Friday, September 26, 2014

Because

   I get asked; "Why are you doing all this artsy schmartzy stuff at this stage of your life? BECAUSE, I have wanted to do this all my life but the gremlins of comparison, shame, and "not good enough" set in to roost about third grade.


    It is no different with writing. The Five Minute Friday group I write with are practicing this art form BECAUSE they need to have a platform to express themselves. We are wired for connection and one way to connect is to write, draw, paint, play music, or dance. There are others not listed here but I think I made my point. We need this to make sense of our lives.


    We need this to metabolize the ideas that flood our heads. It becomes a way to understand what we thought we knew. The pages here are a little project I started with my artist friend who suggested we take little second hand board books and alter them to be a journal of ideas.


   I knew I wanted another journal to synthesize the writings of Brené Brown. Her words have ricocheted off my brain over and over. So, these first three pages represent the Gifts of Imperfection, courage, compassion, and connection. I see every day that when I accept the imperfect in myself and others I am much more humane.

I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully make
sense.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

An Artist's Date

     It is such a privilege to be invited into the studio of an artist. Our community has bi-yearly artist studio open house events. I just gawk with wide eyes at their work tables and supplies, imagining what it is like to create there, in that space. Yesterday I had a playdate with my artist friend. Long planned because we are über busy, but finally realized. Upstairs, in a light airy room, books, baskets, and boxes abound.


                       There are many little collections. The bottle caps ere fun and decorative.


       She aspires to publish some books so I found the "imagine" plaque fitting with the "how to's" for children's book writers.


      A lover of words,  this stamp was evocative of what we wanted to accomplish on this one single day.



   See that cuter than cute white stuffed pumpkin on the right? You can find a "how to" on her blog. I love the curly stand.


      I find art to require a great deal of patience so these words above the closet doors made me smile.


      This is what the art desk looked like before we started. Newspaper came next to cover the wood. In a few hours we had papers, baskets and paints everywhere.


     She likes working alone so I found the silent moments really nice because they were full of energy and purpose. Below is a peek at the Halloweenish page of her book. Yes, that is what we were making, altered books. Children's board books are perfect for remaking into art journals or writing journals.


You are probably wanting to see the finished product or at least the process and I will do a post just like that. But, not today. Today I wanted to remember and be grateful for my lovely day.



Friday, September 19, 2014

Hold

   I feel so grateful to be able to hold babies. I adore gathering them into my arms and giving them refuge and nurturing. I often mourn a bit that I cannot hold my own babies. They are all grown and have children and partners of their own. Luckily they have decided to let me be a grandmother.


There is nothing like making eye contact with a beautiful child and seeing recognition and delight in their eyes. We are wired for love and connection. I believe that with all my heart. In the sacred place of our soul we want to be loved and valued. I am honored to be able to give openly to these children, some whose DNA I share and some who were given to me by parents who came into our family. I worry sometimes that I will lose these delicate ties. I have only one recourse and that is to be grateful for every moment and circumstance that brings them into my presence.


I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully makes sense.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ready

   READY?
     I know that getting ready is really important but what I forget from day to day is the mental imagery that getting ready provides. When I take my husband to work I pass by the gym at 6:00am. If my bag is on the table I give myself the mental message that I am ready to stop at the gym.


   When I emptied an extra bedroom and created a creative space for myself I sent the mental message that I am ready to create whenever I have some time.


  Even as I begin to play the piano if I hover just ever so slightly over the keys and get ready mentally to  play my physical gestures are more precise and articulated.


     Get ready and you will want to go!

I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully makes sense.

 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Whisper

  We have foggy days here on my Island. Days when the wet blanket in the sky muffles the noises of cars, voices, even the fog horn itself is a different pitch. I like the stillness. It reminds me to listen more to the whispers. Have you noticed that when a conversation starts in a whisper it takes a while to get used to breath coming through the throat. It feels so awkward but in a short while the whispering starts to feel elegant. For me that awkwardness of the whisper is a sign of too much, too fast, too thoughtless  My daughter went on a ten day silence retreat. Ten days of meditation. She told me when they break silence on the tenth day everything starts in a whisper


   Shh……time is up.

I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully makes sense.  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Musician Is a Witness

    I have been playing the organ and piano at special events for forty-five years. I'm not complaining, just making observations. I started very young, with limited skills, and there were times when I barely had it together. At first I wasn't asked because I was capable but because I was available. Weddings, birthday parties, baptisms, there was need for music and I was there. Funerals have always been especially interesting. As a young mother in Provo, Utah, I made it on a list of available organists at a local funeral home. I would get a call a day before and many times I did not know the individual who passed away. There are funeral songs like there are funeral potatoes. A ready repertoire was essential because, well you just can't plan ahead.


    A musician at these special events is a witness. We are often up front, close to the main participants. Sometimes it feels like we are part of the family. We see the joy and the heart breaking sorrow come across the faces of those who's lives are changing forever. I've witnessed a lot of sorrow in forty-five years. I participate but I do not speak. In fact I pray that I am not noticed. My voice is the instrument in front of me. I hope that it is soothing yet a foundation of strength. I hope the music is familiar yet calls to a place no one there has yet visited. I leave unable to socialize. I feel mute. I have extended all I have and all I am into the music.
   Is being a witness a good thing? I think it is. It has helped me during my own special events. I recall the musicians who played at my family's special events. Wait, I think I was singing or playing there as well. The music at my mother's funeral was blurry and I remember relying on muscle memory. Music is a safe place. It can transport  and soften the starkest journey. I am grateful to serve. Even more, I need to serve, with this gift given me and sustained by my parents.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Last I-Phone Photography Tips

       The last lessons in my Big Pictures Classes I-Phone Photography class were my favorite.

Objects
Photographing objects can tell a compelling story. On a day at the beach I gathered these objects together inside a hole in the driftwood. It was like a shadow box of the best stuff from the beach that day.


    The art supplies on the artists windowsill tell the story of creativity and beauty. The scene through the window is almost the painting on the easel.


     Gathering my icons of The Six Habits of Happiness was so fun for me. Against the white background and shooting from above this display pops out. Beware of the shadows cast by objects.


Backgrounds
Finding a great background can make the composition come alive. I loved taking a picture of our feet when we found a patch of multicolored leaves.


And here, the single leaf stands out from the beach rocks to hint at the season change ahead.

Portraits
Look for light and concentrate on the eyes in your subject. Tap on the screen to be sure to focus the lens on the eyes. 



      It is better to crop than zoom. Zooming in can degrade your photo. A neutral background is best for the portrait. 


Shadows
Because shadows are not fixed in shape like silhouettes they can give a picture a surreal quality. The morning light in this bedroom casts the most interesting shadows.


             I used the shadow of my brother to allude to his deep emotional connection to his dog.


      I think my pictures are much more interesting and creative thanks to this class. Having my I-Phone along provides an easy and quick tool to capture the beauty of my world. Beauty around me is often the way I pick myself up from the pressures of life.