Monday, August 31, 2015

A last hurrah

This one was pure indulgence, painted over a canvas that was being discarded by our local theater company. 

I'm grateful to them for thinking I might be able to use it, and grateful for the sense of freedom it brought me, that no matter what I painted it would be okay, because it was already destined for the trash heap.  So it was pure indulgence -- cheap paint, favorite colors, and a deliciously loose application.

It's also my last hurrah before I have to retire my arm for a bit -- I'm having shoulder surgery this afternoon -- so I'm doubly delighted with the juiciness of it...

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Life's an amazing journey --
and it's great to be able to share it with a friend:
that way you can take turns, 
either paddling and being in control,
or resting and observing all that wonder floating by...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

I am a chalice

I am a chalice, cupped to catch and share
the inspiration flowing from above:
drink deep, and know
the verdant wealth of being.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Lift your voice to the sky

No ashes and dust are we, but made of clay;
born of the earth and formed through genes and circumstance,
molded by the Divine within, and without,
grounded in the soil of love and blossoming with fruit:
the gifts, blessings and talents uniquely ours.
Rise now, grow tall and lift your voice to the sky!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Those creative juices

As the farmer finds a way
to irrigate the barren stubble of his fields,
so, too, you will find a way
to get those creative juices flowing again.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Each day, a new adventure

Each day's a new adventure, and you know:
any new venture takes a lot of courage, and trust.
Do what you think is best, lay all the groundwork,
set everything in place... and then -- you wait,
and hope the outcome will be all you wish and more.
... and don't forget to expect a few surprises!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What's coloring your world?

So much of how we feel depends on how we see:
what feels like one man's haven could be another's trap;
a safe port in a storm for one could be for someone else
a set of chains, prohibiting adventure and discovery.
It's always good to ask: what emotions and perceptions
are coloring the world you see today?

Monday, August 24, 2015

The cries of the world

If we understand creativity to be fueled by the tension between the visible world and the invisible, then it becomes easier to understand why -- when I had intended to paint something entirely different yesterday -- this was the result.

Some part of me is aware of the enormous destruction happening elsewhere in our state due to the fires currently raging there.  And apparently that part of me insisted on bringing that awareness into consciousness by whatever means possible.

So when I took up my palette knife, intending to paint over the usual reddish background I create for my seascapes, I found that when I tried to apply white and blue it just didn't work; I had to wash it off.  The canvas wanted more red and yellow, orange and black, and this was the result.

At first I thought it might be the beginnings of my usual end-of-summer hunger for Fall, or a response to the more autumnal colors that predominate in our new home.  It was only after I walked away and returned for another look that I realized it was about the fires; the awareness bubbling just beneath the surface of my mind that people I know are out fighting those fires; that people I know have friends and relatives who have lost their homes; that people I know had been planning vacations in these now-blackened landscapes.

We cannot ignore the troubles of the world.  Our psyches are intimately entwined with the rest of creation. Every time there is a wound elsewhere, some cell in our bodies will cry out in sympathetic pain.  And that which strives to be known will take whatever avenue necessary to bring the cries of the world to our attention. The invisible longs to be visible, and when we take the time to create, we cannot always predict what will emerge.  The question is -- what do we do with that awareness once it's brought to the fore?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Breathe in the light

Each of us is surrounded by light.
Take a deep breath, and breathe in that light.
Allow that divine radiance to illumine your thoughts,
your eyes, your heart, your soul and each cell,
and then breathe that bright hopefulness back out into the world.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Take the long view

If sometimes, when you're looking down,
it seems that if you take another step
you're bound to drown,
try looking up, and out;
beyond the immediacy of your trials
there is a brighter vista waiting.
Keep your focus high and wide
and know, though there are clouds ahead,
there surely will be better times to come.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Born to soar

Don't assume -- on those days when the wind and rain
make it hard to drag your wings aloft --
that you weren't born to soar:
Sometimes it just takes a lot of work to lift off...

Thursday, August 20, 2015

That inner glow

Sit now, and drift into your center.
Capture again that inner glow you feel, 
when you have bloomed your brightest,
when the sky is clear and every petal stretches
to capture and reflect the golden sun,
and know that resonance, that joy, that inner flame
always resides in you, smoldering deep within your cells,
just waiting for a chance to blaze again.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Drink deep

Drink deep from the well of words,
fed by the never ending aquifer of love,
and let their music bubble 
through your veins and then spill forth
some bright impassioned melody of grace.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Creativity is a messy business, 
fraught with doubt,
fueled by possibility.
Where will imagination carry you today?
(Diorama by Holly Larson of Orcas Island)

Monday, August 17, 2015

The color of love

As cornflowers creep to the water's edge 
to breathe the song of the sea,
so do I wander closer to you
to fill my eyes with the color of love.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Shaped to conserve

Let my whole being serve as a cup,
shaped to conserve whatever drops 
of wisdom fall my way; then let me tip 
and pour them out again as needed -- 
I am a vessel through which love 
may pass into the world.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Rain at last!

Rain at last! After so many weeks of drought
my thirsty pansies glow in the dark, rejoicing.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Set down your oars

Set down your oars, and tie up to my dock;
let the stillness of the water lap gently at your soul
and soothe your worried thoughts to sleep.
Those important destinations will still be there when you wake,
and you'll have more energy for tackling those tasks.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Beneath the veil of night

What beauty we have seen, or we create,
as day draws to a close begins to glow.
Its shadow, growing stronger, 
echoes dark against the hard wall of our hearts,
carving a crisp, enchanted invitation
to explore what lies beneath the veil of night.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Light calls us

Each day, light calls us,
beckoning from deep within the forest of the heart;
promising freedom and grace lie just ahead.
Find a way to forge a path through to the light.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Perspective, again

Rotated on its side, or upside down, this image (taken at the Seattle Art Fair) looks like it's going down the drain. But turned this way it merely looks like you're heading into a tunnel. 

So, once again, it's all about perspective: remember that -- next time you feel your life is going down the drain, know that, viewed from another angle, it may just be another tunnel. Don't be afraid; keep moving -- you'll soon see the light at the other end.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Playing through imperfection

The primary reason that it took me -- what -- 62 years? -- to become a painter, or to allow my painter genes expression, is that I learned early on that I can't draw.

I can no longer enumerate the number of drawing classes I've had, or the number of times either mathematicians or artists have attempted to teach me about perspective, but the truth is: it just never took.

Like my friend Janet, who will forever be mystified by the process of selecting the correct size of tupperware to accommodate her leftovers, I have something in me that just... doesn't get it.

So when I look at this painting -- which, I have to say, was sheer joy to create -- what I see is all the ways the perspective is broken/off/imperfect.  So even though I love it, it makes me happy, it reminds me of one of my favorite places in the world, I just feel apologetic about it when I think about showing it to anyone else.

What IS that thing, that is so painfully conscious of what others might think, that it shuts down and cringes in shame at the thought of exposure?  Why can I not laugh, like my friend Alice, and say "perspective is highly overrated?"

The bad news is that fear of failing, of looking foolish/stupid/imperfect keeps me from trying new things.  The good news is that I cope with that fear by encouraging myself to try new things -- which means, in the end, that I've been crazy enough to tackle a lot of stuff that some of my friends find astonishing and overwhelming.

"How do you have the courage to do that?" and "Ohmigosh, I could never do what you do" are phrases I hear often.  And they generally make me feel a little sad: it feels like people are dropping me into the "artsy" box, sort of the "well, of course, SHE can do that because she's so ARTSY" category -- which means I'm one of those things that's not like the others.

But it's also sad because I wish there were more people out there pushing themselves to do the hard stuff, so they could see how much fun it is to grow.  When I feel like I'm setting an example -- you CAN try, you CAN do this -- so much more often I become, well, threatening, which was never my intent.

Or was it? You can't be an introspective human without understanding how hard each of us works to gain approval, to feel special, to be loved.  So however altruistic my intentions, isn't it also true that some part of me is seeking to impress?

When I begin to explore all these dimensions, I realize that the root of it all, beneath all the noble and ignoble motivations, is just that I love to play; that when I'm playing -- whether with paint, or on stage, with a poem or in a blog: that's when I feel most myself, when I'm having the most fun.  Which isn't to say it's not stressful -- I have a teacher who'll happily tell you a partially completed canvas is quite capable of bringing me to tears of frustration.  But I love what I'm doing.  And even though the results aren't perfect -- nor do they even come close to paying the bills -- I'm going to keep on doing it as long as I can. Because it feels like this was what I was born to do.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Take shelter here

Some part of me takes shelter here, camped squarely 
on the border that divides my heart from yours:
I want windows that look out in both directions
so I can watch for coming storms and call you inside for protection,
lest our dark entangled barriers fall, for that could harm us both.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Mermaids in the woods

Yesterday was an all-art day: Studio Tour in the late morning and afternoon, and First Friday Artwalk in the evening, going from gallery to gallery and finally to the Museum to admire the current exhibits.

So it's no surprise that impulses to creativity and imagination dominated my distracting thoughts during meditation this morning -- everything from "I could try THIS" and "What if I did THAT" to wonderings about what holds me back, and if I'm really capable of being truly imaginative. Concerns that my current environment is too stable and I'll lose my edge warred with reassuring memories of some of the truly original pieces I've created over the years.

But all those creative thoughts were balanced with the usual shoulds: you need to pay bills today, you need to make an appointment for the dog to be groomed, when are you going to learn your lines, is it possible you've taken on too much, can you really be in a play in December while assistant directing a play in October?

So I was amused, when I emerged from meditation, to look out the window and see my mother-in-law's mermaid sculpture dreaming in the woods -- it seemed so appropriate.  Wherever we humans are, some part of us always seems to dream of being elsewhere.  I suppose at some level that's the engine that keeps us moving forward, but at the same time I suspect that it holds us back.

And I find myself thinking of my disagreements with my husband over raising the kids: I knew they needed praise for what they'd accomplished, and I knew they needed to know they were loved whether or not they accomplished a thing.  But whatever they accomplished, my husband never seemed to say "Good work;" his response was always to ask why they didn't do more.

They've grown up to be very responsible girls, pretty centered, but a little insecure, so I guess the balance we struck wasn't too far off.  But I can't help wondering where perfection lies -- that perfection that results in a balance of serenity, confidence and enough ambition to keep us stepping out into the unknown.  It's inevitable that there will be times when we're out of our comfort zones, when we'll feel like mermaids, dreaming of the sea while we're stuck living in the woods.  But when do we shed our scales, throw on our lumberjackets and head out to forge a new path?

Perhaps it only happens when we allow ourselves time to dream -- and remember that we need to wake up.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Come, free your heart

The chains that shackle us to the old ways 
of thinking, seeing, and believing
are embedded deep within.
Reach in, and let the heat of love melt that gray stone, 
unlock the links that tie you to the past,
and free your heart to float up to the stars.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

What joy awaits

Forget the past: today's a new adventure.
Let's hop on the boat and ride across the sea of dreams
to find what joy awaits on the other side.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Cradled in the holy

I close my eyes and glide
into that place where love resides,
boundless, and infinite, and true beyond all measure.
Join me here: rest, breathe, and know
that you are cradled in the arms of the holy.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dig in and breathe

These obstacles that mar your path contain within a gift -- 
some work that must be done before you continue on your way.
Dig in, and breathe the scent of progress on your journey.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Despite skewed vision...

The camera is only an iphone,
the view through a ferry window --
rippled, spotted and imprecise --
yet still we see the glory of the day.
However skewed my own vision may be,
may the beauty of my surroundings still glow through.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Colored with love

How often have we gathered here
to share a meal with friends
and watch the sun drip slowly into night...
Those days, now gone, lit with a golden glow,
and these new times, in this new place: 
how shall we color them?
With love, my dear with love,
whose ever-changing colors still enrich the simplest lives.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The courage to glow

I'm looking for the courage 
to glow a resounding red
when surrounded by a whispering field of green...