Happy New Year 2012! Create What You Like and Go There!

A watercolor piece I did inspired by the circus I never attended as a child/1990’s

I got the chicken pox when I was a kid, missing the one chance to go to the circus. I remember my mother nursing me and at least one other little sister. We had to watch reruns of F-Troop. I never got over it, missing the circus!!! My older brothers and sisters brought us back gifts from the circus, mine was a kind of tiger balloon head on a stick.

As I prepare myself emotionally and mentally (and hopefully physically) for a new year which I look forward to with zeal, I think of how the things we miss can inspire us more than the things we don’t miss out on. I never have been to the circus, I realize. Not really, not one with lion tamers and elephants doing stunts and tigers flying through flaming rings.  And maybe that circus I missed as a kid helped me create the one in my mind, which, in a way, might be better than a real circus.  I like using creative visualization because you can create whatever you want to experience right there in your mind and heart.  The more I do this (usually before falling asleep at night, but in the studio, too), the more real these meditation-visualization experiences feel.  So, with this in mind, I wish everyone a Happy New Year full of real experiences, and real imagined ones, too!

Don’t Be “Hagridden” in 2012! Face Your Fears and Walk On

My drawing of The Old Crone from a dream I had/1995

We are on our path, we have our dreams and our desires, hopes and wishes for what we’d like to experience in our lives. But there’s that hag, that scary witch, THE scariest of all perhaps, on the road ahead. We can’t look at her, she’s too frightening. We stop walking and freeze up.  She looks straight through us, eyes knowing and we are not sure of her motives. How can we get the courage to approach her, to look straight into her eyes? But we can’t move forward unless we do (well, we could dodge her and scamper around her in the grass, but that takes us off our path, and who knows, she could re-appear).

Facing fears for our journey into 2012 is important. I think, without dwelling on my fears too much, I might write a list for myself. Not so much a list of what I dread, but a list of what worries me, aspects of our world which make me feel sad or helpless. Saying “out loud” on paper what I fear or what creates fear in me, is one step toward conquering that fear. I already feel better just imagining writing down things which sadden or worry me. This crone is here to teach us how to have courage from the depths, from our center and core.   I can feel myself nod to the crone as I walk by her, acknowledging her without allowing her to shrivel me up.  I respect that place inside myself (part of our humanness) which is capable of feeling fear, sadness and worry. This inner crone, the part of all of us that can give way to fear, the aspect in each of us that would love to bend the universe to our will should not control our decisions.  If so, it is fear leading us down or path, and I don’t want that for myself as I’d rather create a future with a sense of love and well being. But I think facing fears is part of that.

Spirits of the Air and Sky

Another detail from a recent Spirit Painting/2011

I am showing this painting in details over the course of a few days, partly because the painting seems to want the close-in, observant approach. Just as tenderness and care brings every living thing into itself at the dawn of each day, Spirits of the air and sky streak across in brilliant colors, or quietly in fading stars and moon.  Each beginning, another chance at seeing, feeling and nurturing the love in ourselves and others.

Spirit Painting Detail: Nature Spirits at Dawn

Detail from a recent Spirit Painting/2011

In a recent Spirit Painting meditation, I was overcome with the need to create what goes on in the quietest, hidden, innermost shadows of budding life.  The moment is dawn, and we are inside the darkened spaces where small life grows anew. The feeling I had was powerful, it was all about the tender love we are capable of giving that is never seen by anyone. The gestures of care and kindness that nurture those around us, but are not congratulated or recognized.  The kind of gesture of love that is not proud in the least.  And the feeling was of nurturing self in the most healthy way, to know who and what most truly nurtures our inner spirit.  And the feeling was that each dawn is a new chance to begin again to learn to nurture self and others, tenderly, quietly.

Merry and Bright: Suzanne Urban’s Creations

I bought this sweet sculpture from Suzanne Urban.  She uses her sense of humor when she’s creating, and has all kinds of artful creations to offer at her site.  I post this in appreciation and in wishes for a very creative, whimsical and joy-filled New Year!

Killa Swag and the Pickle Man: Art by Alistair “Ari” Boughton

Alistair “Ari” Boughton’s drawing/2011

The artwork of children is the most expressive, it has a purity in the line work and a kind of immediate honesty that can be lost in the work of older artists.  I especially enjoyed the humor in this one.  I looked up the meaning of “swag” in pop culture. Besides meaning something festooned with ribbon, etc., it basically means style and one quote I believe on Yahoo was: “He got a killa swag” and I LOVE that!

Red Jay, Bring Snow

I painted this imaginary bird in the hopes that it would bring snow/2011

I remember one of the first big snowfalls I had ever seen, possibly the first, when my older brothers and sisters and mother called me to the large picture window to see the contrast of a beautiful cardinal, “Red Jay” as they say my grandmother called them, against the glistening, white snow fall.

My ardent wish each December, and all through the winter months, is to see that contrast of the red wings against white sparkles. This is not a true cardinal–I left out that wonderful peaking mitre on the top of the head that cardinals have, but this imaginary red jay hopefully will bring us snow.

Psalm 139:12: Even the Darkness is a Light to Him

A tree that blooms even in winter/2011

I painted this for someone, wanting to grasp the feeling of life and hope even through winter or dark days.  Often in winter I look out and think that if I didn’t have shelter, I’d die out there. Sometimes we feel this absence of light and hope inwardly. Probably nobody on earth has lived without feeling at some point in their lives that kind of real desperation, a cold darkness and sheer, stark hardship that is almost insurmountable.  This painting is dedicated to the small bloom in our souls, unfurling life and hope. Whether we’re still here on the earth plane or have steered on into another realm of being, that blooming sense of vibrant life is who we are at the root and at the tips of our fingers, reaching outward, always opening.  Whether feeling the light inside or the darkness, it does not change the vibrancy of the presence of life within us, it is who we are, life itself.  Psalm 139:13:

And the darkness will not darken from you, and the night will shine like the day.

Guest Artist: Jaschenka Saarloos and Her Magic Couture

“Eire” by Jaschenka Saarloos

I love the creations of Jaschenka Saarloos. She is an artist who draws to feel and stay connected (as do I!) and draws with thread–something I love to do, only Jaschenka creates dreams-come-true dresses. I asked her if I could feature her on this site, and to please tell me a bit about her process and she described being very much one to draw as a young child:

“I usually drew female figures- and pretty dresses on them. Guess that never changed, as up till today I still love doing fantasy figures and costume drawings. It’s great fun to take any photograph and turn it into a pointy eared fantasy drawing.  My love for fantasy has developed through drawing and now costume making. After attending fashion school the epic Lord of the Rings movie trilogy boosted it quite a bit and was an excellent excuse to design more elvish related dresses, especially when I attended some conventions and got to ‘dress up’! My interest then extended to medieval and Celtic related festivals, with their appealing athmosphere, music, dancing and fun people to be around with. That is something I still love to do. I get to combine both hobby and work in making historic, fantasy and gothic designs, either to sell at the shop or to wear as a costume for my own. We try to create pieces that make our customers feel a bit prettier- add some chivalry and magic perhaps. It makes the world a bit more friendly if you get a smile because of what you wear.”

I believe this so much, and wish we all would wear clothes that represent who we feel we are inside–instead of just wearing whatever is out there or whatever we are conditioned to wear by Madison Avenue this year.  I am inspired by Jaschenka and her creativity, such as her Rohan Dress. You can learn more about all her art at her sites.

At Locket’s Meadow Farm

My photo of a friend I met at Locket’s Meadow Farm/2011

I had an outing last week with Smoking Gun Research Agency founder and investigator, author and ghost hunter (and many more things!) Jon Nowinski to Locket’s Meadow Farm.  This is the rescue portion of the horse farm. I was pretty amazed at how Kathleen Schurman has pigs, llamas, horses, a miniature horse, sheep, a huge 2 year old bull, chickens, peacocks, a real coy dog and more. They all leap to say hello to her as she passes.  I was amazed at her natural empathy and direct assertive love with these animals, who each acted exactly more like puppies. When one pig (they all have wonderfully elaborate names like “Calliope” for example) joyously leapt up to the top rail of it’s little pig-pen fence to greet her, she sweetly admonished it to get back down. After asking it a few times, the piggy did as she was asked, just like my pet dog might when I command him. And the curious and wily coy dog took her orders to leave the sheep pen. There was a feeling of happy mischief in the air mixed with tenderness, love and warmth (even on a freezing cold day) as the animals interacted with us. I took the picture above because I was struck hard by a feeling of humanness coming from these two. I was seriously humbled by an air of intellectual calm and patience emitting from them, (I felt like my visit to the farm had interrupted their reading hour or something like that) and the bashful eyelashes made them all the more lovable, as though they had been rescued and knew it with all their being. Bravo Kathleen Schurman and Locket’s Meadow Farm!