Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Pretty Little Crane


Origami cranes....symbols of peace and healing...and also very beautiful.  My friend Nancy gave me a particularly unique crane.  It's an ornament that looks just like a paper origami crane, but it is made of resin and so is permanent.  It is beautiful.  The colors are very subtle.  This card is a collage of a watercolor painting of the crane over some metallic gold origami paper.

Nancy and I have some history of folding cranes.  Neither of us is very adept at crane folding, but we can do it.  We had a situation in which I was supposed to teach it and Nancy was one of the "students."  We still find it amusing---I still can't fold one without a "cheat sheet!"   Our experience was good for lots of laughs....and we still find it amusing.

I also have various cranes that have been given to me over the years, including a mobile that has 80 cranes that was a present to my dad for his 80th birthday. When he died, I couldn't part with it.

So this little crane will bring me happy memories....and a few giggles.

Friday, July 13, 2012

From Jan


My friend Jan recently took a trip to Eastern Europe...and this is what she brought back.  It is a beautiful hand-painted egg with a distinctive design.  The red is much richer than I show it.  I did the painting with marking pens and used a yellow watercolor background.  That yellow keeps showing up.  It always looks kind of sunny to me.  The little sprig of flowers on the front is repeated on the back.  Jan collects eggs and so I know this is a very good one....it certainly is pretty.  I think it came from Prague!!!  I looked up information on line and found these eggs really are used as Easter decorations and are called kraslice.   This one came a long way to Portland, Oregon.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Surprises in life!


This gift was a total surprise, and very treasured.  I had a high school reunion last year and it reunited me with one of my high school friends, Annette.  I agreed to do a memory book for our reunion and it turned out to be a big job, but it was rewarding to connect with my "inner teenager" and reconnect with the "mature" versions of many of my high school friends.  As the chairperson of the reunion committee, Annette was my trusted adviser as I worked my way through the memory book project.  This project was finished a few months ago.

Imagine my surprise when, totally "out of the blue," Annette sent me a message recently telling me she'd like to know when I was going to be home because she planned to send me something.  I have to admit that I thought it might me something left over from the memory book project.

The package arrived and it was an amazing necklace Annette made from beads from Kenya with copper findings.  My little painting does not do it justice.  You need to know that the original does have copper highlights, though they don't show up in the picture.  Annette composed this necklace in a way that it always lies just right when I put it on.  I have been wearing it a lot....people enjoy seeing it and, of course, I like to tell what it is.

Thanks, Annette....how thoughtful of you to remember me in a way I will always treasure.  I treasure our renewed friendship, too!

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Mystic Heart


If you could get rid of yourself just once,
the secret of secrets would open to you.
The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe
would appear on the mirror of your perception.
                                                  Rumi     

This post is more about the "why" of producing art than the art itself.   Since the beginning of the year, I have had a profound interest in exploring my own spiritual orientation.  It's a mystery and I'm still looking.  I consider it a great adventure, though it is internal instead of external.  My spiritual base led me to a "centering prayer:" group.  I have to admit that I initially rejected the idea of prayer.  However, by keeping myself open, I learned that centering prayer is very close to zen buddhist meditation, which I practiced in the 60s.  So, it was kind of like coming home again to my true spirit, and I am very comfortable with it.  I am learning that centering prayer is another way of getting in touch with my spirit.

My friend Patty is also in the centering prayer group.  She is actually the one who got me interested in labyrinths....and readers of this blog know how much labyrinths mean to me.  For my birthday, Patty gave me a book called The Mystic Heart.  The author, Wayne Teasdale, is a monk and a mystic.  He writes about the common elements of the world's various religious traditions and of an underlying universal spirituality.  It is a compelling idea that is a little too complicated for a blog or, at least, a blog about art!

Suffice it to say that making art is, to me, a spiritual practice.  I am learning from the book that a "call" to paint one thing and not another is actually a kind of universal acknowledgement of beauty or harmony.  When  I see something in a certain way, I just feel compelled to express that, and art is the way I have chosen.

This is reinforced in meditation, when I reflect that I am one with all things and yet my own experience is unique.  For me, it is another reason to create art.

Thanks, Patty.  This book opens up a whole realm of ideas about spirit and the mysticism of the beautiful world we inhabit.  When I reflect on it, I am amazed!