Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Inspiration Celebration: Springtime thoughts

While Spring has been slow in manifesting, it has been on my mind for a long, long time. It seems with each passing year I anticipate the arrival of Spring with a little more urgency than I did the year before. Is this a natural part of aging? (She says as she dons bedraggled slippers, moth eaten cardigan ...) Or a sign of a growing sensitivity and awareness? It feels as if my bones crave sunlight and warmth, my senses desperate for the sights and scents and sounds of new life.

Thankfully, there were tantalizing glimpses of sunlight and wafts of spring breezes peppered throughout the holiday weekend. It did not rain as forecasted and the neighborhood Easter egg hunt went off without a hitch (which means the snake living in the field was found before the egg hunt!)

Cowgirl had a grand day: Mr. Rabbit and the Fairies and Fred, our Gnome delivered a bountiful basket.

cowgirl really wanted the penguin stamp; i found a cute chicken coin purse, japanese animal erasers & a new sketch pad. of course, the comments were all about the lack of variety in the candy. i admit, i kept saying "that Easter bunny really knows how to pick out good gifts. to no avail.

I even got my buns down to the sewing machine and made her the tote bag I had been promising for months. (Note to moms considering crafty acts of love and kindness: do not expect gratitude equal to the effort or frustration put forth in said project; do expect demands to become more elaborate and precise.) What was to be a simple bag morphed into the faux-quilt bag. I talked her out of an actual patchwork bag - I loathe cutting multiple and precise squares - and into this more haphazard affair although Cowgirl was very specific about the fabric selections and their arrangement. Random is not in her vocabulary.

In addition to the miracle of a rabbit delivering thousands of baskets on one day (hence the need for our Fairies and Fred to help out) we had a little in-house miracle of our own: Cowgirl rode her bike without the training wheels.

Her current bike is way too small for her and jokingly the Husband told her she would have to ride it first before getting a new bike. So she hopped on and that was that. (I'd like to believe my girl inherited her determination and persistence from moi but she was definitely born with it.)

I also managed to finish off a few more pieces for my 49 by 49 project. One of my intentions for the project was to experiment more in techniques and media, the small format of the cards lending themselves to trying new things out. Which is my way of saying - and expecting - that I won't always like the end result. I decided I would not trash any effort unless it is really abhorrent. I am being practical: I know myself well enough to know that the gremlin of perfectionism lurks in the shadows, waiting for a chance to trip me up and leave me paralyzed in inaction should I start to get all fussy. I also believe mishaps often hold the greater insights which reveal their lessons over time.

Okay, much ado about nothing.

i tried using vaseline as a mask over the figure and then stamped butterfly wings onto the card. the wings didn't show up like i had wanted, so then i used a mehndi stencil for larger wings. still not thrilled.

It is probably obvious the theme of Spring would continue into this series. One figure new to me is that of Butterfly Maiden. I draw this card fairly often when pulling Goddess cards. Having recently finished Snake, I found it interesting to consider the meaning of transformation from a different angle. Whereas Snake medicine for me is about letting go of what no longer serves me, Butterfly medicine and Butterfly Maiden seem to offer me lessons in learning how to open myself up and welcome change. I read somewhere how this goddess affords us the opportunity to understand the process of evolution within our lives. This perspective is in alignment with my spiritual beliefs and growing understanding of myself and my journey. I do believe we are born with certain lessons to learn, tasks to fulfill - or not. There is a choice. But it seems to me growth, understanding, happiness and fulfillment are found when I move through challenges and see obstacles as opportunities to expand and develop personally and spiritually.

unhappy with the results, i resorted to a somewhat obsessive dot process (a cross between Seurat and Lichtenstein's Ben-Day dots?)

An obvious inclusion in this series is Hawk. I had been putting this card off as Hawk such an important totem in my life, I wasn't sure how I would create a card that represented Hawk's significance. Hawk's medicine is the gift of clear sight, patience, knowing when to take action and a heightened awareness to messages and signs. Hawk is about strengthening intuition and strengthening decisive action. Go figure I was indecisive in knowing how to portray this powerful teacher!

In my life, Hawk has both circled and hovered over head; sat watching me from roof tops, tree branches, light post and poles; has crashed into my dining room window; and continues to leave me feathers like bread crumbs affirming my progress upon my path. I attempted to transfer an image of a hawk's feather to the card, painting the silhouette of hawk in flight behind it. I tried a masking fluid which pulled off more paint than I had intended. I may return to this card, but for now I am heeding Hawk's example of patience and conservation of energy.

my favorite so far: a Sarah Ahearn-inspired collage technique (seriously, her book is really revving my creative engine)

My newest friend and ally has been Robin. Of course, robins are the quintessential harbinger of Spring and this season the only thing keeping me going through the icy rain and gray mornings has been the sight and sound of this plucky bird. Robin represents new beginnings, new growth but with a sense of joy, laughter and song as we move through the transition. On a personal level, Robin has shown me lessons in determination and patience. Every year we battle the robins who wish to make their nest on our front porch. While I love the idea of robins finding our home a suitable place to entrust their eggs, the reality of robin poo and robin attacks is not so romantic. So we remove their nests and as fast as we take them down, equally fast a new one appears.

While robins may appear common and ordinary, their message is anything but. They mark their territory by their song and teach us to claim our place by using our unique voice. I actually found a tiny feather from a robin's red breast and I wear it in my medicine pouch - the red breast of robin aligning it with spiritual passion and dedication. Perhaps their persistence and dedication in nest building and worm seeking a reminder of the skills essential for us on a creative and spiritual path.

Speaking of determination, this blog post has taken me far too long to compose and I have another project waiting for me this afternoon: dandelion honey. It may be raining outside, but it will be sweet in my kitchen.


  1. i love your sharing of your journey with your animal totems!

    and please post all about dandelion honey (with pics)!!!

  2. Your choice of words always move me, Lis. I have been reading here the last few weeks but not commenting and it's nothing personal. It's the old "it's not you, it's me". I can commiserate about the late or non-existent spring. Us, too, have suffered an endless winter. Last week the weather was horrid - winter coats, full gear. Our first break came this weekend with some sun but still a stiff breeze. I don't know if it's the aging process (I've never been a winter lover) but I do know I come alive in the warmth and I have less tolerance for time consuming weather related daily necessities. I am dreaming of a lemon tree in my backyard and a wonderful dog companion who will sleep under it. I love to hear you write about animal medicine and totems, I am touching on that as well. I am in my last week of BIG and for some reason it has made me very introspective and hermit-like. I have posted very little on my own blog, certainly none of the paintings I have recently done. Week 5 nearly finished me off physically. And working so big has left no time for other creative things which I found I miss doing. If only...if only...more hours in the day? More like more free hours in the day. I wrongly compare myself to other women who have more free time than I do and/or more accommodating significant others who pick up the slack when I create. I forget so easily to NOT do that then have to bang my forehead when I remember to just be me. So thanks for the good reads and sharing your own journey, it makes me feel like we sometimes are walking a similar path and that brings me much comfort and a few laughs.

  3. *deep sigh*....loving this...all of it. i'm desperate for spring as well -- i think we're having the same weather. and Robin has been my 'stay-the-course' during the craptastical rain and cold....He sings no matter how dreary it is. i like to think it's a deepening sensitivity and alignment with the energy of the the autumn i'm happy to begin the inward journey, but by this time, i'm really wanting to move "out" -- if only into the warmth of the sun to potter about our wee patch.

    and there was a certain girl-child here who got sketch pads and other assorted art supplies left by The Bunny, too....a 96-pack of Crayola crayons -- "is using crayons too babyish? i hope not, 'cos i REALLY love them" lol


  4. The thought of dandelion honey is making my mouth water!Whenever i get through reading your blog,even if its LATE, i want to run down to my art desk and start creating something! :)

  5. That Robin of yours is a winner. Very beautiful and I love the colours.
    And the Hawk searching for something down there, I can almost feel the atmosphere.
    I really admire all your knowledge of animal totems and your capacity of writing. Keep going it's pure joy reading your stuff.

  6. The Easter egg hunt looked likesuch fun! Cowgirl certainly got into it!
    We now have 3 robins eggs in our nest! I love watching the now annual birth/growth cycle of these robins!
    A lovely post as usual!

  7. LOVE these pictures of Cowgirl!! And your dandelion honey looked delicious and amazing:) Spring is on the way!

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  9. Beautiful, I’ve been thinking of putting up a springy wreath (even though it still feels and looks like winter in my area as well). thanks for the great idea.

  10. Love this post, really makes me so excited for Spring! I agree with you about robins, they make me feel so joyful when I see them!