Tag Archives: Art

O is for Octopus

"Moon-age Dreaming" copyright Debra Myers Woodward
“Moon-age Dreaming”
copyright Debra Myers Woodward

I recently had a dream about going on a train or subway with my son. We had an octopus that we had to put in a plastic box.  It filled the box as we put the lid on.

I have a book on Native American animal imagery and meanings they have for different animals.  Unfortunately, octopus wasn’t included, so I did what any modern-day inquisitor does, I googled it.

It isn’t so hard to discover what associations octopi are likely to yield: creativity, ingenuity, intelligence.  Have you watched videos of their amazing escapes? I read just the other day of an octopus named Inky escaping from the National Aquarium of New Zealand. Now that  requires ingenuity! Swim free Inky!

But this got me to thinking about my dream. Have I boxed in my creativity, my ingenuity and intelligence. I could answer yes, definitely so. I am just beginning to write again, thanks to this April A-to-Z challenge. But I go long stretches without painting. And not because I don’t have ideas!

So one of my intentions this week is to make room for painting.  Are there things you haven’t made time for that you know would be good for you?  Its never too late to create a space of even 10 minutes a day to cherish your well-being by doing what you love. Maybe this small opening will lead to the freedom of the ocean like it did for Inky.

M is for Mess-making

In the studio copyright Debra Myers Woodward
In the studio
copyright Debra Myers Woodward

As an artist, there are many ways to go about painting a painting or creating a sculpture or building a pot, but almost all of them involve the willingness to make a mess.  Even if the process is a fairly neat one like drawing, there is a certain amount of messiness to the process, even if its just in the process of going from idea to finished product.

Life is often messy as well.  And like many if not most people, I tend to think that messes are “bad” and clean and orderly is “good.”  But putting those judgments on any given moment in a process is really self-defeating.  If I am not willing to go through messy to get to a fully realized state, whether talking about art or life, then I will often be frustrated and stressed about what things look like. And then resistance shows up. Creativity does not thrive in this environment.

So I am trying to embrace messiness as just a snapshot in time.  Its merely a stage, not a state of being–a stage that comes around again and again and again.  And in making art, like living life, messiness is necessary.  The more we embrace the process, the more we will stay centered and strong through it. We can even celebrate that we are moving forward and stepping into unknown territory (as if we have a choice!)

Each day is new. We have never done this day before, so there is always a possibility of a mess. Lets try on this idea of accepting it and seeing it as part of our journey to peace with ourselves.

H is for Hallelujah

River series, Autumn NFS Pastel on paper and canvas
River series, Autumn
Pastel on paper and canvas 30″x40″

When I first heard Jeff Buckley singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, I was so moved tears ran down my face.  He captures such depth and broken-heartedness. His voice, so intimate and personal, gently floats along like a slow-moving wide river carrying all who listen along with him.  It is a slow dance; a gentle rain on tender shoots of grass. He finishes the ballad by holding an impossibly long note, which you will try to hold too the second or third time around.

And having written the above, I found it interesting to go looking for his life story a bit. I knew he died young, but I didn’t know that he drowned in the Mississippi River near Nashville while swimming alone at night.  For several years I lived near the Mississippi River, and it was this very river I was thinking of as I wrote the first paragraph.  Its interesting to me how writing, like life, knows its way and shares it’s wisdom so generously without our even asking.

Hallelujah, indeed.

To listen to Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah, go here.

Note: The above pastel painting was made during the time I lived near the Mississippi near St. Louis just as the water started to recede from the annual flooding.  The small house is on one of the islands. The stacks in the background have been taken down and replaced with a larger single stack for the electric plant that provides for the communities surrounding it.

F is for Found Poetry

I really liked another AtoZ Blogger‘s idea to write a Dadaist poem. And so today when I couldn’t come up with a word for F, I looked up types of poetry that start with F and discovered something called a “found poem” popular many decades ago.

Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry (a literary equivalent of a collage) by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning. (from Wikipedia)
So when I googled found poetry, amazing artistic images came up of old book pages with loops around words and paintings and drawings in between.  I am so excited at this discovery, I can barely sit still.  So rather than just write out a Found Poem, I will make one!
This comes from the only thing I had with me, a page I had typed up for a meeting last week and colored pens and a blue highlighter.  Work with what you’ve got!  Enjoy.
Peace Spoke
Peace Spoke
                about refugees,
someone       with

Newest Paintings

"Yin, Yang, and the Pollinators" 8x8Acrylic ink on canvas$140

I have added more paintings to my “Paintings for Sale” page. Click on the link in the upper right hand corner.  This latest painting is sparking some discussion that sounds like an example of a Rorschach test. The latest idea is two bears. I like the idea that they are hugging!  More examples of our Oneness with all Life.  I had the amazing opportunity to hear Dr. Laurance Doyle speak this past weekend, and learned about how many species (all?) communicate and have intelligence.  In particular he talked about bees, dolphins, whales, and trees.  He shared his knowledge of leaves and that they are quantum computers that actually capture light without collapsing it.  I think he said that it is the most gentle process on earth.  If the talk is posted online, I will see if I can get permission to post a link to it here.  Peace out!

Newest series – Cosmos

"Passage of Time"Welcome to my newly updated website.  Thank you for visiting.  I am working on a new series I call “Cosmos”. My inspiration for this series is found in images from space looking back at earth and out to what lies beyond our galaxy.  My Google search revealed that cosmos means “the universe seen as a well-ordered whole,” and “a system of thought.”  I am taken with how Grace, Spirit, has ordered our universe in ways that have nothing to do with our desire for control. This idea inspires my every day life, and I find the wisest and most satisfying path is letting go and allowing God, Love, to do the ordering. While I do exert some measure of controlling the processes at work in my art, in the end I rely heavily on letting go to allow the medium to follow its natural course.  I hope you enjoy the images.  To view works for sale, please click the Paintings for Sale or Prints links in the upper right of this page. For more information about purchasing art, see my Contact page.