Blog

Archive for the ‘artist date’ Category

following one’s own advice?

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Today, September 10, has been spent clearing out boxes of papers, stored since my move 2+ years ago.  The good news: there’s very little “trash”. The good news? much of what had been stored may now be obsolete. The better news: this draft blog post is still relevant, if not quite so much. Written at the end of May, it was a reflection on being at Crossroads. I no longer feel quite like that. Several exhibitions have come and gone since then – there’s been a lot of new work made over the past two years. There are two invitationals to deliver work for in the next month.

memory-mont    meditation-map   moon-1_02

***

draft post

For nearly three decades (yikes!), in one format or another, I taught, coached, facilitated – whatever you choose to name it- I worked with creative people, individually, in classes and in small groups. Whether in a formal setting such as a University classroom or professional symposiums or more casual retreat environments, my basic task was to help folks make the next move or next jump in their creative process.  Along the way a lot of processes, techniques and possibilities were shared but the underlying focus was always on each individual’s journey.

Every person is unique and each set of circumstances is very particular. Still, the basics of creative work are consistent from my point of view: learn the required skills and language, master your tools, improve constantly and most important, show up! Make one decision and then the next. Then the next. Be true to your initial creative vision, each subsequent decision should match that.

Life: Circumstances change. We find ourselves, every so often, just moving with the currents, perhaps adrift. It can be difficult (and is certainly time/energy consuming) to re-orient. Having just come through one of those multi-year situations, here were major challenges: My studio discipline was shot. The daily work habit needed to be rebuilt. I went from a decades long consistent daily practice to not being in studio at all. Part of this had to do with all that accompanies a major loss, from coping to surviving to putting myself back together, and then to building a new life. What did/do I want that life to look like? what is an appropriate life/work balance, now? I used to know the answers to these questions, has that changed? Actually, lots has changed and I am adjusting and choosing and celebrating!

Confidence, well, where did it go, if it ever existed? (Is the work any good? what happens next? how should it look? why am I doing this?  In short, all the questions we ask ourselves as we build what is generally, a very solitary work life.)

Identity: Marge Piercy said: “every artist lacks a “license”. This is true. We can self describe, self identify as artists, with or without degrees, with or without an exhibition record, sales, awards and external acclaim, but many of us face a certain sense that the outside world places little or no value on what we do. A friend once told me that what people like me do is non-essential, therefore without value. Is this true? For that friend it was. I’ve almost always had a strong sense of self, of who I am in the world, but at times the self-doubts can be challenging. There’s no shortage of reinforcement for insecurity, is there.

***Now, on the other side of this reflection from late May, I am still not in studio daily, but am creating new gardens, new pollinator habitat, new community relationships. This matters. My little cottage in Billings is on the market and has required major work in the aftermath of a renter. sigh. There’s been a lot of work at the treehouse – hooray- and here at the StarHouse. This has been the season of paint on my shoes <G>.

Some decisions have been made in light of personal changes as well as the change in the “market”.

  • Travel for teaching is no longer in the template of my life. I will miss all of you whose relationships have been so important over the years. thank you for the gifts of your friendship and for how you allowed me to see through your eyes.
  • A greater focus on putting the work into the world is important. Perhaps (if there is something to say <G>) I will begin writing again.
  • Primarily, it has to be about what happens in the studio. Without that, there is nothing to share, nothing to say.

As we approach the Equinox, colors are shifting; the habits of birds and wild critters are changing, there’s a welcome chill in the dark hours and lovely warmth in the afternoons. The higher peaks behind the house have snow. The light is wonderful.

wishing you well.

Four Moons

Saturday, September 26th, 2015

 

moon-1_02

Sunday, September 27, brings us a whopping 4 moons at one time–the Blood Moon, the Harvest Moon, a Super Moon, and a Total Lunar Eclipse!  Of course, they all refer to the same moon but each has a special meaning.

The Blood Mood refers to the last total lunar eclipse in a tetrad of 4 total lunar eclipses.  This tetrad started on April 15, 2014 and includes the eclipses on October 8, 2014 and April 4, 2015. The next tetrad won’t begin until April, 2032.

The Harvest Moon refers to the full moon in September.  Folklore says that this is the Harvest Moon because farmers can work late into the night bringing in the harvest by the bright light of the full moon. Nowadays I’m pretty sure that headlights have taken over that duty!

A Super Moon occurs when the full moon also happens when the moon is at its closest point to the Earth in its slightly elliptical orbit.  This Super Moon will be about 225,000 miles from the Earth won’t be this close again until November of 2016.  The difference is noticeable in both size and brightness but shouldn’t be confused with the “Moon Illusion” that makes a full moon near the horizon look massively huge.  The Moon Illusion really is an illusion–just bracket that huge full moon with two fingers–it will shrink right back to normal size.

Finally, this full moon with be a Total Lunar Eclipse.  For us, the eclipse will have already have started at moonrise but totality–when the moon enters the darkest central part of the Earth’s shadow–will begin with the moon nicely above the horizon and will last for an amazing 72 minutes!

To find the time of moonrise for your location, go to http://www.timeanddate.com/moon/ and enter your location.

Moon rise is always a magical moment, and watching one with intent makes it even better!

With clear skies, of course.

guest writer, Jeff Ross

Mare-Serenitatis

Mare Serenitatis

as we begin a new month

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

“Three Things to Remember”, Mary Oliver (from A Thousand Mornings)

As long as you’re dancing, you can

break the rules.

Sometimes breaking the rules is just

extending the rules.

 

Sometimes there are no rules.

***

sunfleur
It’s a new season in my  life. “Rules” in all variations of the term, are being considered and reconsidered.

At the beginning of August we are into full Summer. The garden is producing, the bees are happy and busy of course, birds come to the feeders. Decisions are being made in the studios – both the physical space and the more important “studio between the ears”.

My sabbatical is officially over.

 

 

rain, on the second of October

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

“Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,
what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,
smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches
and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing
under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,
and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment
at which moment
my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars
and the soft rain –
imagine! imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.”
― Mary Oliver

hideaways

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

The theme for this month’s Sketchbook Challenge is “houses and hideaways”. It’s a great opportunity to do a follow up on the last blog post, a visit to the treehouse.

We spent a long weekend there, returned Tuesday. It was as always, therapeutic.

The interior space is quite small but the decks are expansive. Here are some views and details. Perhaps you will see how the place got  its name. From inside, every window looks out to panoramic landscape as well as the branching of the log supports.

nwcorner

the kitchen window
e-deckSouth East deck     morning

looking out to the “driveway”

    butte.nwdaybreak secorner west-dusk

 

jay

In the morning the grey jays fly into the deck for treats: bird seed or bread, or dog kibble in a pinch. Unlike the more showy Stellar Jays, they are not shy birds. This past visit we saw a lot of elk and moose sign but no animals.The dogs may have had something to do with that.

Visit the Sketchbook Challenge Blog to see other interpretations of this month’s theme, and drop in on the personal blogs of other hosts for tutorials, videos, giveaways.

Leave a comment here for the chance to win a pdf of my “Idea to Image” workbook. A name will be drawn at random on October 4.

 

p.s., with any luck at all, the GeoCounter will be back before this posts – that’s an ugly space without it.

unplugged

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

ridge2

Earlier this week, after too much thinking and not enough planning, we headed upcountry for the first time this season. Being completely unplugged and off grid provides a wonderful opportunity to *not* think, to *not* worry or plan and to *not* get bogged down in the details of  responsibility. Certainly there are chores: opening the treehouse, cleaning up the decks, moving wood and more. The difference is, for me anyway, that I can see and feel the results of my efforts when I am up there. For example, piles of firewood are quantifiable. It is easy to see when wood needs to be moved closer to where it will be used and so forth. Similarly, clearing walkways, cutting back tall grass in my “parking spot” and pruning out young trees are all tasks that need doing every year. I love knowing that I got the work done, can go off for a walk, come back and sit on the deck watching the birds, the dogs and the shifting light.

thebowl       secorner

Although my neighborhood is relatively quiet and the morning river walks are lovely and somewhat solitary, the noise of being in town is constant.  Having the stillness and peace at the “tree house” this week was a gift and a reminder of how important that deep solitude is to me. At home in town, in addition to the birds in my gardens, there is the almost constant electrical whirr of fans, of the fridge, the noise of neighborhood children, dogs and traffic, occasional sirens.

At the treehouse: the soft whirring of the jays, the cries of coyotes at night, the river of a wind storm followed by the rhythm of rain all night and the whistling call of the ground squirrels my dogs find so entertaining. Every once in a while, a large animal will move through. We hear branches breaking, the rustle of grass, the dogs might bark once or twice. This trip I did not see them but moose, elk, black bears and deer all live there, it is their home, I am just a visitor.

My next trip will be in a week or so depending on various schedules. We will stay for 5 days if all goes well. Stay tuned.

***

beau-9-3   Beau, keeping track     gracie-9-3 ms. Gracie, ready to roll, again!

The dogs were ecstatic when we arrived at the gate and they were released.

gate2

By the time I had made the climb up our drive, they had criss-crossed the ridge and met me on the deck, both in full body wag. They spent our time there on the  move, chasing and waiting for ground squirrels that live in the wood piles and downed timber. They would come back to me for a bit, have a drink or a rub, then one or the other would alert and both would take off up the meadow or down the hill. Beau would sometimes lay down for a nap (he has an “off button”), ms. Gracie would still be running had we not come home. She has the Border Collie energy and stamina. She is also still young and at an  age where she will whimper with fatigue but get up and run some more at the smallest opportunity.

who knows where the time goes?

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Do you remember that song? Sandy Denny, what a wonderful voice, what a beautiful song!

Last week a friend visited from out of State. On Friday we drove the Beartooth Highway, all the way up, then back down to explore Red Lodge (I lived there in the 70s and it is a charming town, just 62 miles from where I now live)

Charles Kurault referred to this highway as the most scenic of all. He was right, but driving it can be a challenge. Hairpin turns, people hugging the center line when there’s no margin for error, fast motorcycles, etc. Still, every time I have visitors from elsewhere and the road is open, we take the Day Trip. Debi B was awed and took hundreds of photos.

All these photos are credited to her. I was driving, so my camera never came out, even when we stopped <G>.

 

This one is for Bob! Last year, August 5, 2011,  there was snow on these rocks. Dressed in shorts and a tee, he climbed to the top. I wished we had documented that. He was not warm when he returned to the car. This formation is on Hellroaring Plateau. at approximately 14500′ elevation. The wind is constant. We began our day last year (as this year) in  Billings in the high 90s. It might have been 40 above up there.

 

 

From the highest elevations we can look down at sterling lakes. This is an example. Our disappointment this year was that the air was smoky due to fires all around the region. If you are not from here, you wouldn’t notice the haze.

 

 

 

 

And now it is the ending of August. There’s a Blue Moon on Friday and the earliest signs of seasonal shift are here. The river is very low. I will collect cottonwood roots, either this evening or early tomorrow before meeting my dog walking friend, K and her border collie.

Beau, K’s dog and ms. Gracie all do very well together as they are all herding dogs, very very smart and with similar temperaments. Gracie keeps up with the big dogs, despite her youth and size. This is an important clue. Having a border collie pup presents particular challenges. I am resolved to protect her “wiring”, to not expose her to neurotic dogs or their people, to  help her become the best dog she can be, given the absence of real sheep in her life <G>. Finding “substitute sheep” is a lot of fun <LOL>

Now it’s time to think about a museletter. Maybe later this evening, or in the morning after my walk. There are only so many words available to me at any given time <G>. The concept of writing ahead of time and scheduling ahead of time just does not fit for me. Maybe some day.

***Big and important news flash: There is a lot of demand for the Coaching I am currently offering. The fee as  listed under “coaching” on the side bar to the right will change as of September 3. Registration before then will be honored at the current price.

Beginning the 4th, fees will go up. At that point I will offer a discount for committing to a 3 month plan instead of month to month. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, go make something or weed in the gardens, or sit and watch the sky.

Fill your well.

 

thanks for visiting!

laura

celebration

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

 

For the last several weeks, this grace note has been part of our Island walks. There are several trees now decorated out there. They charm and cheer me.

Whatever holidays you celebrate this season, may they be graced with random spots of unexpected beauty, acts of gratitude and kindness both given and accepted, and the love of family and friends.

a must see

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

http://www.kelleyjsullivan.com

 

I am inspired and moved by this work.

 

 

out of hibernation?

Sunday, March 20th, 2011


It’s been a long, cold Winter but there are signs that with the Equinox, the season is truly shifting. Along the river, waterfowl are pairing up, the river runs open now, color has come up in the red twig willows. in my garden, a few shrubs are making leaf buds. Most noticeable is the lengthening daylight. we have begun mucking out the gardens, raking back the mulch. Tulip and daffodil spears are up. Hooray the little greenies! Happy Spring to you!

In the studio: two of the newest collages, now available on gallery 4.

more coming as I can get them photographed.

 

The Sketchbook Challenge is being a lot of fun. So many approaches to the sketchbook, to the page, to the act of keeping track. Are you participating? There are interesting challenges, lots of tutorials, and prizes!