Monday, August 14, 2017

Build Hope, Not Walls

What an honor to be one of 150 artists from across the USA to be invited to participate
in a powerful exhibit--Build Hope, Not Walls.  

We artists were invited to create and donate for auction an art brick that reflects our individual style.  
The collective display of these bricks will then comprise one exhibit on October 13-15, 2017,
at the Big Medium Gallery at Canopy in Austin, TX, (project sponsor)
 916 Springdale Road, Bldg, #2, Austin TX  78702.
Big Medium is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and
promoting contemporary art in Texas.

As Nick Ramos explains, this project began very naturally where an idea led to a conversation,
whereby the whole thing took on a life of its own.  Nick realized he did not want to create a
non-profit organization, but rather he wished to reach out to 4 local refugee and immigrants organizations
to support them in their efforts by raising funds for and awareness about their work.

All proceeds of the auction will benefit:
Preemptive Love Coalition
Refugee Services of Texas

In creating a positive message for this project, writer Jason M. Rubin
helped translate the vision into beautiful words.  
Those words are illustrated by Simone Oppes.
You can follow updates for "Build Hope, Not Walls" on facebook:

Let us all hold in our hearts and souls, the belief that
peace and love abide in a world where we
build hope, not walls.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


As of late, 
the Universe has called me to lighten up, to let go … 
to let my spirit and paintings flow.
And so, I am heeding that call with an open heart and open mind.
In doing so, I dance a dance of joy.
And as I get lost in my flow dancing, in the process, 
my soul experiences such
"Unexpected Grace" 

I have been playing around with pouring medium and acrylic -- 
working out just the right consistencies of medium + paint
to achieve different fluid effects for this new series.

It is as if each canvas invites me to see the world 
from a mystical vantage point.  
Looking up into the morning sky, I see an ocean of colors … 
I see the glory of the universe … 
I am awed by the Universe
as my spirit and soul merge into that moment when 
"Morning Has Broken"

It is as if I am embracing 
how I truly witness the world:
in a fluid convergence and rippling and flow of colors.
I see energy.  I see movement.  
I see the world in flux, 
I see the world in

3rd place (tie); juried exhibit, Alchemy

My heart is full. 
My spirit is dancing.
My joy is expanding into eternity.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Rolling in the Deep


When I came upon the term "ikigai" during one of my periodic searches for terms and ideas and concepts that speak to the human soul and spirit, my little world paused....and I knew the day's research had found its mark.

The term is not a new one, not a coined modern term, but rather an ancient Japanese concept that translates to "a reason to wake up in the morning, a reason to enjoy life."

And according to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai.  

One's ikigai lies at the center of four interconnecting circles:
Vocation -- that which the world needs.
Profession -- that which you can be paid for.
Mission -- that which you love.
Passion -- that which you are good at.

When those four circles interconnect, you experience the chance to live a a long and happy life.  If one is lacking in any one area, they are missing out on their life's potential.

After diving deep into the writings about ikigai, I knew that I had come upon the title for my one woman exhibit--my maiden exhibit upon returning HOME to Texas after 4 years in the Western New York art scene.  A handful of the works in this exhibit were painted prior to discovering this term, but each work was the end result of me having reached a point in my life where every morning I had a reason to wake up, to enjoy life.  I had found my ikigai.  I had given my Self permission to paint.  And I have not looked back. is in the "looking back" at my life that I now embrace my ikigai with peacefulness and mindfulness.

My daddy was a painter before life and family demands led him to put his paint brushes and canvases away.  As a little girl, I remember staring at his etchings and oil paintings and watercolors for hours. As that little girl, I remember asking him why he stopped painting.  In keeping with his quiet nature, he just said he was too busy working to paint any longer.  That was it.  His art file was closed.   For him, his ikigai shifted from painting to engineering, and he had his reason to get up every morning.

Somewhere, deep inside my spirit, I held back on drawing and painting.  Somewhere, I had tucked this little part of me away because I did not feel I could ever paint as well as my daddy.  And I turned to the life in front of me and it took hold of me.  I pursued my passions for education and writing and bookbinding and photography and creativity retreats for women and Yowza Elf projects.  Looking back on these chapters, I realize now that during each of them I was experiencing ikigai.

My mother was a strong and courageous woman. Her life was filled with peaks and valleys.  Our mother-daughter relationship was marked by ins and outs.  But it was by the grace of the Universe, that when my mama died at the age of 59, her life was on the rise, happy, fulfilled.  I was a young woman, a young mother and wife, when my mama died after a battle with lung cancer.  In my mind, I convinced myself that she had lived a good life, a long life.  In my heart, I convinced myself that she was content to have achieved all she had achieved.  Oh, how I wish I had not been so shallow.

As years passed following her death, the clarity of how young she actually was began to hit home. With that understanding, as painful as it was, I began to look at life from a new angle.  I revved up my love for life that had carried me throughout my childhood into womanhood.  With even more fervor and intention, I treasured every passing day, every passing month, every passing year.  Why? Because somewhere in this little room in my soul where I store my hurt and loss and pain, I believed that her story might be my story. I contemplated the idea that I might repeat her story and die at the age of 59 as she had done. I held my breath and worked to make every day and week and month and year as vibrant as possible.  I promised myself, that when I turned 59, if I was not sick and dying, then I would pursue my desire, my passion to paint.

Fast forward to my 59th birthday.  My husband and I had left Texas (my home, my heart) and moved to Western New York for his family.  It was a difficult move for me--leaving me feeling lost and like a stranger in a strange land.  But that move also opened up my world to new acquaintances, to new friends, to new adventures.  And it was for my 59th birthday that a dear friend, Kathy Thomas, gave me the most magical birthday gifts of all--an evening at one of those "wine and paint" classes.  It was on the night of the super full moon in March of 2011 that she and I attended the class, sipped on wine, and followed the instructor's directions on how to paint the image he was teaching.  It set me free.  I felt alive with the paintbrush in my hand.  I didn't actually follow all of his directions (my bad) and allowed my creative self to paint what my energy wanted to paint.  At one point, Kathy and I excused ourselves so that we could run outside and howl at the super full moon.  And howl we did.

Since that day, I continue to howl with a sense of freedom and the my my family my my paintings.  With good fortune, my husband and I have returned back to my heart home, TEXAS.  I am grateful.  I am humbled.  And I embrace each day.  My soul is on fire as I create, as I paint.

On September 11th, from noon to 2 pm, I will have the blessing of sharing my art in a one woman exhibit at The Vineyard at Florence (Texas) with guests.  We will howl. We will celebrate. I hope you will join us.  Ikigai.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Spark . . .


We have all been there, right?  At that point where the creative spark begins to flicker, to sputter, and almost die out.

It can be a frightening moment, that moment when we notice the diminishing flame of what we believe to be our creative fire.

I am moved to write about this flickering of my creative flame, because today I wandered about the house like a caged artist.  I wanted to be in the studio; I wanted to stare at a blank canvas; I wanted to meditate and be in the moment.  I wanted to wait for the whisper from my inner creative soul.  Mostly, I wanted to sling paint.  But today, that was not to be, and life kept me home, away from the canvas.

Today.  I needed to huff and puff a bit to keep my creative spirit ablaze--but i wasn't doing a very effective job.  So it was somewhat curious that as I was walking from the kitchen through our library room I noticed the art magazine, "Spark"--created and published by Marcus Wise, owner and curator of 464 Gallery in Buffalo, New York--lying on top of a stack of books.

"Spark" is the magazine in which I had the honor to have been featured in an article, written by artist and writer Thom Neill, about my emergence upon the art scene in Western New York.  Seeing that magazine lying catty-wampus across that stack of books…taking note of this "Spark" sign from the was as if I had been given permission to just stop my busy-ness and sit down and look back over that article again.  I chose a quiet spot.

I let my "spirit self" re-read the article.

As I read Thom's words, I began to deeply miss my artist friend and colleague.  I missed our chats.  I missed our shared laughter.  I missed our creative collaboration.

It was as if Thom was sitting on the sofa with me, and I could hear his laugh and see the impish flicker of curiosity and friendship in his eyes.

When I came to the end of the article, I felt my creative spirit begin to flicker and flame.  
Perhaps, tomorrow I paint!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Solo Exhibit at The Vineyard at Florence…Florence, Texas, that is!!!


Awash with Desire
36" x 36"
acrylic on gallery canvas

My mama would be so proud of me.  
You see, here I am, up to my elbows in alligators in the office 
as I take care of the business of my art.  
Sure, it would be ideal to spend all of my creative time
being inspired by nature, daydreaming and brainstorming, 
dancing and prancing, and painting in the studio
that is not how it works. 

No, it just doesn't work like that.  I can hear the voice of my new mentor, Alyson Stanfield, running through my thoughts, reminding me that art doesn't just make itself known to the world all on its…somebody needs to present it to the world--and that somebody is me!  To keep my focus, I now meditate on the photograph (left) that I snapped years and years ago (of course, when I shot that image, it was purely a tongue-in-cheek snapshot of irony that led me to do so)…"Please Stay On The Path" it commands.  Ok…I nod.  And I get back to the business at hand.

So here I sit at the computer, mindfully and merrily working
on details for my first One-Woman Exhibit.

The exhibit will be on display
throughout the month of September 
at The Vineyard at Florence.

On Sunday, September 11, 
between the hours of 12 noon and 2 p.m.,
there will be a "meet-the-artist" event that is open to the public.  
How sweet it will be to share my art and to give out free hugs!  

Yesterday, the vineyard released their new video that showcases 
their wines, their vineyard, their villas, their event center, their tasting room, 
their restaurant, their grounds and more.  
Individually, each one of these spaces is inviting and beautiful; 
collectively, they offer visitors a divine experience.  

With joy, I share the link to the vineyard's Facebook page...

I hope you will visit their page, sit back, and enjoy the stroll through The Vineyard at Florence.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Studio 8: Dancing Across the Canvas

I love to dance.  
Always have; always will.  

Some of the most vivid memories in my lifetime so far are when 
I have heard "the call to dance" and my spirit said, "Let's do this!" 

The list would be far too long if I were to name every magical memory -- 
and so, I will recall a precious few:
dancing in Susan Babb's living room, dancing on Go-Go Girl risers 
on the stage in a local music hall; 
dancing in Austin clubs; dancing with my mama; dancing with my daddy; 
dancing by the shores of Lake Erie; dancing on the shore of Galveston beach.  
With each recollection, I can see and hear and feel my Self back at each of those moments.  
Time falls away.  It does.

And so it is that I now add "Dancing Across a Canvas"
to my long list of times when my love gives me permission to move and let go.

My "canvas dancing" is choreographed with color
and freedom and bold gesture and pure delight.

It is as if the blank canvas 
invites my creative soul, my el duende, 
to hear the music of my heart.  

And when that call is heard, I respond…
and I dance across the canvas as I wish to dance--
no rules, no patterns to follow, no right or wrong.  
Just me and the canvas and the colors and the emotions. 


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Muse and the Lake…Namaste

From my magical time swimming in Lake Quachita….
this is what my muse guided my hands and soul to create.  
Peace, Love and Bobby Sherman.  xoxoxo