Sunday, January 31, 2010

Watching Life in It's Evolution

This is a difficult post for me to write ... but, I want to be authentic and hopefully, with that intention, encourage all of us to more be and share who we are along life's path. So, here goes ...

I'm sure you recall my thrill and sheer enthusiasm nearly six months ago when I had the opportunity to share a studio space in the new Ashland Art Center's Second Floor Artist Studios. And for me it was a huge jump, finally believing I could possibly afford and had something to offer the public in sharing openly my art and my process. I began being asked to teach more, I grew in focus abilities so that I could paint with more outside stimuli taking place around me, and I loved the juicy stimulation of being around the other fantastic artists in studios adjacent to mine. I felt I was really in the right and perfect place to blossom and thrive.
First, conflict and then, growing friction began to appear between some of my peer studio mates. We attempted to have meetings where miscommunications and misunderstandings came to the surface. I was hopeful, really looking at what I wanted to understand, discuss and clarify. Weeks went by and I grew more uncomfortable, alienated, and sad. When finally, there was a meeting where, the only resolution to the problems came, I needed to leave the shared studio space and there was no further communication.

For a couple miserable days, I watched myself and this old pattern I had learned and apparently carried into adulthood, became crystal clear to me. "I'd volunteered to be the victim!" Slowly, suddenly I woke up! I was volunteering to be the victim!! And within hours, I had a new mantra/affirmation running thru my head knowing that "I have the perfect studio space surrounded by supportive, stimulating professionals with high standards, integrity and communication skill"! I was NOT giving up my dream!

Back at the studio (remember, I still have students and a mentoring commitments to fulfill), I spoke to some of the other artists, telling them I'd be leaving. I was astonished and comforted to see that they didn't want me to have to leave either. But I didn't see any option ~ ~ all the studios were full with a waiting list for any vacancy. One very sensitive and kind artist even suggested we trim down the "Artist's Lounge" at the top of the stairs and carve out a new studio space for me. I appreciated her soft, warm thoughts. In a few days, I received a call from the Art Center Executive Director. She said there was a movement afoot that wanted to reduce the Artist's Lounge size and use the available space for a studio - my studio. Was I interested? I was near tears. Yes, of course I was interested! Next time I went up to the studio floor, there she was: a sweet 7 x 12 foot empty space, taped off and totally vacant, offering herself up to me. For me, a miracle had happened.

Today, I moved into my new, totally autonomous space. I now have room to hang my bigger pieces, still teach private individual classes and feel unencumbered with how I show my cards, prints, tiles and journals. I feel new and free and like my quickly formed mantra/intention came to fruition faster than I ever could have believed possible. But - it was true, my dream already existed right there in front of my very eyes! Only I hadn't seen it.

So, in my journal entry ... I wanted to express the full spectrum of emotion I was experiencing. I've chosen to use symbolism or metaphor to illustrate the feelings I was having in the previous shared studio space. And although I used representational images, I've coupled them with my own expression and meaning. This is a really considerate and professional (and actually, very intimately personal - because only I understand the exact meaning I intent) to use when there is the possibly people involved in the situation reading or seeing your journal. The image of my NEW studio space is my more colorful and precise vision . . . probably more a view from my heart than my eyes. Anyway, you all understand . . . but it's a challange for my heart to do the typing.

Appreciate your open and receptive hearts in sharing this episode of learning . . . and hope it can help you along your path of lessons as they present themselves.

Friday, January 29, 2010

"Jacksonville is for the Birds"

Last year three of us "upstart" local artists created a group entitled "Art Presence", to bring about the awareness of Fine Artists and Professional Crafts persons and enliven business in Jacksonville. We are continually inventing events and the most recent is our upcoming "Jacksonville is for the Birds".

I've just finished my Birdhouse ... using polymer clay (what fun and the colors made me salivate). First, I started out deciding a theme, Victorian houses (perfect for our lil Historic Jacksonville which is full
of Victorians). Then, I researched motifs I liked or thought were applicable for my size and shape of house (a finch birdhouse). Next step was to draw an exact-to-size layout of the pieces and, along with my very generous polymer clay teacher (Sarah Waldron - do check out her lovely oil work at: endeavor to shape, size and process all the parts. She hasn't heard the story yet of how, when attempting to warm my clay, I placed it under my very warm studio desk lamp and cooked the clay (it usually cooks in a toaster over at 265degrees). Overall, I was pretty pleased with it considering it to be my first clay project - I really got into the detail, as you can see. The last day working on it ~ I had to stop myself from making a ladybug for the roses - ha,ha!

The six birdhouses completed early, as a sampling, are now on display at the local J-ville Library for a month, then, May 15th, will go into various Jacksonville businesses for viewing and a final auction, April 17th, in the park with a professional auctioneer to jazz up the event. This event is in concert with the annual Woodlands Hike-a-thon, and dedication of a new trail. Pieces that sell will donate 10% to the Woodlands, 10% to the Art Presence and the rest goes to the artist.

So we're off to see what the next adventure "Art Presence" takes us on. For now, I'm lovin' the new medium of polymer clay and having day dreams of how to incorporate it into my journals. Creativity never ends . . . savor follow where it leads you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Work in Progress

Whoa, I can't believe it's past mid-January. There have been many things percolating and this project has been in the makings for five years.

In 2005 my two good friends, Jean Warren ( and Floy Zittin (, and professional artists, were separated by family moves. To keep in touch we mailed a sketchbook between our homes in Jacksonville, near Ashland (OR), Cupertino (CA) and Bodega Bay (CA). The rule of the communication was that no written explanation was to be provided; the challenge was to communicate our lives simply through the use of images.The sketchbook was started in 2005 and continues on today.

Finally, we are having a show of these "Sketchbook" images as well as several other collaborative and "spin-off" pieces at the Viewpoints Gallery ( in Los Altos, CA in July of this year! Part of the show will include 3 "spin-off" pieces (larger paintings stimulated by the small "sketchbook" pages) by each of the 3 of us. I've begun one of my "spin-offs" taking from one of my very favorite Spring images of cherry blossoms. Above is the small, 5x7 inch, "sketchbook" entry and below is the start of the larger piece.

These bigger pieces will be 8x8 inch, stretched over stretcher bars. And like many of my lil 5x5 inch pieces, I will spill the image all the way around the sides of the stretcher bars to create a changing, continual viewpoint from every side. Yep, even the top or bottom, should you want to attach yourself to the ceiling or lay on the floor and take a peek :)

I began this larger painting during the "Ashland First Friday Artwalk" of January. I'm finding I'm even capable of painting, somewhat intelligently and spontaneously while engaged by conversation. A huge accomplishment for this artist!

So, as usual, I'm delighted to find what our spirits are able to accomplish when pushed to expand our "comfortable envelope". Here's to recommending you take some kind of risk and try creating in a more public venue . . . I'm betting you too will be astonished and pleased with that amazingly confident spirit within you.