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 te…

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 swirl…

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…

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 scisso…

Happy Art Journaling

Many poets, journalers and art journalers begin this practice in order to process difficult times and emotions of their lives. And what a perfect way to slowly explore where you are and where you need to go, what to change, or what to keep. It was that way for me in poetry and journaling but not with art journaling.
I am a typically happy, optimistic and Pollyanna-ish woman and when I think of art I think of art I think of my childhood and hours spent drawing, coloring with a huge box of crayons, painting by number or coloring with a Venus Paradise colored pencil kit. Those were hours of pure and joyous creation with no particular investment in the outcome. And that is how I approach my various art journals.

These two pages are examples of how I express my happy moods. Not to say that sadder emotions don't creep up but I prefer to tackle those feelings with words on the pages of spiral notebooks. I leave my art journals for fun, happy and whimsical splashes of color, image and words…

Tribute to a Poet

Several years ago we took a trip to Amherst, Massachusetts and visited the home of poet Emily Dickinson. It was a wonderful experience to see where she lived and wrote her hundreds of poems cloistered in her room all alone. Artifacts of handwritten poems, notes and letters, her iconic white dress with lace collar, the garden outside the door. As a poet and lover of poetry I was touched and inspired by merely being in the same house she had once been in.
I do enjoy incorporating my own poems into my art but many times I like to make an art journal layout that honors a favorite poet. Here is one I did in honor of Mary Oliver and my favorite poem of hers.

Today I made my Emily Dickinson page because the need for hope is strong and crucial right now. Here is her poem about hope.

And here is my art journal in tribute to the solitary poet, the Belle of Amherst.

Making the Most of Every Moment

Before dawn raises her sun striped arms in the sky I gaze out the window, stretching awake my muscles and bones. Hummingbirds flitter outside at the feeder and butterflies hover over the flowers. Each day is a gift and we cannot let even one go without stopping to witness new growth and creative ideas. We cannot pass one moment not observing beauty or being grateful for Mother Nature's gifts.

do not waste time
on idle hours
this life graces us
with moments we must cherish

I take to my art journal in order to spend my moments creatively and to wash my soul of the chaos in this world. I look for images and quotes, or create my own poems, that bear witness to the good in the world.

No matter what I am in the process of creating I feel a thrum in my soul that lets me know I am fully alive and witnessing all that each day holds. I am not idly waltzing through life, but taking advantage of its gifts and appreciating everyone and everything I come to know.