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Contemplating Monuments, New Work Monday!

Contemplating Monuments

“Go outside…amidst the simple beauty of nature…and know that as long as places like this exist, there will be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.”  Anne Frank

My life has been a whirlwind of teaching, traveling, and art-business these last few weeks.  But I have finally found my way back to the easel.  Not nearly enough hours with paintbrush in hand, YET!  But space, time, and contemplation are a part of the painting journey.

What is a MONUMENT?!


Photo Credit to Blair Speed


I often need Webster’s help to dig up a simple definition…this one was illuminating for me.  Watching the sunset on these amazing sand structures has a mightiness that takes your breath away.  You can’t help but feel connected to both the land and the beautiful calmness that occurs when you’re in the presence of something bigger than you…something absolutly magical.  Peace through nature.  Everything is relative.  Get Outside! 🙂

A monument can be built by man, or nature.  Either way, it is a reflection of the past.  Both a gravestone and a powerful site like Monument Valley (that took nature 300 million years to create) highlight the steps it took to exist in a present moment of celebration.

Celebrating the lives that are no longer with us, and the ultimate power of nature over time.

In our culture of instant gratification, we oftentimes forget to give space to the slow and methodical.  Some things simply take TIME.  The importance of the slow and continuous work of sand, erosion, water, and weather is literally what MADE these amazing Monuments.

Paintings take time

Decisions take time

Grief takes time

Change takes time

Rivers take time

Healing takes time

Goals take time


May we all remember to give ourselves more time, more patience, more recovery while knowing that the beautiful Monument is on the other side.

ANYTHING is possible.  One step at a time.

Contemplating great people among the Monuments.

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

I am inspired by the entirety of life, therefore so are my paintings.  People, places, time, weather, movement, music; there is glowing inspiration in everyone and in everything.

Sit in the quiet and find your own way to shine.  Shine in a way that only you can.

Cheers to whatever that means for you!

For me, I’m off to paint (and to continue to contemplate MONUMENTS)!!

If you want a little more information about the formation of Monuments like those at Monument Valley, click here for a short video. 

Shine on,


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If “Fine Art” sounds stuffy, keep reading…

“We were all born artists, the trick, is to continue to be one when we grow up.”  Pablo Picasso

history of art

Beware of history and word origins, you might learn something!

Our current definition of art is based on a Eurocentric view. “The modern use of art is derived from the 18th century philosophy of fine art and its focus on artworks that were largely created for wealthy elite, mainly the church and court (Brown and Dissanayaka).” Thus, “fine art” came to be known as an elite process whose product could only be obtained by a small percentage of the population. This is why we have a tiered view of the arts today.

Art is intertwined with all of life (can you FEEL my excitement?!).

Prior to this art worldview, most cultures did not have a specific word for art. This was not because art was unimportant. In fact, the opposite is true; art was so incredibly important in early traditions that it was a part of each person’s daily lives and every important ritual and ceremony. Art did not need a separate term; it was intertwined with all of life. Dance, music, and imagery were not separated; they were of supreme importance in all aspects of the life cycle; birth to death.

Have you ever been to a gallery/opening/studio and felt insecure talking about art?

This European distinction has led to the weight that we feel with the terms art and artist today. Additionally, this piece of history is directly related to why we have a tendency to rank the arts for legitimacy and power with one another.

Hey, YOU are an artist!  Yup, you, I promise.

I truly believe we all have a visual language that we are all born artists, the trick, as Pablo Picasso famously stated, it to continue to be one when we grow up. We need desperately to reclaim our creative selves, to be kind to that intrinsic creative nature, and to nurture the creativity in others. In re-validating the arts, we must see it as a beautiful beneficial thing as well as an important subject for increased knowledge of self and life.

Over the next few weeks, my blog will get you primed for amazing art-conversations at your next dinner party!

1. How we “see,” body vs brain

2. How we validate what we see

3. How to confidently share YOUR opinions about artwork


4. The tricky situation that “fine art” has gotten us into today.

And we’ll chat about a few of the wild and crazy artists throughout art history so you have a brief idea of what they were trying to do with all of those dots, lines, squares and what not.

Stay tuned!