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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rainy Day Feelin

Here's the view of the pear tree from my studio today. The raindrops keep sliding down the window, like tears; and the tree is all a blur. Not very inspiring!

I do find, though, on days like this that I become introspective. I've been feeling the heaviness of the winter lately, and miss the colors of nature so very much. (I've been using bright, bright colors in my art lately--probably an attempt to satisfy my need for color.) But introspection is a good thing; a necessary thing. It's one of the paths to growth.

It will be a good day for reading, and perhaps to listen to my Steve Halpern CD, Chakra Suite. It's designed to cleanse and rebalance one's chakras, especially when using headphones. Yes, I think I will do just that.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Signs of HOPE! The cute little smiley-face is Addison, my 2-year-old granddaughter. She gets this mischievous look on her face quite often--usually followed by a comment with lots of dramatic flair. Yesterday she said, "I have to get all my instruments!" (meaning her toy piano, drum, cymbals, and tambourine--and she can name them all). Whenever any of my grandkids are here, I feel joyful and optimistic. They're a little reminder of childhood innocence and awe.

This morning I awakened early and felt compelled to go into my reading room and journal. As I was doing that, I heard the lovely song of a red-winged blackbird. I looked out, and sure enough, there was one perched on the top of the feeder. Soon there were many of them, singing a lovely chorus. It became quiet again, and then I heard a new song. Could it be? YES! A whole flock of robins in the pear tree, sounding just glorious.(The same pear tree that just 4 days ago was covered in snow!) I felt alive with joy and hope. Even though they were gone as suddenly as they appeared, it left me feeling that Spring cannot be far away.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

floating mats

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My friend Becky is leading a womens' retreat this Saturday based on the Bible story about the leper who wanted to be healed by Jesus and his friends lowered him into the room on a mat. After Jesus healed him, he told the man to take up his mat and leave. Becky wanted me to come up with some kind of mat that each participant could take home with them.

I had this old Audobon Society weekly calendar that had gorgeous nature pictures in it. There weren't quite enough to complete all the mats, so I also used another old calendar that had sunflowers. This is the result of weaving the photos together.

Selecting the photos was a no-brainer. Weaving them together took a little planning, but I was able to measure and mark them so they all came out uniform. The actual weaving part was very relaxing. Gail, Becky, and I wove to our heart's content yesterday, marveling at the way the mats turned into something totally different.

I also thought the weaving was symbolic--of how all of us women come together, each with our own separate schedules and agendas; and then throughout the day, our unique stories become woven together.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

PEAR TREE in Winter

Winter isn't done with us yet! The pear tree looks graceful and pure wearing its coat of white. The lovebirds in the birdbath don't seem to mind. And of course, it's still February. I'm sure there will be plenty more snow and cold before this winter is over.
There IS something calming and peaceful about watching the big snowflakes being blown about. And all of this is necessary for the earth to regenerate--and for all those bulbs I planted last Fall to be ready for Spring. Yes, all of this is true.

And yet I am longing for greenness, as I always do this time of year. Longing for green grass, growing things, the river and our boat, days that are longer and warmer. Like everything else (including the economy), it is a gradual process. I remind myself to stay faithful to the journey. And one day soon I will be posting photos of tulips and daffodils and a budding Pear Tree.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Today I took a big step towards my Art Journey. I booked a day for an Art Show. The date is May 16, and it will be at Grace Place in our church. On the one hand, it seems like an odd place for an art show, but on the other hand (as my son Andrew reminded me) it makes perfect sense because my former pastor and spiritual director, Barb Donica, was the one who encouraged me in my art.

The purpose of this show is to share my art, expose people to Altered Art (which is quite different for many), reflect on where I've been on my art journey, and most importantly to "make way" for the next leg of my journey.

Here is a piece I just completed, using stained tissue papers we made at our workshop. It started out as a City Scape; but as so much of my art does, it took on a life of its own and became this statement of transformation. It has a lot of contrast, in both color and texture. The colors are unusual for me, but I have recently fallen in love with purples and grays. In fact, I just repainted our bedroom last week in--grays and purples, of course. With accents of lime green and turquoise, grounded with black shiny surfaces.

"Transformation" seems appropriate for this time in my life. And this art show feels like a big part of that.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lovely Chairs

These are some chairs I painted years ago. Each was discovered at a garage sale, and each received a revived life after meeting my paintbrush and acrylics.

They usually sit here, in front of one of my "Chicago Style" windows in the dining room. They add a little pizazz to the area, and when we need extra seating at our round dining table, they're easy to pull over.

Recently these chairs have been calling me in a new way. There is a project called "The Beckoning of Lovely" to which I belong (I am an Ambassador of Lovely--isn't that fun?). I've been thinking that the LOVELY THING I would like to create--perhaps with help from my Creative Spirits Art Group--is a Lovely Chair.

There's something about looking at one of these chairs that intrigues me. The chair itself does seem to beckon you to come, sit for a spell, take in your surroundings, have a lively conversation, sip a cup of tea. It's an invitation to stop whatever you're doing and take a new perspective.

And isn't that what we all need this time of year--a new perspective?

(for more info on the project, check it out on You Tube: The Beckoning of Lovely)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Today is Shasta's day. Here she is enjoying one of her favorite pastimes: rolling in the snow. She absolutely loves the cold weather. Even on the coldest days we've had, she stays outside, guarding her yard.

The highlight of her day is when Phil takes her for her walk. When the weather is warmer, she gets TWO walks per day--one in the morning with me, and her afternoon walk with Papa. We're lucky enough to have a forest preserve in our backyard that has paved paths, so that's where the two of us always go. She loves to check her pee-mail!

At this moment, she is snoozing under the computer desk, which is where she hides when there's thunder or other loud noises. She's five years old, and napping is another one of her favorite pastimes. Such a loving, faithful friend.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Click to play Creative Spirits Retreat
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Art Retreat: New Beginnings

Photos from the Creative Spirits one-day Art Retreat yesterday. It was a great time, and it seemed everyone was grateful to get a chance to create in community. We haven't had that opportunity for a long time, and we certainly got into it. I demo-ed a technique for staining tissue paper that I learned on a DVD; quite simple but lots of fun with lots of possibilities for using it in collage. In the afternoon, some of us textured our papers with stamps, strings, coffee grounds, some watched the DVD, while others got right into collaging.

The creative energy was awesome. I hope we get more opportunities to do these. The day did start out quite frustrating for me, as I got so lost trying to find it! As I went home, I realized how easy it actually was to find--IF ONLY I had trusted the directions I got from The Center's website! But I had to get Google directions at the last minute, and it totally confused me. There are several lessons to be learned from that experience, and I shall explore those in my Art Journal later today. But even with that, I was able to tune right into that creative zone, and had a great time. And what lovely, lovely papers were created!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Just returned from visiting my friend Lora in Mt. Morris. Had a lovely time. Her two cats, Gracie and Callie, kept me so amused. It's been a long time since I connected with cats. Having grown up as an only child on a farm, cats and kittens were my constant companions then. These two are so different from my Golden Retriever, Shasta. (I think I shall now have to give equal time on my blog to Shasta!)

Lora and I each created a small boardbook during my stay there, and the "girls" were ever so curious about my art supplies. It was so nice to have a change of scenery and to visit with Lora.

Her schleferra plant is so abundantly beautiful! She keeps little twinkly lights on them, and at night the whole plant is breathtaking. Reminds me that when we highlight the natural, it can be even more special.

Getting ready for our Art Retreat tomorrow. I'm hoping it goes well enough that others want to do more of them. But for now I'm off to the back porch to soak in some of this amazing 50-degree sunshiney weather we're having.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Postcard Art

Here's a little postcard I made today to send to my great niece in Omaha. Her preschool class is asking for postcards from all over the world. While Joliet, Illinois is not an exotic location, at least her postcard will be unique in that it contains actual art.

It's so interesting to view my art like this. Now that I see it from this perspective, I can see that the purple resembles wings, and that the overall effect is butterfly-like. That was not intentional, but very cool to see. The tiny circles on the right say:Spread Your Wings/Pretty Bird/Sing to Me.

These colors: deep purple, lime green, turquoise, and silver with black and white, are a color scheme I am playing with currently. I'm thinking of redecorating our bedroom using these colors. The walls would be gray, the bedding is black/white/gray with graphic circles, and I'm planning some kind of creative headboard using wood painted black and possibly those faux silver ceiling tiles. The bright colors come in with pillows and other accessories. It's unlike anything I've seen or researched, but it is pleasing to me.