Saturday, January 30, 2010

When All You Can Say Is WOW!


and I have become

like two giant fat people

Living in a

Tiny boat.

We keep

bumping into each other

and laughing.

-Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Artwork - Colored pencil on artboard treated with micaceous oxide by GOLDEN, 2008.

Friday, January 29, 2010

... and we dance along...

In this little boat...
Peace unknown guides me to ask
How did I get here?
A pool of warm light draws near
Encompass my heart, the One.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Glorious Habit

"Fortunately, the sun has a

wonderfully glorious habit of

rising every morning."

-My Side of the Mountain, Jean George

Paper Doll - December 2009

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Playful Crisis

Life is a playful crisis. -Krishanmurti (-ish)

Artwork - 2009, colored pencil on artboard treated with micaceous oxide by GOLDEN.
The one and only time Krishnamurti ever appeared in one of my dreams, he said these words to me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


The most wasted of all days
is one without laughter.
-e.e. cummings

I do love to laugh.
I love to hear other people laugh.
And as I get older I slowly learn to laugh at myself.

Photos - Some of my family and friends in laughter.
previous post of my dad laughing.

Monday, January 25, 2010


This is the sunset that softened my bitter heart...

as my forehead leaned against the glass...

as he lay in the hospital bed to my right...

as I learned about myself.

That is all I can do...

as I breathe...

as I love...


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Walking Off my Grrrrrrrrs!

Yesterday, I woke up and still felt anger racing through me.
My dad; he reflects back the qualities in me that I don't like about myself. I want to blame, but I know better. Fix him? Nope. I know better there, too. But grrrrrrrrrrr!!!
The only thing I knew I could do was take a walk. And what a splendid morning to do so! It was the first break after a 5 day rain - rare around Southern California. Greeted with a crisp and gorgeous morning, off I went...5.5 miles walking as fast, and as angrily, as I could.
The warm, early sun brought steam off the moisture saturated trees. Ha! How appropriate for my hot head. Even through my gaping frustration, I didn't want to miss the beauty all around.

I walked to the highest point in town that I knew I could get to on foot so I could see this!
Oh, and I forgot!
I am a cookie baker. My specialty: peanut butter and chocolate chip.
Life is short! Eat off the good china everyday! (My grandma cringes every time I tell her that.)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ordained Mystery

I will.

I will sit in those scary places, and see my unloved shadow.
I will sit in the fear of a being alone.
I will sit in this rooted anger, pull it from my bell and trust that somehow it will transform.

I will.

I will tread carefully to the center of your heart.
I will rage noisily to the center of my anger.
I will dance freely to ease your pain and mine.
I will hold tightly to what I know is True.
I will die simply to any pain your honesty brings.
I will love boldly to share this life I Love.
I will continue bravely whether you are in my life...or not.

There is a kiss in the palm of your hand. Take it!
Put your palm to your heart and feel God's rhythm.
You know it.
It has told you, but you try not to listen.
Wake up to your beauty! Wake up!!

Artwork - 2.5 x 3.5 inches, colored pencil. I drew this last night as I found myself swimming in a sea of unexpected, juvenile anger. My heart thought of a Rumi poem I adore. You can see it HERE on Steven's blog, The Golden Fish. (far right column)
I will remember to throw my head back and laugh. I will remember this is a gift. (said in an obstinate, growling voice) Hahahaha!

Friday, January 22, 2010

If We Can't Dance...

Rip me open...
even as I feverishly stitch up
what has come undone.

Rip me open...
at the hem of this threadbare veil.

Rip me open...
along the softened edges of my soul
that cannot hide from the
scared corners of my heart.

"If we can't dance, then I'm not coming to your revolution."

-Emma Goldman
Anarchist, 1869 - 1940

Collage - created Monday, 1.18.10. The little girl is my grandma and I am in love with this photo of her. Years ago, I made a collage seen in this previous post. When I was growing up my Grammie use to sing the saddest, heartbreaking folk songs to me right before bed. Treasured memories! My favorite song: Wreck of Old No. 9. This is the closest rendition that I could find to the way I heard it growing up. (HERE) I love when this guy cracks a smile.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Deep Blue Sea








Artwork - 2.5 x 3.5 inches, pen. Drawn 1/17/2010.
Yesterday, you saw proof that I am a mess maker.
Tomorrow: cookie baker.

The words are from a song Deep Blue Sea as sung by Snatam Kaur. They have been bouncing around in my head the last couple of days.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Am A Mess Maker...

This is where I sit.

Truth be told...
this is fairly tame.
It gets much worse!

Always messy,
but still creating?
I finally accept.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cup O' Love

A toast to my willy-nilly heart:

Love love.

Slowly, drink in the love everywhere.
In time, the clarity comes.

There is a crack, a crack in everything

That's how the light gets in.

-Leonard Cohen, Anthem

Photo - Last Friday, I took a Sharpie to my empty, paper coffee cup.
I couldn't help myself.

Monday, January 18, 2010

No. 2 Pencil & Tanka Poem

Today: quiet day...

a day to sit with long dreams.

Hold this boat steady.

Hold this Foolish heart so still.

A quiet day in deep rain.

Drawing - 2.5 x 3.5 inches.
This was from the No. Pencil series I had done the weekend after Christmas, but I forgot to share it.
The poem is my first attempt at a Tanka poem which I first learned from Dan Gurney.
I very much like the syllabic structure: 5 - 7 - 5 - 7 - 7.

The heartfelt place this poem came from was soon covered in laughter (at myself) as I sat here rolling my eyes to the ceiling to think, silently mouthing the words while simultaneously tapping my finger on the edge of the table. Hahahaha! Hope I got it right!
Ahhhh, the sacred and the profane! So deep. So silly. Me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mama Please Tell Me

Momma, please tell me truly
even though life ain't what it should be
where can I go to fix these things inside


Life isn't easy and truth's a dreadful beauty

and everyone wants to know
where they go
when they die

It sings of a coming glory

strangely tied to this awful story
It lifts its heart and gives
wings to fly
and so it goes...

-Abigail Washburn

(First stanza, chorus and last
stanza from her song, Momma.)

Belly to the sky.
Even in the healing, we find more pain.

Mama, if the heron has taken his last flight,
where does that leave my hummingbird?
Must he go too?
...not yet..

Photo - Me and my mama 1975. I love old photo booth pics.
Oh! And mom...I know you read, so thanks for letting me use this photo! You can "shoot" me later!

Abigail Washburn's song, Momma, is one of my favorites. In fact, the entire album, Song of the Traveling Daughter, is great.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Whispering Jesse

...things I would do different if I could do them again...

Hello, my friend.
Come meet me on the path of steady dirt.
We will laugh at the sunrise which comes to slow for our aching arms.
And then we'll laugh even harder.
No one will know.
Remember, my friend, even the tiniest pebble can create a mighty long shadow.

Words - found in my sketch book. It is paraphrased, left-handed writing, penned while in Lone Pine, CA this past October.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Every time you smile at someone,
it is an action of love,

a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.
- Mother Teresa

In a wispy voice that woke up tired and scared...

I know better than that...

I will breathe and smile!

Collage - 8 x 10. It's the little things.
Background papers come from my apron collection: color copied them.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Little Bird





Be quiet...

Be Glorious.

Artwork - 2.5 x 3.5 inches, colored pencil and pen.
I drew this last night after going through my sketchbook from the past year. I saw this wee bird and decided to redraw it. In the sketchbook it was drawn left handed, which I repeated for this drawing - colored with my right which smoothed out the lines. Along with the drawing was some left handed writing with the last two sentences being: "Be quiet! Be Glorious." Susan asked why I draw with my left hand. This POST might explain. Also, I think it is good for my brain.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The ONE I Love


the One

I Love

lives inside

of you...

I lean

as close

to you

as I can.

Artwork - 2.5 x 3.5 inches, colored pencil: drawn left hand and colored right handed.
I know these words from a yoga song, but I don't know where they originate from.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coming Home

I call it Coming Home:
when you fall back into your own heart.

How could I have forgotten? Silly me.
It was the only thing that saved me in the dark times.
All the clamoring and grabbing for anything to make the pain stop wasn't in the outer world.
It was In.
God was simply kicking back, sipping on some tea and waiting for me...waiting for me so patiently.

"...and then I leaned into myself..."

Inspiration, and words, provided by Susan Carpenter Sims of the Whole Blooming World.

When the violin can forgive the past

It starts singing.

When the violin can stop worrying about the future

you will become such a drunk, laughing nuisance

That God will then lean down

And start combing you into His Hair.

When the violin can forgive every wound caused by Others

The heart starts singing.

-Hafiz, translated by Danial Ladinksky

Collage - I completed this last night as I watched Arrested Development on DVD with my daughter. The man in the collage is my great grandpa, Lyman Van Wickle Brown.
Oh...and a side note...between early detection and acupuncture, the silent migraine I feared was coming Saturday, was averted.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Gingham Dreams

What you have come to place in the pocket

of my thread-bare gingham dreams

is more than it can hold.

I will keep it in my heart.

I will save it in my soul.

Everyday would be like a kiss in the palm of your hand.

Photo - From my wee collection of vintage aprons.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

She Told Me To Look

Have you ever noticed the most gorgeous
part of a sunrise happens long before
you see the sun?

A curious thought... offered from a source
you cannot see...


feeling the warning signals of a silent migraine,
I crawled into bed in the early evening.
A short while later, my sister texts me:

Go look at the sky.

I did.
Feasting my eyes on a fiery,
hot pink horizon,
I cried.
For the sunset? Yes, a bit -
more for the fact that it was my
sister telling Me to Look.

Photo - Taken Tuesday morning, January 5. I just caught the tail end of what must have been an amazing sunrise.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Answering Questions

Over the past few days, I have been asked some questions regarding my artwork. I am happy to answer.

Here we go...
Kinda long...

My grateful heart swells when asked if my artwork is for sale.
Yes. Sure, it is! Funny would you have ever known, right? I am working on getting myself ready to sell online...most likely via And now that I have said it to you all, I am going to really have to do it! Hahaha!
In the meantime, if there is a piece you are curious about, feel free to contact me. My email is on my profile page.

Jennifer asked if my art is too personal to sell.
The scary part is revealing it!

Dan asked why I have the curvy necks in my drawings. Before I answer that, I will go back a wee bit further and explain why I draw the way I draw. Oh! And it is okay to laugh at the story. I recently told it to a friend and he was doubled over in laughter!

I loved drawing as a kid. My mom told me one of the first things she remembers me drawing was a page filled with tiny smiley faces. She thinks I must have been about three.

When I reached adolescence my drawing skills flourished if was drawing from a photograph or a still life - and that carried me through Junior High and High School. But then there was one particular moment that planted a deep seed.
When I was around 17, I had hit my stride drawing from photographs. Keep in mind this was the age when deep self-loathing and low self-esteem started to take over my heart. My dad was showing my latest drawing to his girlfriend. He said, "Isn't Jenny a great artist?" It was her reply that stung.
"'re not really an artist, you're more of a copiest," she plainly stated.
Ouch! Bitch. Hahaha!

A couple of years later, I had a terrible crush on a gay man. (laughter ensues...) I was riddle with self- loathing and my heart belonged to a gay man. Where did I think that would go? Haha!
One particular night, riddled with this particular anguish and pity, I sat at my art table and decided I didn't want to be a "copiest."
My heart told my pencil what to draw.
It was a beautiful drawing, I must admit. And it sold at the very first art show I ever did!

The girlfriend's comment...crushing on a gay man...self-loathing...opening my heart...HA! changed everything. I learned to draw from my heart - and keep my sanity.

So, why the curvy necks?
Two answers.
1. At the time my drawing took a shift, I was living with a friend. She had the most beautiful long, thin neck! When she bent her head forward there truly was a tender, graceful line that curved down the back of her neck.
2. It all began the summer of 1983. My family had rented a place at the beach for the summer. The building was three stories. We stayed on the bottom floor; the two upper floors were rented to permanent residents.
The third story resident had ducklings on his patio. They were protected by chicken wire. Or so was thought...
My eleven year old self was reading James and the Giant Peach in a chair by the front sliding door. Out of the corner of my eye I kept seeing something fall, followed by a curious sound. Needless to say, the ducklings had escaped through their enclosing and were falling from the third floor down to our patio. I ran outside! Two had fallen - two more fell as I stood there.
Through tear filled eyes, I frantically scooped the soft, warm, fuzzy yellow ducklings up in my arms; their broken necks dangled over my forearm. Sobbing, I ran up the flights of stairs and pounded on the door to return the ducklings to their owner.
There you go.
The curvy necks symbolize the soft tenderness AND the deep sadness of life.

Thank you.
I appreciate your questions and support! Truly, it means so much to me! I bare my soul in my art but somehow think that I can still remain invisible in life. I know I can no longer live that path. This blog has been a safe and beautiful way for me to come out of my bubble. Those of you that have come along for the ride...I am deeply grateful.

Drawing - One of my very early "heart" drawings, 1991.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What Is True For Today

Here is what I find true for today:

It shocks people when I laugh loud.

You never know when and where healing will occur.

Hot Tamale candies don't make a good dinner.

And although the past is not where we should linger, sometimes we need to escape for a wee bit in a box of old photos.

Oh, My Beloved, Kindness of the heart,
Breathe of Life, I bow to you.

Divine Teacher.

Beloved Friend.

I bow to you...again and again.

-Ong Namo by Snatam Kaur from the album Grace.

Artwork - I found this today in a drawer. I remember drawing this picture at age 4 or 5. We had an old rotary telephone my mom let us play with. I would screw off the receiver ear cover and trace it to make perfect, circular heads.

Tomorrow I will answer some of the questions about my artwork: why the curvy necks, and if my art is for sale.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

To The One

to the one who sleeps while awake
we love you

to the one who cries while folding laundry
we love you too

healing gifted

thank you

Artwork - 2.5 x 3.5 inches, pen with a wee bit of water color.
I drew this last night and had no idea how fitting it would be for today.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sleepy, Happy, Tears

I am late in my post.
It has been a funny day: a mixture of tears, a deeply grateful heart and a chance to pull my big-girl panties up a little higher.

I stood my ground.
I set a boundary.
But still, I may have caused someone pain.
The tears.

Early this morning, from a woman all the way in Australia,
I find that I have unexpectedly been given praise in a blog post dedicated just to me.
The grateful heart.

All of this combined has given me reason to pull my big-girl panties a bit higher. I didn't know what I was doing when I started blogging - just knew it was time. It has fed my creativity in ways I never expected and I treasure my blogging friends, followers, comments and supporters.

I am a Fool.
I am grateful!

Oh, and the photo...well, that was me at 6:15 a.m. this morning when I had discovered Besty B's post. I couldn't stop smiling!! At least my teeth were brushed! But what good does that do over the world wide web?!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Calmed by the Orange Grove

Under the rising sun

there is enough



off the grove

to calm

my anger

and yours.

Artwork: 2.5 x 3.5 inches - shimmery water colors, pen and colored pencil.
This is my 10ish minute interpretation of one of my town's orange groves from bird's-eye view.
I drew and outlined with my left hand: colored and painted quickly with my right.
The words came to me on my walk this morning. I was thinking of hidden anger in me, and in a friend. The air. Cool. The sun. Warm. But walk by an orange grove and the deep coolness wafting out is heavenly! I created the image as soon as I returned home.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Kindness in the New Year

For a few months this has been floating around in my head:

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: Kind.

A bit Pollyanna? Ehh...maybe.

I like to think I am kind. But I do have moments when I come lashing with claws and fangs.
And, thankfully, my life is filled with kind people.

When I think of the New Year I can quickly make a mental list of Resolutions but they usually pertain to the things I don't like about myself.
Then it occurred to me.
What if my only New Year's Resolution was to be KIND?

The Q & A I shared wants to be a piece of art but I haven't been able to figure out the approach.
This morning it dawned on me I should ask all of you.
Please make your suggestions: large, small, drawn, painted, collaged...a specific color, a texture...abstract, realitisc...etc.
I would love to have your input and then I will do my best to incorporate them into the art.
(Mom - I know you want to see hands and feet.)

Thank you!

Drawing - 16 x 20 inches, No.2 pencil on canvas paper coated with white gesso. Image was drawn left handed and shaded with the right.
I completed this over the weekend.
Photo (not the best quaility) was taken with the computer camera and edited in iPhoto.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

This Little Light

This Little Light - 'tis one of my favorite songs.

Bruce Springsteen is a talented man, but I have never cared for his music.
But I do love his rousing rendition of this song.

This version comes from fellow blogger & blog follower, Todd B.

Saturday, January 2, 2010



It sounds like an atrocious color scheme until you see it in a blazing sunset.
Gratefully, I saw one yesterday, New Year's Day. Glorious!!

Oh, God,

whose spirit moves though all things,

your infinite radiance IS!

Grant that the truth in me shall mirror

your Divinity today and everyday. -C.Stevning

Artwork - 16 x 20, oil bars on canvas, 2004.
The words are one of my favorite prayers, written by my brother. Thanks, Cam!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Baby Pumpkin

Yesterday, New Year's Eve Day, I attended a memorial, Lights for Little Lives, put on by The Unforgettables, whose mission is to assist low-income families provide a dignified, appropriate burial for their children who have died. The memorial honors those children and babies.
It touches me beyond words. I have not had to experience such a loss...I can only imagine the heartache these parents feel.

Towards the end of the service, the first names of all the children and babies (born and unborn) are read aloud.
My favorite name - Pumpkin.

Every child

Has known God,

Not the God of names,

Not the God of don'ts,

Not the God who ever does

Anything weird,

But the God who only knows four words

And keeps repeating them, saying:

"Come dance with Me."



-Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Drawing - 2.5 x 3.5 inches, No.2 pencil.
My first drawing of 2010. I don't know why an elephant...never drawn one before. But I do love the fable The Blind Men and The Elephant. It has been on my mind. HAPPY NEW YEAR!