Saturday, August 31, 2013

the mother~daughter team

It's a quiet Labor Day weekend for us here on the mountain. The weather is gray and low-key. Though I took a walk this morning (sneaking in a 10-minute sitting meditation and the making of a medicine wheel), that was my only time outside. At least there was that. The remainder of my day saw me in the studio with Bennie painting and watching this awesome video (hat tip to Effy) which lead me to the second part of that awesome video. All of which makes me feel all Vestal and such . . . sort of. I'm on Brighid's Vigil, so it's close.

Part of my play-work was creating a landscape to resurrect Wild Woman. This, my choice of art prompts from our group, took up a large portion of my day. Well. After tending dogscatschickens and feeding humans, a little laundry, painting took up that large portion of my day. Of which I am glad. Bennie started, not one, but two paintings in the studio ~ a still life in oils of some summer harvest and a sunflower in acrylics. Now after our easy dinner, I am here again to play with my journal pages.

Bennie and me in the studio.

Some landscape inklings.

Painting it black then letting it rest.

Bennie's sunflower.

Still life oils in progress.

Friday, August 30, 2013


Hecate Demeter is the one who turned me on to poetry. I'd read it before, appreciated it, but never really absorbed it until she introduced me to David Whyte and Mary Oliver. (There have been others since, but these two poets are the ones who really get my attention.) I love, especially, when they read their own work. Reading the words written is one thing. To hear them is quite another. That's the thing with poetry though, isn't it? It's meant to be heard, words pouring over one's soul like honey. Listening to David Whyte recite not only his poems, but others' transports me to another place. The way he speaks, the timbre, the repeating of a stanza that demands attention is spellbinding. Mary Oliver speaks plainly in reciting her poems and this does something different ~ she creates a sense of Presence in her readings. In her readings I feel the objects she speaks of ~ the pine cone, the goose's feather. Simply, the best way is just to listen.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I have been under the weather, out of commission, down with a cold the past week. Sitting and ruminating for too long had my brain hurting and my interest went no further than X-Files or It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Functionality has increased progressively, but I lost days on my blogalong.

In the meantime, along with Ariel and a host, nay, pack of other women, I've been reading through the first chapter of WWRWtW and mulling over responses to prompts. The Desert Life piques my interest ~ that living small Topside, but large and lush Underground. Things to share over there. Here, it might become an aimless ramble and rant.

Also, in the meantime, I've been spinning and weaving. Activities which have kept my mind off a runny nose and general malaise. Not much painting though. Bennie has been engaged in that activity working on her first oil painting. It's been a proud pleasure watching her progress on the Denver Daisies. Tonight will see me catching up on a fair amount of journal creativity (I made a tag using watercolor paper) trying out a bucket o' paint markers Laura gave us. It's the most excitement I've had all week.

Well . . . there was that trip to the dentist.

Saori moving along nicely.

A watercolor paper tag and a spool of brown sheep's wool.

Bennie's first oil painting completed.

A happy bucket o' colors from Laura!

Dental ruminations on the way to the Chair.

Blogalong With Effy #1

Thursday, August 22, 2013

the genius came by

But first . . . I spent a major portion of the day helping Bennie clean out and organize her room. A daunting task made more so by the cavorting activities of the ferret, Tricksy Bean. She was only loose during the light phase of clearing out stuff, the door closed guarding against her escape and a dog's entry. Doors are wonderful things ~ I don't know how folks lived without them. In cleaning my daughter's room, I found she is a huge repository of stuff and memories. Lots of clothes were tossed into the pile for the clothing collection bin. Avril Lavigne was stripped from the walls as was Happy Bunny. Bennie's original intent was to move furniture in her room, but I went through and showed her it just needed a clearing out. By midday, I was ready to hang out there and watch TV.

Before all that, I had A Plan. (You know, that thing you wake up with, but gets lost by lunch time.) I wanted, in this Plan, to paint in a Painting From the Source manner ~ something I hadn't done in too long. I laid down a coat of gesso on the next spread in preparation for painting before going up to clean a room. By the time we were done, the pages were plenty dry.

A red sun dancing in the sun . . .

My attention is always drifting toward the negative areas when I paint this way. I don't always set out to paint any thing, just paint. Tempera and watercolor brushes are my usual go-to tools and I love the feel of fluid paint sliding on the surface. When I feel like I've created enough images, a new direction emerges.

and now for the black paint . . .

Black paint becomes the constant from this point on as the negative areas are filled in, covering every bit of white paper peeking through. It's a process I get lost in, deeply meditative and relaxing. Sometimes, other shapes of things come through as the black fills in those empty spaces. Sometimes, not. Either way, the activity of painting is the joy.

and finished!

The beauty of limiting this painting exercise to these two pages is how it forces me to complete something within this time and space. Usually, when I'm engaged in Painting From the Source, I start with 24" x 36" drawing paper that might grow to 36" x 72", or larger, in a matter of weeks or months. This too is soul-nourishing painting, but not as immediate as creating journal pages.

It was the work of this God today . . .

Blogalong With Effy #1

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

the simple day

Simple. We got up. Some of us went to work. One of us slept in real late. A couple of us went for a walk, then to a neighbor's, then to the lake. Simple quiche (caramelized onion and cheese), simple dinner (cheese ravioli with broccoli). And now this simple moment. Crickets chirruping, chickens roosting, the TV making its noises. Soon simple sleep and, hopefully, uncomplicated dreams.

The lake in early autumn.

Sketches by the lake in early autumn.

Monday, August 19, 2013

the help

The Oasis was relocated today. The Man is trying to grow lawn and the grass wasn't growing where our feet were lazing on a frequent basis. There was mowing and raking and re-staking and seeding. Chickens like grass seed. We'll see how that all works then, shall we?

Outdoor phone calls regarding the adoption of a Cochin rooster were made. We appear to be on the These People Will Take Roosters list at the veterinary. So. Another feathered being to matriculate into the flock unawares. It's mildly amusing to conduct an adult conversation with the crowing of roosters going on in the background. Fine for the vet, a little crazy making for other calls.

Our cats insert themselves into whatever anyone might be doing at any time of the day. I don't have a complete photographic journal of what cats are where, but any surface presently employed in paperwork or painting or reading or cooking seems to be an open invitation. A short stack of pizza boxes are available on Dirk's desk just for Darth to sleep on. Otherwise, he would be a large, furry paperweight shifting piles of files at every turn. Obiwan generally takes up lap space while I'm trying to read or write. Flower sleeps in the crook of Bennie's neck while she reads at night. When we're outside on the hammock, Piwaqit crawls up to one's shoulder and kneads with full clawing action. It's the kind of help not necessarily useful to humans. At least we have company.

Darth and I having a discussion about saori . . .

while perched on the front beam of my loom.

Piwaqit sittin' while I spin.

And now I leave you with Bennie's lovely photos of the garden . . .



Blanket flowers.

Blogalong With Effy #1

Sunday, August 18, 2013

touch drawing, winding bobbins

I was somewhere else yesterday . . . I've returned, though somewhat weary.

Anyhow. I was in the studio and napping alternately today, this lazy Sunday. (X-Files is fine nap viewing.) But that was today. What's included in the timeline, is Friday where I did some Touch Drawing. While waiting for other paintings to dry, I hauled out the Lexan and oil paint and brayer, found tracing paper and cut down some drawing paper, then commenced to creating.

There are things one forgets when practice is left by the wayside. Usually, what's forgotten is how good the practice was for one's soul. That's when one, such as myself, has to back track to Beginner's Mind and start over. Friday, I was a beginner again at Touch Drawing ~ experimenting with leaves and flowers, changing from tracing paper (which allows you to see what you're drawing) and drawing paper (which is like drawing blind), adding other colors which easily got lost in the Lamp Black. Touch Drawing requires loose shoulders and no expectations and lots of paper at the ready. All three were present for me that day.

Black oil paint rolled out and over leaves and flowers . . .

a piece of tracing paper laid down and "drawn" on with fingers . . .

the resulting print . . .

So now, this evening, I have a journal spread in progress. I will wait to see what Effy does with this week's BOM before I continue. Feeling a need to write more ~ must be the time of year, gaining in Introspection.

Just the duct tape, ma'am.

A little gesso, a little spritz. And now we wait.

While the paint dries and the pieces of duct tape discuss the next move, I'm winding on bobbins for weaving during pre-season football. Threads of Memories . . .

Bobbins, bobbins!

As I said, Threads of Memories.

Blogalong With Effy #1

Friday, August 16, 2013

a Friday fling

Of paint, that is. Not needing to run errands today found Bennie and me in the studio painting. She is trying out oils on canvas for the first time. I'm working on my Wild Woman image in my journal in acrylics. We watched (listened to, really) Donna Downey's Inspiration Wednesday vlog a little late. Then a long haul of Philip Carr-Gomm's Druidcraft in audio book. Now it's just some shamanic stuff to keep the energy going.

While painting, aside from the book and music, we heard the ambient sounds of life going on around us. Ian cursing the latest video game. Dirk on the phone. Roosters crowing with occasional cackle of a hen or two. A tree falling somewhere outside our window. No one was around. Trees make sounds ~ whether standing or falling. We heard it, but haven't located the fallen tree yet. A new adventure. In the meantime, we are enjoying our time in the studio.

How I left her last night.

The progression from this morning . . .

wild hair with copper accents . . .

golden eye with copper, blue eye with silver.
In trying to decide which color wolf eyes to use, Bennie made the nifty suggestion of doing both.
She informs a great deal of my artwork these days.

Bennie trying her hand at oils with the Denver Daisies image she photographed earlier this summer.

Blogalong With Effy #1

Thursday, August 15, 2013

no, I haven't painted yet today

Instead, my day went a little like this . . .

1) woke up at the sensible hour of 7:30am (We are, at this juncture of the year, in a state of limbo as we near the dreaded impending school day schedules. Then, I wake up at 5:30am in order to meditate before the day begins.)

2) brewed a cup of PG Tips tea

3) wrote my Morning Pages

4) checked e-mails very briefly and responded to a few

5) discovered the carpet in the Great Room to be in pretty bad condition due to issues I will not get into, but that led to . . .

6) removing said carpet and cleaning the flooring beneath it

7) vacuuming as we were expecting a guest for dinner (If left undone for too long, Crystal sheds enough hair to clone another dog or two the size of Pomeranians. They are not dust bunnies, but dust buffaloes.)

8) a run to Home Depot ~ 'cause we can

9) to the local market for potatoes and corn

10) made potato salad (Bet you didn't see that coming.)

11) grilled ribs brought by visiting mother-in-law and ate

12) wrote stuff

13) made more tea

And now, the list of excuses should be quite done now and I'm going to paint.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

something wild this way comes

Such busy-ness! A run to the DMV for Ian to get his permit. (He passed. Yippee!) Dirk also there to renew his license. A run to Granma's to deliver an overdue birthday gift. Then shopping. I've just made tapioca pudding from scratch ~ actually bought tapioca and followed the directions. Very yummy. Need to find other reasons to use tapioca though.

Despite the busy-ness, I was able to create the background for my journal spread and sketch in a form for painting tomorrow. And so following, photographic evidence of the day . . .

The background spread before I went to bed last night ~ acrylics, sprays and cheese cloth . . .

As she is this evening, wolf-eyed and awaiting painting time tomorrow morning.
(Not going anywhere tomorrow if I can help it!)

Fidget enjoying a happy dirt bath in the garden.

The gift of a large rose quartz crystal. Feel the love!

Blogalong With Effy #1

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

courting the blank pages

After almost a week of errands and other busy-ness, I am able to get some journal page creating done. The plan is only just barely perceptible at the moment. At least taping the gutter with penguin-printed duct tape and applying gesso is a step in the correct direction. There is a wildness, wilderness, I want to find in this white space. Perhaps it's the present reading material. Or maybe a need to break some inner, self-imposed confinement. Whatever the reason, there's a sense of needing to let the paint fly, let primal images appear of their own accord. I want to face this blankness fearlessly and without preconceived notions.

But first, I shall bake cookies. Not to worry ~ it's the quick mix stuff. I love the family, but not enough to completely abandon the creative urge.

Blogalong With Effy #1

Monday, August 12, 2013

pre-autumn funk

I can't be the only one experiencing this. It is a sort of slowing down, like dragging one's feet. Nights getting chilly, the garden showing signs of tiredness, bolted lettuce, spent pepper plants. So we are feeling the beginnings of autumn, the end of summer. The last hurrah for the summer is the county fair where we can sample the harvests of summer, wander through the animals and eat Fair fare. I've gone to the county fair for as long as I can remember and it's a sort of a tradition Dirk likes to keep in place, of which I am glad. Lammas may be the First Harvest for many Pagan folk, but the fair is celebration of the harvest for me. And that will be in a short couple of weeks . . .

So I feel the drag of impending schedules and new teachers and school supplies and waking early to rouse the house and dispatching humans in all directions for the day. Soon enough, that rhythm will take hold and it'll all be good. It's this change over that gets me in a funk. I just got used to sleeping late. Maybe that's just the time to shift gears is when it's gotten too comfortable.

In the meantime, the Women Who Run With the Wolves book group is getting into some interesting conversations. I am enjoying this new place.

My Medicine Wheels of Summer

Blogalong With Effy #1

Sunday, August 11, 2013

a gem of a day

Today was a pearl necklace. Smooth and lustrous, elegant and simple. We woke, we enjoyed breakfast and moved through the day effortlessly. Chores and then some. Shortcakes for the berries and whipped cream for snack during Prime Time TV. Reading time at the Oasis before dinner on the patio ~ dogs, brats, corn. Simple meal for a simple day. Then a lovely walk . . . honestly, a gem of a day.

Garden photos are by Bennie. House and lake photos by me.

Tiger Swallowtail on a Butterfly Bush.

And again with company and inverted.

Rose of Sharon.


A female hummingbird!
A tough shot to get!

Rose of Sharon again.

Obiwan Kenobi on a Sunday afternoon.

Flowers for the table.

To the West.

At the gazebo.