Sunday, May 12, 2019

Where I Find Creative Inspiration

The question artists and writers seem to get most often is, "where do you get your ideas? For me I think the issue is an overabundance of ideas. I shift from genre to genre, medium to medium, never sure which direction I will journey. Here are just a few of the places I find inspiration.

Just walking in nature, around a calm lake or into the dark wood, can jostle poetry and painting ideas from the crevices of my brain. My senses come alive and life seems exciting. Ideas and poems reside among tissue paper thin flower petals, between the ripples on the lake, the tides of the ocean, and interspersed in grains of sand or beneath seashells. The song of a lark, the bark of a dog, the amorous play of the ducks in spring time, offer up all kinds of poems that I must record in any way I can before they dance away on the wind.

An offshoot of nature's inspiration are the photographs I take back to the studio with me. The birth of the iphone affords me an easy way to take photos of inspiration as it comes to me on a walk in a botanical garden, rose garden, or oceanfront. I get them printed from a free print app and keep them tucked into my artist inspiration journal.They become prompts for poems, or studies for water color art. 

Sometimes one of my own poems might trigger ideas for watercolor art. Or a painting, its composition, color palette, or subject, might bring to mind a verse and then I can blend the two on the page as the photo above of a page in my Watercolor Poetry Journal.

This book "Writing Poetry from the Inside Out: Finding your voice through the craft of poetry" by Sandford Lyne has been a wonderful resource. I have two copies of the book and have read it several times. Many books can motivate the writing of new poems and help the poet craft there gems. This book has as its focus a system called word groups for prompts. At the back of the book are pages and pages of groups of 4 words each to use as a launch pad for poems. I have gone through them many times, writing longer poems as well as tanka and haiku and have even used them as prompts for flash fiction.

These are just a few places where inspiration sleeps, just waiting for you to awaken them. Although sometimes its the inspiration itself that awakens the poet or artist to new destinations, new paintings or poems and perhaps enlightenment to what is out there is the world for those who choose to wander.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Creative Evolution

Perhaps the art obsession began with my first stick figure, or the color by number Venus Paradise colored pencil sets, or the paint by number oil paintings that gathered dust in the heart of my childhood closet. Wherever it began it has meandered and morphed. My muse is a shapeshifter, alive and outspoken on my right shoulder. Each evening she whispers of an assignment she wants me to follow; a new watercolor flower, or an acrylic mixed media canvas. But by morning she sings a new song, telling me to allow the watercolor paints to dry out while I pen new poems.

the dragonfly
sees her own face
in the blue mirror
of the pond

even in our own silence
we acknowledge
we are only a reflection
of something
beyond our reach

Whatever the muse has planned I listen with half an ear. Poets and artists have other calls to follow. The song of my soul leads me. Artistically into the world of watercolor which has become my favorite medium. And into flowers, for they bring me joy, whether fluttering in a breeze whispering through a field, or splashing across the blank white page of a journal.

I've always penned fairly short poems and as I approach my 70th year on this blessed planet I am more focused on writing tanka, those short five line Japanese verses, that in their lightness bear the weight of the heart and soul.

mama’s photograph

inside the locket

too tiny

to contain

life’s memories

Tanka and watercolor, what a lovely marriage of poetry and art. What a serene way to spend a few hours each morning, totally immersed in the evolution of my creative life.

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.

Where I Find Creative Inspiration

The question artists and writers seem to get most often is, "where do you get your ideas? For me I think the issue is an overabunda...