Tag Archives: collaborations

Winter Wren’s Sisters of the Soul Journal

Sisters of the Soul Journal Round Robin
Pen & Ink and watercolor
(Click to see enlarged view in separate window)

I received Wren’s book last week and was inspired to work in it right away. Not only was the book a journal that appeared to be hand made by my very good friend, Kelly Kilmer, but Wren’s sub-theme was women writers and their worlds/words. How could I not be inspired?

Writing has been an important part of my life, too. I’ve been reading and writing for as long as I can remember. I chose to share and illustrate one of my favorite Margaret Atwood’s poems, Corpse Song, from her collection of poems entitled You Are Happy circa 1974. There are several more of my favorites among them. Margaret was a great influence on me stylistically, and remains one of my favorite writers.

Many years ago I read Nathalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones which had inspired me to use writing as a spiritual practice. Although I’ve since become rather sloppy in this practice, writing from the soul, whether in a journal or more publicly (like on my blog or incorporated into a piece intended for public consumption), has brought me closer to myself, and made me aware of my soul on a level I would not have otherwise achieved.

Another whose work I admire is Jim Morrison, whose better known by some as the lead singer of the Doors. His lyrics (and the poetry from which the lyrics are derived) are haunting and surreal, no doubt influenced by the hallucogenic drug, LSD, which he consumed copious amounts of for a time. Inspired by Timothy Leary and the Aldous Huxley book Through the Doors of Perception (from which the band found its name), Jim was attempting to use the drug as a mind expanding tool, much like the Mexican indians used peyote to travel to the underworld.

As writers, we all write down the bones… the stories of our lives and of those around us, disguised or shamelessly exposed, so that they are not forgotten… so that the people in them live on forever, and we achieve a sort of immortality long after our mortal bodies have turned to dust.

Corpse Song
by Margaret Atwood

I enter your night
like a darkened boat, a smuggler

These lanterns, my eyes
and heart are out

I bring you something
you do not want:

news of the country
I am trapped in,

news of your future:
soon you will have no voice

(I resent your skin, I resent
your lungs, your glib assumptions

Therefore sing now
while you have the choice

(My body turned against me
too soon, it was not a tragedy

(I did not become
a tree or a constellation

(I became a winter coat the children
thought they saw on the street corner

(I became this illusion,
this trick of ventriloquism

this blind noun, this bandage
crumpled at your dream’s edge

or you will drift as I do
from head to head

swollen with words you never said,
swollen with hoarded love.

I exist in two places,
here and where you are.

Pray for me
not as I am but as I am.


Another SoS Journal

Sisters of the Soul Journal Round Robin
My entries in Tera Leigh’s book
Left: Image transfer with acrylic medium, taken from a print that I’d “doctored up” with paints and texture
Right: Linocut print, hand printed with watersoluble ink and painted with watercolor
(Click to see enlarged view in separate window)

I’ve been working on these for several days now. The linocut was great fun to do; I wish I had a printing press to work with. Instead I just transfered the image using a barren. I have a hand press, but the first print that I tried with it ended up being too pale. I’m not sure whether I just didn’t ink the plate up enough, or whether the pressure was insufficient to transfer properly. In any case, the second print (the one above) transfered much better. I’m not so sure about this water soluble ink. I like the permanency afforded by the oil based inks that are traditionally used in linoprinting.

And now… it’s time for bed… I’m tired… hope I sleep better tonight, even with the muggy air. *sigh*

Who says I can’t feign cheer…?

Sisters of the Soul Journal Round Robin
My entry in Kathy O’Bryan’s book
Pencil, watersoluble colored pencil and watercolor
(Click to see enlarged view in separate window)

I finally unearthed enough of a work surface on my workbench to be able to, uh, work on it… what a concept. I’ve been feeling blah and not much like creating stuff (except for writing, which I’m sure you’ve been entertained with… but I digress)…

So, I searched for a photo that had some happy heads in it, and found something. My rendering skills when it comes to perspective really suck, but I’m too tired to worry much about it at this point… the heads should have been more even in size, but I have two larger ones in the composition… so I’m hoping I can BS my way into claiming that it’s because those two are in the foreground and the other two were further away. I’m a real big fan of suspending reality… c’mon, work with me.

Plugging away…

Close up of Sue Krekorian’s healing art doll

Well, this project has been one that’s been sitting on my shelf, “maturing.” I believe I received the doll and the journal around Thanksgiving of last year, and it was already way past the due date. I was the last of four people to work on her. I was so distraught by this doll when I got her that I just wasn’t sure what to do with it. Someone before me had added a face to the doll, but it was one I felt was at such odds with the rest of the doll that I was completely paralyzed as to what to do next. For months she sat and stared at me from my workbench shelf. I thought I could do one of two things… I could take the easy way out and just smack some boobs and arms on the doll, and be done with her… or ask for permission from the “owner” of the doll to remove the face and offer to replace it with a different one.

I ended up doing the latter, and she acquiesced. The doll sat for several more months on my shelf, as I built up the courage to remove the previous face and start on a new one. I saved the face, and glued it into the journal, hoping it will still honor the artist whose contribution it was. Today I finally started on the face, using Paper Clay as the medium. The doll is meant to be a healing doll, and the originating artist’s theme was aging and its challenges. I wanted to honor the crone (which seems to be a great theme with me for some time now), as with age comes wisdom and grace–there is beauty in age, even though we have been so conditioned as a society to overlook and dishonor it.

I hope, in the end, that I will do Sue’s doll justice, and that she will be pleased with it once she returns home to the U.K.

Can you feeel the love?

Gabriel’s Number themed ATCs

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted, mostly because I’ve been busy, but also because I’ve been so tired. And rather uninspired. The bombings in London… this never-ending war that America fights in Iraq… the mounting cost of gas and housing… WHAT sort of world have we created? And I say WE because we are all collectively responsible for bringing into creation this “reality” that we perceive around us.

I recently heard about some folks in Tulsa that were bitching to get the Christian creationist myth to somehow be portrayed in the zoo, partly to counteract the evolutionist science exhibit and because there was a Ganesh statue with the elephant exhibit which they felt was an anti-Christian bias. In an effort to appease the request, the directors said that they would offer six or seven creation myths equal time. The matter was later dropped.

You know, though, that because there is *only* “one true way” (whichever way said observer believes it is) [big wink], it will
always be at odds with another equally adamant “one true way”-ist.

Indoctrination infuriates me… instead of enlightening the masses, it keeps them blind and bound… but OH so self righteous. Dogma wraps us up in the details, and we worry about which hand to eat with, and which to wipe our butts with… which way to face to worship… which direction to call in first… which way to hold our hand to receive the symbolic body of Christ… which parts of the body to cover and which to expose. Semantics… does it really matter? Only if we believe it does… that’s what brings it to “life.”

If we could worship ourselves (and each other) as we do our god(s), we would be that much closer to reaching the Source of all creation.

There *is* one true way… that of enlightenment… however you achieve it is a personal journey. Stop, just for a moment, and feel connection to every single living organism in the universe. Can you feeeeel the love?

[Me]… the slug…

May 11, 2005 journal entry
Pieces of Me collaboration – Deb’s Journal

When I was in college, there was a guy that was part of my group of friends called Doug. We’d nicknamed him Doug the Slug, for various and sundry reasons, but probably mostly because it rhymed (and I seem to recall a band that was quite popular at the time called Doug and the Slugs).

Well… I feel like a slug these days. I’m tired. I don’t feel like creating. I am in a slump, but that’s not to say that my brain isn’t brewing on ideas and planning the next assault on my art workbench. I’ve also been doing some reading–checking out art books and periodicals for inspiration, and reading newly purchased books. I’m a sucker for a new book, mostly of the art and self-help kind, and if both subjects are somehow combined, oh boy, move over ‘cuz here I come!

I picked up (and also ordered on Amazon) some books in the last few days. I pre-ordered the sixth Harry Potter book. Then I ordered some books relating to art and its use in therapy, not to mention a few more that relate to journaling and art. I found another book yesterday at Barnes & Noble entitled Creative Utopia: 12 Ways to Realize Total Creativityby Theo Stephan Williams. I started reading the book last night, and am enthralled. I will quote a passage which struck home with me, because it recounts an experience which almost identically replicates my own:

“I was twenty-three, in love and moving in with my soon-to-be fiance. I knew it all. In the basement of my old apartment building, I hurried to purge my belongings. The dumpster outside was totally empty; this would be a piece of cake. I had forgotten about a large unwieldy box that I had stowed away in my assigned storage area. On rediscovering it I was horrified to see that all my diaries, their keys now rusted, my spiral notebooks, old pens, sketches, memories–everything I had so carefully document from an early age–had become stained and mildewed because of a leaky window nearby.

Without another thought I heaved the cumbersome box into the dumpster. Daunted for just a second, I peered into the rubble resting at the bottom of the rusted steel cave, which would soon be picked up by a colossal blue truck and carried to the incinerator. I shrugged away the dismay; I simply didn’t need that stuff any more. Wrong, oh, so wrong, foolish young girl.

I have regretted that loss for many long years and I have become quite a pack rat, keeping everything containing even an inkling of a penned memory, reflection or inspiration from my past. Erasure is impulsive and the result is immeasurable, irretrievable and unforgivable. Enough said.”

I could have written that passage. I did a similar thing in my early 20’s, reading through the diaries that I’d kept from fifth grade through my teens and became so embarrassed by all the blathering about boys and such that I decided that I’d “outgrown” them, and tossed them out, including a bunch of poetry I’d written. To this day I regret that moment of bad judgement, that moment of being so full with my “adult” self that I couldn’t look past the embarrassment and find the strength to keep all of those writings for my future self. I, too, am a consummate pack-rat, in my middle age (just ask my husband).

It’s muggy this evening, although it’s cooled down; I still haven’t quite adjusted to the higher humidity levels that we have here, living closer to the coast, even though it has been almost two years since we’ve moved here. It’s more humid but not quite as cool as it gets closer still to the coast, so we get the muggy without the cooler temperatures. We used to live inland, where the temperature was HOT but it was really dry. In the evenings we’d get the coastal winds blowing through the valleys and it would cool down really nicely (although during the day it would be so hot outside, even at this early time of the year, that I would hole-up inside and not want to venture out much, if it could be avoided). But… the lack of humidity was definitely a plus. The heat combined with the humidity remind me of home (Montreal). I hated it then, and I don’t feel any different about it now.

It’s Sunday night and there are only a few hours left of the weekend. I’m ready for a shower and will read a bit more of this wonderful book and then slumber off. Tomorrow is the start of another week, and there is no such thing as a slow week for me these days.


Artwork for Staci Allen’s Sage & Violet Color Journal
“Almost Wine”

Wow, what a week. I’ve been really busy at work, and am just exhausted today. I got my massage with Otto this morning at 10:30, which was a much more mellow version of the previous one (though I’m still a bit sore). I’ve been working in Staci Allen’s color journal, whose theme is sage and purple. I received it the other day, and started working in it right away. I felt inspired to paint a couple of little watercolors along with the other pages I made. All this in between my naps today. I’d started the grapes painting last night, but finished it today.

Gabriel and I went to pick up my prescription at the pharmacy this afternoon, and stopped in at Rubio’s for a late lunch. I’d asked Steve to bring home some d’Elia’s meatball grinders from Riverside, as he had gone to Glen Helen to shoot some racing today, and was driving past there on his way back. We ate lunch so late that I ended up only eating a tiny bit of the sandwich… or it could have been all of those Twizzler’s I had… [sigh]

Artwork for Staci Allen’s Sage & Violet Color Journal
“Lavender Farm”

The lavender farm painting was completed this evening. I had such fun painting these. Both were rendered in watercolor, using cake watercolors. I have one more sheet to finish up and I’ve completed work on Staci’s book!

Sharing art & self? Cheap therapy? Exhibitionism? Dunno… you pick!

Several months ago I put out a call for a participant with whom I wanted to collaborate on a one-on-one visual journal. I dubbed the project “pieces of me.” Each one of us was to create a visual journal and then passing it over to the other person, so we’d be alternately working in our own journal and each other’s. Being incapable of choosing one person (or a sucker for punishment, not sure which), I ended up selecting three people with whom to work (so… three people = three journals).

I have already started with one of the three exchanges, my partner being quick to send me her journal (and I had planned on sending mine out earlier, but I am LATE!).

I’ll be sharing some of my more sordid history and pulling out the skeletons from my closets. So hang on to your hat for a trip through my Mrs. Toad’s Wild Ride. 🙂 While I’m okay “sharing” my own personal stuff, I will not post the other participants’ pages (unless they want me to) so my skeletons are the only ones you’ll be getting to see and read about. How cool is that? How excited are you?! Nevermind…

Poisson d’avril

Artist Trading Card
“Poisson Ace of Hearts”

Every year, when I was a kid, I dreaded going to school on April 1st. What can I say, I became embarrassed easily, turning a bright shade of red from neckline to hairline. It being April Fool’s Day, pranks were the order of the day, usually pretty innocuous stuff. The least offensive one was probably to stick a paper fish on one another’s backs with some tape. So with that in mind as inspiration, this is the second year that I take part in a “poisson d’avril”-themed art exchange. Last year we submitted fish of all manner of shapes and sizes, running the gamut from three dimensional, fabric, beaded fish, to little watercolored fish earrings. Very cool.

This year it was decided that we would make a suit of cards, each person getting a different card in the suit, and it would be fish-themed. I chose the ace of hearts, and the card above is the end result. I hand drew the fish with a Sharpie marker, and then used Portfolio water soluble wax pastels, metallic Crayola crayons and watercolors to color it in. Final touches were added with Sakura Jelly Roll Glaze pens.