Monday, December 5, 2011

 I've been working on a commission for a Christmas present this month. It's a mixed media painting of a grandmother who passed away in the spring.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Somewhere along the way I started hating Christmas. Yes, hating. Ironically it might have been when I had my own kids. Christmas isn't designed for mothers, at least not 'highly sensitive to over stimulation' mothers. The version of this celebration that has been designed by Coke is, in my opinion, ugly and void of generosity. We have been fed an ideal that running around spending loads of money and hanging lights and gorging on carbs is generosity but I have to say, IT IS NOT.
I'm in a new place, on a new path, just past the fork in the road of life. A few years ago I was standing at the decision, the fork just ahead. I knew I was an unorthodox living in the wrong skin and trying desperately to be something I was not. What a fateful day to choose this lovely, serene way. To be recovering from so many wayward choices and to have life unfolding so mercifully and gracefully with out any effort at all. And yet, here we are back at this time of the orbit and the solstice where commercialism abounds in all it's fat horrible excessiveness. What to do?
I'm going to enjoy the one art show I've chosen to participate in. I'm  going to buy my children a few nice presents that they've asked for. I'm going to bring steamed vegetables and a salad to Christmas dinner and I'm going to spend as much time in deep reflection of my souls purpose and where I fit into this space and time while I'm here.

I truly believe that we are celebrating a winter solstice, gratitude for the plenitude that mother Earth provides....... simplicity, perfection, lightness. air, water, fire, nourishment. Just that, only those, exactly what I need. Praise.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I find myself wishing to be all 'Ground Hog Day' for last weekend (the movie not February 2nd). I took part in a summit that was focused on Art, faith and justice. About 40 creatives were invited to spend Friday night and all day Saturday at the most magical location, Bo.ttega, it was put on by Tribehouse collective. I'm short on words for describing the experience, it's something that I'm feeling in my cells.... the absolute goodness of being surrounded by people who heard the creative call and are living it in every way. The incredible, live music swirled around that big open room and rained back down, connecting us with each other. It was/is collaboration in it's purest form..... to just sit in communion and be fully present. Maybe that's the art? Not a piece of work in it's finished form but the ever flowing, growing, shifting creative story being told when we sit together and really listen.
I listened with all of myself.
What does it mean to be part of a community when you've been solitarily struggling through life. I'm not good at connecting and collaborating, it usually gives me a migraine. Somehow things are different now and my yellow brick road is on a trajectory toward Loving and experiencing people. I have real friends, a team and I realize when I look back on the last couple of years that I'm not alone anymore. If you're a healthy soul this may sound like small potatoes but if you're like me; hyper-sensitive to the pulse of the Earth you may understand. I have lived my life trying so hard not to need anything from anyone but, in the words of Margaret Fuller, "Two persons love in one another the future good, which they aid one another to unfold."

Friday, October 28, 2011

I'm watching a documentary on The Knowledge Network about a choir of seniors singing classic rock songs such as schizophrenia, Forever Young and one by the Doors. They travel to many countries, they practice and they form bonds with each other. In one scene they are performing at a prison for a bunch of tough looking, male inmates. The performance is dignified even though the performers are wearing bright blue ball caps in a somewhat undignified location. It's so moving to watch the looks on the viewers faces, how they respond to the different songs, fast or slow, smiles and tears. they grin happily at the end of the show and say, "that's the best show I've ever seen". It's a beautiful thing to see this group Love each other through death, aging, illness and the fun they're having.
"You don't get out of this life alive",  Is what one fellow says. He has oxygen tubes in his nose. The next scene is him strutting a music video as lead singer on 'Stayin Alive' (still with the oxygen). The scene after that another member of the group drops dead of cancer.

So often I ask that adolescent question that goes something like this, "why?" But then I have a day like today where things just make sense. I taught my first class at The Kelowna Art Gallery which feels something of a milestone. I had a yummy espresso at GioBean (a must if you like really good italian style java.) And, best of all I did all those fun things with my Mom.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A terrifying scenario: I'm shaking today so that when I draw, the lines are squiggly. When I stand up the room spins a bit, just until I adjust to the upright position. When I'm with other people I try to control the shaking and the shaking gets worse. I wonder what it must look like that I tightly cross my arms and attempt to hold my head from looking like Parkinson's.  This is what it is to have Bi-Polar II. To be mostly out of control of your faculties. To wonder if you can hold a pen or paintbrush, to sense that your bladder might give way at a completely inopportune moment  or to know that everyday you will make poor decisions that circularly lead back to shaking. The hardest part is looking backwards and seeing the clear and steady path toward mania and realize you were the last one to see it. And to be overtaken by an evil and wicked force that makes the world feel hostile, hellish. When you begin to screw up and lose control you wonder if you will have a friend or a mainstay ever again. It's so easy to forget that you've been here before and you got through it..... it's a tunnel shaped like a funnel and as you methodically stride in the direction of the narrow end it's impossible to see the goodness of creation. I suppose this is where the 'Bi' in it lives, that the up becomes the down. You can't really have one without the other you can only hope that with experience it isn't as black as the last time...... the 'jaws of the black dogs' will release a bit easier than the last time. To choose Love over Fear is what I wish for today, only that. When the fear is Goliath and behemoth and the Love is a tiny speck, I have to rely on the word of those around me and have blind faith that these thoughts are lies.

I'm choosing transparency and full disclosure, this time, so that the others.... my partners in mental illness can feel camaraderie.  I know, we frighten you in our unpredictability, intensity, electricity. But, I can tell you that for the first time in 45 years I understand that I belong and I deserve to hold a space regardless of my craziness. Go ahead, be threatened but know that I am here to mirror something in you; your own craziness maybe or creativity, instability or need for compassion. I am here to feel deeply the details of the pulse of the Earth and then to bring them back up as art for you to see. It's my job and the penalty is that sometimes the layers of overwhelm overtake, my brain is a soup of swirling ideas and my body is not my own to navigate this place.

I do wish for someone who won't be afraid of me and who can see that these times are when the genius resides and bubbles over. Someone who will see, for me, when I can't, that I can blow the top of sanity for a short while in order to make something bigger than us all. For us all. Maybe, disillusions of grandeur or maybe a moment in time that is meant to be.
If I had the flu or cancer or a broken leg you'd bring me chicken but I don't. I have faulty wiring in my brain and therefore, I'm alone. My disease isn't recognized as a disability because sometimes I function very well (better than average) but then there are times like this when the tiniest of tasks is impossible. I haven't been able to hold a real job for over 20 years, I'm an artist, which has forced me into dependance. I'm OK really, just can't hold all this in anymore and so I blog.
All I need is that you take this in just a little and hug someone you love a little longer. It will ripple out.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I had such a great time talking with the gang at Katalyst from Tribehouse last Monday night. Bursting with gratitude!

Friday, September 16, 2011

sent to me by KendraArt and Borrowed from Bob Proctor!

It's Not Easy
Let's be honest. Ethics is not for wimps.
It's not easy being a good person.
It's not easy to be honest when it might be costly, to play fair when others cheat, or to keep
inconvenient promises.
It's not easy to stand up for our beliefs and still respect differing viewpoints.
It's not easy to control powerful impulses, to be accountable for our attitudes and actions, to tackle unpleasant tasks, or to sacrifice the now for later.
It's not easy to bear criticism and learn from it without getting angry, to take advice, or to admit error.
It's not easy to feel genuine remorse and apologize sincerely, or to accept apologies graciously and truly forgive.
It's not easy to stop feeling like a victim, to resist cynicism, or to make the best of every situation.
It's not easy to be consistently kind, to think of others first, to judge generously, or to give the benefit of the doubt.
It's not easy to be grateful or to give without concern for reward or gratitude.
It's not easy to fail and still keep trying, to learn from failure, to risk failing again, to start over, to lose with grace, or to be glad of another's success.
It's not easy to look at ourselves honestly and be accountable, to avoid excuses and rationalizations, or to resist temptations.
No, being a person of character isn't easy. That's why it's such a lofty goal and an admirable achievement.

OK, so if you've been following my drama the last couple of days you know I've been a big baby having a tantrum over getting scammed on my scooter purchase. I'm still not completely over being mad at myself and the seller but I am embarrassed at the way I've been dealing with it. It was a cool debate on facebook, I always love those status updates that bring on the debate! I think the only other big one I posted was about a black widow on my doorstep. Apparently, I'm all about drama and complicating my life...... a natural victim of sorts. A close mentor says, "go to small claims court". Not because I'll win but because I need to get over being a victim. I'm still getting an almost 50/50 on this one but totally open to opinions. The thing is, I wonder if I would just get myself all worked up..... keep it alive..... stay angry. What an anti-climax if I lost the case. My bike looks hot and it runs fine so far I just paid about $700 too much for it. My ego is bruised thinking about the nice helmet I could have instead of getting hosed.
On another note, this week I had one of the most exciting moments of my artistic career. I was invited to speak at a cool arts group called Katalyst through Tribehouse. These guys are the ultimate in peers and it was such a validating, rewarding experience to be in creative convo with them! I'm going to a summit in October as well which I'm over the moon about.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning." Catherine Aird

That's me, a horrible warning.

I have blogged this quote before but it just happens to be appropriate again.  Sometimes I'm a real idiot and the only way I can justify it is if others learn from my mistakes. Fodder for the perpetual self flagellation is never far away.  Yesterday I wrote about my new Piaggio Fly and how I was so fly and not beating my head against the closed window like a fly. Today is entirely another story and the Latin term for 'buyer beware' /ˌkæviːɑːt ˈɛmptɔr/) keeps rolling around in my head. I am going to humble myself down to the level I'm feeling in my heart right now and tell you my sordid story.
It started out with me doing research, test driving and learning about scooters. For some reason when it came to choosing a bike and handing over my money all my maturity went right out with the garbage. I way overpaid in CASH to a girl named Laura-Sophie Brooks Hurley for a bike that she didn't tell me had been in a bad spill. Today when I took it for a service the kind people at KGB Motorsports pointed out all the flaws and with each my heart broke a little. All the symptoms of an emotional aneurism came over me and I thought I was going to pass out and throw up. I'm a starving artist and a newly single mother that really shouldn't make stupid financial mistakes or indulge in any fun at all. I'm not sure why I forget so easily and go off in search of more fun and, quite frankly, danger! Why? They say mistakes are valuable because that's how we learn. but what about if we don't..... learn, that is? What then? I'm pissed off at the dishonesty of the person who sold it to me, I'm very pissed off at myself. As much as I could hope that things would turn in my favor and I would be able to go back, I can't.

What I have to do now is forgive. Forgive myself, forgive Laura. I just have such a trusting soul and today I feel fear of a hostile world full of scammers and meanies.
Maybe my husband was right, "I can't survive by myself"

A dear friend pointed out to me this morning about the rides at the fair. It's the ones that go off in all directions and jerk us around that we seek out. The nice little calm rides are.... boring..... I usually go on the boring ones and once and awhile I shut off the wise voice and I jump on one of the crazy rides and wrestle around a bit.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I bought a little Piaggio Fly scooter. It is adorable and I love riding around with my hot  hot helmet on! I can park anywhere and the gas is about $3 per week. I'm so free.... not just on my scooter but in my life. The dissolve of my 22 year relationship in February has been devastating and lonely but on the other hand, I'm free to be me. This is good, right?
Have you ever heard the story of the fly who buzzes incessantly  into a window when just a few feet over there is an open door? The poor creature wants so badly to be free of the clear glass boundary. He can see the great big outside world yet try as he might he can't get out there. If he could relax and stand back just a bit he could quietly jet out that door and have all the joyous freedoms of the world. Do you ever feel like that fly? I do. I have. For so many years I have slammed into that glass pane seeing what was out there and not being able to fly out. Lately, I feel the ease that comes only from faith in something, anything bigger than yourself. I have stood back ever so slightly from the blocks, just enough to see how wide open the world is if I wait for the space reserved for me. Oh sure, I doubt all the time and start flying into the window headfirst... slam, slam slam. Less and less, lighter and lighter if I choose Love and freedom over fear and control.

I promise you the same little flame.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Year of the Fire Starter

August 7th:
Creative Fire Starter is  my moniker for this, my 46th year. (I am a Leo and my Chinese zodiac is a fire horse) I'm spreading my fire for art and hope to be an arson for other peoples art too.

I'm celebrating my 45th birthday this year......? It's funny how I've shifted into old by the look on people's faces. When I announce, "cripes, I'm turning 45 on Wednesday" they say wow, "you don't don't look it or just a simple eyebrow raise paired with "MMMM". Last year when I would say "I'm turning 44" I would get, "oh, you're still a spring chicken or something to express I had a long way to go yet.... and I would feel pacified for a moment. Nope, not this year. I've officially moved into mature with an emphasis on the 'T' (the way my sister says it).

I haven't had a party for a long time so I decided to do it up artist style this year. A musician I've recently met, Brent Tyler, and absolutely love his work has agreed to join me and play at my studio.
FORGIVENESS (sailboats)
August 14th:
Andy Warhols mother is said to have told him, "don't be pushy but let everyone know you're around".
Last night I audaciously faced a 5 foot by 4 foot canvas stapled to my studio wall while surrounded by friends family and art appreciators. In the opposite corner of my studio was (pinch me) Brent Tyler and his percussion collaborator Andrew Ball. When they did their sound check at 6:30 I started to cry.... very moving experience that. It was a dream come true to be surrounded by people I love, an incredibly talented musical ensemble, and to paint...... did I deserve it? Was I pushy? Why are these the questions I'm asking myself today?
I'm happy with the painting I made last night and I'm incredibly honored and humbled that two such hi-caliber musicians played with me. I'll leave it at that and if I was pushy, audacious, disproportionately confident The universe will right me. My hope is that I will be blessed with another such opportunity again soon. I ache to add stage painter to my resume.

Friday, July 1, 2011

ache.

Is it time already?
to go
stay awhile longer so I can breath
you in just enough.
a scent of living and presence
of knowing
It's about goodbye, so long

Oh time, I cling to your windy ribbons tearing at my fingers

Is it too much to ask for happiness
simple happiness
must things always change
and why must my heart want them to stay the same Oh,
the same. Except the days when I want them
to change
I'm a fickle creature.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Holy moly! I can't even believe how much I love Mary Oliver!!!
This one makes me weep and dance all at the same time.
We just have to create.... just go for it. We are all creating the world we live in even if you think you're not creative, shift your mind-you are creating right now, sitting in your chair-you are oh divine one, you are!


"for how many years have you gone through the house
shutting the windows,
while the rain was still five miles away

and veering, o plum-colored clouds, to the north
away from you

and you did not even know enough
to be sorry,

you were glad
those silver sheets, with the occasional golden staple,

were sweeping on, elsewhere,
violent and electric and uncontrollable--

and will you find yourself finally wanting to forget
all enclosures, including

the enclosure of yourself, o lonely leaf, and will you
dash finally, frantically,

to the windows and haul them open and lean out
to the dark, silvered sky, to everything

that is beyond capture, shouting
i'm here, i'm here! now, now, now, now, now."
— Mary Oliver

Friday, June 24, 2011

I'm so curious if anyone did it? Did you have an Olympic training day? Did you feel great at the end of it? I did and I did!!!! Yesterday I made great strides on the painting that I'm working on for Leon Avenue. It's metal and 2'x4' and I have to use exterior house paint which is so unforgiving! A real challenge but with each change I realize again that the paintings just come through me. I'm a mere conduit, a channel. If I just show up with a brush it just happens and it's so much better if my crazy mind gets out of the way.
Leave me a comment to tell about your Olympic day. I would love to hear about the tiny little things you did a bit differently and the miracles that ensued

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Be Well. Not for yourself but for those who need you.



The greatest gift one can give the world is to be well.
I'm in training. You know, like an olympic athlete?
My games are being an artist, a mother, a friend and an embracer of life. I really want to be excellent at that list........ perfectionist? Maybe.
I have become closer to ultimate wellness than I ever believed possible and I have had my eyes opened to magic. My wish for my wellness is to be a balanced tri.: spiritual, mental and physical.
I know it involves the hardest decisions, above all. The athlete has to decide not to eat certain foods and to have supportive relationships. I too am working on decisions. Lately, most of mine aren't great. Some of them are, though, and they certainly are better than they used to be.
I guess I would like to be good at truth, clarity and brutal balance. I still err on the side of permitting the unacceptable because I am a harbinger of Love. Sometimes wanting to spread Love can mean letting my guard down and not prioritizing, kind of like a silly flower child. Spreading flower petals is romantic and fun in the moment but it can lead you down a path, off course. Somehow, my vision of balance is spreading petals, in the moment, while prioritizing for extreme personal best.

I love having a thin healthy body and a clean mind but most of all it's my big ass wings that I love. They are attached to an even bigger ass glowing soul that needs to make art!

I am aware that complacency can creep in and in the blink of an eye I'm off the training schedule..... slipping away from my Olympic dream. Today I'm going to get it back.
Join me in being the very best you can be, just for today...... make good decisions- do it for someone you love. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

no mistakes.


I truly believe in timing and no mistakes. Lately, I am mindful and watchful of every moment of every day. I am a toddler playing hide and seek with God and our rooms are the universe, peeking around dark corners and vibrating with anticipation when I get so close to him I can hear his breath. I find him everyday, sometimes with a great big BOO surprise and I jump and giggle nervously at the magnitude of my discovery. 
So when I watched a series of six youtube videos of an interview with Dr. John DeMartini I had an eyeopening, an awakening into the next phase for me. (click on the name to see the vids) Dr. Demartini says, "where isn't God", meaning why do we think that God is not in money? He talks about building wealth in terms of finding something that is of service to others. It hit me hard that wealth is about being of service to other people and then being of service to some more so that you can hire so they can be of service. Working at my gift of making art is effortless and so it is with all the things I've learned about staying true to myself and now being of service to the world I am veering gently to a new direction. 
It scares me to write this down, especially publicly, but My life seems to be defined by the risks I'm taking. I have always felt undeserving of earning a living and therefore, depended on my dad and my husband to support me. I abdicated all my rights, I was alive because someone else was supporting me.... they had VALUE, I had none. One of the last things my husband said to me as he was walking out the door was, "you won't survive without someone like me". I plan to prove myself wrong, yes..... myself. See I believed him and I believed my dad and I believed my own assessment, that I couldn't survive without being a nothing and depending on another. I have a new belief, I'm not sure what it looks like yet, that I can be of service and I can be compensated for it enough to live well and raise my wonderful babies. I believe that I'm worthy of autonomy and that, when it's time, I can be interdependent in a warm, loving, healthy way.


thought for the day:
What is art to me? Art is a story. it's a story of and by the maker and it's a story of and by the viewer and the interaction between creation and enjoyment. I really hate it when people say, "I know what I like", art is not about liking something. I consider it a fail when I make something that get's a neutral response. I believe that art is to be loved or hated and each is as important as the other. Real art evokes emotion that stirs some sort of connection. I get to experience a complete, urgent and in the moment emotion when I create the art. I wish only, that I will make one thing in my lifetime that tells my story deeply, spiritually to one person on the planet.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Re-creation


Years ago I harboured a belief that there is room for all of us. I said over and over to competitive artists, "there is room for everyone". Love never ends....

I had another one of those miracle weeks..... they are becoming the norm and not exception.
There's a re-creation of community going on and I'm amazed to somehow, miraculously be a part of it. It's a gentle rumbling of creatives; musicians, painters, dancers, poets and the spiritual minded. It's inclusive, generous and egalitarian most of all it's kindness and Love. I like to always spell Love with a capital 'L'. Love is not being afraid no matter how steep your mountain is. Love is never about worrying what others are doing and always about you. If we take care, absolutely, of ourselves the Love ripples out and is pure and wonderful and indirectly becomes about everyone else.

On Thursday night I sat in on an evening of art where Jessica Balfour, Nikki Balfour and James Balfour talked about their respective art forms. I took away the message that we all have a gift that comes easy to us, that when we are truly living our authenticity we won't know it because our cells will align with our calling and it will be as easy as breathing. We have been trained that things worth doing are hard and forced that when we are suffering we are living truth. I don't think so. I'm not sure how I'm going to see this through but I hope to explore it in my blog and videos.
Then, on Saturday night I had the privelidge of displaying some of my art at the dynamic 'Touch Collective' event. Wow, what a night! Music, poetry, dance, live painting, a killer D.J. and after the show I danced with a whole bunch of great peeps. So fun and inspiring.

Collaborative energy is the most powerful thing I have ever experienced. I plan to slide and flow into it and take my hands off the wheel.

thought for the day:
For so long I've been living in hiding~invisible~ now I say, "world I'm here. Notice me, Love me hate me watch me shine. I shrouded in all kinds of complicated layers and was wildly successful at becoming nobody but my heart screamed out. My body decided to dance and get up out of it's wheel chair and knock off it's prosthetics. It's a messy Joy I'm in ~ it's a ruckus adolescent party and I'm swinging from the rafters a bit while the world sits back and tisks its tongue and wags it's finger. I'll laugh my crazy wide open laugh. Just for a little while until a new comfort settles in.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hello Sunshine




hello sunshine
warmer of my soul
my companion
embracer
Let me be just your particles and nothingness
that when I hold out my fingertips there is warmth and no division
connected to light and everything and nothing
I beg of you not to judge me sol, lover of my soul

Today I was reminded that wherever I am is exactly where I'm meant to be. A simple stop for coffee turned into an afternoon with new friends, great conversation and inspiration. Follow your heart and your feet each day, don't be afraid....... I promise that great things await.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Painting, Friends and Tenderloin

This week's theme has been about connecting with some of my oldest and dearest friends. Friends that I haven't seen much over the past 20 years. There is Kevin, whom I adore because he is smart, funny, deeply spiritual and completely accepting of my various flaws. We spent hours painting last night. He made me the yummiest steak dinner I've ever had and we watched youtube videos of live painters on his giant TV. I seriously could not have dreamed up such a perfect way to spend a Saturday evening!!! (You may remember last Saturday's post, where I cried in the Walmart). At 6pm Kevin and I waited for the world to end and decided that we'd be happy either way...... painting, a tenderloin steak, great company, I'm good to go wherever it is one goes when the world ends! Here is the painting I made:
It's acrylic on a 10"x14" canvas board. Roxy at Opus set us up with some brand new Pebeo iridescent paint and it is fantastic! The green and blue is all iridescent and reflective. The pink beeded line is made with liquitex pouring medium that I mixed with paint in a squeezy bottle, then  I channeled Jackson Pollock for a sec. super fun. I think Being at Kevin's funky apartment with a few different materials unleashed a new direction.....

On Monday I happened upon Warren, a warm, gentle and steady soul who has been through the ringer with his health and other things. I had written with intention how much I would like a new easel and 2 days later I pulled my car into a parking spot and about a foot in front of me, on the sidewalk was my dear, childhood friend Warren. The short miraculous version of the story is that Warren builds things and has offered to build me an easel..... I'm so excited!

This week in the studio I'm going to set up the projector I've borrowed from Christina, another artsy diva at Opus. She has graciously loaned me this swanky piece of equipment  so I can blow up my drawings onto some bigger surfaces. One of the surfaces is the 2'x4' panel that will be hung on Leon Ave. here in Kelowna. So, lots going on in my creative life and I couldn't be more thrilled! I hope to get back to some video this week too.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"let the soft animal of your body love what it loves", Mary Oliver

I discovered today that there is still a crater in my heart, I wonder if there is even a heart left that darn crater is so big. I mistaken, at times, the thin pink layer of skin as healed, all healed up and ready to go. Then the wide eyed, pink maned Leo jumps into adventures with both feet so strong and proud...... all head up, all healed up. "I'm fine" I say between sobs from the peeling back of that new fresh skin. There are just so many people eager to get under there and peel it back it seems. So the choice becomes a)trust them and jump in and take a risk or b) hide out, alone. This is where a book about life might come in handy but probably, even knowing what I do now, I will still pick option a. And maybe, just maybe one of the adventures will be the one to help it heal. In the mean time I'll have a healthy dose of scar tissue.

Can someone  please mail me the copy of that handbook, you know the one for living and loving and knowing how to be. I seem to have been left off of the mailing list, I'm sure that one of you has a copy I can borrow. It won't take me long to read as I'm an eager student and a quick study, I'll get it back to you just as soon as I have it all figured out.

I hate advice....... it really ticks me off. But, at this particular moment in time I love Lilly Allen's little tune and I'm singing it at the top of my lungs. You know the one? F. U. very very much.

I also love the way Mary Oliver nails it when she asks, "what will you do with your one wild and precious life"?

"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
call to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things."
— Mary Oliver


Sunday, May 15, 2011

I went to Walmart last night for breath mint strips, cotton balls, and a lighter for candles. I returned a pair of pantyhose. I cried. I was having a great big pity party that it was saturday night and I was in Walmart. The 300 lb girl in front of me in the pink and red striped pyjamas had a someone with his arm around her. Me, I was alone and bored..... bad combination.
I came home to a house full of music and laughter and 17 year olds. I plugged in Julia Roberts; eating praying and loving and felt somehow pacified. If I can just hang in between those, the blissful moments, pacified moments. Make them the cornerstones of my life. Remember that even though the pain is so intense at times it really is not as powerful as the unexpected miraculous Love that has flooded over me. I am shocked and amazed everyday that the miracles continue to roll in and they're big, bold unfathomable miracles.
One of the miracles:
I have been invited to be part of a group of artists who will each paint a large panel to hang over Leon Avenue in Kelowna. It will be part of beautifying the block where our  Gospel mission is. The residents of the area are homeless and often facing massive challenges. Art heals. Bringing my art to be part of the healing is a daunting yet amazingly rich order and nothing less than a miracle. Here is my latest youtube video. Please subscribe to my channel. I plan to keep taping all my creative processes. Another miracle: Kim McMechan is the brilliant musician behind the piano on my 'Pear Tree' series of videos. AND in the summer I will be using James Balfour's amazing tunes...... this is really one of the most exciting things ever!!! I love collaboration.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

what I'm working on today

I'm loving every moment of this process, the painting and the video documenting of the painting! It's still going to be awhile and possibly will be about 4 vids long. So I've decided while working on this painting that it's high time I got a new easel. This one is about 17 years old and it was a cheap student easel when I bought it. I've had dreams of someone building me a cool one that could turn and stuff..... I know an artist who's husband built her one like that. I just asked a friend, "are you making room for something great to come into your life"? but the funny thing is, I think I was actually asking myself. Do you ever do that..... mention something all wise and stuff and realize that it was meant for YOU? Wow, maybe everything falls into that category. I digress. I need a new easel. That's intention speaking to the universe because I have no idea how it's going to come to me. 

This is the one I want, Universe

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pear Tree.m4v

What if.......

What if, I went back to school next September to finish my bachelor of fine arts? I wonder? So many things go through my mind at the possibilities. I could study Art History like I've dreamed of doing. I could explore my fascination with all the women artists who've gone before me and risked everything to shout out their creative words. Their voices are calling me, I can hear Frida with her lovely mexican lilt and Georgia so gentle and buttery. Mary Cassat, I don't know you very well but girl, maybe we could catch up over tea. I bought the domain name herfootsteps dot com and I am going to visit all those women artists around the world, and hopefully bring some other like minded individuals with me.
OR, Artemisia Gentileschi 1593–1652 who painted Judith Slaying Holofernes. Now there's a woman I could get to know, if she'd let me in. I absolutely love this painting and I need to learn why, technically! 
When I first knew I needed to study art history it was with distain but within days of my first class I was hooked. i think it was largely, in part, due to the instructor. Mireille Perron, the only women I've ever fallen in love with, made everything sound romantic. Even when she said Dada or Barbarian I hung on every syllable.  So now, almost 18 years later I want to get back at it. Studying and becoming a degree carrying woman. There are some things I need to find out; can I use any of my credits from the 2 years of art school I did back in the '90's? How much does it cost and WHERE am I going to get the money. I think when one gets the desire and the in-spiration (spirit) the means will follow. So off I continue on my yellow brick road to discover if this is part of my future. 

I celebrated both my kids birthdays this weekend, mother's day is poignant because they are both officially teenagers now. My baby is 13 and I really can't believe it. I do feel as though I'm in a re-invention phase of life..... so many changes and unknowns. I think the old me would have been trying to find a big rock to crawl under but the new and improved me is just excited and full of wonder at what's around the next bend. I'm a size 4, wonders never cease!!!! If I can be 135 lbs and a size 4 anything is possible, maybe even bliss and abundance.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Richest Girl in the World

The long row of 100 foot Pines, beyond the apple orchard, are swaying in the wind. They are somehow strong and precarious at the same time. Some of them have the tell tale red of pine-beetle damage. I've seen a few fall about half way down, with such force it takes your breath away. I had been thinking about a hike today.  Instead I warmed up my bean bags and curled up with Oprah interviewing president and Mrs. Obama. and my blog. The air still has a chill and the apple trees are all pulled in like spectators at a winter parade. My dad, my hero, who has his ear quietly to the pulse of the earth says, "the apple blossoms are a month behind this year". Every spring at the this time I head up the hill behind my house and am in awe and wonder that the old abandoned cherry orchard is in bloom and the bees have come back to collect pollen. I know some say there are signs of change, but here in this miraculous pocket that I call home the quail still bob up the rows at dusk and back down again at dawn. The dogs circuit the property line like deputies and you can see stars at night for the black sky. ('Grass grows without edges and bees are princes', that's a line from my children's story I hope to publish someday.)
I'm letting go, now, of the home I've lived the longest in. We might be here a while yet but I need to let go never-the-less. To all things comes an end.
Last night was the Artists For Japan Disaster Relief Concert. I can safely say I am not a naturally talented fundraiser. it was a fun run through small town stardom and philanthropy and now I wait faithfully for the next message from the universe. There are rumblings and, like my dad, I keep my ear to the earth.

In-spired or in-the-spirit is the way I am living now. I was recently introduced to the poetry of David Whyte and love this line of his "what you can plan is too small for you to live" so I have attempted to stop planning. it's much harder than it sounds, in fact I already have plans for Thursday and Friday Oh gosh I guess for the weekend too..... I'm not even much of a planner so you gold A-types out there must be having a hell of a time. I recommend making mistakes in your plan at the very least, I have the most wonderful surprises come out of my mistakes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Clean Sheets

I washed my sheets tonight.
Sheets on the bed of 21 years or is it 22, Who's counting?
I washed those sheets and now I realize that your scent is gone..... I can't get it back.
All the moments you don't remember when you're angry or sad, I can't get those back.
But I washed the sheets and now my mind says it's OKay to make new memories. If only my heart could agree and realize that there is nothing wrong with clean sheets. That what we wanted was fresh air billowing under them.
The old sheets were good. they held Love and pain and babies. But it was time, my mind says, to let them go and have fresh clean ones.
The new sheets are clean, I ask myself; do I really want clean sheets..... it's too late though because they are. Only one side is folded down tonight and the other crisply tucked.
I put the pillow cases on carefully where your head won't lay, it'll be OKay?

I could wish to have it all back the way it was but I won't. It can't be. I realize. My mind and heart will tough it out awhile and the sheets will soak up all the tears and the sweat of my dreams of dark clouds. Spring is coming. Maybe I'll hang the sheets out one day when the weather warms.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Illusion of Fear

Yesterday I lay down for a rare afternoon nap.  I'm not sure if it was exhaustion from too many late nights but as I slipped in to the bliss that only an afternoon sleep can be, a deep and haunting blanket of fear settled over...... It was gripping and felt like those images of ominous, black storm clouds sped up in time lapse photography.  I laid on my side, stationary. Hoping sleep would find me deeply and generously, I stayed still. I bargained with God to reveal anything to me so  I could make light of it and enjoy my nap. To no avail, the evil feeling set in to my cells. I had the tell-tale signs of belief.... shivering, speeding heart beats and cold extremities. The interesting thing about the experience is that I had the clear sense that it was a lie, an illusion, completely fabricated by some rogue section of my brain trying to convince me that fear was the right choice. It said all kinds of horrible things to me, "you're not so great", "people are lying to you when they compliment your art",  "you really look old and wrinkly", your career is never going to amount to much", oh and yes even, "no one will ever Love you"......... on and on it went like a hornet lighting on surfaces but never much committing to a specific one.  It was ugly and it lied very well.

Unlike at other times in my life, this time I was able to be an observer, I couldn't make it stop but I felt no need to argue with it. The hornet went on from surface to surface with the occasional sting to see if it could get a reaction. I think I drifted into semi-conciousness and continued to observe. When I woke I realized I had been an explorer in a new frontier of a space and time and that I had been on a quest for it for so long. I had lived for long periods in the blackness of the lie of fear..... it was as real to me as a cream pie in the face.  My sleepy epiphany was standing at the precipice of no return, I crossed the chasm into light and Love.

Have you ever watched a butterfly just after it emerges from it's chrysalis and is a fully intact amazing creature but not quite yet sure of it's flying ability? It sits for a time slowly moving it's wings up and down........up and down............ up and down and then suddenly, as though it's done it for 1000 years,  lifts and floats away in a blur of brilliant colour. I think that's me, now. I'm sitting at the end of the dock just emerged from a long slumber and my wings are testing.... up and down...... up and down........ up and down. I haven't yet believed the moment that comes next. I think we are not prohibited to believe it because it is going to be so much more magical and wonderful than anything ever previously known. It is going to be huge. Possibly heavenly. I was given a glimmer of the fear I've left behind so I won't forget that it's behind me. Its talons used to grip me mercilessly for months at a time but that bird has officially flown the coop. I NEVER will feel that fear again, A new excitement of risk has taken its place. What a wonder is this world.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Art for Your Mobile Device

I'm so excited to be offering 3M skins for your favourite mobile device.  I have iphone 4 skins in the following 4 designs. Special order for any cell phone, laptop or tablet. I even have some poppy paintings coming for my Dad's Kobo...... shhhh, it's a surprise! For easy ordering go to http://www.etsy.com/people/carrieharper
my fave mobile is an iphone 4!


 Daydreams
 Mama Grow
 Uganda Girl
 Fly Girl    



Saturday, April 16, 2011

"If you can't be a good example then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning"

What do you say when someone asks you how much money you need to make your creative dreams come true? I can confidently, experientially tell what you shouldn't say. First, you shouldn't completely lose your composure and start to look around nervously and you definitely shouldn't say, "about $5000-$10,000". Might be a better idea to remain in the authentic frame of mind you'd been in for the previous  two hours and fifty minutes, having delightful get to know you sort of conversation. Possibly shrug, smile and say "I haven't decided yet, could I get back to you"? Or even, I've had such a nice time, let's not talk about money. A third idea might be, "well, why do you ask"? 
I'm happy to report that I always learn from my mistakes and after much reflection will never again make the mistake of saying something stupid. Or Maybe, probably, oh heck you know I will say something stupid again....... it's one of the things I do best. In the words of Catherine Aird, "if you can't be a good example then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning".

I've had more rewarding adventures and learnings in the past 48 hrs than the rest of my life rolled together. I've been on a secret journey to see much art and have been rewarded beyond measure. Graffiti, shoes, clothes, conversation, magnolia blossoms and people living artfully is what I've found. I may have to sleep for a week, now, but my dreams will be sweet and my smiles will be real. I've been given a vision of the trajectory I was on and the one I embarked when I made one small change. If I trace the lines out along the triangular space between them it becomes greater with every inch and reveals to me, I am good.

the following poem is by Mary Oliver, The House Light Beacon Press Boston, 1990.
as seen at http://www.bemindful.org/poems.htm
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-- the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


Friday, April 1, 2011

a lot can change in a week

A whole lot can change in a week. One day last week my Facebook post was "alone is so alone". I was fully prepared to cling to my aloneness for an indefinite amount of time. That if pain was what I had to endure I would do it in the most noble way possible and as long as was required. Today, it would seem that the pain of aloneness has a surprising reward and that by walking directly through it and soaking it all up, full on, it was a short run.
I heard a story once about buffalo facing a storm together by slowly going right through the centre of it. They huddle tight together and use those big furry heads to brave the worst yet shortest distance through the storm. Most other animals sense a storm coming and panic and run the perimeter of it, often getting lost and separated from each other. I decided to step out into the storm, take a risk and really feel the whole hellish thing and I thought I was going it alone. What I discovered is that when I stepped out and took the risk a whole bunch of people stepped in to huddle around me and protect me while I walked through the most difficult.
I am constantly reminded by the cosmic power of each tiny step I take out into a storm I will be taken care of. I am slowly learning to let each day be it's own massive, endless and exciting universe. That tomorrow truly has not been created yet and that today is so beautiful and fulfilling even when I stay in my jammies. I know that there is no room for guilt or regret. That I deserve all good things and really, even the days where I wail in indulgent self-pity are good days. I sit and smile and wonder what is coming tomorrow for today is everything.... how could tomorrow be more?
I'm so inspired by this artist http://www.facebook.com/album.php?id=1332781174&aid=2111366

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Picture by Sean from The Capital News
What a roller coaster week.
A Facebook group going viral, much media attention (above picture taken by Sean of The Capital News), A day long photo-shoot for the Kelowna Elizabeth Fry Society a spring art show and a visit from Dave
There's a horse sitting on my chest square between that dip in the center of my collar bone. It won't get up and I've been dragging it around since Thursday. It took up residence there the other day when I saw my husband across the parking lot of the coffee shop we'd agreed to meet at.

I had watched the back end of his van drive away exactly 6 weeks earlier, turn the corner just below my studio, outside of the Starbucks where we'd had coffee, and drive off. I slipped into my little car and sobbed an audible no, no, no that I didn't recognize as my own voice. In that instant I recognized my deep and impossible Love that couldn't stay as it was but that hadn't yet been re-invented. Limbo. It felt as though someone had peeled my skin off and I was raw and pure pain incarnate for a few days..... time as they say does heel wounds. After my token days of drama I emerged and got on with the prospect of being the very best, yet hugely insufficient mother, I could be and continue on with building my personal artist brand.  I was busy yet full and satisfied. I had many moments of worry and doubt in the job I was doing with the kids on my own but the ability to make decisions without an argument over every little thing was refreshing.
Now, I am back at that place I had left. The painful alone place, despite being surrounded by the most amazing generous loving people. The One that used to warm my feet at night is gone in another direction. I'll be OK, I really don't want pity. I'm going to keep going and make art and just Love everyone to the Max.
On to new and Fabulous amazing things, on my own

Friday, March 18, 2011

Well, this day is alive with the spirit of giving creativity. On Wednesday I had a tiny sprout of an idea to give somehow, to Japan, inspired by my friend Tomoe. I thought, "I have to do something", just to make myself feel useful. I'm a big believer that this Earth school is fraught with struggle and that charity for the sake of merely helping others is a one dimensional approach. With that in mind my intention of helping is only ever to make myself a conduit of Love and creating a ripple effect of that Love. I can't ever take someone else's learning opportunity away from them but I can create a ripple of Love.
With my little idea of starting a facebook group called ARTISTS FOR JAPAN on Wednesday afternoon amazing things are happening. This morning I awoke to 175 emails in my inbox and our group has grown to 311 people. I'm flying by the seat of my pants, trying to keep up with the response. I have no idea how to do this but I'm finding that the answers are coming in on real time, just as I need them. Art Saves.




this is the painting I'm donating to be auctioned. 'Poppies' 12"x12"

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The healing power of creative journaling and zentangling

A couple of weeks ago I was honored to stand in front of six beautiful women and share what I have learned about Creative Journaling and Mixed Media. It was two Saturday afternoon's of creativity and good, self-exploring conversation. Since then I have seldom stopped doodling in My Moleskine journal. One of the participants in my class shared a new art form with us called zentangle I hope everyone goes and checks it out as well as looking at all the youtube vids on the topic.




Here is one of my lame first attempts at this sport. I absolutely love doing it  and am excited to share this with my Mixed Media workshops in the future. Journaling is such a healing art form and doodling or Zentangling, as it's now known, is no exception.  I'm considering getting a certification, yup you heard me! You can become a certified instructor. I think this whole visual creative journaling is my new schtick and I love passing everything I know on to anyone who wants deeper self expression and possibly healing in a safe private way. coming up at The Vernon Public Art Gallery is my journaling workshop, three Saturdays: May 21st, 28th and June 4th. call (250)545.3173 or www.vernonpublicartgallery.com for more information. all are welcome!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

3DAYS AGO:
I feel something of a failure today :( It's OK though, who cares? I'm moving back to the studio after a three month hiatus. I'm excited and trepidacious (I think that's a word?) right now my art table at home is such a mess, I have to box everything up and haul it downtown (K. DID THAT). I LOVE my funky, little downtown studio but there is something so flowy and creative about working at home. My house is not conducive to being an artist with a family. My 'stuff' is in what used to be the dining room. I have a huge (6'X 4') painting hanging on the wall that faces into the kitchen, living room, dining room. IT HAS CONSUMED ME FOR 2 MONTHS. I think it's almost done, will take it to it's new home tomorrow (Sunday) and then put some final touches, take some pics, varnish it and then final delivery. send me good vibes that it all goes well!

today:
I just booked the Opus framing and art supply classroom for a Mixed Media Journaling workshop. It will take place on February 19th and 26th..... 2 parts this time because there are soooo many juicy details to cover. This is all about charging up your creative battery in 2011 and it's going to be super-dee-duper fun. I'm really hoping for some some new artists and some folks who 'think' they aren't creative. Truth is, we are all creative beings, the fact that we walk this crusty surface means we have already co-created. I have tons of cool collage materials to include in your tuition and am hoping to collect a bunch of things when I GO TO MEXICO, "HOLA".
I'm going to see if I can put up a paypal button here so that you can sign up and get your course outline ASAP.
There is only room for 8 participants so sign up soon! Can't wait to share everything with you. intuitively yours,
Carrie