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A friend messaged me this morning that she and her friend spent last evening reading to each other from my book. I replied that I got a...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Rain!



The rain in Spain may stay mainly on
the plain, but rain on the ranch brings relief to the plants. Many SoCal natives complain when it gets chilly and rainy, but I love it. Too much sunshine makes me nervous. Maybe because I grew up in Cleveland.

The bird bath in the photo is very special. Our first granddaughter, now nearly 9, was baptized in it.


I took many shots before I got this one. The husband loves these white roses but they are very fragile. The rain is going to be the end of them so I wanted a little present for him. I don't think I've ever before been patient enough to do what I had to to get the picture I wanted. In the rain no less!

Wishing you all a most refreshing day.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sorry

If posts have a jumbled appearance. Safari and blogger don't seem to get along and posting from Firefox produces a funky layout. So far, correcting this seems to be beyond me. Sooner or later, I'll get this figured out.

Thanksgiving






While eating a wonderful dinner prepared by Katydiddy and her most wonderful husband, I took my turn saying what I was thankful for.






This exercise started something like a nuclear reaction of realizations and emotions. I'm still entertaining my interior version of the China Syndrome and thought I'd get a post
up about blogging and the wonderful people I've found here.







There is, as so many others have posted, something very satisfying about having a place to share what you create. I've wrestled my way through the life sucking ideas that it's just showing off, an immature need for approval/recognition, and the ever-popular self-accusations of egomania.

But the furnace of my internal reactor has burned off the negativity and helped me realize that it's the sharing that gives the work juice. I have learned to be more authentic, to get over myself and to be comfortable in my own skin. Thanks to this outlet, I am simply having more fun.

















Thanks to Randi, Sylvia, Kelly, dj, Mary Ann and all of those who have led me to art journaling and all things that spring from that. Thanks to Katydiddy who prodded and poked until I put up a blog and who never ceases to amaze me. Thanks to Pippi who reminds me that writing should be read. Thanks to all of you out there who inspire me to make art and write here, in the light.

Only you can prevent the genocide of the imagination.
Rob Brezsny

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Like the Header says, Images and Scribbles


One, only one, of the million things I love about art journaling is that it gives me a place to work on my old passion, writing, and a place to develop my new love, art. Here are a few pages I have all ready for words, and here are some words that I call journal gleanings. The snippets of thoughts that I dash off in my book, when revisited, easily turn into poems that give me the format to say what's on my heart and in my mind. And, I must add that another thing I love about this art form, brought to me by the generous Randi, is that it led me to blogging and the opportunity to connect with all of you.

This piece of writing was inspired by Mary Ann Moss. Link

Art Journaling

One day, far into the future,
people will offer
journal pages from
these times,
from today,
as “must haves”
for those antiquarians
who want to know
what it was like,
in the beginning,
back in these days
when all of the
beauty was still unfolding,
when women had just begun
to teach each other to see,
to dream, to paint and to record
their witness of the mystery
that surrounds them.


Haunted?

Do spaces hold onto their pasts?
Can a ghost can be
an energetic and an event?
Maybe it’s not so much
that ghosts don’t want to leave
as places don’t want to let them go.
I often hear the parties
that were held here
years ago.



Yearning

A soul
dying of thirst
might believe
the smallest twig
can divine
sweet water.

The Con

Never spend
what you
see as
ordinary
on wishes
for what you
dream is
extraordinary.



Paths

It is only my arrogance
which leads me
to believe that I can
ever know where
I am or where I
am going.

It is folly to think
that I can choose a path
when it is the path which
chooses me. My only
choice is to keep
my feet moving.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The best of times




I have not been blogging very much because the only art I've been doing is a scribble here and a doodle there in my journals. None of which, I now realize, have I judged worthy of an appearance on the blog. Sheese! Well, it seems I've gotten over myself and here I am blogging again.

I am always fascinated at what the journaling process produces. If I tried, I don't think I could come up with these images. The words are simply picking up a pen and writing down what's rolling around in my mind. I realize I don't always give myself time to simply "think" just for the sake of "thinking."




Today I'm sharing photos that represent some of the really good day's I've been having.

Here is one that I altered for a sympathy card I recently sent. This looks, to me, like the welcome into nature and light that I suspect awaits me when I'm done here.
























You all know how much I love a sunset and this one offers color combinations that,
at Laura's suggestion, will inspire a future art project.
























A few of the ponies got past the pasture fence and decided to graze, just below the house, on the tender little ferns and grasses that begin to sprout as soon as we get any moisture. I have an app on my phone called Toy Camera that adds this wonderful aging and makes the sun rays a shower of light.























The harbor is in Ventura California, as in the old song, Ventura Highway. I love that the mountains and harbor are in such close proximity. The husband and I had a nice outing with a seafood lunch overlooking this view.










Now I have a real treat for you. Especially if you are someone interested in plein-air painting and the art of Early California. While doing a little research on our beloved old ranch, we came upon this.

Painted in the 20's, this is our house. We have many times visited the galleries in Laguna and we are pretty sure we have been in this one. While I have no recollection of seeing this particular painting, I do recall enjoying their collection of Early California. I went outside and stood where I think the painter probably sat. It was a strange and somewhat eerie feeling.
Obviously, I am not comfortable posting the actual painting since it is not my property (yet, that is). Going to make a trip down there to check it out.

Then there is this
I celebrated another year of my life early this month. The husband gifted me with the latest iPhone and my writers group brought chocolate cake and a bottle of red wine. All of my children, the spouses they have enriched our family with and all grandbabies, including the one due very soon, got together at one of my favorite restaurants for a delightful evening. I was very touched by their love and attention and the fact that every gift was a true reflection of my interests. It feels good to be with people who "get" you.


Rumi says,
"Someone who goes with half a loaf of bread
to a small place that fits like a nest around him, someone who wants no more, who's not himself longed for by anyone else,
He is a letter to everyone.
You open it,
It says, Live.

Peace to all.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ranch Photos
















Here are some ranch photos

Monday, August 31, 2009

BlogFam

Do yourself a huge favor and check out this new blog Notes From Pippi. It's not just mother pride talking, her writing is powerful. Now I have two daughters, Pippi and Katydiddy and one daughter-in-law Swan at Heart
here in Blogland. One more daughter and one son to go.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Forty One Years Ago Today



That's right folks, it all started with these two crazy kids in Parma, Ohio. As the husband wrote in the lovely card he gave me, "it's been a great ride!" There have been heart warming moments and moments of heart break, sheer terror and sheer joy, dark days and dazzling days. You know, a life. The real sweet spots are our four children. And now there are 2.5 little sweet spots added to the mix. We are blessed to have such a wonderful family all of whom bring us magic and delight. We have come a long way in those years and we are grateful.

I don't think we looked old enough to get married. Would you believe me if I said we haven't changed a bit?

LAST EVENING, after dinner, the husband called me to come into the kitchen, quiet and slow. This is what I saw when I looked out of the door.
Can you see him? On top of the fountain? Because the house wraps around this patio, I was able to move to a window without screen and get these shots.

Just how beautiful is he??? Becoming a regular visitor at dawn and dusk over the past week. We had a mysterious disappearance of a rather large bottle shaped container of fish food from the potting table. We have been speculating everything from coyotes to bears. But I think we have found the thief. Of course he could see me taking his photo and he seemed pleased to pose. His hooing echoes around patio and it sounds like he's using a bullhorn. Once again, Spirit comes to take a look.

ONE PIECE OF ART before I go. This is a journal page I made several days ago. It helped a lot, getting my mind off of all of the fires that are burning around us. We are in no present danger but after our last experience, it is an effort for me to relax.
AND FINALLY,

Serial Salvation

A benign breeze blows,
a cooling kiss beckons
at the window
that has been shut too long
to the melting madness
of a mind gone
literally to hell.
Only this morning
have I been able
to rise to the risk,
to chance capture
by the caress
of that which
always returns
with promise of
a heavenly haunt.
lm. 8/2009

Wishing you all soft, velvety serenity

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More Journaling



Got this two page spread done today in my little greeting card journal. Something about working in this book makes me especially happy.

My No Hunting plea is a result of many things coming together. I took a wonderful stencil class from Mary Ann Moss which made me purchase Ed Roth's book, Stencil 101 where I found that beautiful deer, and we just took down some old chicken wire, and I spent a bit of time this morning watching a mother and her spotted faun munching right next to the house.

The other piece was more of a stream-of-consciousness activity. I got a sample of that seductive, dark green paint and now I want to paint EVERYTHING phthalo green. The rest is old images I had in a box and the little copper color thing is a paint skin left on my palette from yesterday. I was listening to M. Ward's music, not really thinking, just painting, cutting, pasting and when I came out of my reverie, there it was. The text comes from a memory of a movie I saw years ago about ancient Druids and a seasonal celebration where the finest specimen of young manhood is chosen from the village and for a week he wears a head piece of stag horns, is fed and pampered by the women of the village and bedded by every eligible virgin in town. At the end of the week, the women 'hunt' him through the sacred oak grove and when they catch him, they nail him to one of the trees.

Toured a 1920's California Mediterranean house this afternoon. It is complete with a 4 story tower that allows you to see over three canyons. It is in original and impeccable condition. Great fun. Just finished up the evening having tea and ice cream with very good friends.

All in all, a most wonderful day.

Seeing all of us collapsing into the loving arms of The Mother where we may safely nap and sweetly dream.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What? Two posts in one week?


In spite of my best intentions, I missed the Open Studio on Monday. We had workers here and doctor appointments there, it became a scheduling nightmare. But, I installed myself in my lovely studio and painted. I also spent some time writing for my writers group today. The writers have left and I wanted to put some final touches on the journal pages when I realized that one of the pieces I wrote belonged on this page.

I forgot I'd used some ink and started slapping on gel medium so I have few smeary spots. Actually, as my youngest granddaughter would say, I prefer my art a bit messy so no worries.

Blessings have rained down on me today. The writers are people I loved when we started meeting and after many sessions of really discovering each other through our writing, I feel a deep connection and the meetings really feed my soul. Add to that a day and a half of painting and you will know I am totally blissed out! (I have the urge to add "man" to that blissed out. One of the writers gifted us with an amazing memory of attending one of the mega concerts Woodstock style and I'm still feeling the vibe...)

Just a parting word. Many of you know that I have Fibromyalgia (I have never bothered to learn to spell it), and I know that many of you suffer from this and other painful and depressing conditions. This poem is the result of several years of struggling with this. My prayer is for all of us.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's that time again

I seem to manage one post per month. As soon as I figure out how "they" are doing it, you know-making time pass more quickly than it used to, I will demand "they" stop! There does, fortunately, seem to be enough time for me to read your blogs. Always know that I am lurking on your pages.

All of that flying time has been good to me. As I mentioned last month, Alison of Creative Arts and Crafts
proclaimed me a winner and sent a lovely package of goodies. She commented that one of the pieces would be coveted by the other Laura (those of you who know her will easily identify the piece in question) but I have successfully staked my claim. Thank you so much, Alison, for so many great things. They look happy here in my studio.

Speaking of that little devil Laura, be careful if she ever suggests you take a look at the shop of someone she is consulting with. You will not be able to resist a purchase, she associates only with the finest of purveyors! Take a look at this great necklace purchased from the most talented Marieken at Park Avenue Jewelry. Matching earrings are included with each necklace.

My adventures at The Art Box continue. The lovely Sylvia hosts an open studio each Monday and it is my intention to attend more than I miss. So far, I've attended one...and missed one. Here is another of the collage pieces made in her class.


and this
is my response to Sylvia's challenge to get outside of my box and use a pallet and a medium I am not comfortable with. I tend to neglect water color, so that was my medium of choice, and this barn was to be all soft and pastellie. Imagine my delight when then Sylvia directed me to now make this piece "mine". For me that meant deeper colors and, of course, words. When I look at this I remember how much fun I had in that studio with those talented women. My plan is to be there next Monday!

I could go on, but maybe I'll save the rest for a post later in the week. Or next month.

I "clean" my brushes on empty journal pages and have discovered that, completely by chance, I can find some great images, begging to be defined, hidden in the mess. They feel like "secret" messages, fun. So, for now, I am content; a monkey mind searching for pattern in chaos.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I won! I won!

The fates smiled and I won a prize from Alison at Creative Art and Craft by Alison Gibbs. Her creations are lovely and I cannot wait to see what shows up in my mail box. If you like interesting photos of interesting places along with your art, go have a peek at her blog. Thanks again Alison for having the drawing.

Friday, July 10, 2009

How can it be


July 10th already??? I have not been idle, oh no. Among other things, I have begun a 4 session collage class with wonderful and talented Sylvia at the ArtBox right here in So Cal. The jumble above is the result of our first session last Wednesday. I am looking forward to the rest of the class.

We have also had some wonderful family events. It feels so good when all of the chickens are present and accounted for. We have confirmation that the grandchild we are all expecting will be a boy. The girl cousins are delighted. And I have had some miserable days of not feeling well sweetened considerably by the attention of my most loving children. How did I get soooo lucky? And the husband, can't forget, takes the most wonderful care of me when I am down.

I also have an update on the results I have enjoyed from my attendance at the Multiple Streams of Income seminar that my darling Katydiddy held here a few weeks ago. Yesterday I taught not one but TWO classes on art journaling. In my past life I was a pretty successful business consultant, trainer and public speaker. But the thought of "teaching" anyone anything about art, well I felt like a real imposter. I kind of got my feet held to the fire in the seminar and made a commitment to teach some classes. These two were volunteer efforts at the recovery agency I have been helping out at for over 20 years, but I will soon have a firm date for a paying gig later in the year. I'll tell 'ya, stay away from Katydiddy if you don't want anything to do with success. Consider yourself warned. If, however, you are like me and willing to take chances, click HERE and jump in.

As I mentioned before, I have been part of a wonderful little writers group that meets twice a month, here at the ranch. Because of this group, I have begun to take my writing more seriously and realize I need to start sharing it more. Over the past few weeks I have been moved to words by some every day things. Here are two resulting poems.

An Inconvenient Death

I heard the thump
on the porch,
early in the afternoon.
Sure enough,
very still,
on the plump cushions
in the wicker chair
in front of the picture window
lay a tiny form.
I hoped he was just stunned,
but he was dead.
Orange and yellow breast,
black and brown body
white striped wings.
He was young,
still fluffy with patches
of baby feathers.

He’d been flying
free, just learning
to go where he pleased.
It was easy for him,
or maybe it was hard,
but he was alive.
He would have
had his fun this Spring.
Found a nice drab girl bird,
settled down to a nest,
a brood of his own.

Instead, in a blink
of his still open,
shiny eye,
a change of plan
or perhaps
a plan of change.

The endless sky
and inviting branches
that he was headed for
were, of course, a window,
illusions of freedom,
of soaring to that perfect
high perch
from which to watch
the day.
Reality was
the good hard smack,
the black humor,
that brought him down,
dead,
on the comfort
of the casual chair.

I tossed
the fearless fledgling
into the ground cover.
He may be eaten,
the realists feasting
on the corpse
of the dreamer.

Or maybe the lovely little form
will simply lie there
until it decays,
offers itself
as nourishment
to the plants and the poets
who also like to dream,
of recklessly soaring.

lm 7/2009



Saturday Night at the Buffalo Inn

The band is loud, Guns and Roses loud,
Even here, outdoors at our patio table.
The waitresses are friendly and all have tatoos.

She sits, rubber necking, in her eight year old splendor.
We order buffalo burgers. She asks for Chick-a-loo
and reminds me she is allowed one Dr. Pepper.

We sip iced tea and one Dr. Pepper, and wait for dinner.
No speedy service here, we all loosen up and lighten up.
The lead singer begins to wail an off key Axl Rose.

My heart warms at the sight of her and I can’t resist
stroking her perfect arm as she watches, riveted; listens,
keeping time with her whole body.

“Whoa,Oh,Oh,Oh,
Sweet Child O’ Mine.”
Indeed.

lm 6/2009

Sigh, it's been a beautiful Summer so far. Wishing for you that sacred space called "The Moment".

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Relaxing


I have only recently discovered how relaxing sketching with a charcoal pencil can be. Most of my efforts have been truly awful, and this one needs some work, but all in all I am celebrating great progress. The vine running up the right side and the Imagine that shows faintly on the bottom were a surprise. They are the imprint left from the scratch work I did on the previous page. I wish they were not there, but they are.

I love faces, to draw and to photograph. I'm just learning to ask people if I can take their picture but I was raised in a house where it was very impolite to stare and you did not want to get caught looking at anyone. I probably passed that on to my kiddos, so here is the public apology, "I'm sorry", and the admission, "I was wrong", and the therapy, "go out there and look at some faces!"

Here's to paying attention, living deliberately, fully conscious and seeing spirit everywhere we look.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Everybody sing...

"Life's been good to me so far..."



I seem to be the Occasional Blogger in spite of all of my intentions. So here I am to catch up on all of the tender and good things that have found me.

Remember Nancy? Friends when we were 2? I found her, after 30 lost years on FaceBook, which I'd just like to say I was "forced" onto. Clucking and sighing at the silliness of it, I was. But the gods smiled and smiled again when Nancy came to spend 10 wonderful days here at Trails End. I'm still sorting it out, still trying to find words to describe more than the day trips we took, the things we laughed at, the things we discovered and rediscovered about each other, the meals we ate, the fun-fun-fun we had. I'm looking for the words to describe the amazing thing that happened in my heart the moment I saw her get off of the plane. Something so warm and loving, so soothing and enlivening that is with me still, all growing and glowing. Something that is whispering to me of itself. Possibly, this feeling is preverbal. Going back to days when we experience without having to name it. Back in the days when we were closer to heaven and still spoke and thought in the language of the angels.

OK, out of my heart and into my head! Here is a journal page I did recently that is all ready and waiting for me to write about the success I am about to step into.



My wise and talented daughter recently held a seminar at the ranch on Multiple Streams of Income. What an experience. Laura helped us discover so many ways to get paid doing what we love and her gifted co-presenter, Susan helped us discover what holds us back from accomplishing what we desire. A very powerful day. I had a major "ah-ha!" moment that I am quite excited about bringing to fruition. Besides the priceless information, Laura provided a delicious pasta salad lunch with cupcake desserts. You must watch for these smarties to put this on again and sign up!!!

These past weeks have filled my head and my heart and I find myself in a sort of perpetual state of contemplation. I am having the most wonderful dreams at night and am experiencing synchronicity nearly everyday. Here's one example; tonight the husband and I ate at a restaurant that we'd taken Nancy to and I wished she was with us again. Suddenly, I overheard the woman in the booth in front of us talking about someone named...Nancy! A few minutes later, the woman in the booth behind us asks her dinner partner if he's heard from...Nancy yet! The magazine image in the next piece looks like I felt. The addition of the leafless trees and the lack of a horizon all fit my current state of mind. The sticker told me it belonged on the page. I wonder what the H stands for. Any suggestions?

Oh, I have sooooo much more to show and tell. But lest I wear out my welcome on your computer screen, I'll go, leaving you with a final piece that I am a bit proud of. It is the first piece I have completed using a set of oil pastels that I have struggled with for years.

It was one of those projects that seem to put themselves on the page and only when I looked at it the next day did I "get" it. Odd, isn't it?

Wishing for you the time and inclination for contemplation.