21 January 2014


I'm blogging over at www.riverstonestudio.com now, which is my new website. You can find me there and learn about all the creative things I'm getting up to.

Hope to see you there!

18 November 2013

Super Exciting Spectrum Announcement

Hali Karla is an artist/healer, with a deeply intuitive creative practice. She is wise, kind, loving, and generous. And I am extremely grateful to be able to call her my dear friend.

Her call to help women heal has inspired her to develop SPECTRUM, a holistic, online, visual journaling workshop that will run for 10 months in 2014. She has gathered together more than 30 artist/healers to share their intuitive wisdom and creative practice over the ten months.

I am even more grateful to announce that I am one of the artists who will be contributing over the course of the year. I'm already deeply involved in devising my offering--delving deep into my journey to tell my story and to devise a workshop that will allow women to explore their own creative intuition.

Let me tell you more about why I am so excited about this program. I got the chills when I saw the photo collage of the contributing artists. Some I consider my friends, other my mentors, some are wise women that I have long admired, and some I cannot wait to learn from.

To be more honest than that, I got teary eyed to be part of such a beautiful circle of women. I just know that their offerings will be so rich with wisdom, guidance, inspiration, and love. The ten-months will be a potent time for reconnecting with your body wisdom and deepening your understanding of your creative intuition.


Each of the eleven PDF guides will carry a theme related to one of our body's systems. Hali has created a structure for SPECTRUM that is rich in metaphor and meaning. I'm looking forward to seeing how beautifully our bodies' natural cycles map onto cycles of life and creation and inspiration.

I'll be sharing more about what I have planned and what others will be offering over the next few weeks, so stay tuned.

If you want to read more, check out the SPECTRUM page. There you will learn about the Early Bird Pricing of $99 that runs through December 16, 2013. As a contributing artist, I am an affiliate for SPECTRUM and will receive a portion of the registration fee if you use the green link below.

17 November 2013

Breathing Room

PictureSpace is the breath of art.
~Frank Lloyd Wright

One of my themes for 2013 has been Release. Over the course of the year, my husband and I have decluttered almost our entire home--excavating every closet, cupboard, and drawer for items and objects that were unused, redundant, or just taking up space.

It has been an amazing process to work through that touched on concepts of abundance and scarcity. It made me question what we truly need versus what we think we need.

For each item, I asked myself three questions:
  • Is it beautiful?
  • Is it useful?
  • Is it loved?
If I couldn't answer Yes to at least one of the questions, then the object, in theory, needed to go. In reality, I still found myself clinging to some of my stuff.

The most unexpected
items sometimes caused the greatest difficulty. Who knew that so much of my sense of security revolved around owning 38 bath towels, 18 hand towels, and 45 wash cloths? It took my husband several days to convince me that we would be fine winnowing it down and that the local animal shelter could use them more than we could.

But as we worked through the process together (all along it was much easier for Kevin than for me), it became fun. There was something liberating in sorting through our belongings and keeping only those that were beautiful, useful, or loved.

And so after several months' work, we managed to work through almost the entire house
, releasing umpteen carloads to local charities and to the local landfill. The change was dramatic. Our newly decluttered home felt spacious and open. There was truly room to breathe.

I say we worked through almost the entire house because one room saved for last
was my studio, which was my responsibility. Kevin didn't care if I decluttered it or not.

As the year went by, I found myself increasingly uncomfortable in my
studio. It is a large room and contained my fabric, craft books, sewing and cutting tables, ironing board, painting table, shelves for paint, an easel, a design wall, and my mother's hope chest. That is a lot of stuff, even for a large space.

My studio was no longer a place of refuge, no longer a sacred space for creation. I'd toss things in without putting them away. It became a confusing jumbled mess.

One morning, Kevin and I were enjoying our morning caffeine, and I started musing about my ideal studio. This is how I described it at the time: "
I can see it perfectly. White walls. High, sloped ceilings. Excellent natural light. Wide blonde pine floorboards. A large cabinet for storing supplies. Loft area for reading. Open. Spacious. Clear."

Not only could I see the space, but I could feel how it would be to breathe in the space.
It felt so different and I longed for the ability to make the change. Then I had a realization: I already have a studio. If I decluttered and reorganized, then I could make the space feel closer to my dream.

I mapped a plan.

With Kevin's encouragement, I decided to move all my sewing and quilting supplies to a spare bedroom and dedicate my studio space to painting.

It's been a week since I finished and the space is more than I dreamed. I may not have the pine floorboards or a loft area, but those are mere details. What I do have is the experience of an open, spacious, and clear studio.

I no longer feel confused when I walk into my studio. I feel clear and creative. And I can breathe. 

15 October 2013

Taking Risks When Failure is Not an Option

Imagine this familiar storyline from any number of sci-fi or action movies. An imminent threat, such as an approaching meteor, erupting volcano, spreading contagion, or growing super storm, has the fate of the world at risk

In the control room or cargo plane or reinforced bunker, a small band of special forces or scientists or everyday citizens develop an audacious plan to save the world. As tension mounts and they review their roles, the grizzled leader says something like "We get one shot at this. Failure is not an option."

I've decided to take that on as a motto for my studio, but for a different reason. The fate of the world doesn't rest on my painting. There is no life and death situation at hand when I step into my studio.

Instead, quite literally, failure is not an option. I can't fail in the studio. Oh sure, I can paint better or worse. I can get closer or further away from painting what is in my heart. But I can't fail.

In my studio, failure is not an option. It's just not possible. I cannot fail.

Sunday night I brought that attitude into my studio. I had been working on a small 12" x 12" canvas but was feeling meh about it. I had a pep talk with Kevin and remembered that I can't fail. I wanted to paint a giant eye on the painting. So I took a risk and did. And I found a new energy in both the painting and how I felt about painting.

Since then I have returned to the studio and have been actively pursuing risk taking, liberated by the knowledge that failure is not an option. It feels like soaring.

12 October 2013

Failure: A Corollary

There is true freedom that results from realizing that failure comes from holding back (and not from the attempt or the result). I can make choices based on the needs of the moment balanced with my long-term goals.

Take today as an example. It's Saturday and when I went to bed last night I had great intentions to make today full of painting, writing, and creating my business. But when I woke this morning I felt tired, a little stuffy, and low in energy.

So I made the conscious decision to nap in the recliner with one of our kittens. Usually, I would feel torn between the needs of my body and the need to meet my intentions. The disconnect between the two would cause tension and resistance. I might nap, but I would beat myself up about it. "You'll never achieve what you want if you spend all your time napping," I'd think to myself. And then after my nap I'd think "Well, you just wasted that hour. You'll never achieve your goals." These negative thoughts would spur negative feelings and I'd avoid the studio (which would now be associated with negativity in my mind) in favor of mindless Internet surfing or a silly computer game.

Today was different because after my realization I now feel free to pursue my goals without worrying about failing. I know they will take time to achieve so I don't feel the pressure to always work towards them (that pressure that seems to always lead to resistance).

I could take a nap with Torbie without fearing that it proves that I am a failure. A nap with a cat is just a nap with a cat--and not evidence of my unworthiness.

The corollary to knowing that failure comes from holding back is understanding that I can pause in response to the needs of the moment without facing resistance or deeming myself a failure.

I can return to the work when I am feeling better. I don't need to go through the cycle of pushing and resisting and pushing through the resistance while doubts flood my mind.

It is a a natural flow where I can respond to the needs of the moment, secure in the knowingness that I can always return to my path.

11 October 2013

What Failure Really Is

It's funny how the deepest wisdom resides in the gut. I mean, we can know something intellectually, but never truly understand it. It's the difference between reading something and saying "Yeah, yeah, I get it" and coming to a realization that strikes so deeply that you can feel it in your body.
Our bodies hold an infinite source of intuitive wisdom. The trick is learning how to sense it. Our everyday lives are so overfilled with stimulation that it can be hard to find time to be quiet, listen, and feel what our body is saying.  Learning to listen is so powerful because when we tap into our bodies' wisdom we connect with a deep-seated knowingness that has the capacity to change everything.

Last night I was reading and reflecting upon a question posed within the pages:

  • How do you hold yourself back because you fear failure?

Almost immediately I was struck with a knowingness that I could feel. Even before I had thoughts, I had a sensation that something changed within. So I paused, quieted, and listened to the knowingness of my body. And as I listened, I realized something.

  •  Failure comes not from the attempt nor even from the result. Instead, failure resides in the holding back that keeps us from ever trying.
In that timeless moment, something changed within. My body's wisdom told me that if I tried something and failed, well, it wouldn't matter. It wouldn't change the way I feel about myself. And if it changed the way other people saw me, that didn't matter either. Failure was just not a problem any more. It's the holding back--the fear of trying--that is the real failure

I have many dreams. Some dreams are even bigger than I've dared to dream. But now I see that my life--that all of our lives--are full of limitless possibility. We can dare to dream. More than that, we can dare to do. And all the while we are safe in the knowingness that the only real failure comes when we hold back from ever trying.

09 October 2013

How Do I Tell This Story?

Red Rocks
Four weeks ago I boarded a plane that (along with a rental car) would eventually lead me to Sedona, where I would join an intuitive painting retreat with my teacher, Connie Hozvicka of Dirty Footprint Studios.

Five days later I returned home a completely transformed woman.

I do not know how to tell you the story of the days in-between. I do not even know how to tell you how I have changed. All the beauty and healing I experienced happened in a space beyond words. I feel helpless as I sit here trying to describe it.

How can I tell you how it felt to paint under the light of the deep blue Sedona sky?

Or how it was I found myself only after I lost myself on a trail?

Or how it felt to spread myself on the red rocks and let the bright desert sun clarify me from the inside out?

And how it felt to have my pain and fear and suffering burn and leave naught remaining but a cool, celadon crystal in a pile of ash?

How can I tell you what it meant to meet my dear teacher and find her even more loving and wise than I imagined?

Or to connect with five other women so bravely willing to paint deep into their own hearts?

And to know that loving support and intuitive guidance was there in the circle, whenever I needed it?

How can I describe how in the midst of painting I felt my feet connect with the ground?  And how can I explain just how important that was to me?

Picture Or how it felt to breath in the clear desert air?  And then allow myself to exhale not just carbon dioxide, but the old stories that burdened my heart?

I feel so lost in trying to explain these things to you, which is deeply ironic because I think what I am most trying to say is that my trip to Sedona ultimately led me home where I found my truest self.