Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour

Please don't forget to turn off your lights at 8:30 tonight, and give the Earth a big hug! Here are a couple of really good reasons why.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lemonade Award

I was honored to find that my friend Kathleen Krucoff nominated me for a Lemonade Award. She's a talented artist whose stained glass work and beautiful glass jewelry are always an inspiration and a joy to look at. Kathleen has been consistently kind and supportive, leaving positive comments that have often cheered me up and made my day. She probably has no idea how important to me her encouragement has been. I'm very grateful to Kathleen and others who've taken the time to share their thoughts with me.

What is a Lemonade Award? It is awarded to bloggers that show a positive attitude and gratitude.
Here are the rules for the award:
1.Put the logo on your blog or post
2.Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great Gratitude and/or Attitude.
3.Be sure to list and link your nominees within your post.
4.Let them know they have received this award by leaving a comment on their blog.
5.Nominate your favorites and link to your post.

And the nominees are (drumroll).....

A View Beyond Words

Altered Attic
Art Propelled
Lone Crow Art and Collage
Pinch me to see if you're dreaming
The Altered Page
Carol Engles Art
Quiet Girl Gallery

All of these wonderful artists, are, to me, great examples of what a positive attitude is. Please visit their blogs and see for yourself.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

World Dharma Mandala

I made this collage during the winter, but wasn't able to photograph it until now. I photograph artwork outside on a sunny day, in open shade, and this weekend, the weather was cooperative.

I was talking with a friend last night about the spiritual significance of the equinox. Because the day and night are of equal length at this time, she associates it with balance. Balance, always something to strive for, but difficult to achieve. Balancing all the aspects of life- the work, the play, exercise, sleep, time for making art, time spent with others or alone, finding time for all the tasks that must be done, yet somehow finding time for yourself. Balance, so we don't fall. It's easy to feel overwhelmed, too busy, frazzled, out of balance.

Looking at this piece, I realized that it is about balance. The mandala form is radially symmetrical; it is balanced in all directions, as is the wheel of the dharma. We seek balance within ourselves, as humanity must seek to live in balance with the earth. May we all find that balance.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Vernal Equinox

Finally, the first day of spring is officially here. As if they knew, the very first daffodils bloomed, their little yellow faces shining back at the sun. The magnolia buds will open soon, perhaps even tomorrow. Everything seems so new, in a cycle as old as time.

An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the Sun being vertically above a point on the Equator. The term equinox can also be used in a broader sense, meaning the date when such a passage happens.
The name "equinox" is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, the night and day are approximately equally long. It may be better understood to mean that latitudes +L and -L north and south of the equator experience nights of equal length. (Wikipedia)

Christianity and other religions associate three themes with the vernal equinox:

Conception and pregnancy leading to birth six months later at the time of the winter solstice. The Bible appears to contain internal evidence that Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) was born in the Fall of the year. Some suggest that the early Christians set Yeshua's birthday, Christmas, at the approximate time of the winter solstice. That would have placed his conception about the time of the spring equinox.
Victory of a god of light (or life, rebirth, resurrection) over the powers of darkness (death).
The descent of the goddess or god into the underworld for a period of three days. This is such a popular theme among religions that mythologists refer to it as "the harrowing of Hell." from

Monday, March 16, 2009

Free Tibet

I feel compelled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising, which was March 10. It is hard for me to express my feelings about it, so I'll let the words of the Dalai Lama say it:

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

Soon after the Communists took control of China in October 1949, Beijing began to contend that “the People’s Liberation Army must liberate all Chinese territories,” including Tibet. On October 7, 1950, 40,000 Chinese troops invaded. They easily overran the smaller Tibetan force of 8,000 troops and militia. Over 4,000 Tibetan fighters were killed in two days of fighting.

On November 17, 1950, the Dalhi Lama assumed full political power of Tibet. In 1954, he went to Beijing for peace talks with Mao Tse-tung. His efforts to bring about a peaceful solution to Sino-Tibetan conflict were thwarted. In 1959, Lhasa was the scene of a huge demonstration calling for China’s withdrawal from Tibet, and reaffirming Tibetan independence. The uprising was crushed by the Chinese army. The Dalai Lama escaped to India where he was given political asylum. Since 1960, the Dalai Lama has resided in Dharamsala, India, the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-exile.

In 1989, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The citation read, “The Committee wants to emphasize the fact that the Dalai Lama in his struggle for the liberation of Tibet consistently has opposed the use of violence. He has instead advocated peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people.”

His Holiness often says, “I am just a simple Buddhist monk - no more, nor less.” In explaining his greatest sources of inspiration, he often cites a favorite verse, found in the writings of the eighth century Buddhist saint Shantideva:

“For as long as space endures, and for as long as living beings remain, until then may I too abide to dispel the misery of the world.”

You can watch a video of part of His Holiness's speech here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Something Good

Something good happened during the "computer-less time", and I had almost forgotten about it. A week or so after the jurying process, I was excited to find out that I was accepted into the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen. This is a big deal in Kentucky, and I feel very fortunate to be a part of this wonderful group of talented artists.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Studio: Up Close and Personal

Apparently, there are people out there in Cyberland who want to know what the life of an artist is really like, so I thought I'd give you the 10-cent tour of my studio . Mine is pretty small; it was my son's room until he went to college. The main section is about 14 x 14 feet, not including the 6 x 10 "dressing room" section, which is mainly occupied by 3 dog crates right now (I may have to kick them out). There are 4 windows: 1 in the northeast wall, 2 in the southeast, and 1 in the southwest. I don't have a lot of storage space here, so some larger things are kept upstairs in the attic. Above you can see my easel; I keep a large piece of masonite on it because I usually work on paper, and also so I can work on more than one piece at a time if I want. There's an ugly yellow shelf beside it, containing the supplies I usually need when I work here. There's also a large light above it.

Proceeding around the room in a clockwise direction, my antique drafting table is in the corner next to the easel. It belonged to the live-in artist boyfriend of my grandfather's very wild (by the standards of that time) sister. My grandfather gave it to me when I was about 12 or 13. As you can see, it's frequently a mess, but I do reorganize after each project. I do most of my collage work here.

In the opposite corner, I have a beat-up metal flat file for keeping papers, scrap artwork, and works in progress that I've decided to put away for a while. On top of it sits an old apothecary cabinet, turned on its side so the drawers are horizontal. Scraps and cut-up pieces of monotypes and other assorted bits are filed (somewhat) in the drawers, so that, without too much aggravation, I can find them when needed.

By the window between the apothecary cabinet and the computer desk there was a huge Norfolk Island pine. I've had it for 2 and 1/2 years, and I'm amazed because they don't normally live that long around here. I couldn't get to the other side of the room without walking around my press, which is smack-dab in the middle of the room, so it has since been moved upstairs. The press will sit next to the window when I'm not using it.

My computer desk, with computer, printer, etc. I really don't want to talk about it.
You can kind of see one of the dog crates beyond the the filing cabinet. There's a closet in this section, too.

On the wall by the door is a bookcase which stores more art supplies. On this day, I had dampened an old artwork to try and get something unstuck (is that a word?) from it, and placed it between 2 heavy towels to absorb moisture and keep it from curling. My assistant, Scout, wanted to make extra sure it would stay flat, so she laid down on it. So helpful!

I'd love to see the studios of other artists. If you'd like to share yours, post a comment with a link so we can all take your 10-cent tour.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Quite Peculiar

Well, I don't know if the computer gods just hate me or what. The virus my computer had before was apparently hiding somewhere and moving around and it came back with a vengence. I had to take it to professionals, who told me that 80% of their business was a result of this particular virus. They had to wipe the hard drive down to factory specs, then all the programs had to be reinstalled, etc., etc., etc. All this took about 2 weeks.

Then, what's even more bizarre, to add insult to injury, I could not get into my blogger account! When I tried to sign in, I got the message that my username is invalid. I got a gmail account recently, and this account is under my other email address. If I sign in using my gmail account, it says I have no blogs; if I try to sign in using my other one, it's invalid. Somehow I was able to get in using a different search engine, but have no idea if this will work in the future. This very well may be my last post! If anyone has ever had this problem, PLEASE let me know what to do.

The photo included in this post was taken by my son, Colin Reusch (it's his own eyeball), and digitally manipulated by me.
Anyway, as John Lennon would say, "Quite peculiar, mama!"