What’s Inspiring…

October 13th, 2011
Thank you to all the inspiring birds who have graced my life.

Birds inspire me over and over again

Inspiration starts at home: Last weekend I had a chance to go kayaking in a local marsh which drains into a big lake near my home. The lake is pretty but lined with houses and often filled with loud speedboats. Since we thrive on peace and quiet more than speed and noise, my husband and I chose the marsh. It was meandering, empty of people, and surrounded by forests of trees in just-about-peak foliage. In other words, deeply soul-soothing.

This place where I live is inspiring. Most of my work, in one way or another, is an effort to celebrate it and preserve it. Nature feeds my spirit.

People inspire me too. I also spent part of last weekend visiting other artists who were part of the Monadnock Artists Open House Tour. I love seeing what other artists are doing and their unique spaces. I made a point of visiting Luann Udell — a very talented woman who lives in Keene, NH. Luann not only makes amazingly beautiful, animal-inspired jewelry and wall-hangings, she writes a great blog too. I have learned so much from her and am so appreciative of her sunny nature and positive outlook. AND she gave me one of the best hugs I have had in a while — so thank you Luann! You rock.

And of course wildlife. Obsessions can be unhealthy but I think it can also be the fuel that keeps your engines firing too. I find animals — both the wild and the mild ones — so incredibly fascinating. I can’t imagine living on this planet without them. This year I have been painting birds and wow — the shapes, the colors, the variety! Simply mesmerizing. Thank you great creator for birds and the many ways they have blessed my life.

 

A Love Letter to My Life

February 14th, 2011

This is from a new series I am working on. It's ultimately about love, but then again, all of my work is!

Today is Valentine’s Day. I’ve been thinking about all the kinds of love I have in my life — and its quite humbling. I am incredibly blessed.

And I am so in love with being an artist. It feels like I won the lottery every day.

So here’s a poem that I often read before I start painting. It’s by an artist named Alex Grey whose work amazes me and kind of overwhelms me at the same time. But he has very inspiring thoughts, including these:

Artist’s Prayer

Creator of the Universe,
How infinite and astonishing
Are your worlds.
Thank you,
For your Sacred Art
And sustaining Presence.

Divine Imagination,
Forgive my blindness,
Open all my Eyes.
Reveal the Light of Truth.
Let original Beauty
Guide my every stroke.

Universal Creativity,
Flow through me,
From my heart
Through my mind to my hand,
Infuse my work with spirit
To feed hungry souls.

I hope you get to enjoy all the things you love today too!

Starting with the “why…”

January 6th, 2011

Louie also finds the Internet such a great source of inspiration sometimes!

So I’m getting back into painting in a big way after (finally) my studio renovations are done, the holidays are over, and well — it’s what I want to do more than anything else. It’s more than a job — it’s my passion.

A recent Facebook discussion prompted me to recall a TED video I saw featuring Simon Sinek. He makes so much sense: To be successful in life or business or in your cause, Mr. Sinek says,  you need to know the “why” of what you do. Not the what or the how — which are usually pretty obvious. But to attract followers/customers/patrons — you need to let them understand WHY you do what you do.

He explains it so much better than I can: so click here to see the video. It’s totally worth the 18 minutes. It might even change your life!

It certainly has me thinking about why I paint what I paint. Yes I love animals. But it’s more than that. I find them mesmerizing. I am enthralled by their way of being. They changed my life — in many ways, I would not be an artist living in NH if I hadn’t run into a group of birders in Prospect Park in Brooklyn where I grew up. After seeing my first non-gull/house-sparrow/pigeon with the help of their binoculars — something inside me changed forever. An entirely different world revealed itself to me — a more enchanting, colorful, and hopeful world than the path I had been heading down. I changed everything — my job, my profession, most of my friends, my home, left my family behind — to pursue knowledge of this world. That was twenty years ago and I have never regretted one minute of it.

But is that my why? I don’t think it is, exactly. So I’m trying to explore more of those why’s in my art this year. Step one is clarifying it I guess!

I’ll keep you posted on what I come up with of course.

If you watch the video, let me know what you think — I’d love to hear how it inspires you!

PS: Thanks to Luann Udell who clued me into this gem!

Turning Inward

October 31st, 2010

Acrylic on panel, 18 x 24"

Fall is my busiest season for getting my art (and myself, really) out into the world. I really enjoy meeting the people who like my art — of course! And I love just being outside too, at this time of year. It truly is one of the most beautiful times of year to live in New Hampshire.
But the days are growing decidedly shorter — I must admit that I’m fairly obsessed with checking the amount of daylight in the newspaper. We are moving rapidly towards less than 10 hours from a high of 15+ in June. But I don’t really mind — like the black bears preparing for hibernation, I too am slowing down now that my annual open studio is over.

I’m even preparing a cozier den —  some very exciting renovation work begins next week in my studio. It’s going to be a lot of work but I’ll soon have a more comfortable floor, plumbing (!) and better storage. My plan is to really get back to painting in a big way come January. By then the light will be returning too, along with my focus. And to keep the metaphor going, just as many black bears will be giving birth in the deepest days of winter, I often find myself doing my most creative work too. I too hope to emerge in the spring with some new offspring —

In the meantime, I have a couple of freelance articles to write, my weekly painting class to teach, and a stack of books to read. Most of them are related to a brave new series I plan to start in the new year. I’m trying to take a more philosophical approach to the underlying story in my work.  I’ll try to post a review of at least one of the books soon!

And So It Begins…

September 9th, 2010

"Nothing But Blue Skies III" acrylic on canvas 24 x 24." A recent painting experiment somewhat influenced by John Nieto and a previous painting I did a few years back.

So, I’ve always liked fall. Even though it’s been a long time since I was a student, I still fall into that “back-to-school” mentality. And fall is often my busiest time, so it fits well with the mindset.

This year, in addition to my open studio (October 16 & 17th), I have two other exhibits, two writing deadlines, a commission to complete, an art group retreat, and I start teaching an 8-week painting class. At times it makes me hyper-ventilate a bit, but it’s all good. It feeds my obsession for making lists and poring over my calendar.

AND: Almost everything will be done by November 1 (except the class) and then I plan to tackle a MAJOR clean out of my studio in preparation for some remodeling work I’m having done to make it more useable this winter. Which all leads up to my next favorite time of year — New Year! By then I will have carved out a huge amount of space and time to really really paint paint paint. It tends to be my most productive time (January — May) for getting work done, and I am trying hard to honor my natural cycles. It is also a slow season for sales for me so it works out pretty well.

Now what did I do with that paper bag?

A new word for a new year

December 14th, 2009

For the past few years, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I simply pick one word.

I got this idea from Christine Kane, one of my favorite musicians and blogger extraordinaire. For 2009, I picked the word “ACCEPTANCE” because I wanted to work on accepting people as they are, instead of how I wish they could be. A lovely thought, right? But boy, did this year turn out different than I thought – I had to do a LOT of accepting: Of my mother dying suddenly; of having to clean out her house; and then subsequently selling it (50+ years in the family); of having that, my last connection to my hometown of Brooklyn, NY severed forever; and, last but not surprisingly,  of not being able to work on my 350 project. Oh yeah, and I got laid off from my Something Wild gig.

I did not accept any of this very well. In fact, I raged against it all. I let the grief swallow me up. I barely painted. It was all very natural but much of it was not welcome, not wanted, and definitely NOT what I was planning on happening for this year!

But eventually, with the help of my darling husband, my family, the support of many wonderful friends, the wild bears I met in MN, and an absolutely amazing weekend workshop at Kripalu; I am finally coming to terms with it all. Yes, acceptance was the perfect word for this year.

So what will be the word for 2010? I want it to be a word that is not as heavy, not as self-improvement-y, not as serious. Because I really really hope that 2010 won’t be any of those things. I plan to get back on track with my 350 project and I have all these cool ideas swirling around in my head for a new body of work too. I want to paint paint paint! I want to dance more and laugh a whole lot more than I did in 2009.

So it’s official: my word for 2010 will be CELEBRATE. Because despite all the sorrow and losses, I still have so much to be joyful about. And above all, I want my art to celebrate the things I love about this world. And I have great friends who are really great to have at parties. It’s a darn good word. And even if 2010 isn’t perfect, this word will remind to focus on what is beautiful and magical about my life.

My next post will probably be in January! So Happy New Year, Happy Solstice, and don’t forget to CELEBRATE all the good things in your life — past, present, and future…

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