Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

•June 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA “Seeking Balance”

Today is the Summer Solstice- after the floods of last fall and the dark, bitter cold, windy days of a Rocky Mountain winter,then a cold spring, i think summer is finally here. Hurray!!! To celebrate the solstice-my yoga teacher, Lizzie Adams, read this poem at the end of class:

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean– the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver, The House Light Beacon Press Boston, 1990.

fabulous question to ponder on the longest day of the year!!

 

I do know how to be curious,

how to explore ideas through a variety of art mediums,

how to dig & plant & weed and to stop and smell the roses and the irises and the peonies,

how to lose myself in the world of a good book,

how to stroll through the piney woods listening to aspen leaves rustle;

i do know how to enjoy a crisp glass of wine while laughing with a loved one,

how to savor the delicious juicyness of summer’s first nectarine,

and how to be grateful for all of the abundance in my life!

Life is good!!

Happy Summer Solstice to you!!!

My Muse is a Shapeshifter; Messenger Birds

•April 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

 

full museIn appreciation for the joy and stimulation I receive when visited by my Muse, i created herface and an altar that i continually add to in my studio- some photos:IMG_0900art palettedee diva

Recently she visited me in a completely unexpected way. I was visiting my sister in Steamboat Springs and spent a morning being entertained by all the little birds hopping about on the deep snow eating seeds from her birdfeeder. Later that afternoon we visited an arts and crafts store downtown. I fell in love with a bird “puzzle” there.Italy birdOnce it is put together, it becomes a 3 dimensional wall hanging completed by a pretty fabric, embroidered bird. That night,i woke up with my heart pounding in excitement thinking about creating Messenger Birds.The Muse had paid me a visit! All those birds popping up were forms of my Muse, a shape shifter! My Messenger Bird’s may be painted or be assemblage/reliquary figures. I want to “channel” their messages into the pieces i create. The possibilities are endless. I got started right away with this stenciled and painted bird which is not finished yet.IMG_0796

Speaking of finished (or not) art work, sometimes i put a piece away for awhile (days? years?) and then it calls out to me to go back into it. Several years ago I created a painting, “Pity the Blind” that has Kinnara’s in it- (half-human, half-bird figures) s%22Pity the Blind%22inspired by the Kinnaras that we saw in Bali.kinnara My Muse has nudged me to re-visit these as Messenger Birds.

YAY! for inspiration- whether from assignments (my last blog) or my Muse!!! Time to get in the studio!!!

 

“X” Factor Makes Creating Easy!!

•April 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

profile faceSo what is the “x” factor that makes creating easy?  i referred to it in my last blog.   INSPIRATION!! With inspiration i am off and running to create the endless possibilities that “x” inspires. For me, inspiration comes from 2 places- what i call “assignment inspiration” and the other “Lady Luck or Muse Guidance”. In this blog i will talk about assignments- next time the Muse.

Assignments are suggestions/guidelines on what to create. Assignments get the ball rolling and i have found that once it starts to roll that endless possibilities begin to present themselves. For example, when i was invited to participate in Jill Berry’s book:“Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Map Making”   she asked the participants to make maps based on her suggestions in the book.globe My “Globe Skimmer Dragonfly was inspired by the chapter on channeling something that is unable to make a map for itself- so i created a map highlighting the amazing adventures of the dragonfly as she migrates 11,000 miles from the west coast of India all the way across the ocean to Africa! Assignment can come from teachers- workshops are fabulous for this!!- in person or online or DVDs- some examples are: “Illustration Friday”, Dirty Footprints Studio, Art is You. Art Unraveled, Art Camp for Women, the store at Interweave, You Tube videos;  from books  (a fabulous one i recently picked up- from Off the Beaten Path in Steamboat, is Nick Bantock’s ” The Trickster’s Hat” -& magazines- “Cloth, Paper, Scissors”, “Stampington”-there are many other wonderful ones out there!

Or i can make up my own assignment because i want to meet certain conditions- because April is National Poetry Month- I wanted to make something inspired by a poem. globeMy piece: “Reliquary for Gratitude for Nature was inspired  by e.e. cummings poem:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings;and of the gay
great happening ilimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any – lifted from the no
of all nothing – human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Do you have any interesting assignments to suggest?

of course, after inspiration strikes one must actually do the work!!!

next blog- the Muse makes an appearance.

 

Why Do I Make Art? Curiosity? Entertainment? A sublimated form of sexuality?

•March 25, 2014 • 1 Comment

“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”            Gene Fowler

Self portrait with creative energy flowing- from my "Gratitude for the Body Journal"

Self portrait with creative energy flowing- from my “Gratitude for the Body Journal”

Substitute “making art” for the word writing in my case. A few days ago,I was reading Ariane Goodwin’s excellent blog where she asked the question:”Why do you make art?” and i started thinking about that…(making art is not easy unless “x” happens-which i’ll talk about in my next blog.) Today i am thinking about the drops of blood forming on my forehead- making the time to create art; creating the money for the supplies; creating a space to make the art and probably the most difficult of all: becoming inspired. With all of those “obstacles” why do i chose to make art? Why do you?

I am curious- curiosity gives me the desire to explore those ideas spinning around in my head & to try out new techniques- making art is one way to do that. And as Ellen Parr said: “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” I  feel better about life when i am creating- as my friend, Janice Whitmore said- “Its like exercise- you just feel better when you do it!” I love creative problem solving!!  for example,-if i want to make a piece affirming how important it is to listen to my Inner Voice- what does that voice look like? How do i convey listening? We all like to entertain ourselves- i love to read, garden, travel & make art for entertainment.Do I make art to sell- for the money? I do love selling because it means my art has made a connection with another human being. Waves of play & joy & satisfaction followed by depths of disappointment, fear and loathing,that lead up to the wave crest of play & joy etc again & again, enrich my emotional life while creating. Robert Genn, in a recent newsletter, proposed the question:” Is it possible that art-making is a sublimated form of sexuality?…But where does that leave the females? Why do they do it? Is art for them a form of birthing–a sort of surrogate womb activity?” All interesting points to ponder…and part of the process of making art but not THE answer for me…

I do think its important to know the answer to that question- because like anything else in life, if you are all over the map you are directionless and as Ariane points out, knowing the answer creates a measuring stick to see how successful i am being. The answer becomes the compass pointing toward my true north.

"Be Where Your Hands Are Map" I made for the book "Personal Geographies" by Jill Berry

“Be Where Your Hands Are Map” I made for the book “Personal Geographies” by Jill Berry

After a couple weeks of thinking about it i know my answer- do you?

My answer: Making art is the path leading to my soul that I want to explore in all of its endless possibilities!!!

"Endless Possibilities"- a glass totem

“Endless Possibilities”- a glass totem

Gut Feelings “Gratitude for the Body Journal”

•January 26, 2014 • 1 Comment

the gutGut feelings, gut decisions, butterflies in the gut…ideas that spring from the well within- how does that happen? Our bodies are more than lungs breathing, hearts beating, eyes seeing…This picture is a close up of my “gut” region, which i have always felt like  had a mind of its own. In fact, i just found out that it is often called the second brain.  Microbes that inhabit our guts help explain that old idea of “gut feelings” -there’s growing evidence that gut bacteria really might influence our minds. http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/18/244526773/gut-bacteria-might-guide-the-workings-of-our-minds     If you look closely you will see my hand writing expressing gratitude for all that my body does-it covers my whole body.

As you know from my last post, “in the new year i decided it was high time to express gratitude to my body, my faithful companion, who performs thousands of miraculous actions every day that i don’t even notice-like breathing. Empirical studies have shown that those who keep gratitude journals feel better about their lives so, why not create a “Gratitude For Our Bodies Journal” and feel better about our bodies? and wouldn’t it be awesome to play with creative ideas to make it a fun mixed media art project?” I showed the stencil I made of my face last time.

Since then, i chose to decorate my body using stencils and stamps to create a tattoo like effect because I have always been fascinated by tattoos both henna & needle. full decorated bodyI collaged in my chakras with raised embossed symbols- an incorporeal (without a physical body, presence or form) element of our miraculous bodies.

As always there are endless possibilities for expression and my students are playing with many of those which i will show next time. When we are done decorating our bodies we will cut them into pages & begin using lots of techniques to make journal pages and last but not least create the cover.

Gratitude for the Body Journal Face Stencil

•January 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

deedee hampton stencil faceI am at that point in my life where i avoid looking too long at myself in the mirror- don’t like the wrinkles, the red marks, the sagginess and bagginess of my flesh- and from what i hear, most of my friends feel the same way. In the new year i decided it was high time to express gratitude to my body, my faithful companion, who performs thousands of miraculous actions every day that i don’t even notice-like breathing. Empirical studies have shown that those who keep gratitude journals feel better about their lives so, why not create a “Gratitude For Our Bodies Journal” and feel better about our bodies? and wouldn’t it be awesome to play with creative ideas to make it a fun mixed media art project?

My mind mulled this over- hmmm…Creative…body…self-portrait- that is what came up for me first- something like Van Gogh’s self portraits that draw you in to his eyes- (windows in to the soul?)

self-por·trait (slfpôrtrt, -trt, -pr-)

n.

A pictorial or literary portrait of oneself, created by oneself.

but wait a minute- we are not just another pretty face- wouldn’t a portrait of the self be the whole body? inside and out? How to express that? and make it in to a mixed media art journal?

I wanted paper for the journal so,i laid down on a big sheet of rosin paper (a hardy roofing material that will withstand multiple techniques done on it) & asked Joe to trace my outline with a pencil. Honestly the outline is not accurate but close enough- my thighs are too thin- but who is complaining!?  I still had Van Gogh’s self portraits on the brain and knew i wanted to make my face, at least, look like me. But how? i have tried painting my face in the past -ick!!! In the middle of the night, the idea of creating a stencil of my face popped into my head. YAY!!I love learning new things- so I went on line & checked out making stencils on You Tube- I got myself a hot stencil cutting tool ( a wood burner), a thick sheet of plastic & made a high contrast black & white photo of my face. I put the photo under a sheet of glass, laid the stencil material on top and cut out the stencil- viola!

next blog i will continue with what how i started expressing gratitude for my body, creatively what i did with the body outline and eventually how it became a mixed media  journal.

Saying YES to Endless Possibilities

•January 16, 2013 • Leave a Comment

visionaryThis is the year of saying “Yes!” . I am not sure why i have a tendency to hesitate or say no to life’s many offerings. For example, a friend of mine asked me if i wanted to hang my paintings in the gallery at our local hospital. My first reaction was no- a thought kept running through my head that the people who came into the hospital wouldn’t like my work because it is not realistic nature scenes and the other thought was that it would probably take me a day to dust off the frames, type up the titles, descriptions,update my bio, artist statement etc. Then i remembered: this is the year of saying yes! I mean really- what do i have to lose?- my paintings are being stored in the closet of my guest room. Yes, it did take pretty much all day to do the paper work part but it made me really think about how to describe the change in style that my paintings have under gone over the last few years. I realized that a more apt description for them was “Intuitive Visionary Paintings” instead of “Process Paintings”. (my new artist statement for them is below) I also realized that i really needed to get those paintings out of the closet & in an environment where the frames were less likely to get damaged- my house is running out of wall space so i hung everything that i didn’t take to the hospital on the walls of my garage. They look great & it is fun to turn my garage into an art gallery of sorts!  And today in spinning class, a friend who saw my paintings raved about them! YAY!  Tip #3 Just say Yes! when life offers you opportunities.

postcardThe other good thing that happened for me is i got to see some of my older vintage postcard inspired paintings hanging together again- it s so fun to take a trip down memory lane with one’s art work and nice to know that i still love those pieces too!!

Well- i am off on a 5 week trip to Myanmar, Cambodia,Laos & Thailand. I said yes! to something there that i am both excited & a little nervous about by setting up a little adventure ahead of time in Myanmar- a hot air balloon ride over the Valley of 1000 Temples!! See you in March!

INTUITIVE VISIONARY PAINTINGS

Artist Statement

“When the mind wants the soul to experience something she throws out an image in front of her and steps into it.”

Meister Eckhart

I define intuitive art as a creative process that allows images to appear from the “well” within without editing them. Sometimes I am processing my life through these images and sometimes I am completely surprised by the images that appear.

WIKIPEDIA defines visionary art as art that purports to transcend the physical world and portray a wider vision of awareness including spiritual or mystical themes, or is based in such experiences. Visionary art begins by listening to the inner voices and inner perception of the soul. It goes on to say that visionary art is a product of an inner process…

My Art Process: my intuitive, visionary painting process involves allowing images to appear even though my analytical mind screams “This can’t be right!”, synchronicities with the “right” materials appearing and ritual in the studio involving music and meditation. I may work on a painting for several days or several months. I use acrylics, charcoal, pencil, oil pastels, plaster, wax, molding paste, collage items etc. on these paintings.

 
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