From Field Trips

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Still Treasure Seeking

In my 55 years, I’ve held a few jobs and one “career”.   However, my education was in cultural and earth sciences – archaeology and geology.  It didn’t take me long to conclude those jobs wouldn’t pay my bills – not very well at least.  So one thing lead to another and I mysteriously landed in the world of television advertising.  (The “career”.)

Long story short, I eventually married my boss.  Yeah, I did.  We didn’t want to work and live together, so I retired.  My new husband, or the “Dream Maker” as I like to call him, set me free to discover what it is I really loved to do.  Oh God.

Yes, that may sound like a blessing to you (and indeed it was).  But, not until a years-long-tortuous-journey of self discovery . . . I had no idea what I loved!  I only knew working to pay the bills, ya know?

Somehow, my husband survived it all.  Several years later, after much searching and crazy making, I discovered I am an artist.  Which is really weird, since I was raised by a lifelong painter!  (But until this time of wandering about, I had never once picked up a paintbrush.)

These days I may paint, wander with camera in hand, write a bit, teach an art workshop or host an art retreat, but I’m still treasure hunting and documenting my findings.  This is exactly what I did as a young archaeologist.  Now I KNOW, Treasure Seeker is my calling, my vocation, my career!  I was born for this.

Through a commitment to my 7 year long painting practice, I have found my process.  (I tend to paint deep layers of color-filled strata.  Then I begin my real work of uncovering the treasures beneath.  I use a handful of tools I’ve tucked away in my treasure hunter’s knapsack.)

On daily walks and adventures, I focus my lens on the world’s treasures.  I’ll go to any length to capture small moments of wonder and beauty.

In my personal journal and sometimes here on my blog, I document and share my discoveries.  I can’t help myself.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER A TREASURE SEEKER.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER SEEKER OF BEAUTY AND THE EXTRAORDINARY.

ALWAYS THE DREAM DIGGER.

I want to share with you some of my discoveries.

If you’d like to take a look, my photographs can be found heremy “Project Wanderstruck”.

Some of my more recent paintings can be found here.

My only hope in sharing this with you, is that it will in some way inspire you to dig your own dreams . . . Enjoy!

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Why My “Vision Board” Is Blank

For the past 9 months I’ve planned and prepped for hosting my first art retreat, The Creative Nomad in Palm Springs.  The event itself was held a few days ago and now, I’m back home and unpacked.

 Although the retreat certainly didn’t require daily work for that length of time, I can tell you it never left my heart or mind.  It was an energy-filled-gestation and birth!

Over those months, the vision board in my home studio was an ever evolving display of imagery.  Traveling nomads, wild horses, colorful artwork, circles of women, laughter, photos of the teachers and the venue, and many a depiction of “calling forth”, “open hands” and “abundance” filled my cork board!

When I arrived home after the retreat, one of the first things I did was clear the vision board of everything.  I fully intended to fill it the very next day with images of “what’s next”.

Yet, it’s been 5 days and still . . . nothing.

Even though I wake with plans every morning to begin cutting and pinning my next adventure, it just doesn’t happen.

I have finally realized, what I need now is space.  Duh.  That’s a good thing and an important part of the process I often forget to include.  One needs time to absorb, reflect and celebrate after any such important project!

T i m e   t o   b e.

B r e a t h i n g   s p a c e .

R e s t .

A n   e m p t y   c a l e n d a r .

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So, the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, is where I found myself today.

There, in my nearby sacred space, I had nowhere else to be – no schedule to keep.

A h h h h h .

D e e p   b r e a t h   t a k i n g .

The clearest of blue skies and the warmest pre-Spring breezes were a welcome balm for the soul.

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Normally the wetlands is a very quiet place – and it was – but first there was this . . .

Not far down the entrance trail, I was greeted by at least 200 teenage boys from a nearby military academy.  They were there training and as I approached, they formed a straight line to my left as their (pretty female) leader shouted commands,

” M a k e   w a y . “

” C l e a r   t h e   p a t h . “

” M a k e   s p a c e   f o r   t h e   l a d y ! “

“Thank you,” I whispered to the handsome-young-boys-to-men as I passed with blushing embarrassment.

(Yes.  Space is just what I’m here for.  Thank you very much!)

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some of the boys leaving the area after my hike (note their fearless leader)

I returned from my morning hike feeling quite refreshed.  It’s tempting to begin filling the vision board now.  Still, I think it’s best to let it remain clear for a spell.  Don’t you?

For now, dreams of spending time with family and friends, painting a lot, writing even more, hiking often and doing more yoga sounds divine.  A dream board of “what’s next” will surface soon enough!

Namaste.

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A Mixed-Media Life

There’s been so many different things happening in my world lately.  It’s a mixed-media-life dontcha know!

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a class with Misty Mawn.  I’d never met her, but had done her online classes.  Misty is so funny and a truly generous soul.  The girl over-delivers let me tell you – I have enough ideas to keep me busy for the next year!

The combination of story and painting is something I’ve been musing on lately.  Misty’s class dove deep into that process.  I will share more as it unfolds in my studio.  Meanwhile, here’s a couple of quick sketches and a small painting from the class.

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Tomorrow, I begin another workshop with Katie Kendrick!!  I went to one last year too – but couldn’t resist another opportunity. Katie is beyond talented!

Ya know, I have done many classes, both online and in-person.  But I dig the in-person workshops so much, I’m trying to do that as often as possible.  Being in the company of other artists touches my creative soul like nothing else can!

There’s also been art play in the journal too.  The writing journals I use are hand made by Jenni Bick and are a combination of writing and “artist” papers.  My latest has so many watercolor papers, I’ve been inspired to do more “art” than I usually do there.

A bit of paint or marker, some quick and clean collage and ta-da!

Purty pages!!

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There’s been work on the easel too.  I think my daily walks are leading to lots of abstracted flowers and nature-inspired paintings.  Here’s a new one.

"Honeycomb and Fae"
“Honeycomb and Fae”

Speaking of walks.  I believe today is day 141 of my self-imposed-daily-challenge.  Because I can never resist starting my day like this….

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As for who I’ve been hanging with, a stray kitty has adopted me.  Sigh. He’s the loviest-most-affectionate cat ever!

Too bad my mean dog won’t have him in the house.  I’m working hard to find him an inside home.  It’ll be safer for him (and the neighborhood birds).

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And well, these birds – they may be the funniest/coolest people I know!  They keep me young and maybe a bit hipper than I would’ve been without them in my life.

Yeah . . . I’m probably not ever been hip.

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The Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours

Live long enough and you begin to understand what “lights you up”.  I know that a bit of “adventure” and the delight of seeing creative spaces both really do that for me!!  Combine the two?  Forgetaboutit!

A few days ago, I stumbled upon such an opportunity when a new art friend told me about the annual open studio tours in a nearby desert area we’d never visited.

 WHAT!  I JUMPED ON IT!

Road trip with hubby + artful spaces = BLISSFUL DAY!!

Considering there were 95 studios open, this would take some planning.  There was no way we could see that many.  So we grabbed their catalog and map and charted our course.

We began our adventure in the farthest area (29 Palms) and worked our way back closer (Joshua Tree) to home.

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Some studios were easy to get to – as in paved roads and close the highway.   Others were situated far into desert dirt roads.  My jeep was built for this adventure!

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Half the fun is not knowing what’s around the next bend.  We were so lucky to purchase an incredibly beautiful painted drum from a Native American living in this deep desert “ranch” below!

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My favorite stops were where several artists used a sprawling “communal” space.  The high desert has wide open spaces to spread out, ya know?  Artists sure know how to make ramshackle buildings fun!

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I love all sorts of art, but hardly ever do I get to see where it’s actually created.  It’s really interesting . . .  I mean the studios themselves often become a work of art.

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Anything can become a “canvas” – walls, tables, furniture, even large storage containers!

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Look – this guy lays out a large stained glass installation.  Wow!  I never imagined that he would design and draw the piece first – of course he did.  Duh.  Then he makes, colors and cuts the glass!  Wow, that’s a lot of skill.

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Such an artful adventure does require hearty sustenance.

We heard the best burger in town was here at the Joshua Tree Saloon.

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The place had been overtaken over by LOTS of women bikers!  Pretty fun people watching dontcha know.

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I can hardly wait until next year – there’s so many studios we weren’t able to visit.

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It all had me dreaming of the “compound” I would create (if I could).  Some day!

I hear that the real estate prices are pretty darn reasonable in this neck of the woods.  Hmmmmm.

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BTW if YOU are up for an artful desert adventure of your own, there is 1 seat that has opened up for The Creative Nomad art journaling retreat I’m hosting in Palm Springs.

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Details are here.

Do join us!


detail from "Under The Willow"

My Sacred Vows (To The Creative Life)

I’ve find that insight and inspiration comes in waves.  I’m there right now – atop a monster wave!

I’m recently back from an indescribably-wonderful-5-day-retreat with Angi Sullins – in New Mexico – my “soul’s home” – the place I find MOST inspiring.  Angi is truly a MUSE!  Do attend one of her retreats if you can – I highly recommend it!  Afterwards, my husband and I took a beautiful road trip through the desert southwest.

The day I got home,  Elizabeth Gilbert‘s latest book was released.  It’s called “Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear” and it is so so rich!  I ripped through it!  

MUST. RE-READ. VERY. SOON.   

AND this week, I returned to the warehouse studio I share with my super-talented-artist-Mom.  We had a loooong hot summer’s break.  Woof.  

A day of cleaning the studio + a bit of reorganizing + a day of painting = CREATIVE BLISS!

All of this has sparked an urge to re-commit to my creative life – officially – like with a written contract.  Which admittedly, felt like a strange thing to do.  Then, my husband reminded me that we enter contracts with employers, spouses, landlords, etc.  Why not make an agreement with the way of life I MOST CRAVE?  (Yeah – I’m talking to you M.R. Bird.)

In Ms. Gilbert’s book, she writes of committing to the writing life at a very young age – her vows were concise and reasonable, and they still apply to her work today.

My call is towards a broader creative life . . . I write, I paint, I art journal, I now host art retreats, I sometimes teach, I love interior design and gardening and fashion…..all of it!  It’d be impossible to narrow it – but I suppose my emphasis is on painting and writing.

I thought I’d share my own creative commitments with you here – ya know, to make it officially official.  Here goes:

  • I will follow my truest curiosity – allowing it to lead me to MY most creative life.
  • I will honor my ideas – gathering, harvesting and acting on them regularly.
  • I will always make the physical space for my creative pursuits – whether that’s in a studio or a corner shelf!
  • I vow to never put pressure on my creativity with expectations of money or accolades.  I will do it for love and support it however is necessary.  Anything else is gravy.
  • I will wholeheartedly pursue my creative passions through near-daily-practice.  I will build my creative muscle.  I will show up.  I will remain teach-able.
  • I will nurture my creative soul through inspiring experiences, books, classes, people and more “just doing it”.
  • I will care for my “instrument” with proper self care.
  • I will share my process and results often – being brave on my creativity’s behalf.
  • I will do my best work without caving to rampant perfectionism – of which I am totally inclined towards!
  • I vow to be light with my process.  Serious art making seems joyless and is NOT the life I desire.  If serious art comes of a light process, then so be it – but it’s not my goal.

Well that’s it – for now . . . hahaha I hope there’s not more!  What do you think?  Is there some commitments you’d like to make for your creative life?  Do share……