8 nights of gratitude

Attachment-1(3)It's wonderfully foggy and misty here in northern CA today, the kind of day I remember from my first years in Davis, when my children were very young and the lights of the season reflected in their eyes. Today, I reflect upon the illumination of Hanukkah lights. It's time to count the days and to recount the events of the year that have moved me as an artist and person, helping me to grow beyond the bounds of what I thought possible.

Here, in no particular order, are 8 of the people, events and classes that challenged me to reach deep, gather up my courage and jump even deeper into my art.

I've been very fortunate to participate in a fabulous group, Lisa Call's Master Class. With the support of 17 other women, I mustered the gumption to retire, turn fully towards my art and to relish sharing my work with others.

mapbug4I am so grateful to Cat Bennett and Carla Sonheim whose class, Making Art A Practice, combined drawing and mindfulness. Previously unimaginable, I spent six weeks drawing almost every day. Like a stubborn goat, I pitted my hoofs against the pull of the assignments. But when I stepped up, found myself pulled into a vortex of focus that I had never before experienced. I was simply resisting a friendly take over!


I am super grateful to my partner in Holiday Open Studios, artist Linda Clark Johnson.  As she cared for her mom in rehab, she was able to paint a series of landscape watercolors and take on the planning of the open studio with me--LJo, you are a force of nature!

Artist Sara Post creates such beautiful opportunities for local artists to shine. Her invitation to the "Material Worlds" exhibit prompted me to print, collage, and create my way through a difficult couple of months. Art became a literal way of "amassing the days."


Artists need cheerleaders and I'm lucky enough to have one in my artist friend, Beth Rommel of Atlanta, GA. Each week we get on the phone to offer ourselves HUMOR, grace, support, and advice on just how we are going to navigate the choppy waters of caring for older parents and the unpredictable surge of adult children.



My friend, artist Andrea Wedell, has provided studio space, delicious organic lunches and the opportunity to teach numerous collage workshops. She is game for almost anything and each technique yields a fabulous new work.


#7 & #8 (if you're counting): Blogs from artists around the world lead me to new ideas and new ways of thinking about art. It's easy to pigeon hole oneself and sometimes the words of a fellow artist are just what I need to get up and fly. That goes for facebook too. fb inspires plenty of misgivings and I have daily doubts about its long term effects--but like most things, it offers an upside, such as the opportunity for people around the globe to find one another, including the discovery of artists who otherwise might never connect.

My family is of course also an inspiration and mainstay. Both my husband and kids, my parents and siblings are 100 percent supportive and have had my back on studio days, and every day of the year.

Bring on the latkes and who's seen the dreidle? It's time to celebrate!