Monday, December 14, 2015

The Summer of Amazing Serendipity...

Fishing River Bridge

As many of you know, 2014 was rough for me...between two deaths in our family, one expected, one horribly not, plus travel, a mountain of work on the new book and my Sketchbook Skool stuff, I was drained and burnt out, just treading water trying to keep up.  I tried to kick back, take care of myself, listen to myself and what my body needed...and what my spirit did.

We got a new holistic doctor who explored some of the health issues (yes, stress and depression CAN mimic heart problems--they are, rather, aren't they?), and that put some anxiety to rest.  The elephant on my chest was named Grief, not angina.

I got an extension on my book deadline; that degree of Presence I just did not have, for business anyway.  And slowly, slowly, I began to find my way back.

It was an incredible summer and fall, milder than it has been in ages.  I'm not a summer person, after a bout with heat exhaustion some years ago, and heat and humidity can keep me indoors unless I'm up and out early.  This year, Mother Nature smiled, beckoning to me...

My darling knight of a husband has always been incredibly supportive of my need to make art, pointing out things to sketch, never complaining, either sketching with me (rarely) or reading and napping while I worked...he knows I am not myself if I'm not sketching and journaling.  I lose touch.

But know how it is.  You don't want to bore or inconvenience someone who is NOT as into it.  You hurry.  You do quick sketches, unfinished sketches.

And somehow know you need more...

Well, I'd always loved our yearly trips to the Ozarks, where he would fish and fish for 3 or 4 days and I would sketch my brains out, at Bennett Springs...but that was once or twice a year.  The rest of the time I would do what I could...

This year, an amazing convergence of syncronicities happened.  The mild summer, yes...but also he discovered warm water Tenkara fly fishing. It's a Japanese style, very simple, very minimal, very elegant...and he had to try it out.

And LOVED it.  And I loved it!

There we were, every day almost, out there together, each doing what we loved most.  He fished--he says that is as close to Zen as he gets, and he can concentrate for hours--and I made art, day after glorious day after amazing day, in the part of nature I love best, near trees and water and wildlife.

I always seem to see a deer when I most need one.

Summer faded into fall and the wonderful weather held.  And he fished.  And I sketched and journaled.

And healed. 

Cooley Lake, one of my heart homes.

Exploring a new brush at Lawson Lake

Painting on a gravel bar in the Fishing River, a couple of blocks from home...

More from that gravel bar...

Tryst Falls and himself fishing...

Oak tree at Lawson Lake

Mayflies, Smithville Lake

Great Blue Heron, Smithville Lake

Smithville Lake, Lawson Lake, Missouri River, Tryst Falls, Cooley Lake, Rocky Hollow, Watkins Mill, Fishing River, all within an easy drive...all beautiful.  All balm to my spirit.

These are only a few of the sketches from our magical season...

Old tobacco barn across from Fountain Bluffs, off Old 210 Highway...

It is December, now, and somehow there are still days we are able to get out there...

And wonderfully enough, he tells his fishing buddies that he has THE Best Wife Ever...because every day it's at all feasible, I'm likely to say "You wanna go fishin'??"

My gratitude knows no bounds.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Change is in the air...

It's in the air...sometimes we have to fall back and regroup, for our peace of mind, our sanity, our soul.  Things that sounded wonderful at the time--or WERE--grow like kudzu and choke the life out of us, or out of a project.

Many of you know that I'm in the process of simplifying and refocusing...I have been, in ways, for years.  I wrote a similar blog post in September of last year, on nurturing creativity:

Heading in this direction, I no longer take commissions, I no longer paint miniature portraits, I no longer do in-person workshops.  I don't take freelance work for magazines.  The current book will be my last one for an outside publisher.  I've said yes to things that got out of hand, got horribly complex, or weren't what I'd expected.  That will stop.

Yes, even more than it has.  I want to focus on those things that matter most to me.

For the first time in a rather long time, I'm excited about a new class idea...Meaningful Journaling.  (Meaning-full Journaling?)

It may be quite some time before I have time to CREATE it, classes are complex beasts requiring hours of writing, illustration, video, and organization, so please be patient--but I'm aiming in that direction.

And I can't tell you how pleased I am by your initial response!  I'll keep you updated, and clarify more what it will be about, as time goes by.

What it will not be, is a step-by-step, how-to, demo-and-exercise class; I've done that already, in numerous formats.  It will be in-depth, personal, and a sharing of how journaling has changed my life and continues to do so.  I'll include resources and a bibliography of books that support this process--some art-related, some not.  (But as an artist, and knowing how making images can change us in amazing ways, that will be our focus.)

(And yes, this post has been sitting in my draft folder for 6 months, and the idea's been popping around in my brain for much thing at a time...)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Well, hello! I'm back.

More or less, has been more than full, and mostly good, and satisfying, though with it's fair share of pain as well.

What fills me today is being ready, finally, to start working on a new class.  More than likely, interactive again, after all this time.  Those are time-consuming and exhausting, but this is something I want to connect with, personally.  Connect with the students, personally.

It will grow out of this place--a journey begun, for me, years ago in the 70s, really.

It's time.

This is what I wrote on my Facebook page this morning:

"Someone flipped a switch in my brain. There WILL be a new class upcoming, maybe two of them, I've been writing for 2 hours and ideas just keep flowing. I love this part of what I do!

This is a class I thought of doing a couple of years ago, but life--and death--got in the way.

It's time.

It will TAKE some time to pull it together, but it feels good to be so full of energy and ideas."

And I've been writing down thoughts, quotes, ideas, and plans ever since.

It will be personal.  It will be DIFFERENT.  I'm not even sure where it will take place, yet, but most likely on my old familiar Blogger.

I'm not sure what to call it, yet..."Meaning-full Journaling" popped to the forefront this morning.

But I am confident it WILL happen.  It feels right.  I am full of a serene kind of excitement, if that isn't too much of a contradiction in terms.

It's time.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Small Pleasures...'s been a rough couple of months for me and for my family.  An unexpected and too-early death knocked the pins out from under all of us; we are cocooned in our individual lives, feelings, perceptions, stumbling about and knocking into walls that are sometimes one another. I am not feeling at all able to work on my book, it requires too much organization, for now.

A great deal has happened since my Solstice post, but for now I will just say thank God for small pleasures and the simple, everyday things.  A cup of favorite tea, a purring cat, my husband's touch, the beauty of the wild birds outside my window--the sacredness of the everyday.

...a favorite pen with a fine and flexible nib...

...the beauty of flowers...

...a bird seldom seen...I was journaling about him, above...

...and always, journaling, learning, growing, creating.

The class I'm taking is called Everyday Sacred, and it is helping...I have a focus that is letting me see more clearly and let go.


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