Mermaid Feet


A recent Daily Create asked us to video “where our feet go.” I couldn’t face the cliched video-pointing-down-at-feet-walking, so I put on a bathing suit, grabbed my Go Pro and sank into my hot tub for both still and video photography.

I was surprised at how dreamy the resulting images were.

 

What Are You Thankful For?

As my Meditations on Gratitude online class with Laura Valenti continues, we are encouraged to look around us at everyday moments and objects as worthy a moment of gratitude.  I have been taking photographs around the property to celebrate this little corner of the world one quiet corner of June 2016.

arty dining room interior
I am very grateful to have married into this house 22 years ago. Here, I am outside shooting through the living room window with a close up on a grouping of masks and other sculptural objects. The window glass is reflecting the trees behind me.

I like this shot because it conveys the sense I always have of our house being like a longhouse, full of mythological beings, adrift with stories and dreams.

Bunny in the Window
When we were having our car breakdown and accidental extra nine days of vacation in Carmel earlier this year, Peter bought Bunny for me. I have become very attached to Bunny, and sometimes she sits in the living room window and waits for me to come home.

Cheshire Cat: Oh, by the way, if you’d really like to know, he went that way.

Alice: Who did?

Cheshire Cat: The White Rabbit.

Alice: He did?

Cheshire Cat: He did what?

Alice: Went that way.

Cheshire Cat: Who did?

Alice: The White Rabbit.

Cheshire Cat: What rabbit?

Alice: But didn’t you just say – I mean – Oh, dear.

Cheshire Cat: Can you stand on your head?

Alice: Oh!

Perdita, a Doll
Perdita in the Window. My sister Cheryl gave me Perdita for my birthday, made by a Mexican doll-maker. My photography teacher said she looks like a visionary or seer, and I agree.
House_External
This is the exterior of our house, guarded by a Native American Sisiutl or double-headed sea serpent, which is the Guardian of the House of the Sky People, painted on there by Peter one fine day. 
Living Room Go Pro Fish Eye
Using my Go Pro, I shot from the outside of our living room looking in, accentuating the fish eye quality. I like this picture because it is odd and yet sees right through the house.
Outside looking in
I love this photograph of our house from the living room window straight through the airy spaces to the garden.
totem pole intheFennel
Peter’s totem poles out in the garden are starting to settle into their places ever more deeply, here disappearing into the fennel.

What is around you in your everyday world that YOU are thankful for?

Canvas of the Soul

Drawing of Childhood Home
This little drawing was done first in the Paper 53 app then moved to Bazaart to add the image in the upper left and the text.

In today’s Daily Create, we were asked to draw our childhood home. I have done this drawing many times over the years, and I notice it has gotten less and less specific as time wears away at the bright stones of memory, polishing them down to their glowing centers.

Now it is mountains, trees, tracks, river, house.

I grew up on the Wenatchee River in the foothills of the Enchantments. The image of me upper left is from an underwater shoot a couple of days ago and seems to me a face full of memory.

Even a rudimentary sketch like this seems beautiful to me, and I stare at it falling into a reverie of a time both long ago and yet still a room I can walk into that is as close as breathing.

The Mysterious Night Journal for me used to be gel pens or Prismacolor on black paper, but as I work in my art journal and so often disappear into the many rooms of memory, I see it is the canvas of the soul.

Your Art Journal is the canvas of your soul.


 

 

Frogs, Cats n Grats!

Gratitude wells up

like fresh water in a green pool.

Heart, be a frog!

The Frog and Cat poems and photographs on the left page of my Gratitude Art Journal
The Frog and Cat poems and photographs on the left page of my Gratitude Art Journal

Cat curled around stone

announcing “POETRY! in case

we had forgotten.

A view of the Gratitude Art Journal double page layout.
A view of the Gratitude Art Journal double page layout.

 

Gratitude Journal page with my "Gratitude Jar" poem
Gratitude Art Journal page with my “Gratitude Jar” poem. The Tumbling Jars sketch on the right is a Prismacolor pencil drawing I did in 2011 that I suddenly remembered and retrieved from my Flickr account, where for once organizing my photos paid off!

Canning Grats

After canning peaches, I had one

clear jar left. I put my grandmother

in there along with the apples

she was peeling. I added a sharp

handful of mint from my husband’s garden,

a tube of Opera Pink Paint

and the shadow of a summer

fern on a slate rock face.

The sound of a train,

dawn light over the Three Sisters.

I found five memories that would fit

and slipped

a whole head of garlic down the side

along with a feathery branch

of dill and something

like a song. Pressure

cooked by time,

labelled, shelved, ready

to be given away.


NOTE: In a previous post, Creating a Gratitude Art Journal, I posted a short video explaining that I am taking a Meditations on Gratitude Photography class online with Laura Valenti. She asked us to find a repository for our “grats,” or items for which we feel gratitude on a daily basis, and I began with the Gratitude Art Journal, although I’m not sure how I’ll go forward. She suggested a Gratitude Jar, which gave me the idea for the poem “Canning Grats.”

Example of a Gratitude Jar. Image: Cathy Colangelo, Clarity Coach
Example of a Gratitude Jar. Image: Cathy Colangelo, Clarity Coach

METHODS AND MATERIALS:

  • I use a large Moleskine watercolor journal.
  • The pages were first prepared with white gesso
  • then a watercolor wash background laid down
  • then a sheet of yellow tissue paper to cover most of it to add texture.
  • Across the top I carefully stamped “Meditations on Gratitude; Poems N Pixs N Such.”
  • I drafted the poems in my regular journal then wrote them directly on the prepared surface.
  • I printed out my photographs, and they came out looking a bit sketchy, but I thought that added to the “folk art” quality of an art journal.
  • I used Mod Podge (sealer, glue, and finish) to glue the images down,
  • and then I covered the entire page with Mod Podge. BIG MISTAKE! And I knew better! I should have used a spray fixative first but forgot and the ink on the stamping and photos ran. I replaced the photos and started over, but the stamping was a write off. So…
  • I re-did the photos
  • Added strips of tissue paperand sprayed it with Windsor Newton Professional Satin Varnish
  • THEN Mod Podged the whole…letting it dry between stages
  • Sprayed it a few more times and called it good…

 

I was reminded of the value and fun of a List Poem by Natalie Goldberg in her book The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language.


Where do YOU collect gratitudes?

Tell us in the comment box directly below!

Creating a Gratitude Art Journal

I am documenting my journey through Laura Valenti’s Meditations on Gratitude Online Photography class with short videos. This one introduces my art journal as a place to collect my moments of gratitude.

My favorite moment in it is when I totally serendipitously video my cat Pookie curled around a stone called “Poetry.” I took a screen shot of it, and I’m going to put it in as the first image in the journal.

My cat Pookie curled around the Poetry stone. She will go in my art journal.
My cat Pookie curled around the Poetry stone. She will go in my art journal.

Lake and Mountain

This is an overview of my current art journal page. It's a landscape-oriented big watercolor Moleskine book.
This is an overview of my current art journal page. It’s a landscape-oriented big watercolor Moleskine book.
This is the right hand page of Lake and Mountains
This is the right hand page of Lake and Mountains
This is the left hand side of Lake and Mountains.
This is the left hand side of Lake and Mountains.

Lake and Mountains

I just finished reading the 1980 Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe by Laurie Lisle, which I highly recommend for anyone just wanting to wrap their head around the life and legend of this phenomenal artist.

I just returned from a pilgrimage to her two houses in New Mexico, one at Ghost Ranch where we stayed a few days to explore and photograph “O’Keeffe Country.” Then we visited the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. It was there that I bought the book as well as many prints, cards, and additional art books focusing on this artist.

My trip was so visually rich that I have been floundering, trying to figure out how to integrate all the visual and intellectual information I’ve taken in. One thing I did was buy a big landscape view watercolor Moleskine sketchbook and began art journaling.

I title all my journals, and this one is called “Working Into My Own,” with an O’Keeffe quote that is meaningful to me at this stage of my life:

“I was alone and singularly free, working into my own–no one to satisfy but myself.” —Georgia O’Keeffe Some Memories of Drawings

Now that I’ve finished the biography, I am looking deeply at her paintings. For this art journal page, I was studying the composition of her “Lake and Mountains” because I was fascinated by the egg shape. It took me a long time to figure out it was supposed to be a lake:

O'Keeffe Lake and Mountains
By trying to copy O’Keeffe’s composition and color scheme in “Lake and Mountains,” I was trying to learn from her about soft rounded shapes pushed up against sharper, jagged shapes.

 

O’Keeffe is the Queen of Simplicity, of smooth, pared-down abstractions and a flawless surface application of paint, all of which I admire but do not personally aspire to.

I added mysterious dark shapes into my landscape using torn tissue paper. I love the spontaneous, unexpected effects of torn paper and the full range of playful collage tools and techniques that typify the art journal aesthetic.

Have you been doing any art lately? Discovered ay new artists or fun techniques?

New Night Vision Class Begins April 4

The inaugural Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal Course went extremely well! A new section has opened and is available for enrollment now for $75.00:
Sign-Up-Now-Scruffie

Welcome to Your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal Online Class

Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal began one day in Eastern Oregon when sister Cheryl gave sister Sandy a black paper artist’s journal and a handful of gel pens and Prismacolor pencils. Both of us started first to do scribble art.

Out of the darkness of the page emerged the figures of dream and imagination. I was as if we were cave painters putting our hands to the dark cave walls and blowing paint to mark our passing there. Spirit figures emerged from the dark pages of the cave and began to move in living color.

In 2008, we began posting our Mysterious Night Vision Field Journals on our blog. Memories, dreams, and reflections arose spontaneously from the Well of Soul.

In our Mysterious Night Vision Field Journals, we see the outer world in reverse, as if in a mirror. Slightly disoriented, in love with vivid color, we pursue the soul’s uncensored purpose.

We are so glad you are joining us!

In this class, you will be given a short lesson and a drawing assignment or challenge every other day.  Videos and examples are provided for direction and inspiration. There are also bonus assignments for those who have time to explore more deeply.

Some of the assignments are:

  • Draw a Dream Animal
  • Draw a Volcano, Tsunami or Other Dramatic Natural Disaster
  • Draw a Jungle
  • Draw a Soul Portrait
  • Draw a Dream

You will write about your images, then take a photo (with your cell phone, for example) and add to the class. There you will be able to give and receive imaginative, supportive feedback.

Cheryl Renee Long is the instructor for this course. She’s the blonde in the photo.

Her sister, Sandy Brown Jensen, will be taking the course alongside you. Sandy is also the resident techie, so feel free to consult with her with any tech related questions at sandybrownjensen@gmail.com

We love our Mysterious Night Vision Journals, and we are excited to be sharing this passion with you.

Successful Seattle Art Event

On March 5, 2016, Daniel Smith Artist Supplies in Seattle, WA, sponsored a Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal workshop by Cheryl Renee Long and Sandy Brown Jensen. This video captures that event and the spontaneous art produced by the 13 participants. The pool is still open–jump on in! The registration button is on the home page of this blog post.

Woman with Baby

woman_w_Baby

Woman with Baby

By Cheryl Renee Long

Sometimes I feel that I am nurturing a baby. I hold her close to my heart and I go about my life.
Sometimes I dream that I have forgotten my baby or I left her behind somewhere. I frantically search for her and usually find I left her behind at the home of a relative.
In my dream I berate myself,  “How could I forget a child?”
A few weeks ago I reviewed all of my old sketchbooks going back to the 1970’s. I saw so many great sketches that remained an embryonic idea. It made me sad to see how many possibilities never came to fruition.
But ideas are everywhere. We mere humans cannot actualize the abundance of creativity that is available to us.
So I draw the woman with a baby, a floral skirt and colorful shawl.  She nurtures her art the very best she can, and she also dances and she rejoices in life.
I hope you will join us for the March 7, 2016 Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal class, or tell someone you love about it.

Moon Roses

 

Moon_Roses_sandy
This is the first sketch I did for the Color Your World colored pencil online art class from Toucan Create! It reminded me of the poem, “Moon Roses” by my husband Peter Jensen. The marriage of the two speaks to the soul of the Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal.

Moon Roses

                       Written after my shock at 9/11 turned into an endless grief

 Sometimes, we have to leave the Earth.

Some times are bad times, war time, time

to learn how bad humans can be. That’s

when we order roses from the Moon.

 

Moon roses show up, brighter than summer

roses, pale and day-glo and neon

as if they were grown in an off-planet

hot house. They appear too good for this world.

 

We ordered four hot pinks, two purples, and two

creamy oranges, and they last as if their petals

were silk spun by Moon moths

in our winter cool solarium.

 

As proof of where they came from, the Moon is full.

At night, I can see our Moon roses longing for home.

                                    —Peter Jensen