Endless Vistas

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
~C.S. Lewis

IMG_1839

Dear Friends,

I just spent a week unplugging and soaking up lots of sunshine and Vitamin D by the pacific ocean in Huatulco, Mexico. I love to visit the ocean. It’s a great time for reflection.
Where the land meets the sky or the ocean meets the sky… it is the place where the sun rises and sets everyday. This place in the middle of the earth and sky I believe we can all relate to. I always feel a real sense of connection and inspiration here. A daily reminder to find peace, joy and love.

I began the painting above before I left on holidays. I am always asked the question “What inspires you?” I believe the answer is connection. In this case, I was inspired by a photo a friend posted on Facebook. I am often inspired by travel, community, pictures I take or from my imagination. I see or feel something and immediately say, “I must paint that!”
I finished this painting today on the last day of 2014.
It is called “Endless Vistas”. To me it represents taking time for reflection, feeling what you feel and connecting Body, Mind and Spirit. Vistas are endless and change everyday. Some are small and fleeting, some are big and last longer, all are important.  They create your life.

Wishing you all Vast Vistas of Peace, Joy and Love in 2015!

With Much Gratitude and love,
Michelle

Advertisements

Are Goblins eating up your Creativity?

the-scream

Without fear and illness, I could never have accomplished all I have.~Edvard Munch

Question:  What keeps me from creating?

Answer: The Goblins.   They are the thoughts that run around and around in my mind causing all kinds of FEAR and DRAMA.

I recognize the demons of anxiety that scream all my faults at me LOUD and CLEAR!

They are not the truth of who I am. This I know for sure.

They just yell really loud… Like annoying music… it grates on your nerves.

The Goblins lure you to play with them. They are masters at persuasion.

I can choose to participate or sit on the sidelines and watch the show.

It is similar to watching a painfully bad movie…worse because it is harder to turn off the big screen in my mind…it is even harder to detach from the reactive emotions that raise my blood pressure and make me short of breath.

The Goblins and I are closely related. We know each other well.

On good days. I choose not to play.  On a bad day, the game is harder to say NO to.

The pressure takes its toll- like any good pressure cooker – this can result in the top blowing off at some poor passer by or worse yet someone you love.

If you can catch it early, just as it starts to boil, you can make a change.

CHANGE YOUR STATE.

Play better music or cool down in an Epson salt bath (throw in some Lavender for extra spice)

Make a better choice.

Choose to stay out of the fire. I prefer to sit on the sidelines and roast marshmallows.

This takes lots of patience.

It is not easy. The Goblins are very quick and efficient.

Invite them in. Get to know them intimately.

Tell them to have a rest and then turn up the good music and go CREATE!

Happy Halloween.

Michelle

PS/ sharing one of my favorite poems http://www.gratefulness.org/poetry/guest_house.htm

Seeing through a different set of glasses

image

It’s my Birthday!! So I reflect on my summer, year, and life thus far.

I just returned from holidays with my family and was inspired by many Canadian east coast vistas’. You would think I would be painting Peggy’s Cove or Marine scenes, but I was feeling inspired to have some fun. Perhaps the 3 generations spending time together had more of an effect than a well known overly photographed lighthouse.

I have learned in my wisdom to not fight the creative process.                                                   The painting:   “Looking through a different set of glasses” was created.

As I age I become more aware that things are not always black and white. I do not have all the answers. I am not always right. Even when I truly think I am.

With age, comes the wisdom to see through another’s eyes. To be more aware of what is happening around us and especially within us.

Time is precious, life can be short and all we have is the present moment.  Take the time to inspire someone.  Be grateful for every day, every year, every decade.

Swap glasses. Try the Ray-bans for a day.  Ever notice the style you wore in the 80’s is back again. Should have kept my white ones…they’d be vintage.

Better yet, ditch the dark glasses and try good old fashion eye contact.  Gaze into a loved ones eyes.  If you are really brave I challenge you to gaze into a strangers eyes.

Add a smile.                                                                                                                                                    One rule: NO TALKING. Resist the urge.                                                                                            If it gets too hard, SMILE more. Creates good wrinkles.                                                        WINKING is allowed and encouraged. Fake eyelashes help.

Likely you just made someone’s day!

Encouraging eye contact and creativity everyday.

Thanks for helping me spread the LOVE.                                                                                 Michelle

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”― Confucius

 

 

Unexpected Gifts

“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”   ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

IMG_0602

Walking with my Higher Self. 24×48 Oil

 

One Year ago exactly… I went on a road trip to visit my dear friend Mary-Louise in a very small Saskatchewan town called Eastend.

Eastend is a town situated in the Southwest corner of Saskatchewan Canada.

Website clearly stated:

Eastend, Saskatchewan
is located in the middle of nowhere
and miles from the nearest city.

Surely not too hard to find… But when the road is flat, good tunes are playing… memories of good times with my friend are fully present… I manage to miss the right turn.   Minutes then hours start to add up to panic that I am off course.  Where AM I??

IMG_0966

This brings up memories of a road trip, again in Saskatchewan with this same friend.  Talking so much we miss the turn and add 3 hours to a simple 6 hour trip to Saskatoon… that is another story.

I am LOST!  Cell phone reception is low.  I manage to call my friend.  “You went to far,” she informs.    I could be upset with myself, but rather I quickly accept the fact that I was meant to visit Gull Lake.  To my amazement I begin to travel south over a vista of amazing gold covered hills.

IMG_0967

Feel like I have found my gold at the end of a rainbow.  It was double, triple fields of amazing bright yellow gold with sweeping blue skies.  Very similar to a painting I began before the trip called “Walking with my higher self”.  It was like I had to go this way to see this view.  Thanks Universe!

I was so overwhelmed I forgot to take a picture and with my usual “Why did I not stop to take some pictures” … I decided to implant the vision into my memory  bank.  I did proceed to stop later when I couldn’t stand the beauty anymore, but the view you see here is not the jaw dropping spectacular view I saw coming over the hills.

This is INSPIRATION!  Mother Natures perfect visual gift to me.  The best things in life are free.  One year later I am still thinking about this scene.  It gives me warm fuzzy feelings and goosebumps at the same time.  It is a “SAVE IMAGE” memory for sure.

I finally make it to Eastend.  What a little treasure this town in the middle of the Cypress hills turns out to be.  Quiet, quaint, where good friends await.  A place where the town parade is 5 min long and they still toss candy.

IMG_0979

A place where shopping for Art is self serve on Saturdays.

IMG_1011 IMG_1012

 

A place where kindness of strangers unfold and offer you a place to stay while you visit.

A place where dogs are encouraged to visit public places.

IMG_1004IMG_0996

 

A place where good friends reunite.  As usual my dear friend Mary-Louise has reminded me of embracing the SIMPLE LIFE.

It is her birthday…but turns out that she is MY GIFT!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful friend.

With Love and Gratitude for friendship, getting lost and realizing the simple things in life are always free.

Michelle

Creating Community Gardens

  IMG_1508

When I reflect on Summer Camp 2014, the general theme that stands out for me is COMMUNITY.

Whether you are painting, doing yoga, working or going to the movies…the energy of group work raises the vibration and magic moments naturally occur.  My week spent with 8 young artists was full of Exploration, Inspiration and FUN!

IMG_0669IMG_0684

The end result was alot of amazing ART, but that is not what I remember even hours after the final Art Show.

What I remember was the process, the JOURNEY.  

Just like any creative project…IMAGINATION sparks an idea that STIRS the SOUL…

We seek out tools, canvas, paper, brushes and teachers to fill our tool box….CONFIDENCE is gathered to explore something new.

Set quickly into ACTION- otherwise known as PLAY MODE.  Avoid thinking and start doing.

IMG_1402IMG_0696

CONNECT, get involved, share with others, WONDER, get frustrated, cry, SMILE, Feel ELATED or deflated, scared or EXCITED. FEEL more.  Move through, move on and WONDER what the next journey will bring…

In the end after the canvas has been long forgotten we remember EACH OTHER.  The good times and the bad.  Maybe we remember sticky fingers from the fruit bouquet or how we felt when our final project turned out better than we imagined.  

IMG_1504IMG_0732

Regardless, I will treasure this week for all the SMILES and HUGS I received and I will PAY them forward.

IMG_0737

Bouquets of Gratitude,

Michelle

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”~Mother Teresa

Random Acts of Kindness

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. ~Lao Tzu

 

Image

This is my story on how my art show unfolded by Random Acts of Kindness, some hard work and a lot of Faith.

Just shy of two years ago, I attended an art workshop hosted by Canadian artist Laura Harris. I first stumbled onto Laura’s work while I was on holidays with my family; I wandered into a gallery on a bright, sunny spring day and was instantly moved by what I saw. It wasn’t so much the subject matter – in fact, I do not remember much of the subject matter of the paintings. There were some paintings of flowers and abstract landscapes. What I do remember is the feeling that overwhelmed me as I viewed the show. Something shifted deep inside me. It made me feel more alive.

When I learned that Laura was going to be giving a workshop in Radium, BC, it took me less than one second to contact my dear friend and creative collaborator Danielle. We signed up immediately. Yoga, art, nature, friends and community = a perfect fit.

The workshop was full of amazing women. We shared a lovely experience at a beautiful location, complete with 360 degrees of stunning views with a mountain backdrop, eating good food, painting, yoga and wine. My ideal getaway with one of my best friends- a perfect gift to myself.

Image

After returning home, I invited some of the local women from the workshop over to my home and studio for an evening of art, wine and appetizers. I always enjoy company of like-minded women, art and good food.   With wine flowing, paint flying and ideas brewing, one of the kind women, Maureen, whom I had only met a handful of times, offers her home to me for a future personal art show. Danielle and I, again, take less than a second to look at each other, smile and say “Yes Please”. It was a little impulsive, but with a day to think about it and a confirmation from her husband, Maureen calls and confirms that they would love to host an art show. HUGE- Random Act of Kindness.

I have to confess that I have been offered this gift before. The difference this time is that I have done the work and had built the confidence to say YES. Without hesitation I agree and move forward.   I am thrilled to have a goal, a focal point to work towards. What a gift I have been given. I am excited!

My dear friend and angel wing Danielle, who works silently by my side creating her own beauty through her photography and marketing pieces, is always there to guide and support me. We also met through Random Acts of Kindness. I donated an art class  that she purchased to raise money for our local school. It is no accident that we met. This woman is beyond amazing. A mother of 3 children, active in every aspect of her kids, friends and families lives. I call her my angel wing, because with out her I would not be where I am today. It is much easier to fly with two wings. Image

I am always blown away by the fact that the perfect person comes into your life exactly when you are ready. You must be CLEAR about what you want.

The theme of my Art show 2014 was CLARITY.

“Clarity comes from knowing what you want and from moving in the direction of it.  Your soul is guiding and supporting you every step of the way.”  ~Sue Krebs

 

In my confusion of what I want to do with my life….some years ago a dear teacher of mine took the time to sit with me and listen. His advice was to GET CLEAR on what you want and work towards the goal everyday. He sent me home with a copy of Wayne Dyers “Excuses Begone” tucked under my arm and a list of to-do’s. At the bottom of the list there was a note. It said, “I Believe in you”.  This Random Act of Kindness was a boost of encouragement that I needed. A small kick in the butt was kindly accepted and was a very monumental moment in my life.

The message:

GET CLEAR, WORK HARD… the rest will take care of itself. Something much bigger is navigating when you’re doing purposeful work. I am clear that my job is to show up and do my work.  Practice Gratitude and Serve.

Your proper concern is alone the ACTION of Duty, not the fruits of the Action. CAST then away all desires and fear for the fruit.”      ~The Bhagavad Gita

May 10, 2014 was a monumental day for me. The show was a huge success- but what was the most special about it was that all of this happened due to Random Acts of Kindness from so many people.

Image

When I reflect, I cannot believe my good fortune and luck. I have such gratitude for all who helped, attended and supported me from afar.

I realize that when I am working towards a goal that I am disciplined and dedicated to- amazing stuff unfolds.

Image

The second person that walked into my art show was a yoga teacher from Vancouver Island that I had never previously met. Quickly into the conversation she asks me if I know her artist friend Laura Harris? I smile.

The next day is Mothers Day. I am enjoying dinner at a restaurant with my family, I look up at two Laura Harris original paintings hung in the restaurant.

On the way home, the amazing couple who hosted my art show sent me a picture of my painting newly hung in their home.   I am thrilled and honored that it sits in between two Laura Harris paintings.

Image

I smile again.  The perfect ending…or just the beginning?

Proof that Random Acts of Kindness always come full circle.

Be Kind,

Be Gracious,

Be LOVE,

 

In Creative Spirit,

Michelle

Laura Harris lives and works in Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. More information about Laura and her artwork can be found at http://www.laura-harris.com

Danielle Paetz lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. More information about Danielle and her photography can be found at http://www.tinytakesphotography.com.

 

 

A Breathe of Fresh Air

Image

 Sometimes I question what I say-Or worse yet- someone questions it for me.

 My words could perhaps use a better filter. 

After years of not speaking my truth- I have learned to speak it-even if it comes out harshly. 

I am passionate about things I believe in.  I am passionate about people I care about…Sometimes words flow out of my mouth without a lot of thought.  My elbows are sharp.  I’ll admit I have work to do. 

I am working on the PAUSE between the INHALES and EXHALES.   Make them longer—more lingering.  This sometimes would help in the delivery of my message.  OK- all the time this would help, but it is so HARD to remember in times of PASSION.  EMOTION FLOODS and my mouth resembles a fast running river. 

I respect the quiet observer.  I know a slim few of them.  I love to watch how they interact.  They LISTEN more, process more and proceed with COMPASSION and WISDOM.

This is what I wish to cultivate more of.

So I practice Breathing.   Yup we do it all day!  What I mean is I need to practice “Conscious breathing.”  Such a simple concept- yet so easy to forget as I shake, rattle and roll throughout the day.

        INHALE, EXHALE.  Inhale, exhale…in, out.

How often do I notice the little break in between the breath?  Hmmm.  Silence.

 INHALE-find the pause              EXHALE-find the pause

Over time the PAUSE grows…

The thoughts settle

The dreams percolate.

The imagination soars, things become a little clearer.

There is sweetness in this space.   

The sweet spot.   I have arrived.  Breathing in fresh air…     

Meet you here!

With softer elbows and a full spirit,

Michelle

“Notice a breathe a day-try for 2.  Try in an elevator for 1 Breathe- Instead of thinking about the other persons shoes.”~Eckardt Tolle

 

 

 

 

Write a Love Letter

What would it feel like to be in a space that you felt totally ACCEPTED, VALIDATED and LOVED.Image

What would it feel like to be able to put yourself in that space, where you take time to LOVE yourself,  ACCEPT  yourself and JUST BE yourself.

Picture yourself in a place of pure acceptance.  Breathe in Possibility, Breathe out excuses.

Hmmm… sounds good…But…”How do I get there?”   So glad you asked… Please step into my office.   I invite you to PLAY!  The kids will lead the way.

Image

The crayons, markers, paint, brushes, paper, canvases are the tools we will be using.  Super SWEET and very low calorie Candy for an artist. 

Supply list: 

8” square of black paper

8-12 pencil crayons (Prismacolor work best)  1 white- the rest a rainbow of color.  

CD

Instructions:

Trace a circle using the CD with the white pencil on the square. Then play the CD or music of your choice- Caution** if using a playlist on cell phone – block any distractions- even the zen ringer-turn off.   Light a candle and/or make a cup of tea.

Breathe in, Breathe out.

Image

This circle represents a creative free space that is not judged.  You can do whatever you want to in this space.  Play with lines and color, shade, dots, and circles. Rotate the drawing in any direction to discover interesting compositions.  Whatever your heart desires.  There is no right or wrong, no grades are given out (you already get an A+) 

Let go, Let go, Let go… 

Choose Love over fear.  Fun over Frustration.  Acceptance over Expectations.

Breathe in, Breathe out.

 Image

Pick up White pencil and start at the center of the circle.  Enter your playground,  spend as much time here as you wish.  Add color if and when you intuitively feel like it, explore freely.  No need for an eraser, as there are no mistakes, only happy accidents.   Write yourself a Love Letter,    Play in your sandbox for as long as you like.  Create until you feel complete.

Image

Image

Breathe in, Breathe out.

Take the time to look at what you created, write any thoughts on back or front of paper.

Image

Save it, Burn it, Frame it or put it under your pillow.  Maybe mist it with a favorite scent.  I recommend Lavender.

Repeat often.

Happy Valentines Day!  

In Creative Spirit,

Michelle

“ Art is always a mirror- It always speaks not just about what is out there, in the subject; it also speaks about what’s in here, in the artist.” —Jean Carbonetti

Walking the High Line NYC

It has been 5 months since my surprise Birthday trip to NYC.  Not sure why I woke up thinking about this trip…perhaps it’s because flocks of people will be travelling there to celebrate Super Bowl 2014.

I love to walk.   If you go to New York City, be sure to bring good walking shoes.  Packed my Stilettos and my trusty Nike Air purple runners.  All set to explore.

Life is about experiencing extreme opposites and then finding a nice place to settle in between.   We often have to feel both ends of pendulum so we can decide where we like to fall in between.  Goldilocks syndrome- Not too hot, not too cold…just right…sigh.

NYC is awesome for that.  Buildings, people, high activity, cement everywhere.  You can be around millions of people-yet walk in your own world. Image

My favorite part of my trip was walking the High Line.  The Highline is a 1 mile NYC Park built on a historic freight railroad line.  Basically it is a public park elevated above the streets on Manhattans west side.  Perfectly situated above the art district.

Image

It is easy to see the skyline from here amongst the beautifully kept gardens.  This is a place where couples walk holding hands, artists sit and sketch, kids eat ice-cream, students relax on wooden lounge chairs. 

Image

 

When I walk I consciously spend a fair amount of time looking up. 

On the Highline you can look up, look down and also take a photo of where you are in the moment.   I loved the feeling of being in nature.   Here you are close to the sky, with a view of the Manhattan skyline.   See the concrete, metal, glass and feel the softness of the wood, plants and water fountains at the same time.

Image

The place to contemplate life while the activity of Manhattan continues on right beneath your feet. 

Image 

When I returned home I painted 3 tiny canvases of my walk of the highline.  Perhaps a larger painting to represent my trip is brewing…

ImageImageImage

Travel is always inspiring.  Seems there is just more time to notice, look, feel, smell.  Experience all the senses.

Be fully present to what is.   The memories are an added bonus and something to share.  For this I am always grateful.

Enjoy your trip and wear comfy shoes! 

In Creative Spirit,

Michelle

Uniball Pen- Single Pointed Focus

ImageHappy 2014!

Just made my “To Do List” because the things I have to do are adding up and making my mind SWIRL!

Kept my posts to a minimum this past month, as I feel the virtual overload, holiday indulgences and now the endless junk emails on how to lose those accumulated holiday pounds!

It is exhausting when you think of it all.  I feel heavy and overwhelmed…so I journal.

Image

My favorite Uniball pen reminds me- Single Focused, Waterproof, Fadeproof, Vision.  All I have to do is get the pen to paper and get down to business!  Things become clearer.  ACTION Creates Possibilities.

Take a line for a walk, make it thick, thin, curvy or straight.  Add color, texture, mix in a little IMAGINATION and stir.  TRUST what comes up.

What is my VISION?  Not what others want or see, but what is MY vision?  The one that connects with my heart.  I have to close my eyes to see this one. What is brewing around inside my minds eye?  What makes me excited?  What makes me smile? What makes me feel full?  Where do I focus my attention today?

Answer is simple- Find JOY today- one thing-

Finding one thing is easy…Kiss my kids…Do a little sketch…Listen to Music…Sway my hips…Begin…Make Art…

Create my Vision.

Suddenly I feel lighter,   Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho…  Off to work I go.

Can’t wait to see your vision!  

In Creative Spirit,

Michelle

“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.”— Jonathan Swift