Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Monday Reflection: Loving Kindness

The following is one of my favorite mantras. It is calming, brings you to your center, and simply feels good when said aloud or silently.

May I be filled with loving kindess.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be happy.

Begin by saying the phrases directed to yourself. Begin with yourself because without loving yourself, it is almost impossible to love others.

Then, expand the mantra as follows by directing it to others:

May you be filled with loving kindess.
May you be well.
May you be peaceful and at ease.
May you be happy.

May we be filled with loving kindess.
May we be well.
May we be peaceful and at ease.
May we be happy.


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Creative Every Day Week 3: Theme-Body

Body of Work

I was not able to dedicate much time this past week to the CED January Theme-Body. I have some wholesale orders to fill and have been working on those instead. However, using what I learned in Lindly Haunani’s color workshop, I am working on some new designs and colors for my functional art line which you can see below:

New Color & Pattern

New Card Case & Perfume Pen Designs

These new colors and patterns will also be available on my wine bottle stoppers.

Body and Soul

In other body-theme related activities, I did return to yoga class after being away from it for more than six months. We both stopped going to yoga due to injuries and finally felt ready to give it a try this week. Appropriately, we went to a restorative class with one of our long time teachers. The class was definitely good for the body and the mind. Hopefully we’ll return to some sort of regular schedule in the near future.

And I visited a friend who is battling cancer. Several months ago a group of friends formed a helper’s schedule after her diagnosis and surgery. Different people visit on select days providing support and being of service. Being of service to a friend teaches me appreciation and gratitude.


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Creative Every Day Week 1-Theme: Body

After a hiatus in 2009, I signed up for Leah Piken Kolidas’s Creative Every Day (CED) 2010 Challenge. If you’re not familiar with this challenge, go here to learn more. Each month, Leah provides a theme or prompt that we have the option to use as creative inspiration. The theme for the month of January is Body.

I will do my best to post each week how I used the particular theme to inspire me in all matters creative.

I started the month by celebrating Mother Earth and blue bodies on New Year’s Day and saw the movie AVATAR in IMAX 3-D. That was quite an experience. Next we celebrated food and friendship, always good for the body and soul, when we hosted our Day After New Year’s Day Open House.

On Tuesday, it was time to take care of the body, my ears specifically, with a visit to the ENT. I’ve been dealing with tinnitus at varying levels for more than a year. While it appears that nothing can be done for the tinnitus, I did have a hearing test that showed my hearing to be nice and normal. Well, there goes the “honey I can’t hear you, speak louder” excuse.

On Wednesday, it was more food for the intellectual body when we attended a presentation by Daniel Pink discussing his newest book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. This was my first time attending a book discussion and it was a lot of fun. In a nutshell, money is a motivating factor to a certain extent; beyond that people are more motivated by autonomy, mastery & purpose.  To learn more about Daniel Pink’s book, visit his site here. This 15 minute TED talk with Mr. Pink also gives a good overview of his new book: Dan Pink on Motivation

Thursday was a treat for the physical body when I got my hair cut. It always feels good to have someone else shampoo your hair and massage your scalp. And now I don’t feel so closely related to Cousin It.

On Friday, I started working through the exercises in Linda Novick’s book The Painting Path: Embodying Spiritual Discovery through Yoga, Brush, and Color. I bought this book more than a year ago and CED seemed like the perfect reason to start using it. The first exercise was titled Remembering Your Artist Self.  Here Novick leads the reader through a deep breathing exercise and meditation to remember playing in childhood followed by playing with oil pastels.

As a result of the meditation, I created the following pieces with the oil pastels.

Impressions

This first piece is a free form sketch on 11″x17″ paper (scanned in two sections.) I started with scribbling the purple lines in the background and then added the various shapes and images. I didn’t know what to draw and wondered if I was doing this “right” following the meditation. The sunflower started out as a sun which was transformed into its current state.  I’m not sure who all the little stick people are; gremlins or sprites?  I love the staircase and the emotions expressed on each step. The words were added after the little people appeared so the words (struggle, rest, falter, achieve, view, success) match their emotions.

Not sure either what prompted the pair of eyes. Perhaps, because of the meditation, the eyes represent me looking at my self; reflecting back on childhood and time spent drawing and painting. I think that is where the birds came from. I remember that I always liked drawing birds in flight on my papers.

The interesting thing about this exercise is that it told me that somewhere along the way, we lose the free spirit ability to create art without wondering about the outcome. We lose the ability to just “be” with the art, to immerse, play and enjoy.

This exercise lead to the piece below:

The Artist's Hand

Impressions

I love the vibrancy of the oil pastels on colored paper; how the color shifts, pops and absorbs. This hand represents me as an artist in this moment; feelings, life, emotions that flow out of the hand onto the paper or into the clay. The paper or clay flow back to the hand. It is a two-way street-hence the arrows in all directions.

The artist hand gives life. There is a pulse, but sometimes you falter.

This is me. My heart.

I must remember to breathe.


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Friday Finds

Recently I decided to make Fridays a non-production work day which may mean a little shopping and/or working on projects not related to the usual production work. Last week Friday I treated myself to some shopping at a couple local stores: Aquarius Sanctuary and Ink About It.

Aquarius Sanctuary is a holistic, new thought store.  They carry books, jewelry, music and have a small sitting area where people can gather to talk and drink tea.  Here I bought a crystal for my studio to help with energy flow.  I have, according to Feng Shui principles, a “poison arrow” or wall that juts into the room.  The crystal counteracts the “poison arrow.”  The crystal, created by a local artist, is suspended from beading wire. Daisy charms and amerzinite stones are also on the wire.  It is quite lovely but difficult to photograph.

I also bought a book at Aquarius Sanctuary, The Painting Path: Embodying Spiritual Discovery through Yoga, Brush and Color by Linda Novick.  In this book the reader is led through a series of simple yoga inspired breathing and stretching exercises, followed by an art project using either paints, oil pastels, batik or collage, and finishes with reflective questions about the project.

I’ve found that creative ideas often emerge during or just after my yoga practice.  Combine that with my desire to work with other art materials and this should prove to be an interesting book.

Ink About It is a rubberstamp and scrapbook store in Westford. It opened several years ago in a small storefront. Last year they moved into a larger storefront which gave them more retail and classroom space.  It is always great to see a local store grow because of customer demand and interest.

At Ink About It I bought the following:

Feather Your Nest Images

Feather Your Nest Images

This is a great collage sheet of birds, feathers and eggs by ARTchixstudio.  As soon as I saw it I was reminded of Joseph Cornell.

Rubberstamps and doo-dads

Rubberstamps and doo-dads

I love these rubberstamps by Invoke Arts.  I was also taken with the replica door pull by 7Gypsies which I can see as part of a mosiac piece or perhaps on a large art doll.  And I was completely won over by the Artgirlz charms.  I’m a sucker for faces and eyes.  These charms look like small masks a la Phantom of the Opera.

Colorful cabs

Colorful cabs

When I visit Ink About It, I typically walk through the entire store first to check out all the goodies.  Then I’ll go back and choose what I want to buy.  These Robin’s Nest cabs called to me three times before I chose the ones I wanted.  They come in a great assortment of colors with names like getaway, water, Paris, and winter retreat. Each bottle contains tints, tones, and accents of one primary and/or complimentary color.  I can see these as embellishments on Spirit Messengers and Icons or perhaps as grout filler for mosiacs.  Yummy!

Water cabs

Water cabs

A close up of the water cabs.

Now to decide what exactly to do with all these goodies.  Stay tuned!


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Truthfully Speaking

In my limited time to visit other blogs these past few weeks, I’ve noticed a minor topic trend: speaking the truth and/or speaking positively.

The first post in this regard came from Christine Kane.  In late October she posted on going complaint free and encouraged her readers to join in.  This is truly a challenge and a good one.  Christine also recently posted a few solutions for those of us finding it difficult to remain complaint-free.

Alyson Stanfield also posted on ArtBizBlog on speaking truthfully and using kind words; so essential today.

Both posts reminded me about the yoga of speech; that is, to become conscious of what comes out of your mouth.

In the first step of becoming conscious of what you say, try to notice not just what you say but how you say it (i.e. the tone of voice.)  Do your words create emotional residue?  How do you feel after certain remarks?  How do other people react?

The second step involves self-inquiry.  Ask yourself “what makes me say what I say?”  Unexpressed anger, grief, or longing?  Do your words mask what you really want to say?  How do your words affect people?

Remember the saying “If you can’t think of anything nice to say, don’t say it?”  The yoga of speech offers these three questions to ask yourself before you speak:

Is this true?
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?

By asking yourself these three questions, especially in the heat of a conversation, you give yourself pause.  In the silence of this moment you empower yourself; you empower your speech.  And out of this silence you may find wisdom.

To read more about the yoga of speech, visit here

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