Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Here are some more in my series of photos from Thailand.  These were taken at Wat Phao, in Suphan Buri province north of Bangkok, notable for the forest of fruit bats surrounding the temple.  I enjoyed its simple lines and gorgeous, warm colors.

All of these were processed with one or more layers of Kim Klassen's "Simplicity" texture --
 linking up with Texture Tuesday

I never did find out why some of the trees were wrapped in monks' robes

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The creative journey....part I

Lotus flower, Thailand
(processed with a layer of Kim Klassen's "Sweet Treat" and "Warm Grunge")
I always tell my children that it is not what happens to you in life that matters, but rather how you react to what happens to you that is important.  "Stuff" happens to people all the time and there is nothing magical about you that keeps the "bad" from happening sometimes.  The question is, will you allow it to cloud your life and your attitudes, or will you use the situation to change something in yourself.
My creative journey is so wrapped up in the circumstances of my life that it is hard to unravel the separate threads. I had a wonderful childhood and young adulthood.... I was happy, and things came easily to me:  academics, friendships, career, marriage and three wonderful children.  I expected that life would just continue along this positive trajectory.  And really, in a way, it has.... just not the way I thought it would.  For the most part, my life is picture perfect except for one rather significant thing: my oldest child, now a 22 year-old young man, has to deal with issues that significantly impact his ability to live an independent life.  The curve ball our family has been dealt in this life is not something that we recognized immediately or that came on suddenly -- rather, its severity has been revealed so gradually that, painful as it is, it has never come as a shock, but has settled down on us like a dull ache.  
One of my favorite journal pages...
The details of his story are my son's to share or not, but let's just say that the consequences of his illness have been the impetus for my own creative journey.  I have been "artsy" all my life, but the thought never even crossed my mind that I could be an artist.... after all, I didn't go to art school!  I knew that to ignore my son's illness -- or to wallow in despair about it -- were both useless exercises.  I had to turn to something to keep me busy and focused. I discovered quiltmaking when I was 40, and immediately fell in love with the way I could play with color without getting messy.  Not only that, but I could sew while still paying attention to my kids. 
This is the first quilt I made (for my son), back in 2000.  It was hand-pieced... I remember every stitch!
I soon realized that the quiet time spent making quilts was my spiritual solace, a time when I could reflect on my life and its lessons and to find beauty in fragments.  My needle and thread became the crucible in which despair became beauty, tempered by patience.  Quilting was a perfect expression of my need for endurance.  You can't achieve a finished quilt without putting in a lot of time!  As I moved on in the last few years to include mixed media art and photography, the sense of time as a vital element in my work became more and more evident.  I love using textures in photographs precisely because they introduce a fourth dimension -- time -- to an image, suggesting that it has withstood the ravages of time to exist today.  I am in this game with my son for the long haul, and that sense of time as a distiller of something exquisite is very important to me.
I am looking forward to 2012, and participating in the creative communities online.  By nurturing our creativity every day, we will envision a world that is better than the one we live in today -- and everyone knows that once we visualize something, it is on its way.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Open to the experience

"To receive everything, one must open one's hand and give." 
--Taisen Deshimaru
Linking up with Texture Tuesday over at Kim Klassen's cafe.
offering jars at Wat Pho
processed with three layers of Kim Klassen's "Warm Sun" texture
(overlay @50%, linear burn @75%, and linear light @11%)

Here are some images from our first day in Thailand:  a visit to Bangkok's Wat Pho, the temple of the reclining Buddha.
flowers for sale outside the temple

an offering tree

miniature Buddha beside the great reclining statue

I fell in love with the peaceful, gentle nature of this country! 
 (Is it possible to be a Christian Buddhist?)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Time Traveller

Our family spent a wonderful two weeks in Thailand over the Christmas holidays.  Between preparing for the trip, enjoying the trip, and then recovering from the trip, I've been away from the blog world for awhile.  I have barely begun to look at my photos, let alone play with them, but I will share one now just in time to link up with Texture Tuesday over at Kim Klassen's cafe.  It was processed with three layers of her "Embrace" texture (two in color burn @100% and one in soft light @100%):

Reclining Buddha at Doi Suthep Temple, near Chiang Mai
We had a wonderful time exploring Thailand, and discovered that the Thai people are some of the most heart-centered in the world... there was a palpable sense of kindness and compassion that can only come from their strong Buddhist faith.  The food was incredibly delicious, too:  imagine, Thai food three times a day!!!  I especially enjoyed my holiday from Western breakfasts, and ate nothing but soup, noodles and rice in the morning instead of cereal, eggs or toast.  

On another note, I did have a shopping mission, too: I was constantly on the lookout for interesting fabric to use for quilting.  Here is some of what I found:


hand-dyed hemp
hand-dyed and printed indigo on cotton
a rainbow of silks -- the fun part was that the solid colors only cost about $10-$13 per yard

hand woven silk in a traditional pattern 
ikat pattern in silk
Jet lag from Thailand is miserable, though.  There is a 12 hour time difference between Connecticut and Bangkok -- that's about as much as you can get!  We've been home almost a week now, and I think we are just about back to our usual sleep schedule; I tell you, it's no fun waking up at 3 am, raring to go, and falling asleep over dinner at 6....

Here is one of the first pieces I made for my new online class with Jane Davies on "Exploring the Self-Portrait." Jet lag does a number on you, alright -- I never noticed that I gave myself a beard, until I loaded this photo onto the class blog.
I hope to be back to normal next week!