Tag Archives: reflections

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?

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.

Dreaming in the New Year

NOTE: The next Color Your World two week class begins Jan 4, 2016. What makes this class different is the one-on-one daily interaction with an empathetic instructor and with a supportive community of fellow artists. Only $50.00. Click this button to learn more and to register:

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If you would like to experience a free class, click here:FreeClass3.fw_-278x300

Dreaming in the New Year

 

Woman_in_Bubble_Bath
Cheryl Renee Long MNVJ entry December 27, 2015 Woman In Bubble Bath Dreaming of the New Year She is deeply relaxed, immersed in the turquoise and white bubbles. Her pink curly hair drifts and morphs into a white bird and her dreams slip into an astral journey. She sees and knows her 70th year. It will bring life, color, and abundance.

During the holidays, it’s sometimes hard to even hear yourself think. These are joyous family times for most (though not all, I acknowledge). But eventually visitors leave or you travel home. You become aware in the northern hemisphere of the short days, the long nights, the rain or the snow. In the southern hemisphere, dog days of summer keep temperatures hovering around 100 degrees F.

I-5_Sacramento
Cheryl Renee Long–After Thanksgiving 11/28/15, heading home north on I-5

Now is the time to find your own quiet place, go deep into a kind of dreaming trance and let some other spirit speak quietly to you. It’s true that this healing mental and spiritual drifting has an affinity for water. In the Mysterious Night Vision drawing above, Cheryl has drawn a bubble bath. In my household, it’s the hot tub with a glass roof and the sound of the constant rain. I’ve been in warm climates this time of year, and there we are drawn to waterfalls and the warm sea.

One December, I found myself at the end of the year in a cave on the island of Kauai.
Sandy Brown Jensen. One December 2013, I found myself at the end of the year in a cave on the island of Kauai, a perfect place to lose myself in the timeless flow of the islands.

Give yourself to those private moments, and then find a place to curl up and draw in your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal. If a white bird seems to flow out of curly pink hair–so be it. The Night Vision Journal is never about “learning how to draw”; it is first and foremost a place to bring the images and colors behind your eyes to the black paper which is so much like the drawing board of a dream.

Dreams

All night
the dark buds of dreams
open
richly.

In the center
of every petal
is a letter,
and you imagine

if you could only remember
and string them all together
they would spell the answer.
It is a long night,

and not an easy one—-
you have so many branches,
and there are diversions—-
birds that come and go,

the black fox that lies down
to sleep beneath you,
the moon staring
with her bone-white eye.

Finally you have spent
all the energy you can
and you drag from the ground
the muddy skirt of your roots

and leap awake
with two or three syllables
like water in your mouth
and a sense

of loss—-a memory
not yet of a word,
certainly not yet the answer—-
only how it feels

when deep in the tree
all the locks click open,
and the fire surges through the wood,
and the blossoms blossom.

–Mary Oliver


 

Note: This blog entry has been cross-posted on http://toucancreate.com/mysterious-night-vision-field-journal/141/

Draw Your Dreams

TreeWomanwithFireSticks
“Tree Woman with Fire Sticks” This image was more of a “waking dream” as I drew what spontaneously appeared in my mind’s eye. That is heart and soul of the Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal experience.

Today’s Daily Create is to draw a picture of a place you have been to in your dreams.

I think this activity is a good way to introduce a class that Cheryl Long and I are developing to run at the Toucan Create! Online Art Classes Creativity School sometime early in 2016. It is called The Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal. It is all about using black artist sketch paper, gel pens, and colored pencils to explore memories, dreams, reflections.

It is, in many ways, the opposite of Color Your World. In the Color Your World class, we are looking out at the world and making an artistic representation of it. When we have black paper, we have a dark blank slate. It is our interior darkness. It is the world of dream, of spontaneous creation. Here we may draw our deepest thoughts, our most ephemeral emotions, the world that lives behind our eyes. It is the well we go down to where we may draw up the water of our own personal Source Imagery.

Dream Mandala
This is a Dream Mandala in my Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal

In this dream, I am sitting with Mom at a cafe outside the Museum of Modern Art, although I have significantly and unconsciously labeled it “Musee.”

We see my dad, long since gone from this world, climbing the steps and entering the “Musee.”

That’s it, but this 2008 dream is still strong in me seven years later. You’ll notice (or maybe not) that I can’t draw. That matters not at all to me.

I am fascinated by the way the dreaming mind likes to rhyme. My parents were inseparable except by death, but even in death, dad enters the MOM-A. I think that speaks to their bond, which built the strong foundation of my life.

But the element that still engages me is the connection to me of Modern Art–and I have tried to live a life in art–and the cross meaning of “Musee,” or “muse,” that which inspires. In Greek mythology, there were nine Muses, and still today, each artist is said to have his or her own Muse or inner source of inspiration.

What I understand now about the dream is that my father’s spirit entered into the storehouse of modern art and became my Muse, an artistic spirit who still advises me. But I have to say these meanings only come to me now as I reflect on the dream so many years later.

THE DREAM MANDALA

DreamMandala_2
In this Dream Mandala I am driving around a dark lake toward a volcano streaming with lava. I have lost my glasses, but I can see them floating in the sky

I love the idea of drawing such elusive inner experiences inside a circle. It is a spiritual or ritual symbol representing the universe. Knowing that, my dream fills up the space of the universe for the page of the moment and reminds me to think expansively, to look not only inward but outward.

Do you draw your dreams?