Spring: The Season of Rebirth

Don’t let anything hold you back…especially yourself.

Spring has sprung my dear readers!  And so must we.  It’s time to hatch, come out of the cocoon, wake up from hibernation, reinvent ourselves for the year.  What better way to do that then through art.

I’m here to share another one of my recent homemade card creations.  It’s been awhile since I made a brain painting, but let’s just say I was inspired!  This time I’ve included the card’s message, which is posted in the above caption.

I think many times we focus on what holds us back in life– work, family responsibilities, money, health, etc.  But at the end of the day, we make our own choices and decide how our day and our life will be.

It’s a mind game that we’ve created, setting our own limitations, but we can always choose not to play.  If you could step outside yourself, or who you think of as yourself, for one day, who would you choose to be?  What would you accomplish?  Would you take time to just BE?

Well, guess what?  The time is now.  I’m giving you permission to set yourself free.  Now go fly!

Bring on Spring!

Slot Canyon










I created these acrylic paintings last summer, but haven’t had a chance to show them until now.  I thought they’d be a great way to welcome spring.  The character on the right is known as Kokopelli.  This figure is considered a fertility god in the Southwest.  His symbol is found carved on many ancient rocks.  He also represents music and storytelling.  By playing his flute, he is said to chase away winter and call forth spring.  Some consider him a trickster similar to the Greek god Pan, which is fitting for this April Fools’ week 😉  Kokopelli is often associated with the hummingbird as well.

My husband and I first encountered the Kokopelli symbol on a trip to Sedona, Arizona.  And then again in Utah.  These paintings are based on photographs we took while hiking there.  They’re a gift to my husband.  For some reason we feel very at home in the Southwest.  While we were in Utah, we walked through narrow slot canyons, saw hummingbirds feeding near a ranger station, and viewed petroglyphs at Capitol Reef National Park.  We saw many little lizards scurrying around, too.

The hummingbird is a symbol of optimism and the lizard is a symbol of dreams.  I hope you feel optimistic about your dreams as you approach springtime!  If not, consider making a change.  Both of these animals are also symbols of adaptability.

Happy spring!



I must admit I’m not a big fan of abstract paintings.  First of all, I don’t really “get” them.  What am I supposed to see in a bunch of squares and dots?  I think my mind just doesn’t know what to make of it.  If I can detect a form or something tangible in a piece, then my mind at least has something to grasp.  If there’s an explanation or a title, that definitely helps.  But usually when I’m at a museum or gallery, I hurry through the abstract paintings and head straight for the Impressionists.   For me, this style of art is the perfect balance between abstract and realistic imagery.

But recently I had an experience with making abstract art that changed my way of thinking…at least a little bit.  A neighbor of mine is also an artist.  I admire her because she hangs her art all over her house.  You can’t help but see it.  More than that, you can FEEL it.  That’s because her style is Expressionistic.  She seeks to evoke a feeling or idea more than anything else.  She says she hides herself in her work, which is really interesting.   She’s always asking me what I see in her paintings.  Sometimes I have to admit that I don’t know.  But it isn’t as simple as that.  I feel something immediately, but I can’t conceptualize it right away.

I love a good mystery as much as the next person, but I couldn’t let it go at that.  The more I didn’t get it, the more I wanted to.  I’m stubborn like that 😉  I was just going to have to try it out myself.

My neighbor invited me over to paint.  Her dining room is her studio.  How cool is that?  The number one rule:  there are no rules (except to wash out the brushes.  She was serious about that.)  Then she put on some chill country music (because if there is one thing about country singers– they know how to feel!)  She told me to pick out a canvas, any shape and size, and motioned to the large tubes of acrylic paint in every color you can imagine.  I think she could sense my hesitation.  Her only advice:  Start with your hands.

I felt a little silly at first, like a kid again finger painting.  But you know what?  It helped me loosen up.  Something about getting your hands in it.  Like playing in mud.  It was a goopy mess really.  But with a little dab here, and a splotch there, I was starting to get into it.  I stopped focusing on the end product and started focusing on the process.  I was definitely feeling something, although if you asked me about it, I probably couldn’t put it into words.

Before I knew it, I was done.  Was it a masterpiece?  I don’t know.  But I was proud of it anyway.  I’d tried something that scared me.  And isn’t it the stuff we don’t know that scares us the most?

I’m not going to tell you what it means.  I’ll leave that up to you.  It was my husband who named it.  When he looked at it I turned the tables and asked HIM what he saw.  “Energy,” he said without batting an eyelash.  Okay, so I guess some people just get it right away 😉

The only thing about it I can tell you for sure is that I was grasping at something.  Something a little bit mysterious.  Something probably divine.



This watercolor is based on a photograph my husband and I took on our honeymoon a few years ago in Maui.  We found this black sand beach on The Road to Hana.  Enjoy this painting in celebration of our anniversary!

Bamboo with Red Bird

sumi and watercolor

Crocodile Hunting Clouds


Rainy Day Blues

This week has been nothing but rain. Somehow it’s making everyone cranky. Like, my whole art class 😉

A new study says eating more fruits and veggies can improve mood.  It is no surprise that the magic number of servings is 7.

But what about simply seeing paintings of them?  Let’s test it out.  Here’s some fruit for thought!



Feel any better yet?  An apple a day keeps the bad mood away 😉

Here are some quotes to get you through!

“Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and as we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus.”  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“That terrible mood of depression of whether it’s any good or not is what is known as The Artist’s Reward.”  — Ernest Hemingway

“When trust improves, the mood improves.”  — Fernando Flores

If all else fails, call the doctor!  Dr. Seuss that is 😉  Read My Many Colored Days

“But it all turns out all right, you see.  And I go back to being me.”


brush and ink

Yohaku is the concept of white space. I first heard this term at a library conference in 2006. Legendary author E. L. Konigsburg, who wrote From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, gave a speech about appreciating both the half empty and half full glass.  She read us her elegant, intellectual speech and all eyes were on her.  It is a reminder that it is okay to prepare your words ahead of time and still be heard from the heart.

So what was she trying to tell us that was so important?  First of all, we need both the positive and the negative.  Everything has a duality.  You can call it masculine and feminine, black and white, yin and yang, north and south pole, good and evil, but it is all the same.  We exist because of it and we can transcend whatever side of the pole we find ourselves on in any given aspect of our lives in any moment.

She pointed out that only in our society would we refer to this beautiful white space as “negative” space.  Why?  We seem to have a need to fill up every corner of every painting, every closet, every space in our lives with stuff.  If we don’t, it is seen as a negative.  But how does black exist fully without the white space behind it, between it, around it, pushing it forward?  The reverse, of course, is also true, but we usually start with a white piece of paper.  And doesn’t that scare us to death?

When I asked my husband, who is Japanese, about the term “yohaku,” he immediately referred to the term as white space.  When I called it “negative” space, he said, “Oh no, it isn’t negative.  It’s a positive thing.”  I had to explain where the negative reference came from.

So how does this relate to my latest sumi-e painting?  It is my first attempt at something abstract with ink.  It is supposed to represent the concept of the “black hole.”  A little research taught me that black holes exist throughout the universe and balance the stars (light) that exists.  Black holes suck up matter (including light), which is a scary thought.  But they also spit out particles that make up all living things, including us.  We in essence would not exist without them.  The earth may in fact be a byproduct of one of them.

Looking at the painting, where is your eye drawn?  To the black in the center or the white throughout?  Could either exist fully without the other?  Which is more important?  More beautiful?

Konigsburg told us she gave herself time to write even as a young mother.  She found the space for her words.  We must find the space for ours.

My secondhand childhood copy signed and dated by the author 🙂

Check out these other posts that highlight yohaku as well as the concept of creative space:

The Four Noble Ones

Letting Go

Let’s Celebrate Spring: Part 2


Let’s Celebrate Spring!


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