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

•June 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment


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.     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-)


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!


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.

Endless Possibilities in a New Year; Art Assignments

•January 10, 2013 • 2 Comments

front journalI love a fresh start- and though i know that it is true that every day IS a new day, there is something about the endless possibilities of a whole new year that inspires us to think about what we would like to create in our lives this year. (A fabulous link with lots of suggestions for goals in the new year is Daring to Live Fully). I like to start in on a new journal for the new year-i take a regular sketchbook & put images & words that appeal to me on the front & back & then cover them with contact paper- you can see that this one has the words “endless possibilities” on it. I use it to journal about everything. When i want to get specific,  I also have a journal for my gardening ideas- this one I made in a Michael deMeng workshop-“Tree of Life”:garden journal  house journal Here’s one for things I want to do in my house. I create pockets by using packing tape and heavy paper so i can put ideas i have printed off my computer in the pockets. I love so many of the amazing visual journals that i see out there – here are just a few: Lisa Sonora BeamTeesha MooreDan Eldon; etc.   I usually just write in mine, scotch tape articles or pictures that inspire me on to pages and add a few sketches of ideas. Here’s a tip that has worked for me when i see all those amazing journal techniques out there and don’t start a journal because I want to do a really “cool” journal too but don’t think i have the time or skills: first,  i try not to compare myself to others but just start simply- scotch tape & a stapler work great- i can always embellish, paint, collage, and stamp in these journals if i decide i want to as i go along. I put  a little more effort into the covers- glueing on photos or found objects like i did in the garden one. I find once I have a start that i am more apt to experiment with the pages.

Speaking of getting started on creative projects- in last weeks blog I talked about how we can become paralyzed by so many creative possibilities and I offered up a tip by Kelly Rae Roberts that can lead to getting in the studio & doing it.  This week my “Jedi Mind Trick”  is: Assignments. When Jill Berry asked me to contribute some art maps to her book: “Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed Media Mapmaking”  it was pretty easy to come up with ideas for each project because a specific map subject was the assignment. Within a framework there are many fun possibilities to explore. Some of the subjects in the book are: a head map, a narrative map, a cartographic reliquary, a channeled map and a  hand map. For the Hand Map  I wanted to use metal embellishing, some traditional cartography elements (cartouche, border, neat lines) & the idea of being present in the now, so I came up with: “Be Where Your Hands Are”:hand mapI am in an Art Club where we draw a word once a month & make a piece inspired by the word to share at the next meeting-having a specific subject allows for creativity without overwhelm! This month’s word is “Prescription” -I would love it if you do the assignment too and send me a photo of your piece to share with the group!!  Some ideas for coming up with assignments are: buy a book like Jill’s and do the “assignments”,or  check out Illustration Friday which assigns topics every week or create assignments for yourself.

front headFor example, I have always been intrigued by the Muses and also love to explore new techniques- so, i have created an assignment for myself. I am going to create a head reliquary for each muse (a reliquary is a container for a material sacred object- the relic)  using a different medium on each one. I put the name of the 9 Muses plus their parents (Mnemosyne & Zeus) into a box and in another box i put techniques that I want to explore (plaster, encaustic, metal etc.). I randomly draw a name & then the technique I will use on it. Mnemosyne is the personification of memory and the first name that i drew. Synchronistically i drew “memory jug” as my technique. I had a shoe box filled with little collectibles that belonged to a friend’s mother who had died- what better representation of memory could there be? I used memory jug techniques like window caulking to stick the collectibles on Mnemosyne’s head in a pattern of similar colors. The relic- a watch which represents the memories created through the passage of our time here on earth- is seen through the window in her neck.profile head

What will your assignment be?

Endless Possibilities -Good or Bad?

•January 3, 2013 • 4 Comments

endless possibilitiesIts a new year- filled to the brim with endless possibilities. I love the idea of endless possibilities- so much so that a dear friend made this for me to hang in my studio- but since i retired on June 1st i have been completely stalled out over “endless possibilities!”. Sunday on NPR I heard bits & pieces from a TED talk on choices by Barry Schwartz – oh yeah did i ever relate!!- endless possibilities can create paralysis (have you tried picking out a glue recently for your art project?-what’s the best glue for paper? collage? metal? glass? canvas? or mixed media? Is it an acrylic medium? rubber cement? epoxy glue? hot glue? contact cement? silicone glue? Ailene’s Tacky Glue? Yes Paste? Modge Podge? E 4000? glue pad?, glue stick?-well, you get the idea!) Endless possibilities can also create less satisfaction-always questioning- did i really make the right choice? (all that time & effort to choose but was it the right choice?!) and an escalation of expectations- there are so many choices that I expect the one that i finally pick to be perfect but what if its not?

I have experienced all of the above since i retired. I thought i would be jumping right in to making & teaching art-after all that is why i took that leap of faith-  but with endless possibilities what did i want to do? paint? & if painting it was, then what kind? mixed media? process? visionary? What about assemblages- my found object sculptural pieces- what should the theme be? should they be inspired by reliquaries? Did i want to make things that would have more universal/commercial appeal or Did i want to make art for just the process of making art? Are they mutually inclusive or exclusive? And the workshops- oh my- what to teach? where to teach? when to teach? how to get participants etc. And then there is my unique artist’s voice: after looking at other art work that I love- everyone from Van Gogh-(where i was lucky enough to visit the show at the Denver Art Museum: “Becoming Van Gogh”) to the outsider artists in “Raw Vision Magazine” to the folk art that i collect on my travels:folk art i felt like i wanted to emulate the styles of each and everyone- what and where was MY voice? Okay, so, you can see how i got stalled out! What about you- have you ever gotten over whelmed with all of the choices we have today? How did you handle it?

I decided to take a step back and give myself a break -I re-organized the studio- thank you Joe and Ikea! then ikeathe garage, my file cabinets, and eventually my whole house. My home really feels good now though i am having trouble finding things. LOL!! .

During this time of reflection i started reading inspirational books, magazines, internet newsletters and blogs. i will extract nuggets of wisdom from these to share in my  blog. I also started making things just for fun, like i used to when my children were younger- for example, a Thanksgiving Tree:

thanksgiving tree

for my family to write what they are grateful for on the leaves, a wreath for my front door etc.wreath

A week ago my Muse returned -(7 months since retirement!!)- I went in the studio & started painting: here is the painting-a work in progress: paintingI also came up with a fabulous way to create a Santos/Cage doll:from a Barbie for a future workshop and an interesting trick that will help me pick a theme for my next series of assemblages(more on this trick next time) How did the turn around happen? with the help of these wisdom nuggets: a quote by Amelia Earhart struck me like lightening -its so obvious i know, but sometimes you have to be in the right frame of mind to really “get” it! :”The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” AND Kelly Rae Robert’s tip in the Nov., Dec., Jan., issue of “Where Women Create”: “When creating art, I almost always convince myself that i’m just experimenting. This is my little Jedi mind trick i do to help me stay unattached to the painting. The more unattached i can be, the more fearless i am with the canvas. The more fearless, the more fun.” Inspired, i went into the studio to just do it while convincing myself i was only experimenting- sure enough, i started having fun and the creative juices broke loose!! YAY!!

I am still trying to figure out how to work with and not against endless possibilities… a few ideas are germinating…

Happy, wonderful ,creative new year everyone!!!

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard

•May 11, 2012 • 2 Comments

“The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”   Anais Nin

Its been awhile since I wrote a blog. I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed with my impending retirement coming up. On the one hand I am so excited about having TIME. For 18 years on my 2 days off from work i fit in my mundane chores like laundry, cleaning the house, and grocery shopping. I prepare a big pot of Quinoa so I can grab some  and go out the door with it (I am not an early morning riser!) as my breakfast cereal with a little fruit & yoghurt on top. I usually cook a few things too for dinners so I won’t be tempted to eat unhealthy choices. Then one day of the two, i work on my art work- that can involve hands on creating or driving an hour or two away to drop off or pick up pieces for a show or working on my new website or a blog or enter some shows etc. I also want to spend time with my boyfriend, my parents, my son who lives an hour and a half away & my friends.Then there are my hobbies: reading, gardening, exercise. How nice it will be to not have to fit in an additional 40 hours of work every week!! I know you are feeling my pain-:) ! I have worked weekends & most holidays for the past 18 years. The joy of going to a Saturday Farmers Market or a garage sale or a friend’s afternoon BBQ knows no bounds!!I am curious how  going into my studio & having days of continuity with my art work, uninterrupted by work will affect the end result…

AND i am a bit scared: will I miss work? what is my purpose in life now? will i have enough money to pay for my health insurance? AND now that i actually will have more time to concentrate on my art work will I? Will my art work be “good enough”?               AND i am a bit sad- saying goodbye to 18 years of how i spent most of my days brings back many memories- succinctly captured in a cross stitched piece a co-worker made for me:

As you can see from my previous blog: “Feeling the Fear & Doing It Anyway” my reliquary evolved into blossoming. The Inner Critic “lid” comes off to reveal the relic: a blossom. And so even though I am feeling some fear I am looking forward to blossoming in this next stage of my life!!!! Whoohoo- bring it on!!!!!