.

that sounds a lot like life.


i finally made the decision about which parts would show.  what i love about this process is that all of the beauty and mistakes are still there inside and the piece wouldn't be or look the same without them.  this one is still in process, resting, waiting for more inspiration.


i finally got a proper mixed media journal.  and above is my first spread.  i love that the background is completely comprised of leftover paint and paper from other works.


i am completely in love with the stage of this work.  it's the biggest canvas i've worked on, a commissioned piece.  i'm stuck here and completely in love with the colors.  it keeps telling me it wants to be something other than what i intended.


summer mornings on gypsy hill are the best.  there is this moment when the sun just peeks over the treeline and rainbow rays beam through the forest.  they are soft and intense at the same time.  i love love love to paint outside.


a few months ago, i wrote a spontaneous poem where i'm from (you can read it here).  i love it so much i've decided to capture a few lines of it in a series of smaller art pieces.  the work above was a piece a did a few years ago which i wasn't very happy with.  i reworked it a bit and now i love it.

the piece below is inspired by the lines, i am from strong women who are not afraid of dirt or silence.  it features my paternal grandma, great-grandma and great-great-grandma before they made the journey west to california during the dust bowl.


here is some awesome news:  my art workshop, outside the lines, is open for registration.  i can't wait for this opportunity to share my love of this process with others.  it is truly the most magical form of storytelling and expression.  it would be so lovely to paint with you.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

sunday grace: a new practice


when i started this blog seven years ago its primary purpose was to serve as a spot to ground me in the beauty and living of ordinary life.  the first few years i posted like a crazy person and i've noticed the posts have become fewer and fewer in the past years.   i want to reintroduce the practice of using this space as a reflection of my days, checking in with life practices i've chosen (to make sure i am doing them, not just thinking about them), and serving as a weekly benchmark to move me forward.

so i thought i would use this sunday post as a reintroduction of this practice, organized by some of the things that are important to me.  i want to reflect how i am doing with actively including them into my day to day life.

f l o w e r s



s k y  g a z i n g


n o u r i s h m e n t


cantaloupe with urfa biber chile.  and all of a sudden, tomatoes everywhere.


a r t


this is a little doodle i did while participating on a 16-person conference call.  when you are an introverted intuitive, the purpose and effectiveness of a conference call tend to escape you (so much of the context and nuances are missing), so you engage your brain however you can while you listen.

this is a new piece i'm working on in its early stages.  i like to capture the layers of the work as they move and change.


we had a bit of rain this week.  i took the piece outside and let some showers inform the direction of the work.


i experimented with some chemical movement on the same piece as well (drops of alcohol).


in a future layer, a full moon is going to be central to the piece.  just layering some understory here.


c o m m u n i t y



we spent part of saturday at an art fair held in a barn.  several of my favorite local artists and farmers were there.  it was so delightful to see them.  i especially love seeing their children play and work alongside them.



is there anything more quintessentially summer than a children's lemonade stand?


m e a n i n g f u l  w o r k


i put a few pieces of my work up on redbubble and am so grateful for the response.  stuff like this...putting work out there...is challenging for me.  i ordered one of the phone cases and am very pleased with the quality.  i also love the sweet doodled box it arrived in.  (there is a link on the sidebar if you are interested.)

i also taught a class this week filled with new child abuse workers.  they were eager, energetic and soaked it all up like sponges.  this makes me happy.

also, painting.  lots of painting.

y o g a

i did two group classes this week and one practice at home.  i also took a group meditation class and meditated at home five days this week.

s t o r y

i am reading turning the mind into an ally for an upcoming training.  it is a wonderful book about meditation and i highly recommend it.

we watched still alice last night.  this movie is haunting me.  my grandmother descended into alzheimer's quite quickly, so i've always been aware of its presence in the world.  but this story about a woman experiencing early-onset alzheimer's really hit home.  see it.

h o m e


did i mention the rain this week?  this is a view from my kitchen at twilight.  the forest outside is wet and lit.  inside it is dark and cozy.  i will never ever get tired of this view.

and while i am loving my new practice of moving out into the world a bit more frequently, i always love coming home the most of all.


thank you grace.

Friday, May 29, 2015

summer. summer summer summer.


hello summer of 2015.

embracing:
  • community.  friendships.  sangha.
  • the mountains.
  • flowers.  of course.
  • painting.  i'm having my first show in late summer/early autumn!
  • meditation.  honored to be doing teacher training.
  • creating every salad on my pinterest salad board.
  • sewing a dress.
  • a joyful body.

easing up on:
  • the excess stuff in the house.
  • my attachment to making more money (in the form of cutting some of my work work hours to make space for art and yoga and meditation).
  • things that are heavy.
  • isolation.
how about you, summer friends?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

sunday grace: where i'm from


i am from strong women
who are not afraid of dirt
or silence

i am from neon purple sea anemones
whose tentacles sway ethereally in the tide pool
and softly embrace the finger of a curious girl

i am from the dust bowl
and the apaches
and the journey west

i am from scorching sidewalks
and mexican paletas
and bare feet cooled in sprinkler runoff

i am from swimming lessons
and tennis lessons
and piano lessons and ballet

i am from the turkey king of oklahoma
and the twist king of california
(no prom queens though)

i am from hee-haw
the bradys, mr. french
and wild kingdom

i am from the fury of the misnamed pacific
the hot santa anas
nights that smell like jasmine and alfalfa

i am from backbends
and banana seats
and clover flower necklaces

i am from afternoon naps
the doves cooing and the gardenia scenting
outside my window

i am from sam and daisy
nikki and patches
and all the lost dogs who found their way to the house on castro lane

i am from teachers
and drill sargents
and photographers and poets

i am from women's lib
and kitchen dancing
and grilled abalone for dinner

i am from skateland
and disneyland
earthquakes and earth shoes

i am from a thousand books
a few broken hearts
summer skin that smells of chlorine and coconut

i am from the tule fog
always there for the girl
who wants to be invisible

i am from mrs. agan
and my fifth grade summer camp counselor
whose name i have forgotten
who saw me
and painted my portrait on a slice of california redwood

{a spontaneous version of where i'm from}



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

vibrant nourishment


when good food and amazing color come together, i am happy.  this week i made beet hummus.  you guys, it is incredible.  it is beautiful, happy and tastes fantastic.

i took artistic license with the recipe from splendid table.  what i changed from the original recipe:  i roasted an entire head of garlic and lemon along with the beets; the garlic was mellow and buttery and sweet, the roasting gives the lemon some depth while maintaining its brightness.

b e e t  h u m m u s

  • 3 medium beets, trimmed, roasted and peeled
  • 1 head garlic, roasted
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 5 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 lemons, one roasted and juiced, one left fresh for zest
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • chopped parsley and nuts and a splash of olive oil for garnish
roast beets, garlic head and one lemon at 375 degrees.  the lemon and garlic will roast for about 45 minutes.  the beets will take a little over an hour; they need to be fork tender.

once cooled, peel the beets and rough chop and place in food processor.  

squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the food processor.  

add the chickpeas, tahini, salt and the juice from the roasted lemon and give everything a whirl until smooth.  you may need to adjust with a tablespoon or two of water.  adjust salt and acidity (add more lemon juice from the fresh lemon if needed).

garnish with chopped parsley, lemon zest and chopped nuts.  serve with crackers, toasts, pita or veggies.

i mean, look at that color.



Sunday, May 17, 2015

sunday grace: spring


new creatures whirl in from non-existence,
galaxies scattered around their feet.
have you met them?
-rumi


















deep sigh.
deep gratitude.
for the beginning of things.
over and over again.
spring in virginia.
in this home.
in this soul.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

sunday grace: muse


"i am my own muse. i am the subject i know best. the subject i want to know better."
-frida kahlo

some amazing news over here:  i booked my first art workshop!  it will be in my favorite month, october, which is good because i want lots of time and space to sculpt the vision.  because the vision is massive and somewhat mercurial.  there are so many delicious ideas swirling around my head.

here are bits of the vision, still mostly unrefined, that have tumbled out on the page:

i see us exploring the process of layering with paint, paper, words, marks as a metaphor for personal storytelling and self-discovery.  using technique, color, image and intuition i see us creating together in a playful, trusting and curious way that honors chance and accident as part of the meaning.  i see us feeling safe and courageous as we discover and affirm the artists we are as our exquisite stories unfold on the canvas.

yes.  all of that.  

and music.  and laughter.  and really good coffee.

stay tuned for more details, loves.



Sunday, April 12, 2015

sunday grace: finding the things that save you


i'm constantly telling my students (who are front-line child abuse responders) that in order to survive in their careers and maintain integrity, compassion and energy for the work, they have to discover, mindfully practice and enjoy the things that save them in "real" life.  i practice what i preach.  for me, the short list includes art, yoga, flowers, cooking, dogs, the forest and learning something new.

i was lucky to combine three of these things...art, dogs and learning something new...on saturday at beautiful TOOLRY, a creative workspace downtown.  (see more TOOLRY here and here and here.)  i participated in a charcoal drawing class led by artist laura pharis.

the workshop was a bit outside my comfort zone.  i have not worked with charcoal before and my creative preferences lean toward using color in bold and abstract and messy ways.  drawing exact and realistic details in black is not something i would intuitively move toward.  but i know that learning new techniques is one of the ways to be a fuller artist.



(also saving me:  a box full of new art stuffs.)


we started with exploring the structure of the figure by drawing a skeleton and understanding the armature of the human shape.  i'm kind of loving the bones right now and can't wait to integrate them into my mixed media pieces.


puppy breaks are very helpful when you are learning something new.  this is emma.  she is the newest member of the TOOLRY family.


after a few hours of the foundations of using charcoal and drawing the human form, we were ready to move into gesture drawing and figure drawing with our model, the lovely sarah.


oh this empty white space.  i'll be honest, i was a bit tentative here.


starting with scribbling and practice and erasing always helps.  once the blank page is marked (with charcoal or paint or the first few words) it becomes much less intimidating.


after a series of two-minute gesture drawings, it was time for another puppy break.


in the first few stages of the live drawing, i fell in love with this abstract, picasso-esque sarah and the ghosts on the page.  i was tempted to stay here, but i came to learn and practice a specific skill, so i moved forward into a more realistic version.


i'm pretty happy with the final version.  but the experiences of the day were the real sources of happiness here: play, exploration, courage, kindness and creativity.  these are the things that saved me.

what is saving you this weekend?