Posted on

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,


Posted on

5 steps to enhance creativity!

 “We need people who think with the creative side of their brains—people who have played in a band, who have painted…it enhances symbiotic thinking capabilities, not always thinking in the same paradigm, learning how to kick-start a new idea, or how to get a job done better, less expensively.” 

Annette Byrd of GlaxoSmithKline

BL_3686 mcgree, 5/25/15, 12:32 PM, 16C, 5624x7359 (101+555), 100%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/15 s, R65.1, G40.0, B61.3
“Rays.”  Oil on Canvas 2016

Creativity.  Learn to think outside of the box. 

5 steps to take to enhance creativity:

  1. Try something new. Set your music to a new station and spend the day exploring new and old tunes.  Try a new recipe, seek out a new restaurant, get artsy and MAKE something.
  2. Meditate.  Yes, daily meditation has amazing benefits.  But it might be difficult to jump right into.  For now, just TRY out the idea.  Spend 10min on a walk without music or your phone to distract you.  Simply observe the world around you.
  3. Say “YES…and.” Become an open-minded Improv actor by using the technique of “YES, and.” This simple tactic will do wonders toward having novel thoughts and ideas.  Make it a game!  Try saying yes for a full day and see how the world unfolds for you.
  4. Move! Get out and move your body. It doesn’t have to be aggressive, sweaty, or difficult.  Find a way, ANY way, to move your body for 30min.  Your creative brain will thank you.
  5. Soak up inspiration from others. Read a great article, find a new book, explore podcasts (there are so many amazing ones!)…listen to a Ted talk.


Creativity is about slowing down in order to see the world from a new perspective.  It is a beautiful way for your mind to connect with itself and the world around you.  We all, in every field, would benefit by learning to “think outside the box” aka be more creative in order to be able to move with the ebb and flow of life.  Life WILL happen, things will not always go according to plan.  There is more than one way, one method, one answer…Whenever you find yourself backed up against a wall, creativity will be your window out.  Challenge yourself to be uncomfortable, and to see or learn something new!

Plus, it’s best to tap into your creative powers now to get them primed to work for you when you REALLY need them!


Leave a comment below with three of your favorite ways to get your own creative juices flowing!