Saturday, July 4, 2020

WHAT DO THEY MEAN?

With all that is going on in our country and around the world on this July 4, 2020 I found myself turning back to this piece created many years ago. It bears words that from long, long ago that spoke to me then and continue to do so today in the midst of the upheaval.

Again, I ponder the words. What do I find worthy of honoring? What would I choose to cultivate? And what, really, on this Independence Day does freedom ultimately mean to me?

So I thought to share these thoughts and the questions that arose from them with whatever follower chooses to read this sporadic blog and hope that you, too, will be moved by these words from another time and another place that just seem to continue to echo down through the years.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

SOFT SOUNDS IN THE SILENCE

Solace
As I drift off to sleep each night the sound of a lone owl softly hooting in a nearby tree brings a gentle smile to my face. It is a lovely sound that somehow brings the solace of normalcy (or is it the normalcy of solace?)

The sounds of nature are often what brings comfort to counter the aggravations of a given day. Whether the soft lap of waves on the shore, the hoot of the owl, the cooing of doves, the trickle of water in a lovely brook, or a soft breeze blowing through the trees, these sounds in their very softness temper the noises of our everyday world. Hearing these things, I for one find myself eased by them.

What are some of the sounds that lift your spirits?

A creek in a canyon

Saturday, June 27, 2020

TRICKY BUSINESS

In the garden
"Working with goals in creative work is tricky business."__Beverly Cassell, founder of Artist Conference Network

Beverly's words have stayed with me over the many years since being active in ACN. They were just some of the many words of wisdom that made for breakthrough creative process.

So, goals. In 2019 one of many goals was to write this blog two times each and every week. And, yes, somehow I seem to have managed that. It just made sense then to continue, to "Keep It Simple" as I titled the first blog post of 2020. 

The "tricky business" part seems to have shown up primarily in the form of Covid-19. It seems that (again, keeping it simple) I have lost my commitment to the goal.

We have all been affected by this pandemic in one way or another and sometimes in many ways. So commitment to a goal might have come up for many of you as well. For me, the blog-writing has fallen away in part because it has at times felt there was nothing about which to write. Sure, I know that is incorrect. But, in trying to avoid talking about the elephant in the room I just seem to have found myself lacking inspiration.

Still, I could write about what small things I have been creating. The gardening, which seems to have taken a large chunk of some days, could also provide writing fodder. What about plans for creating workshops in the future? Where are those plans in process now? Or write of the beauties of nature on the many walks each week. With my love for the sights and sounds there should be plenty there. So, yes, there are many things to write on this blog.

The "motor" stalled, but right now I am committing again to the goal. Beverly also stated that the creative process "doesn't tolerate much in the way of 'shoulds' around goals." No "shoulds" here then; just a commitment to being in action and to simply observe what shows up instead.

For right now, I've begun. Now back to the baking and the gardening. Back soon.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

AND ONE MORE THING....


OK I think most of us are familiar with that song from Sound of Music about "a few of my favorite things." Well, I got to thinking the other day about gratitude and what are some of my favorite things. It really got me going. I would have said I was pretty fussy and there wouldn't be all that many, but I thought to divide up into the senses. I WENT NUTS!

So here goes...

Not sure why but I started with sounds:
the call of black oystercatchers
the sound of waves crashing
first birdsongs of morning
the hoot of the owl late in the night
the harsh cry of an overhead hawk
the rattle sound of a crow
cooing of mourning doves, ..."who are you, who are you?"
the sibilant sound of rain starting up on the roof
the whir of hummingbird wings
the strange sound of a tree chock full of bees
a beautiful area that goes straight to the heart
joyful, free laughter (and of course the child's shy giggle)

Then, smells:
vanilla
night blooming jasmine
orange blossoms
bread baking
woodsmoke
new-mown grass
sweet scent of newborn babies
cinnamon
hot-mulled cider on the stove
gardenias
sweetpeas, especially the lavender ones
basil
freshly sawed wood/wood shavings
white roses

Taste:
the tang of sweet lemon squares
the first sip of strong morning coffee
bread straight from the oven
watery crunch of romaine lettuce
sour bite of a ruby red grapefruit
sweet spicy mix of cayenne with sugar
warm salty taste of chicken soup when down with a cold
sweet liquor taste of amaretto
nutty sweetness of dark chocolate covered almonds
lemon pepper on grilled fish or steak
sweet crunch of coconut (texture good too)
flavor of just about any greet vegetables
creamy sweetness of butter pecan ice cream (my mother's fave too)


Sight:
plumeria in full bloom
the far off view across miles of ocean on a gray drizzly day
sparkle of sunlight on the midday sea
billowing clouds scudding across the sky
pelicans soaring across the ocean before their sudden dive
blown bubbles, iridescent on an afternoon breeze
fresh green of springtime hills
the smile on the face of a child
looking up through tall, dense trees
waves of yellow mustard on a hiking trail in the hills
a scurrying lizard who stops to do pushups

Touch:
Oh, how I miss touch...soon, oh, please, soon! Until then I don't think I'll go there.


And, of course, there are always those uncategorized things that just cannot be left out:
The crows in all their glory, the sunflowers, the hibiscus, the "old-timers" from my grandmother's long ago garden--gardenia, camellia, hydrangea, and iris...
and not to ever be forgotten, my wonderful family and friends.

Oh, of course just one more thing: the feeling of dancing around the room all alone to Bruno Mars๐Ÿ˜…

And there will always be "one more thing" that I've left off, but.......

I hope this has prompted some of your thinking too...feel free to share in the comments section.


Friday, May 22, 2020

THE SAME BOAT...

Memorial Day weekend. I think picnics and barbecues and other friend and family gatherings. But, alas....

I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss hugs and kisses and even friendly smiles (the downside of masks.) I miss my workshop students and teaching them. I miss camaraderie and laughter and sharing of stories. This time of year, I miss the gathering of fellow artists and artisans as we pick a spot and build the booth that will be home away from home for 66 days of summer at the Sawdust Art Festival here in Laguna. I even miss all the decision-making that goes into that venue for each of us.

Yet, while I miss these and so many other things, I am happy to have my health and a roof over my head, food on the table and gas in my car. I am thrilled to be able to walk 4-5 miles each morning, whether in the neighborhoods, in the hills, along the beachfront, or the harbor. I am lucky. I am grateful. I am hopeful that all these things I miss will return.

But I have to admit I'm still sad; I still miss all of it and all of you. So stay safe and healthy, practice that social distancing and wear that mask and do whatever else it takes so that we may all come back together....PLEASE.


Lots to do

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, BUT.....

Glorious day
 It's a pretty phenomenal day outside after yesterday's light rainfall. Super spring weathery! AND I'm STILL in a crabby mood. I accept it and move on. Every day just can't be emotionally lovely, right?


Camillia's angel






On another note, though, I received this fun angel from student Camillia yesterday. The angels just keep trickling in ๐Ÿ˜ƒ If you have done one, don't hesitate to send it my way. And Camillia did a smart thing. She copied her angel so that she can use it for many cards or other.
Good thinking!

What are you doing to keep busy and in touch even when not in a great mood?


Friday, May 15, 2020

GRATITUDE FOR GRATITUDE

Katherine's postcard:I am grateful for so many wonderful students.
One of my favorite all time poets is Mary Oliver. She  wrote of nature in such a way that you could be right there with her,  tasting, smelling, touching, feeling.

She also wrote often of gratitude. In a couple of my favorite poems she asked these questions:

What did you notice?
What did you hear?
What did you admire?
What astonished you?
What would you like to see again?
What was most tender?
What was most wonderful?
What did you think was happening?

I have found over the years that if I ask these questions in most situations I am ultimately able to arrive at gratitude...sometimes when I otherwise might not.

Why not give it a try? I'd like to hear back if it works also for you?


Monday, May 11, 2020

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST

Pretty sure she had a sense of humor :)
OK, so now I seem to have lost my sense of humor.

The "doing without" started with hugs, sequed to t.p. and hand sanitizer. Close contact with friends or family not residing in the same house went next, followed by just one thing after another.

Living with someone with health issues I have agreed that much of this (well not the t.p. and hand sanitizer) was a necessary evil to stay healthy. I've managed to accommodate all of these, but "not sorry," as Reese's says. I just cannot tolerate losing my sense of humor.

HELP!!! Now I guess, along with chasing down the muse, I will need to be on the lookout for my sense of humor. That oughta keep me busy for a little while.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

LIFE IN THE NO CONTACT ZONE

As I write this the day before Mother's Day I cannot help but ponder the many things that have arisen for me personally out of this pandemic. And, while that is not what this blog was supposed to be about....

Well, here goes: "Life in the No Contact Zone" could easily be the new heading for the blog itself. Having set in play that I would have the goal to do two blog posts per week way back at the beginning of 2019, I have failed miserably at this in the past week or so. What is there to say, I have wondered far too often.

But for some reason, the coming of Mother's Day seems to have triggered something. This will be the first Mother's Day that I have spent without a mother and I find myself thinking of her and, ultimately, how glad I am in some ways that she is not here to be part of all this. At the end, she was on hospice and they took such wonderful care of her. I still marvel that her skin as I stroked her arm on that last day of her life felt like a baby's--smooth and soft and completely unblemished in any way. I'm sure there are still many in hospice and still receiving that wonderful care. These caring folks must be really struggling during this pandemic just as the doctors and nurses and other healthcare workers are. They, too, are to be honored.

If my mother were still alive, I would be grieving the loss of being able to see her. And, while I am grieving her loss, at least there is the knowledge that not only is she at peace, but I can be too, knowing that I am not failing her in any way.

Still, a solid two months into all this, I miss my sister, who is also a mother. I miss my daughter, who is also a mother. I miss my many friends who are mothers and wonder if they too are missing their loved ones. My own sense of loss is, though, as nothing to what so many are experiencing. My heart hurts for the losses suffered by so many others. The grief is immense. 

And yet, though I feel lost without being able to connect with others in the usual ways, I respect the No Contact Zone and frequently find myself angry with those who cannot seem to "get it." While a part of me would like to really go off on them here, I will strive to respect their right to a different way. I only wish they could respect mine. This No Contact Zone is not fun. But my mother, while we did not agree on many things, did teach me to respect the rights of others, to respect science, to use discernment over judgment, to cherish each day, and so much more.

All that said, (and yes, I know that I have been rambling).....

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

ANOTHER ANGEL AND SOME FUN STUFF

Jen's angel

Some fun stuff
Jen sent her angel..and she is wearing her mask as ordered.
Cute, Jen.
Thank you๐Ÿ˜€

While this week for some reason seems really packed with things that need doing, I have not been able to completely give up the fun of art play. Today's fun stuff was made up of quick sketches with pens (I used a variety for the exploration of it) and splashes of watercolor along with bits and pieces of collage. Lots of joy for me here and all done in under an hour leaving lots of time for "the list."

What are you doing creatively these days?

Sunday, April 26, 2020

JUST IMAGINE...

Imagination. Seems like we need a lot of it right now in these troubling times. And it is working...in some pretty amazing ways.

Not only are parents and teachers tapping into their imaginations in order to teach and keep young people engaged. Not only are hospitals and staff tapping in to find new and creative ways to handle shortages of supplies and the glut of Covid patients with all that entails.Not only are restaurants and other "essential" businesses quickly imagining new ways to keep employees busy and business going. 

So much more can be attributed to imagination.

As I read through what scientists are achieving right now and the work done to re-fit plants to produce what is needed (but where the heck is the toilet paper?),I am truly amazed. Plants like GM and Ford are re-tooled and manufacturing ventilators. JPL scientists have designed one ventilator now that uses even fewer parts than previously thought required. Samsung has made a wristband that, among other things, buzzes when the wearer comes within six feet of another person. This last is being tested and used in some of the aforementioned plants to help maintain a safe work environment.

And, of course, there is so much more. I am sure many of you are aware of the innovative things that are taking place now. Please share.

We will get through this together...and apart because of these things and more.

Imagination. Ingenuity. Resourcefulness. Resilience. Spirit.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

EARTH DAY 2020

A silly bird in a field of spring flowers
50 years! That's how many years we have observed Earth Day this day in the year of 2020. What have we achieved in those fifty years? 

Right now, with the Coronavirus keeping so many of us at home, we are able to celebrate cleaner air and cleaner water. Can we go out and celebrate the earth, though? Not so much. It is sad, but the blue skies are pretty wonderful to see, even from near to home.

However...what of the horrendous amounts of medical waste that are being generated (necessarily, of course) by Covid-19. Hospitals and nursing homes are using massive numbers of gloves, masks, gowns, etc--all disposed after use.
And what of the general public? No longer are we using reusable bags at markets. We, too, use disposable gloves for many things. We are ordering more online, which requires deliveries using much disposable packaging.

So, on this Earth Day I find myself wondering if in fact we have taken one step forward, two back. Only time will tell, I suppose.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

WELL, NOT EXACTLY

A "sorta" poem
While this is not quite a poem, it also seems to somehow "fit" with our current situation. We certainly dream of how we would like to return to some kind of "normal," but the reality is not there...yet.

I'm trying each day to do some form of art and hope all of you are as well. Experimenting and exploring with a variety of materials and techniques helps to keep me engaged, often for many hours. As one of the "elderly" I am trying to observe strict regimens, though I walk each day (of course, social distancing), which helps also to keep me sane.

I hope all of you are doing well. This IS difficult (even for us introverts, by the way) and we SHALL see it end.

Stay well. Stay creative. Smile and be kind.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

JUST A SMALL CHALLENGE

Lisa's poem
Sometimes known as "black out poetry," this is a simple, fun, creative play time during these stay-at-home times. Sure, I know you are gardening and mask-making and reading and binge-watching, and cooking, and cleaning, etc., but, that can't possibly be filling all of your time, right?

Grab a page from the newspaper, a magazine, an old book, or whatever. Tear out the portion you want. Pick the words you would like to highlight in your poem and outline them somehow. Then, gesso over all the rest. Add whatever touches you would like and Voila'!
(Thanks to artist Lisa Mansour for the inspiration)

I hope you will share.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

APRIL SHOWERS BRING.....

journal play




Bring on those flowers! But in the meantime let's all play in our creative realm, whatever it may be, while the rains keep coming.

I find myself using the time indoors to doodle, to work in my art journal, to make postcards to send, and more--even finding myself fashioning a face shield out of gallon water bottle.

What creative endeavors have April showers brought your way?


doodling

postcards


Happy Easter!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

WHO IS IN CONTROL?

Camillia rose to the challenge
I'm sure that at one time or another you have heard people describe someone as "needing to be in control." Well, we all feel that need, I think, at some time or another. Especially in times like these when things seem so very beyond our control, there is a desire to find ways.

If we can focus on the things that we do have some sway over--our healthy eating habits, for instance, or getting enough sleep, or even finding ways to relax.

Trust what you know and can see rather than getting caught up in so much of the panic that tends to accompany something like this pandemic.

We can control our own social distancing. We can control taking precautions dealing with cleanliness in our environment. We can control our attitude. We can be our own angels in our own corners of this resilient world.

And, lest we forget, we can CARE about those who are striving to keep this virus under control. They are also our angels!!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

LOOKING AROUND

Colorful nasturtium flowers
During a day of not feeling well in which I finally had to admit it was only stress and tension, I opted to be a couch potato and just binge watch series that I like.

That left me invigorated and ready to go today. Heading out the back door for a walk in the canyon, I ended up going down the hill into neighborhoods and Coast Highway. Nothing new to see, really, yet looking around in new ways and with new eyes toward...what? creativity? possibility?

On the way down the hill I had spotted several patches of nasturtium and, while I don't really care for the bitter taste of the leaves, I thought I might pick a big pocketful of the flowers to saute. Of course, when the heat and oil hit, they dwindled to such a small bit that I now had to think of what could I possibly do with this tiny handful of sauteed nasturtium.

Omelet for dinner! Eggs, chopped spinach, crumbled feta,,some spices, and of course the nasturtium saute. Voila! And pretty yummy.

Guess I will have to keep just looking around.....

And when I'm not.....


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS

Laguna sky
I don't know just what made the day seem special. Was it the earrings I put on before heading out for a morning walk? Was it the lovely video of dancers sent early by my daughter's mother-in-law? Was it enjoying texting yesterday with my eldest grandson? Was it the cookies baked and sent over by my neighbor Bina? Was it the delivery of yet another Round Robin journal and some laser images delivered by friend Faith? Was it time spent in the garden weeding? Or the time clearing out shelves in my office in anticipation of a distant opportunity for new flooring?

These things and probably more. Sunshine. A light breeze. Morning fog that felt so sublime and soothing. Birdsong that seems to be everywhere. An array of pelicans flying low over the ocean's waves. A Zoom celebration of friend Eloise's birthday.

And there are probably more little moments that participated in making the day just feel good. So I will hold on to all of these things and hope for more of the same on yet another day...maybe dare I hope tomorrow? Life brings so many opportunities for enjoyment if I only look up from the busy-ness and the lists and the niggling fears. 

Live my best life with what I am given...for the now.

Friday, March 27, 2020

ANGEL FLIGHT TWO

Exuding calm
Thank you, Dianna, for this serene expression. In this time where so many experience frustration at almost every turn, she is a welcome reminder.

One of the things I like about all of this is that there is opportunity to re-think so many of the ways we have been accustomed to doing things. It calls for some ingenuity, some calm, some kindness--both to self and others--and good old fashioned buckling down.

It is important, I think, to be grateful for what we do have, to get some exercise daily, to laugh, to stay in touch however we can...and, of course, to wash our hands LOTS.



Monday, March 23, 2020

ANGEL FLIGHT

First angel in
After posting the blog about angels the other day and then sending out a request to some students...
nothing happened.

It is so hard to have patience in these troubled times, so I figure this was a challenge and a test for me. All good things come to those....

So here is the first one. It flew in from Phoenix, Arizona from Gloria Gardner. I like the whimsy of it and hope you do too.

Anybody else participating?

Friday, March 20, 2020

ANGELS ABOUND

With the stay at home order in place here throughout California many of us will have plenty of time on our hands for creative play. It occurred to me that to mark this moment in history I might add to my collection of angel cards with one somehow commemorating the coronavirus and the effect it has on our lives. 

Then...the AHA moment! Why not ask my many students who have taken a workshop where we made these to create their own and share with all the rest of us.

And, then, going further, why not extend this even further out, broadening the circle. So if anyone reading this wants to participate, you are definitely invited to do so.

Angels can be posted on your Instagram, here in comments, on Facebook, or you can send them to me and I will be happy to post. Email to emmagine@cox.net 

We all need more angels, right?

Monday, March 16, 2020

POLLYANNA???

Abundant azalea

Walking friend Dean startled me a bit by referring to me as a Pollyanna yesterday. In some way I felt I could own it, but....."characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything." Yeah, probably more true than not. But other associated terms like "sweetness and light"...well, nah!

We are probably all struggling some with the issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic (and the panic pandemic as well.) I was disappointed to feel the need to cancel my own mixed media workshop for this weekend once the governor requested all of us over 65 self-isolate. It was only out of an abundance of concern for others that I succumbed to the wisdom.

I feel great (and am well over that cut off of 65) but others are at greater risk and so compassion wins out. And I am shocked a bit by those who would say things are under control and we should be going out to restaurants and bars to support them. How can the risk of disease spread be supportive? 

So, while, yes I am optimistic and I know that this like so many other things shall pass (and I actually do see some good even coming from much of this), consciousness and caring are important too.

So remember to wash your hands, please...and often.

Friday, March 13, 2020

THE INTROVERTED LIFE

Self explanatory
As a card carrying introvert one would think this whole thing of social distancing would be an easy thing. 

Not so much. 

Perhaps it is just a natural resistance to being told what to do (yeah, I have that) or some kind of stubborn refusal (like about being referred to as old and/or elderly maybe?) but the distancing is challenging.

One recent night in a need for some "social" I hosted a Scrabble gathering of four over-60 women at my home. Risky? Not so much. Needed? You bet. We all gained, I think, from this convivial time together. Hand sanitizer at the ready, we noshed and noodled and played two games, with laughter and good conversation and a few challenges to odd words along the way.

Much as I love my morning walks and view them as completely safe in this time of worry, even for this introvert it just isn't quite enough. I am not lacking in concern about the virus, and in fact, think I am doing a pretty good job of staying abreast of it all. BUT, this introvert also needs contact, I guess.

I am grateful for the healthy friends (and friendships) that I have and wish the same for all of you.

Monday, March 9, 2020

"NEW EYES"

Landscape on a distant planet?
 Marcel Proust said it well: "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

I was drawn to the drops of morning dew on the aloe leaf, but on closer inspection realized how much it looked like some interplanetary landscape. This got me thinking about seeing...how we see, what we see, how we interpret what we see, etc.

I love the mysterious and the small things that can be re-seen in other ways. Friends like Suzette and Nadine are of the same ilk I believe and I love the photos that they take as they travel around towns. 

New eyes can marvel at the simplest of things and see the magic in them.



Saturday, March 7, 2020

WOW! WHAT A DAY!

Blues and greys
After a restless, mind-boggling night of mostly no sleep, rising early and heading out into the cool morning air seemed to be the thing to do.

Because of time constraints it was speed walking time, but I just could not resist a few pictures and even a video. The early morning was beyond glorious in blue tones shading to grey.

Before long it was time to head out to the desert for some time with my sister. We went through the items she had pulled out of cupboards and drawers after my mother passed. Identifying old portraits, passing on items so familiar and yet not needed, laughter, sharing stories...it was a pretty full day.

Then, back home to heavy cloud cover and the promise of a storm. Still, I look forward to getting up early again and heading out for yet another wondrous day.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

THE PROMISE OF PREP

prep tools
There are times when the preparation is at least half of the fun. It's titillating to think of what the tools could become.

I started today to gather the items I may need for the Round Robin Journal entry for March. Ideas are percolating. We shall see what shows up.

Sometimes there is complete failure of the idea, but experimentation and exploration is part of this process of journaling anyhow, so...what the heck, right?

The play is the thing, for sure!!

Saturday, February 29, 2020

TOO SOON

Phil, age 5
Snippets of memory flood my mind...flashes from a childhood that seems by today's standards really free and full of exploration and experience that cost nothing. Just two years separated us, with me being the elder, and for years he would follow me around, getting pincurls when I did, copying so much of what I did. And when anyone would pick on him,he would simply declare that they'd better watch out because his big sister would beat them up. (Not at all sure what I would have done had anyone ever challenged that last one.)

We stayed close through most of our adult life until a family squabble changed all that. Sadly, we had not spoken for years. Still, when he passed this past week after a too long illness, I could not help but remember the good times instead.

R.I.P Phil

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

MURDER OR SUICIDE?


Not sure if five counts as a murder of crows, but it's not a suicide and I don't know why not so here goes. These are crows I have been working on for the 2020 summer Sawdust Art Festival. It would have been my 21st consecutive year of showing in this great Laguna Beach festival. Sixty-six days of art, music, food, classes, and more. But, alas, I will be taking a leave of absence this year. 

It's time. I need to close this door at least for a while and see just what other doors might open. Road trips, time with grandkids hopefully, sunset watching, long walks, and so much more.

But what will I do with my crows now? LOL with them I suppose.