Start by starting.

The ability to start out upon your own impulse is

fundamental to the gift of keeping going upon your own

terms. . . . Getting started, keeping going, getting started

again— in art and in life, it seems to me this is the

essential rhythm.

—Seamus Heaney, poet

Surrender {detail}

Me:  There’s so much that’s happened in the last 6 months.  I don’t even know where to start.

Him:  Just start exactly where you are right now…


It’s really that simple.


Step back in.


Start by starting.


Exactly where you are, right now.


And so, today:


  • I am releasing expectations

Open Hand

I am opening my hand.

Releasing the huge list of “shoulds” and “targets” that haunt me.   I am allowing myself to be EXACTLY WHERE I AM. 

[Thank you, Jeanie, Christine and Louise, for words and permission the other day.  They vibrated through me, shaking off dust and lies.  I found myself singing just the song I needed to sing.  Words arranged themselves and colors burst forth as truth and trust settled into my heart.]

Today, I’m listening to my body and giving myself permission to BE.   I am in the garden and on the pages with my hand and heart wide open.



  • I am also, slightly overwhelmed by stimulus

Actually, if I’m honest, more than slightly overwhelmed.  I have Sensory Integration challenges.  I don’t really talk about it much.  A few of my close friends know.  It used to feel like shame, but these days, it just is.  I simply live it; I don’t judge it.  I’m almost 5o years old and I’m finally figuring out how to navigate life in my own skin.  Migraines and tears have shown me the path to honoring my sensitive soul.

I now know that I’m not Too Much or Hypersensitive

I don’t need to Get over it or Calm Down

I no longer engage in complex behaviors of Fight, Flight and Freeze.


I mean I still engage in a version of all of the above, but not out of terror.  I simply pay attention to where I am and what I need and I give my Self permission to access what I need for health and life and presence.

I recognize that my sensitivity is part of the way that I see.  I take in everything, all at once or sometimes by hyper-focusing on one thing.   I see possibility in everything and everyone.  My art and writing are full of throw aways from the rubbish bin and unique perspectives, because deep down inside I always believe there’s a puzzle to solve or dot to connect.  I’ve learned to move slowly, so as not to overwhelm myself.  Which means that sometimes I circle a project or scenario for a long time without landing.

The fact that I’m super tuned in, often shows up in my physical world and body. Sounds are extra loud and sensations are extra sensational.  Thus sometimes, like today, my t-shirts are flipped inside out to keep the tags off of my skin.


Sometimes, I have to stop whatever I’m doing and remember to breathe.  But I am learning to stay in touch, move with the ebb and flow and truly BE in my life.


  •   I’m also, squeezing juice out of paper

As I extend grace to myself in the midst of deadlines and taking-too-long projects, I am faithfully showing up to the pages of my sketchbooks.  I am telling myself the truth and I am storing the queues and lists of things that will make sense later.  I am sifting through my heart and life with words and paint and collage, knowing that when the time is right, it will all come together and I will approach whatever needs approaching, with a whole heart.


That’s exactly where I am right now.

Where are you?

By |2016-10-19T14:20:32-04:00July 29th, 2013|Art is Life is Art, Uncategorized|10 Comments

Art is life is art: April – SURRENDER

The word for April is SURRENDER.

After a discussion about the creative process, my friend, Meghan Arias and I decided to embrace a bit of structure in the form of a monthly prompt.  It’s pretty simple.  We choose a word; we respond.  {You are welcome to join us by linking to your response in the comment section.}

I’ve been contemplating the idea of SURRENDER for weeks now.  I looked at dictionary definitions and I wrote words.


[suh-ren-der] to give oneself up, as into the power of another; submit or yield. {In case you were wondering.}

At first, the main image in my mind’s eye was a white flag.  I imagined climbing out of a foxhole and walking across a field with my hands up.  But I never could decide who the “enemy” was and what I was giving up.  Besides, that image is dripping with negative connotation and wasn’t really a match for the excitement I felt in taking up this collaboration.  Eventually, after much journaling and thinking out in the garden, I landed on the image of a flowing stream.  This is what I painted.


I realized that for me, getting in the flow of a current is a more accurate picture.  The surrender that was on my heart, was not a losing-a-battle surrender, but a yielding.  An acceptance of where and who I am. I wanted to capture the sensation of flowing water and the movement of thought that we face, as we make decisions and move through life.

Surrender {detail}

I love that some of the close up shots look like waterfalls.

Surrender {detail}

And others capture the organic quality of movement and flow.

Surrender {detail}

Somewhere in my musings, I realized that for me, TRUST and SURRENDER are intimately connected.  I find it extremely difficult to surrender to a situation where I don’t trust.  {Either the people or the circumstance}  As I began to paint from the preliminary Sharpie marker sketch in my journal, I decided that the painting needed a boat.   Not a big boat or even something with a paddle, but a paper boat.  One being swept away by the current.  Not a terrifying, out-of-control, sweeping away, but a choice-to-be-in-the-flow-of-life.  Like a child lovingly releasing a favorite paper boat.

Surrender {detail}

The initial under-painting was dark.  Too dark.  Probably born out of my searching {and the difference between acrylic and marker}  But silver paint, like reflections on the water, lightened things up and gave the cohesiveness that  I was looking for.   The silver, like SURRENDER, unified the swirling thoughts on the bank and the moving water with the little paper boat called Trust.

Trust is a paper boat

“You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible.”

Anton Chekov

EDIT:  Yay!  Meghan just posted her response.  It’s a different take.   A lovely, heartfelt different take.

Go listen.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:36-04:00April 30th, 2011|Art is Life is Art|12 Comments

Behind the Pages: TRUST

A few pages into the Canson Mixed Media book.  This is the first time that I’ve journaled extensively in a spiral bound book.  Wow, I didn’t realize how often I create double page spreads;  I’m having to get used to the wire in the middle of the page.  {Although so far, I love the weight of the paper!  It’s been great for both watercolor and acrylic.  Want to see how it handles marker soon.}

This spread is for a weekly prompt group on fb created by my friend Lee Ann.  It’s called Joy in the Journey: Art Journal Prompts.  Lee Ann is a dear friend from college; a natural creative who is relatively new to art journaling and is handing out weekly prompts to dive into her journal.

This past week’s prompt was the word TRUST.  I’m posting these almost finished pages, so that I can share supplies and technique with the group.  As you can see, this was one of those pages where I had to work around the wire…


{background is Winsor & Newton Phthalo Blue Red Shade It’s from the Infinity Artists’ series, but I mixed it down with white craft paint and water and applied it like watercolor over a layer of tissue paper.  The tissue layer is adhered with matte Mod Podge.  Just a note – paint, especially when watered down behaves differently on the surface of the sealer, so you’ll get a different color and texture than on the neighboring unsealed paper.  I added an thin white layer on top of the sealed tissue to create contrast for the text.  Top layers:  Pellegrino label, stickers, torn paper sack and bird punched out from a piece of saved stationary.  Black lettering:  Ultra Fine Point Pilot G2 0.38 and white lettering: ZIG Opaque Writer

Text reads as follows:

It is amazing to me that I have boarded an airplane and crossed over the ocean when {I DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND} the intricacies of aerodynamics…

I believe the information on a nutrition label. {or is it that I ignore disbelief?} I will even eat in a restaurant without ever examining what is behind the kitchen door… but I don’t trust you.

Are we born without trust? Or do we have it and then lose it?

How do you move from here {nest} ———> to here {flying}


...but I don't trust you.

TRUST.  How do you move from here ---------> to here

By |2016-10-19T14:20:39-04:00August 21st, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|0 Comments