Friday, June 25, 2010


Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. ~Proverbs 3:3

This week I fell in love with elephants after reading Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. At the same time, I've been struggling with last week's Illustration Friday challenge of paisley. I painted the intricate floral design with paisley petals and found it was missing something and was waiting for inspiration as to what to put on top. Many thanks to the friend who noticed that the shape of an elephant's head and trunk also make a paisley!

As I thought about the elephant as a symbol, I am most drawn to their social nature. The basic unit of their social structure is the mother-offspring, and several units comprise a family of protectiveness. However, at times several related families may exhibit association to each other and form "kinship groups" or "bond groups." They have highly developed systems of communication within their groups.. from a plethora of visual displays using different combinations of the eyes, trunk, ear, tail, body and feet, to olfactory communication through bodily secretions to tactile communications readily seen in their affectionate play to a wide range of audiotory communications. Just amazing creatures to be studied!

In thinking of their deep connection to each other, the words "commitment" and "devotion" came immediately to mind, but upon searching for inspirational words to connect to my painting, I only found verses dealing with personal success. Thus I was led to look at loyalty and found this gem of a Bible verse. Although these are words of wisdom King Solomon is giving to his son in reference to human relationship to divine, I think it is also a wonderful model for human relations. I'd like to point out to interesting things from this verse.

In looking at different translations, and admittedly not being up to par on my exegetical skills (apologies to my Old Testament professor, Carolyn Pressler) there are a number of different words in place of loyalty - truth, love, kindness, and mercy. For me, it brought up different aspects of loyalty.. the ability to be honest, acts of goodness to the other, the ability to forgive, and that indescribable connection to the other. Our loyalties to each other will always be imperfect but we can continue to relate to each other, just as God relates to us in our imperfection.

The second part of the verse refers to tefillin, traditional little boxes worn by jews and filled with parchment inscribed with Torah verses, commandments of God worn by the faithful. But the verse encourages us to not just have outward signs of our devotion, but to inwardly merge our loyalty to the very nature of who we are. What would happen if we took away our outward signs, our rings and certificates of marriage, our friendship rituals, our titles of address such as "mother" or "father"... are our relationships bound in the heart?

Would enjoy hearing your thoughts!

This painting is available for purchase from the Sacred Arts Studio on Etsy for $65.

Friday, June 18, 2010


A day spent without the sight or sound of beauty, the contemplation of mystery, or the search of truth or perfection is a poverty-stricken day; and a succession of such days is fatal to human life. ~Lewis Mumford

On this day, there is nothing more important than taking a moment for yourself. Slow down, close your eyes, and breathe in the world around you. Somewhere in the midst of feelings of chaos, tiredness, emotional hurt, anger, overwork, and frustration lies a simple sensory experience -- a sight, a sound, a taste, a touch -- that can bring you peace. Bring your heart and mind into union with it.

It only takes a moment, but its medicine is pervasive.

This painting is available for purchase from the Sacred Arts Studio on Etsy for $75.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stepping Forward into the Past

The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been. ~Madeline L'Engle

It's coming. And I dread it. Some time around the first of the year, I make the realization. This is the year. My twenty year high school reunion. And I, who have never had qualms about getting older, I who never put cream under my eyes, I who has never given too much thought to extra pounds, I who am I normally confident in my own skin.. I have become an age maniac.

Suddenly I notice age spots on my arms, lines under my eyes, a new texture to my skin, lines across my forehead. I notice I can't sit up as quickly in the morning. I notice that I go to bed early in the evening. And deeper... I notice the time for having children, for starting new career adventures, for traveling the world with a backpack is dwindling. I notice with the experience of difficult years of stressful jobs, questionable relationships, and challenging health issues, I'm more skeptical of people, I laugh less, and I don't remember the last time I turned the music up and danced alone.
I am confused about the passage of time. The past is a blur. Memory fades. When does adolescence turn to young adulthood, turn to whatever this age is that I am now? And if I feel this way now, how will I feel in ten years, in twenty years, in thirty? Where did I go?

And then.. in an evening of fellowship with several of the friends with whom I will celebrate the glory of our youth later this summer, something extraordinary happens. (Admittedly with the help of a glass of wine.) The presence of these people from my past scrapes away the buildup of time and I step into a self I have not seen for many years -- a giggly, less reserved, less serious, lively, innocent, unfiltered self. And I can't stop! Where have you been all these years?
They give me a gift.. they say I know you, the core of you, the you who always has been, the you that has been hidden. They coach this self out through laughter and hugs and time spent in holy frivolity, not speaking of politics or finances or plans for the future but of silly fashion trends of our youth, embarassing moments, and iconic crushes.

I embrace the joys of aging.. the ability to say "to hell with you," the stability of a more structured life, a greater knowledge and experience base. But I may also embrace the child, the adolescent, and the young adult in me. They are all me and are never lost, their fates united.

Thank you, dear friends, for reminding me who I am.

This painting is available for purchase from the Sacred Arts Studio on Etsy for $75.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Forgiveness allows us to claim our own power and not let
these events destroy us; it enables them to become events
that deepen the wisdom of our hearts. Forgiveness indeed
heals memories.
~Henri Nouwen

This painting is for the Thursday Sweet Treatchallenge. The challenge was to create a representation of a gift to ourselves. I did something a little different.. a representation of the gift of self-forgiveness.

I think forgiving ourselves for our flaws, our mistakes, our incompleteness is actually harder than forgiving other people. It forces us to go through the self embarassment of admitting parts of ourselves do not add up to the person we want to be.

One of the primary tenet that I am drawn to in the Christian tradition is Grace. We admit that we will always be flawed. We will always be imperfect. That through Jesus' death on the cross our sins are forgiven, that all those wounds we create are healed.

Whatever your faith background, I think this can be translated to an understanding that we can move forward from our mistakes, that as the world moves on, so can we. But the key is to really willing to look at our imperfections. For I believe, that if we do not, the guilt of them stays hidden in our soul and affects our current actions.

Today I will spend a moment, in reflection, and release my wrongs, so I may move forward.

This miniature painting is available for purchase from the Sacred Arts Studio on Etsy for $45.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Whisper

But we can all be angels to one another. We can choose to obey the still small stirring within, the little whisper that says, "Go. Ask. Reach out. Be an answer to someone's plea. You have a part to play. Have faith." The world will be a better place for it. And wherever they are, the angels will dance.
~ Joan Wester Anderson

I've had a few gifts of moments recently... moments when another person pulls down their veil and invites me in... moments when they allow me to see their struggle, their fear, their humanness. The moments aren't of the Hallmark variety. There is a certain awkwardness at the onset, for most of us aren't open to that state of being on a regular basis. An uncomfortable shuffling in the seat. A downward glance. A quiet stuttering. A downward glance. I feel their own discomfort in my heart. My voice catches in my throat. I lean forward, and back, and forward again.

But when faced with the image of someone else's humanity, I hear this whisper. Mine says.. "You understand." I feel their own discomfort in my heart. And I am given courage to push through with bluntness.. to accept their state with boldness. I usually have no words to give. At best a question, an invitation to reach deeper, to pull the muck out of the recesses of their soul and lay it out, in front of us both. I can only hope they can feel my compassion, my lack of judgment, my desire to care and be present, to be an observer of their life.

To these people, I say.. "I'm here."

This miniature painting is available for purchase from the Sacred Arts Studio on Etsy for $20.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Instant

graceful wanderers
pause in the afternoon sunlight
gone the next instant
~Sandra Lawrence, from Garden Path

The dragonfly symbolizes various things in different cultures. Like the butterfly, it can represent renewal and change. It has also been a totem of happiness, prosperity and good fortune.

In honor of my friend Ashley's birthday, I'd like to consider the dragonfly today as a reminder to capture each instant to the fullest. The dragonfly has a short life cycle, and flits so quickly from place to place. Busy and active. And yet, its beautiful iridescent wings are so light, and capture the wind. It must be adaptable and willing to alter its plan of intention and go where the wind sends it.

This painting is available for purchase from the Sacred Arts Studio on Etsy for $65.

And it's almost time...

for Dad's special day! My inspirational Father's Day cards are now available for $3 each. Take a peek!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Portrait Swap

Anyone see the new reality show on Bravo called "Work of Art: Next Great Artist"? It premiered last night and I loooooooooooooove it! The contestants had to create a portrait to bring with them and then their first challenge was to do a portrait of another contestant. So interesting! After watching the show, I asked my friend Kay if she wanted to do a portrait swap for fun and inspiration...

And I was so excited she said yes! Kay is my technicolor friend! And I absolutely adore her warm and creative spirit! And she's gorgeous, isn't she?

And here's the digital portrait she did of me. I love it! Haha! It made me laugh and smile and feel warm and fuzzy inside when I saw it.. cause she got me! I just love how she included elements of my artistic style in it!

Thanks sweet Kay! I adore it and am so glad you're my friend! ♥

Would love to do another one of these if anyone else is brave enough!

Lover of Light

Bring me then the plant that points to those bright Lucidites swirling up from the earth, And life itself exhaling that central breath! Bring me the sunflower crazed with the love of light!
~Eugenio Montale

When I was a child living in Utah, we had a good sized garden growing on the side of our house that I enjoyed traversing through - so many different textures, and smells, and even sounds! And there, in the middle of the garden, was the mighty sunflower. As a little one, it was soooo tall! I had to strain my neck to look up at it, it's beautiful head blocking the sun as I did so!

No other plant in the garden showed such a cycle of growth and decay. Even as the seeds fall out and the head withers away, the sunflower is still the king of the garden. It is as if it saps in all the sun and feeds all the other flowers and edibles through its root system. Powerful and mighty even as it shows the passage of time.

This painting is my entry in the Mixed Media Monday "Floral Tributes" challenge. It is available for purchase from in the Sacred Arts Studio on Etsy for $75.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shhhh... Can You Keep a Secret?

Today is my mother's 65th birthday, and I'm about to go give her this little box.

Although she can't paint (just cause she hasn't tried) or sculpt, she is the single most creative person I know! Oh if I could only share with you all the radical things she did her many years as a kindergarten teacher!

Mom and I have a one-of-a kind relationship. I wouldn't call her my best friend - cause I don't tell her everything.. some things moms just don't need to know! But she's seen me at my worst, fought for me when I needed someone, cried when I've been in pain, and rejoiced at my successes. I'll have lots of friends in my life, but only one Mom.

When she received Early Childhood Teacher of the year award for the state of Texas, I was the proudest I've ever been of someone! I think I jumped five feet in the air when her name was called out! So.. here in this little box, I have her surprise... ready?


Eggs! She may be retired but she's going strong.. still teaching music to young children, volunteering, helping me out oodles with my indie art business... Can't wait to see what God has in store for her next!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hope Beyond Faith

Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all. ~Emily Dickinson

I've been thinking a lot lately about Katy Hayes in Kingwood, Texas. She had a rare case of Step throat that left her comatose after giving birth to her third child back in February. Her husband made the difficult decision to have all four of her limbs amputated in order to save her life. Upon waking this past month, she is grateful.

What is it, inside of her, that has not made her roll over and want to give up? What was it, in her husband, that risked everything to make this difficult decision? In the midst of as mixed up, messed up, jumbled up, jabbing with pain and horror of a situation that I can imagine, what keeps these people focused? What is the miracle inside of them?

Deeper than conviction, more primal than faith, hope is the inner core that allows for possiblity. Hope says there may be a divine "yes" beyond the reality check of suffering and hardship. And hope allows us to ridiculously continue to wake up, to breathe, to eat, to laugh, and to love.. despite every outward sign proving that life just isn'tworth it anymore.

For all those facing a reality check today, may you see the wings in your soul.

This planter pot is currently available for purchase in the Sacred Arts Studio on Etsy for $40.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Explore - A Challenge to You

Surely there is grandeur in knowing that in the realm of thought, at least, you are without a chain; that you have the right to explore all heights and depth; that there are no walls nor fences, nor prohibited places, nor sacred corners in all the vast expanse of thought...
~Robert Green Ingersoll

It has been a very busy few weeks and I apologize for needing to step away from my blog for a few days. I was preparing pieces for an Art and Coffee event (click to see pics) put on by a wonderful organization here in Dallas called ArtLoveMagic . I'm thrilled that I was chosen to be one of the artists in their Girl Show "The Perfect 10" later this summer.

One of the great things about being pushed to put out a large amount of work is I get so bored doing the same thing that I start reaching for new idea. One night last week I was chatting with a friend and showing her the first basecoat of background on a few canvasses and she ordered that I could not put a butterfly, a bird, or anything of the sort on these. So I'm pushing.. trying something new.. for the sake of experimenting, developing my skills, discovering new things. (Sometimes that can be a really hard thing to do when you are living off your art, and really want to make your work sellable.)

This week I invite you to try something new as well (a new style of writing, a new subject for your painting, perhaps a new way to solve a problem) and post it here... either through description, a link to a blog or picture, or whatever your heart desires! Here's a couple things I learned from my journey last week.. or perhaps even my lifetime of trying things...

1. It begins with the thought. And sometimes that is scary enough that most people stop here. Don't just jump in, or you probably won't get very far. You know how they say do that idea board and put every idea on it -- even the ridiculous ones? There's a reason for that. Not so the idea can actually be on the board, but so your mind can remain free, your mind can play with clay of ideas up there and start molding and blending together and pulling apart. Something will come.

2. When you take steps outward into something new, no worries. You bring your experiences and base knowledge with you. Trust the divine that the time for you to unpack that knowledge will be revealed to you.. it will. And be open to doing something really different with it. Here's an example... one of the last things I do in a painting is to often put horizontal and vertical lines in the negative spaces.. a cross hatching to add depth. See what I'm talking about by clicking here. But this time, the lines just didn't seem appropriate... which is when I worked with lines of bubbles. And I love the way it turned out! It made the scene come to life!

3. Don't worry about what you're going to do with what you've done ... the time for that will be revealed as well. I was really happy to sell two of my painting explorations a few weeks ago -- paintings that I had created over a year ago. I feel like I've developed so much since then but there is something so spot on about what those pieces.. they were discoveries for me and they will be discoveries for their new owners. Right now, I don't know who is going to hang up a pink and purple and mustard and jade octopus painting, haha, but the time for that will be revealed as well.

So get busy... this isn't just for artists... it can be for any challenge in your life needing a creative solution. Document your journey, or even just the start of your journey here, and see what happens. Oh, and did I say that I'll be giving out a mini octopus painting randomly to someone who responds? Yup! I'll give you a month.. July 6th I'll announce the winner!

Now start breaking down some walls..

This painting is currently available for purchase in the Sacred Arts Studio on Etsy for $75.

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