Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Took a trip a couple hours east to the coast for the last couple days. Saw a bunch of friends and spent some quality time with my brother Aaron and his wife Lauren. Lovely time.

My first stop was catching up with Lucy, who is a month old. She was born a month early but is growing strong now.

first stop: lucia

I decided to make the trip because Beth Nicholls of Do What You Love was in Boston from England. If was wonderful to catch up with her and hear about her latest projects as we shopped Newbury Street. I had forgotten my suitcase at home (pissed me off at the time, but not really a big deal) so we had reason to shop. We then enjoyed some great pizza at Scoozi. She mentored me through the spring as I designed and launched Seek Your Course and remains a wonderful source of ideas and insight.

Impetus for the trip: Beth Nicholls; Dinner with Michele in full costume after a day of tours

I then linked up with my teacher friend Michele who is running tours on the Freedom Trail all summer. We had dinner at the Green Dragon. Lobster #1.

Then headed to the North Shore and got to spend some time on the coast.

Beach time with Lauren and Poppy pup...struck by the colors and patterns there.

Poppy loves to run up to seagulls and watch them fly away, but one seagull she found could not fly away. This seagull had a giant hook through the nose holes of its upper beak! It was so sad. Lauren held the seagull by the base of its wings while I pulled it out. We had no tools so it cut him a little to pull it out but we figured it was better than leaving him. I pray it was okay.

Even though it was only a common gull it was life and life is worth caring for. It pained me to hurt it.

It felt almost like fate to be holding another wild bird so soon after holding the hummingbird in Oregon. I felt like it was waiting for me. I felt like I had to help it. I only hope I did the right thing.

The hooked gull and the weight that was holding it down.

My friend Mary Aarons saw I was up on the North Shore and invited me up for a visit. I met Mary also at Squam Art Workshops. She does e-Marketing for Quayside Publishing and talking with her was a real encouragement. People who do the things that baffle me for a living always have a way of sparking new life in my work. We chatted a bit about my upcoming residency too. And I just loved her house!

An inspiring visit with Mary Aarons in Gloucester

Ended my time there with more lobster (#2&3) at Tides restaurant in Nahant. Whirlwind of friends and business chatting…got me set to tackle some stuff come Monday!

I know this long of a post really doesn’t count as August Break…it is supposed to be a break after all. Oh well! 🙂


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It has started to rain as I am writing this post. It made me think. What if I could control the weather, orchestrating it like music? What if weather was another art form? Bring in some soft rain for a nice meditative moment and then the clouds break into brilliant sun and humming insects to energize the moment. And then maybe a soft mist rises with the setting sun for the end of the perfect day.

I suppose the weather actually has its own symphony playing and I should take notice more. Today started blue and beautiful then slowly grayed and brought us now a gentle rain to sooth and cool air to force us to cuddle and bundle up. A cozy evening setting.


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I am doing The August Break with Susannah Conway and hundreds of others. I need to focus on the good things in life and photography always helps. If only I had an iphone it would be easier…soon enough.

These were taken with my not-iphone early this morning while leading a two-day canoeing trip on the Connecticut River. Pretty good trip. Up-and-down. Lovely campsite. Lots of huge hail. Calm water. 14 year-olds. Lots of birds and damselflies. Cliques. Homemade hummus from camp. Everything wet. Home again.

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I scored big yesterday with the ever-wonderful Southwest airlines. I volunteered to be bumped in order to get a $520 voucher for a future flight. I stayed at a Hilton in Chicago because getting bumped involved getting re-routed through there and put up in a hotel for the night. Totally worth the voucher, mainly because it makes going to Artfest 2012 way more possible. Score!

Unfortunately now Chicago is getting hit with a thunderstorm and I am delayed going home. Blah.

I was looking forward to seeing the sunset on my flight last night. I always love watching the sky turn colors from the plane window. Turns out we ended up being IN the sunset. The misty white clouds around the plane slowly turned pink like they were on fire.

It always strikes me how unnatural flying is for humans. My body protests. Nausea threatens. And yet watching creation sing the song it sings everyday from that perspective always puts me in awe of this earth.

Seeing the earth day-after-day turn and grow without any help sparks in me resolve to live out my life following my path wherever it takes me knowing there is a plan, just like the sun, land and clouds do without conscious thought. The earth doesn’t have a debate with itself about whether it feels like doing the right thing and doesn’t think it might not be good enough to do what it is meant to do. The earth just sings and is so darn beautiful.

This trip has been wonderful and also very important for me. I feel stronger, more confident, more convinced that I am going in the right direction. And it feels so good to feel so happy and confident. I know hard times will come again, but I am in the right place and I know I will find the strength when I need it in the future too.

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Judy's Studio

Besides visiting gardens my last three days in Portland, I also visited some of the nicest artists I know. I had a lovely time seeing their studios and going out to lunch. Monday I visited Judy Wise‘s house and studio.

Walking into an artist’s studio is like walking into a room-sized embodiment of their creativity, energy and personality. It is where they pour out their soul and collect their treasures. It is a space that is truly their own. Walking into Judy’s studio I could feel her creative energy in the space. It was wonderful and made me so happy.

Judy's Studio

Lunch with Judy...really good Thai.

I also got a tour of Judy’s husband’s gardens. They were wonderful as well. So many things that grow in Oregon and do not grow (well) in the Northeast. John was working away and it was nice to finally meet him after seeing his gardens for so long on Judy’s blog.

Judy and John's Gardens

Tuesday I visited Bill and Linda Womack and their two dogs Sadie and Jack. Linda’s studio is in a converted garage behind their house. It was perfect. Linda has it set up with room for students so she can teach right in her studio. She has her work displayed along with work-in-progress and sample boards. She showed me how to crack shellac on wax, which I think is one of the last techniques in encaustics I’ve been wanting to try. Now I need to buy some shellac when I get home.

Linda's Studio

I had lunch that day with Bill, Linda, Kimberly Kent, and Judy Wise. We had a nice time catching up since our time together at the International Encaustic Conference in Massachusetts in June. We went to American Dream Pizza, which was fantastic and very cool inside. Kimberly’s grandson, Hugh, went with us.

Lunch at American Dream Pizza

So in 10 days I went roughly 600 miles, took over 1000 photographs, and doubled the weight of my baggage. I really loved my time in Oregon.

The baggage is a funny story. I spent all morning squishing all my stuff into my one suitcase and somehow I was successful. But when I got to Linda’s house I was telling her about my bags and she suggested I weigh it just to be on the safe side. Deep down I already knew I was in trouble, but how much trouble? I could barely pick up my bag to hold it on the scale. It was over 80 pounds! Oops! So Linda, being the wonderfully nice person she is, lent me a bag from their attic and I spent the next 20 minutes putting over 30 pounds into that bag. It was ridiculous, but it worked. The big bag was 50.0 pounds when I checked it! I had to laugh. Thanks, Linda!


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For all you garden people out there (Mom!) I wanted to do quick post on the Rose Garden and Japanese Garden in Portland. I had a lovely time walking around there. I especially loved how everything in the Japanese Garden was covered in moss. You just don’t get that back east.

Rose Garden

Japanese Garden

My Wonderful Hosts: Erik & Katie, Tim & Tomo

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The hummingbird I rescued...a truly magical moment.

EncaustiCamp has ended and I am now back in Portland staying with friends. It was a fantastic art retreat. I learned so much and have so many new ideas. A big part of me just wants to go straight home and paint…but I have more exploring to do before then! I am in Portland for a couple more days and then onto Colorado. Excited to see the studios of two artist friends in the next two days. More on that later.

I posted about EncaustiCamp over on the SYC Blog, but I wanted to share a little more here about what I did there and what I did today.

making paper in Michelle Belto's class

hanging (encaustic on handmade paper)

I am leaving EncaustiCamp with ideas and confidence. I received a warm welcome from Trish and was invited to share with the attendees a summary of Seek Your Course on the first night. She also let me put SYC postcards in everyone’s welcome bags. It was great to start the retreat like this because it sparked a lot of conversations throughout the week and gave me plenty of opportunities to talk about Seek Your Course. I also got lots of great feedback on my work. It feels so good and right to sense things moving forward and to see opportunities emerging before my eyes.

It was really encouraging to be noticed and known. I usually feel like I know everyone but I’m not sure they know me. This time it was the other way around. Everyone knew my name and I kept forgetting some of theirs. It was different. It felt good to be known and a part of me embraces this as success. And then a part of me is very wary of playing the attention game and wanting so badly still to be “cool.” Do these feelings ever go away? The need to be accepted seems eternally strong.

So I am cherishing these encouraging experiences and sealing them inside for times of doubt. While doing this I am also trying to meditate on being strengthened and firm in my convictions, but not tainted by thoughts of superiority or popularity. I am trying to just be true to myself and the path I have before me. I am uplifted and it makes me smile.

Me and Bridgette Guerzon Mills, Instructor Extraordinaire

On my way to Portland today I stopped in Aurora, Oregon. I found some scrumptious shops including a salvage place! I walked around wide-eyed and giddy like a child.

Shopping in Aurora: Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage and Tarte!

Here at Erik and Katie’s house they have chickens and bees in their beautiful in-the-city backyard homestead. I am inspired once again!

Life with Erik and Katie: bees, chickens, dogs and a potluck

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