Sunday, April 14, 2019

Watercolor Poetry

I consider writing and reading poetry as my form of prayer and worship. I lean toward nature as inspiration for my short poems and enjoy most the kind of poems that describe or respond to nature as Mary Oliver's poetry does. I consider natural settings, like the woods, an open filled profuse with wildflowers, or the ocean, my church. Anyplace where the sky arcs above me and the breeze dances on my skin are where I need to be to connect with myself, my poet, and Mother Nature who I consider to be my higher power.

A lit candle, the music of silence, a pen and a notebook are how I write poetry and connect with my SELF.

Recently I've begun to incorporate watercolor floral painting with my poetry and here I share two pages from watercolor poetry journal. It's a work in progress but it comes from my heart and soul.  

I've been away from blogging for a long time but now I want to connect with other poets and artists through various social media forums and it's time to get this blog underway.

I hope you will join me. Share your own art and poetry and leave some comments. Though I cherish solitude, and each of us works mostly in silence and solitude, communication can ironically bring us closer to our selves and to our individual creative expressions.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Wading into Watercolors

My creative journey has taken me on a long winding road with many unexpected side trips. It began as a child when poetry and art grabbed my spirit and burrowed in. No medium was out of reach. There were crayons, paints, chalks, colored pencils, charcoal and sketching pencils. From stick figure people to trees with a round head of leaves and rudimentary sketches of bowls of fruit I made my way in the art world of childhood. 

Poems erupted in my heart and onto paper at a staggering rate. Poor as they may have been they fed my creative soul.

Eventually, as I grew up, art seemed to slip away and I focused on writing. I journeyed from poems to short stories and onto novels and settled for many years only on writing. Then slowly my creative mind wandered down meandering paths not taken in many years.

It began with a foray into scrapbooking. I was looking for a visual way to express my creativity and happened upon a scrapbook magazine in Barnes and Noble. I bought one. Found a local scrapbook store, took a class or two and was hooked. Writing settled into the nether recesses of my brain and I created scrapbooks for each of my children along with other albums for various occasions as well as random ones. I even started selling framed scrapbook pages of new baby photos and wedding invitations.

One night at the now defunct Borders book store I discovered a magazine called Somerset Studio. Published by Stampington and Company its pages are filled with all sorts of mixed media art. I graduated to acrylic paints, stamping and stencils. Messed around with paper collage and a variety of other techniques. Where once my scrapbook supplies fit inside a shoe box sized plastic bin, my art supplies exploded to fill an entire room, including the closet!

Today, all those supplies still fill up my space and for the passed few years I have been hooked on art journaling. With its lack of rules and its use of so many different materials it is the perfect way to let myself go and just play.

But now I need a bit of focus and have gotten into watercolors. It's a difficult medium to work with as it seems to have a mind of its own on the page, but the challenge is wonderful and the process is meditative which fits in well with my need for simplicity, meditation, and writing simple Japanese poems like haiku and tanka. I will practice and practice, watch You Tube videos, take some online classes and let my skills grow as they will. For now my focus is painting abstract flowers and here is a sample of one of my first attempts.

Adding poetry to my paintings allows me to combine my two creative loves and to make this blog exactly what it claims to be, a marriage of poetry and art.

So join me on this creative journey. I have ended up where I never intended to go.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Devoted to Mary Oliver

I have been a fan of Mary Oliver's poetry for years. Her poems are detailed and heartfelt images of nature, the humbleness of being human, and a clear indication that writing poems is a form of prayer. Her newest collection, "Devotions," is a compilation of poems from nearly all of her other collections and I keep it on my reading table and dip into it each morning. The title also gave me the idea for the art journal I've been toying with creating for a while now.

I have wanted to create a journal that honors Mary Oliver and includes some of my favorite lines from her poems. I've been lately intrigued by these 6 x 6 inch disc bound journals and I think it's the perfect style for this new journal.

I will create mixed media, art journal style, layouts and incorporate lines from the poems. It is my way to highlight the lines I love and to pay tribute to the poet who inspires me to write poetry and to experience and witness nature in all its beauty and tragedy with not only open eyes, but with open heart and spirit.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Opening the Doors to Poetry

are you the one
who turns her head
when your name is called
or does a silent someone
lurk in your soul

Even before I began writing tanka my short poems contained no capital letter except for proper nouns. The only punctuation I ever use are a random comma to suggest a slight pause, or a small dash to carry the reader along into the next thought. It is simply a style I have always liked. But today I came upon a hidden and profound reason for eliminating these artifices in poetry.

I am reading "The Way of Tanka" by Naomi Beth Wakan, which is one of the best books I've read about the writing of this Japanese form of poetry. In her book she described the lack of a capital letter at the start of the poem as a way of keeping open in the reader's mind, all that has gone before.

So many find poetry to be inaccessible and I strive to make my poems easy to read and understand. There is no obtuseness about them, nor does the reader need to consult dictionaries or ancient stories or texts. There is little to interpret as I hope all I have to express is right there in the lines and words. I like this idea of lower case letters beginning the first lines of my poems. It seems to visually suggest an open doorway into my soul and into the poem. I want all my guests to enter without having to insert a key into a lock.

The fact that my poems are short also suggest easy entry and simple understanding.

The lack of punctuation also makes for an easy flow in reading. There are no harsh starts or stops so the reader glides from thought to thought. Leaving the end line with no period allows the reader to extend his poetic experience and perhaps engage his own thoughts about what I have expressed. And the poems are short and so more accessible in terms of time and thought.

I am focusing now on writing tanka as a daily discipline. Though most of my poems are short, not all of them fit into the guidelines for writing tanka and so I will work at revising old poems into the form as well as paying more attention to tanka "rules" as I create new ones.

the lost soul
opens to possibility~~
to those who believe
they have been found

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Artist Exhibit

The Temecula Theatre Foundation is sponsoring an art exhibit at the Merc in Old Town Temecula. The exhibit will run from April 6 to April 30. Artist receptions will be held on April 6 and April 27 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. I will be present for the reception on April 27. I hope you will come out and see this special exhibit. All art work is a donation to the Temecula Theatre Foundation and funds no-cost field trips for 4,000 students.

These are the three pieces I will be exhibiting. The art work for this exhibit is no bigger than 6 inches by 6 inches. I like working in this small dimension so it was a perfect fit for me. I created mixed media work on canvases and included lines from my poems in the pieces. I hope to expand my artistic realm by finding more ways to incorporate poems with my art.

Although this is not a juried exhibit it is always an honor to share my art and poetry with the world. As a writer and artist I spend many hours alone in my room playing with paint and paper or swirling words on the page in a poetic stupor. Art and writing of course are forms of self expression as well as forms of communicating to others what lives inside our hearts and minds. A poetry reading or an art show are ways to bring what is inside me out into the world. It is a pleasure to share myself with others in these ways and to hopefully bring some peace and positivity to the world.

Please come join us at the reception, or just go and visit and see what I and other artists have created from our souls.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Never Alone

I've been art journaling for years and it has lately become my most favored mode of self expression. I can see as I look back on my old journals how much I have learned about art and how to use various mediums and supplies in my work. I would never show anyone most of those old pages and hate looking at them myself, except in order to see my creative growth.

I am still very much interested in incorporating poetry into my mixed media art but I am also looking to expand my art journaling to include more writing, more exploration of thoughts and feelings. Many times that writing will be covered with gesso or paint as it is only for me, but I am working at using art as a starting point for journaling and vice versa. I'm particularly in search of ways to use an art idea as a means to write. 

In this particular piece I began with a coloring page from Stampington's publication "The Coloring Studio," which sadly is no longer being published. I colored and cut out the woman, not using the background in the book but creating my own. The sentiment "never alone" was part of the original picture and though I hadn't planned to use it, as I created the layout it called to me and I thought of two way to interpret it.

Never alone, can mean that you never have to feel alone. That can be due to having family and friends around all the time, or because you have a spiritual belief that some higher power is an eternal escort in your life. It can mean that somewhere, somehow, there is always a person or group you can turn to.

But it can also mean something else. It can mean that you are bombarded by the noise and company of other people and that you are literally never alone. And that can be a stressor. Solitude is a necessary and welcome state, especially for writers and artists who require large blocks of alone time in which to create. Never alone, can mean you never have the quiet you need in order to go deep into your soul and figure out what your true life purpose is.

Like anything, "never alone" has its pros and cons. Its good points and bad. It opens one up to interpreting for your own life and perhaps is a door to discovering more about your heart and soul. A simple sentiment like this can be a creative opening for art or writing and lead me to think in new ways.

Open doors are entries into the creative mind and how lucky that a short phrase, a poem, or a picture can be your open door.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Autumn Art Journaling

We moved from New York to California a year ago. At the time the drastic change of this loveliest of all seasons was buried beneath unpacked boxes, learning how to get around our new hometown and getting to know our newest grandchild. This year however is different.

Now that we are settled into our new home and know where to find everything we need in our new neighborhood I am feeling the loss of autumn in New York. Where is the crisp cold air, the wild colors on the trees painted by my favorite artist, Mother Nature? It is going to be 95 degrees in Temecula today but I am pre-programmed to be slipping into jeans and sweatshirts in the middle of October, not wearing cotton shorts and tank tops. I am missing the splendor of autumn in the northeast. I am missing my friends and the chance to go out with the girls. I am missing my tribe of writers.

Art journaling is my creative expression of choice these days. I love the fun, mess and relaxation of the paint, glue and the feel of the scissors in my hand. But more than that, art journaling has become a way for me to deal with feeling homesick, even when I know I am home. Playing with my art supplies and messing up my art journals brings me joy and distracts me from the feeling of loss.

And so I had to create an autumn art journal page just to give me a feeling of what it was like.

I used Distress Oxide inks and a script stamp for the background. I used a Tim Holtz die to cut out the leaves and colored them with Distress Oxides as well. It is unusual for me to use my own handwriting in my journals but this was such a personal layout I felt it needed that.

So as I head out today to meet friends for lunch at a local winery I will try to remember the crisp air, the farm stands of the North Fork with their colored squashes and big orange pumpkins. I will recall the smell of wood smoke and the aroma of roasted corn. And I will toast autumn in New York, and all the friends we left behind.

Watercolor Poetry

I consider writing and reading poetry as my form of prayer and worship. I lean toward nature as inspiration for my short poems and enjoy m...