Sunday, January 22, 2012

Grace and a Show

Up Coming Gallery show announcement: Lucia Douglas Gallery, Bellingham, WA. Feb. 3-25th. A three person show with Cass Nevada, 2-D artist, and Brian O'neill, potter.
Opening reception: Thursday, Feb. 2. gallery website here.

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.--Emerson

This is how I try to begin each new year. A new start... with a look forward, not behind. I usually start with making lists for the year.. because I am a list maker. But this year I decided to give in to this word that has been at the edge of the shadows in my brain for awhile now-- GRACE... because I want more of it in my personal and art life. I found this quote some time ago: how you climb up the mountain is just as important as how you get down the mountain. and so it is with life, which for many of us becomes one big gigantic test followed by one big gigantic lesson.
in the end it all comes down to one word, grace. it's how you accept winning and losing, good luck and bad luck, the darkness and light. You can not separate your life from your art.

self portrait, collage

"You can have other words-chance, luck coincidence, serendipity. I"ll take grace. I don't know what it is exactly, but I'll take it." --- Mary Oliver.

"My belief is that it is most important for an artist to develop an approach and philosophy about life---if he has developed this philosophy, he does not put paint on canvas, he puts himself on canvas." -- Jacob Lawrence

I asked several friends to send me their description of the word GRACE. Some of these friends I know in my personal life and art, and some of them have connected with me online in the blog world.

Janna Gougeon, encaustic and collage, blog here.
"Two meanings come to mind: a gift of spirit.. always there..not always recognized; the second: with gentleness, sensitivity, respect, understanding."

Robyn Gordon, detail, wood carving. Blog here.
"Grace is the thread of goodness that meanders through my life...from the wild calls of Loeries at dawn, or the answer to a prayer. I find that we need to slow down to appreciate those moments of grace or we tend to miss many of them.

Ruth Armitage, acrylic, yupo paper. Blog and website here.
"Grace is when one exhibits apparently effortless kindness and acceptance. It is the most beautiful of the personal qualities because it is motivated by love for the world and mankind."

Tangie Belmore, acrylic and collage, website here.
Tangie believes Grace to be this: "an elegant sensibility of focus and passion with authentic composure. Serene, warmth, beauty, refinement, sensitive, calm, wisdom."

Leslie Avon Miller, collage, blog here.
"Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who I am. That is grace."

India Flint, eco (natural) print dyes on fabric. blog here.
"It is a word that I associate with my (late) maternal grandmother--who I never saw responding to any situation, no matter how stressful, with anything other than grace (even to me when I was a vile teenager). It is something I aspire to, not only as a person but also in my work, to have it appear as such, seemingly effortlessly formed, despite the turmoil that lies behind.

Nancy Neva Gagliano, her 'rapt' rocks series, blog here.
Grace surrounds me, and you,
Meshing us together.
Its that vibration blanketing our souls,
Protecting and nuturing.
And, Grace comforts me as it eases into awareness
In a moment of contemplation, during a pause,
Or during a time of appreciation,
Washing away worries when a slow breath is exhaled.
Grace is always there.
I am the one that is occasionally absent.
--- Nancy Neva Gagliano, January 21, 2012.


Leslie Avon Miller said...

The darkness and the light, art and life not not separate from one another but intertwined. I like as you point out Donna that it is one big gigantic lesson.

*Congratulations* on your show Donna. I know you have worked diligently.

Thank you for including me in this post with these lovely people who also happen to be great artists!

George said...

A wonderful post, Donna, and strangely synchronistic with the fact that I was reading a book about grace just before seeing your new post. Grace is a term that is use in myriad ways to describe myriad things. While I am not religious, at least not in a conventional sense, I tend to focus upon the theological notion of grace, the proposition that I am accepted by the Great Mystery of the Universe—call it God, the Tao, or what you will—and that everything that flows to me comes by way of grace, not through my own merit. Grace logically leads to gratitude, which, for me, is the key to happiness. I don't see grace as something one "finds." It's simply there, and the most we can do is acknowledge it and be grateful for it.

nancy neva gagliano said...

indeed congratulations on the upcoming show...

and so true how we become heavy with the "old nonsense" ... a small word Grace with much to ponder on the surface, and much less to think through when we relax into that spirit and trust. . .
there's grace in being part of this post, in good company here with you and friends.
thank you

MB Shaw said...

Love your work. Also like your animal photos in the sidebar. I have a weakness for critters sleeping on their backs, such trusting creatures, they are adorable :)
For whatever it is worth, I think Grace is an ability that we develop (or not). I strive to handle life, "with grace."

ArtPropelled said...

I was very interested to read how the others describe grace since it's quite difficult to pin down...... and it was strange that you asked me to take part in the post just as I was re-reading Cheryl Richardson's book. 'The unmistakable touch of Grace". As Neva mentioned there is grace in being a part of this post. Thanks Donna. Wishing you all the best for your upcoming show.

Seth said...

A thought-filled post. Fascinating to hear the different definitions of Grace, which I have always thought to be one of the most beautiful-sounding words out there. Congrats on your exhibition!

Tammie Lee said...

grace, an ethereal presence
sometimes i think we know it truer in feeling than we can say in words and yet you have shared wonderful words of and about grace.

I chose this word and presence as my companion word one year... it followed me into the next, for through the spirit and eyes of grace the entire universe unfolds... forever this word is a teacher and friend. thank you for your post on grace and these wonderful artists. thank you also for your visit to my blog. how wonderful that you taught a workshop in kalispell. If you come this way again to teach, please let me know.

lovely week to you.

Jann Gougeon said...

Thank you, Donna, for including me here with these wonderful artists. Grace is such a deeply beautiful word. Fascinating to read what it means to others. Best wishes to you on your upcoming show! Wish I could see it in person.

r.bohnenkamp said...

Many thanks for the great post Donna.
I wish you all the best for your upcoming exhibition.
Your self portrait is phenomenal!

amy of studio four corners said...

beautiful post - that Emerson quote is one of my favorites - had it posted on my wall in college days...I will have to try to make it up to Bellingham to see the to you in 2012!

Kim Hambric said...

Donna, Thank you for sharing the art and the thoughts on grace. Grace is not something I have let into my life enough in the past. I feel that this is the year.

Congratulations on your show!

Wen said...

B-U-ti-FILL! As Always. I look forward to reading your thoughtful and artful posts.

Jo Murray said...

A thoughtful and informative post. Thanks for that.

Deborah said...

Much to think about. The Emerson quote is one of my favorites.

Kelly M. said...

Wondrous post, Donna. I need to return and slowly walk through it again, and again and again . . . Thank you for sharing!

Missouri Bend Paper Works said...

Donna, what a lovely reminder....this is not a word I actually use very much, but reading all the ways it is's just perfect for my own aspirations. Beautiful work and words by some of my favorite artists...thank you once again for an inspirational moment here on your blog! wishes for your upcoming show!!!

Donna Iona Drozda said...

Such a gloriously thoughtful topic...I love "Grace is always there.
I am the one that is occasionally absent."
And I particularly appreciate the 'occaionally' included since we are at all times in the arms of Grace...she so deeply cares for each of us and the beauty that we bring.
Happy Year of Grace to All.

Anonymous said...

elusive, but you know when it is there..


this is exactly what I needed to read right now.

Maybe that is grace working.

Don said...

Another good post...and yes, graceful.

india flint said...

thank you Donna
for all of this
for the inclusion

i have some small corrections to my hastily written lines

i wanted to say "formed" rather than "formal"
and "turmoil" rather than "toil"


Valerianna said...

A wonderful word for the year, Donna, and a great post. Grace is such a powerful quality to have and a blessing to receive - I think sometimes a graceful person might not be seen as a master warrior, but that is how I see them - meeting each moment, each challenge with deep-rootedness and poise, truly masterful.

eb said...

is the name
of my spirit twin
my Gran
my Mother's Mother
whose birthday
is mine
short by 12 hours
was creative
in all ways possible
and she was strong
and loving
made the best cherry pies
a photography studio
in her basement
in the 30's
on the western plains
of Nebraska
is a name
is a word
that wells up inside of me
this word is so full
it spills out
that this
might hold us
like a loving Grandmother
quiet, bold, rooted...

beautiful Donna,

xox - eb.

Caterina Giglio said...

congratulations on your new show, Donna, I wish you all the best. lovely post as always...

Carole Reid said...

Congratulations on your show Donna! This is another thoughtful and lovely post. Thank you.

anca gray said...

'i'll take grace. i don't know what it is exactly, but i'll take it.' - mary oliver

congratulations on the show, donna!

Cynthia Monica said...

Congratulations on your upcoming show! And, thank you for posting about Grace. I have not thought about that word, and its meaning recently, and I am going to think about it more.

sukipoet said...

congratulations on your upcoming show. I love the way you put together this post with quotes from your friends. and pictures of their art.

funnily, my the class i taught on writing fiction for my graduate degree was called "A Moment of Grace" in which I talked about grace and where i saw it in various works of short fiction and evoking such in ones own writing.

My uncle, a minister, wrote a book called Incidental Grace. His mother, my grandmother's name was Grace.

There is a whole and very large but light hornets nest here which I am happy to mail to you if you want it for the paper. Just send your snail mail address to

mansuetude said...

This is lovely, thank you.
Congratulations on your show.

Grace always seems a gift unasked for--life itself. Its all grace. Then there is that essence that moves through a human body, showing the inner gift in action and in simple lines of being.

ELFI said...

une belle galerie virtuelle..!

rivergardenstudio said...

Congratulations Donna, on your show.
You are grace, I hope you know that. The trouble with grace for me is that sometimes i can't find it.
But reading all these beautifully worded thoughts i know that it is there. Thank you.


Barry said...

D-all the best with the show. And thanks for the graceful reminder. B

mano said...

your self portrait is so wonderful!
and the other "grace-works" are very impressive. a fantastic post!
I wish you a very good upcoming show!

Hannah said...

Wishing you wonderful moments with your show and may it be grace-filled. Grace is a word that I've lived and struggled with during my life. My name, Hannah, is Hebrew for "grace". Growing up, I thought I embodied the antithesis of it. As I've grown older, the path has been to learn again and again, to allow myself to be carried by a kind of grace I believe is always present for all of us--and my lesson, as you so gracefully refer to it, is to relax and flow into it. Thanks for a thought provoking post.

anna flores said...

I´m a great fan of your work!!
I love the self portrait!!
All the best with your show!!

Teri said...

Donna...I love this post about Grace. the quotes from all the artists are just wonderful. I see grace in your work. And in the way you do your blog and present yourself in your art too. I also loved the rabbit post!!! I, too, have lots of rabbits. I don't know what it is: I just love them. And it appears that you do too. Blessings! And my word verification is: Blests!!!

Magdalena said...

Congratulations on the show Donna!
...your work is fantastic...
...thank you...

Sharmon Davidson said...

Congratulations on the show! I love this post, all the artists and their thoughts on grace; I'm coming back to read it again later (and probably again...)

Deborah said...

Much inspiration in this wonderful post!

Kathy McCreedy said...

Hi! I came here from Seth Apter's site and am so glad I did! I love your search for a definition of grace... something that eludes me SO often! Your collages are truly magical and incredibly lovely on such a soft, unintimidating manner (not sure if that makes sense, but they are unintrusive and really beautiful). Thank you for sharing and your blog posts are terrific. I will be back! :D

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