Newest Work

Mural with artist
Artist with mural of Hawksbill Sea Turtle

Hi! Updates seem to be few and far between! Posted here are my two newest paintings, one a mural. My life at the moment is quite busy with preparations! I will be traveling next week to take a workshop in fundraising to support Euphrates Institute, a global peace building organization I now work with (visit Euphrates.org). I then will be attending camp in Missouri to support their middle school program for two weeks. And when I return will be packing and moving across town! Downsizing and clearing out gobs of stuff in the process! And yes, that means selling  lots of art at a discount! If there is something you have seen on this website (click on Menu button in top right corner to see art) or my facebook page (riverdogstudio) that you would like to purchase, I can be reached through the contact page on this site or on facebook. The discounts will be taken off of the listed price. Some as much as half off! Its negotiable! 🙂  I’m also available for commissions, sales or workshops starting in August. Happy summer everyone!

"Coneflower" by Debra Myers copyright 2019
“Coneflower” 24×24, acrylic on canvas available $800

a new year, a new focus

New York Harbor from World Trade Center One

With the new year, I found myself being drawn back to my roots – drawing and painting in my sketchbook and focusing on design projects more at work. I love designing solutions for others’ needs and have had a lot of opportunities to design everything from vehicle wraps to logos for clients. I will be adding a design page to my website soon.

I have also gotten a lot of pleasure from the simple art of sketching. I love working with different media in my moleskine journals – acrylic inks, paint pens, macron pens, pencil, watercolor. In fact, I have had so much fun with it, that I am now offering workshops to support others with their art journals. Even if you have never kept an art journal before, it is never too late to start! And no experience is required. We will be learning about many different types of journals as well as many different techniques. There is something for everyone! So be in touch to learn more about local offerings and travel workshops.

Lastly, I still enjoy painting large and small scale commissions. Thanks for stopping by to check out my website and art!

Welcome to River Dog Studio!

“Looking-glass”

I have a new website in the works.  Until it is up and running, please check out my updated galleries above.  Work that is not for sale will say NFS or SOLD.  I also work on commission.  I accept payment via PayPal, cash or check.  For pricing and questions, click on the contact tab above.

Thanks for checking out my work!!

Decorative Arts

img_4527
Hand-painted knobs

I haven’t posted anything in a long while.  Its been a very busy summer. I will be adding a gallery page to my website for decorative arts.  Featured here are examples of recent work along these lines.

I have worked in decorative arts, handcrafts, and fine art my entire life.  I love the variety this affords me and the opportunity to bring beauty to functional pieces.

I work on commission and can ship anywhere in the US.

Y is for YES!

Thanksgiving Square Chapel copyright Debra Myers Woodward
Thanksgiving Square Chapel
copyright Debra Myers Woodward

I have a friend who loves Yes! In fact, he loves it so much that he has named his consulting business, Live Yes, and…. His name is Travis Thomas and if you haven’t already started listening to his podcasts and daily Periscopes, you are missing out! And he has a book soon to be published too! (Follow this link to find out more about Travis and Live Yes, and…!)

I took a “30 days of Yes” course with him a couple of times. It is a real stretch for the places where I have preferred to settle back to my comfort zone, but even so (and especially because of that) I highly recommend it.

For example, one of the days the assignment is to call someone and tell them you appreciate them.  I’m not sure I have done that yet during the course. (I am noticing that some days I just say no. haha!) To be honest, I am not a big fan of talking on the phone, unless someone like my sister calls me and we catch up and talk for quite a while.  Otherwise, I have found texting to be a life-saver.

But I have noticed that recently, I have been making more phone calls instead of texting, especially when I am coordinating information or asking questions. I notice more light-heartedness about calling, that I am not as worried about what the other person will think or how I will get off, if the conversation goes too long. I just offer my honest need to go and let it go!  Its almost an epiphany to learn that it can be so easy.

Today I had to make several (only 4!) phone calls to professors at a local university for whom I had no email address.  On top of that, I had to invite them to an event and explain the purpose while I am still not very fluent in how to discuss it.  I had been avoiding it for a few days and finally, today I did it.  The first one I got a voice mail and hung up.  Then I collected myself and called back and stumbled all over myself but managed to get through it.  The second call someone answered! That was almost worse, and I pretty much fumbled around on that call too.  By the third and fourth calls I was getting the hang of it and did pretty well leaving messages.

And even though I was a bit embarrassed in the moment on the call with a real person in particular, I was able to let it go immediately afterwards.  What would be the purpose of holding onto it? They will either accept our invitation and attend or not. Thats the way of it.

And today, I said YES to walking into my darkness and doing what I was afraid to do, instead of staying in “no” and running from it.  It’s a small step, but thats all it takes to move forward….one small step at a time.

 

X is for XOXO

"Love is a present" copyright Debra Myers Woodward
“Love is a present”
copyright Debra Myers Woodward

I often sign off my emails with XOXO. It is my way of offering a virtual hug and kiss on the cheek to someone.  There is an emoticon that looks like someone blowing a kiss which I have often used too.

I have regularly used the emoticon with my son, but when I signed off on a text once with xoxo, he yelled (in all caps) GROSS!! haha. I thought that was funny that he made a distinction between the two.

Since this is the only word that really came to me to write about with the letter X, I decided to go for it and looked up the XOXO to see where it came from. (The following info is from wikipedia.)

In the middle ages, the X was signed at the bottom of a letter or on an envelope to signify a cross and was intended to mean sincerity, faith and honesty.  The signer would then place a kiss on it to indicate their sworn oath.  There was also the fact that many people did not know how to write and so would place an X in place of a signature and again would place a kiss on it as a show of their sincerity.

Apparently according to internet lore, the O comes from North American heritage when Jewish immigrants came to this country and did not wish to use the Christian symbol to sign their name, so they used the O instead and placed a kiss on it.

I rather like the idea that XOXO is an indication of sincerity, faith and honesty.  It is so much more than hug and a kiss and I look forward to thinking about this meaning when I use it in the future.  Am I being honest and sincere? Where is my faith placed as I sign off my text or email?

And it will be fun to explain it to my son and see what he thinks if I use it with him. Will he then prefer that to the emoticon?

What do you know about xoxo?

 

W is for Wild

Solar Wind copyright Debra Myers Woodward
Solar Wind
copyright Debra Myers Woodward

There has always been a place in my heart for this word, Wild. I don’t really understand its full meaning or resonance, but it definitely evokes something in me that is primal and vital.

Its not about acting wild. It doesn’t have to do with physicality either.  It’s more of an honoring of the Source of my existence and living out from that with freedom.

If instead we choose to follow a broad path of acquiescence to societal norms and expectations, we may find that our spirit gets tamped down, caged and eventually withers us from the inside out.

We have all seen these withered people. Some are angry all the time (and rightly so). Others are despondent and depressed. And still others drink or drug their anxiety into numbness and oblivion (even prescribed medication can be a form of numbing because we refuse to acknowledge the real source of our ailment.) And we may recognize the withered one in ourselves.

I remember when the Dallas Zoo had all their big cats in small cages (some still are, I think.)  Their life span at that time was 3 years!  Ours might last a little longer because we let our anxiety seep out or drug it.  But its worth noting that we can’t keep our true wildness caged for too long, or we will wither and die as well.

As for how to go about truly honoring what is inside, I can only suggest that we each find stillness and listen to the voice within.  That voice is God, the Wild Original, and is calling to us always.  The path to our expression of it is our own and will be like no one else’s, although we will find encouragement and camaraderie by others who have the courage to venture toward their wildness as well.

Today is a good day to begin or renew the journey.

V is for Veil

My life has suddenly converged on this week with so much coming due at once.  Several projects with contacts spread across the country, I have been emailing and writing and planning and coordinating. I also have a family and field trips and grocery shopping and care taking.

And today, one of the many tasks I must undertake is to find a “veil” for my son who plays Airsoft. This is a military simulation sport where participants fire plastic bb’s at one another.  His request for a “veil” is a cloth of some sort (frayed, fringed or otherwise NOT flat) that he can camouflage to keep himself hidden at an overnight event.  I plan to raid the local Goodwill store.

But of course, here again is an opportunity to look beneath the obvious to find the hidden inspiration.

In the book of Matthew (and Mark and Luke, too), the Bible talks about the veil of the temple being rent (torn) in two when Jesus died on the cross.  Here is what GotQuestions.org says about the veil, “in the temple a veil separated the Holy of Holies—the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence—from the rest of the temple where men dwelt.”

I hadn’t really thought about the idea that a veil was a separation between God and man.  In Biblical times, Jewish priests were the only ones allowed beyond the veil into the Holy of Holies and that only once yearly. So it seems that there wasn’t really a concept of God talking with an ordinary person (and never a woman or child!)

But clearly God did speak with men, women, and children! Even in the Bible. He/She isn’t confined to a room in a temple, and maybe this is what the Gospels are alluding to.

And while I can see that this notion is much more accepted today, I think there is a much greater sense of the presence of God that we can embrace. Its not just that God is over there caring for us over here.  That still indicates a veil!

My concept of God is so much closer than that–to suggest that we are separate from God at all (even suggesting we are infinitely close) misses the mark. I like to think of God as All Life living itself as us.  We are the verbs of Life. God runs, and we are the running, just as the wind isn’t separate from the blowing! Then the veil truly is rent!

Try that on and let me know what you think.

 

U is for Unknown

Garden Nebula copyright Debra Myers Woodward
Garden Nebula
copyright Debra Myers Woodward

I like the writings of Pema Chodron.  She taught me how to stop judging others, to just allow people to make mistakes and be human. And she taught me how to be with myself without judging too. This has been particularly helpful.

One of the concepts she teaches about is groundlessness–another word for the unknown.  Many spiritual teachers encourage their students to relax with what is unknown, to stop trying to outline or control the future, to stop pushing away what we are uncomfortable with, and to stay.  After years of practice, I can say that this has been one of the best lessons for me to learn–stillness.

When we are faced with things we can’t control, when faced with the unknown, we often grope for something familiar, something to hold onto to steady us.  And usually, we end up doing the same things over and over and over again. We react in predictable ways. We run away,  we numb ourselves with addictive substances (alcohol, drugs, sex, food, tv, Facebook), we shut down, or we act out (anger, temper tantrums, depression, tears, sarcasm).  No matter how you slice it, it ain’t pretty.

But learning to sit with the discomfort and just to stay, even to move in closer to learn what it is really about, is to learn to be still.  And when we are still, we can see things more clearly than ever before. What seemed so terrifyingly unknown is actually very simple. We may not know what the next moment will bring, but it doesn’t matter, because we aren’t afraid to sit with it. Whether it is light or dark, we know we won’t run. Because we have learned to be still, we aren’t afraid of our reactions.  Even if we choose to react, we soon see it in the reflection of stillness.

Then the unknown becomes a friend and an adventure. Everything is an opportunity to learn more about this amazing Life and our place in it.