Monday, June 30, 2008

Arte y Pico Award

Have you heard of the Arte y Pico Award, which was created "to be given to bloggers who inspire others with their creative energy and their talents, be it writing or artwork in all medias"? So guess which blog spots got an award from Nici of Art Shaped World?

What makes it especially gratifying is it is awarded from peer to peer, creative to creative. I hope you will take a moment to visit each of the five blogs I've listed below which I have found to be inspirational, and perhaps leave a comment letting them know you stopped by!

Nici has presented me with the award and I would now like to present the award to the following five blogs.
To be listed is considered a “special honor.” The Arte y Pico Award is meant to be paid forward to bloggers who merit recognition for their creative efforts.

Jen's blog:
Kim's blog:
Ellen's blog:
JJ's blog:
jaihn's blog:

If you have been selected for the award, please pay it forward, following the steps below:
1) Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award based on creativity, design, interesting material, and overall contribution to the blogger community, regardless of the language.
2) Post the name of the author and a link to his or her blog so everyone can view it.
3) Each award-winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award.
4) The award-winner and the presenter should post the link of the "Arte y pico" blog so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5) Please post these rules!

The Arte y Pico blog is in Spanish. To read it in English, click here. The translation is not perfect.

Happy Creative Inspiration to all!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Do you know Stefan Sagmeister, amazing designer?

Here is Stefan Sagmeister's analysis of what makes him happy for the TED talks. It is a delightful video but the one thing that made him happy, which I really liked, was creating a list of what he had learned in his life so far. ("Helping other people helps me. Everything I do always comes back to me. Traveling alone is helpful for a new perspective on life. Worrying achieves nothing." And lots more...) Out of this list came a very interesting book "Things I have learned in my life so far", a group of folios in a box which you can see in this video.

So here's a wee challenge for you, try writing down a small list of what you have learned in your life so far, and then create an art piece for each statement on your list!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Zen, Archery, and Art Journaling!

Photocollage by Lani

Tricycle's Daily Dharma email caught my attention today.

Aiming Far

'Your arrows do not carry, observed the Master, "because they do not reach far enough spiritually. You must act as if the goal were infinitely far off. For master archers it is in fact common experience that a good archer can shoot further with a medium-strong bow than an unspiritual archer can with the strongest. It does not depend on the bow, but on the presence of mind, on the vitality and awareness with which you shoot...."

-- Eugen Herrigel, in Zen and the Art of Archery
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Isn't that useful to know?

Now for some more inspirational links. Do you know Samantha Kira Harding? No? Well you are in for some delightful art journaling energy heading your way. First there's her yahoo group:

This image belongs to the yahoo group. Do read the perfect text on it.

This yahoo group provides daily journal prompts, essays, and stories. It is the announcement list and such for artist/writer Samantha Kira Harding. Right now she has the Artistic Alchemy Workshop going on! "During this time, this group will be home to this workshop -- because of that, membership must be approved. Want to join in on the fun? See all the info here."

This story came from the yahoo group this morning:
Most mornings, Edy joins me in bed for a little bit of reading. I never
thought I'd be the type of person who slept with a dog in my bed, but
Edy, though her puppy curiosity and love, has taught me a great many
things about not only myself, but the world around me.

On walks, she approaches the same path with the vigor and playfulness as
she did the first time out. She wanders off to discover new things along
an old path, pulling me along for a different walk every night. I didn't
realize the importance of this lesson until last weekend, when friends
from out of town came to visit. When describing the route his GPS gave
him, he said, "The road skirted the edge of a lake." Then, I was
befuddled....what road could that possibly be?

But the other day, while driving to work, I decided to really take a
look at my route...and there was the lake! I drive this road almost
every day, have gone to a college off it, and yet, when I heard someone
new describe it, I couldn't identify it. Now, I smile as I drive by,
sunlight glinting off the small waves of this obvious but overlooked

Try taking a look at your surroundings today as though you've never been
there before. What new and exciting things can you discover when you
switch your brain off auto-pilot, stop thinking about the future, and
really soak in the present moment?

Write about this in your journal, describing your trip as you would an
exciting new vacation local. See how much wonder and inspiration is
present right under your nose.


Samantha also has some videos up on youtube with journal making, handwriting, and other delights.

And here's a little reminder that the Artist's Healing Journey begins Monday! Join us if you are able!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

From Panhala

This turned up in my inbox today. It comes from Panhala. I thought it was too beautiful to keep to myself!


Some fishermen pulled a bottle from the deep. It held a piece of paper,
with these words: "Somebody save me! I'm here. The ocean cast me on this desert island.
I am standing on the shore waiting for help. Hurry! I'm here!"

"There's no date. I bet it's already too late anyway.
It could have been floating for years," the first fisherman said.

"And he doesn't say where. It's not even clear which ocean," the second fisherman said.

"It's not too late, or too far. The island Here is everywhere," the third fisherman said.

They all felt awkward. No one spoke. That's how it goes with universal truths.

~ Wislawa Szymborska ~

(Poems New and Collected 1957-1997, trans. S. Baranczak and C. Cavanagh)

(From the Panhala website)
Panhala is Hindi for "source of fresh water" (more or less). The purpose of this group is to share poems and prose that make the day a little brighter.

"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." -- Edith Wharton

To subscribe to Panhala, send a blank email to

Monday, June 23, 2008

Do you know the videos from CharityFocus?

Here is "Seeing Peace" in which artists collaborate with the United Nations to animate the imagination, through the presence of the artist, at the table of the General Assembly of the UN. Robert McNamara, commenting on wars of the 20th century, wrote: "In retrospect, we can now understand these catastrophes for what they were: essentially the products of a failure of the imagination." Seeing Peace believes this failure is the missing link in most responses to conflict and hostility in the world. In this video, Seeing Peace Billboard Project, ten artists from around the world are invited to create billboards for peace throughout San Francisco.

This one is the all-women Threshold Choirs which honors the ancient tradition of singing at the bedsides of people who are struggling: some with living, some with dying. They write on their website, "The voice, as the original human instrument, is a true and gracious vehicle for compassion and comfort. The choirs provide opportunities for women to share the sacred gifts of their voices at life's thresholds."

Beautiful. And they now have CDs available on their website.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Do you know Nancy Reyner?

This is not Nancy Rayner, but it is a collage by Lani.

Do you know Nancy Reyner, artist and author of Acrylic Revolution? If you want to know about this book, wondering how you might feel about working with acrylics or even how you feel about revolutions, check out her blog! Her latest post is about keeping everything fun, taking some rather difficult memories having to do with mean gallery owners, rejection letters, and interviews that went haywire, and created a 30 minute puppet show, including puppets of art dealers, art collectors, and artists. Can you picture it? I think Nancy Reyner is amazing, well worth looking through her list of blog entries. If you are feeling sluggish, try her Brain Gym exercises. If you need a wonderful 20 minute warm-up, try her idea of "turning up the volume on the inner voice". Excellent. And she's got so much more. Incidentally, you might have guessed it, I ended up buying the book.

"Art as Witness" Conference

Mysterious Collage by Lani

As promised, here's the link for the Art as Witness, the Art Therapy Conference in Montreal: Please visit for details about who will be presenting, when, and what the cost will be. Program information is still subject to change, and registration is currently available by cheque only (Paypal registration will be made available in the next few days).

While looking into all things Montreal, I discovered this 4 minute video about a former mental patient in Quebec, now 70ish (birth date unknown), paired with a little girl in an art studio setting provided by "Les Impatients". Raphaëlle and Jean-Paul seem quite at ease. Have a look at this CBC report.

"Les Impatients" was established in 1992 to provide people (who have struggled with some form of psychiatric problems) with the opportunity to experiment spontaneous expression through varied artistic activities: drawing, painting, sculpture, music, photography. There is a free downloadable catalogue, very nicely done, here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Some more inspiration and links!

Collage by Lani

Do you know about They have a lot of audio and video learning, over 15,000 educational audio books, MP3 downloads, podcasts, and videos and quite a bit of it is free.

This site contains free downloadable exercises that can be used to promote emotional, psychological and physical well-being, guided meditation type things.

Another interesting and very full website is The Best Free Training
which collects and reviews some amazing free tutorials, classes, self-study materials, videos, audios, and more. Worried about what do to with your kids during the summer holidays? Check out their suggestions! They have tons! And they are free.

Do you own a pair of ear phones? Do you like binaural beats? Do you like Eckhart Tolle? If so, try this website. Download what is called "Integral Mashup - Radio Kosmos1 - Eckhart Tolle, Bill Laswell, Inoue, Aloof Proof - obi-nine" It is a mix of Eckhart Tolle reading from "Practicing the Power of Now" with some ambient jazz with some tones produced with a binaural beat generator. If you don't know about binaural beats you can read more about them on Wikipedia or right in this blog. Just type "binaural" in the little search box.

Have fun and remember, next Monday is a start of a new round of Happiness Challenges.

Monday, June 09, 2008

How Kindness Creates Happiness

The most quietly amazing story popped up in my in-box the other day. Michael Chase posted it on As he tells it, a turtle crossing the road changed his life focus. He'd been a regular guy, worrying about making ends meet, and what was in it for him in any given situation. Just the normal concerns of most of us. So one day he and his wife are driving to a country garden show when they spotted a turtle trying to cross the road. They pulled over and helped the turtle get to safety. That simple act had a very profound effect on Michael. Immediately he wrote 8 words in his journal, "Kindness creates happiness" and "live a life of kindness". And of course it makes all kinds of sense, but the story didn't end there. To see how the story ends you have to see

Now here's a little reminder that the next Happiness Challenge starts next Monday. Please feel free to join us. See my website or Artella.

Also the The Artist's Healing Journey: A 12 week eCourse in resilience, happiness, and art journaling will June 30, 2008. You can find more information about this course at both of the above websites.

Finally there's an art therapy conference happening in Montreal in September. Have you heard anything about it? September 18-20 2008, “Art as Witness: Art, Art Therapy and Trauma Resolution”, sponsored jointly by the Canadian Art Therapy Association (CATA), the Québec Art Therapy Association (AATQ), and Department of Creative Art Therapies at Concordia University. It will be an international conference for creative arts therapists, researchers and artists who are willing to create an interdisciplinary discourse about the role and function of creativity in times of trauma, as well as the efficacy of art therapy in trauma resolution. Sounds like it should be an amazing conference. I'll be doing one of the full-day pre-confence workshops, combining puppets, narrative creation, and book making. Participants will be able to create 2 or 3 characters (a simple puppet works for this) and a book with a healing narrative in it. Then, finally, there will be an opportunity to create group narratives. The didactic piece of this workshop will be a slides of puppet making, story telling, and resilience in distressed post-Katrina Mississippi.

I'll let you know when I have more information.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Beautiful day for Through the Viewfinder photography!

Photoshop collage by Lani. Through the Viewfinder frame added to tintype photo.

Here's some terrific rhubarb growing in the backyard. Atlantic Ocean and harbor in the background.

Sue Brown came over to look at the garden and the TtV rig.

Bug's eye view of a pansy.

More flowers. (Spring is here, finally)

Here's a little fairy jar that appeared in my kitchen window. Say's I'll get three wishes. Hmmm, what should I wish for?

Here's the kitchen window with all manner of things found.

An egg shell.
A little old bottle found in the harbor at low tide on Christmas day.

Here are the Bergamasco Boys.

What a beautiful day. Here's an art challenge. Try looking at and recording your day through a different lens than you usually use, metaphorically or literally.

Let me know how this works for you.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Happiness by Chance!

From Jan of Bolder City's blog I learned that Raku means "happiness by chance" which I love. So I was in the bookstore the other day when the raku type feeling came over me. I'd picked up a copy of "The Principles of Uncertainty" by Maira Kalman and WOW!!!! I fell in love. Seriously! What an interesting, loving, generous world view she has, and how clearly she communicates it with words, photographs and paintings. Just lovely. I bought the book, came home and read it. Now it's done. Sigh.

So I goggled Maira Kalman and here's what I found:

Here is a very inspiring blog which featured Maira.

Here she is doing a wonderful TED talk:

And this little movie is a delightful interpretation of her illustrated version of Elements of Style by E.B. White which is next on my must find list.

Now isn't that lovely?

What would your "Principles of Uncertainty" look like if you were to put them into a book?