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!
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!
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
Here in my little slice of paradise spring has long sprung (sorry you guys in cold climes) and now it is iris turn to stretch out her long neck and open her beautiful face to the sky. The iris come in an awe-inspiring color palette that surprise and delight every year. Some time ago a friendly acquaintance asked me if I wanted some iris rhizomes (they look like a ginger root gone mad) he was digging out of his yard. I picked up a bucketful not really knowing what a treasure trove I had. The following year blooms of impossible beauty shot tall and sturdy in my yard. I have this purpley-pink bloom (above), and a surprising periwinkle blue one, there is a pale creamy yellow one and one that is a deep cabernet red and another that is a purple black of astounding darkness standing like the night sky facing the full sun. The flower itself is a delicate fluttering silk butterfly but the stalk it opens from is tall and sturdy and strong giving a wonderful jux of position. I have been admiring these beauties that rise from my garden with seriously no help from me now for at least 10 years. They rise and bloom and slowly fade and fall to burrow again in the comfort of the ground and spring forth strong and beautiful again each year, a good reminder of beauty and strength and resilience. Thank you iris, for standing as a bold reminder that I too can grow and bloom and fold fallow ready to bloom again when the time is right.
The painting above is from my watercolor sketch book- I’m teaching a Wine and Watercolor class this Sunday at a local winery Campo Vida website. If you have ideas of places I can teach or contacts with organizations or businesses that you think could pare well with a watercolor class, let me know and I will reach out to them.
My dad recently found these “business cards” of mine in a desk he was sorting out. I put business cards in quotes because you’ll notice there is no actual information; no phone number, and no address, not even my full name. I don’t have a strong memory of making these but I’m sure it was in college when I was often between phones and addresses, and maybe experimenting with a Madonnaesque one name only moniker. Anyhow- the thing that caught my attention after all these years was that was I put a bird on it. And I guess I’ve been putting a bird on it ever since. If any of you are familiar with the sketch comedy show Portlandia then you might be familiar with the episode in which Carrie and Fred spruce up a shop’s merchandise and “put a bird on it” every where (Portlandia). It’s a spoof on Portland and groovy shops and the predominance of birds on everything. Well I have to say I’m guilty as charge- I’ve be putting a bird on it since 1982!
I’m not sure what that proves but I do know the bird as symbol is a powerful one.When my son was growing a frequent topic of conversation would start like this “if you were an animal what would you be?” or “if you had a super power what would it you do?” my answer was always be a bird, sometimes a hawk or a sparrow but often a smart, sassy, loyal raven. My super hero strength was always flight. So I guess I’ve always been drawn to the bird and so the bird is drawn into my work. These new paintings are a part of my new story. My who am I and where am I going now wandering and wondering. Yesterday was my last day teaching at the elementary school and I’m not sure what is next in my life – but one thing I do know is what ever I make I’ll probably still be putting a bird on it, and dreaming of my life as a bird!
I’m am still amazed and thrilled at how the internet and digital life have expanded how and where my art can go. So with the idea of sharing that wonder, here is quick post to show you some new designs I have posted to my Spoonflower fabric shop and my Redbubble merchandise shop.Two of my newest design came from photos I took last summer. I met up with my college girl friends for a getaway on Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest. While there I took tons of up close photos of the beach and tide-pool rocks- I put them together 2 photo montages one is a variety of browns, grays and blacks and the other is a striking black and white design of worn barnacles on a black rock. I love how these look. I have ordered a couple of yards of each from Spoonflower to sew a dress (I think) I promise to post a picture when I finally get it made. I also made a cool pattern from montage of photos from an old abandoned truck I found on a hike on the Ranch back property. Pictured above are several other designs in my collection and some of the swag it can be printed on! Click through to the links to see, remember to scroll down on the Redbubble site to see all the merch.
REDBUBBLE ooddles of objects : http://www.redbubble.com/people/lisathorpe
SPOONFLOWER fabric by the yard: http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/lisathorpe
Lately I’ve been exploring symbols. For my birthday last summer I got a couple of books on symbols. They explore, in great detail, the symbols humans have been making throughout time, religion and culture. From the 20,000 years old red cow deep in the caves of Lascaux to the most recent facebook thumbs up and texting emojis, humans have been trying to express through symbols the meaning of the world around us. It is interesting to me that some cultures went down a pictorial depiction path for their written language as in the ancient hieroglyphs of early Egyptian and Maya cultures all the way to the much morphed but still based in a picture symbol of Chinese and Japanese. It makes me wonder about languages that are base phonetically instead. Have our brains developed differently because of how we enter our written language? Does the visual come more naturally to those who have grown up with a pictorial based writing system? (Some PHD student out there take this on! Please). That is a very long introduction into my recent endeavor to create my own personal hieroglyphics my own code for ideas and thoughts and feelings. I don’t have any interest in other people understanding them these signs are for me. I’m filling up pages in my sketchbook with scribbles, x’s and o’x and crossing them out until one that is simple, and somehow true, reveals itself. It is an interesting exercise- one that has no beginning or end just a little wander into wondering. Here is my Mixed Media art journal with my symbol for LIFE.
I’m teaching a Mixed Media Art Journaling class in beautiful Mendocino California on August 6-7th here is a link for more info and registration > Mendocino Art Center Registration