Sketching on the Saugutuck with Children at the Westport Library

It was a glorious day to be by the river with 20 children, drawing the light and shadows, the trees and water. I was so taken by the depth of sincerity of each child, the genuine seriousness that they held for drawing.

Everyone took places under the trees to get the view they wanted. It was a serene and satisfying thing to behold, several children in so many places, intently studying the scenery and the marks they were making.

We had time to talk about the different discoveries of each individual child, and to appreciate the many unique approaches to drawing and problem solving. One in particular: how to draw sparkling water with charcoal? Another was capturing movement. There were paddle boarders going by and people walking, cars moving on the bridge, etc. The only thing I regret about the drawing session is that the time went by so very fast! We’ll do this again at the library, I’m sure!

Upon a Bird’s-Eye-View, and Keats

One summer on the Isle of Arran, I saw from the second story window on the stair case landing, a bird’s-eye-view of the family below in the garden, having tea. I had gone up to get my sketchbook and sketched this before going back down.  My father-in-law must have quoted Keats when I came back down into the garden, so I jotted it here beside this sketch capturing a moment “of beechen green and shadows numberless/ Singest of summer and full throated ease”–( from Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats)

Spirit Paintings by Elaine Clayton

Detail of a recent Spirit Painting/2012

By commission, unique and created during meditation on behalf of the subject, I offer Spirit Paintings. I try to keep the prices low enough so just about anyone could commission one if they’d like to have one. See on the home page of this site, under “Gallery” my page for Spirit Paintings.

When Guides Appear In Your Dreams

from one of my 1980’s sketchbook-dream journals

I was recently the guest of Dr. Marcia Emery on her wonderful VoiceAmerica radio show, The Partnership of Intuition and Dreams. (To hear the show, click here)We spoke about Spirit Guides and how they often appear in dreams. I described a very powerful dream I had where I was guided  (and given real empowerment) to shift my life in an enormous way.  If you have dreams where you are being told something, shown something or instructed in anyway, it is so worth paying close attention to the message. I really do believe in our core, deeply within our subconscious, we have an eternal source of love and life. We truly are that source, and that source animates our bodies as we practice our free will as humans making choices and responding to the world around us.

The dream above was when a Frog Shaman appeared and told me off. Spirit Guides and angels can be very clear, decisive and forthright. You know to listen. This guide appeared during a time that I didn’t know if I’d find my true love and be able to have children. I really did want that, but had not found a man I was truly in love with. I wore a ring I got in Ireland with two hands holding a heart. I was told if the point of the heart faced me, I was already taken. If the point of the heart faced outward on my finger, I was available. Constantly, this ring reminded me that I was available for Mr. Right. It put me in the “it has not happened yet” mode or dimension. The emotional energy I was fluffing up inside me was one of lack rather than abundance, but I was not very conscious of that. So one night I was in a dream, standing by a country road on a beautiful country day. I saw down the lane, two figures walking and talking. Gradually they came closer. I remained on the side of the road. As they got closer, I could see that one of them, the one walking on my side of the road, was a Frog Shaman. How did I know? He was in a robe and had a great Frog headdress on. He was authoritative and had a very important presence about him. As the two strolled by me, deep in conversation, the Frog Shaman turned his head toward me and said, “Take that ring off right now!”

I awoke with a start. It was morning anyway. I jumped out of bed, took the ring off and never wore it again. I realized that this Frog Shaman Spirit Guide (part of my unconscious?) guided me to disengage from the emotion of lacking and wanting, from pain and/or fear, basically. From that day on, I felt a weight of expectancy and anxiety lift from me. In good time, I met the true love of my life.

Be Italy

Be Italy With World Famous Photojournalists John Kane and Wendy Carlson

There are two photographers (who happened to be married) who we’ve known for years and who have put together the most wonderful trip imaginable. John Kane and Wendy Carlson’s work is known the world over (you’ll recognize his excellent photographs of  Pilobolus dancers, for example, and Wendy’s work, both photography and writing, is regularly in The New York Times).  The brochure says, “Cooking, culture, art and photography-all rolled into one incredible week with hostess Baronessa Cecilia Bellelli” and that is all I need to hear. I want to go, I want to Be Italy.

I love drawing the people, the architecture and capturing the golden light of Italy as much as eating and being relaxed yet completely enchanted. Taking photographs with Wendy and John and celebrating the visual feast as well as the food with a real Baronessa sounds magnifica! And John, an Italian citizen, is her nephew (that makes him royalty I believe!). What could be more magical than to join John and Wendy? I hope to go, and hope to see you there, too. To learn more about the trip, click here.

Synchronicity and The Lone Ranger

Working in NYC yesterday, I was talking with a client about the Lone Ranger. I had actually met the real Lone Ranger once (Clayton Moore, the tv Lone Ranger actor) at a School of Visual Arts event I attended years ago. He was in his costume, too (everyone was in some kind of costume because I think it was a Halloween themed event) and he was so nice, was with his wife and we had a great chat. Anyway, after my appointments yesterday, I met my husband and 12 year old at a diner called Big Daddy’s. We took a seat at a booth–and look who was right there, right next to me!  I don’t know about you, but synchronicity like this makes me love life. Have you noticed these kinds of things? Sometimes synchronistic things happen and they are subtle, other times really obvious, like this one. These events always make me feel so connected to life, to everything around me and they give me a sense that we are not alone.  These surprises make me feel that we’re part of a great mystery and that within the context of our daily lives, as we live out and act on our perceptions, there is so much happening in our favor, and so much to enjoy in the process.

Consider the Poplar

Pen and ink with water color/2012

Poplar trees grow so tall.  The Easter Poplar is often called a Cottonwood tree. I grew up with the ones in the mid-west (if they are the same species, I am not sure) known as the Cottonwood (favorite of mine and of Georgia O’Keefe from her days in Texas before she went to New Mexico).  The seeds of this tree float off into the air on a tuft of cotton-like fibers. Like Nature Spirits sent out into the world.

Napoleon planted poplars to shade his soldiers. That was a good idea. I don’t normally mention Napoleon, but I like the connections historical figures have to trees. I also read that the wood of the poplar is soft and often ends up as paper or matches or box material. I see that possibly much of what I do all day in the studio has to do with this tree. I am literally handling poplar pulp in the form of paper all day, in one way or another, possibly.

Thank you, Poplar Tree.

Choices and Intentions: You are Empowered

from my sketchbook/summer 2012

Even if we can’t control situations or people or nature, we can choose how we respond to what happens around us or to us. That infinite power is within us to respond with our intentions, as our bodies animate our intentions. All day our hands reach to choose things, to put our will to eat or to pick up something, in motion. The smallest gesture of the hand reminds me of how truly empowered we are in life.