After teaching a class at Ghost Ranch, I was invited to stay in Taos at the Mabel Dodge Luhan Retreat, where I will be teaching next May. I was walking with Marguerite in downtown Taos when we wandered into the Ortenstone Delattre Gallery. Neither of us had ever been there, or ever heard of Pierre Delattre. He was sitting behind his desk and stood up to greet us– shining silver hair, shining eyes. In retrospect, it is like the archetypal stories where the children lose their way and find themselves inside a magic castle or enchanted forest. I was instantly spellbound, and wanted to see everything that was in this gallery.Read More
Is the idea of keeping something secret, of privacy, of cultivating something in our inner world before it is said or shown out loud, getting lost? I am not speaking of those long, dark secrets– what I mean is sometimes we have the impulse to report immediately, to send an instant response– tweet! What I am trying to do is counter this impulse by pausing to find out where I am before I click.Read More
I am sorting through the chaos in my studio, so that I can have a sense of order, and then begin again, creating more chaos! I came across this quote from Sister Corita in one of my sketchbooks: Find a place you trust and try trusting it for awhile.Read More
As many of you know, Steven and I have designated "Sabbatical Sundays" as the day we turn off our cell phones and computers, and find another way to enter the day. As much as I love solitude, it is curious to see the extent to which my mind is captured by the impulse to check this or that on my gadgets– fingers and a mind that resist being still. You could say that these Sundays are a kind of mind experiment. One Sunday Steven woke up and said "Let's go east!" This is the day of the week we often get in the car and head out on adventures without the advantage of GPS– and both of us having a tendency to get lost. So without any plan, we left before breakfast and drove through the rolling hills of central Kentucky. I was captured by all the old tobacco barns with the "hex" signs.Read More
This morning before first light, I was greeted by the hoo-hooing of a pair of owls outside our window. I had gone to sleep reading Jung's "Memories, Dreams & Reflections", and his thoughts on death, alchemy and eternity. Perhaps these ideas are more prevalent with the ending of another year, and the mystery of what is beginning. This poem from Rumi came to mind:Read More
Everyone has his or her own way of working. For me there are times when I need to step back from the creative chaos that has taken over my studio, let the paintings germinate, and re-create order. This is the phase I am in now. I began this week by cleaning, organizing, sorting– letting go of things I no longer need. This is a somewhat difficult task to stay focused on, as all along the way I come across scraps of papers with phrases like: “old and broken boat” and “the festal intention of these flowers was revealed” * – with no note about where these words came from. Without knowing what it means, something happens when I ponder the festal intention of the flowers. I feel lighter.But it’s almost Thanksgiving, and I must get back to creating order, making room for something to happen.Read More
Sometimes I catch myself thinking (with frustration)– what is the next great idea I can come up with for my work? Then I remind myself that paying close attention to the ordinary, the common things– that this is where the magic resides. And this is how I open my eyes.
I was disturbed by the "tree eating machines" that were taking down our ash trees, stricken with the Emerald Ash Borer, and went out for a walk. I went off the path in the woods and found a fallen ash tree lying across the field. When I removed the bark, I discovered these beautiful patterns:Read More
This morning the full moon is on the floor of my sitting room– making me reluctant to turn on any lights. There is no other light like moonlight.
I look forward to this time of year, heading toward the winter solstice. It is the pull toward night, seeing the stars and milky way, and the silence of the desert that draws me back to Ghost Ranch, where I have been going for over twenty years.Read More
Galway Kinnell died this week at 87, in his home in Vermont. His death was the same day as the birthday of my best friend from first grade, and the birthday of a student who just had her second baby. It is the anniversary week of the death of my friend and mentor, Angeles Arrien. Birth and death. They are the same door.Read More
Why make art? This is the question that was posed for a group of us who met for lunch this week:
Two poets, a composer, a psychotherapist, a sculptor, a graphic designer, a drawing professor, a painter and a calligrapher. It was such a lively conversation! There were many different strands to our talk, so I will take just one today.
One of the people in our group had decided to quit making, and caused me to ask myself again: Why am I a maker?Read More