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Showing posts from 2017

Never Alone

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

butterflies
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.

REJUVENATING AN ART AND POETRY BLOG

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It's time to give this blog a face lift and some much needed attention. My creative muses have conspired to lead me in directions filled with heart and passion. That means poetry and art journaling and ways to incorporate the two. I've been exploring ways to combine my art journal pages with my poetry and here is a fresh example of what I've come up with.


For me poetry and art are equally satisfying and soulful ways of expressing myself. I can't abandon one for the other so it was necessary for me to find a way to combine the two. I like more structured art journal pages such as the one below.

But I also like the free flowing form of intuitive painting. Therefore I have to work in two journals. I use my moleskine sketchbook to create art using stamps and quotes and design theory and structured techniques. But I am beginning a new 8x8 inch art journal that will include my intuitive painting journeys combined with new poems.
Intuitive painting such as this:

allow me to freel…

Finding Myself in Poetry and Art

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The morning is born in silver and blue, calling to me from the slats of light between window blinds. Black crows squawk, demanding attention, the way my mind demands I rise from the bed and head to my desk. A pen with ink the color of a mid-morning sky and a blank page of notebook paper await. The pen will dance my thoughts across the white page, curling dreams into letters and joys and sorrows into verse. The conduit from my mind, through my arm and my fingers, through the pen and on to the paper is a golden ribbon that unfurls from my soul. And here in morning silence I find myself.
Poetry touches the heart. I read poems and a fire lights in my head, birthing flames of new poems. I write and the fires are staunched for the moment only to burn again at the sight of flower blooming or the song of swallow.
If I feel lost, I can open a collection of poems and find myself in depictions of happiness and nature. But writing poems or even stories can act as a mirror to my soul and show me …

Art Shows

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As members of the Temecula Valley Art League we are offered many opportunities to exhibit our art. It's not so easy to put yourself out there in the world. To feel confident enough about what you are creating to share it with the world and display your heartfelt canvases among the works of other artists, some of whom have been in juried exhibits, have sold their work and been displayed in galleries.

Eventually though, as an artist who creates in the confines of your own room, all alone, with only the muses to sing to you, the time comes when you have to get out there. In April Frank and I had the chance to display our work at a monthly exhibit in Old Town Temecula. Putting our work out in the world was a challenge, not to mention trying to maneuver the hooks and wires needed to hang canvases from the racks we were provided. But it was a lot of fun!



We finally got everything hanging up securely and to the tune of a live jazzy/blues band we wandered around the vast space looking at …

Blogging, Art and Networking

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I know, I know, I said I wanted to blog more often. Well I'm working on it. We did go away for a few days to Paso Robles, another one of California's wonderful wine country regions. And we spent some hours walking on the trails along the coastline at Moonstone Beach. But with the mobility of electronic devices travel may no longer be an excuse not too blog. Though too much food and wine might suffice.



Well I'm back now and ready to talk about art and all that.

Frank and I attended a meeting of the Temecula Valley Art League last night and my discussion with the current President of the organization prompted this blog post. It's related to networking and publicity.

The TVAL monthly meetings are a lovely blend of pot luck dinner, business meeting and artist demonstration. When we moved to California from New York I researched several arenas for networking with artists and the Temecula Valley Art League came up. We've only been to two meetings so far and just became …

Why a Marriage between Poetry and Art?

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Many might ask why I choose to marry art with poetry. There are two answers to that question. The simple answer is that I needed a way to combine my two favorite creative outlets. For a long time I struggled between wanting to make art and wanting to write. Being a very black or white person I operated under the false assumption that I could do one or the other but not both. Having little creative time back in those years of full time work I felt that doing both well was an impossibility since I could barely find time to one or the other. If I was writing it was in slivers of early morning, or late at night when my brain could barely function. I needed all the time I could muster to get any worthwhile writing accomplished. There was no room for art.

Yet, art kept singing her siren song, luring me into the deep waters of mixed media and art journaling. It was a lovely place to drown except I kept feeling I needed to be more focused and responsible about my writing. After all a novel d…

Turning Poems into Art

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be still
be silent
wait
for your heart
and soul
to sing



As words swirl across the page in blue ink I can't help but imagine what they would look like incorporated into a piece of art. I've made attempts in the past to add my own poems to my art work and some of them have actually turned out okay. One problem is that I use different styles and I need to refine my style so my work will become familiar.
In the image above I worked out something in my art journal in hopes of getting as style down that I like. I believe working out the plan in my journal before committing to canvas will be a big help.
For this page I used Fresco Finish chalk paint applied with a brayer and added a few stamped designs to bring more interest to the background. For the focal images I stamped them onto various mulberry papers and cut them out. Once adhered with gel medium I used bush markers to add shadows and highlights. I printed the poem on mulberry paper too and attached it with gel medium. I was happy wit…

Learning to write poetry from the masters

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Early morning. The sun gives the horizon a tentative kiss. I shuffle in pink moccasins to the kitchen to prepare 8 ounces of honey and lemon water to hydrate and soothe my parched soul. After a few minutes of meditation in the silver gray solitude of this new day I turn on the light to read.
I am often in the process of reading several books at once but divine dawn is reserved for poetry, or poetry related books, or inspirational reading that centers me and reminds me to be mindful of each glorious moment of my life.
This precious morning I cozied up to the following books.

The first book was Mary Oliver's new collection of essays. "Upstream." Oliver is my poetic idol. Her knowledge and experience with nature in all its beauty and destruction is unparalleled. She describes flora, fauna and experience in intimate details, images that shock and surprise the reader. And she takes those details and connects them to a larger universal connection that exists among all life whethe…

Art and Poetry as Spiritual Practice

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I grew up with no religious training or spiritual practices. Holidays like Christmas and Easter were celebrated because they were fun and were reasons to bring family together for good food, laughter and card games. I didn't attend church or synagogue except for rare transitional events like weddings or funerals. I grew up fine but always with the feeling that something was missing.
Over the years I tested a few religions, tried them on to see if they fit but they required too many alterations to be the right style. I had been told so many times that religion was silly, or wrong, or so much nonsense that I just couldn't find one to suit my needs. And yet, I kept searching for a spiritual practice that would make me feel complete.
I tried yoga, tried to learn meditation and Buddhism, and even spent a weekend at an ashram with a friend to see if there was anything there that could become my spiritual practice.
Over the years yoga and meditation gave me some peace of mind and an exc…
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It's raining here in southern California and I hear that's unusual but since we just moved to the west coast a few months ago I have nothing to compare it to. So I am taking advantage of this gray Sunday to formulate my plans for blogging.
I had considered starting a whole new blog based only on poetry and calling myself the Zen Poet but that presented a few problems. First of all I would lose all the art I've posted here and second it would limit what I could include. So I've decided to stick with this blog because I can write about poetry and art and just sort of follow my heart. I hope to have more informative posts and to blog more frequently.
Today's post is about stepping out of my comfort zone in relation to art. I typically have a simple style with soft colors or neutrals and not too many layers on my pages. Doing many layers in one piece just never appealed to me. But I began taking some online courses with Mimi Bondi, an Australia based artist whose book &q…