Entries from: April 2007


April 27th, 2007, Comments (18)

This week has been one wild roller coaster for me. I got my period and that tends to leave me on the more emotional end of things, I just feel things deeper...including a couple wicked migraines. Yucko. But overall, a very good week. I worked hard and I felt rewarded in sychronicity. The chapter this week in Finding Water seemed to coincide with my life in such odd ways. I picked up a random arts and culture magazine at an art supply store, one of those free ones with big colorful pictures. It was full of art show reviews. Long articles in the front with some pictures and then smaller blurbs in the back. I sat down with it as I ate some lunch earlier in the week. And one of the reviews was just so awful. The writer was down-right mean! Talking about the artists in the show he wrote something like, "Haven't these artists studied art history?? If they had, they'd know that's been done before." Oh puh-leeze. I was all irritated with the review and thinking about those poor artists he tore to shreds when I remembered that I was mid-way through the Finding Water chapter and there was a bit there about reviews. I went back to it. "It is an artist's job to survive reviews and live to work another day." Mmhmm, yes it is. But oh, I just hate mean-spirited reviews!

Cameron advises, "If we remember to keep our own counsel - 'How did I like the work?' - then we are less likely to be blown apart by the judgment of others."  Judgment.  Yes. I don't do too well with people critiquing my work. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that, but it's true. I've had plenty of practice, so I know how to turn on the open-minded, non-attached self to take it in and learn and then use what's helpful and discard the rest, however, I very easily slide into feeling hurt and defensive. And well, I just have no tolerance for comments that aren't constructive. I might get angry, but it's more likely that I'll just start crying my eyes out. And man, do I look rediculous when I cry. Big red splotches all over my face that stay for  hours...it's not pretty. Maybe more on that another day, but for now, feeling judged is one of my big fears. Art is personal, so it's hard not to take criticism personally. But I fear being judged in all sorts of ways, not just about art.


This is timely because I finished a commissioned piece this week.  I had done one for a friend last year and her friend saw it and wanted one like it of her family. And I agreed. I did it for what she could afford and then spent way too much time on it. See, the tricky thing with a commission is, you don't know if someone is going to like it til it's done. And then what if they don't? I put a lot of effort into planning and doing this piece and if they don't like it...well, then, I don't think I have any energy left to change it. This is the worst part and probably why I've stretched the darn thing out so damn long. I've sent a photo and I'm waiting to hear the judgement. Do they like it or not? I have to try not to think about it.  Ugh.  I'm also all anxious about an art workshop I signed up for this weekend (which I know will be great fun, I just get all anxious before stuff like this.) Deep breaths.

The next parts of the chapter also really resonated with me. Tammi told me that the lotus flowers I've been seeing everywhere have to do with opening up to more spirituality in my life and in my creativity. This rang true for me. I was asked about the meaning of my Fishing piece below and it came out long and meandering and probably didn't make much sense (I have trouble saying things succinctly), but then Eliza told me what it felt like to her and she managed to say it in one sentence: "...it makes me think of how we strive and seek for the spiritual yet are actually surrounded and supported by it at all times." Exactly. I didn't quite understand it until after, but then I realized that she was fishing, looking, searching, reaching out. She's not alone, but the whale sees that she's looking and sends out her tail to remind her that she's not alone and that even though she can't see into the depths of the waters below, she is held and supported. Her boat floats after all. And that sounds all ooey gooey, but there it is.

I loved Cameron's discussions about her friends experiences with spirituality. After writing my post in the FW blog last week, I'm glad to hear of others experiencing doubts. I don't love the word "God" because of the connotations it has for me, but whatever you call it, my belief in a loving Universe comes and goes. Cameron's friend says that his ..."faith does not stay comfortable." Yeah, growing pains. Opening. It can be a little...uncomfortable. But here's where I have little doubt. In art. One of Cameron's friends says, "I think of painting as prayer and meditation." She talks about being guided. I call it intuitive art, being open.

Cameron writes, "We write not to display what we think but to discover what we think." Yes, that is my experience.

I have other odd experiences to share from this week, but I think this is long enough already, so have a beautiful weekend! I will be covered in art supplies up to my elbows! :-)

Good art is a form of prayer. It's a way to say what is not sayable.
-Frederick Busch

p.s. While writing this, I got an email from the happy new owner of above painting. They love it. :-) I had this weird feeling that if I wrote about it, I'd get an email. Heh.

Yes, Yes, Yes!

April 25th, 2007, Comments (6)

I'm diggin on this horoscope on Daily Om today as I'm working industriously on my website: :-)

 April 25, 2007
Productively Industrious
Cancer Daily Horoscope 

You may be feeling productive today, which could find you working hard to accomplish your objectives. As you strive to create your dreams and reach your goals by doing the necessary groundwork, you may be feeling industrious. Building our dreams requires more than positive thinking. As we take steps in the real world to bring our goals into reality, we affirm their existence. As we move closer to them, they also move closer to us, attracted by our confidence and focus. Our actions in the world may help us refine our end goal or redirect our energy more effectively. As we observe others in our field, we may learn that what we have to offer is unique, or we may see ways to reach people that others are not utilizing. As you work for your dreams today, the universe works with you.

As cocreators with the universe, we accomplish more when we keep in touch with the flow of energy within and around us. This means to center ourselves regularly and remain in balance with the world and the people around us as we work toward our goals. While it can be useful to keep our focus on the goal, if we ignore other areas of our lives we can create imbalance. If we create from a state of imbalance, we do not build on solid ground and may find our efforts dissolving, requiring us to begin again. Today by harnessing your feelings of productivity, you accomplish much toward making all areas of your life match your dreams.

However, I'm quite sick of being distracted by our little nemo who keeps jumping into the filter and then squeezing into the tiniest nooks and crannies so that I can't get him. Gar! All the other fishes and plants are doing very well. The anemone has taken up a spot on the glass and the bigger Nemo loooooves it. So cute. Did you know that anemones will sting and poison other creatures, but it has a special relationship with clown fish? Clown fish aren't affected by the anemones poison, in the wild they find protection in the anemones folds and the clownfish bring nutrients to the anemone to keep it healthy and happy. Ok, gotta see if I can get tiny Nemo again and then back to work.

Toyin Around

April 25th, 2007, Comments (5)

After too much computer work yesterday, I took a little time last night to make something fun for Found Art Tuesday. This week's theme was "toy" although I think this could fit for last week's theme of travel too! When I heard the theme was toy, I thought about this plastic plane I got as part of a goody bag at a craft fair. I went on a search through my random boxes, finding in one box on my nightstand the button I used, then in my office/studio/library I found a red string and the maps, in the hall I found the shiney box that once held cuff links and the stamp that was stuck to a lip gloss...Oy, I'm not organized am I? Heh. I tore out the insides of the box, ripped up some maps got the string strung through a hole in the plane, put it all together and I think it's rather cute! I imagine the red line is the path the plane is on and the button is the destination on the map (which happens to be Kiev, where my great-grandparents on my dad's side came from.) My grandfather on my mom's side worked on planes in WWII, so the style of plane reminds me of him a bit. The box can open and close and its shiny exterior reminds me a lot of the outside of a real plane. I still need to attach a piece of paper to it with my website and a found art explanation and then put it out in the world. I have a couple ideas of where I'll leave it. Ok, back to work...



April 24th, 2007, Comments (12)

Today I'm wearing pineapple printed flip flops, an old gray shirt and hot pink shorts. My hair is in pig tails. It's been a day at home, picking up a bit, opening windows to let air in, taking out the trash. The day is coming to a close and I have much to do, but in the meantime, here's some art I played with last night. I've had this image in my head for awhile and although I want to flush it out in a different way, this allowed me to see it come into life which felt good. I did this on watercolor paper with caran d'ache. It's about 10"x10" and I'm calling it "Fishing."

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.

Ooo la la

April 23rd, 2007, Comments (12)

Today it was beautiful in my neighborhood. After a shower, I put on shorts and flip-flops for the first time this year and headed out into the sun. I packed a bag with a book, a lemon seltzer, my journal, a blanket and a pen. I took a long walk, not knowing quite where I was headed. I passed a house built in 1875 that the fiansor and I had considered buying at one point, but it wasn't quite right. I passed daffodils, green bursting everywhere, an abandoned baby bottle, a dragonfly, a little girl with a poof of floaty curls asking her dad to help her down the front steps, a red cardinal in my path, a girl with green and white polka-dot tights skipping rope. I ended up taking the very long way to a spot by the river. I set up my blanket right along side the water and sat for awhile watching the water. It's so soothing. Even though a lot of cars rushed past not too far away, it all blended in with the rush of the river. A family of ducks swam past and a pair of geese and a robin hopped all around me. It was lovely. I stayed there for a long time and then walked home.

Wedding goodies for you: My best friend and co-maid of honor's dress: (she won't be wearing the broach, but it will be in that color, chocolate brown and both moh's will hold blue hydrangeas.


And my sister's moh dress, a slightly different style. Her dress will also be dark brown, not red like this pic. She has all the boobs and curves that I lack and this dress looks absolutely stunning on her.


Beautiful dresses to go along with my beautiful dress... :-)

I just found out that I will be in my future sister and brother-in-slaw's wedding as a bridesmaid although we won't be wearing matching dresses in any particular color. This wedding (the fiansor's brother) is going to be a very unique one in our outrageous group of weddings (we're going to 8 including mine and there are a few we can't go to because they're on the same day as others, all between May and October. Oy vey!) The bride is wearing black and pink. Hehe. And I hear the entertainment will be very interesting.

p.s. I've got a new post up at the Finding Water blog!


Works in Progress

April 19th, 2007, Comments (13)

I feel like I've got a lot of works in progress right now. The website, a commission that just keeps dragging on and on (that's it in progress above), little and big stuff all in flux. At times it's exhilirating and other times it makes me feel a little scared and overwhelmed...a bit roller-coaster-ish. But really, all is well. I just need to keep breathing. And look, the sun is out! Hoorah! I went for a nice walk today and found a pretty blue stone, which fits in with CAC's magpie theme for Photography Thursday, so I'll have to take a pic of it later. I have a little time to write then I need to shower and get going, heading up north to meet with my best friend and sister (who will be my co-maids of honor) and my mom to have them try on dresses for the wedding. My best friend may not actually be trying anything on as she's quite pregnant at the moment, but my sister can model for her. Should be fun. I'll write more about how the wedding stuff is going soon.

The lotus flowers keep coming fast and furious. Tammigirl has sweetly offered to look into their symbolism. I know a little bit about what they symbolize, but I'm keeping an open mind about their presence here and now. I remembered that on Saturday I saw probably 20 lotus flowers in the form of gorgeous votive holders in a shop I randomly chose to visit for my artist's date. Today, while looking for some website shop inspiration I was link hopping and landed on Mati Rose's page and she has a great big pink lotus flower on her front page. Caroline just commented on my last post with a link to an image she re-mixed on Saturday with a gorgeous lotus as its centerpiece. And then there's Anahata's artwork that I've been so drawn to lately...this image is of one of her paintings of a mandala in soft pinks that reminded me of the lotus flowers I'm seeing everywhere and then there are her gorgeous cards some with, yes, pretty lotus flowers. All these stumbled upon images were making me curious, so I decided to see what I'd find if I actually looked. So, I typed lotus flower into Google images and the first page literally took my breath away, which is why I stopped to write this post before I left.

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.


April 18th, 2007, Comments (13)

I pay attention to messages, visual, numerical and otherwise. When I start seeing a lot of the same thing I will wonder on it. Sometimes I'll look up what that thing/animal/number means in other cultures. Like when I started seeing crows everywhere, I looked them up and found they're an omen of change, which made sense. Tammigirl recently wrote about the meanings behind the numbers I see all over the place in various combos (7 and 17): 7: You're on the right path, keep up the good work. 17: You have good reason to be optimistic about your plans and path, this number is also representative of the holy trinity and the pyramids. Woo! That is crazy cool!

Sometimes images pop into my head too. I don't think of them as visions, really. I let them float by and then think on them later. I went to a reiki share with some of my former massage classmates over the weekend. I was anxious at being around people in a group. I don't know why I get so anxious, but I went and it was fine. When doing reiki on other people and when receiving reiki, I sometimes get little images floating through my consciousness. When I was giving reiki on one person, I had the image of a pink lotus flower float into my mind. I didn't mention it to him, but shortly after, his girlfriend showed me her new business card and it had a pink lotus flower on it. On the way home I remembered that Mindy's new Wish Studio (who I may be doing some exciting work with this summer!) also has a pink lotus flower as the main image for the business. I laughed and thought, there it is again! Bee, who has just been through an awful ordeal, mentioned how lotus flowers grow out of the mud in her last post (she also has a pretty pink lotus flower in her banner) and Bohemian Mom's Finding Water check-in was up on bloglines again last night with an image of a lotus flower at the top and the words: "As the lotus flower grows up from the mud, into an object of great beauty, people also grow and change into something more beautiful." So the symbol represents the struggle of life at its most basic form." And then later, I realized...hey, wait a minute there's a big pink lotus flower on my own page as the button for the Finding Water group. Duh! lol...That made me laugh. Guess I ought to be paying a bit more attention to the lotus flowers, eh?

One of the images I had when receiving reiki was of a bird flying up from my solar plexus to my head with a message. In my head there was a mailbox there to receive the message. So, last night, I sat down to play with this ink tree that I had drawn on Friday and its intended purpose was tossed, so I went back to it to just play and this is what came out, "The Message." It's about 4.5"x 13.5" with ink and colored pencil.

The whale images that want to come out will have to wait, as I have some work to do today and I got a super duper late start. Erg. I needed the sleep though.

I cried when I read Mary Ann's post about the loss of her kitty, Bailey. She wrote the sweetest tribute to her. It made me hug all my meows extra tight today.

Geez, I hope the sun comes out soon! I need some light, please.

Today I'm grateful for: natural peanut butter on wheat toast, waking up covered in kitties, singing in the shower, watching the clown fish dance in the sea anemone, sweet kisses from the fiansor, art, my health, and love, sweet love.


April 17th, 2007, Comments (8)

"...the world is absurd and beautiful and small." -Ani Difranco

All this gloomy weather has me feeling quiet. I'm feeling sadness over what has happened at Virginia Tech, and for my dear friend Kathryn who lost her kitty, Sophie so unexpectedly. A lot of friends have lost pets lately and my heart breaks for them.

Some art is in the works, visions of whales and doors and the sea at night.

Chritine Kane has a great post on jealousy today. I used to be more embarrassed about feeling jealous. I'd hide it not so well with snippy comments or just making myself feel awful. It's not an emotion I feel often nowadays, but I do have it sometimes. Lately, I've felt some jealousy around other artists who I see as more successful. It's funny, I seem to be equating being published as success at the moment. Usually, I just notice that I'm feeling that way and then go back to work. Speaking of which, back to work for me.

Fears and Doubts and Dreams and Encouragement

April 13th, 2007, Comments (21)

Started this last night and finished it tonight. It's about 10"x12", mixed media on watercolor paper. I'm calling it "Catching Stars."

I had a lot of fun playing. The crow appeared accidentally. Sometimes, if we let it, art will lead us down its own road. Little synchronicities and happy accidents are all around if we are open to seeing them.

I got an email from a fellow blogger yesterday that mentioned the mean comment a teacher had said to her that put a real damper on her creativity. Oh, that makes me so mad! I have encountered those teachers myself and there was a big gap after I left art school where I made no art. Authority figures can have such a negative effect on creative souls, who tend to be on the more sensitive side. What I wrote back was that authority figures are just people with their own issues and very often, teachers are just frustrated people whose comments are more about them than you. And then there are those wonderful teachers who were our biggest supporters. Just before I got the previously mentioned email, just minutes before, I had found a scrap of paper on my studio floor from one of those teachers. I don't know how it got to this spot on my floor (other than the fact that I'm a slob), but I think I was meant to find it then. It was a little note my junior high art teacher had attached to my final project. It read, "Leah, Thank You! Your quiet presence is always felt, as is your kindness. May your talent take you far - risk it! This was a special class! -Mrs. J." On the piece of paper she wrote this, was the following poem:

Anonymous on

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To express feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place ideas and dreams before a crowd
is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken
because the greatest
Hazard in life is to risk nothing.

I had a good day, got some good work done on the website. I had to take a step back and re-do some of the design, but it's coming along. I think the main page is good to go. And with the long weekend ahead, the fiansor has promised to help with the coding. Ascender sent me a great link with tutorials about css style sheets, an awesome resource and networking community called Wise-Women, that I've bookmarked. I'm excited to share my new site with you. Here's a sneak peak at my future art website. :-) Ok, it's just a coming soon thing, but it's a place holder for what's to come.

Some interesting linkage I've been noting over the last couple days:

Someone mentioned a newsletter called The Painter's Keys (forgive me, I can't remember where I read about it) and so I signed up. I got the first one in my email box today and it had a link about a previous newsletter (and reader responses) about "creative insomnia." It was timely considering  I've had a week of very poor sleep with one night where I had so many ideas running quickly through my head that I had to get up and write them down. I liked the author's methods of calming a busy mind involving a cup of cocoa. Hehe. He also talked about how an active imagination can lead to blowing our fears out of proportion...much like we can take the unkind comments of an authority figure and blow them up into a wall that keeps us from creating.

And then I read this great post about those very fears that keep us up and what the reality of them often is at Luann Udell's blog. What a great story. It made me laugh and made me think. How often are our fears just our imagination gone wild...like the monsters under our beds at night.

This afternoon, I came upon this great post at True Nature about creative disappointment and how to conquer those fears and doubts.

As I'm typing this, the t.v. is on in the background with a commercial for some sleep medication. Ha. I prefer the cocoa method. The fiansor couldn't sleep last night and he's in that weird over-tired state. Good thing we've got a long weekend ahead! I'm off to snuggle. Happy weekend to you!

Think, Think, Think

April 11th, 2007, Comments (16)

Gar, gar, Gargamel!  All this trial and error stuff is hard! I'm designing my new website and although I have a small amount of knowledge in photoshop and dreamweaver, I'm trying to learn how to use css style sheets and my head is about to explode. I will get it. I will. It's just taking way longer than I would like.

I had to spend yesterday banning myself from blogging, so that I could focus on this website stuff, so I've been around checking in with y'all today, but not a lot of time to comment. I'm with you in spirit!

Yesterday, I received emails from Tinker and Kathryn saying they had nominated me for a Thinking Blogger Award. I'm so honored that they would think of me. Hah, no pun intended. And I've been asked to nominate 5 others. This is nearly impossible. I mean, have you seen the list of blogs that I read? And it's not even complete, there are others I read on bloglines that I haven't gotten around to adding to this list yet that I read daily. Yep, and they all inspire me, they all make me think or I wouldn't read them. So, what to do. Well, the one cool thing about this meme is that if you check with Technorati to see who has linked back to the original post, you can find who other people have nominated and why and perhaps find some cool blogs that you might not have known about otherwise! And perhaps among my list of 5 you will find some new reads to inspire you and make you think. Ah, since I was tagged twice, how bout I do ten? Ok, here are 10 of the many blogs that have made me think:

LunarMusings: This beautiful woman is traveling in India at the moment. I very recently came upon her blog and was struck by her insightful words and stunning images. As a moon girl, I just love her ponderings on the full moons and their meanings.

Zena Musings: Have you seen the gorgeous candles that Carla makes? They're awesome. I own a collection of them. Heh. I'm so inspired by her raw writing and her courage. I am also inspired by the way she runs her business. Brava!

California Fever: I've been reading Marilyn's words since nearly the beginning of my blogging journey. She is a fantabulous woman who is so full of life, kindness, creativity and energy. She is always stretching herself and I love that. I look up to her and cheer her on as she embraces her creative self.

Be Alive Believe Be You: Melba is a creative soul with big dreams. She inspires me because she is going after her dreams full steam ahead and she's doing it with 2 little kids. I'm in awe of her perseverance, her courage, and her energy. Plus I love the way she posts with pages of her journals!

Winding Road: I was lucky enough to witness Maria follow a dream and follow her heart as she started her jewelry business. It has been a joy to read about. Maria has a wonderful eye, a beautiful heart, and she writes with soul. She's been posting a photo everyday (and her photos are gorgeous!) this year and I've been so glad because it has meant she's been posting so much more! :-)

You May Say I'm a Dreamer: Eileen is fairly new to me, having met her through Finding Water. I'm inspired by her story, her courage in writing about her own recovery, and her wonderful artwork.

Kikipotomus: Kelly is an amazingly talented writer. She makes me laugh and makes me think, a great combo. I enjoy her stories and her writing style.

37 Days
: What can I say about Patti's blog. Her posts never fail to make me think, ponder, question, and think some more. If you haven't found her yet, go check her out immediately.

Diary of a Self-Portrait: I feel so fortunate to have met Jessie. She is uber talented in so many ways and she has a heart of gold. Truly. I just want to squeeze her.

Literary Bohemia
: I'm inspired by anyone fending off their inner critic and following their dreams. She's doing just that. Rock on Girly!

Geez , that was hard. Seriously, I have so many more people I want to acknowledge for their resilience and creativity and inspiration and joy and on and on and on. Needless to say, if I visit you, you inspire me, you make me think.

Ok, back to work for me!