Today, on a super snowy winter day, I found good light, so I decided to paint. I looked through my hundreds of reference photos, but kept coming back to flowers. So today I did a rose and I might get one more painting in before the early dusk settles in.
So I am a little later on my Christmas cards than I had expected to be this year and when I was rooting around my photo files I could not find any new pictures of this past year that I wanted to share, so I decided to paint a card instead!
I was drawn to flowers again today, but in a much different format. I haven't painted on a flat panel in ages and I remembered why today. The slick feel of the panel doesn't give me the nice toothy feel of a canvas and so the paint acts in a completely different manner. It produces a whole new texture than I typically like, but I liked the way this turned out. Enjoy!
I started to paint today and really wanted to get poppies out of my system so I could find a new and more intriguing subject. Although I still adore poppies, I am thinking it's time to branch out and find something completely outside the box and my comfort zone. Time will tell if I find that subject!
Today is my anniversary. I am married to the most incredible man. It feels like we have always known each other and have been together since we were kids. Hard to believe it any other way. I guess that is what it feels like when you find someone so very compatible and on the same wavelength when it comes to the important stuff.
My dear husband is out of the house today working and I decided to paint and I guess I felt inspired and loved and so very content. I hope I put those feelings of joy and love into this painting today.
I decided to use my long skinny canvases for a set of paintings that could be used together or separately. So far I have completed 3 of the set. I chose to use complementary color palettes and keep them simple and graphic. Enjoy!
This really touched me today and I will keep it close for a while and make it my truth. "True art means if it helps you become silent, still, joyous; if it gives you a celebration, if it makes you dance-whether anybody participates with you or not is irrelevant If it becomes a bridge between you and God, that is true art. If it becomes a meditation, that is true art. If you become absorbed in it, so utterly absorbed that the ego disappears, that is true art. ...Art can be the most prayerful thing, the most meditative thing possible. If you can be in any art, music, painting, sculpture, dance, if any art can take a grip on your being, that's the best way to pray, the best way to meditate. Then you don't need any other meditation, that is your meditation. That will lead you slowly, slowly, step by step, into God. So this is my criterion: if it leads you toward God, it is true art, it is authentic art" - Osho, Creativity, Unleashing the Forces Within
I felt all warmed up after painting Ganesh for my friend's daughter and after a little peanut butter and jelly pita, I decided to paint another instead of cleaning up the brushes and palette. This felt good!
My friend Katy Latta has a lovely little 3 year old daughter named Deva. She's full of life, full of love and since she thinks Ganesh is the coolest thing ever, I decided to paint the elephant God for her so she could have him look over her all the time.
A great artist and friend, Dreama Tolle Perry, talked about "just showing up" on her blog yesterday and it got me inspired to get in front of my easel, even though I wasn't really sure what I wanted to paint or feeling especially moved to paint.
I rifled through some of my reference photos and was tickled by the feel of some poppies, so I just "showed up" and let the rest happen.
Here is the resultant painting. Makes me smile, so it's a masterpiece in my mind!
Today's painting! My largest painting to date. I am hoping my sister will want this for her Florida home! Took me a while to get the whole canvas covered, but it was fun and I love the tranquility I feel from the colors and light.
I do enjoy doing these paintings because I hope it will spark some interest for art into a young child's heart. It's something only I can do for them and I sure hope they enjoy having this on their wall/door/dresser!
Well, at least that is what I have decided after an incredible "aha" moment today and a big breakthrough on a tough pose. After less than a year of dedicated yoga practice and a month long intensive teacher training I am doing things that I never thought would be possible and I am 90% pain-free at this time.
I was able to kick myself up into a full arm balance or handstand (adho mukha vrksasana http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/788 ), hold it for almost a minute and come down with a little grace. If someone had told me a year ago I would be able to do that, I would have thanked them for the confidence in me, but laughed it off for sure. My upper body strength and suppleness seems to grow daily. My core strength is getting really good. My legs are tightening up in a good way and loosening up where they should. Yoga has done wonders for my body. It has done wonders for my memory, my ability to focus and my overall attitude towards life.
So, now I am able to start seeing beyond the past limitations of my body and see that I am now ready for what comes my way and will be able to make a big list of new resolutions and goals that I will be able to meet and possibly exceed.
I am starting my list today....here's a taste of what I now believe is possible!
1. get up into headstand (sirsasana)
2. do a cartwheel
3. walk on my hands
4. arm balances
More to come for sure! I just feel strong, vibrant, confident, and completely able. The absence of pain seems to really be the biggest blessing and certainly lends me the optimism to truly believe that all things are possible now. I feel like at 46, I am only just beginning my life. Pretty incredible feeling, honestly.
Thank you yoga. Thank you fellow Seattle yoga students. Thank you universe. Thank you husband for allowing me to move forward with this with your full support. Thank you life. Thank you love. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Well the Iris painting got me all warmed up for this larger painting. It is exactly as I had hoped it would turn out. The flowers are really giving me an opportunity to stretch myself. I am thoroughly enjoying the process!
Decided to do a mini version of a painting I have had rattling around in my head for a few days. I haven't ever done something so small, but it was fast, fun and it gave me an idea of what to expect when I do the larger, full-scale version. It was fun!
No...these aren't romantic titles for my paintings, but I am so involved in the learning process, the feeling out of technique, the feeling out of my desires, inspirations, and ability to convey my feelings for the subject onto the canvas that I find each painting more of a study rather than an art piece. A lesson for me to learn from. A project to complete to guide me to my next project. I am so wanting the art to teach me about myself that I attach a title to the pieces that are purely descriptive. It helps me detach from it, step back from the easel so to speak and evaluate, learn, observe and feel.
It all started with a friend's little girl, her obsession with flowers and a need for a birthday gift. So, I came up with Mazie's name painting.
Then my sister and a good friend are both due to have baby boys on the same date in November, so I thought I would give them both something original for their baby and paint another name painting. So that is how Alex (my soon to be nephew) and baby Jacob McLeran got their paintings. It's kind of fun and it stretches me, so I will certainly keep on doing these!
Starting out with the gorgeous Gerbera daisies I fell in love with at the University district Saturday Market! I have more to come since I took many photos of all the lovely and abundant flowers there. Keep watching for more!
So after a full month of long, exhaustive yoga classes,
teacher training sessions, tedious audio/visual sessions, and many breaks at
the local coffee shop, I am happy to say I have completed my training and am
officially a 200 hour – RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher).
I have never been so delighted to complete a program in my
life. College doesn’t even compare to
the intensity and personal reward I have received from this experience. It was all in all a very good experience. There were some issues and difficulties, but
in the end I have learned a lot and feel pretty accomplished and pleased with
I appreciate the help of five exceptional ladies who not
only gave me the support and courage to continue, but the daring to attempt
poses I never thought I would be able to do.
Incredible souls who are caring, generous, loving and kind. They are all well onto a path of
enlightenment and a peaceful life. I
honor, respect and admire them. So rare
to encounter such amazing people in one place.
Something divine intervened and brought us together. I am sure about that!
So, as I prepare to take my loaded MINI onto the road and
head home, I find it a bittersweet ending to this training. I am so excited to go home, but sad to leave
behind my new friends. Much love to them
and much love to my patient and supportive husband waiting for me, keeping the
home fires burning.
Had an amazing day today with the ladies in my class. It was Brittany's birthday (she turned an ancient 23 years old today), and we had a Thai luncheon and gave her gifts and cards, not to mention some vegan cookies for dessert.
Classes and the day seemed to fly by. We only have one more class tomorrow - a 5 hour workshop/teacher training session that doesn't start until 3pm and spits us out at 8pm. So, I won't be jetting home tomorrow night to be with my sweetheart because after all this yoga I am pretty much exhausted and a 5 hour drive at 8 at night just doesn't sound like a good idea.
Sunday morning, bright and early (!!), I will be driving southeast toward more sunshine, warmer temps, my home, my own bed, my loving husband and my two babies, Chewy and Poppy. It will be the crowning moment on the epic journey that this last month been for me. I stuck out a very tough training and will be coming home tired and ready for a lot of rest, but also with a sense of accomplishment and pride.
The last month has been amazing and the gift of friendship and love given by my classmates has been nothing short of miraculous. Truly special human beings and God transpired to put us all together for a very apparent reason - to help us all get through this not only intact, but with love, caring and support.
Sending my love and heartfelt thanks to these ladies. I hope we can keep in touch and be there for each other in the future.
This was my mantra today as I pushed my way through several yoga classes. My body is hitting it's absolute limit (although I thought that the first week too!), I am tired and really homesick too. So, as I was holding an especially long shoulder stand (for the 3rd time today) for over 5 minutes I was just repeating in my head, "3 more days, 3 more days" Happily, it got me through both the shoulder stand and the last class of the last Wednesday here in Seattle. Thank goodness. The days are dwindling down fast!
Our certificates are printed out already, but we won't receive them until Saturday evening. I will then be a full fledged, internationally recognized 200 hour RYT (registered yoga teacher), an accomplishment I wasn't sure I could achieve. I guess you can still teach old dog new tricks.
So, on that note, I am going to retire for the evening, get some rest for the long day tomorrow, where I will probably be chanting, "2 more days!!"
Here is Renee, 8 months pregnant with baby Jacob, in full arm balance or handstand! Go girl!
Never have I been this happy to be awake up and about on a Monday morning!
This lovely, sunny Seattle Monday morning marks the LAST Monday I will be here! Wooooooohooooo!
So, I am all alone in the Cafe Vios - our favorite coffee hangout, catching up on computer work, having an amazing quiche with fresh fruit, a large mug of jasmine green tea and feeling euphoric that the training is coming to an end!
CAFE VIOS at Third Place - a really great cafe located inside a bookshop. Perfect combination!
Looks yummy doesn't it? I won't show the after picture. The devastation might be disturbing so early on a Monday morning.
Here is Whitey III on the ferry from Mukilteo to Whidbey Island.
Took advantage of being up in Seattle to visit Whidbey Island again today on my only day off of the week. I completely lucked out and it was a gorgeous, sunny day hovering around 70 degrees!
Whidbey Island is incredibly artsy and quaint. I started out in Langley, a town I had stayed in for a week last March for an oil painting workshop with Dreama Tolle Perry. It was pretty good timing in addition to the weather because they were having a gypsy jazz music festival and there were musicians randomly jamming together all over town and you could sip on a latte and listen for free. It was really a nice touch. I had invited Brittany from my teacher training to come up and visit the island as well, and we met for lunch and browsed a few shops before we both went our separate ways. It was fun to share Langley with them.
I then drove up to Coupeville, about 3/4 of the way up the island. It was a nice drive and I found a great shop with baby items and ice cream. Not a bad combo actually! Stopped in a few art galleries today as well. It got me itching to be in front of my easel though.
I am itching to be home to paint, to be with my husband and to get back to the real world and life again. But...while I am here, it was a fun diversion today and Whitey enjoyed the trip too!
What a day. What a week. Honestly, what a month I have had. It's the end of the third week of yoga teacher training and officially I will be graduated and headed home in one week's time now! Woohoo!!
In some ways it has flown by, and in other ways it has been an eternity. I don't regret any part of it, even the fact that my back is pretty sore and I am more tired than I have been in a long time. I don't regret the time away from my sweetheart and home, although that has been a bigger challenge than the most challenging day of this whole teacher training. I miss my home sweet home.
Tomorrow is our last day off and I am going to escort another one of my classmates to Whidbey Island for a day of exploring and fun. So, tomorrow morning my little MINI and I are headed on the ferry to the island. My plan is to drive the whole island (which I didn't do last time I was there), have lunch with Brittany and her beau and then have an amazing STEAK dinner before I head home for the evening. No yoga, no pressure, no city driving, nothing but quiet and peace. Glad I did my laundry for the week today instead of waiting for tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a fun getaway before the last grueling week begins.
So, I am signing out for tonight. Grabbing a snack and getting ready to sleep.
Sweet dreams and have a wonderful Sunday! I know I will.
Now that I am starting the third tortuous week of this yoga teacher training, I have to say my body is toughening up, and I am much less tired than I was at the beginning. The first week I napped daily at lunch just to keep up with the long days and many classes, now I just don't need that nap anymore! :o)
I am truly enjoying this training, but also I am so ready to be home again. I have learned a lot - both of what I want to do and what I don't want to do. It's always interesting to come in contact with different styles of teaching and allowing that to help you grow your own style even further.
The ladies that are traveling this path alongside me are pretty spectacular human beings. I am so grateful for the universe picking them to journey with me! They are smart, funny, sweet, caring and above all they are genuine and cool people! They have made all this tolerable and that ha gotten me through the incredibly tough first week, through the emotional parts of the second week and now we are all smiling and laughing together as this third week begins. I know we will all be wanting to return to our normal daily lives, but I know I will be taking a little piece of each of them with me and cherishing this time I had with them.
So, as Monday evening sets in, my body is pleasantly tired, but not exhausted. My mind is still active and not wanting to just inspect the inside of my eyelids. I feel like I climbed a mountain and now we only have a little way to go to reach the summit. The last week I am hoping will be the descent. Still hard work, but all down hill from there!
I am feeling pretty content that I reached deep within myself to not only sign up for this month long intensive, but that I came, I participated, I didn't give up and I am now feeling pretty good about how I tackled this challenge. Hoorah! I look forward to the last day when I can whoop it up and say, "I did it!!"
It's another long week ahead, but I am feeling much more confident that the training program isn't going to beat me and that if I can hang on a couple more weeks without my sweetheart, that I go home with a big smile and a much more supple body!
Usually my Sundays are fantastic. It's a day that my husband, Matt, and I usually spend together and allow ourselves time to read, lounge and just be together. However, since I have been in Seattle these past two weeks; Sunday being my only day off, I have not felt the peace that usually accompanies the last day of the weekend. Now since I am stuck indoors for 12 hours of daylight six days of the week, I am compelled to do things like laundry, grocery shopping and the like on the only day that I have free. Relaxing. Not.
So. That being said.
I am SO looking forward to relaxing, peaceful, loving Sundays again with my husband. Yoga is wonderful. My husband is wonderfuller.
Well, I am still neck deep in yoga poses all day long, but during our breaks I managed to read a fantastic book about art making. I needed a break from yoga overload, aka teacher training, so I went to the local used book store and found three fantastic books related to art and decided that would be my "extra-curricular" activity while I was here in Seattle. Since I don't have my paints and can't learn from painting, I guess I will learn about art and making art through some books!
This book "Art & Fear" by David Bayles and Ted Orland, is really fantastic. I can't even describe it well enough...I suggest you read it yourself!
A picture of the book aptly lying on my yoga blanket.
I highly suggest this book to anyone working on developing their career as an artist or even the artist that is struggling to find their place in the "art world".
Another day down and I am still alive enough to type! That's a good day in my books!
This morning's 7am class was a KILLER! Phew. Nobody should sweat that much that early in the morning!
We had lots of observing and some teacher training DVDs to watch too, but boy, those classes of Richard's are tough. I am using muscles I haven't even talked to in years - except maybe on the massage table. Wishing I could indulge in a massage right now.
More to come about the adventures of a middle aged woman gone crazy enough to think she can do a month long yoga intensive....
Brittany (making a funny face at me), observing a beginner class this morning, with Carlijn, an Iyengar teacher trainee from Amsterdam that joined us for the week while she is passing through. She's amazing at yoga and good fun too.
A pic of the beginner class doing Uttthita Trikonasana stretch on the wall.
Well, it's not quite the end of the week yet, but I needed to just post a quick post to say that yes, I am still alive!
Everything is going well, but this morning my knees were a little swollen so I took a light day (only 2 yoga classes) and watched the remaining classes. Hopefully it isn't going to keep me from participating from here forward.
We are learning lots and inversions are always fun and interesting! Here Cat is learning a new way to do handstand and use a door jamb to help support.
I mean WOW! One of the most intense weeks of my life has just come to a close. 12-13 hour days, with a minimum of 4-5 hours of yoga practice a day, written homework, and DVDs to watch and books to study. Phew! I am past exhausted! My body is much more limber even after just a week, but I had to start taking naps at our lunch break to just make it through the long days!
But...grueling hours and tough yoga sessions aside, I am learning SO MUCH! I love it so far! I am in a class with five of the most wonderful women you could imagine. Brittany from Florida, Katie from Seattle, Cat from Renton, Renee from Puyallup and Shana from New York. They are amazing, inspiring and just plain wonderful people. I really lucked out having such a small class and filled with friendly, supportive and fun girls! Renee is 7 months pregnant and she is incredible. She can do things I cannot do without a huge baby belly! This girl is truly inspirational and really fun to watch doing yoga.
I am also staying with a wonderful family here in Seattle. They are warm, welcoming, caring people that also happen to be interesting, fun and really supportive. I appreciate the dinners after a very long day with little time for food. :o)
The instruction is great, albeit very firm and rigorous, and I have taken classes from 4 different instructors and learned something new from each one. My very favorite part so far was observing and assisting in the Special Needs class. This class is for anyone with any physical issues that preclude them from doing a normal yoga class. This is where the Iyengar yoga just shines. In Iyengar Yoga, the use of props and modified poses allow anyone to have access to the therapeutic benefits of yoga and it was really fun to help someone walk away from the class feeling really great and with much less pain.
My second favorite moment was when we got to hang upside down from ropes attached to the walls. So much fun. I was so happy after that ropes session. It felt amazing to be able to do things I never thought I would be able to do! I know there will be many more moments like that in the next month. I am pushing myself way beyond my comfort zone, but I am gaining so much knowledge, self-confidence and physical benefit that it will all be worth the huge effort. This could be a life changing experience for me.
So...I will keep you posted on how things continue!
PS...I haven't had time to sketch a thing. We will see if I can gain some stamina into the following weeks and if I can find time to sketch.
Renee resting is modified setubanda sarvangasana (modified bridge pose)
Almost all of us on the ropes doing bhujangasana (cobra).
From the back of the room is Katie, Cat, Shana, me and Renee on the chair. Brittany snapped the pic for us. Wish I had been all the way into the pose, but I was moving slow by that time in the afternoon!
I won't be posting any paintings for the next month or so because I am in Seattle for a month long yoga teacher training and will have long days and only one day off a week. I am looking forward to that, but will certainly miss my paints!
I did bring my sketch book and pencils, so if I get to sketch I will post those and keep things interesting I hope! I will also post my day to day activity in the yoga training. That should certainly keep things entertaining!
My latest painting. I just loved doing this one. Well, honestly I love painting so much, I love doing any painting, but these guys made me smile a lot. Hoping to get another couple paintings done before I head up North...I will keep you posted!
Hi! I am branching out into blogging almost purely about my art and where I get my inspiration from - namely my life. I absolutely LOVE to paint. I used to love to draw, but have graduated into LOVING to paint. Big difference! I can't wait to get to the easel most days, especially if I have a particular painting that is brewing in my head. My younger sister, Stephanie, put me up to doing a triptych and it has me completely inspired...but I have to wait to get the right sized panels or canvas first. I want to make this one cool and I sure hope it turns out! I think the most incredible part is that I am learning to stop that critical, negative voice from having any say in my art. I can self-critique, objectively, but I am so in love with the process of painting, that I completely enjoy the process or journey and usually end up loving the result as well. I try to pour my heart and all my love into my paintings and hope it comes out the other side. For those who never have seen my other blog, cowgirlcuisine.blogspot.com, you won't know that I have a house full of muses. My husband, Matt, and I have 2 dogs, and currently 5 horses. We are trying to cut down the number of horses, but that's easier said than done!
Meet Matt. The Love of My Life. Kind, generous, supportive, loving. Sigh....
Meet POPPY. The mischievous, lovable Jack Russell Terrier that is the princess of our family
Meet CHEWY. The newest and rowdiest members of our family. A baby boy Catahoula that captured our hearts and inspires me to paint.
I hope to be posting paintings at least a few times a week, but I am headed to a month long intensive yoga teacher training in Seattle for the whole month of September, so I might to too exhausted to paint at night, so I will keep you posted on how that goes! In the meantime I will post what I create and hope you love it!