Saturday, June 15, 2013

LACA

LaCa, land of quiet mornings in the Pacific Palisades, early morning writings and today, menu planning. It's been three years since my last visit. Feels great to be on vacation with a wide open schedule and no particular place to go. Truly vacation time!  Much gratitude for this break from my "normal" life! Lots to ponder here in the early morning mist.

Our life in Raton is so vibrant and rich, just some of the things to ponder: We've made a huge leap with Poets In The Schools, one of my pride and joys. We've settled into a wondrous new home which is slowly showing it's true glory as summer unfolds and the gardens' secrets are revealed. Sorrows too, as we've found ourselves mourning the departure of some good friends and wonderful citizens whom we looked forward to spending time with...

So... this little note serves as the toe-step into the waters of blogging. I've been away from this site for just about two years. Consider this a ping. And thanks for keeping the faith. I know you're out there.

Christina

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pondering Possibilities

The dust storm Tucson just experienced puts a new twist on the visitations from Mother Nature... a twist that reiterates my own commitment to honoring a path of creating the future with clear thoughts of right lively hood with nature.
I played with the photo of a glass of wine in our kitchen... took it into PhotoShop and used the "liquify" filter and the solar flare tool. Those effects hide a chip in the ugly beige linoleum counter top that the glass sits on. Bells and whistles... or glitter and ruffles... either will work to distract the viewer from the shame of a perceived flaw. Time and energy heal all.
I'm working on a new series in pastel on canvas that I've mentioned before... I'm exploring identity, mine in context with the world about and the interior world of my dreams and visions. There is movement, text, change; an opportunity to process the conflict between hopes and expectations. 
I'm excited to report that a friend of my husband's, Richard Lehnert, has a poem published in one of my favorite magazines, The Sun Magazine. Congratulations Richard!
Tim has been busy reviewing the plays that The Santa Fe Trail School for the Performing Arts is presenting in repertory theatre, this latest, Red White & Tuna is posted at his website for your reading pleasure. The show was a hoot, the acting a feast to watch with the added value of a 90 minute dose of laughter... whatever was ailing us was given a shot of cure!
I'm having a blast working as a content developer for KRTN, Enchanted Air, Inc. radio. The owner, Billy Donati, is wonderful to work with and for. His team is top notch and I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with them in this capacity.
Summer in Des Moines is hot and dry and sweet on so many levels. I feel blessed and brief!
Keeping it short today so I get my time in at the studio~
Keep cool and safe, 
Envision the best and ponder the possibilities, 
Christina

Monday, June 27, 2011

Loving As Many Things/People/Places as Possible

Sunset Approaches Capulin Volcano Under Smoky Skies
I am looking at all the images of smoke and flame and reading news of fires burning here in the southwest, realizing that I am a bit stressed. I live 38 miles east of Raton, New Mexico where the Raton Track Fire burnt over 27,792 acres and still burns, though 90% contained at this time, down 8% since last week... 

Having smoke in your house from fires burning in more that five areas of New Mexico, not including AZ and OK and TX, is a stress.

I recently read in The New Mexican that the New Mexico tourism office is fielding concerns from the tourism industry regarding cancellations of reservations. It appears to those outside of our area that the "whole southwest is burning". So, with this in mind I am inspired to create some non-flammable fireworks of my own. 

I'm headed over to my studio where I am working on a new series of pastel paintings on canvas. The colors in the piece I am working on now are so bright they could pass as fireworks!

I'm feeling philosophical about all the disasters that are happening all over the earth... It has occurred to me that until we treat the earth as we treat our most cherished family we will continue to feel her anger. I've long thought of Mother Earth as a sacred cherished sentient being. I imagine our planet has endured our greedy exploitations of her life blood for too long, waiting for us to feel satiated. She perceives now that we have not learned to use her gifts with empathy, compassion and gratitude... and now, like a dog who is overrun with fleas, she shakes herself to rid herself of the infestation.

I am heartened to learn of the green initiatives going on in Sweden... I know there are so many of us who long to be able to live with Nature and in harmony with what we have...

As we live through our personal experiences of disaster, I trust we will gain new understanding for what it is that really matters. This story about a group of Russian "babushkas" underlines that idea, that from our pain we can find ways to be more compassionate and hopeful.
I also know that we must continue to live with hope and love in our hearts... and to enjoy all the wonderful opportunities we have in our worlds. This weekend Tim and I went into Raton to see The Santa Fe Trail School for the Performing Arts' production of Little Shop of Horrors. What a hoot! I'd never seen the show though I knew the music, so it was fun to finally experience the story that connects those crazy songs. The production was really well done. Read about it on Tim Keller's Blog, where you will also see photos from the show. If you live in our area, go check it out!

So, with a prayer for healing for Mother Earth and all humanity~

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and spending time here at Reality, Essence ~ Vision
Kindest Regards,
Christina

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Great Day to GET BUSY!!!

Sally just emailed me: today is a good day to GET BUSY!

Here you see my precious kitten, Sonrisa, perfectly posed on a stack of current reading.

It's been a busy 3 weeks since I last blogged.

Headed down to Santa Fe to attend the opening reception of 18 Days at Center for Contemporary Arts. Wow! A curated invitational show of New Mexican women artists.... it was the biggest arts event I've attended in quite some time. A friend of mine, Valli West, had a piece of her work selected for the show. I attended the show with Dr. Katherine Tompkins, DVM, recently relocated to Las Vegas New Mexico... We had a grand time viewing the work on the walls as well as the crowd of arts lovers who filled the Munoz Waxman Gallery. There is a full schedule of events & performances while this show is hanging through March 20th. Christina says, "Check it out!"

A recent event right here in HiLo country that I especially enjoyed was the Knights of Columbus Oratorical Contest. Held at the Shuler Theater, local middle and high school students competed with speeches addressing the theme: Welcome to My World. One of those students was our friend Mike's eldest son. Hunter made all of us right proud with his splendidly delivered comic speech. I'm so impressed with youth these days. There were many speeches given that inspired me and caused Tim & I to return frequently to our discussion of this wonderful event. Hunter is also a website creator and you can see all he's been up to at his website www.yaboosh.com. Tim's Chronicle News article about the event can be viewed at his website via this link: Hunter is a superhero. Mike is an interesting guy... he maintains the unofficial website for the town of Folsom, New Mexico.

I'm looking forward to the next show in the Raton Arts & Humanities 2010/2011 Performing Arts series: Church Basement Ladies, coming up on Monday February 21st. There are still opportunities to help out with the load in and tear down of this touring production.... If you're into theatre this is a great way to see how a professional company brings it to rural America!

I also want to send a "shout out" to the Herzstein Memorial Museum in Clayton New Mexico. They sent out a humorous Valentine's Day message reminding us of one of the notorious villains in local New Mexico history, a man whose name shall remain nameless on this website.... but you can read all about him if you visit the museum.

I've been inspired by so many wonderful people and Sally whose admonition to get busy made this blog's title is one of them. She and her husband Rusty are in a fusion marimba band called ShonaSlovakia and are performing in Santa Fe a lot these days.

So, to thank you Sally, I will sign off for now ~wishing all of you a wonderful new month of creativity flowing and love expanding into a global healing and ending of all violence of every kind.

Blessed Be!

Christina

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rise and Shine~ Revisiting Morning Glory


I'm baking sourdough bread this year, not for the gallery but for my own enrichment. Gifted with a cup of starter from my friend Amy who lives in Folsom, nine miles north of Des Moines, I've been reconnecting with the breadmaking of my younger years. The photo is my most recent batch, my third baking. It looks good and
is good! But it also had an extra rising because -- having formed the breads to rise overnight, expecting to bake them as soon as I awoke to my 5:10 am alarm Monday morning -- I discovered 3 pans of bubbly sticky overflowing giant "pancakes" as my husband termed them. I didn't stop to take a picture of the wreck before I began, immediately, to rework the dough. It accepted another 5+ cups of flour, taking 90 minutes of kneading before it was ready for its second second rising. Yes, I meant that second second. ;-)

The whole experience gave me an opportunity to use new skills of mindfulness that my current reading is teaching me. I hadn't even poured my tea yet when I noticed I had been kneading the dough, standing at our kitchen counter, for over 20 minutes. I worked with my frustration by concentrating on my "now". After all, I was healthy in a warm and cozy home, with the time available to correct the bread wreck, my husband happily chatting as he got ready for his day at school, 3 kitties and two pups lovingly underfoot. I relaxed into a deep breath which gave way to a deep sigh and what bloomed was....acceptance. So, I focused on my breath and the pleasure of kneading bread and the need of the sponge for more flour until at last I could think of returning the whole ball of dough to its bowl. While I worked, I thought of how this one event reflected life in general. I know I've thought my recent projects were "online" and ready to take off...only to find that some missed detail, some lack of proper timing, some forgotten skill left unused, has resulted in ... well, a bit of a wreck.

That is the wisdom gained from the loaves baked this week. Slashed in a diamond pattern... revealing the beginnings of an argyle pattern... a pattern referring to part of my own cultural heritage. My grandfather, father and brother all share the same middle name, Fyfe. How Scottish is that! My love of argyle speaks of the DNA in my blood that "remembers" the lives lived in that beautiful country. I've had the pleasure of visiting Scotland, traveling with a friend back when I was working in DC for The Washington Opera as a first-hand/stitcher. That trip opened my eyes to the actual spherical nature of our planet, our precious Mother Earth.

In starting this week's blog, I Googled "poems about bread" and found a poem by A.A. Milne titled The King's Breakfast. I mention this because the national poetry recitation program "Poetry Out Loud" is in full swing with students all across the nation memorizing poetry, developing performance skills, building self confidence and having fun competing for prizes. Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation. The New Mexico program is coordinated by New Mexico Arts and our state finals are coming up soon: Sunday February 27th at 1:00 pm in the St. Francis Auditorium at the New Mexico Museum of Art. Admission is free and open to the public. I am so excited! It is going to be a great day! (I'm going to be part of the public.)

Another book I am reading right now, The Gift ~Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, was a Christmas gift from my stepdaughter: thank you, Darcy! In the chapter I just finished, author Lewis Hyde expands his exploration of the nature of marketplace in relation to "gifts". In looking at the difference between women and men he cites 'advice given to women who would be successful in the "style" pages of the New York Times:' "Women on the way up should avoid associating with 'unsuccessful turkeys,' even if they happen to be friends. Leaving your friends behind isn't disloyalty. You are going to be judged by the company you keep. Seek out the people who can help you. Men have known this for years, and we are playing in their arena." p135 - The Gift -Lewis Hyde

I was struck by that passage as I believe that friends are precious; the idea that one has to leave someone "behind" because they can't help you with your success was a shock to my system. I realize that we all grow and life can take us in different directions but do we really have to calculate who to keep as friends as we steer a career towards fruition?

I've always known that where there is love and connection there is soul... and soul is where the true "success" is nurtured. My heart is filled with love for the friends who have brightened my life along the path. I thank you and keep you in my heart. In fact, the wrecks I refer to above pale in comparison to the love and joy that I carry in my heart for the myriad friendships I've known.

I bring this up in relation to the new series I am about to begin in which I will be exploring identity. Where do we come from? What are the differences between us that matter? How does one become more "authentic to self"? Questions that have been asked for time immemorial. Time brings me to this inquiry... we live on a planet where wars displace millions of people. People whose identity is deeply ingrained in their place. The tragedy of war and lost lives mean generations of family history are lost. Those who survive often have to leave their place of origin to recreate a new life in a foreign land. What will they find in their new home? How will they regain their sense of self in a new place? How will it be for the people who must "make room" for them? What does the loss of personal and familial history bestow upon these people? How do their new neighbors feel about them? Will they be welcomed into the fold? What happens when the welcome wears off? Can we hear the call to create a global culture that celebrates differences and doesn't just "tolerate" them?

That last question is compelling for me. Does it inspire or provoke your response? I recently came across an inspired talk given by Zainab Salbi titled "Women, wartime and the dream of peace". She speaks more eloquently than I and her experience brings depth to the questions. She spoke at a conference presented by TED. (That's technology, entertainment and design)

Feel free to comment with your thoughts on identity and place. I welcome you to share your heritage and insight.

Speaking of writers... Tim Keller has a feature article with his photographs in the current issue of New Mexico Magazine. Titled Max Evans's New Mexico it's all about Max, his writing and his love of New Mexico, including our own "Hi Lo Country"... which is here. We live in the Hi Lo Country. Thanks to a call from Beulah Hittson and the local Senior Center I've ordered two dozen copies of the magazine for sale at Studio C for the regular newsstand rate of $4.99 plus tax. Thank you ladies! I hope to sell out so let me know if you would like me to put one aside for you. Give me a call so we can set up an appointment at the gallery, 575.278.3517, or send an email to StudioC@bacavalley.com. Thank you ladies -- all eleven of you who pre-ordered!

So glad you've made it through this rather philosophical blog. Thank you for reading and for sharing the blog with your friends. This means you, Amy... Thanks!

Be Wonderful, Well and Wise~

In Exploration,

Christina

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy New Year! Honoring Heroes

I've just recovered my hope... after a long period of reflection... and in the process discovered new sources of joy.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr's day... a day to celebrate the vision, courage and hope that is necessary to take a stand against the oppression and bigotry that diminishes our collective humanity. I honor Dr. King Jr. with a commitment to expanding my own capacity for compassion.

I've been inspired to commit to a program of self-discovery via my creative efforts. Pictured at left is my most recently completed pastel painting, "Archie's Hat" which was inspired by Tim Keller's photograph of the same title. His photograph looked like a painting to me. The colors of the hand plastered walls were so creamy; the composition, letting us peek into Archie's bedroom with a painting by his dad, Hal West, hanging hanging above his headboard called out to me to take this image into pastel. I never met Archie's dad but I grew up amongst his family, an artistic and social family that has been an inspiration to me. Many memories from childhood are seared into my identity; always happy, vibrant and filled with people who I could look up to, as well as much art, dancing, Easter softball games, music and Halloween parties.

I use the photo to painting process on my pastel series works, using my own photographs up until "Archie's Hat". The idea to work with Tim's images has been percolating for the greater part of 2010. His subject matter resonates with my own photography and his camera is far superior to mine. I'm pleased with the results on this painting which I selected for purely selfish reasons.... I love the photograph and wanted to see what I could do with it. It thrills me to have new work finished in 2011 already framed.

The last series I completed was titled "The Road to Kindness" and gave me ample time to ponder the ways that I might contribute to a more compassionate world. I've posted photos of the series in my art folder at my Flickr site. I hope you'll visit them there, and when you come through town, in the gallery.

I joined Tim and my friend Monica at The Shuler Theater last Tuesday for a performance by a touring dance & drumming troup from Senegal West Africa. Tim's blog entry is a good read and sports some fabulous photos of the performers. Click this link to read his review of the show: http://www.timkellerphotography.com/timkellerarts/WritingChronicleNews.html

Just back from a weekend visit and after Yule party at my mom's, I'm feeling full of New Year cheer. I hope you are too!

Blessings for Peace and Happiness~ Christina