Friday, December 31, 2010

Winter Writings: Day 10

I feel it in the air
the ending of another year
the regret in a passing backward glance
the anticipation in a hurried step
an artificial boundary to give us all
a chance at redemption and change.

In the gnarled tangle of the streets
and still figures wrapped in grey mist thought
sipping coffee while memories flutter like old cinema
across the marquis
of pinched and worried faces

We prepare to close the door
with tight regret
yet growing anticipation
a prayer said for the rabbit year

Blueprints in journals
resolutions ensuring this will be the year
all things come to pass

We celebrate the finite
calendar of man

While cupped in the hands of infinite time.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter Writings: Day 9

Winter clouds;
old cotton rags that
wash the sky and
mop the grey from my soul,
leaving blue sunshine peeking through.

I stretch to meet the sun,
like a cat preening
in a pool of light,
trying to claim
an unexpected feast.

Too soon
purple clouds gather
and cover the sky with cold grey,
leaving the earth dressed
for a winter wedding.

I take shelter
in a cup of tea
and watch the children
rush to make angels
in the snow.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winter Writings: Day 8

Grey light dances
Through the blinds
Velvet hues tease with promises
of new adventures
I turn away and snuggle
deeper in my nest
reluctant to leave
the comfort of my cocoon
and the wild dark dreams
of midnight.
A warm moist nose
explores my face.
The sacred feline voice
speaks of tempting treats
left hidden out of reach...
Wake up and serve me, she says.
The voice of the goddess has spoken
My day begins

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter Writings: Day 7

Someday, I think,
As I scurry about
Fulfilling each obligation
Meeting each deadline
Marching in perfect formation
As all good soldiers do.

Someday, I think
As I pay my bills
and follow directions
and live by the rules.
Making sure the neighbors don't think
or I appear in mismatched socks.

Someday, I think
when I get some time
I will take a chance
And dance with the fairies
in the dewdrop grass
and live my cupcake dreams.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winter Writings: Day 6

Like an old man hunched in his chair
A blanket of feathers gathered against the cold.

He sits in the gnarled fingers of a winter bare tree
waiting for breakfast to be served.

Two crows perch warily on a nearby branch.
and nervously preen; their eyes fixed on the winter worn hawk.

Hoping they aren't the daily special on the hawks menu...
But even so...daring him to catch them if he can.

Before the dusk sets on the river, liquid steel
on a gray December day.

Winter Writings: Day 5

Christmas Day eve...the packages have all been opened...the kitchen cleaned...the guests gone home to the satiated sleep of the overfed. The house is dark and quiet, except for the last muted carols singing softly from the flickering TV. I am curled up on the sofa with a hot mug of tea, wrapped in soft blankets and listening to the hesitant raindrops of a new storm coming.

I close my eyes and savor the memories of Christmas, both past and present. Of cherished friends and loved ones with whom I shared the day and those who were here only in memories. I hug each one in turn and tell them of my gratitude for being a part of the tapestry of my life, for without their strong thread, I would be in tatters. I thank them all for their strength without which I would not make it through the day. And I give blessings for the love we have shared with each other... and of the times love carried us through all manner of trials and tribulations.

We hug and clasp hands and promise to always be as we are at this moment. And then we smile and nod and hold our glasses to toast. To Christmas which lives always in our hearts and to a new year filled with the love we have for each other. For no matter what the new year brings, what we share in our hearts is the foundation of our future, the bedrock from which anything can be made possible. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Winter Writings: Day 4

Today, I rewarded myself for making it through another Christmas production season. All commissions are delivered. No other deadlines to meet. I decided to visit an antique store in a neighboring town and take a drive through the winter landscape.

But the traffic was horrible. People were rude. And I began to regret going out into the world when I could have nestled at home and watched the little juncos race the squirrels for seats at the bird feeders in the backyard. As the day went on, I felt a degree of sadness that the Christmas spirit of old seemed to be so lacking on this Christmas eve.

I drove out into the countryside to clear my mind and found a place off the road surrounded by trees to park. I closed my eyes and breathed deep of air redolent with the fragrance of pines and firs. I heard the birds sing and and the wind weave its music through the trees. The snow on the nearby hills filled my eyes with a wonderland of fresh, fallen snow. And I felt the tension and stress drain from my soul. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and found peace within that moment, the only moment in which I can be truly alive.

And I feel the East wind blowing cold...feel the heavy, grey clouds, pregnant with rain pressing down like a blanket covering the brown landscape. I smell the wood smoke of a hundred chimneys rise around me...and in the growing dusk, the lights of Christmas twinkling in the yards I pass...I see the children's faces alive with anticipation in the passing cars...hear the timeworn seasonal music everywhere in the air. And at a traffic light, I see a man jump out of his car to help a stranger push his suddenly inoperable SUV through the intersection. As the bring the car to a stop across the way, the men shake hands, say thanks and go on with their individual lives. And in that one generous act, I see Christmas come alive again for me.

May you all have a very merry Christmas, the happiest of times and the best of memories to cherish for years to come.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Winter Writings: Day 3

There are moments in time where all of our senses come together to memorize every nuance and detail of an experience. In that instant, there is no past or future; only that single moment - magic and beautiful - celebrating the intricate music of our lives.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winter Writings: Day 2

How much more vibrant are the colors of the landscape when heard through the song of birds, the percussion of rain and the siren music of the wind. Color forms each note of the composition. Each being plays its own melody - a flash of red thunder wing; a shy soprano in drab grey, the dark melancholy of bare, brown branches, the jaunty tune of a squirrel stealing peanuts from the blare of the sky blue jays All songs join together to form a brilliant symphony of life to be enjoyed on a winter walk through the forest.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Writings; Day 1

and so it begins...90 days of musings....poetry and prose...let me write to you of nature and life and paint pictures with words of moments in time...cherished and remembered...never to come again...words to touch the soul....

December 21:

Solstice day...I lit a candle and burnt sage and begged that I not be visited by such a year as 2010 again. Too much death. Too many disappointments. Life altering changes that have changed the path of my life forever.

But as I cry out for mercy, I catch a glimmer of light. Good memories hiding behind the doom and gloom cloak of catastrophe and drama. And I realize I have not lost everything; in fact, what I have lost is the comfortable cloak I wore as I passed through life unchallenged. Whose warmth and cozy fit left me complacent and maintaining a status quo that left my dreams unfulfilled.

I find that rather than cursed, I have been blessed with a multitude of gifts. Good friends that have gathered round and supported me through troubled times. How I treasure you all!! The loss of travel funds that prevents me from travelling to teach at retreats giving way to an opportunity to teach locally that allows me to teach art to folks of variend income levels who are as excited to learn about art as I am to teach. Demotions that have ravaged my ability to support myself giving way to a new energy and committment to become a self-sustainging artist and stepping up to the plate of opportunity to embrace new challenges.

And I realize that what I have viewed as tragedy is just that other door opening, filled with opportunity and adventure...all I have to do is end the pity party and begin to live the dream. How exciting is that?

A line of gulls perch at the roof peak
Cast iron gargoyles frowning at the rain
Cloaking the street in dark, mysterious gloom.
Black crow umbrellas streak through the night
Seeking shelter from the storm
Wet feathers leaving small wakes in sidewalk puddles.
Only the streetlamp speaks of sanctuary
and the warm heart of home.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dressed in Holiday Style

After frantic weeks of preparation, hard work and determination, the doors swung wide on the Portland Art Collective Open Doors Show. Every year, in the weeks preceeding the show, I worry whether or not I have made enough to sell, whether my art will appeal to customers and will I actually be ready when the show opens its welcoming heart and lets the first customer inside. And this year, like all the others, turned out to be better than the last. We had the best customers of all this year and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your patronage and hope you were as amazed by the wide variety of handmade wares as we were!!! Thank you so very much for attending!!! We were phenomenally successful and we could not do this without all of our loyal customers!!!

And thanks to the inspiration of Sue Pelletier, whose bottle snowmen captured my eye in Cloth Paper Scissors a couple of years ago, resulting in this family of snowmen I created that flew out the door and home to their newly adopted families.

And how could I resist having my photo taken with Frosty after creating so many of his little brothers and sisters???

Sadly, it was over all too soon and in a matter of minutes, the glittery wonderland became a mundane gymnasium in the Multnomah Art Center once more. I am so lucky to be a member of this talented team of artists. I hope you will all join us again next year for our Open Door Show.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Christmas Past

Just wanted to share a few photos of my favorite antique store, Monticello Antiques, on Stark Street in Portland, OR. It is a mixed media artist's treasure trove and where I go to get inspired and dream of new creations. The store is all gussied up for Christmas. Hope you enjoy this peek of Christmas through the memories of Christmas past.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Seeking Warmth

I needed to get away and clear my mind for awhile, so I drove up to Washington Park. The parking lot was almost deserted. I had it to myself except for the crows who were searching for a warm roost in the face of the coming storm. The grey sky seems to have swallowed the color of the hills, causing them to huddle together in tones of grey and sepia. The wind brought the smells of the arctic down from the north and you could almost see the snowflakes congregating in the clouds, waiting to transform the grounds into a sparkling white wonderland far in advance of January, when the snow usually flies.

The cold wind speaks of lonely. Of a need to scurry home to family and friends and turn the lights on all around for fear the wind will follow me inside. I want warm fires, hot apple cider and a good bowl of soup. Instead I head for Knob Hill for a walk through the neighborhood and a trip to Paper Source. The colors are brighter here and there is the beginning of a feel for the holiday season. People are walking with a little more swagger and joy and kids are running from window to window trying to decide in this year of much reduced living, which toy they want from Santa this year. Christmas decorations are going up along the street and there are friendly greetings heard everywhere.

I passed this house along the way, offering a free poem to passerbys. A wonderful treat for those of us who love the presence or presents of words.

A window from a local designer features elegant undies for sale...and here, the grey blanket of clouds and beginnings of rain has not washed away the colors...

The miracle of fall leaves is that no two leaves are the same color. As if an unknown hand carefully painted each one before they fell to the ground.

A colorful offering of soap dressed up the window of a local business. But even here, it is too cold to wander the streets for long. So I make my purchases and head for home and the comfort of an old quilt and a cup of tea.

As I settle down to work on the laptop, my big grey tom instantly appears....he loves the little fan that blows the hot air on the left side of my computer and doesn't hesitate to snuggle in beside it to find his own piece of comfort and warmth. Welcome to winter.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Back to the Books

November has settled back into it's normal cold and blustery self, dressed in plump raindrops the color of steel and a cape of misty silver fog. Time to settle in for the long winter days ahead. I've stocked up on cider to warm in the microwave with cloves and cinnamon and dark chocolate to savor while wrapped up in blankets with a good book. Time to say thank you for all we have received over this last year and to look forward to the new beginnings each year allows.

You can feel the holiday stir in the air. The anticipation of the solstice and all that it brings: Christmas, Hanukkah, Quanza, Solstice and New Year's. But for now I am looking at Thanksgiving and celebrating all that is good in life and the ability to pass on that good to others. And of course there is the food...

But for now I am bedbound with a horrid cold and trying to find things to do that I can do between bouts of coughing and fever and chills. Because I have two shows coming up and I am woefully unprepared, so sick or not, the show must go on.

I've managed to harvest my lavender and pull it from the stalk to combine with my hops and mint and thyme to make sleep pillows. I've carved a few new stamps to decorate small pamphlet books. I've got lots of bottle snowmen started much like those created by Sue Pelletier in Cloth Paper Scissors a couple of years ago. But I thought I would put a book together for a class proposal and this is what I came up with.

It's a one needle coptic stitch book with 12 signatures and a cover inset with pewter repousse and a scarab beetle. It's a two layer cover allowing the inset of objects with collage covering the layers. It kept my mind off the sniffles and I like it so much, I think I'll make another. If you want a chance at winning this original, please visit the Portland Art Collective blog at I'll be giving away the journal there!!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Waxing happy!!

Today was a blustery day, best suited for staying inside and working with wax in preparation for the shows and classes I'm teaching in December. First off, I tried a few Christmas ornaments using what I learned in Chystal Neubauer's class at Art and Soul. They were fun to put together with a few bits of extra paper, some wire and a few rubber stamps. This was my favorite.

But the project I spent most of the day on was this encaustic figure made from driftwood, a woven wire skirt, covered with encaustic and collage pieces. She's not done yet, but she is a perfect example of how far you can push wax as an art form. This lady is about 20" tall. Too bad I have to go to work tomorrow....

Friday, November 05, 2010

Falling into Winter

I was so excited to get a call from my friend, Eva, in Australia. She had just received her issue of the Australian magazine, Get Creative, and was calling to let me know I was the featured artist!!! Kaye Wolfe, from the magazine, interviewed me while I taught in Australia last March and I am so honored to be featured in their newly revamped magazine. Thank you Bevlea for making it possible and to Kaye and Eva, as well!!
We have been blessed with the most amazing weather during the last couple of weeks. Breaking heat records with sunny, balmy days in the 70's and no frost in sight, this has been an incredible fall, thus far.

Everywhere you go, the flaming colors of fall contrast sharply with the deep blue skies filled with the delicate feathery clouds - I want to lay in the still green grass and drink in the explosion of color...color brings peace to my soul and fall is color at its best.

Still having fun with my Hipstamatic app on my iPhone - see how it makes something as delicate as a wispy cloud into something bold and dramatic and full of the same imperfections you get in a Helga.
But too soon the holidays will be here....the stores already have Christmas trees sprouting up in the aisles. I couldn't resist taking photos of these pastel, retro trees that Borders just put up in their foyer...
But they are a sharp reminder that I have much art to do to get ready for our Portland Art Collective Open Doors show that takes place in Multnomah Village in Portland on December 5 and 6. Take a sneak peak at our blog to see what will be offered at the show by the 30+ talented artists in our group!!! But for now, I will drink in as much of that sun as I can before the dark rainy winter descends.!!