Posted on May 3, 2017
A day is like a whole life. You start out doing one thing, but end up doing something else, plan to run an errand, but never get there … And at the end of your life, your whole existence has the same haphazard quality, too. Your whole life has the same shape as a single day.
May Sarton wrote, “Routine is not a prison, but the way to freedom from time.”
I’m working to get myself on a better routine these days and I feel so much more
productive. Less time online, more time for all the other things I’ve been wanting to do, such as spending more hours outdoors. Now if the weather would only cooperate..
Posted on April 19, 2017
spring finally arrived
and this happened
My work is featured in the summer issue of Artful Blogging Magazine. Whole lot of gratitude to Shawna Lemay for the writing prompt. Her blog is always so thought provoking. This beautiful publication, reads more like a book than a magazine and it’s chock full of wonderful inspiration. Happy to be in the company of such talented people. Kind of a dream come true.
speaking of inspiration and dreams
The lovely and amazing Kelly Ishmael turned me on to this gorgeous book – Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein with Julie Chai. Photos by Michele M. Waite. All about growing, harvesting and arranging seasonal flowers. Wonderful information and the photos are to die for.
How sweet is this??
Even Mozart was impressed!
Chloe Lemay is an art student at Sheridan College, soon to be majoring in cartoon/animation. She did this adorable image of Mozart and I just love it! He will be appearing at the end of each blog post from now on. You may view more of Chloe’s wonderful, whimsical work HERE. Word is that she will be doing commissions this summer if anyone is interested.
I’ll leave you with these beautiful words found on Calm Things a while back.
Wishing you all good stuff!
“The Monk Manifesto: Seven Principles for Living with Deep Intention“ by Christine Valters Paintner.
The Monk Manifesto
- I commit to finding moments each day for silence and solitude, to make space for another voice to be heard, and to resist a culture of noise and constant stimulation.
- I commit to radical acts of hospitality by welcoming the stranger both without and within. I recognize that when I make space inside my heart for the unclaimed parts of myself, I cultivate compassion and the ability to accept those places in others.
- I commit to cultivating community by finding kindred spirits along the path, soul friends with whom I can share my deepest longings, and mentors who can offer guidance and wisdom for the journey.
- I commit to cultivating awareness of my kinship with creation and a healthy asceticism by discerning my use of energy and things, letting go of what does not help nature to flourish.
- I commit to bringing myself fully present to the work I do, whether paid or unpaid, holding a heart of gratitude for the ability to express my gifts in the world in meaningful ways.
- I commit to rhythms of rest and renewal through the regular practice of Sabbath and resist a culture of busyness that measures my worth by what I do.
- I commit to a lifetime of ongoing conversion and transformation, recognizing that I am always on a journey with both gifts and limitations.
Posted on April 12, 2017
of a different kind..
My son’s VLOG got me thinking about how we often develop a skill set in one area but end up using it in new and unexpected ways. In life, in work and in our creative endeavors, our experiences are somehow all inter-connected.
My talented friend, Linda Murtha, immediately came to mind as her work is a beautiful marriage of art and photography. She very kindly agreed to share her experience, her thoughts and her amazing art with us here:
I was about 9 years old when my mother came home one afternoon and found me painting a winter scene with white house paint on a red floor tile left over from our basement renovation. I can still see my vision for that painting and I can’t imagine what she was thinking when she took a cloth soaked in Varsol and wiped the tile clean. Afterward, she apologized, saying she didn’t understand what I was doing, but it was a long time before I showed anyone anything I’d created again.
When I was 7 I’d painted a watercolour of tulips in a garden as an Easter gift for my grandmother. I remember not wanting anyone else to see it. Even as a child my sense was that my art was safe with my grandmother but no one else understood my need to create. More than 50 years later, a lifetime since I’d even thought about it, I found that little painting among my mother’s belongings. It wasn’t anything special but my grandmother had kept it her entire life and so had my mother.
In high school I excelled in art and not much more and I begged my parents to allow me to enroll in an art program. They left me in the academic program, and I simply painted on my own through my teens and into my 20’s but I often asked myself, that age old question…What if?
When I married and had three kids in 5 years I put the paints away but sewed and felt that too fed my creative urges. I didn’t turn back to painting for many years. When I did, my own critical voice had grown very loud. I studied for several years with a talented landscape artist who increasingly showed frustration with the faultfinding I heaped on my own work. In a moment of exasperation, she said to me, “If you want a painting to look exactly like a photograph, why not get a camera?” The seed would take a while to germinate, but she had definitely planted it.
For a while I worked on trompe l’oeil (fool the eye) paintings and found great satisfaction in that. I’d proven to myself I could, in fact, make a painting look ‘real’. And then, shortly after this stage of growth, I was gifted with my first camera.
Two images I took on my first roll of film hung on the wall of my husband’s office for years. I felt accomplished, acknowledged, and creatively happy just taking pictures for my own pleasure, much the same way I had once enjoyed painting simply for the experience.
In time though, that same creative bug that had bitten me so many years earlier, started to nibble again. More and more I wanted my photographs to look less and less like photos and more and more like paintings. It was another season of cross-pollination and I was now flying backward.
I experimented with textures and layers, with off-lens photography, Lensbaby and with intentional camera movement, all in an effort to make images look like paintings. And I found great satisfaction in that garden of creativity.
And then most recently, after dabbling just a bit in encaustics over photographs, I found myself longing to paint again, and have been trying some techniques with acrylics and alcohol.
I’ve learned a lot about myself. I still hear that old voice muttering something about none of them being ‘note-worthy’ but now I can laugh and just go back to it and enjoy the process. Who knows what I may learn here that I can take somewhere else. Who knows as we cross-pollinate our experiences, and our attitudes; our criticisms and our praise, what the end results will be?
I’m proud of my work. I’m proud of the journey too. As each chapter unfolds I feel a hunger for the next and the next.
I started this adventure relatively early when I tired of crayons and colouring books and staying in the lines, but I’m thrilled to think the story may never end. There’s always something to learn from those who are also cross-pollinating their love of art with other skills they bring to the garden.
Thank you for bringing so much beauty to the garden, Lynda!
More of Lynda’s work can be found HERE.
As for Eric’s vlog…I posted it on Facebook where it made for some fascinating conversation. It seems our education and knowledge, skills and life experience never go to waste no matter what plans the universe has for us. It all counts.
I’ll end this with a thoughtful take on cross-pollination from Kim Mendenhall Stevens
I’ve been thinking a lot about it throughout my day…the comment that struck me the most was the last comment to the question in regards to what she thought about pollination…and she says the bees, they are dying. And while the bees aren’t dying from their job of pollinating, they are dying because of the actions of mankind, and well, the inaction as well. I know he was talking more about cross-pollination when it came to our experiences and things we’ve learned and translating that to subsequent jobs and experiences, but I began to think about it more on a humanity level. If and how we decide to cross-pollinate with each other on a personal and general level, means a great deal for our own survival….because in many ways we are the bees.
Posted on March 7, 2017
“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
~ Charles Dickens
I’m grateful for any sunshine these days…
extremely honored to have my work showcased HERE, along with a short interview. 121clicks has long been a source of inspiration to me.
Hope you’ll come visit.
Mozart is there too…he’s pretty chill about it
Posted on February 21, 2017
Perhaps the World Ends Here
~ Joy Harjo
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.
a lot of history on this table
every scratch and water stain has its own story