Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Holidays to You!

"Taos Winter Medley," ink on wood
2.5 x 3," Nov. 09, Judith Nasse

I was reminded this morning in Alyson Stanfield's newsletter [www.artbiz.com] to make my list of all my accomplishments in 2009!
We somehow always think of what we haven't done or how we could be better; but in truth we do get things done & forget to remind ourselves! O.K., here's part of my list: I got my art into two places and have steadily done deep revision on my novel as well as work on another person's book. What will you pat yourself on the back about?
I do hope you have a jolly holiday and that 2010 will be your most creative year ever!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Cactus as Art Metaphor

Christmas Cactus with
Snow Storm outside
Dec 09 by Judith

Every year my Christmas Cactus blooms well, and every year it grows bigger. I wonder if it will ever grow as large as the one in a neighbor's window in London. Hers was the size of a small bush and it made the winter doldrums glow. Sometimes too we have to wait the proverbial "year" (a long time) for our creative ideas to grow and blossom. And, if you're like me I have much more patience with my cacti than my paintings or my novel. I guess it's due to the concept, that is I conceive of an idea, but then to execute it can take grueling weeks, days, months, years even. And that's o.k. because in the end one has a finished project that is as perfect as it can be. The huge cactus in London must have taken her years to grow with a lot of tender loving care. Have a great creative week!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Snow and Holiday Whirl

My Blue Spruce in snow
photo by Judith

I'm glad we're having a snowfall today! I was going to go out & do errands & meet a friend for coffee. The coffee was canceled and now I get to stay in and slow down. We all know that life gets extra busy at the holidays, yet things like chores, bills, work, our creativity, and those myriad small and large problems that show up at our doorsteps don't step aside to make room for the extra holiday things we want and need to do. Perhaps we should calendar in a slow-down day or hours. I will do that for next week, and hope I don't forget. Today I will play catch-up especially with my art. I've had to do so much outside work that my art has consisted in doodling in the margins of my notepad while taking notes for a book I'm typing and editing for someone else! I'm also making headway with the "problem-to-solve" in my novel! I hope you can take some breathing space for yourself and your creativity in this holiday whirl.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hidden gems!

Leonids Meteor
stock photo

I happened to wake up at 4 a.m. & looked out the window & saw the meteors. How inspiring! Unless we are star gazers, we don't usually see the awe-inspiring spectacle of the stars and planets in the clear night sky. They are a hidden gem of nature to us. How wonderful to be able to open one's eyes and see the hidden things all around us: the sparkle of the sun on a patch of snow that we usually walk right by, our minds on our errands or a problem, the raven strutting across the yard, or the laugh of a friend. I'm glad I looked out the window. I could have jumped right back under the duvet as it was quite chilly, but I would have missed the sight that will be an inspiration for a painting! We must remember to put the looking for hidden gems in our daily planner next to the errands & appointments!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Art Vending Machines ~ Yes, there are!

"Winter Medley," ink & acrylic on wood
Judith, Oct. 09

In my on-line art marketing class today, I will learn about bragging rights! Ouch, I was carefully taught as a child not to brag! Yet, I will learn to tout my work more. Here goes ~ I was accepted by Art-O-Mat to be one of their artists. My goal now is to paint 50 original paintings in a short order of time! Do go to their web site
http://www.artomat.org/ & see where there is an art machine near you. It's so much fun (now I'm bragging about them!). Remember those old cigarette vending machines, those of you old enough? They are outlawed now, but the chap who owns Art-O-Mat has bought them up & has converted them to vending art, each piece original, for $5 each. Now, you can't say art is too expensive to collect!
The piece above that got me in was inspired by my beautiful Taos Mountain and my gorgeous, giant blue spruce tree in the unusual early snow storm here. Now, we have Indian Summer & I found some blue bird feathers on the mesa yesterday. How will I incorporate those into my art? The art muse will tell me in time. Also, just started A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book. Amazing writing! May your creative week be so inspiring.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

When There Are More Questions Than Answers

"Misty Meadow," ink on paper
4x6", '09 by Judith

There's a book being passed around among a few of us at the book shop, Translate This Darkness, The Life of Christiana Morgan, The Veiled Woman in Jung's Circle, by Claire Douglas, Princeton Univ. Press, 1993. It's in my hands now & is creating a stir within me, questioning where I am in life. Christiana was the same age as my grandmothers. Yet, in spite of "the subtle footbinding of her talents" by her family and society, she paved the way for women to become more, just like her contemporary Georgia O'Keefe in art. Yet, she could only break-out so far, and only with the help of others. I wonder how far my generation has really come in spite of women's lib? I'm not sure. I was never a strident feminist, yet I'm glad I can be more than my generation dictated, which wasn't much at all. And, where do we go from here? I don't have what it takes to act like a man, like women lawyers & politicians seem to have to do. How can one stay a sensitive, creative woman in this world & yet make her mark? That goes for all the sensitive, creative men too by the way. I suspect we each have to create our own unique self and hope it takes us as far as we dream. I'll let you know if I ever have an answer. In the meantime, create and develop your talents each day, without fail, especially in the middle of broad existential doubts and questionings!
It is Indian Summer here in Taos after last week's snow! Gorgeous and inspiring.
Be inspired!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dancing Out

"Dancing Out," acrylic on canvas
12" x16" by Judith

O.K., the art, writing, or musical score is done. You even have a venue, yet "things" take up your time & you don't get it out the door. What do you do? That's what I'm figuring out this week. How do I get over the terror of stage fright? I even asked my friend Bonnie Ann how she did it when she used to whistle, dance, and sing on stage during the time of the Big Bands. She started very young, at about 12 or 13, so it was second nature. By the way some of the bird song in Walt Disney's "Snow White" are Bonnie Ann's whistles! We all have our reasons for our stage fright, and I know what mine are. Do you know yours? Knowing is half the battle. I'm glad it's Halloween and Day of the Dead as I feel like the skeleton ~ more than naked, dancing out the door. Yet, this time of year also reminds us that we can put on the "costume" or mask of professional artist, writer, musician, dancer & do it, never mind the jello guts inside. And, to do it one task at a time. For instance I just printed out the labels for some of my mini paintings while typing and watching snow falling out the window. Tomorrow I'll package them and take them to the post office. That gives me breathing space to calm my nerves. I'll let you know how it goes in a future blog.
Have a fun Halloween/Day of the Dead celebration!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Invented Life!

New YA book by Lauren Bjorkman!

Saturday before last Lauren Bjorkman had the signing for her debut novel at Moby Dickens Book Shop! A huge crowd showed and it was more like a party than a sedate book signing! I love it that Lauren has published her first book and that her launch party was such a success. Lauren was one of the first people I met when I moved to Taos & we have watched each other struggle to get our books done. Yes, writing is a long, hard slog, but for those of us who have it in our blood, it's a passion worth pursuing.
I just finished reading My Invented Life. In it Lauren displays a wicked sense of humor and describes so accurately the Northern California I know so well. Best of all, like all well-written books it is provocative. While it wasn't at all like the teen life I knew all those many years ago, it struck a deep chord, that is resonating with me still. The big question I came away with is how do we invent our lives in ways that either hurts and hinders us or leads us forward into the person we want to become? That reminds me of a mask class I took where we had to make a mask and perform with it. I danced my angst & passion. It was a horrible scary thing to do. And, I'm still dancing that dance as I attempt to widen my audience for my art and writing. I'm so proud of all of us, like Lauren, who dare to "dance" their passion and share it with the world!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Almost as Good as Being There

"Composition VIII,"Wassily Kandinsky

1923, Oil on Canvas

My daughter went to the wondrous 5 floor exhibit of Kandinsky at the Guggenheim yesterday. Oh, man, how I 'd have loved to be there as Kandinsky is high on my list of favorite-of-all-time-artists! I devoured his book On the Spiritual in Modern Art and still refer to it. Well, since I can't be in NYC anytime soon I went to the website and viewed the virtual tour of the show. The link is www.guggenheim.org/new-york/exhibitions/on-view-now/kandinsky
It is important for me to immerse myself in others art, writing, music, for inspiration and ideas for technique! Tonight the next episode of the 5th season of Art:21 is on PBS. Oh, what a week of immersion! How will you dive into the waters of your favorite creative this week?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How to get to the studio?

"Forest Dawn", 36x24, acrylic
by Judith in Taos Open, the
bright yellow one at top

I'm wondering how I can get to my studio. I have a mega-list of writing jobs and etc. to do today, and, though I know the easy answer is "set a time," it's more the mental list and other deadlines swirling in my brain. And, some days it's darned hard to prioritize that list. Now, I changed my blog to Tuesdays, so I could have Sundays freer, it's a press on Tuesday! Ah, life happens, and I must work my art around it. I must because I want to see what my new painting(s) will look like. It's always a surprise, and one I look forward to. Taos is now colder & the autumn leaves are going from yellow to brown. May your creative week be a slow, steady brush stroke of wonder!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Leaves Are Turning Brown

Taos Autumn, Judith
5"x3", 11/08

The first leaves are turning brown & the nights are cooler. It's transition time in the Northern Hemisphere. Symbolically it's a time for us to take stock and gather our resources for winter, both physical and in spirit. Last night I watched the movie about Georgia O'Keeffe. I won't go into the merits of the film, but rather was struck by the courage it took Georgia to maintain her artistic integrity, leave her abusive husband, and strike out for the land of enchantment here in Taos. I hadn't known before why she came here. Of course all of us who come fall in love with the stark beauty and artistic possibilities. Perhaps we too come, like Georgia, to let the mountains and desert heal our artistic souls, to make that greater transition into who we truly are as creatives.
Happy, Creative, First Day of Autumn to you!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Near Autumn Contentment

Hollyhock photo by Judith

As I looked out my studio window the hollyhocks have their last blossoms of the season on them. I love hollyhocks, and in my wildflower garden I'm letting them grow where they want. So lovely & so nice to have a patch that can grow itself, kind of like us humans saying we'll go with the flow. It must be close to autumn as this morning I picked the last onion and then came in and cleaned my mud room cum larder/pantry! And, yes, the countdown to the Taos Arts Festival Open is looming, so working madly on my large canvas. I groan at every "mistake," then fall into the challenge of "how can I fix this?!" Yes, I am content today with my painting, deep-cleaning a room, and gazing on my last hollyhocks! I hope your countdown to autumn is as lovely for you.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Autumn Anticipation

"On A Telephone Pole," Acrylic on canvas
4" x 6 " Judith August 2009

I won't have a long weekend, so yesterday I acted as if it were Labor Day and moodled around my house and garden, getting out sewing projects for Christmas presents, reading a mystery, and puttering in the kitchen. Oh, yes, I did paint on my latest painting. Just try to keep me out of the studio! About this time every year, I get into my "what do I make for the holidays & create over the winter mode?" The good thing is by this thinking ahead I minimize the "holiday mad rush." But, more importantly I re-remember that by "goofing off" it opens that creative door even wider, so that more ideas can rush in. For instance my studio gets down to freezing in the winter & takes 2 - 3 hours to warm up, so the idea that dashed in was to do my smaller works and my anticipated encaustic experiments in the kitchen this winter! Brilliant!
Before I discovered that I am an artist and writer, my creative outlets were cooking, sewing, and woodworking. So, it sometimes helps to fall back into these in order to dash ahead into my higher creative work.
What is it that you can fall into in order to bring up that deep well of wondrous creativity? Hope you can have time to do that this week. Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Overcoming Odds ~ Luis Alberto Urrea

The Writings of Luis Alberto Urrea

Some stories can be told again and again. Urrea re-tells the story of "Seven Samurai" & "The Magnificent Seven" in his latest, page-turner, Into the Beautiful North. In this version the hero is a 19 year old heroine, Neyeli. Against all odds, she travels north into the US to search for her father and to bring men back to her village. The story has humor, beautiful prose, and pathos
, all of which Urrea does superbly. His former book, Hummingbird's Daughter, is a novel based on his great-aunt Teresita, who became a folk saint in Mexico, after being beaten & raped, then receiving supernatural gifts while in the ensuing coma.
Good literature can be life-changing. Indeed, Robert Boswell declares, "...it's what it must do." Urrea's books help me reach for that knowing that I can overcome odds, like Teresita & Neyeli, that we are all our own Samurai. This last week was one of those dragon-fighting weeks for me. I'm still not sure if I have overcome the odds, but with great literature, and great art, I have a much better chance. Read Urrea if you can.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Miracles and Dancing Elephants

from my art Journal this week!

This week our illustrators group from SCBWI (Society of Children's Writer's & Illustrators) went into the wilds of northern New Mexico to visit Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaws' studio, meet her new baby Tulsi, chat over potluck with pesto carrots, drink her yummy Chai, & watch her work on her next picture book. See her website at http://www.dancingelephantstudio.com/ It was a wonderous, imaginative, miraculous experience for me. To be honest I was throwing in the towel about ever doing picture books again. I have worked diligently this past year on my novel & doing my fine art. That coupled with a devastating critique a year & half ago, I thought, O.K. I'll just put my passion elsewhere. But my great illustrator's group & Jenny's example have given me back the miracle about my passion for picture books., their history, and their evolving nature and good for young children. Maybe, I'll put my beloved Henri Rousseau book out into the slipstream of publishers again. Dare I? Yes! I hope that this week will bring you a creative miracle or synchronicity!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Art Camping

"Ruffled Feathers," ink on wood, 2.5 x 3 "
Judith, June 09

Quite a number of years ago now I went wilderness camping with a group of women artists: Leigh Hyams, Lyn Haxton, and Medora Bass in the High Sierras of California. It was glorious, just painting & exploring nature all day long. Ever since then I try to get away to create whenever I can. I went for four days last weekend (hence no blog). It had been four years since my last creative retreat ~ far too long! Needless to say, I got so inspired just by living directly in nature with a pair of hummingbirds visiting me severl times a day humming their hummingbird song. The chamisa was just beginning to bloom. And, I could stand on the rim of the Gorge and watch the tiny ribbon of the Rio Grande wend its way far, far below. I did get a lot done on the revision of my novel plus some spot drawings & paintings & a painting. Sunsets, in particular, captured my fancy. Perhaps that's because they set over the rim of the Gorge with the first of the evening's coyotes howling to the nearly full moon and to one another.
I wish for you to have at least one day of such a creative retreat for yourself this week!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

When in Doubt ~ Two Brains Dialogue

"Two Men Meet, Each Supposing the Other to Be of Higher Rank," Paul Klee, etching, 1903
This week I was given a practical tip by Elizabeth Stark & our writing forum. I was stuck on how to solve a couple of anomalies while revising my novel. In our forum we talk about our Storyteller (right brain) and our Brain (logical/left). I write from my Storyteller or intuitive brain and so often can't see some small, but pertinent anomalies. Elizabeth picked up on them immediately, & in trying to figure how to bridge the gap, she suggested I have the two writer parts of me dialogue on paper. I did, and got an immediate solution! If only the world's politicians could come up with solutions so easily!
I know this is an often used conveyance in making decisions, but sometimes we forget to apply it to each riddle, or area, in our lives. Now, I'm off to re-write those parts of the book to bring more clarity. Oh, the Paul Klee etching immediately jumped into my mind when I was searching for a topic for this blog. No one, no one part of our brains, cannot meet and find common ground. I'm not sure if that's what Klee meant, but I'm sure if I could have a chat with him we'd have a wonderful conversation.... or maybe, we'd just sit down & take out our sketch books & draw in silent communication.
Happy Last Week of July!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Writers are Ladies and Gentlemen

Taos Summer Writer's Conference

Symphony of Color, Ed Sandoval © 2004, TWC poster artist & Taos artist

The Taos Summer Writer's Conference is winding down after an intense, wonderful-learning week. Working on the Moby Dickens' Bookshop concession, I saw participants and presenters coming and going, stopping to browse books, or chat with one another. What a superb literary vibe enveloped me. What strikes me most is how congenial, kind, and easy to be with the authors are, especially the ones with deserved accolades: Wally Lamb, Elizabeth Strout, Robert Boswell, Pam Houston, and Antonya Nelson to name a few. They are all ladies and gentlemen in the true, old-fashioned sense of the world. I, me the shy one usually, could natter with most of them like I natter with my friends. Maybe one day I'll be a true colleague of theirs when my novel is published. It's an honor to say I'm a writer with such down-to-earth talented writers to model.
I'm off to water my parched garden that is suffering a Taos heat wave. Ah, evenings to water, watch the sun set, and then read one of the novels of our mannered writers.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Starting tomorrow I will be manning the Moby Dickens' book concession for the Taos Writers Conference. I look forward to being in the melee of great writers and serious students of writing. This year the conference hosts Wally Lamb as the keynote speaker and Robert Boswell, who just received the Oprah book pick, and who also wrote the great book on writing Half Known World. Elizabeth Strout will also give a week long workshop. I couldn't put her Pulitzer Prize winning Olive Kitteridge down. It is a wonderful book in character study and development. One way writers learn is to read, read, read! I look forward to telling you all about my experiences next week.
This week I submitted my first 20,000 pages to my teacher/editor Elizabeth Stark! I love the "super red marks," her commits, and encouragement. What a joy it is to be a writer & to let one's imagination run with the story! Oh, I also just finished the ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy) of Margaret Atwood's forthcoming The Year of the Flood. A real page turner, mesmerizing and page turning! Look out for it in September. What are you reading, and how is it informing your life and/or creativity?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"Horse" Ink on wood,
Judith, May 09

This week my art and writing have been my haven. Do you ever get weeks like that, where you need a retreat from other stresses? I count myself very lucky that my creativity can now do that for me. For years I was trying to find space & time to create, while trying to use other things like reading or a movie for a haven. I wish now I'd realized all those years that it was the other way around. If I go into my creativity haven, then I come out energized to relax and read or to face the stressors head on! Right now the sky is clouding over here in lovely Taos. I do hope we get that late afternoon rain as it's always so refreshing! May you find your true havens this week.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Tree I photographed on Hampstead Heath, London

Lately, I'm spontaneously painting trees. They are not what I'd call landscapes, but trees as portraits perhaps. I notice trees a lot, especially watching the seasonal changes of my own two giant willow and blue spruce trees. This morning the magpies were having a chat fest in the blue spruce. I also love depicting trees in my novel, keeping a special British tree guide that my son gave me nearby. Ron Ranson in his book Watercolor Fast and Loose has an excellent chapter on how to paint trees. What is currently drawing you to paint, compose, or write about?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Grendel or the Shadow in Creativity

Yesterday I was part of a writing group that was discussing the bad guy in literature & that sometimes writers, especially in film and t.v., often bring in the villain at the end as a way to justify the crime & the hero's solving it. But, I realize more & more that the villain has to be more fully developed in the way that John Gardner wrote a whole book Grendel about one of the monsters that Beowulf had to defeat. Grendel, in Gardner's book, is basically only trying to defend what he knows as well as trying to find food.
As a creative, I find that it's necessary for me to allow more shadow in my works both as a way to make them more juicy, but also as a way to allow me to look at the images or baddies as symbols of my own unvented, dark side (my old patterns that want to defend themselves) & to allow them to come up to heal. It is always life-changing when the hero in a book or film overcomes the shadow, and it is the same in our creative life when we face our creative grendels > our fear of showing our works, writing the next page, advocating for our inner creative, etc. And, let's face it the life-changing is scary, even if it is a dream come true.
By the way eight of my paintings were taken this week by Lumina Gallery, one of the most spectacular galleries in Taos! I'm still pinching myself! (see Lumina link on left)
Happy Summer!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Art Intimacy & Passion

Yesterday the illustrators from SCBWI-NM met at Moby Dickens to tour an independent bookshop and to mostly hear Jonathan Warm Day from Taos Pueblo talk about his creativity. I realized that what makes Jonathan so good & publishable is his passion and obsession with his art, his downright enthusiasm. He couldn't wait to get back to his studio after the conflab to play with his art. I had a question given to me by Eric Maisel that I haven't answered yet: What connections, if any, do you see between cultivating productive obsessions and personality growth and change? For me there's a huge connection. As I go deep into my art, my paintings, drawings, and fiction compell me to change, not only my creativity, but me, the person who is letting go of past fears and daring to become a more confident me, the person I could have been all along if I didn't have the garbage (patterns, false beliefs, fears, and erroneous self-image, da, da, da) from the past. I'm committed to cultivating both my art and revealing the real me! I'm glad to know Jonathan and his innate ability to do this. I too came back home & drew, then had a dream last night about how I would illustrate the chapter headings for my novel & draw the maps!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hippie Dippie Parade & Art Fun

"Dog," Judith, ink on wood, 3 x 3.5"

I had a barrel full of fun yesterday. I attended an art workshop by Christopher St. John! We played with ink, wood, oils, & encaustic to our heart's content. As we played we heard the sound of pipes and whistles & dashed out to the main road to watch the Hippie Dippie parade go by. It's part of the "Summer of Love" celebration in Taos, when 40 years ago, the film "Easy Rider" was partially filmed here. Dean Stockwell was Grand Marshall of the parade. He lives in, & is a Taos artist, when he's not filming in Hollywood. The painted buses & cars were fun & colorful. That lent even more energy to our work back in the studio. I love working on wood as wooden toy making was my first media. But, to do fine art on wood panels is thrilling! Hooray for art fun!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Freedom in experimentation

Ron Ranson, "Bluebell Wood"

I'm experimenting, and it's so freeing! I've always thought, because I have such limited time, that I have to go straight from painting to painting. However, this last week I picked up Ron Ranson's book, Watercolour Fast and Loose," from my shelf & just began to play with brush strokes, colours, and tones. What fun! Plus, I discovered by playing how to solve some of the problems I've always had in executing my watercolours. Can we do this with life too!?!! Who knows what we'll discover about the world and ourselves if we dare.
Ron Ranson's web is www.ronranson.com
Happy June!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sea Turtles and a Prize

"Sea Turtle"
acrylic on canvas, 6" x 8"
April, 2009, Judith Nasse

I'm still very excited about art, obsessed in the positive good way. This week I won a contest writing about obsession and intelligence. My prize is Eric Maisel's book A Writer's Paris. Now I wish I could ride on the back of my sea turtle and go to Paris to write! However, I'm doing a good job of it here in Taos! I've started the deep revision of my novel. And, I'm painting & drawing each day, going deeper & experimenting. I'm using this holiday weekend to holiday in Taos by going to a couple of gallery openings & making a gourmet dish here in my own kitchen/cafe!
Here's my essay:
3. What, in your estimation, is the relationship (if any) between productive obsessing and intelligence?
I've been thinking of this topic for some time now. The way I see it is that it rather depends on how one defines intelligence. I, for one, don't think that innate intelligence, as defined by IQ tests, has as much to do with productive obsession as an emotional spark (emotional intelligence) and a learned ability to obsess. Here a higher IQ can help one reason and negotiate with the mind on how to obsess more productively.
I've seen a 3 year old run into a preschool classroom every morning, for days on end, and dash to the easel to paint one picture after another. This is an example of productive obsessing at a rudimentary level. The child doesn't reason "I'll paint for 30 minutes each day." She just does it.
On the other hand there are highly intelligent, it seems, religious leaders and politicians who obsess to the point of destruction. For instance, as a gross example, Hitler could have developed his painting and art instead of destroying lives and countries. I doubt he lacked intelligence. He lacked productive obsession about his true creativity.
For me, productive obsession means developing one's innate brain intelligence to further the productive obsession. This can be done through studying techniques and learning from the masters in art, literature, music, acting, etc. Then, and more importantly, finding ways to apply what one knows into how to productively obsess about it. This takes a growing emotional maturity and therefore willingness to schedule inviolable creative time, balancing day jobs, family, unexpected events, finances, and health with creative flow. (Creative flow is productive obsession.)
Another aspect of this creative maturity is learning to discern between a fear and a true need. Is my headache due to the fear or am I getting a cold? Is this painting too reminiscent of that mean mom or do I need to learn to paint the shadows better? Is my "depression" this morning because I'm in a blue state over my progress or because my sinus' are blocked or I have to face the day job boss about an issue?
This learned productive obsession may need support at times, like here in Eric's group. It also requires commitment, discipline, and persistence, all of which are learned over time if one, like the 3 year old, allows the productive obsession to obsess! Allow the obsession to teach us how to obsess.
Have a most enjoyable rest of the Memorial Day weekend!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Life's Little Gifts

"Spirit ", Audio CD by Willie Nelson

I'm chuckling to myself as I was, I admit, a bit whingy last week. Then, this week, I had a couple of my day jobs canceled, and had extra time to work on my latest painting, which is a challenge, both technically & emotionally, a challenge like being a dectective to solve a mystery. Well, that time is a gift. I used it as well, to clear old stuff out of my studio and to study deeply how I'm going to make the next revision of my novel as great as I can (I'm reading Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel ~ GOOD).
Oh, another gift: I was getting a coffee at my favorite coffee stand in Taos, Roosters, & Jack had wonderful music playing that touched my soul, a cross between blue grass & jazz (e.g. Django Reinhart) ~ so lyrical. It was a little know album of Willie Nelson's, "Spirit". I found the CD on-line for very little & the music is still touching me! It even encouraged me to play my piano a bit!!
Time is precious, perhaps the most precious thing we have. I keep myself very busy, so I hope I'm not squandering time. Yet, as I'm somewhere in the last 1/2 century of my life, I wish I had more time to paint all the paintings in my soul, write all the books in my head & files, and give all the time I wish to my loved ones. Today, I received a photo of a former student of mine. I was happy to have the gift of 5 minutes to e-mail her and her mother! Now, I'm off to the studio to solve the next challenge in that painting. I hope your week was full of precious little gifts & time for your heart's favorite things.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In Spite of It All

Forest Twilight
Berol pencil, Judith
May '09

Happy Mother's Day to all mother's and caregivers!
This was one of those challenging weeks, you know the kind ~ when you vow to do something important and monkey wrenches get thrown at you from all directions.

I vowed to make a magnificent obsession of my drawing and art, adding edge & stretching myself. Well, the day job was extra demanding, my house & garden were nagging me, I went to dog-sit my friend's 8 dogs, and I felt I was neglecting my editing, never mind the art. Okay, there are hours, days, and weeks like that. We all have them. I realized Friday, after I dragged myself to an art opening, that even artists who've made it, have their challenges when I observed the famous artist looking very pale and probably nervous. Then, in spite of exhaustion I came home & drew 3 drawings, one of which is above. I also realized that I have made it as an artist and writer, maybe not as far as I dreamed I would 21 years ago when I got my M.A. in art. My persistence (I was born with that, whew!) is paying off, and some years it's been baby steps and tiny progress in confidence. Oh, yes, in those years I finished raising two fantastic, creative children. So, my week went better than my monkey mind was telling me. And, I did get some garden & house work done too. Course, I love the garden part, so it wasn't nagging me so much as me itching to get out there as well as into the studio!

I hope your next week is full of creative fun in spite of anything else that comes your way.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

An Inspired Adventure

Ed Corbett

Today I went to the Harwood Museum here in Taos to see the Ed Corbett drawings. It was closed. Then, serendipity stepped in. A woman asked what I was there for as they were closed due to filming upstairs. "I just want to see the Ed Corbett drawings," I said. She let me in, and we tiptoed through the small, eye-popping exhibit. I'd only ever seen Ed's paintings, so his drawings, especially the pen and ink were informative, a surprise, and an inspiration. I vowed last week to put an edge in my own paintings & drawings. Ed's drawings are pointing the way. His drawings are different from his paintings, and just as powerful. His art deserves to be more well-known. He's a painter's painter, and he taught with and inspired Richard Diebenkorn, Clyfford Still, and Mark Rothko. He deeply inspired my own art teacher Fred Reichman.
I also reached a milestone by finishing the first revision of my novel. I hope this week is one of your most inspired ever!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Magnificent Obsessions

Blood Angels 111
Christopher St. John
Christopher St. John has a show, "Haven" up at JandreauArt Gallery in Taos. He gave a gallery talk last weekend, and I was so impressed by Christopher's dedication to his art and his ability to carry through his latest magnificent obsession into paint and drawing about the human ability to find havens in the midst of emotional and social difficulties, especially for children.
The next day I joined Eric Maisel's group exploring the idea of positive obsession in our creativity. We all obsess, goodness knows I do, about things like getting the next check, will I have enough energy to get through a day at the day job, or whether we'll have time today to get through all the chores on our list and still have time left to paint, edit the novel, or to read that latest well-written novel. I listed as my next, positive, magificent obsession, and taking a cue from Christopher, to add more edge to my paintings! Now, that is a stretch again for me as it's scary to add a dash of red or a screaming color like orange. I did add a dash of coral to the latest painting, a sea turtle in subdued undersea colors. Now, I'm committed. I am drawing knives & beaks, and scimitars on paper. I'll translate my literal drawings into paint, not sure how, but stay tuned!
I hope your week will be full of at least one magnificent obsession too. The guidelines are passion, scary, gusto, climbing out to the edge of your creative limb, and daring ~ just to name a few. Now, it's spring we can all get out of our comfort zones & have magnificent fun.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

It's been awhile!

"Taos Butterfly" by Judith
Hello! I haven't blogged in a long time. It is partly because I haven't had the courage and partly because I've been debating whether to change the focus of my blog. I have still sent out my creativity coaching newsletter regularly and didn't want this to be a repeat. Well, some of it may be at times, e.g. my latest painting to the left.
Then, this morning I received a jolt as I found a web site just for women called "Braveheart." (see link in Gadgets at the bottom of the page) How wonderful for a woman to be called that. And, it gave me the courage to change my blog to one of talking about creativity, and the creative process.
I have been in deep transition the past several months, getting braver in putting my art out in the world and being accepted into a gallery. This is hard for me, like for many women, as we were so carefully taught (I'm in a generation before women's liberation) to be quiet and serve others without thanks. However, if we discover a talent and a passion, then we must put it out there to share, no matter the cost. And, the transition to be seen and heard is a journey in courage in spite of the doubts and fears. Well, I have, as well as showing recently at the JandreauArt gallery (see link in Gadgets at the bottom of the page)in Taos, put my on-line gallery up! Check it out at the link on the left.
My writing has deepened too as I am now in the stages of revision and learning in even more detail writing techniques. We can never learn enough in our craft, can we? I have been working with the excellent teacher & editor Elizabeth Stark and a supportive group of men and women in finalizing my book. My goal is to finish it by June 15th!
I will post this more regularly now as it will be more up-to-date than my web site (I am working on how to up-date that.) I hope you are having a delicious and happy spring.