I want to be held

I want to be held by arms wrapped around me. I want to put my head on another’s shoulder and lean my body on another’s body. I haven’t felt this feeling so viscerally for a long time, as I do now. There is a longing for touch, but more than that, for support too. 

When I sit here with it, sit here on this very couch, which holds me so generously, I can imagine being held, being loved in that way that I am the most important and loved in the world by another, and wouldn’t it be amazing that the feeling be mutual? 

And here I sit wondering, even then if it were so, would it all be only the gift I give myself? To see myself as the most loved through another’s eyes? Perhaps I should skip the middle man and love myself. For who knows me better than I? And who has the power to forgive, for who knows better than I all that needs to be forgiven? And isn’t it the kindest act of all, this unconditional act of forgiving and loving? Perhaps it frees the whole world of my neediness and demands. And perhaps it frees you to love me more honestly without having to perform acts of heroism to prove your love. Frees you to be you and only you. 

But there is more to this that I am beginning to recognize is also true, this wanting to be free of the need for a lover’s love, to find a spiritual altitude where this moment as it is, is enough. I, of all people (I can hardly believe it) armor my heart, the same heart I give away so freely, I wait to see if it is rejected and rush to protect it. Not that it works. But I see the effort to deflect the pain and find a way through to solid ground again and again. I either need to convince you to love me, or convince myself that I don’t need it. Neither work. And maybe neither are true. And what does life look like to just give up? Can I even give up? I assumed it meant that I would transcend this feeling of want. But maybe it just means that I accept it. And since I have NO answers, I will try to take Rilke’s advice:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

New Abstract Expressionist work

Painted over the summer of 2020, when life just gets so real there is nothing to do but to paint with abandon. All works are for sale. See the contact page for inquiries.

New Work COVID 2020 :)

These small works were done during and after a 12 week online workshop I took with Nicholas Wilton, a professional artist in the San Francisco area. It brings together a number of studio practices I have learned over the years and some new ones as well! I hope you enjoy this nature and LIGHT inspired series. For more information on the work, prices and availability, please contact me by email.

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!


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

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.

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.


T is for Tests

Energy River copyright Debra Myers Woodward
Energy River
copyright Debra Myers Woodward

I have often lamented the battery of standardized tests that my kids have to take every Spring. It isn’t given just to score how well the school is teaching children in my state, it determines whether they can move up to the next grade level. I find it tantamount to treason (and 2 more T words!)

In life though, as we learn new concepts, we are often put to the test. The situation comes up once again, suspiciously similar to the last one that “taught us a lesson.”  And we have the opportunity to put our new-found knowledge to use. Or not.

If not, we can be assured that it will come up again…and again….and again.  Life is very thorough in that way. We will get to keep repeating this grade level until we pass the test. Then we are given more to handle.

I have thought about this in terms of career and relationships and other life responsibilities.  Like many people, I would love a successful career. But have I demonstrated that I can handle the one I have yet?  And I realize I have no idea how I would handle a lot of clients or customers or commissions. I don’t know how to do large-scale business deals. These things I am not even prepared to approach!

Its been a great thing to notice this so that I can watch for what lessons I am learning and what tests I am being given. And great incentive not to fall back on the old ways of doing things but to take what I learn and use it.

S is for Shopping

"Spring Rain" 24"x30" copyright Debra Myers Woodward
“Spring Rain”
copyright Debra Myers Woodward

Today is Earth Day, possibly my favorite day of the year. I am particularly fond of this little corner of the universe and all those who inhabit it.

This morning I received an email from a certain retail establishment that I frequent.  The subject said, “Celebrate Earth Day with Free Shipping.”  And the obvious ridiculousness of that prompted this post.

How about we celebrate Earth Day by NOT shopping at all? I recently took a quiz online (here) to see how many earth’s it would take to support the whole population if everyone in the world lived like me.  I live in North America, so I wasn’t surprised to see that it would require 4.7 earths.  This was not an encouraging number (and that means that Mars alone isn’t going to help much if we were thinking we could just colonize another planet.) In this article, I learned that Earth Overshoot Day was in August of 2015–the day that the 7.1 billion people on this planet passed the mark of consuming more resources than our planet can sustain!

So it seems essential that I take steps to improve my footprint on the environment. Pollution from the constant growth in manufacturing goods (not to mention the extraction of materials from the earth) is causing great harm on the environment, regardless of your position on global warming.  Whatever we can do to lessen our impact will help Her to breathe a little more easily and allow us to live on it for a longer time.

I believe this starts with our thoughts, as all things do! So before I reach for something sweet, for example, I ask myself, why do I want this? Am I trying to sweeten a feeling in me? Do I feel sad or upset or lonely?  The same is true about our “need” to purchase things we don’t actually need.  Its worthwhile to ask ourselves do we really need this? Or are we filling an emptiness inside?  Is the rush of walking through a beautiful store and choosing things distracting us from something we find unattractive?

Sitting with these questions for a bit (it won’t kill us and in fact, might help us!) instead of compulsively buying more stuff is the best thing we can do for our home, planet earth.  And perhaps, with all of that extra time and mind-space freed up, we might come up with new technologies that improve the environment while providing food, clean water and sanitary living conditions for everyone on the planet.