Saturday, August 27, 2016

Art Challenge: Room With a View

Lovely Nadine of tinyWOOLF is hosting an art challenge this week; the theme is Room (with a view). An excellent theme, I think, because there are so many possibilities for interpretation.

I found this picture of a door in a magazine, and at first thought I would portray the view I see when looking out my back door. But honestly, it's not a very interesting view since all the trees had to be cut down, and thinking about it makes me sad.  Looking out my back door seemed a bit obvious, and I really wanted to do something more imaginative - give my brain a good workout. Also, I'm trying to develop the habit of never settling on my first idea, trying to push myself further on into new artistic territory.

Inside Out
collage with mixed media, 9 x 6.5 inches

At the time I was thinking about all this, I was listening to this podcast of NPR's Invisibilia, called Frame of Reference.  This is the teaser: "What shapes the way we perceive the world around us? A lot of it has to do with invisible frames of reference that filter our experiences and determine how we feel. Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin interview a woman who gets a glimpse of what she's been missing all her life – and then loses it. And they talk to Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj about which frame of reference is better – his or his dad's." It was very interesting, to me, at least, and being an artist, looking at how we frame things seems pretty relevant.

Anyway, getting back to the topic at hand, I was still thinking about the door, and about rooms and views, which led me to thinking about how a room is defined, which led me to the concept of inside/outside. I hope you're not too bored with my rambling little trip through my thought process. (You're probably thinking, Blah, blah, blah, get to the point!) ha!

So I decided to focus on the frame of reference idea, but to flip the inside and the outside; in other words, the inside would be out, and the outside, in. To confuse things even further, there are objects that are inside that belong outside, and vice versa; but then again, which is inside, and which is out? I had a lot of fun playing around with the idea, and I hope you enjoy what I came up with.

For more interpretations of the theme, please visit tinyWOOLF for the links! And thanks for inviting me to share in the fun, Nadine!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Weekly Quick Collage: Meditation

mixed media collage, 6 x 4 inches


There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes
By: Danna Faulds

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


You could say I wasn't having a good day. Without going into detail, I had messed things up, and was suffering the consequences. Feeling very anxious and "out of sorts", I headed down to the creek with my camera. Looking around, I saw the same landscape I had photographed a thousand times before. Nothing new or interesting immediately presented itself, and I wondered why I had even bothered to walk down the steep hill from the cabins above. It was hot, and about as humid as a steam bath. I stood for several minutes, watching my dogs swim across the creek and run around the edge of the island.

 At some point, I noticed the sound of the moving water, and started to relax a bit. The more I listened and looked, the better I felt, the presence of the creek beginning to soothe me as it always had. Nothing to take pictures of, I thought, but at least I can sit here and meditate. Suddenly the appearance of one of the dogs on the other side of the creek drew my attention, and as I gazed across the water, I was suddenly struck by the bright, almost neon green color of reflected vegetation on the water's surface.

It rippled and shone, in dazzling patterns, lines, and swirls as the reflections were animated by the movement of the water and the changing light. Mesmerized by the dance of light across the surface of the creek, I turned on the camera and began to focus on what looked to me like a magical, ever-changing abstract painting.

The patterns of shapes and lines were most dramatic where the creek rushed around a large rock. The closer I looked, the more I saw it not as water, but as shapes and colors.

The effect was hypnotic. In some ways, when I zoomed in closely, it didn't look real.

These photos are strait out of camera, and haven't been altered in any way.

Each image drew me further and further in, until I lost myself completely in the colored shapes and lines.

Water, light, and color can do some pretty amazing things together.

Things that we often take for granted, or don't even notice.

Further down the creek, I noticed this.

I'm glad I noticed. In the words of Mary Oliver:

Let me keep my mind on what
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and
learning to be

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Secret Doorways

Secret Doorways
collage, 5 1/2 x 5 1/4

You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life. Daisaku Ikeda
Read more at:
You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life. Daisaku Ikeda
Read more at:
You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life. Daisaku Ikeda
Read more at:
You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life. Daisaku Ikeda
Read more at:

“She had always lived her best life in dreams. She knew no greater pleasure than that moment of passage into the other place, when her limbs grew warm and heavy and the sparkling darkness behind her lids became ordered and doors opened; when conscious thought grew owl's wings and talons and became other than conscious.”
~ John Crowley, Little, Big

Doors pop up in my artwork pretty often. As you are no doubt aware, doors and doorways have always been imbued with symbolic meanings, going back to the very beginnings of literature, including the Bible.

 Doors, gateways, or thresholds often symbolize transitions, transformation, passage from one type of reality to another (Dorothy opens the door of her house and steps into a completely different world.), from reality to non-reality, or from being awake to sleeping, and vice versa. They may also stand for entrance or exit, communication, initiation, or opportunity.

 If closed, they can represent mystery, boundaries, and barriers (Will the gates of the Emerald City be opened? At first Dorothy and her friends are told to "go away!")

Often it is the task of the hero of the story to pass through a door or gateway in order to complete their quest (Can Dorothy escape from the room where the Wicked Witch has her imprisoned?).

 When the character in a story stands before a door, they must make a critical choice, to enter/exit or not. Frequently, this is an important turning point which moves the story forward. 

Our everyday speech is full of idioms about doors:

"Off your hinges? You make a better door than a window? Katy, bar the doors! ... we don’t want her shadow to darken the door.
There are so many door idioms. We beat paths to doors, get a foot in the door, see someone to the door, close one door only to have another open, and think fondly of the girl next door." (sloWalker - red Ravine: walk to the bottom)

“There's a difference between fear and paralysis. And I've learned that I don't have to "grow up" to be open to opportunity, to be willing to step through doors without being pushed. I just have to be brave. I just have to be slightly braver than I am scared.”
~ Victoria Schwab