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.


Leslie Avon Miller said...

I love this post Donna! I feel honored to have a glimpse into each artist's private morning routine. Journals, rocks, nature, sunshine, words, all are lovely. Life is rich. Like you say, a breath in, a breath out.

Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

This was lovely! Thank you.

india flint said...

it's always a joy to find a new post on your blog, Donna.

my day begins before dawn with tea
with a poem
randomly selected by the book
at the point where the page falls open
this morning it was 'forest' from the book 'Handwork' by Mary Logue

hardly surprising the book falls open's a poem i love.

life is good.

Jennifer said...

What a wonderful post! It's fun to see some of my friends featured as well as to be introduced to a few new artists. Thank you!

henrietta (aka ani aka zani) said...

there is an echo: lovely post. i have followed some of the artists you mention and one or two new ones, but now i have a better image of the soulfulness that they bring to their work. seems the key here is to have silence, listen, see, and awareness/acceptance. thank you.

Kathryn Dyche said...

What a great post, makes me wonder what my morning routine says about me!

eb said...

thank you Donna
for this BEautiful post
so honored to be included
morning glows with magic

so much shimmering here,

xox - eb.

Penny said...

Hmm, a lovely post but I dont think I follow it. My morning begins with a leap from bed to the loo 9showing my age?0 turn on the tiny computer, sit in my chair and go through blogs and overnight emails, have my fruit and yoghurt, tea and toast and must be out of the back door for a walk with Max(the dog) before 8 to 815 or he carried on at me.
Then I walk out into the paddocks and then i have time to enjoy the light, the bird song, the difference of the day.
But.. I dont map out what I will do, some days I am too darn tired so I come home and sit and think, maybe pick up a bit of something to stitch and then gradually get the body moving again to do the humdrum household chores.
I think by then I havent the energy to get going in the work room.
Age and aches are catching up.
But to those blogs I follow, you give me a feeling of being connected to a lively community out there.
Sometimes I wish I had known about what is now out there 20 years ago, but when the good days come, yes I create.

Fiona Dempster said...

Thank you Donna for including me here - the ways we all begin our days are different; yet have many shared experiences, despite our distances across the globe. Mindfulness is surely at the heart of it...go well.

Judy Shreve said...

a beautiful post - so lovely to hear the poetic beginnings of these wonderful creative souls.

lyle baxter said...

What a wonderful post! my day starts with a visit to Elizabeth Bunsen to see what treasures she has found the day before. or created. then on to other things but that bit of sunshine starts my day in a peaceful, happy direction. thank you for writing about several of my favorite artists and introducing some new and interesting ones!

sukipoet said...

love it that you have explored this concept. how the day begins does matter. my day goes forth with so much ease when i read in an inspiring book first as i sip my tea, write a few pages in my journal. take an hour to do my yoga.

thanks for your interesting mind.

Missouri Bend Paper Works said...

Wonderful post Donna....the morning rituals are so important for keeping me balanced. The key is to keep everything mindful, so they don't lapse into habit. Thanks for sharing the words of these wonderful artists as well!

anca gray said...

what a beautiful post, donna! thank you for kindly including me. you weave a delicate thread of connection between such different people, artists, mornings. and the connective thread is mindfulness. thank you for doing this important work!

i love what leslie says: this is oxygen and we put our own mask on first.

deborah from collagewhirl said...

As I sit here this morning with my green tea, I'm delighted to open this post, center myself and start the day. I'm going to be more aware of what things I do out of habit today. One of my habits is checking out the links you provide, Donna!

ZenDotStudio said...

Lovely post! So many ways to start with the same intent, to be mindful, to just be here on this lovely planet. So much fun to see the similarities and differences, including the commenters. And as Suki says in the comments what a difference can make to the day, to our world.

Thanks for including me!

Tammie Lee said...

hello Donna,
this is a wonderful post
i love your thoughts of habit
sometimes.... i move a trashcan, and then see how many days it takes me to become present to it's new home

each sharing of words
depth from each person and yourself in this post is a treasure

thank you

Anna Mavromatis said...

Donna, what a great post with "views" of these special friends' start of the day!

Emma said...

Well, I'm obviously quite unique here, completely unpoetic in the morning as I rant & rail against the oblivion of sleep being taken prematurely from me.....

I have learnt thru the practice of yoga to give myself permission to be in the moment, to be mindful, but I must relearn this every day, with the help of my coffee angel, the wonderous view I live by & the peace I find in my garden. Then I can work!

ArtPropelled said...

After reading this wonderful post I feel relaxed and ready to face the rest of my day with mindfulness. I used to write early in the mornings but somehow that habit got pushed aside. I know this is a good way to start my day. A mug of coffee and a notebook to gather my thoughts together and plot my day. I love this post Donna and have also enjoyed the comments. Smiling at Emma ranting and railing "against the oblivion of sleep being taken prematurely from me"

Paula said...

I wandered here via E.B.'s blog, and what a delight! As I'm typing this, it's evening, not morning, but what a beautiful way to bring a close to my day. Thank you for the gift of images and words!

Barry said...

D-lovely to see that there are so many others who have small rituals to start and focus the day and the spirit. I know that if I don't stop and just be calm and do our little ritual then the day seems to just fly away rather than happen mindfully. Thanks for sharing this. B

Teri said...

Donna...I follow most all of these blogs and I am blown away at how wonderful this post is! I especially loved going to EB's blog again. The colors there are just so spectacular! And of course, Zen Dot and Leslie Avon-Miller...just yummy, yummy stuff! (And did I forget to mention YOURS??? Love that table with all that stuff on it. Some day, when I am not babysitting every day, I will have all my stuff out again!)

yucca said...

Lovely post!
Very nice iron pot.Really nice!
I can feel quiet morning,too.
My day begins with a cup of coffee.

Your post's always so beautiful.

Yvette said...

some mornings I wake up so frightened, after I touched one of my dogs I become quiet again and start the day, connected with reality.

what a great post ...thanks

is it ok if I link this post on my blog?

onesmallstitch said...

thank you, I've returned to this post several times, so many beautiful thoughts to savour. our morning routine is as important and sustaining as a nutritious breakfast.

I start each day with a sitting meditation.

--I lived on Salt Spring Is. for 9 years and still return often.

Di said...

Beautiul! Thank you all for sharing Di

Deborah said...

Wonderfully rich and inspiring post. It will take me a while to savor it all.

Unknown said...

BEautiful group you have gathered in the early morning light here...


Lucky Dip Lisa said...

So nice to read this post and see the wonderful photos. Very inspiring. Happy Easter.

Lisbeth Williams said...

Hi Donna, thanks for stopping by my blog. Yes, I sometimes smile at the fact that we seem to Pin alike. Now that I found my way here, I will look further at your work. Spring greetings from Sweden. /Lisbeth

Lisbeth Williams said...

Hi Donna, thanks for stopping by my blog. Yes, I sometimes smile at the fact that we seem to Pin alike. Now that I found my way here, I will look further at your work. Spring greetings from Sweden. /Lisbeth

Bridgette Guerzon Mills said...

Wish I could say that my mornings start out peacefully and mindful...but they are rather chaotic and bumbling! But such is my life right now. :) I wonder though...if I set the intention then perhaps it could happen. It would probably help my children to start their day out smoother if their mom was less frazzled! Thank you for the inspiration and for this wonderful post

rivergardenstudio said...

Dear Donna, what a very beautiful post. I love your words, and the other words of artists beginning their day.
I have heard that the mind is the most creative in that time in the morning between sleep and wakefulness. On the weekends i try to just lie in bed and let my mind go free.
Thank you for this.

Unknown said...

Such a helpful and affirming post, Donna - for years I have woken early each morning for dedicated quiet-time and a 4-mile walk - 'donning my own oxygen mask first' as Leslie reminds us. -sus

Duealberi said...

Just discovered you blog. Beautiful!