An Artist's Quest

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Fifty – Fourtunate

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A page from my mixed media Art Journal – pondering the meaning of life and other heady things!

It was my birthday on Sunday and, no surprise, I have been thinking a lot about the passing of time and this metaphor has been rolling around my head for the past five days, so I thought I should share it with you.

On the day I was born the archer pulled the string back on the bow and the arrow that is ME shot forth into the world. The arch of the arrow is unknown, the distance too and wherever that arrow lands, well that is it’s true mark – and not for me to know. I sooth myself by thinking I have control over those two factors – arch and distance – and perhaps I do to a little bit. My efforts can take me higher and perchance farther but there is capriciousness too, that is out of my control. And as I think about it, it is just that fickleness that is the true gift of life. In not knowing the arch and distance of my arrow, in understanding that I can not control all factors I can give over to the goodness and wonder before me – right here, right now. It is all there ever was, is, or will be. I give thanks to the archer for sending my on my path, I give thanks for the past 54 years and I give thanks for today – that will have to do.

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. – Meister Eckhart

Work to Do

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A demo page from my class at MAC on Mixed Media Art Journaling

A couple of weekends ago I taught a Mixed Media Art Journaling class at the Mendocino Art Center. The center is located in the quaint artsy coastal town of Mendocino in on the Northern California coast. It’s a beautiful little town and a lovely place to teach. On Saturday, after teaching, I made my way to the local bookstore and as I often do, I found myself thumbing through the poetry section. This poem of Mary Oliver’s spoke to me and I used it as my inspiration for my Sunday demonstration in my workshop the next day.

 I Go Down to The Shore

I go down to the shore in the morning

and depending on the hour the waves

are rolling in our moving out,

and I say, ok, I am miserable,

what shall –

what should I do? And the sea says

in it’s lovely voice:

Excuse me, I have work to do.

                              –Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings

The poem speaks to where I am right now- “I have work to do”. I had a summer with busy parts and lazy parts, visits, travels and guests. It is wonderful to get out of the routine, get out of the ordinary, to play with the rhythm of the day and the rhythm of the week. But at some point it is time to return to ordinary time. There is comfort in the return – the structure of rising early, exercise, and getting down to the business at hand. This week was that for me, doing Ranch work, making sketches for a commission, meetings, emails, even this blog, all of it. My to-do list has been sitting ignored for some time now and this week it’s boxes were checked, things completed new items added. It is both daunting and invigorating to return. So forgive me if I brush past you in my bustle, like the sea, “I have work to do”.

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Detail of journal page

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Public Proclamations

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A page from my watercolor sketchbook documenting down time on my Idaho adventure.  On the left is after swimming in Lake Payette on the right is a long wait in the Seattle airport.

Not long ago I was honored to attend the wedding of a young friend. In truth I don’t know Meg very well and I met her husband Levi at the wedding. So why was I there you ask… well I was there because Meg is the daughter of my dear friend from college days, Molly. There are 5 of us who enter  UCDavis in 1980 and have pledged to stay connected over these 30 plus years, such friendship is a wonder and a blessing. Meg’s is the first wedding of the next generation of this group of friends.  So there I was with my husband and my long time friends and their husbands to witness Meg and Levi’s commitment to each other. Now this lovely young couple has been together for nine years already if you can believe it, college sweethearts whose love has endured. So on this weekend in July, outside the beautiful town of McCall Idaho, next to a rustic barn, chairs were set in rows – a bride walked down the isle with her beaming parents towards the love of her life, both standing in the bright sun with enormous Idaho clouds collecting as a backdrop, there under the broad Idaho sky they publicly proclaimed their love and devotion to each other. Their vows were honest and touching and bold. After 9 years of being together they realized the power of publicly proclaiming that bold, honest love. When we make a public proclamation then we are including the witnesses, and indeed the world, in that declaration. We are both sharing our bold claim and asking for support when we hesitate. Thank you Meg and Levi for the reminder of the power of proclamation, may your love be strong and true!

Now, in my tiny way, I make a proclamation to you dear readers – This week I begin a renewed commitment to this blog and you, to write regularly and thoughtfully what is in my heart, and mind and the art that goes with that musing. Thanks for joining me in the adventure.

Gotta Love It!

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These are just a few of the items that I can have my paintings printed on!

Hello dear readers as you know I’ve been doing some new paintings lately and with the wonders of the digital age you can have almost anything printed on almost everything.  So I decided to see how these images would look on a myriad of merch.  I uploaded my digital photos of these layered lovelies and look what I got –  I love it!  I ordered the Buddha printed on the tank top for myself- I thought you might love it too… follow this link then click on the painting you like and see it printed on everything from tank tops to phone covers…. really I mean it – check it out!

Redbubble Printing

Rock On…

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Women’s Quest rocks this mandala meditation session

Lately I have been designing mixed modality meditation workshops with a variety of different groups that come to The Bishop’s Ranch.  This week I had the opportunity to work with Colleen Cannon and her Women’s Quest retreat (Women’s Quest Site).  Colleen leads women’s empowerment retreats and takes women all over the country to go on “adventures for body, mind and spirit”.  She asked me to design an art meditation for her group during their stay at the Ranch. Last night I got to work with this delightful group of women.  During the day they had biked for many miles around Sonoma county and after dinner joined me in a meditation session that lead to these beautiful intention filled stones.  Each color on the stone relates to an intention or goal.  I had them each make two stones, one to take home with them and one to leave in a little meditation spot here at the Ranch-  I plan to do this project with all the summer campers this year and as the summer passes the rock cairns of good intentions will grow!

OM….

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I painted this painting on Mother’s Day – time in my studio was my gift! This 24×24″ painting and a 24×48″ painting from this series both sold this week along with two art quilts!

I haven’t written in awhile… sorry….when I got fired from my teaching job in late March I imagined so much time and space to make art and blog with you and meditate and ponder the meaning of life.  But as Aristotle said, horror vacui, or nature abhors a vacuum, and while I was worrying about how to make money when my job ended I caste a fist full of seeds into the universe.  Well I guess a lot of those seeds found fertile ground and now I need to consider thinning my crop down to the things I most want to do. I saw a Venn-diagram recently with 3 overlapping circles; one reads what you are passionate about the next reads what you are good at and the third reads what people will pay you for…..and where they all cross over is the sweet spot – where talent, passion and marketability meet.  Simple enough in theory but harder to find on a day to day basis.  When I finished teaching April 1st I felt like this was an opportunity- I was just given some space to find the sweet spot- but in my fear of no income I have been filling up my every minute taking on every job that comes my way.  I have taken on more graphic design work, more work at The Bishop’s Ranch, more workshop teaching, more sewing jobs…. you get the idea. In some ways it feels good, I know I can make the money when I need to, but now I need to pull back and do that thinning of my possibilities garden I was talking about before and find the sweet spot in my personal Venn-diagram.  This week I got a little clue about which way to wander.  On Sunday I taught an Encaustic Collage Workshop for 12 wonderful women- they had a good day I had a good day and I felt financially well compensated.  Also this week, kind of by accident, I sold 4 pieces of art- big pieces- and when told the prospective buyers the price no one flinched.  So I think I’m beginning to zero in on my talent, my passion, and what people will pay for. So here’s to searching for the sweet spot and listening to what the universe is telling you!

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I painted this smaller 8×10″ piece at the same time as the Buddha above

 

   

Color Me Excited!

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I am excited to share my latest adventure – a coloring book!  I am inching on to my 20th year living at The Bishop’s Ranch, in that time I have had the great privilege to soak up the seasons and the scenery here.  Each season arrayed in it’s own palette, from vivid greens to golden brown, the hills and fields change their colors in a beautiful circle of fecundity and fallow that never ceases to amaze.

The coloring book has twenty pages of Ranch scenes both on the grounds and in the backcountry.  I drew the images on my iPad in black line.  Now the owner of the book can choose the season make it spring or fall at their whim – something of a visual choose your own adventure book. Coloring the pages can put the artist right back here to the Ranch, in that way it is both a coloring book and a memory book.  For those who have yet to visit the Ranch it can be an enticement of things to come. Please follow the link to purchase one http://lisathorpe.com/shop.html

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A peek inside!

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