Friday, January 29, 2010

Tiger Bring it On!

This is the northeast quadrant portion of my Year of the Tiger collage.
Every year for the past several years I have made a collage for myself for the Chinese New Year.  This past year has been my year, TheYear of the OX.  These collages serve as personal maps for myself.  Things that I would like to accomplish. Places that I would like to see this coming year.  Personal growth that I would like to experience.  It is all personal and I find that it has been an amazing tool to put my life into perspective and move on to what will come in the future.  The center generally represents my spirit and the NOW of it all.
I am welcoming this new year of The Tiger and all of the changes that the tiger will bring.  Here is a great site to read about this new year: and the bottom illustration is from that site as well.  It's a few weeks away still, but Happy New Year of the Tiger to all.

"The divine manifestation is ubiquitous, only our eyes are not open to it. . . .
Awe is what moves us forward."
Joseph Campbell

Thanks Geo...

Your comment about my face and that I should keep it got me thinking alot about faces...And Facebook nation (or planet at this point).  I never did make it as far as submitting all of my info and "friends" into the popular facebook site but that is par for the course of my life so far.   I do like my own face and my face has always been an open book for  what I am feeling at any given moment.  That has both endeared me to many folks and gotten me into trouble with others.  All and all I personally LOVE that my face is an open book and that above all I am empathic. I have a high emotional intelligence and that is more valuable to me than any amount of money I could have earned in this lifetime. Lately my face shows my age and recent hardships but it also shows ( to me at least) that I can endure.  Endure being without work and being dependent on others for a while.  Enduring being absolutely broke for months on end.  Endure loss of job and loss of friends.  Now I am putting my face out there in alot of places ( and to potential employers) to say "hire me".   Buy my art.  Read my blog.  Trust my face.  Whatever happens in the future I have been so very fortunate to have lived in some INCREDIBLY beautiful natural areas in Ohio,  Kentucky, Vermont, Texas, Tennesee, California and now Florida. I have met so many beautiful people and animals and plants along the way...if I should die today...I am so very happy and Grateful to have lived this lifetime, with this face!

"To be alive in this beautiful, self-organizing universe -- to participate in the dance of life with senses to perceive it, lungs that breathe it, organs that draw nourishment from it -- is a wonder beyond words. "

Joanna Macy

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cabbage in January

The top picture is part of a recent collage including Galileo's nine sided sundial in the middle.
The bottom picture is one of my cabbages in my garden here in Florida. To me, a cabbage is the lotus of the vegetable world.  I think that they are so very beautiful.
 This is my first time ever having a vegetable garden in the middle of the winter.  It still baffles me that such a thing can be accomplished but I have never lived in this zone (8-9 border ) in the winter before , so it is wonderful to be harvesting things such as this cabbage, kale, radishes, onions, arugula etc in the "dead of winter".
 Here it seeems to be the start of the second growing season as the drastic fluctuations of a Florida winter seem to have subsided for now.  Many of the migratory birds have started moving through here.  One day last week about 50 robins landed briefly in our camphor trees out back.  Many other calls I have heard ( but not recognized ) but the robins were pretty obvious.  The sandhill cranes that overwinter here are so accustomed to humans that they block the roads like cattle and take their good ole time gracefully crossing to the other side.
It is my plan to leave here in a month or so and slowly make my way back to the most fertile valley in all of the usa.  There I will try (more) to find a job and settle down to ( hopefully) what I have been writing about as my forever garden.  Or as close to forever as I can get anyhow.  I have left so many (gardens) behind over the years and this one  (here in Florida) I can always return to.  But I want my own little spot and to grow asparagus (and everything else) and I desire to be back "out west".  Finding "the job" will determine just where it is I actually land.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"We have thousands of opportunities every day to be grateful: for having good weather,
to have slept well last night, to be able to get up, to be healthy, to have enough to eat. ...
 There's opportunity upon opportunity to be grateful; that's what life is. "

Brother David Steindl-Rast

Above are some pictures that I have been taking lately of the local area here in Florida.
There is alot of beauty in the natural world and outside is where I most feel at home.  I have been thinking alot of how I want to build my dream shack soon and how I want it to feel.  The pictures above illustrate my "dreamings"...most of what is inside a reflection of what is outside.

and finally yet another amazing blog today by Lloyd Kahn brings us to this new really cool blogger site:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Here are some miniature Donkeys that my Dad and I drove past yesterday.
It was such a beautiful cloudy day and they were so very sweet up close and personal.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Seed Catalogues!!!!

'Tis the season for the arrival of Seed catalogues!!!!
I Love them all and they drive me crazy with Plantlust at the same time...
May I find the place to have my "Forever Garden" this year!!!!!!
Here are some of my favorites:

On the top is one of the only flower plants that survived this rare Florida freeze a few weeks ago.  I had built a stealthy tent around a few plants and they were the only ones that made it through.  I do Love Snapdragons and they tend to be cold hardy anyway.
It's nice to have some color and both of my snaps have now put out new buds for even more flowers!
The bottom picture is of my dear old Dad and a spectacular sunbeam that was shining down on him one morning.  He is 75 but has the mind and strong body of a 40 year old.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Universal Illustrations from Rob Brezny's
Free Will Astrology

Viva Emile Norman!

Every once in a while I serendipitously run across something on PBS that really knocks my socks off. Last night was such a moment. I had been asleep but woke up and something told me to turn on the television. On PBS there was a show documenting the art and life of

Emile Norman.

It (the program)and he is/ was truly inspiring. I feel in complete and total understanding of this person and his life. I feel that my life is like his . What I mean is that I know that I, above all else, have to pursue my ART.
I am in no way in the same league (as far as ) his art is really fine art as far as I am concerned. I had seen his glass mosaic in SF at the Masonic Hall years ago and did not remember this until last night. The way that he felt about Big Sur is the way that I feel about the Santa Cruz Mountains and the part of the California Coast near Pescadero , where I have been so very fortunate to have lived. He wore a purple beret and (by no quinkydink) my Mom sent me a purple beret in the mail last week. This website shows pictures of his unique beautiful wood inlayed and other types of sculpture and work. I did not realize that he had passed on this past September until I searched his name and looked at the website today.
Check it out:
see the entire program at:

Thank You, Emile Norman (wherever you are) for your life work : Art!

Thanks Gina!

Thank You to Gina in Columbus, Ohio for passing on to me today two amazing new (to me) websites:
from the Daily Om comes this tidbit of wisdom that is spot-on for what I am going through right at this moment:

January 14, 2010
The Wisdom of Surrender
Relying on Others
Most of us pride ourselves on our self-sufficiency. We like to be responsible for taking care of ourselves and pulling our own weight in the world. This is why it can be so challenging when we find ourselves in a situation in which we have to rely on someone else. This can happen as the result of an illness or an injury, or even in the case of a positive change, such as the arrival of a newborn. At times like these, it is essential that we let go of our feeling that we should be able to do it all by ourselves and accept the help of others.

The first step is accepting the situation fully as it is. Too often we make things worse either by trying to do more than we should or by lapsing into feelings of uselessness. In both cases we run the risk of actually prolonging our dependency. In addition, we miss a valuable opportunity to practice acceptance and humility. The ego resists what is, so when we move into acceptance we move into the deeper realm of the soul. In needing others and allowing them to help us, we experience the full realization that we are not on our own in the world. While this may bring up feelings of vulnerability, a deep feeling of gratitude may also emerge as we open to the experience of being helped. This realization can enable us to be wiser in our service of others when we are called upon to help.

It takes wisdom and strength to surrender to our own helplessness and to accept that we, just like every other human being, have limitations. The gifts of surrender are numerous. We discover humility, gratitude, and a deepening understanding of the human experience that enables us to be that much more compassionate and surrendered in the world.

and ...
"Gratitude to gratitude always gives birth. "

attributed to Sophocles

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Whole Tamale

I embedded this slide show with all of the pictures that I have posted on this blog since May of 2007. Most of the pictures are my original photos and /or my original art. When I used pictures from another site, the creator is listed in my actual blog, though not in this slide show. I figured it would be an good way to see the essence of my art without having to scroll through the whole tamale.
My chosen mediums range from original watercolors to collage,acrylics, photos, potato prints and pastels. I would ideally like to secure donations for some prints of these works to fund this building of my sustainably built dream house and gardens/ studio art space.
For fun you can click on the bottom left of the slide show screen and bring up the captions for some......AND if you click on the actual slideshow you can see them bigger and slower as a thumbnail spread sheet. Thank God/dess for this free blog from google.
To support my art, write to me at

Living roofs and building my dream shack

I am still trying to find a place with a landowner who will allow me to build a small shelter. I have been working more of the details out in my head(ongoing) as to how it will look. I know that I want it to be Octagon or round strawbale on the bottom and I know that I want to do a living roof. Lloyd Kahn's site ( Thanks again Lloyd) has a link to a great little website of one of my favorite designs for such a living roof.
On the top is a picture from that site. Their website has an amazing collection of links to view other types of living roofs.

AH the sun and warmth have finally returned to this part of the country. My plants that survived are really happy and the birds are singing again too. It seems that there has been a really quick influx of returnees from the south. Early migration? I am hearing bird calls that I have never before heard here in Florida and I wonder if the weather patterns have thrown them out of whack.

The top picture is an ancient Timucuan medallion found in one of the burial sites found here that dates back to the 1300's. The original natives ( that Ponce de Leon met in the 1500's) here seemed to be of a sun worshipping culture and I loved this symbol so I am starting to use it more in collage. The background is peridotite which is a rock that has been shown to somehow balance out the bad effects of global warming by essentially absorbing carbon dioxide.
The bottom picture is a sunset shot of the sun peaking through one of the areas old oak groves on one of the coldest days we had.

"If we could see the miracle of a single flower,
our whole life would change."
The Buddha

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Life does not accommodate you; it shatters you.
Every seed destroys its container, or else there would be no fruition.

Florida Scott-Maxwell

Monday, January 11, 2010

The top right portion after I had added some more quilt pieces...I love Crows!!!

For Linda
This is my first "Quilt Collage" done on 1/10/10
I think of it as a symbolic collage to warm
and comfort and heal all of our Planet Earth right now. I hope to learn the fine art of quilting someday, so this will also be a one stop guide for the patterns that I love.

And here's two quotes from 2 of my all time favorite authors:

Be still, and the world is bound to turn herself
inside out to entertain you. Everywhere you look,
joyful noise is clanging to drown out quiet desperation.

Barbara Kingsolver
High Tide in Tucson

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter; to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life.John Burroughs

Friday, January 8, 2010

This is a view across the road from my Dad's house here in Florida. It is the portion of the dammed-up Withalacootchee River called Lake Rousseau. On the right is one of the many majestic Live Oaks that still remain here in this (relatively) undeveloped part of Florida.
Even though it has been really cold here, being outside as much as I can is how I keep my sanity. That combined with gardening, creating a plethora of collages, riding my bicycle and writing on this blog . Blogging is funny as it's mostly one way conversation but even then it helps to make me feel less isolated. I do feel that sending this out into the universe might help (if even just one person) with understanding. I am definitely ready to be moving on to find a new job in a new place with a brand new community and group of friends, but for now I am here with my dear old Dad. I struggle still with being present moment to moment. I have to remind myself daily why I am here.
This hiatus from my so-called "real-life" has enabled me to spend some valuable time with him . It has given me the freedom from paying rent anywhere for a while and time to create more art. It has given me time to spend in a really wonderful library system with books that I seem to need to keep me going. I have learned about even more new plants and even more medicinal uses.
It has given me even more glimpses into the reality/reason why we do migrate away from our families of origin. Being dependent on another person at my age both humiliates and humbles me. But it is what it is. I am Thankful to have a roof over my head, food to eat and a Father who tries to understand me. Thanks Dad.

Gratitude is the most passionate transformative force in the cosmos. When we offer thanks to God or to another human being, gratitude gifts us with renewal, reflection, reconnection.
Sarah Ban Breathnach

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This is yet another illustration from the amazing
I went on there today to look for something else and this plant was on the front page of the site. I just planted 2 of those in the front yard here.
May the spirit and essence of all of the Aloes on this beautiful planet, Heal us all.

Monday, January 4, 2010

"An Ode to St. Germaine" collage 12-29-2009

This is the start of the 2nd part of a collage project that I was "commissioned " to do for a dear friend in California. I am still trying to get access to a color printer, "dear friend" Thank You for your patience, it will arrive soon:)
This endeavor is/was both very challenging and extremely gratifying. All and all I realized that it might be one way for me to make some money. If you know of anyone that would be interested in such an endeavor, please write to me at the email above. S/he would send me some personal pictures (via snail mail as I don't have access to a color printer at the moment)to integrate into the collage or just give me a general theme and I will go from there.

My Florida Medicine Wheel Garden. I have planted gardens in this manner in many places that I have left behind. Support of my art came in an amazing surprise of a way from Claudia and Hubert in Germany. They gave me an gift certificate and I was able to buy a book that I have wanted to own for years. I have signed it out of more than a few libraries. It didnt teach me about Medicine Wheel gardens (that I learned about from Vivien and Karen at Moms Head in Santa Rosa....Thank You for that and so much more) but it is an inspiring Herbal Medicine reference for those of us who choose to create gardens in this manner. Search
"The Medicine Wheel Garden"(E. Barrie Kavasch) at your library or on Amazon to find this gem of a book. Better yet, walk into your local independent bookstore and ask them to order it for you.

This is what the woods around here look like. I went for a walk with my dear old Dad on New Years Day. This is what I picture pre Spanish-invasion Florida to look like. The past few days it has felt more like the great white north. Yesterday I was scrambling around putting together various contraptions to try and save my garden from this rare freeze. I used alot of old plastic soda bottles, alot of plastic and sheets and even pulled down alot of Spanish moss from the trees in an effort to somehow "insulate " the plants I didnt have cover for. We'll see. My mini-green house contraption that I made back in November has one little lightbulb in an attempt to try and save my basil babies, 2 huge tomato plants and some Lavender starts that I did from cuttings. Below are a few more (sections)of my recent collages...and a few more recent photos will appear above...

and a last random thought:
I had a dream the other night ago in which I kept saying "Archimedes". I woke up wondering who Achimedes was and today I searched it. What a trip our dreams are. I had been thinking of placing mirrors around the yard here in Florida as an attempt to focus more sunlight on my shivering plants. Just for fun, search "Archimedes".
Thank the Great Spirit, God/dess, All-that-Is for my dreams. They never cease to amaze me.
Also Thanks to "Willie" of
who left a comment on geo's blog (see right for connector)I have a new term for what I am in right now:
"Hibernation hiatus" or a combination of the two. Thank You, Willie! Thanks also for this quote on yer blog:
“If the dream is a translation of waking life, waking life is also a translation of the dream.” – Rene Magritte

Happy New Year

The image above is part of a recent collage done on New Years Day 2010. I have been doing alot of paper mosaics lately from old magazines and it has been very healing (more color healing/meditation) for me to do these. I finally figured out (I miss the scanner) that I can take a picture of some of my art with my new cell phone(yeah,yeah) and then send that picture to myself , get it here at the library and alas, share it once again. This was only an experiment, so stay tuned for (hopefully) better quality shots of recent creative efforts.
Here is a quote for this New Year that was published in the little local newspaper:
"And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been done, full of tasks, claims, and demands; and let us see that we learn to take it without letting fall too much of what has to bestow upon those who demand it necessary, serious and great things."
Rainer Maria Wilke,poet (1876-1926)