An Artist's Quest

friendship

Making LOVE (it’s not what you think)

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Love note we made at the first monthly meeting of Open Heart Studio troop #1. Laminated and with strings ready to put anonymously into the world to promote love and peace one person at a time!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the uncivil discourse in our country and the world that seems to be filling our newspapers, our social media, and our inboxes.  But we all know in reality we are more alike than different, we want to give and receive love, we want our family and friends to be safe, happy and whole.  You know that’s about it really when you come down to it, and I think almost everyone could agree to that.  So what has been rolling around in my mind is how to get that message out? I decided showing love and building community through art is what I know so last week I launched this-

OPEN HEART STUDIO troop #1Promoting civil discourse one LOVE letter at a time.

This is what I sent out to my local friends:

Mission:  To reveal our common humanity via Random Acts of Love, through the vehicle of art.  No politics, no religion, just a common need to receive and give love.

What: Make a love collage on one side of a 4×6 card, write a simple note such as “YOU ARE LOVED, pass it on”, laminate the card add a string on top  place them randomly and anonymously in the world.  That’s it!

Short Term Goal: To brainstorm the idea with you and make some love notes and send them out in the world.

Long Term Goal:  Meet monthly to make collage cards and set them loose in the world.  Encourage others to start their own OPEN HEART STUDIO troops.

Dreams: To have a mobile Open Heart Studio van filled with collage items and everything needed to make a R.A.L. card…go to scout meetings, schools, churches, synagogs, mosques, town meetings, have a booth at farmers markets, a stand outside of Congress, at the U.N.….oh yeah and achieve world peace!

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Inaugural meeting of Open Heart Studio troop #1 –  thanks to Kate, Sonia and Jack for joining me on a rainy Thursday night to MAKE LOVE happen!

I don’t have a facebook page or a website or any of that right now just an idea and a hope for a more loving, accepting, helpful, peaceful world. I will keep you posted on my progress.  Maybe you want to start your own Open Heart Studio troop. Yours can be troop # 2!


Begin Again

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This is a large commission painting that I hung recently. (Thank you Beth for believing in me enough to set me loose on a painting for you!) Hanging this was all about beginning again and getting back t0 the business of doing what I love and of course that is what my father would want me to do.  48″x48″ commissioned by Beth MacLean for her office.

It is hard for me to begin again. My dad died just over two weeks ago and I have struggled to write a blog post, since my last passionate one nothing seems as important. The ordinariness of the past two weeks feels like an insult to the intensity of the previous month. The every-day-ness is a affront to the powerful love and the concentration of feeling that went before. But likewise (and in contradiction to what I just wrote) the ordinariness is comforting. The sun sets, the sun rises and a new day begins. Work needs doing, groceries need to be bought, the car needs service, the dog whines for a walk….. The truth is my father wouldn’t have it any other way. He was a doer, a hard worker, someone who got things done. And so my work continues and this blog that he was so devoted to continues. My dad was possibly the first person to read my blog each time I sent it out, and while he rarely commented publicly he almost always sent a text or an email of encouragement and praise. That’s what is hard now – my dad was one of my biggest fans – forever cheering me on. And now he’s not there. NO, that’s not true; his legacy in my veins is made of stronger stuff than that! I hear his encouragement still in my ear, in my heart. So I guess I better get back to work.

Thanks to all of you who sent your kind words and encouragement over the past two weeks, you have buoyed my spirit and I am grateful.

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Because commissions can be scary, I painted 2 paintings so Beth could choose.  This one (similar but different) is now hanging in the Ranch dining-hall waiting for the the right home… maybe you? 48″x48″


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.


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!


Flying High

Up top is Jim and his sweet plane, below starting on the left is The Bishop's Ranch, then the folds of Russian river valley vineyards, next the bridge on Hwy 1 just south of Jenner, then a river wending west from Petaluma

Up top is Jim and his sweet plane, below starting on the left is The Bishop’s Ranch, then the folds of Russian river valley vineyards, next the bridge on Hwy 1 just south of Jenner, then a river wending west from Petaluma

Just a quick post to say I had a fun, high flying morning today. I got a chance to fly over part of Sonoma County today with Jim DuVander -THANKS JIM!  I took oddles of pictures, below are just a few.  As my loyal followers you know I’ve been creating art quilts using photos I’ve taken from commercial planes as my starting point.  This was my first chance to fly over my own back yard in a small plane, nice and low!  I’m really looking forward to getting to work on my iPad drawing with some of these images as my jumping off point.  When I’m done I’ll blow them up big, have them printed on fabric at Spoonflower then go at it with some free-motion quilting…..So much fun to be up in the air on such a beautiful day in such a beautiful place!

If you want to look at some past examples of high flying iPad drawing and art quilts click the blog posts below.

August 15th post of iPad drawing

February 12th post of stitched quilts


Weft and Warp: the importance of long term friends.

These drawing were done on my flights North. It’s great to fly out on Santa Rosa because the plane is small and flies low so lots of opportunity to take pictures out the window. These two are both Sonoma county aerial vistas. I got some great shots of Puget Sound and you’ll be seeing those soon.

These drawing were done on my flights North. It’s great to fly out on Santa Rosa because the plane is small and flies low so lots of opportunity to take pictures out the window. These two are both Sonoma county aerial vistas. I got some great shots of Puget Sound and you’ll be seeing those soon.

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Earlier in the summer I had the chance to fly up to the Pacific Northwest to visit with my college girl friends. It was so lovely to be with people who know me long and deep and who aren’t afraid to share the hard stuff and the silly stuff and to talk and talk and talk and also be ok with the silences (we didn’t have too much of that). My 30-year friendship with these wonderful women is so important and I’m grateful for their presence in my life. Everyone in this group has taken a unique path and our journeys have taken us away from each other but the thread that we spun together as young women in college remains an important part of the woven warp of my life and as the weft weaves a sturdy strong cloth I am ever grateful for these friendships that help make the weaving of my life rich and colorful.

So here’s to long friendships, if there is someone you’ve been thinking about who helped you become you – get in touch it will do your heart good!