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Archive for the ‘Art and the Artist’ Category

Photograph by Christine Valters Paintner

 

My dream is to make a pilgrimage with Christine and her husband John on the holy terrain of western Ireland, spin stories, open hearts, and pray together in our pilgrimage tribe. I still wish upon a star and stay open to the possibility it may happen,

But today I have to settle for re-subscribing to her newsletter and Abbey of the Arts information and inspiration from her website. And read chapters of several of her books I have in hard copy and on my Kindle Fire.

 

To meet the new privacy laws, I had to re-subscribe this morning and I had to CONFIRM MY HUMANITY, and reveal I am not a robot.

I love that! I think about the things I go about the day and do in a robotic fashion and reaffirm I wish to stop that and only do what fills my heart and soul. Or else, actually put my heart and soul INTO that which I am doing robotically.

I also do wish to CONFIRM MY HUMANITY. There is so much less than human behavior being put in front of us on a daily basis…on TV, on the Internet, on the roads, all over the place in politics,… in personal interactions,…the hot button is growing, inappropriate behavior is getting all the attention; we are all putting ourselves at risk ever more often, IF we don’t stop and think…

we are humans, homo-sapiens, made to a greater image and likeness than what is showing…

Today, I confirm my humanity. I do the things that are mine to do. I respect myself and I respect others. I plant kindness in my day. I watch my thoughts and actions. I apologize quickly. I don’t hold grudges. I look for the joy. I believe in the good. I am humane.  I am active in the Human Humane Society.

Below are words from Christine. You may find her at http://www.abbeyofthearts.com

Have a humane day today.

 

A guest post this morning from Christine Vaulters Paintner, contemplative artist and writer

in Ireland

 

 

I am a joyful member of the Disorderly Dancing Monks and here are words from our Abbess.

A love note from your online Abbess

“Dearest monks and artists,

Like many of you, global events lately feel quite overwhelming at times and I ponder and pray about my response. One thing I keep coming back to is a sense of deep certainty that the way of the monk and path of the artist make a difference in the world. What distinguishes these two ways of being is that each are called to live deliberately on the edges of things, in active resistance to a world that places all its value on speed and productivity, that reduces people to producers and consumers, and reduces the earth to a commodity for our use.

The longer I follow this path in my life, the more I consider hospitality to be one of the most essential of all the monk’s wisdom. To practice actively welcoming in what is most strange or other in my world as the very place of divine encounter – what St Benedict tells us in the Rule – is a holy challenge! But in a world where otherness sparks so much fear and policies which further divide us, learning to embrace the gift of the stranger, both within our own hearts, as well as in the world is a true balm.

This is what Jesus taught as well through his actions everyday – welcoming the outcast, the stranger, the foreigner. Always breaking boundaries to witness to immense love over fear.

Perhaps the other great essential for me is the practice of silence and solitude. Making time for a deep listening, rather than reacting to what we hear. What are the sacred invitations being whispered in quiet moments? And can we resist a culture of noise where we are bombarded with endless cycles of news.

In her book Mystical Hope, Cynthia Bourgeault writes that “(Mystical hope) has something to do with presence — not a future good outcome, but the immediate experience of being met, held in communion, by something intimately at hand.” Allowing time to feel met by the divine and held in communion is a reminder for us as we return to the demands of our lives and seek to make wise and compassionate choices. It helps to nourish hope deep within us.

In my book The Artist’s Rule, I include a favorite scripture passage:

Now I am revealing new things to you, things hidden and unknown to you, created just now, this very moment. Of these things you have heard nothing until now. So that you cannot say, Oh yes, I knew this. (Isaiah 48:6-7 – Jerusalem Bible translation)

It is a reminder that more than ever we need people willing to pause and listen, to open their hearts to what is uncomfortable, and to hold space and attention until the new thing emerges.

I don’t have the answers, but I do have ancient practices which help to sustain me when I would rather run away. Perhaps if we keep practicing together, we will hear whispers of a new beginning.”

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Image by Abbess Christine Vaulters Paintner

 

Today is Ash Wednesday. I will honor this day with much reflection. I am blessed. I am mortal. I am dust and unto dust, I shall return. I am getting older. My bones have a sense of dust. But my spirit burns bright within me.

There is much I still want to do. Sometimes I want to do it in a hurry. Today is one of those days. Last night, I made a list of all the things I want to do today, a day of release from a focused pace of writing. Yet here I sit writing.

There are way to many things on this list; apartment cleaning that has been put off, calligraphy practice I want to do, watercolor play I haven’t taken time for, doing some low carb meal casseroles and snacks to have on hand, reading, praying; tend Tom’s surgery healing and my own sore body from a fall;  sending valentines to my beloveds; there is more. I just think of them right now because I didn’t write them down. They are in my head.

But the thing is, there are too many and I am too slow. I cant’ whisk through them. I must go slow; I must embrace slow. And I received my lesson from Abbess Christine when I opened my email. I have joined her tribe of contemplatives and journey-makers and art lovers many years ago. She lives in Galway, Ireland and it would be a great blessing if I could fulfill a burning desire to visit her there one day. We are bonded together by membership in the Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks.

Another tribe I belong to is Cat Carecelo’s Wisdom Gatherers through Collage and Process Art. We journeyed to find the Divine Spark within us. And that spark has led to the writing of a book, I have long yearned to write, with an image guide found within my 2017 art process.

 

Tom and I will spend this rainy day inside today. I will cross each of us on our foreheads with soothing moisture cream and essential oil…meant for the living…and we will live this day, in slowness, reflection and gratitude for the life and partnership given each of us on what has been a grace-filled long road of love and family, and tasks and missions well-done.

To Do List things will get done. This Lent, I will be mindful of embracing a spirituality of slowness and being ok with that.

Guest blog and photo below from Christine Valters Paintner.

 

Dearest monks and artists,
Modern life seems to move at full speed and many of us can hardly catch our breath between the demands of earning a living, nurturing family and friendships, and the hundreds of small daily details like paying our bills, cleaning, grocery shopping. More and more we feel stretched thin by commitments and lament our busyness, but without a clear sense of the alternative.

There is no space left to consider other options and the idea of heading off on a retreat to ponder new possibilities may be beyond our reach. But there are opportunities for breathing spaces within our days. The monastic tradition invites us into the practice of stopping one thing before beginning another. It is the acknowledgment that in the space of transition and threshold is a sacred dimension, a holy pause full of possibility.

What might it be like to allow just a ten-minute window to sit in silence between appointments? Or after finishing a phone call or checking your email to take just five long, slow, deep breaths before pushing on to the next thing?

 

Chi

 

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I am playing with art. I am no longer afraid of art or being an artist. I love Oriental Brush Painting. I love watercolor. I love collage. All of it is now fun to me. I write more than I play with art, but that will balance out eventually, once I get my book completed.

I had fun this summer with an on-line course from Carla Sonnheim. It was a course for children and their parents. I will take her next one and hopefully later on join some more teaching courses with her. Color makes me happy.

We shared our art on-line and it was so fun to get up each of the five days to see what others had created.

This is my Chagall rendering of carousel.

 

We created Blob animals from cracks and shapes found in the sidewalk and parking lots. There are lots of blobs out there!

 

We also created lots and lots of herds of corrugated cardboard elephants.

 

 

Asian brush art is a favorite of mine and I am taking up learning it. The soft, fluid energy I see in it lights my soul. There is much to learn and PRACTICE is the centerpiece of learning. It is meditation with ink and paint. I love watching YouTube videos to get me going with it.

And I took two workshops in Berea, a creative center of the arts and writers, from Diane Marra this summer also. That deepened my love for this art. I created two pieces that vibrate with chi and warmth for me.

 

Being genuine.

 

We moved to Lexington in January 2017 and reside in a nice apartment in The BLVD at Hays complex. The new Lexington Senior Center is very close to us. I took up a few water color classes there. Water color is my favorite paint medium. I love what it does on paper with its blends, splatters, and swirls and thin line art. I want to get much better at it and I have time to practice.

 

 

I am Napkinwriter. I write on napkins.

 

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“I received many many gifts from staying with Catherine Anderson and teaching a Writing Down Your Soul workshop in her studio. A big gift was getting to SLEEP in her studio. Here’s my bed in one corner. What does this remind you of? Think Paris.”  Janet Conners

That is one high honor Janet Conner is mentoring the writer in many of us with our hearts aflame with purpose and divine guidance. She is SoulWriter.

Teaching us to listen to the Voice and record it on the page. I address my Voice as WHO — Whole and Holy One.

 

I am Writer – in – Residence….

…earning my AIC certification —  Ass In Chair.

Artemis, goddess of the heart sets aim on the words that come into being through us…

and Hestia…goddess of the hearth keeps us at home and creative in our writing.

My Hestia is at the loving Crone age and her fire still burns and guides…

Our Plug In For Writers Circle gathering of exquisite women feed the world and shape it into a better world for all in the books that will take seed in the near future.

 

Archangels Michael and Raphael and Angel Gabriel are present to help me during my “office hours” of creativity.

http://www.janetconner.com

 

 

Catherine Anderson of Charlotte NC  is a GRACE FIND for me. I was with her twice in her beautiful and sacred studio at her home, and traced the back yard labyrinth with my feet and the labyrinth of my writing and SoulCollage® cards with my heart and hands.

 

SoulCollage® gives wings to my words. The practice of this beautiful visual/spiritual/artistic practice was begun by Seena Frost and is world-wide now with thousands of facilitators introducing groups to the joy and wisdom building it brings.

 

I Am One Who Is….Blessed Baby.

I Am One whose Power Animal for the writer in me is the Tiger.

 

I Am One who helps you understand the difference between
crash landings and exploration.

I Am One who is grateful to be called to writing,
SoulCollage® and the quiet peace of the labyrinths
I have walked all around the world.

 

 

So Inspiring to be together, create and journal
our Wisdom within.

 

 

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That’s a tall order for the day, I think as I glance at my To Do list and see the words Make Elephant not crossed out on my list.

I like the TO DO pad I found at Office Depot one day. It has two columns: On the left, it says TODAY, and on the right it says, LATER.  I take full advantage of being a retiree, so my list is not two columns. It is just one running across both columns. Those not crossed out at the end of today…you guessed it are the ones that are left for LATER.  Works pretty well.

It seems the Elephant was left for later.

It is the last of 5 daily assignments of Carla Sonheim’s Art Week for Kids 2017. This kid, age 74, really had fun with the art we all made. Besides making the art, and learning a little about famous artists, the best part was a private Facebook page where our Art Gallery existed and so many posted their creative work, it was a blessing to enjoy.  Each of us doing same assignment, all of us doing unique, individual, no-two-alike creations and having fun while doing it. I am going to be a kid again next year and join the others.

First, we went BLOB hunting….finding cracks and shapes and shadows outside that we drew the outline of and then created Blobimals from them.

And then we studied the Durer Rabbit (Hare) and many of us discovered that we loved the oil pastels we made our creations with. Some of us were very surprised that we liked the oils so well. Most of us found that our rabbit shapes came easier to us when we outlined him like a blob and worked from there.  This is mine.

 

Many of us like blue.

Then we went on to the Russian-French painter — Marc Chagall and created paper art in imitation of his Merry-Go-Round with horses and his sense of fun and delight in life.

 

What came next was pretty wild and crazy and most of us could not stop at one. We made more and more and more and became great fans of artist Picasso. We made the Picasso Cat. Mine fell asleep and took a nap in the sun.

 

 

Others were quite active…dancing

Or were quite blue….

 

One more just for fun, because this was F U N…

 

So, last Friday, we came to the elephant.  And for me, life interfered with art (I hate when that happens!)  and I only began to make my elephant. Beginning means that I found a cardboard corragated box and ripped shapes off of it.  These shapes sat next to the dining room table on the floor while I did life and watched all the wonderful animals appear on the Facebook Art feed.

And here is blue again.

There was even a pink one. I have to find her in the herd.

Alina posted pictures on how she made her elephant. After getting her pieces in the shape she wanted for her elephant, she is painting gray onto the elephant. This is going to help me remember how to make mine.

Here she is deciding which shapes to use.

Now, we can see her magnificent elephant. Oh my, he is so awesome.

Each day, artist Carla Sonheim led us in our art with a brief 10 minute happy encouraging “let’s do this” video and a written list of instructions to follow that were simple.  Along with a jumpy little tune, I know I was just like all the other kids and if I had had a mommy by me, I’d be bugging her to “Let’s, go, mommy, let’s go.”

And they did. And I did.  And this weekend I will be piecing and painting and gluing my elephant together. I think he will be silver gray.

Peek into Carla’s world if you are interested in having fun in creating.

http://www.carlasonheim.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I haven’t been able to post new photographs here, so son-in-law Carl, looked into it and seems my seven years of blogging has cramped the space and a new enhancement is needed. I have done that and am now on experimentation ground.

Well, my first photo surely uploaded quickly. Off to a new start.

I have been having some fun playing with art lately. I was so happy to travel to artisan village Berea and take two classes in Asian art that I will follow up on with small group meetings with others who find this type of art appealing and serene.  In the tradition of the Japanese, copying from the Masters is the way of perfection.

Then I also jumped into a week-long kids art class from Carla Sonheim on-line and this has been so joyful. One project a day and so many creations are put up on the Class Facebook page. I would take the class just to be able to see the other paintings (like me, there are some “little-big” kids in the class.)

We have played with Blobs, and blob creatures, rabbits, a Chagall Merry-go-Round with horses and a Picasso cat. How fun, how fun, how fun.

Selections from the class:

 

 

 

One more project left for tomorrow but I think the blobs shall never stop appearing to me and needing to be made into animate objects.

Next week, I return to regular scheduled and steady writing on my book. During the lapse of writing, much has come to me that is going into the writing, so I am grateful for that. I am pretty sure the cover image is changing to the second of my two choices AND I have a top talented graphic artist who will work with my cover design for me which will be M A G N I F I C E N T.

I continue to get great response to the title of the book, as I talk about it more frequently than I have in the past:

“Being Faithful To The Quiet”
Finding the Peace that Frees Your Soul

I don’t know where to find my new tools. I will have to explore some more. But the photos are working nicely again.

 

 

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The Chinese character for mystery, or yugen, is the same character for mountain, which looks like an inverted T with two squiggles on each side of the vertical stem.

“The line is the mountain and the squiggles on either side represent the mist in the valley that invokes a certain anticipation of the hidden.”  (The Zen of Creativity, John Daido Loori)

We often associate mystery with the darker side of life, the unknown. Then in religion and art, mystery is actually light, itself.  I am interested in mystery today because I am attempting to “sort out” and “be with” a great mystery of loss which has befallen my friends, in a sudden and tragic death of a young mother and friend.

Being with this loss is indeed taking up all aspects of mystery — the terrible darkness it brought upon us and the light we must seek to go back to center and live from there.  Peaking around the next corner into the darkness is not my forte.

 

In his writing upon mystery, John Daido Loori,  one of the truly great Zen Masters, says:

“Mystery is the seed of discovery. The term ‘mystical’ means: ‘Having a spiritual meaning that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intellect. It is direct subjective communication that we can’t process intellectually. We can’t see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, touch it, or think it. It is very subtle and slippery, impossible to nail down or explain. Yet we’re somehow aware of its presence, and it has a real impact on us.”

He goes on to explain how we can become aware of its presence.

“In order for us to perceive this subtle quality, three elements must be in place: trust in our spiritual practice, trust in the creative process, and most importantly, trust in ourselves. If any of these are missing, the whole structure collapses and we retreat into certainty. So we trust, even if we can’t explain or justify why we do what we do.” P 194 The Zen of Creativity

I had underlined the first part of this and made notes in the margin when I was first reading this book, probably over fifteen years ago.  After several moves, and still not having my categories together on ever-moving bookcases, I pulled it out today, thinking about Zen, Reiki and Japanese art because I am on the brink of an opportunity to take two workshops in Japanese flower painting and Wabi-Sabi collage next week. Which I am so excited about, I could pee my pants.

Also, because I am filled with grace to have come under Janet Conner’s (Janetconner.com) tutelage since Writing Down Your Soul, Lotus and Lily AND Intersection for Writers on-going instruction modules and books.

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT SHE TEACHES …..THERE IS NO WRITING COURSE OUT THERE THAT I KNOW OF THAT INSTRUCTS AND INSISTS ON SPIRITUAL PRACTICE AS PART AND PARCEL OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS.

And her process for writing, to those of us listening and learning, goes directly to accessing that special mystical quality and writing from there….and trusting it. That is her belief and her brand. That is the sweet spot and her students are zeroing in on it. What fabulous books are being authored that are going to reside on bookstore shelves across the world and fly from the internet into homes awaiting their special gifts and wisdom.

SHE IS SO RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT. WE ARE  SO BLESSED, BLESSED, BLESSED.

Just how long did it take to grow the mountains? It’s a mystery, right? So many layers, so many changes, over time…over time. Just like a mystery. It is a mystery to me how my eyes fell upon this section  of the book, after having been out of my sight for so very long. But for me, this is a special seeding time. The field is ripe and the conditions are powerful and potent. I am about my purpose. I have been guided to my guides, here on earth and beyond. I am in good hands. Who’s hands?

Well, that’s a mystery.

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