Floss your heart

She went through the door“The best way out is always through.”

~ Robert Frost

[and my friend Rozy]

Recently, my husband, who keeps the website looking beautiful, asked me to update some copy by answering the question, “Why do you journal?” The first thing that came to mind was: “It saved my life.”

In his TED talk, Why We All Need To Practice Emotional First Aid, Guy Winch discusses the need to take care of our mental and emotional house with the same level of care that we extend to our physical bodies.  What a liberating reminder to pay attention – to give loving, respectful care to our hearts and minds.

As I listened to the talk, I relalized, “I do this!”  Mainly because after many years of poor emotional patterns that included denial, shame and negative self-talk, I ended up in an emotional health crisis.  Something had to give.  I found myself in a state of depression and anxiety that required not only deep healing, but a huge emotional lifestyle change.

A gentle, truth-speaking guide was key at the beginning, but I owned the true shift for myself in my daily journaling practice.

Altered book journal Jan - Mar 2015

Altered book “Classic Art” journal Jan – Mar 2015

Journal pages were the main catalyst for telling myself the truth and keeping my emotional accounts clear.  In the pages I was able to recognize emotions and sift through them to figure out what was true and what wasn’t.

I began to see what to keep and what to let go of.  It was there I learned that some emotions were simply messengers and others required action or conversation and oftentimes pointed to need for change.  Not only do I tend to my soul with my journal, I engage in what Guy Winch calls, “emotional hygiene”.

20 Jan the word TRANSITION keeps coming up, so I'm sitting with it. In this season, it is connected to EXPANSION and dreams and birthing new things. So that's where I'm putting my eyes and heart. I like to know exactly what's coming my way. I don't. All I know to do is paint & write daily in order to listen carefully. #atpeace #seekingjoy #chasingdesire #50dragons

20 Jan the word TRANSITION keeps coming up, so I’m sitting with it. In this season, it is connected to EXPANSION and dreams and birthing new things. So that’s where I’m putting my eyes and heart. I like to know exactly what’s coming my way. I don’t. All I know to do is paint & write daily in order to listen carefully. #atpeace #seekingjoy #chasingdesire #50dragons

In the pages of a journal, we can give our souls preventative care by extending recognition, grace and mindfulness to our hearts and minds.

14 March 2015 Home after a day filled with BE in your life workshop. Spending some time in my own practice. Gathering text and collage elements as I listen and chart new territory. New journal. New season. #openheart #50dragons #wildthymejournals

14 March 2015 Home after a day filled with BE in your life workshop. Spending some time in my own practice. Gathering text and collage elements as I listen and chart new territory. New journal. New season. #openheart #50dragons #wildthymejournals

No doubt there are some who are more comfortable tending to their bodies than tending to their souls.  A skinned knee or sore shoulder is often easier to identify than loneliness or grief.  In my workshops, the focus is on creating a container for soul work.  It can look to the outside viewer like it’s simply about an artistic experience, but it is so much more.  In the pages of a journal, we can create vessels to hold our stories and experiences – from tea tags and tickets to the true contents of our hearts and minds.  I’m going to take a few posts to marry some journal pages with this fantastic article by Guy Winch and show some practical ways to weave soul care into a journal.  I hope you”ll join me and floss your heart and mind.

BE in your life!

Betsy

By |2016-10-19T14:20:30-04:00March 28th, 2015|Journals|2 Comments

Friday Favorites: Patterns, boots & prints

Make new friends, but keep the old.  The new are silver; the old are gold.

{from a sampler I stitched as a girl}

Favorites old and new from my iPhone camera roll

"There is no blue without yellow and without orange." Vincent vanGogh

One of my favorite color combos spotted in an ATL alley

"Be as a bird..."

My son found this nest this past winter and I found a paper bird in the bargain bin.  <3 <3 <3

I like turtles

Found these beautiful patterns at the zoo.

waiting...

Waiting for my favorite guy in my favorite boots.

dragonfly napkin ring

These are our new dragonfly napkin rings; we used them for the first time at Easter Sunday Dinner.  We lingered with some of our favorite people over dessert.

biscuits & tea

A new favorite from Brilliant Girlfriend Kate.  Galletas Cacaolat paired with Ginger Peach full-leaf tea.

postal pix prints arrived!

And my newest favorite:  Prints from PostalPix.  Can’t wait to use them in my journal!  If you have an iPhone download the PostalPix app – you’ll have your favorite iPhone photos in just a few steps.  So quick and easy.  {And here’s another favorite.  Great customer follow-up!  I got a coupon to share with you just for being excited!

{Use the coupon wildthyme for a 20% off through the end of May.}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:36-04:00April 29th, 2011|Friday Favorites|1 Comment

Behind the pages: NaNoJouMo 5-8

“The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up.” Anonymous

Have been journaling with the NaNoJouMo prompt every day this month, but I’m still catching up on photographing and posting pages.  Partly because we’ve had painters and plumbers and extra projects going on here at the house getting ready for the Christmas Journal Workshop.  Despite the fact that I’ve been feeling the stress of deadlines and extras, I’m excited.  We’ve put together some really great give-aways for the attendees and the studio is looking great!

I’ll share more in the next couple of days, {seriously excited about what’s coming for Christmas!} but in the meantime, here are some pages.

Day 5:  EQUANIMITY

EQUANIMITY {NaNoJouMo 6}

{watercolor, Pitt pen, Staz-on black ink & butterfly rub ons}

Added definition and text to an existing mandala page.  The color on the page started with blue, but the orange made sense.  Text reads as follows:

“e-qua-nim-i-ty

[ee-kwuh-nim-i-tee]  noun. 1. mental or emotional STABILITY or composure especially under tension or strain; CALMNESS; EQUILIBRIUM.

I don’t think I possess this quality… Rands does.  I usually crumble with an almost audible IMPLOSION.  I wish I responded to life with equanimity… I don’t.   But I also believe that my “SENSITIVITY”  is part of my art and how I do life.  It’s WHO I AM WHEN I TUNE IN.  Actually, Life makes me SIZZLE.”

Life makes me sizzle

Day 6:  ESOTERIC


ESOTERIC {NaNoJouMo 6}

oh hey scary thoughts... page detail

Earl Grey tea tags

ESOTERIC mandala detail

{index card, masking tape, tea tags, Crayola crayon, watercolor, 6B pencil}

Hit some deep {and private} thoughts in my journaling, so I taped them up…  Text reads:

“Oh hey DEEP & SCARY thoughts.  Sometimes you creep up on me.  I want to keep you, but I think I’ll use some tape.”

Day 7: MOMENT

MOMENT {NaNoJouMo 7}

MOMENT detail

MOMENT detail

{gesso, watercolor, gel transfer, ink, Tattered Angel Glimmer Mist in Graphite w paper towel press for texture, tissue paper and scrap Excel doc as underlayers, acrylic scraped w credit card}

Day 8: VIRTUE

VIRTUE {NaNoJouMo 8}

{masking tape, Pitt pen, security envelope scrap, gesso, gel transfer}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:38-04:00November 16th, 2010|Journals|0 Comments

Art makes a difference

Here are my Friday night plans.

REDEEMED CONCEPT BLUE NO BLEEDSREDEEMED CONCEPT BLUE NO BLEEDS 2

Because I believe that art = change, I donated  this mixed-media piece and decorated journal to Gift Card Giver Art Auction.

LEE_3166-1

LEE_3173-3

Gift Card Giver is an organization that uses gift card balances and full cards to make a difference in the lives of those in need.  Check out their story HERE.

If you’re in the Atlanta, GA area come buy some original art.  Your walls will thank you {and so will that child who needs a winter coat or food.}

Hope to see you there!

~betsy

By |2016-10-19T14:20:38-04:00November 12th, 2010|Art|0 Comments

wild thyme photos: Yellow

“How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun.” –Vincent Van Gogh

I’m not really a yellow girl.  {except for where it sets off blue…}  But it seems that there was more yellow in my September and October than I realized.

soft and curvy

Reach

Sunflower w pink bokeh

By |2016-10-19T14:20:38-04:00October 28th, 2010|photography|2 Comments

Art is Life is Art: Do your surroundings make a difference?

“Stop counting crayons, just draw pictures.”  ~Mark Scharenbroich

pockets of order

The new wild thyme studio space is slowly coming together.  I’m combining what used to be three different small work spaces into one large one, which is simultaneously exciting and overwhelming.  I know how I worked in the old spaces, but I find myself just staring at things and trying to decide how I’ll work in the new space.   One thing is certain, I like my space to be more than just functional.  I like {actually, need} for it to be inspirational too.

worktable mess

It’s not that things have to be pristine, but sometimes the creative explosions get out of hand and I can’t dig through the resulting clutter to create the next thing.  I’ve come to realize that, as I recently told a friend,

I create chaos, but require order.

Thus, I find myself in a constant dance between keeping the space tidy and actually using it to make art.  One of the ways that I keep my balance is to create vignettes.  I dedicate specific areas that stay “fixed up”.  Whether it’s a magnetic poetry board or a pretty stack of books, these little pockets of beauty give me peace –  a place to put my eyes.

Because ultimately, the work has to get done. Period.   I have also figured out that one of my avoidance behaviors is to stay in tidy mode for too long.  So, in order to shift from overwhelmed-by-clutter to get-in-there-and-DO-IT.  I practice the following short sequence:

1.  put my eyes on the pretty thing, vignette or board

2.  take a deep breathe

3.  then turn into the chaos and DO the THING.

pull yourself together

By |2016-10-19T14:20:38-04:00October 10th, 2010|Art is Life is Art|6 Comments

Art is Life is Art: 15 things to do with a paper heart

paper heart {what shall I do with you?}


The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.

Pablo Picasso

While I’m getting better at storing and classifying the piles of ephemera that I collect “for art’s sake”, I still manage to annoy my husband at least once a week with my bits and pieces of paper, labels, tickets and packaging.  The latest “incident” was over a pink paper bag from an art gallery purchase. The original contents were a hand-thrown dragonfly platter and a Southern cookbook. The paper bag in question was rescued from the trash bin on several occasions and eventually got used for beautiful paper hearts. When the paper hearts ended up spending a couple of days on the kitchen counter, I again had to answer the question:

What are you going to do with those/this/it?

Usually, the answer is one of the following:

* Uh, I don’t know…YET.

* Something.

or his  favorite

* It/they haven’t told me.

The situation is not that bad. As a creative himself, R is understanding and supportive of my “collections” and process.  Except that as a sound designer and super-stream-lined dude, he wishes our world was paperless. Which is tough when my main art form involves lots of paper. My solution? A list, of course!

Here’s the list that I started for him. I said a couple of them out loud and then got so excited that I kept adding things to do.

15 things to do  with a paper heart

1.  Have a photoshoot.

The Girl & a paper heart bouquet

2.  Write a note on it and tuck it into someone’s pocket.

3.  Glue it in your journal.

4.  Leave it at a bookstore/in a coffee shop/on a swing for someone to find.

paper heart on a swing

5.  Write your Self an encouraging note.

6.  Fill it with doodles.

7.  Tear it in half and make a list of all the things that have broken your heart.

8.  Write a list of all the people and things you love around the edge of the heart. You may need more than one paper heart.

9.  Write down your three “safe people” in the very middle of the heart. You probably only need one paper heart for this as the number should stay small.

9.  Hang it in a window with a beautiful piece of ribbon.

10. Add sticks and make a heart bouquet

paper hearts & swing

11.  Decorate it with lace and glitter.

12.  Frame it and hang it on the wall.

13.  Tape it to the outside of your next letter. Even if it’s a bill.

14.  Use it as a bookmark.

15.  Don’t be afraid; give your heart away.

paper heart for you

SaveSave

By |2018-02-12T10:41:50-04:00September 28th, 2010|Art is Life is Art, photography|13 Comments

Art is life is Art: Deadlines, coffee makers & other reasons

It’s official.  Summer is really over.  The air was crispy this morning, the chrysanthemums are out and school has officially started.  We started classes last week and even I made lesson plans this past weekend.  Things are getting busy around here too.  There are wild thyme creative workshops, a studio refurbish in process and the Littles want to learn to draw – which means more movement – which means more structure.  Not a bad thing – just a change thing.  When there’s more on the calendar, creativity happens differently. {Did I mention that I actually made lesson plans?}

I recently commented on a 30-day project from my friend Dan {at A Big Creative Yes}.  He listed his creative product for the day, which included an impressive 750 word list, each word associated to the word before it.  In describing the process he said:  “I wanted to write sentences, and as I was writing, little potential avenues for poems were appearing and I chose to ignore them.”

I replied:  “What a classic example of the tension between the discipline parts of art vs. the “inspiration”. I know that sometimes I choose to stay in an exercise and sometimes I follow the “avenues” that come up. I’m learning to pay attention to which mode serves best in the moment – not always easy for me to discern. Sometimes it’s an external factor like a deadline or client expectation that makes the determination and other times an internal insight.”

I’m feeling the shift that comes with the school year.  Summer is just more free.  There’s more time and more ability to be reactive to the creative process.  {and lots of sunlight for inspiration and energy.}  The autumn brings different light, fabulous in its own way.  {but there’s less of it, which matters in my world…}   Autumn has its own pace – with less space for the creative process.  I have to MAKE room.  I find myself wondering:

Do I shoot {write-draw-paint} from the inside —-> out OR the outside —–> in?

It’s both I think, but in Autumn/Winter because of the nature of the beast, I use more structure.  So, calendars & deadlines here I come!

Speaking of structure, I entered this photo:

" Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos."  ~Don Kardong

into this contest:  Summer Photo Contest at Parenting by Dummies This is a fun, fun blog with great photos and sass.

{You should check it out AND vote for this photo of The Girl – I’m being shameless because there is a nice coffee maker involved…}

P.S.  Thank you Seven Clown Circus for the selection

By |2016-10-19T14:20:39-04:00September 13th, 2010|Art is Life is Art, photography, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Behind the pages: A rough draft

Thought I’d share a little of the process on this day.  Today’s morning pages ended with a couple of collages and a poem.  Too often as writers, we hide our first drafts – our disjointed thoughts and not-quite-right word choices.  It’s easy to forget our awkward starts.  Easy to create the illusion of ease in arriving at the end.  On the back of this scrap is a poem.  I actually forgot about the first scribble and started to cut up the words on the back for a second collage.  Ooops.  A little glue and tape saved the day.

The Thoughts

First Draft

I’m all about word pictures and metaphors.  Flowing streams; walls and windows; and birds in flight are all infused with meaning in my world.  Everywhere I look, I see information about how the world works.  As if the universe can’t help but reflect and reveal itself.  So pencils whisper of the trees that formed them and buildings come and go proud, and then aged and crumbling just like their builders.  Today, I am a collage.  Aware of the torn pieces that have come together to make a new life – an artistic expression of forgiveness {and} redemption.

The Metaphor

my brokeness has come together to form the wings that have given me...

...definition and flight

“my brokenness

[misspelled] has come together to form the wings that have given me definition and flight.”

The Poem
I am a woman of words and flight
of transformation and glory
Beauty and grace rise from the ashes
of mistakes and sabotage

I am a woman of words and flight
No longer cutting-anger-of-my-wounds,
but story-encouragement-and-gift
No longer skillful-retreat or running-away-before-you-hurt-me,
but airborne-to-new-destinations

I am a woman of words and flight

By |2016-10-19T14:20:39-04:00September 9th, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|2 Comments

On the way home, on purpose, with chocolate this time

Meticulous planning will enable everything a man does to appear spontaneous.
Mark Caine

Stopped at the park, on the way home from dinner last night to take some photos of The Girl.  While this sounds terribly spontaneous, it was only sort of spontaneous.  I actually took some 100% spontaneous shots the other day after lunch.  The flavor was strawberry with chocolate sprinkles, and the sun was a little too bright.  We were going from voice lessons to Economics lecture and we were all {including the ice cream cone} a little melty.  It was a one of those moments where I grabbed my camera and shot quickly, but didn’t really get what I wanted.  Except that I loved the idea of The Girl and an ice cream cone.

strawberry w snappy eyes & chocolate sprinkles

The concept of planning is quite the mixed bag for me.  On many fronts, I am a planner.  I like to understand, not only what I’m up against, but how I’m going to handle the situation.  I make lists, print out maps, ask questions & do research, all in an attempt to predict the details in any given scenario.  This basic approach is almost impossible for me to separate from my artistic life and endeavors.

But in many ways, I am a Romantic with expectations that inspiration and opportunity will fall into place and I’ll just happen to be there to catch it.  I am deeply aware that sometimes art is a response to a moment.  In a Romantic’s world, the sun shines just the right way;  words fall in just the right order; and a wandering blob of paint inspires.   However, this romantic ideal sits in a place of tension with Ideas-From-The-Planning-Girl-That-Likes-to-Know.

I believe that both approaches are full of possibility.  My Romantic Self is no longer offended when I plan the details of a shoot.  And, as I reign in the all-or-nothing-ness and perfectionism of the other end of the spectrum, I more often see spontaneous opportunities.

darkness-citydetails-full

The chocolate photos were a bit more planned.  I chose the time of day when the light would be golden.  {And let me take this opportunity to sing the praises of the iPhone app Darkness – great if you want to pinpoint Magic Hour.}

I also asked The Girl to put her hair in pigtails and went to a park where I knew I could get the background I wanted.    It’s hard to imagine that I used to think that attending to those details was “cheating”, but thus run the lies of perfectionism and the strange expectations of Romanticism.

When I shot the Strawberry, I was envisioning the Chocolate.   So, we shot with ice cream again.  {It was an easy sell to the model and I was glad to be shooting with a plan and inspiration all at the same time.}

" Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos." ~Don Kardong

By |2016-10-19T14:20:39-04:00September 3rd, 2010|photography|3 Comments