I was recently introduced to Donna Otter of Donna Otter Loves Snail Mail & So Do You by a friend on Facebook who described us as Kindred spirits. What amazing synergy arises from such kinship. We both want to see the arts take on greater and greater roles in shaping our culture but we also want it to build community, awareness of the environment and create a safe space for integrating wholeness.
We met for coffee and shared our dreams, projects we’re currently working on and what we want to see grow out of those projects in the future. From this little beginning, we are finding common ground for collaboration, inspiration, shared resources for making manifestation of our dreams more concrete – more alive and real. YES to synergy!
When such wonderful things happen – I just have to share the wonder and inspiration with others so yesterday, I hosted a Snail Mail Art Party.. I can’t describe how amazing it is to see women leave perfectionism behind, shed their fears, get lost in the flow and create something beautiful. It was the quietest party I’d ever thrown! Once everyone was in the flow, the room became almost Zen-like. Music drifting in the background, reverently softened voices sharing stories…the atmosphere had become a safe container for letting go.
As my friends began, one by one, to leave – they each gave me a long hug and said it was just what they’d needed and they hadn’t realized just how much. The best reward is to give something so precious to others. Heart sings.
I can’t wait to do it again.
To learn more about Donna Otter and Mail Art, visit Donna’s Facebook page and website:
I love to experiment with textures, papers, different mediums, whatever I can find to re-purpose, reuse, or re-imagine. I love making it up as I go. The pieces start to tell me their own stories, take on their own lives. Right now, I’m using a base of abstract watercolor on wood panels which I will layer with encaustic wax.
These will be mounted on a raised wood panel that has had paper from torn brown paperbags applied to the surface with acrylic matte medium. I will also layer paint and encaustic waxes to this foundation but here is where I am, so far. Hmmm…how will it look when I’m done?
I have a confession to make. My left brain has been taking a powder lately and it’s becoming quite a nuisance. Let me explain:
For the past twenty or so years, my secular focus has been succeeding in management roles. My creative work has been channeled through those management roles by providing custom interior design consultations. Sure, interior design is a creative field but the truth is it’s ninety percent paperwork and administrative processes and ten percent (if your lucky) actual creative work. Plus, the creativity involved is more about getting to know your clients and helping them express themselves through their environment so, at times I felt more like a therapist than a designer. I’m beginning to realize that my left brain was far more engaged than my right brain as an interior design consultant. I took pride in my perfect work orders and impeccable design plans. My organizational skills and project management capabilities were magnificent and I had a knack for streamlining the administrative end of the process simply because I hated paperwork redundancy. And, I was always on time. Punctual with a capital P.
Fast forward to this past year…
My life took a huge shift away from secular achievement to pursue personal fulfillment. After stepping away from a non-creative management position with an international BPO company for health reasons, I had time to re-evaluate what I really want my life to look like. I knew I didn’t want to spend one more day sacrificing the parts of myself that are true and whole and joyfully present. While this required a self -imposed demotion, it was a decision I haven’t regretted for a second. My joy has expanded with each passing day I’ve been free to purse my love of art, poetry and community. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t left my day job (yet) but I now hold a support position which allows me to leave work at work and focus on my creative life.
So, why my need for a confession? Here’s the thing; I’d always been offended by the notion that artists are flakey. I consider myself a creative sort and I’ve never been the least bit flakey. Yet, humbling as it may be, here I am with my new found shift of consciousness bringing me smack dab face-to-face with my inner flake.
In the past month I have missed, not one but two networking appointments I had scheduled with other creative colleagues, people I respect and do not want to disappoint. I completely dropped the ball – even though I had put them on the calendar and set an alarm on my phone…which, unfortunately I had turned off so I’d be able to work in my studio undisturbed. WTF! This is NOT me.
Oh, but it is. When I’m painting, or writing, or doing anything in my studio for that matter, I lose all reference to time. My right brain takes over and I am completely without linear point of reference to the world around me. I’m swept away, caught up in the FLOW – that illusive, blissful, rapturous state where there is no time – just being. So, that’s what the flakey artist thing is all about, is it?
Looks like my right brain is going to be teaching me a few lessons in humility…
This is an encaustic and mixed media piece I did last November but I’d never mounted it. Since I had so much fun working with watercolors and encaustics for Buddha on the Mountain, I thought I’d mount this one on a framed wood panel with watercolor and encaustic wax on crumpled tissue paper. I love the colors and textures that emerged in this process.