Sunday, March 25, 2012


Donna Watson mixed media painting/collage SHIMMER
More than 40% of the actions we perform each day are the product of habit.   The habits most of us perform each morning may run counter to the conditions brain scientists tell us would promote open minded creative thought.  If your typical routine is to jump out of bed, dive into the shower and rush around in order to get into the studio then stop and think about this.  What if you set your alarm a few minutes earlier, lie in bed, think about your day, stretch and take deep breaths.
Stand in the warm shower a few minutes longer, think deeper thoughts about what you want to do.
Sit at your desk or work table, have a cup of tea or coffee, write down some of your thoughts.  Scientists have found that our morning routines can foster more creative energy and thought.  I asked a few artists below to send me their morning image and words to start their day.  Their blogs are wonderfully poetic and thought provoking and creative.  My morning image is first.
  Tea:  Sweet Grace Vanilla Rooibos.  Breakfast bread:  Chocolate Babka.  Location:  my library desk with my fossils and collections.  Book:  THE ZEN OF CREATIVITY: Cultivating Your Artistic Life by John Daido Loori. Journal writing notes.
Quiet morning, sun shining in 
my favorite things surrounding me
breathe in, breathe out
some thoughts written down 
to get me going for the day-- donna watson

Anca Gray lives in Chicago, Illinois.  She creates art pieces out of discarded vintage books and found objects.  She is interested in everything poetic, emotional, and capturing moments in time and space.  She has a tumblr site, an etsy shop and all can be found at her blog TO LIVE POETRY here.  

 Image by Anca Gray
You must open up to the day with abandon.
drown your expectations, your fearful plans,
slowly, mercilessly, in a pot of black tea.
draw close to the stones
and listen
as the day recklessly blooms with possibility --  Anca Gray

Nancy Neva Gagliano is a poet and visual artist.  As a photographer, she experiments with photographic processes both outside and inside the darkroom.  She is also know for her wrapped (rapt) rocks and for her poetry.  Her blog and her poetic words and images can be found here

Image by Nancy Neva Gagliano
What comes to open space is as real as 
what leaves the open spirit.
No intention.
light, shadow, line, sound.
shared natures sensing boundless energy.
When the mind rests, 'work' begins. -- Nancy Neva Gagliano
Elizabeth Bunsen lives in the northeastern part of the U.S.  Her artwork and images always seem to have this warm, wonderful glow.  Her interests include wabi sabi, long walks and gathering found treasures.  Her 'glowing' blog is called  and can be found here.  

 image by Elizabeth Bunsen
morning coffee, 
dreams launching ideas
like red hot husks
the early light
pregnant with quiet....  Elizabeth Bunsen

Fiona Dempster lives in Australia.  She is a calligrapher and book artist.  Her art works explore themes about peace and meditation, about reflection and introspection and about journey and place.  You can find her tumblr and website from her blog PAPER PONDERINGS here.  
image by Fiona Dempster
Every morning
Freshly squeezed orange juice,
Choose a word to ponder and guide,
Gaze across the ever changing valley,
Be thankful.  -- Fiona Dempster

Carol Leslie lives in Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada.  Her blog posts and her art (paintings, prints) have to do with Buddha teachings, meditation, and her love for peace, beauty and harmony.  She also has an etsy shop and you can find her blog  ZEN DOT STUDIO here.  

  image by Carole Leslie
draw a breath
draw a line
the slender wedge of this moment 
is always waiting for us
just below the furious scratching
of the mind.  --  Carole Leslie

Leslie Avon Miller lives in the Pacific NW area of the U.S.  Her art works include mixed media collage, paintings, artist hand made books, envelopes and tags.  Her creating process clears space and light for 'experiencing the moments'.  Her blog TEXTURES SHAPES COLOR can be found here.

  image by Leslie Avon Miller
"I wake up greedy; greedy for the day, the light, the time to be and see.  I want to see the birds, the deer,  the leaves unfurling at the end of winter.  I want to note the falling snow flakes, the winds in the tree branches, and the warmth of the fire.  And I want to see images of art.  I want to read a poem, or a thoughtful blog post written by a person in my circle.  I wake up greedy and I eat a nourishing breakfast of images, nature and quiet.  This is oxygen.  And I always put on my own oxygen mask first."  by Leslie Avon Miller.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cloth Paper Scissors

Boro series: old Japanese envelopes, hand painted rice papers

piece of vintage Boro fabric,

Decades ago, impoverished farmers and fishermen in Japan and their families stitched and layered scraps of fabric for their survival. Boro (rags and tatters) was the shape of survival in their poverty and inhospitable land. The beauty and sheer compositional skill of these boro creations have become national treasures in Japan. Today, there are many artists working with fabric and cloth in similar ways.

Yuko Kimura: Boro no. 4, intaglio, old Japanese book page, on handmade paper, thread

Yuko Kimura is a California artist working with fabric, paper and thread. She has worked on a series titled Boro. Website here.

Yuko Kimura: Paper Window series: etching on old book pages and handmade paper, thread

"My working process is about mending and patching by reusing or recycling old paper or fabric from Japan. I am particularly interested in the beauty of translucency and imperfect uneven edges in homemade paper." -- Yuko Kimura

Matthew Harris: dyed, cut and handstitched cloth

Matthew Harris is a working artist with cloth, paper, thread in the United Kingdom. He makes work that employs dying, cutting and hand stitching. He is concerned with abstract imagery and the translation of drawn marks into cloth. Website here.

Michael Harris: mixed media on paper, waxed thread

"The musicality in Harris' work is clear. We can recognize the complex structural elements of composition... The progressive form of the [musical] score graphically represents the linear unfolding of time..." Paul Harper, Trace Elements
Lisa Hochstein:  salvaged paper

Lisa Hochstein spent several years living in Barcelona Spain and now lives in California.  She works with both salvaged papers and recycled fabric.  Website here.  

Lisa Hochstein:  hand stitching on salvaged fabric

"Each collage is a layered physical record of its own making,  as well as an encounter with the impermanence of objects we at one time hold dear and then later cease to value.  The finished works range from precise geometric constructions to more fluid, painterly compositions.  They resonate with my own intermittent pangs of nostalgia and fuel my curiosity about individual and collective histories."  -- Lisa Hochstein
Dorothy Caldwell:  fabric, stitching
Dorothy Caldwell is a Canadian textile artist.  She maintains an active international exhibition and teaching schedule from her studio in Hastings, Ontario.  Working with paper and cloth, her works examine different kinds of marks including stitching, resist and batik, drawn and painted marks and mending.  Her works address different aspects of movement and gesture that through time and repetition evolve into richly activated surfaces.  Website here.  

The art of the inner work, which unlike the outer
does not forsake the artist, which he does not "do"
and can only "be," springs from the depths of which
the day knows nothing. --Eugene Herrigel, Zen in the Art of Archery

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Pulse and Seth Apter

THE PULSE OF MIXED MEDIA: Secrets and Passions of 100 Artists Revealed by Seth Apter has ARRIVED! Through a series of questions that Seth Apter asked artists, artists revealed their thoughts, insights and confessions. They shared ideas, secrets and frustrations. This book reveals their artistic souls, hence the pulse of mixed media. The book is available at Barnes & Noble and the link to is here.

One of the tasks Seth asked artists was to create a self portrait. Below is Seth's self portrait in the book.

When I look at Seth's self portrait... one of the words that come to me is BUSY. Seth Apter is a mixed media artist in New York City who works in collage, book arts and assemblage. But Seth also has a day job as a psychologist. So he divides his time between his professional office, his studio and his computer office. His work has been published in numerous books, magazines as well as his blog, THE ALTERED PAGE found here, and his online zine, THE PULSE. So Seth is very busy juggling so many aspects of his life and art and I for one am extremely impressed. Below are some glimpses into his studio.

"Putting this book together has been an adventure that I will always remember. My hope was that questions and prompts that form the basis of this book would uncover information that truly revealed the deeper issues and concerns of all artists. Would the artists in the book be honest and open in how they responded? The answer was a resounding YES." Seth Apter

"My second discovery came as I sorted through all the literally thousands of responses I received. As unique as each artist is and as distinct as their artwork looks, there are many things that connect us all. We each have a very personal reason why we become artists. We each put ourselves on the line every time we share our art with others." Seth Apter

"Reading through all these responses and seeing the artwork created by the artists has had a tremendous impact on me. As I answered the very same questions along the way, I learned so much about myself as an artist and as a person." Seth Apter
As I look at part of Seth's studio above with that word, I know that Seth approaches his art, his world of art, and his life with a resounding YES.

I have been fortunate to be included in this book. Seth is highlighting 31 artists from the book for the month of March. Today, March 4th is my day and if you go to this link at Seth Apter's blog THE ALTERED PAGE here, you will see what he has written.

Below is the self portrait I created for Seth's book. I think a self portrait can reveal a lot about an artist, especially for themselves.

My self portrait does not have my actual image. I used a 'blank' head instead, which could be anyone. This is because I am still trying to figure out who I am. I am on this inner journey, seeking balance in my art and in my life. I am also a private person who may not want to reveal too much. There is a mystery.

One of the questions Seth asked was: If your artwork could talk, what would it say? My answer is: Be still. Be quiet, tranquil and balanced where places in your heart and mind are found, and where the moment is present, and then past memories come. dw

If you go to Seth Apter's blog THE ALTERED PAGE and leave a comment your name will be put into a drawing for a free copy of his book THE PULSE OF MIXED MEDIA. He is giving away 3 copies and you can leave a comment every day for the month of March. Plus you will get to see his posts on 31 artists who are featured in the book. blog here.