Friday, July 3, 2015

Inside Job

My all-time favorite YouTube video ~ Enjoy!

Happiness is an inside job. It isn't related to anything external to us (new job, new car, new home, new relationship et al., nor whether or not we get what we want or expect out of life, or whether people act the way we think they should).  Happiness is a decision we each make (or not), it's a place to come from, a ground of being, an internal attitude through which to filter everything in life that shows up.  Nothing is important enough to destroy one's happiness over.  Everything is impermanent, including us.  Don't be attached to anything ~ experience it while it's happening, then let it all go.  It's all just life learning, no judgment necessary.  We're all just practicing and growing and finding our way back home again.

Have a great weekend, and a safe one if you're in the States.  xx

p.s.  About the video ~ Robert Dollwet is an animal trainer who used to live in Malibu, during which time he trained animals for Hollywood.  Now he lives in Queensland.  His famous cat, Didga, is a rescued kitty that he trained.  You can learn more about him, Didga, and his videos and tutorials here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Time Marches On...

Acrylics on canvas panel, 12x12 inches
Halfway through 2015 already...and now we're into the quicker-moving half.  Remember when a year felt like a lifetime, when we were kids?  Now the weeks fly by.  Once a month I'm in Eureka now, yet it feels like merely a couple of weeks between trips. 

Anyhoo, this is a painting a really like, done for 8 Great Paintings lesson 5, 12 x 12 inches on canvas panel.  I really like working on hard flat surfaces, like panels.  Although the better-quality canvases (Blick Premier), which I'm buying these days, are a big improvement over the cheaper stretched canvases (some of which I still have left over from my art quilting days that I'm slowly using up).

Of the several movies watched recently, my two favorite were Captain Phillips with Tom Hanks, which I thought was surprisingly great, and Welcome, a French movie about a Kurdish refugee trying to swim the English Channel.  Netflix recently got The Bridge Season 2, which I'll soon be watching.  This is the Danish-Swedish crime drama that I saw the first season of recently.

Other than that, it's pretty quiet on the western front.  Gray cloudy mornings, warm sunny afternoons, and not much change in sight.  It's all good.  xx

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Happy Accident

Acrylics on canvas panel, 9x12 inches
I'm calling this painting Storm at Sea.  Although as a rule I haven't been naming my least not yet.

About ten days ago a happy accident happened in my big studio.  I was tinkering with the legs on the far end of my work table when I unintentionally disengaged them.  The table fell on that end and nearly everything on the table slid right off the top ~ shelves, books, supplies, all of it.  What was left on the table I had to take off the top in order to fix it.  A friend came to the rescue and helped me do just that.

Well now that the whole megillah was disassembled, I could clean everything before setting everything back up again.

And that led to my cleaning the entire house this past couple days, which is something it sorely needed.  It had been maybe four years since I did the last deep clean.  Maybe I'll move before I have to do it again.  Cleaning isn't my strong suite these days, although the house sure looks nice and I sure feel great now that it's done.

Have a great week!  xx

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Party of One

Acrylics on canvas panel, 11x14 inches
Finishing up another mind-blowing book about spiritual awakening, The Untethered Soul, by Michael A. Singer.  It's all really very simple.  I think you just have to be ready for it, i.e. ready to make fundamental changes in how you approach life.  I'm there.

And I'm painting away and loving it.  Really happy with what I've been doing lately.  As long as I'm happy with it, that's all that counts.

Have a good week!  xx

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Acrylics on canvas panel, 9x12 inches
Thanks for your comments on my last post, especially about Facebook.  I know all the tricks, of course, how to stop following people without UNfriending them, etc.  What it boils down to, is that I really don't want to follow anyone on Facebook anymore, not even my friends.

Following blogs is good enough for me now.  And for news, most of which is bad anyway, Bill Maher's weekly monologue puts the appropriate spin on things.  None of the rest matters, really.  I can't do anything about any of it anyway.

So, no longer using Facebook means that just two days a week is quite enough for me to be on the computer.  And here I thought I needed a new computer ~ at my new-current rate of usage, my existing system could be my last!

I'm just finishing a terrific book (that I "bought" for the library via ZipBooks), All The Wild That Remains, by David Gessner.  It's a review of Edward Abbey's and Wallace Stegner's lives and their love for, writings about and advocacy of The West.  I've read both authors previously and loved their works, especially Desert Solitaire by Abbey, and Angle of Repose, Stegner's Pulitzer-winning historical novel.  I'll be rereading several of theirs and other authors' books soon as well as some new-to-me authors mentioned in All The Wild That Remains.

I just love reading about people living happily away from our so-called civilized world ~ more and more this is what I consider myself to be doing, by choice.  I've actually spent a good deal of time over the last 25+ years reading about such people and their lives, so this trend for my own life is certainly not new.  Where I am on the spiral of life now, though, is where I can actualize such thoughts and ideas in my own reality.

I never really wanted to be a part of the rat race, a player in the dominant paradigm.  I did it while I had to but it was never a good fit.  Being on the edge, on the outside, is where I belong.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

On Retreat

Acrylics on canvas panel, 9x12 inches
I'm reading a wonderful book called The Grace in Aging, by Kathleen Dowling Singh.  It is essentially about spending the later chapters of our lives awakening spiritually, so we can be truly free while we're still alive to enjoy it.  Highly recommended.

My last two days, on retreat essentially, were delicious.  I feel like, in large part, this season of my life is about being "in retreat," in the sense of withdrawal from life, silence, solitude, taking stock, severely limiting distractions, focusing on the now

I'm really disenchanted again with Facebook, although I'm not withdrawing from it entirely.  I go through phases where I like Pages and follow them for a bit, then feel like I'm getting too emotionally embroiled in whatever it is I'm following, then I'll stop following or unlike the Page.  The thing about FB that bothers me most these days, is that every time a friend likes or comments on something, anything, then that shows up on your newsfeed.  So even if you don't particularly want to follow something, if somebody you're friends with follows it and likes a post, then you're seeing it by default.  I swear, if I see one more photo of a poor animal in distress, I'm going to scream.  Better to not even look at the newsfeed at all.  And soon it'll be election season in the States, and I have zero desire in seeing all that crap.

The best use of Facebook for me is the messaging feature, which is basically a shortcut to emailing a friend.

In addition to the novels I've been reading, many of which I've told you about (the ones I recommend), lately I've been reading non-fiction by a few people I trust, people who tell the truth about our culture, society, politics, the world.  Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, Naomi Klein, Wendell Berry.  I want to know the truth.  But I'm not an activist by any stretch.  I won't spend my life trying to change things that are beyond my control.  But I do want to know the truth about them. 

I ask myself why these things are important to me, why not just stick my head in the sand.  I feel that just knowing the truth, getting confirmation from trusted voices that what I perceive is happening is in fact really happening, makes me feel like I am part of the solution, despite my out-in-the-world inaction (separate from my personal, at-home action), rather than part of the problem (which I define as all those in the world who are ignorant of the truth, those who perpetuate lies and disinformation, those who are at the top socioeconomically and who therefore feel no responsibility for the world's ills because they don't impact their own lives personally).

Also, the more I know about how the world really is, as opposed to how I hope it will be, the more able I am to dissolve my expectations of it.  No one is entitled to anything here.  What we do get in life are gifts.  Even the difficulties and hard lessons are gifts.  How else will learn what we've each come here to learn?  Just being alive is a gift.  I want to use wisely the precious time I have left. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

States of Grace

Acrylics on stretched canvas, 11x14 inches
I've spent less time online recently, and more time painting and reading. 

It is so easy for me to become addicted to being online, and so easy to forget why I prefer computer-free days.

So I've put myself on a new schedule, to be online only three days a week ~ Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.  Yesterday, which was Saturday, and last Thursday, I was offline all day.  Never turned the computer on at all.

Computer-free days have become days when I feel as though I'm in a state of grace.  If I even turn the computer on for a few minutes or at most an hour in the morning, the spell is broken and I feel out of balance, distracted for the rest of the day.

Everything I want and need to do online/on the computer I can do in those three days a week.  I'd actually prefer to not have to use the computer at all, or maybe just one day a week, but that's unrealistic for me in this day and age.

I'm finishing up a few neutral paintings, then I'll move on to the next lesson of 8 Great Paintings.  I'll watch the class videos today, while I'm online.

I've been reading the Freida Klein series of mysteries by Nicci French, the British writing duo.  Am on the third one now.  I'll have to order the fourth via ZipBooks.  The character Freida Klein is a psychotherapist who works with the British police.  Enjoying the series a lot.

Saw an absolutely fantastic French movie via Netflix this week, The Other Son, about two families in Israel, one Jewish, one Palestinian.  Also enjoyed the Brazilian film, House of Sand, recently.

And so it goes.  Have a lovely new week.  xx  

Friday, June 12, 2015

Few Words

Collage on painted background, 8x8" on matte board
Have a great weekend.  xx

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Many Moons

Acrylics on stretched canvas, 11x14 inches
The work with neutrals continues, albeit slowly.  Still, I've put together a nice body of paintings over the last several months.

Not only do I lack the motivation to do a lot of art as I once did, but I'm tired a lot of the time.  I just did a bit of google research on need for sleep, and it turns out that adults really need 9 to 10 hours a night.  I also learned that that meme about older adults needing less sleep is a myth.

I don't drink caffeine, which, despite all the stuff you read about how good it is for you, coffee especially, is really a killer of natural bodily rhythms.  And I don't have any physical problems or ailments, nor am I taking any medications that make one want or need more sleep.

I just think that overall, I don't get enough sleep, even with afternoon naps.  And I really love to sleep.  I love lying down on the couch, reading for a bit, and then drifting off to sleep.  I love lying in bed at night, also usually reading for a bit, feeling sleep overtake me, turning out the light, turning over on my side, getting comfortable, and falling asleep.  I look forward to it at the end of the day.

So here's to sleeping more!  Have a good week.  xx