About Me

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Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Meditation in Digital Charcoal

Meditation in Digital Charcoal
My paternal grandmother, Clara Sherman, would be 127 years old were she still alive.  It wasn’t known by her grandchildren until after her passing that she was an amazing artist using charcoal as her medium.  She was raised in a small, pastoral farm community in Wisconsin after her grandparents had emigrated from Ireland. Grew up, married and raised three sons on her own after divorcing her abusive husband; something unheard of in the early 1900’s. I remember her as being a bit rough; don’t recall her smiling very much and a diehard Cubs fan. She passed away at a nursing home in Wisconsin after watching the Cubs lose another game, with my Dad in 1975.

Dad had unearthed 3 of Clara’s works, all still life; had them preserved and beautifully framed. I named the image you see here Moon River many years ago. When the 3 kids would go home for family get-togethers I would stare at the picture and quietly say, “There’s only one thing I would like from Mom & Dad, that picture from Grandma.”

The years moved forward and Moon River would find its home on different walls depending on how Mom was decorating at any given time. After Dad’s funeral we (myself and my 2 older brothers) my sister-in-law and my youngest son, set to the task of cleaning out Dad’s home for selling. And there she was…Moon River, hidden in the closet waiting for her new home.
The image had been sitting on my fireplace mantel for a few months and I’d wanted to work with the picture somehow. One night last week I took the picture, brought it into the kitchen, placed it on the table and started taking pictures with my iPhone camera; oh it felt so right…even magical. I experimented with different apps, not wanting to stray too far from the original work. It really felt like a meditation working with and exploring a work of art that had been created perhaps a hundred years ago.

One of the renditions I call “Moon Glow”, has been accepted into an iPhonography contest where 100 of the best images will be on display in an exhibit at a Soho Gallery during the holidays. What would Clara think of all of this; perhaps a bit shy and not wanting to stand out or show herself off?  I have a feeling she was like Emily Dickinson (they found 1000 poems in a drawer after her passing). I want to believe she drew these pictures for her own satisfaction and fulfillment; to take her mind off of what probably was not the easiest of lives. What an honor to take her work out of the closet and breathe new life into it. What a gift I have been given in finally finding and accepting my own creativity and recognizing the shoulders than I stand upon in my own heritage.

Thanks Clara with all my heart!

Also posted today over at Vision & Verb: a global gathering of women of this age.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Live My Life...

I live my life in widening circles
which spread out to encompass all things.
I may not bring the last one to completion,
but that will be my attempt.

I circle God, the ancient tower,
circling and circling for thousands of years,
and don't yet know - am I a falcon, a storm.
or an immense song?

~Rainer Maria Rilke~

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
       love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
~Mary Oliver

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.  
~Melody Beattie

Monday, November 21, 2011

Waiting for the Amtrak train to pull in carrying my 24 year old son from a trip gone "not so good." This lovely, patient man had pulled out a chair and a book waiting for his special someone to de-train. A picture of elegance.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Let Us Not be Satisfied

Let us not be satisfied with recounting a fable of the heart; let us create its myth. Is not love, with art, our only license to overreach the human condition, to be greater, more generous, more sorrowful if need be than is the common lot? Let us be so heroically...
~Rainer Maria Rilke, 18 November 1920

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Snow Geese

The beautiful can exist at the edge precisely because it has nothing to lose and everything to give away.
~Frederick Turner

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Water Logic

Water Logic
I’ve been getting a good deal of support in the past months from lots of different folks. Come to think of it many aren’t walking in this world any longer; my Mom, my Dad, Rumi, Emily Dickinson, Steve Jobs, Joan Didion, Pema Chodrin, Melissa, Doug, Annie…and the list goes on. And I think how clever of me to have generated such a wonderful posse of support; especially now when life seems to feel so topsy-turvy. I know that many of you feel that way too so there’s no reason to go into my own boo-hoo story.

I just would like to share my gratitude. This feeling has been bringing me to my knees lately….that unbearable lightness of being. Everything feels bright and stark and so alive and fragile and precious. Is it possible to have that many feelings all at the same time? I believe (I’m afraid) so!

One of my deepest experiences has been my explosion into the world of my creative self, mostly through the use of my iPhone camera. Since June I’ve taken at least 1000 images and generated new renditions of the same image and experimenting with apps to create something completely new. This experience has really opened me up to the joy of creating and how the motivation for imagining and taking pictures has become second nature, spontaneous, a “why wouldn’t you” feeling for creating photography. So fulfilling.

And then there’s Pema Chodrin and an on-line retreat I took a few weeks ago. There she was 76, streaming live from Omega Institute in upstate New York and me sitting cozy in my warm home in New Mexico with my laptop. She spoke about her first teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and his teaching as he referred to it as “Water Logic”. This teaching consists of three attributes to be aware of: trust, joy and holding your seat. Trust, that life will always teach you and will have a message to give you, if you are willing. Joy and appreciation, that every moment is always new and how we relate to this moment will show us how the next moment, the next day, the rest of our lives will be. And taking our seat, wherever you are in the world in this moment be fully present, be where you are embracing this time and “not exaggerating”. Taking our seat by taking responsibility (not control) of where we are.

Maybe it’s the Mayan calendar coming to an end (Pema Chodrin thinks the Mayans just ran out of stones), or my Dad’s passing and becoming a member of the Orphan’s club or putting an iPhone in my hands and watching in awe as my creative world explodes or my beautiful sons as they find their way in this world. What a potpourri of joy and love and creation and despair and fear and laughter and shear curiosity.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life…don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice…and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. ~Steve Jobs~

Cross posted over at Vision & Verb. (link on your left)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops - at all
~Emily Dickinson
Fall begins to fade. We had our first official snow this morning. The wind so strong, the snow was blowing sideways. And it stopped as quickly as it began. There's that feeling of the wetness cleansing the air, the ground, my mind. A prefect day.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

One day passes and another day comes along, and everything happens the same.  But basically, we are so afraid of the brilliance coming at us, and the sharp experience of life, that we can't even focus our eyes.
~Chogyum Trungpa Rinpoche~

Her drama was a drama not of heaviness but of lightness. What fell to her lot was not the burden but the unbearable lightness of being.
~Milan Kundera~ 

Don't let these quotations scare you. I find it comforting and a relief to finally begin to embrace the fears and anxieties that I have been pushing down for years all in the name of being in the "present moment". The present moment, does in fact include every feeling, every thought, all moments in this moment. What a lovely, juicy revelation!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


In my grief I saw myself being held,
us all holding one another in this
incredible web of loving kindness.
Grief and love in the same place.
I felt as if my heart would burst with holding it all.

     ~A Zimbabwean Woman


Bending Branch


Aspen Bark



Buddha Applied

Buddha Applied

A Moment in Time

A Moment in Time

Silence Series

Silence Series

Silence Series

Silence Series

Street Photography

Street Photography

Train Graffitti


Faces From the World

Faces From the World


Folk Art Festival