May 19, 2012

From there to here, and beyond

I attended a day-long retreat this week where I enjoyed the gift of spacious silence for reflecting on my creative path—how I got here and where I'm headed. I created this sketchbook spread:

I also made an aspiration card that sums up many of my life principles. You can see it on the Bent Tuba Studio blog.

February 21, 2012

Adventures with Tina the Tuba

I'm so pleased to announce the birth of Bent Tuba Studio - art workshops for adults in Greensboro, NC.  The first class will happen March 17, and registration is open until March 10. And if you're wondering about the tuba, you'll want to read this: The Tale of Tina the Tuba

I've also been dabbling in the Sketchbook Challenge. More of my sketchbook images, like the one shown here, will be posted soon at the Bent Tuba blog. I hope you'll play along!

January 3, 2012

Rest is not the opposite of action.

Photo by shikeroku (used under Creative Commons license)

Sometimes my fallow periods are filled with resistance: I want something specific to happen and it's just not happening (yet), leading me to recognize that things are still germinating. At other times, lying fallow is a deliberate choice that I make.

Six months ago I received two devastating pieces of news within a few days of each other, and the nature of my circumstances led me to choose rest as the best course of action. It's as if I were lucky enough to walk away intact from a train wreck, and rather than immediately searching for another train heading toward my original destination, I decided to just walk for a while and take in the landscape. To slow down, serve in a smaller way for a while, and discern the shape of things.

Though I've been at peace with my decision, reading this post by Alana Sheeren on practicing self-care led me to an epiphany: Rest is not the opposite of action.

Alana writes: "The revelation that has come this past week is that inspired action and slowing down aren’t mutually exclusive if I let go of the thought that I need to be there now. I can get more sleep and spread the word about the pregnancy loss support group I’m starting. I can meditate and journal and answer my emails. But I can only do this if I truly let go and trust that there is time."

These words sparked an insight for me: If "inspired action and slowing down aren't mutually exclusive," then rest contains elements of action, and action CAN include elements of rest.

I've always seen it as rest versus action, as if the two can only be at odds. But if there is action that happens within a state of rest, then rest isn't just restorative (taking you back to where you were before) but also transformative (bringing you into a new landscape entirely). And if there can be places of rest within a state of action, then that changes the game entirely, doesn't it? What if restorative transformation can happen all along the way? What if there's a deep breath available with every step?

August 31, 2011


I created this mixed media collage/assemblage, titled Metamorphosis, to donate to the "Art Lives Here" silent auction fundraiser for Hirsch Wellness Network, which provides creativity workshops to cancer survivors and caregivers. This piece is a diptych that incorporates tea and coffee stains, vintage pattern paper, ink, image transfer, magazine collage elements, and found objects.

A few detail views:

Some of the other art works to be featured can be previewed at the "Art Lives Here" auction Flickr page. Check out Hirsch's Facebook page for auction details.

August 22, 2011

On the creative process

1.  "Just being at the piano – egoless – is to reach that place where the only thing that exists is the sound and moving toward the sound. The music on the page that was outside of you is now within you, and moves through you; you are a channel for the music, and play from the center of your being. Everything that you have consciously learned, all of your knowledge, emanates from within you... You are at one with yourself and the act, and feel as if the playing has already happened and you are effortlessly releasing it. The music is in your hands, in the air, in the room, the music is everywhere, and the whole universe is contained in the experience of playing." [Mildred Chase]

2.  "We create together with our materials and our bodies, not just from our minds... When I move freely from my body and other senses, the materials will respond." [Shaun McNiff]

3.  "I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten – happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another." [Brenda Euland]

August 10, 2011

Sketching mindfulness.

I started a new sketchbook. A record of liminal space.

Making marks   /   old friends in a new space: seeds and mandalas.

Finding one thing to love in a place I don't want to be: crooked lamp in a waiting room.

Seeing the sky: clouds.

A breath, and a breath, and a breath. That's what I know.