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!