Saturday, January 31, 2009

Obama Bread!

Intrigued by the headline? Well, it goes back to Inauguration Day (oh yeah, I'm a tad behind) - so close your eyes and pretend . . . I was just completing my morning yoga and hubby turned up the volume on the ceremony going on. Quickly finishing up my final stretches, I hopped to the living room and seated myself on the green couch next to our morning wood fire - cozy.

I proceeded to listen to the music, the swearing in's (is that a word?) and the prayers. Intermittently, I tear up and feel the trickle down my cheek. I couldn't believe how blessed it finally felt. Just lil' moments of hope, or truth - finally from Washington. Not to mention the magnitude of people just wanting to be "there" - they didn't even care if they could see the ceremony.

It was the feeling that was present - it was palpable. And it stirred my insides, like probably some other times in history where us citizens REALLY needed to be moved by our elected officials. I trust it's a ripple effect, that maybe started with the "miracle on the Hudson" days earlier, and will continue in D.C. as well as in citizen's cores. Yep, call me a "dreamer" but, that's how things gather momentum for change.

So, oh my, I'll stop waxing . . . and get to the Obama Bread! That evening we'd been invited up to a friends to share the celebration. We were to bring champagne and our smiles. When we got there, the soup smell filled their home with thick richness, and hugs and eats proceeded. Along with the other delectables was an odd looking bread I was informed was "Obama Bread"!
A nearby bakery, in Ashland, Oregon, I believe named "Mix Bakery" on the square had prepared it. The texture and make-up so replicated, well, at least to me (and I am writing this) our new President! The crust was firm with black seeds and other textural grains (sorry, this is all from memory) while the inside was wholesome, gentle with warmth and flavor - and of course, shaped in an "O"!
While we munched, we watched videos of earlier Obama speeches and finally, the Inauguration. I was surprised I didn't cry then, seems the virtual, actual happening held something for me earlier. And too, I know I was distracted by others comments etc. It was a fun evening, breaking up for each of us to do our evening "things". But it felt final and solid - like I like a day to feel.

So you see, Dorothy, there really is an "Obama Bread" and it was good!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Journal Updating Frenzzzzzzzie

Have done a flourish of marketing and "PR" for my upcoming Women's Mexico Retreat (for more info check out: - sorry, I'm still sort of in that mode - but, I have taken a creative dive (no, not negatively) - but, deep back into my sweet world of Journaling.

I'm still filling in small watercolor sketches, business cards and other found memories from my Colorado trip way back in late August. Oh my! But I'm having sooooooooooo much fun and wallering around in thick juicy wet watercolors as well as delicate portraits.

These adjacent pages were from the Labor Day time period, which I spent with delightful friends in Fort Collins. Our major aim one of the days was sampling and drinking in galleries in the area, but much of the time was leisurely just enjoying beautiful weather and comfy companionship. Since I'd last been in Fort Collins they'd integrated a charming Old Town Square that now serves as a central hub for gathering for families and visitors. We laughed alot watching children with ice cream cones and playing in water fountains.
The second page was my farewell day to Colorado. We drove down from Fort Collins into Denver where I got to visit with one of my few living relatives - my favorite Uncle. He's in his late eighties and seems pretty happy as long as he can watch his football! It was a joy to see him getting around but, reminded me of my mortality. The draped little paper flags was a fun solution to "what do I do to preserve the seven tiny love notes my dear husband tucked in my suitcase - one to read for each day?". I strung them on a piece of raffia twine, attaching each with a small bit of ATG double sided tape at the fold, then tied a know on the back of the page after poking the twine thru the paper page. I like the solution because it makes the notes accessible to read, yet keeps their privacy too.
The last page seen here is from a trip my husband and I took to Weaverville, CA. We'd stopped in Redding, CA at Turtle Bay to see the "Bodies Revealed" exhibit, an amazing show of actual interal human body parts illustrating the amazing and intricate reality of our bodies. My sketch was from an evening walk we took thru town enjoying the coolness of the day. It was at the last moment that I added the paper punched stars along the bottom . . . it really references the next page . . . where I did feel like a "star". You'll have to tune in again to see what that entry is. Don't worry, it will be soon - once I get into my journals it's hard to pull me away.
Happy creating - oh - and enjoy the journey there!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Honor of being "Featured Artist"

If you're an artist intent upon this creative field as a career, you will come to appreciate your collegues. These "students in the world of art" travel many a common road by our sides, some as invaluable supports, others strengthing from different positions. Where I cultivated Fine Art career in the Bay Area, there is more than a handful of absolutely amazing women artists who have remained nestled close to my heart (and in some cases) and paintbrush.

One of these such women, Chris Beck, an accomplished watercolor artist( And although she has remained in the Bay Area, we have stayed in communication via the email. I check out her web updates and she has followed my new travels here in Oregon.

As in most of our careers, things evolve and Chris recently decided to leave a gallery committment and venture into other realms of her continuing creative career. One of the self-less projects was to start a rotating blog site where Watercolor is the star of this blog -- an attempt to show the range of this vibrant medium through the work of many wonderful painters. It will feature mostly artists working in traditional transparent watercolor. She may issue an occasional "wild card" so she can include artists using other watermedia in a fluid manner but will post a new artist each week.

She has so honored me, by featuring several pieces of my work along with a brief bio listing some accomplishments. So I hope you will pay her tribute by dropping by this site now, to check out my entry, but also later on. Just to relish some pretty proficient creatives.

Many thanks again Chris, for selecting me along your artist path. It is an honor and a blessing to be an artist. I wouldn't trade the way I see the world for anything - well, maybe for spiritual enlightenment. Yes, that's a prayer of sorts . . .

The Honor of Being a "Featured Friend"

The post from yesterday bubbled up more thoughts of peer artists who are "students in the world of art". And I could think of no better title than the above . . .

Two of these women which I have to pay tribute to, are Jean Warren and Floy Zittin These friendships evolved over several years, sharing outdoor shows and various clubs. Slowly, respect and common values emerged, bonding us together. Eventually we'd travel together (don't let them tell you the story of when I left food on the Yosemite patio and the resulting wildlife invasion!), paint together, hang shows together and socialize together. Both these women have continued in close friendship, even though two of us are now miles away from the Bay Area.

We dreamed up these fascinating projects to stay connected - one, is individual "sketchbook statements" on a 6x7.5 piece of watercolor paper. Each time we receive the packet (now over 50 in count) we choose to either 1) make a specific statement about where we are at, at that moment OR 2) make a response to the preceeding pieces by the other two artists. It's like Christmas all over again when I receive that packet in the mail. I run to open it in the silence and seclusion of my studio, turning on my full spectrum light for the best viewing. Then, WOW, what inventive, beautiful visions are laid out.

This is what will follow you along your art career as an artist IF you and your friends are willing to put the energy necessary to stay connected. And I can't even tell you the value these two ladies have had in my life, not just as art mentors, but as true friends.

So let me promise you that there are many delights and disappointments in the Art Career but, w-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-y above the stuff (product, sales, progress, solitary hours, marketing, etc.) are the relationships you make along the shared route through life. These kinds of thought help me remember what REALLY is important.

Namaste - E

Friday, January 9, 2009

Twitter Thinking

Do I need another adventure? Who cares . . . I've trotted off into one. A friend invited me to join "Twitter" and it's surely effecting me. First of all, it's more time on the computer AND it's got lots of new, "tech-ie" things that is bending my brain to learn.

But, also, I'm noticing - there are new thoughts AND more thoughts coming into my brain. Now, not always is that good, but this is - cuz they are positive, expanding thoughts. One of the inspirations that has come - is setting a daily intention. I've been wanting to do this for awhile and posted early in the day on my "twitter" site what my daily intention is - sets my day. It's helping me see how I "usually am thinking" and points it in directions I choose!

Another thought that passed my path yesterday . . . was this article:
A Violinist in the Metro

On a cold day in January, a man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. Since it was rush hour, it was calculated that a thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip. A woman threw some money into the hat and continued to walk. A few minutes later, a man leaned against a wall to listen to the musician, but after looking at his watch he walked away. Clearly he was late for work. The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. Obviously in a hurry, the mother tugged at the boy, but the kid stopped to listen to the violinist. Finally, the other gave a hard push and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on. In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for awhile. About 20 people gave him money but continued to walk . He collected $32 when he was finished playing. Silence took over, no one noticed . No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats cost an average of $100.
This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the metro station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. They concluded that in a commonplace environment, at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context? If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

J. Richard Schultz

This article helped me formulate the intention for today: "see beauty!" And it made me realize that one of the benefits I find in being an artist, in the time I'm painting is that it takes me to that slower, more observant place - where I s-e-e-e-e-e-e-e more! I perceive more color, more texture - I have more awareness. I takes me to a place in consciousness that must be higher, because it heals me, calms me, reminds me who I really am. And I haven't painted in a few days. Today I will!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Positive Perspective

The ole' saying, "Happy New Year" is what I'm 'sposed to say!?! Right?!? Well, I'm headed hopefully into the next year while shining a positive light on the ending of December.

Two of the "happy children" from my relationship, brief as it may have been, with my recent gallery partnership are these two small pieces. They came to birth from a yearning to express "in small" two Winter-y images that have been in my head for awhile.

This first one, "Winter Cardinal", is on stretched canvas, actually watercolor paper, sized 5 by 5 inches by 1 1/2 deep. We have a new bird feeder just outside our kitchen window and have fallen so in love with watching the wee-ones feed, dance in the snow and even nestle under the eaves while gorging on seed. It took us awhile to learn about the proper seed to attract the smaller birds: finches, titmice, siskins and chickadees. But now we have the sweetest lil feathery creatures visiting us. So this ole image I had of this chubby cardinal has drawn more appreciation due to my new feathered friends. I'm pleased with his fluff and his reflections in hot reds & pinks against the cooler foliage. But the greenery echoed back some cheery, red berries to balance the color.

The second small piece measuring 4 by 11 inches by 1 1/2 deep, "Autumn Glow", is a vision shared when a dear friend was visiting. We had spent the day up at an exhilarating snow storm at Crater Lake and when returning to the warm Rogue Valley, we caught site of this glowing rainbow halo above the snow peaked mountain ridge. It was magical . . . and for a couple years I've had the design all drawn out . . . waiting to be painted. So when I wanted to paint quickly, a small, long piece, this image came to mind. And it flowed out and onto the watercolor paper so quickly I was surprised. Since the piece wraps around the sides and over the top, you can not see the rainbow unless you peer at the top of the piece. But the fall colors and the dramatic impact of the clouds against the velvety green mountains emphasized the glow of the moment.

This one is dedicated to my friend, Ron, who shared the scene that day. It's a rather fitting dedication as I spoke to Ron today and, although both of us have moved several times in different directions - our friendship has moved only closer, deeper and of m-o-o-o-o-r-e value than ever.

Seems in the writing of this post, I have come down to the two items I most treasure - last year, next year and into the vast future - 1) the vision us artists are able to hold in our mind's eye that must be expressed and 2) the heart link maintained by friends that can revive and save our spirits.

Perhaps for the start of this new year . . . one might take a moment to evaluate what matters most in your life . . . it does bring things into a positive perspective. Happy New Year!