Entries from: January 2007

We Are All Made of Stars

January 11th, 2007, Comments (18)

For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. -Vincent Van Gogh.

Yesterday my inner critic was loud, but fortunately, it's not the only voice in my head. Self-doubt comes in waves and I think Julia Cameron said something to the effect of the best way to the conquer self doubt is to get back to work. So, today, I played with my new set of caran d'ache (watercolor crayons). I messed around with them and some water on paper, making a colorful background and then the circles, then I stared at it all for awhile.  I  got the feeling of a figure, curved and her hand was holding one of the circles, which yes, was a star! In her body, stars formed at the chakras. And then the title was clear, we are all made of stars.

Commitment, Comparing, and Compassion

January 10th, 2007, Comments (5)

Made this as an absolutely last minute entry to Inspire Me Thursday. I picked the word yesterday and tonight after class I did this doodle in my kitty sketchbook of the word. Very colorful, no?

Did I mention, how much I love The Book of Awakening? It constantly makes me think and it makes me want to quote the whole darn thing quite often. Today's passage is about being who you truly are, which made me think of Melba's recent post about comparing herself to others, and of Liz's post about speaking her truth.

"We are born with only one obligation - to be completely who we are. Yet how much of our time is spent comparing ourselves to others, dead and alive? This is encouraged as necessary in the pursuit of excellence. Yet a flower in its excellence does not yearn to be a fish...But we humans find ourselves always falling into the dream of another life."

I've been feeling a bit creatively blocked the last few days. I have sensed that I've been afraid, but I haven't been pushing through it, instead I've made it worse by comparing myself to others. Last night on a stroll through internet-land, I was perusing artist colonies and retreats and then some of their resident artists. I didn't love everything I saw, but some of it, simply blew me away. Like jaw dropping wow. And all the insecurity came rushing in. My critical voice is screaming, "who do you think you are? you have no talent. you suck. you are so full of it." and so on and so forth. and yeah, that didn't make me feel any better.
So this passage was timely.

"...when we compare ourselves to others, we see neither ourselves nor those we look up to. We only experience the tension of comparing, as if there is only one ounce of being to feed all our hungers. But the Universe reveals its abundance most clearly when we can be who we are."

In other words, I am enough. This has been one of my affirmations and I haven't used it lately. Perhaps it's time to start with that one again. I loved this last bit, which reminded me of this post at Caroline's.

"And compassion, sweet compassion, is the never-ending story of how we embrace each other and forgive ourselves for not accepting our beautifully particular place in the fabric of all that is."

This year, along with commitment to my art and my fiansor, I am making a commitment to myself, to be my unique self, to let go of the comparisons, to be compassionate when I fall, and to get back up again.


January 9th, 2007, Comments (5)

I've been reading a lot today, so much interesting reading today. Just now, I was over at Tammy's blog and she mentioned Christine Kane's blog, so I went over there and read her post about using a one-word theme for the year. I did this last year as part of Swirly's 52 Figment's project and my theme was love, as in loving the world, loving myself, loving the people in my life, loving life. And I did experience quite a bit of love this year, not to mention 101 people in my life got engaged or had a baby this year. I didn't chime in on this this year because I couldn't think of the word I wanted, I knew change was ahead, but that didn't feel right, in Christine's story she spoke about courage and I rolled that one around in my head for a bit and that wasn't quite right either. I read through her list of suggestions and all the comments, someone mentioned commitment, and i thought, hmm. Then Christine mentioned that quote regarding commitment and the lightbulb went on with a ding! Yes, this is the word, commitment to my art-making, commitment to myself, not to mention this word seems quite appropriate in this year of many weddings (including my own!)

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: 

Whatever you can do,
Or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius,
Power and magic in it.

-W.H. Murray


January 9th, 2007, Comments (2)

Saturday, Jamie asked us to notice, glean and gather clues for Try Day on CaC. I think I do this all the time as I find it fun and interesting, but the reminder to stop and look is always wonderful, so I took advantage of the suggestion and pulled together a bunch of magazines and catalogues at my disposal, flipped quickly through them and pulled images that caught my eye. I put them aside for a day and then yesterday laid them out on the bed (not my bed, I'm at work 24/7 this week) and looked. I noticed there were a bunch of images of windows and doors. This makes sense to me, thinking of endings and beginnings, being on the verge of change, looking through the window.

Later, looking for a quote regarding how to live with sadness in the world, I didn't find what I was looking for, but did find two passages relating to doors. One being, "The truth is that every fresh experience has this dizziness of freedom that we must move through. Each time we reach beyond what is familiar, there is this necessary acclimation to what is new. It is the doorway to all learning. We needn't be afraid of it or give it too much power. We simply have to keep leaning into what we are learning." - Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakening (linked to the left.)

There are other things I've been noticing, but this is enough for now. I will most likely use those images above in a collage. And did you notice my cute new argyle shoes and the kitty sketchbook (a gift from my youngest brother)? Perhaps you'll notice something else in the images above.

Creative Challenge!

January 7th, 2007, Comments (10)

This month I'm the host of Creative Challenge Sundays on Cac. The topic I chose is intuition. I love to use intuition in my art-making and highly recommend it. There are different ways to do this, many different approaches. When I first started collaging regularly, I saught out some classes that worked with intuitive painting. I went to a weekend workshop in the home of Aviva Gold, author of Painting from the Source. In that workshop we set up in the basement with cups of paint and huge sheets of paper that we taped to the wall and we could expand the painting by adding sheets of paper. We slept in the house, so if we wanted we could paint at any time of day or night. I kind of like to work alone and I had a migraine that was keeping me up, so I got up in the middle night to work on it. It was a pretty wild experience just going with the flow and going for so long. What started out as a dark cave became a woman's breast which became attached to a large women with a hand on her shoulder, who ended up holding a baby and she was wrapped in a blanket that I used to own.

And here's a detail:

In the end it felt like this piece was about re-mothering myself, I was both the woman-figure and the baby and the hand...well, I think that is the Universe's support. Those were many, many pieces of paper, but work like this doesn't have to be so large, you simply have to allow yourself to create without thinking, if that makes any sense.

For this week's challenge I did a smaller piece across two pages in an art journal. I'm not sure what the birds are representative of, but I've been seeing a lot of birds and flying in my art lately. I think it has something to do with freedom, with leaving my job, with leaving the security and stability of the ground to jump off into the unknown, the uncertain, where the drop is quite frightening, but as for the possibilities, sky's the limit, yes?

Photo Thursday on Friday

January 5th, 2007, Comments (7)

What greater gift than the love of a cat?  ~Charles Dickens

Sadie and Emma

Didn't get around to posting this last night, but Krista has posted the theme of "Sustenance" on CaC. The first thing that came to mind was a picture I took recently of my two kitty girls (we live in 4 cat household, one cat being origninally the fiansor's, two being originally mine and one is ours together.) Sadie and Emma have been my longest relationship (9 years!), they have moved with me from apartment to apartment, city, rural, and suburban homes. They have snuggled me when I was sad, cuddled under the covers on cold nights, made me laugh and coo. I have many a funny story about them and gosh darnit I love them to pieces. I knew the fiansor was a keeper when he immediately took a liking to my cats. :-)

I adopted them from the same vet clinic in Boston about a year apart. Sadie was the runt of her litter, a little spit-fire cat who I found pushing her bigger brothers and sisters out of the way so she could get to the food. The first night I got her home, I was up all night barfing my brains out with food poisoning. So, I was awake to hear her first purr in my presence, the loudest purr I've ever heard! I wondered how such a monster purr could come out of such a little kitten! She has continued to keep me company, she is the biggest snuggler (she demands snuggles and won't take no for an answer), the biggest pig (she'll try to swipe your food) and the biggest love bug around. She's the only cat in the house who brings us presents nearly every day. Since she's an indoor cat and can't deliver them in the form of prey (mouse guts), she delivers them in the form of large cat toys (the biggest ones are usually her favorites) such as grey mousey, which is worn like a well-loved teddy bear complete with holes and stuffing coming out. And despite being the oldest, she still has as much spunk as the youngest cat and is his playmate. She can usually be found in the coziest spot possible, preferably on both the fiansor and I at the same time or doing a beached whale impression on the floor.

Emma is my little baby. She is the second oldest, but I still think of her as the baby. She looks a bit like an owl with her over-sized round eyes and she squeaks like a mouse in greeting. When I saw Emma she was alone, her brothers and sisters had been purchased and gosh darnit, I couldn't resist her, she was the most adorable thing ever. She's been a sweetheart from the start. I carried her home in my arms on the subway and despite standing up in a crowded subway train, she managed to fall fast asleep against my chest. She made fast friends with Sadie and they can often be found as one big ball of snuggled tiger fur.  Emma looks and acts like a princess, but she's the most fearsome hunter and the only one I've seen actually catch a mouse. She's a mommy's girl and runs to me when the youngest chases her and likes to sleep in the same spot every night near my head. She has big, big paws with an extra claw and she uses them like hands to pick things up. She loves all things salty and used to eat popcorn right from the bowl. I can't really let her eat people food though because she has a sensitive tummy and will barf it up. The fiansor says she's not the brightest cookie because one of her favorit things to do is sit and stare at one of our small surround sound speakers for long periods of time.

Can you tell I love them? I could go on and on. :-) Sustenance for me is many things, good food, my family, the fiansor, art-making, trees, water, the starry sky, my bathrobe, warm bubble baths, etc...and up there on the list of things that sustain me would definitely be my gorgeous kitties.

It is impossible to keep a straight face in the presence of one or more kittens.  ~Cynthia E. Varnado

In order to keep a true perspective of one's importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him.  ~Dereke Bruce

There are few things in life more heartwarming than to be welcomed by a cat.  ~Tay Hohoff

If cats could talk, they wouldn't.  ~Nan Porter

There are two means of refuge from the misery of life - music and cats.  ~Albert Schweitzer

A catless writer is almost inconceivable.  It's a perverse taste, really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys.  ~Barbara Holland

If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much. ~Mark Twain

As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat.  ~Ellen Perry Berkeley

Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause most inconvenience.  ~Pam Brown

A cat can be trusted to purr when she is pleased, which is more than can be said for human beings.  ~William Ralph Inge

Your cat will never threaten your popularity by barking at three in the morning.  He won't attack the mailman or eat the drapes, although he may climb the drapes to see how the room looks from the ceiling. ~Helen Powers

I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult.  It's not.  Mine had me trained in two days.  ~Bill Dana

A cat pours his body on the floor like water.  ~William Lyon Phelps

Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want.  ~Joseph Wood Krutch

Intention and Abundance

January 3rd, 2007, Comments (8)

I'm planning to follow along with the book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy this year. I decided tonight that I'd like to work with it this year. The book follows through an entire year, so it wouldn't be quite like the the Artist's Way. The style is different in that it has short daily essays and occasional tasks. I love her (Sarah Ban Breathnach's) style of writing. It's gentle. And among other things is aimed at helping you live your life more authentically. I want more of this in my life. I think with all the changes ahead I'll need to center myself again and again. I never seemed to come to this book at the start of a year, but this year I have it and the timing seems right. I don't expect there to be the interest of AW, so I'm not going to promote it as such, but I will simply say that I'm going to go through it and blog about it here and anyone who would like to, may join in for some Simply Abundant Blogging! :-)

Heh, I just got a wink from the Universe in the form of looking up at the tv where the fiansor is watching a basketball game to see the game tied at 17-17 with 17 seconds left on the shot clock. Groovy.

I've been thinking about goals or intentions lately. I suppose this is par for the course this time of year. But I've been writing out various goals since I decided to leave my job a few months ago. Last night I tried to break it down a little bit into categories. Last night I journaled many pages, here are 2 journal pages I wrote about this.

Today's entry in S.A. (Simple Abundance) says, "Today I want you to become aware that you already possess all the inner wisdom, strength, and creativity to make your dreams come true. This is hard for most of us to realize because the source of this unlimited power is buried so deeply beneath the bills, the car pool, the deadlines, the business trip, and the dirty laundry that we have difficulty accessing it in our daily lives." Breathnach writes that instead of waiting for external events to create change, we can be the catalysts for our own change. She writes of an inner shifting. Along with all the external change occuring, I feel big internal shifts happening as well. They've been building and building over the last 5 years or so, or you could say they've been building since the day I was born, each moment leading to the next.

Life is feeling very abundant for me right now and I am so grateful. I find myself hurting for the people I see hurting around me, while also aware that it's ok to be happy. Do you believe in the laws of attraction? The idea that what you think about becomes your reality? I've had experiences of this happening for me, a story for another time, but still I don't know for sure. It seems possible though and I like to play with it. I play with it in morning pages and sometimes in collage. I read a really cool example of an artist doing this today. She uses the laws of attraction in her goal-setting. I got the link from the Art Biz Blog newsletter of Alyson Stanfield. Today on her blog she talks about SMART goals, a great guidline for goal-setting. Sometimes goal-setting feels scary for me. I worry about setting the bar to high and falling flat on my face and then feeling super disappointed in myself. It's important to know how you work. I do better when I'm held accountable in some way. I'm in total awe of all the daily painters out there. But do I want to make that kind of commitment? I don't know. I don't want to over-commit to projects and make myself crazy.

Just getting around to "Getting to know you day" on Create a Connection. Here goes:

1. I have never wanted to play competitive sports ; but I've always thought I might like to be an incredible athlete, maybe at something like gymnastics or ice skating.

2. When I was 7 years old, I believed that if you held your breath when you passed a cemetary you added hours to your life for every second you held your breath (what an odd superstition!)

3. If I was my own best friend, what I would enjoy the most about spending time with Me would be making art and laughing; while what I'd find the most irritating would be my low draggy days, sometimes weeks.

4. If the story of my life up to this point was being published tomorrow, it would be titled "The Four C's: Cats, Creativity, Cuddling, and Craziness" and it would be dedicated to um, my cats? lol...I don't know.

5. When my time on Earth is over, and the people who loved me are remembering me, it would please me if they said she inspired me to get in touch with my creative self.

How was that for a post that was all over the place? Heh.

2006: Year in Review

January 2nd, 2007, Comments (9)

I like to do this every year on my blog, look back over the year, browse through old blog posts and go over what has happened. It's good to look back and be reminded how much can happen in just 12 months!

January: Started the Blogging the Artist's Way Group. Had no idea how big it would get, over 100 people joined in. Met some wonderful, bloggers. Got engaged! Fiansor caught me off guard with his proposal. Marraige planned for Oct. 2007.

February: Started to freak out over planning a wedding. Had a snow day. A desire to continue the feeling of AW is brought up and I create a new blog called Contagious Creativity (which I had to stop when I got overwhelmed with school and wedding planning and whatnot.)

March: As part of AW I draw a picture of what I'm not allowed to do: quit my job. (ha! see this is part of the reason I do this review. I would never have remembered this.)  Work has become very difficult and draining. I feel overwhelmed and get sick, both my ears get clogged up for days. I realize I need to set some boundaries.

April: More wedding planning craziness. I decide to take a blogging break. I come upon two baby foxes in the woods by myself. I watch them play for a bit, one of them notices me and we lock eyes for awhile, before I quietly walk away.

May: Engagement party in NY. See some old friends. We pick the date and location for our wedding.

June: Feeling conflicted about how I want to blog. School finally ends for the semester. My best friend gets engaged. Seems like everyone in my world is getting married and most of the weddings will occur before ours! One of my good friends is pregnant and I get to feel her baby kick.

July: I turn 30! Wonder about anti-depressants and if I could ever come off them. I finish a commissioned piece of art, a family portrait (husband, wife, cat, 2 dogs) and love it. I try on bridesmaid dresses for best friend's wedding. I'm feeling baby crazy. My grandmother's alzheimer's gets worse. My cat Emma needed several cavities removed. I have a blast at an alternative printmaking workshop with the best friend.

August: Go to a very random wedding in Vermont. Stay at the bestest Inn ever in Stowe, VT. The dress hunt begins in earnest. The fiansor and I go to the Natural History Museum in NYC.

September:  I buy a wedding dress.  Go to best friend's wedding as co-maid of honor, it was lovely. School starts up again, I consider quitting, but decide to stick with it. Younger brother is engaged. Another friend gets engaged.

October: I struggle with what to do with my blog and my art website. Making more art. I realize how far I've come with touch and I'm proud of my accomplishments.

November: 4th annual Art Everyday Month! 37 people join in and I meet some wonderful new blogging artists. I make a lot of art I love this year. With the support of the fiansor, I decide to leave my job and pursue my art full time. (This won't happen til the end of March, but the wheels have been set in motion.) I enter two pieces in a juried show.

December: The two pieces are accepted to the show, my first show in a long time. School is going better as I've learned to worry less and enjoy it more.  Fiansor wins his fantasy football league and wins the glorious trophy (ahem.) I start looking at art studio spaces. Met Melba and went to a fantabulous craft show. Had a long period of feeling low. Felt better and painted my face red.

Happy New Year!

January 2nd, 2007, Comments (3)

Oops, I guess I missed the day. I had a great holiday, lots of time with loved ones, not too much time with the computer. But vacation is ending and I'm coming back to the blog world. My youngest brother gave me a cute journal for Christmas. It has a pink cover with a black kitty face on it. I doodled in it Christmas day and that night I did a little journaling in it. I decided to post that entry, Melba style! :-) Creative ideas are busting out my ears and I'm excited to share them with you this year. May this year be a year overflowing with creative goodness, laughter, and joy!! *sending out loving energy!*

p.s. Be sure to check out Create a Connection! It's off to a beautiful start and it's sure to create much fun and creative energy. And I'll be posting there every Sunday this month on "Creative Challenge Day", so be sure to check in!