The Gift of being Present

"Five Fifteen"  24x24" Pastel on sanded paper

The gift of being present...what a concept! I dare to suggest that most of us live in an interruption-based society and are simply busy working to live and survive. And when all our needs have been met we naturally move towards new goals. 
Planning, dreaming, and navigating the world around us can give us a sense of purpose. We can also get hung up on worrying about the past and lost opportunities. Why not? How come? Not me? Or how about the voices in your head that keep reminding you of all those "Honey do's"?   

What if you let off the gas and just coasted for a while? When was the last time you did that? A long overdue vacation? That in itself could be exhausting! Do you need more time for yourself? Living in the moment is possible with a bit of thoughtful effort. Become more aware of your surroundings. Quietly sit down and look outdoors at the colorful Spring season. What do you really see? When have you just sat and listened to the quiet sounds around you? Can you identify them? Being present in the here and now is such a gift to your well-being. Take a deep breath, pray, meditate, fill your lungs, and clear your mind. Just be here, and gift yourself the present.

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Clearing the way towards a fresh perspective


"Summer Field" oil on linen panel, 8x10"  $1,050
 Available through Art Elements Gallery

What does it take to make a small change in your life? Pretty easy, right? Perhaps for some of us, but it truly depends on each personal situation. We each are born and develop through experience, a unique perspective on life and how things work around us...politics, science, religion, the natural world...the "usual" circumstances beyond our individual control. So when a change is necessary, do you freeze or jump?

What if you took a magnifying glass and looked with your naked eye, at a colorful image in a magazine? There you would see thousands of red, blue, yellow, and black dots meaninglessly arranged apart from each other. But when you look at the dots from a distance, you see the individual dots are arranged to make more sense and become clear with a united idea. Continue looking at this image from 30 yards away, it becomes blurry, and inevitably...a blob!

We all know that we experience, over time, a huge dictionary of trials and tribulations that form our outward perception of life. This is what makes us 
so beautifully unique! The same goes for stepping back as an artist. I often step back and physically remove myself from my paintings. Viewing my work from a different perspective opens up unforeseen solutions. I will often turn the work upside down, face it towards the wall to get a break from it, look at it in a mirror, or take a photo and look at it in reverse on my smartphone. What and how do you gain a new perspective?  Change it up!

Moving along...    

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A thirst for first

Finally...winter is showing signs of exhaustion! While most of us have endured several chilly months inside our cocoons, a wariness begins to emerge, causing us to get up, shake off the cobwebs, and get out of our winter cave. Spring spurs a little urgency to evaluate where we will go next.  Some of us will be packing travel bags, and experiencing many "firsts", while some may stay settled into a comfortable, solid routine.  Oh, Spring!  What lies ahead?

Do you ever look at nature and wonder just how you are here in the present?  Does the outdoors bring forth new ideas? It surely does for me!  

One Spring I took a painting trip to California's Palm Desert that produced some of my favorite pieces (the inspiration for the piece above). The subtle colors of the old palm tree skirts were an unexpected sight. What amazed me while creating their likeness, was how I was present in an incredible moment of our earth's existence. The palm trees have been there for hundreds, if not thousands of years. drinking from the pools of percolating water that bubbles up from the infamous San Andreas Fault.  The thought came up that my paintings took an ensie-weensie second of their existence.

Time is precious. And while the palm trees continue to drink from the well, we continue to spin around so that we don't notice what is actually around us.  S
o here are a couple of ideas we can practice to slow down our busy lives and enrich our presence today...

Take a minute out for your "self" and just  b r e a t h e  deeply.
Listen to the sounds around you.  What do you really hear?
Go to the market and buy a fragrant bouquet to enjoy.
Get up early to view a sunrise.  How long has it been since you have done that?
Or touch the velvet of a rose flower...although they are out of season, you get the idea?
Use all of your senses to fill yourself up.  What will you do with your Spring?

Moving along...    

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Luck of the draw....or playing with aces and jokers?

What if you won a ten-million-dollar jackpot?  How would your life change?  Or would you try to preserve the "who, what, and where" you have become at this point?  It's quite possible your name would be reported on the evening news and the IRS would be banging on your front door. Or perhaps you'd move to Tahiti and wear coconuts for the rest of your life.

Some say that artists are "lucky to be born with talent".  Perhaps there is an eensie-weensie bit of truth to that statement, but there is one large aspect of talent that cannot be overlooked.  It's called TIME.  Having a talent is not luck of the draw. Making a career as an artist takes an entire lifetime of decisions, practice, failures, and experimentation...and there will always be more as time provides.

We each have some special gift (aka jackpot) that makes us who we are.  We all are dealt with opportunities (aces), and circumstances (jokers), that mold our destiny, and millions of decisions that can have a million outcomes. Could it be luck or lack of "the draw"?  Could it be fortuitous or happenstance?  
Perhaps "our time" is the only lucky thing we have.  So play your cards well!

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Wrapping things up with intention

Wrapping things up with intention

"Relevance" 6x8" oil on canvas panel,

Over the past few years, have you noticed how precious your time has become? The subject of time eventually revolves around more personal questions about "why we do with what we have". Personally, the subject of time has been a hot topic between me and my three-legged easel.

As a very young artist, I simply wanted to draw horses, yet I was completely unaware of how drawing the same subject repeatedly taught me a lifetime of skills. My "why" was to improve my ability to see better what I saw, and also get some sort of praise or recognition for my work. But life takes its turns...and time reminded me I had to eat.

Now..what time has taught me is to value an intimate relationship with what I paint. The "what" can be an emotional intention, a purpose, or a lesson at the end of each mark. My creative intentions revolve around my personal story more than any quantity, blue ribbon, or banknote. After all, is said and done, there is no better time than to discover and understand your personal "why"... now!  
What is your "Why"?  Do share!

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Crossing over to the other side...an introspection on life

Crossing over...

Throughout the Fall months in the Northern Hemisphere, a noticeable change in the weather, color, and pace of life is evident. It takes me back to when I was in college. I recall my music history instructor had us study the late 60's album "Bookends" by Simon and Garfunkle.  It is a compilation of songs written about the seasons of life.  

Right now I am feeling as if Fall offers more than seasonal changes.  Lately, I have been practicing introspection as I move and look forward...and back at my life.  Spring:  do you see it in children?  They are blossoming beings, growing and learning day by day.  Summer:  a more relaxed, confident, and productive pace of life.   As we enter into Fall, a keen observation of the colors, temps, and a realization that winter is just around the corner...and over the bridge!  Whoa, the chill of Winter!

Where did the time go?  Fall truly gives us a keen introspective on time. Time is here. It is now, and it should be spent with intention.  How about you?  Do you contemplate the seasons? Do you know where you are in life?   Do tell!

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Pulling weeds... 

"Queen's Patch"  12x12" oil on linen panel

and other unsung pleasures.

The heat of summer is upon us and thoughts of cooler days only tease us as we linger in the throes of August. In good time the weather will continue its path toward cooler days, and I ponder the scorching summer heat as one of life's weeds.  Not all of life's weeds are bad...and in some way, I question how earthly weeds have developed a fascinating ability to thrive. Oh, how wonderfully smart nature really is!

Consider the dandelion...  
A dandelion creates tasty broad leaves that you can add to your fresh garden salad. Its bright yellow flowers magically transform into perfectly sphere-shaped, fluffy wish-makers that have been designed to catch the wind and land on a willing patch of ground to blossom once again. Perhaps a sparrow chic may find its first tiny seed to eat from that fluffy wish-maker!  Ahhh, nature... how I love thee.

What about the prickly weeds of life?
I want to point out that these weeds can be viewed as "situations".  We need to view them as they really are. The heat of the summer has its purpose. And so does every action and reaction in life. The circle of life serves us all in terribly difficult times as well as miraculous moments. What a world we live in! My point is that every lousy thing that happens has an upside.  Missed your flight? As you wait it out at the airport bar, you engage with another passenger who shares brilliant ideas that provide answers to past challenges. At times, we have to really look hard to find it and most of the time it's right in front of us.

The beauty:
A sunrise ends with the sun setting.
The ocean has crashing waves that never cease, and beautiful sea life underneath.
A slow sigh of relief begins with a screaming breath of life.
Painting on-site on a blistering July day brings a sunburn and a wonderful work of art. The view before me was blocked by overgrown bushes, so I painted the weeds in front of me.  Why not?!

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