A Conversation with the Universe

Recently I met for coffee with a friend that needed help starting a blog on WordPress. startup-594090_1920 (1)After building the “infrastructure” of the site we talked about content and posting.

This got me to thinking about the intent of my blog and how I go about finding ideas for my posts.  Originally I was motivated my blog was to promote my artwork but blogs tend to evolve on their own (see I Was Supposed to be Blogging about My Artwork).  After 2 1/2 years of blogging my posts range anywhere from the creative process to what is going on in my personal life.

When I was a young woman embarking on my life’s journeys I wrote pages of heartfelt letters to friends miles away (see  Letters to the Universe).  That process gave me so much mail-1923198_1920perspective on my life and the world at large. Letter writing in our busy digital age seems to have become a tradition of the past.  I miss them. Unconsciously, I think my blog has become a series of letters written to the universe. I have no idea who might read my posts. The important thing is that I write them and send them off.  It makes me pay attention to my life- a sort of a writing meditation. I’ve been a bit inconsistent as of late. We’ve had some health challenges in our house making blogging more difficult to fit in. Life happens.  You do what you can do.  Continue reading “A Conversation with the Universe”

Hidden Astoria, Oregon

fishing5The town of Astoria, Oregon is located where the mighty Columbia River meets the sea.  Lewis and Clark ended their famous journey near there and it has been for many decades since a center of trade and a fishing town.  Today huge freighters from China and Japan navigate up the river to ports in Oregon and Washington.  In recent years it has also become a haven for artists of all types, microbreweries, good eating, and great coffee.img_2108

On our recent three day prime number anniversary trip (19 years is a way more interesting number than 20), my husband and I celebrated right ON the river at the Cannery Pier Hotel, built on the site of an old salmon cannery when the fishery was in its heyday.  Rather than do the usual touristy things like the museums and historical points, we were happy to sit and watch the boats go by our room,

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View from the hotel

watch the sea birds, walk or ride a cruiser bike (provided by the hotel) along the Astoria Riverwalk, a 6-mile path which was formerly an old railroad bed and explore some of the quirky shops in town.

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My cruiser bike on the boardwalk

A highlight was Vintage Hardware.  I love old junk and was very happy exploring the many nooks and crannies of this shop.

 

 

I-phone out, I am always looking for interesting patterns to document….

 

img_2083-1Then don’t forget the great beer and the Buoy Brewery where you can get your favorite brew canned on the spot and watch sea lions through a plexiglass floor.

 

If you ever get to Oregon or live here as I do, don’t miss Astoria.  It’s a gem.

Peeking Inside of Flowers

IMG_2035Spring is booming in Oregon.  The long, wet winter has given way to a stunning green landscape exploding with blossoms.

Have you ever taken time to look inside of a flower?  I mean really looked, even with a magnifying glass.  In my first botany lab as a university student, I was stunned by what I saw.  As I looked through my scope the variety of designs astonished me. Flowers, being the reproductive organs of plants are designed to attract pollinators.  Intricate designs provide landing sites for bees, butterflies and other bugs among stamens, pistils, and anthers.  Lofty fragrances guide their way.

Humans are attracted too by flowers’ sexy ways.  This week I took time out of a beautiful spring day to peek inside what is blooming about my yard.

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The Day after Earth Day

April 23  by Alanna Pass

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art by the author

The Earth continues to give

And we take away…

 

Have you thanked the trees

for the house where you stay

and noticed the birds

who light up your day?

Do you bless the soil

that grows your crops

and the wind that cools you

when the land grows hot?

Are you grateful for the rain

that quenches your thirst

and helped the creatures

who lived here first?

 

The Earth continues to give

and we take away

what have you done for the Earth today?

Continue reading “The Day after Earth Day”

The Art of Keeping On

 How we spend our days is of course, how we spend our lives Annie Dillard

img_2025Unfortunately, when we were born we did not come with an instructional manual on how to live our lives.  We are all individuals with unique traits and circumstances.  As we go through our days there can be a lot of trial and error. There are some principles though, that will serve all of us, especially in this crazy digital age.

As a creative type, I keep an arsenal of motivational reading nearby.  The creative practice not often respected by our culture so I need all the cheerleading I can get.  Thus keep goingsaid I was more than excited when Austin Kleon released his third book Keep Going about 10 days ago.  I even preordered a copy, unusual for me.  The tag line of the book is “10 ways to stay Creative in God Times and Bad.”  If you’re sighing right now and saying “Too bad I’m not creative,” think again.  We are all creative beings. With few exceptions, we all have opposable thumbs.  That means we can make, cook, write, etc.  If you have kids – that’s the ultimate creation.  If the word ART trips you up, just insert the word LIFE or HUMAN.

Like Austin’s other books, Steal Like an Artist (on unlocking your creativity), and Show Your Work (on how to become known), this is a small affordable manual ($9 on Amazon).  It’s an easy, read full of his entertaining graphics, photographs, and words of keep going 3wisdom as well as some of his kids’ artwork.  It’s divided into 10 chapters, shown below.

I have come to some of the same realizations as Kleon himself but it is so validating to see them in print.  If you are in need of a reference in how to live and stay creative, or know someone that does, this is a good one. Worth a read, worth a place on your shelf!

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Images from the book Keep Going, by Austin Kleon

 

The Art of Play

“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.” -Joseph Chilton Pearce

easels-372847_1920When I was a child I would sit down with a set of crayons and draw without much intention other than just being in the moment with my colors and paper.  Painting was even better.  There was nothing like afternoons in school where the math and reading were put aside for time standing at the easel with giant paper and pots of tempera paint.  I remember painting with big fat brushes with long handles pictures of skies, big suns, houses, horses- the usual subjects for a little girl.  The paintings I made were often brought home and gifted. There was not a lot of attachment to the pieces as there were always more paintings and drawings to come.

At some grade in school, the easels were put away and we were subtlety given the message that art was not important and academics were.  Art was play, nothing to be taken too seriously.  Good grades, college, and a career were.

Continue reading “The Art of Play”

Lessons from an Orchid

May the beauty of your day, take your breath away  – unknown

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I’m in sort of a lull in a creative sense.  My energies are spread elsewhere now that my husband is recovering from knee surgery.  This period draws parallels to an experience I had with dormancy and reblooming…

It was a gift, an orchid plant for my desk at the end of my last school year before retirement. Six blooms of royal magenta, tinged with highlights of yellow cascaded down like the contour of a woman’s haughty hip.  It was one of those grocery store variety orchids, nothing too out of the ordinary except for the color of the flowers.  They positively glowed like a stained glass window in the light.

I absorbed the beauty of these blooms every day for weeks until each slowly shriveled, dried and dropped.  I sadly removed their spent forms one by one.  What was left were several deep green ovate leathery leaves and the tall, now naked flower stem in a plain clay pot.

“I just throw them away” a friend commented on my bloomless orchid.  But I could not, the only crime of this plant needing rest after a grand performance. I remember my father saying that he got his orchids to bloom again.  After enjoying such a spectacular show, I felt it a crime to sentence this plant to death in the compost pile.

I left the orchid on my bedroom window sill, watered it, and waited.  Over a year passed and I realized that it probably needed special nutrients to bloom.  I purchased some spray fertilizer just for orchids.  In a few more months, I had a stalk full of orchid flowers to enjoy again.  It is now in its third bloom.

This experience got me to thinking how we humans too need to be nurtured in life to bloom and then given periods of rest.  This reminds me not to give up in dry times, be patient and to get the self-care I need to be creative.  The compost pile of life awaits soon enough!

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