Monday, August 29, 2011

Sometimes my work is really awful!

I used to think we only had one try at a painting, and it either worked or it didn't. A good artist just has fewer failures. If it didn't work, I could cut it up and make postcards or paint over it--you can do that with work on paper. Neither option works with paintings on silk.

I'm on my third "draft" of "A Soul Flies". Maybe I tried to paint it too soon, too soon after my father died. My father was flyer and a sailor.  He taught me to sail wing on wing, in perfect balance with the wind. This spring he sailed on without me, right out of this life and into the next.
second attempt and first attempt for
"A Soul Flies"

I tried to paint that--that sailing through the gap between life and death, into the sunset, like all heros in end.

But I was so busy being angry with him, that I forgot to be thankful for what he gave me, what he taught me, and I guess that anger showed up in the painting;  the bird in the first painting was mud.

Ira Glass has some encouraging words on work that doesn't come out the way you want it to:

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fearless Birthday!

Eight Daisies
No, I'm not 39 for the 25th time. At 39, I still didn't know who I was. I am 64.

I am an outrageous, courageous, Dragon Lady of 64 years in this life. I am 8 squared. Riding the Beast . com says eight is the "Number of the balance and of the cosmic order, according to the Egyptians." and  "In China, the 8 expresses the totality of the universe".

I think this is going to be one really fantastic year!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Hero's Journey for Artists

Starting out on a new journey
The Hero's Art Journey by Mira Reisberg looks to be exciting, fun, and just what the doctor ordered! As Artists, we ARE on a hero's journey. We have left the safety of accepting the Status Quo and are exploring new territory, testing our limits, learning to trust our intuition, facing our demons.

Especially facing our demons. And they do come up! I think the Hero's Art Journey will give us tools to handle the demons as well as techniques to expand our art.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My childhood hero was a pirate queen!

When Sherene asked me to think of a hero I held dear as a child, all I could think of was one I created: the Pirate Queen!  My pirate queen doesn't raid and burn, though. She is an adventurer. She is captain of her own ship and crew, and she braves the storms and sails the seas in search of treasure and excitement.

Many an adventure my pirate queen had, in the quiet of the night during my teen years. My sister Jeannie and I would lie awake immersed in the stories I made up, as we waited for sleep to catch us.

After my husband died a few years ago, I did become captain of my own boat, the 32' sloop Sea Change we co-owned. I taught my son to sail, and we sailed the "high seas" of Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands while I faced storms of fear and grief as a new widow.

It was the best thing I ever did for myself. I guess I am becoming my own hero.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Today I Was a Dragon

Dragon Emerging from the Sea
inspired by a Qi Gung image, 
available on etsy
I flew around the room, breathing fire, sometimes swimming like a sea dragon, sometimes walking dragon-like. Why was I surprised when Kara as a rabbit and Sara as a ferret were frightened of me? I'm not a ferocious dragon! I don't eat my friends! I decided to give my rabbit friend a ride, so that she could experience flying as well.

In this Hero's Journey workshop with Sherene  Zolno, Kara Jones, and Jane Velencia, we were asked to become--to act out-- our totem animal, then to list the attributes of that animal. I was a dragon! That is a a bit of a shift from my old image of being a dragon rider!!

Grandmother Dragon
My Dragon is nurturing!
When we went to the wall paper to write the qualities we found while being our totem animals, I remembered giving some of my friends "rides" as a dragon, and wrote, "empowering others" as one of my dragon qualities, along with "ancient wisdom" and "flying above the world".

I think my dragon can breathe flowers as well as fire!

What is your totem animal, and what do you admire about it?

Hero's Journey

Three of my high-powered, deep-hearted women friends have teamed together to offer a day of Transformation based on the archtye of the hero's journey and the work of Paul Rebillot. How could I NOT go? Tuition was out of my reach, though so how COULD I go? I pondered this for awhile.
painted on silk
print available on etsy

I know each of these ladies. Jane Valencia is a harpist and an artist. Kara Jones, who recently lost a baby, is active in the grief healing work of MISS ( formerly Mothers in Sympathy Support), and Sherene Zolno, who does work with the non profit The Leading Clinic, has the most wonderful collection of art on her walls!

This is what I offered:
For Jane, tuition in my silk painting classes.
For Sherene, a hand painted silk scarf with the colors and image from a painting of mine she admired.
For Kara, the first draft of a painting on silk I did inspired by her loss of Mizuko.

They accepted!
Today is the day... I AM excited! Already, I feel my life changing.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What the World Needs

Swimming with my grand daughter makes me feel VERY alive!
Do not ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive, because what the world needs is more people to come alive.
                          Howard Thruman
Thank you, Lafiorevida for this quote!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Art in a New Economy #2

New Life in the Forest
I did it! I did it! I did it! I did it!
I wrote and submitted an article for the Vashon Loop, a local newspaper, to let people know about my show coming up at PSCCU (Pugest Sound Cooperative Credit Union) and about the silk painting class I am offering in September!

This is the article:

Art in a New Economy

            We are in a time of change. Oil is running out, and increasingly our quest for oil damages the environment. Everytime I go to the grocery store, the prices are higher. The climate is changing. Old ways of doing business don’t always work anymore, and the traditional way of putting profit first has damaged our environment, our culture, and now our economy.
            These are turbulent times. For many, these are harsh times. Where can we stand, with the ground shifting beneath us?
            During World War 1, when he was asked what he would do for the war effort, the Impressionist painter Monet said, “I will paint”.  Monet’s paintings of the pond, the gardens, the bridge at Giverney, offer the soul a place to rest. His paintings still turn our eyes toward beauty, toward that which is good in the world.
            This is where I choose to stand: in Beauty, in Compassion, in Trust. Will you join me?
                                                Suzanna Leigh

A Stand for Beauty; Life in the Puget Sound
            Paintings on silk by suzanna leigh
            Opening at PSCCU Sept 2
            Reception 6:30-8:30
Silk Painting Class series September 11, 18, 25
            Sundays 1pm-4pm
            Suzanna’s Studio 20733 87th Ave SW
            For more information: 206 463 5255

 (darn this text box, would not do what it was supposed to do!)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Art in a New Economy

painting by Monet

     During World War 1, Monet was asked what he would do for the war effort. He said, "I will paint."

    There is something about that, about taking a stand for beauty in harsh times, that is so healing!

In 2008, while the stock market tanked and my bank failed,

I painted sunflowers
--and had my best year yet financially!

Sunflowers at Night
    This week, while watching the stocks fall yet again, hearing about the dwindling oil reserves, reading about climate change and the heat wave in the rest of the country, I decided to follow Monet's example. I will paint. I will take a stand for beauty and for that which comes from our deepest heart.

    I would like to invite you to join me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Zentangles from Art 42

With a name like Zentangles, there must be something deep or witty I can say about them. Or do they speak for themselves?

Top left: by Strawberry (Art 42)
Top right by PYRO kathleenstitches from Tualatin, Oregon
Flower on lower left: R.E. Yang (?)
Bird on lower right: JoAnn Reichert of Butler, Pensylvania

Monday, August 8, 2011

Inspiring Words

This thing about following your heart; It ain't easy, as Jodene Jodi Shaw put it very nicely in her blog Opened Door.

The Bridge
available on my etsy shop
That time of uncertainty, of wondering "Is this what I am meant to be doing?" can be so painful. So full of "good" advice that conflicts with what we know--or suspect--in our hearts.

This past week has been about letting go and just loving where I am. I have relished the joy of introducing my grand daughter to the swimming pool, of helping my brother launch his sailboat, of joining friends and family in potluck and music. The little voice in the background that says, "but you should be working on your business, the business of making money", was washed away with this thought:

This is what I live for. This joy of family and friends, of enjoying where I am. Don't people work for money so that they can enjoy times like this?

Monday morning, the rest of the world has gone back to work.
Work?  What is my work?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

When Eternity Breaks Into Clock-time

Clock time is when it's nearly 10 pm and I haven't got everything on  my to do list done yet.

Clock time is when lunch is at noon and dinner at 5 pm, and everyone in the family expects it.

Clock time is deadlines and appointments and payments due.

Clock time is everyday....

 when Eternity breaks in and calls you to swim with your grand daughter in the sunshine

or to wander in the magical woods and eat red huckleberries.

or to paint sunflowers while the financial world crashes down around you.

Then you are living in God's time, and all will be well.

It was Jane Valencia's article that got me thinking, remembering, what it is like to live in God's time.
When Eternity Breaks Into Clock-time: Reflections on a Traditional Irish saying
by Jane Valencia

"God made time, and plenty of it!"

Monday, August 1, 2011

Surrounded by Beauty

Sunflower, Octopus, and Crab scarves,
as well as others,
are available at Ventures store
314 First Ave S, Seattle, WA
My silk scarves seemed right at home among the beautiful paintings at Art with a Heart Gallery in Seattle. It was a thrill to be represented by a gallery on First Avenue, which has always seemed to me to be the heart of the art world in Seattle.
All my scarves are one of a kind, beautifully hand painted, with hand rolled silk hems. Ventures store, 314 First Avenue S. in Seattle, carries them. I am particularly excited about the sea life scarves I've been painting, all inspired by sea life I've seen around the Puget Sound area.

Maria Ritaron took these photos with her cell phone camera!