Art news

In the middle of May, the Mandala class participated in an art show at Hart Senior Center. I’m guessing that more than 100 people stopped by to see the work, talk to the artists and have some refreshments. This was a big deal for our artists, a great turnout from the local community and certainly the high point of the year so far. We’re already planning another event for the holiday season.

Meanwhile, I’ve held one series of mandala art classes at Colonial Heights library with a follow-up series set for July. Local libraries are great supporters of the arts and sponsor these classes free to the public.

I also began a new monthly class at Hart Center I’ve called Adventures in Art, sort of a combination of art history and open studio. Our first artist was Georgia O’Keeffe. We learned a little about her life and artistic vision, than made some art in her style. Next month we’ll feature Piet Mondrian, followed by Jackson Pollock in August.  We had a really good response to the class and I’m hoping it will continue to draw in (no pun) more interest.

I’ve been putting out feelers for some new places to teach and have classes set for later in the summer at the Asian Community Center and in the fall at University Art Store in Sacramento.

I originally planned my curriculum as a once-a-week for four weeks class but am finding that I need to rearrange, at times, the way I’ve organized things. For example, I’m breaking down the Mandala topics differently and rather than approaching it as skill levels I’m looking at it as ‘types’ of mandalas; i.e. geometric mandalas, natural mandalas, and meditative mandalas.

I was surprised to find that rearranging them opened up some new ways to look at how I am teaching so it is very exciting. Also, I am putting together a workshop format for longer, one-day events.

In the midst of all this teaching I decided to put more effort into my website and start selling directly from here. This site will now focus exclusively on the mandala work, with the ink wash painting featured on the site.

My thinking was that although I love teaching I don’t know how long this forward movement will last – or I will. I was 72 last birthday and although I feel fine, I have to acknowledge I may not be able to continue this work in a few years, so I want to have alternate sources of communication and income.

I have to remind myself to carve out some personal time to continue with my own mandala practice. In creating mandalas it seems that every few months there is a new wrinkle to explore – maybe something in design or maybe color.  At the bottom of the page is some recent work.

I’ll keep these on my studio walls for a month or two just to make sure they are complete and have nothing more to say, then I will add them to the for sale gallery. In some kind of crazy way it’s like raising puppies and you don’t want to let them go until they are stable (or I am!).

Now that I’ve got this tighter focus on what is going on in my art life, I’ll write shorter and more frequent blogs and not another l-o-n-g one like this.


Where has the year gone!

It’s already half over. It’s true what they say about time going faster as you get older. It’s seems every day is Friday anymore. I’ve been promising myself that it would write a few blogs and update my website (for sure) in a few weeks. That was last February.

In my defense, I have been rather busy. To start the year my second knee surgery was postponed to late January after my surgeon was in a bicycle accident. Then I had a tooth turn on me which postponed it again until early May.

I finally had the surgery and the day I was due to come home, I got a phone call in the morning saying a water pipe had broken and my entire apartment was flooded. I’ll make a long story short and say that I spent most of my time recuperating at a local La Quinta hotel watching Home & Garden reruns while the apartment was rehabbed.

I finally made it back home in early June and by the time I got everything straightened out it was the 4th of July. So was it worth it? My knees feel better and I am walking more with a walker and cane. I can finally go back to my neighborhood park again and last week I went to the library for the first time in over a year. But I know that this old body will need more patches and repairs as time goes on. I’m just grateful it’s still working at all.

In the spring I explored some new types of mandala designs that have a Moorish flavor. I posted some examples in April on my art website. ( Another new twist is that I am drawing the designs on illustration board rather than Bristol which is a heavier, thicker, more durable medium.

I’m still teaching mandala art at the city senior center.  I also am continuing a monthly poetry appreciation class and enjoying getting back in touch with my verbal side.

Recently, I was approached by a representative of a hospice organization and I am planning a special workshop using mandala art as part of dealing with end-of-life issues. I am very excited about this as it is a topic that I need to be more proactive about. I’m hoping for a fall event and will post something at that time.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll try to be a little more active on the blog through the remainder of the year – and I’ll update the site.

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Hooves thunder,
tribal drums echo
on ancient cavern walls.

This last weekend I volunteered to cover a poetry reading for the Sacramento Press, a local online newspaper. The event was titled Crossroadsand was the first of a six-part series featuring local poets. It was held in an art gallery to cross-pollinate the arts.

I got there a little early to talk to the organizers of the event and silently wondered if the 30+ seats lined up in neat rows would be filled on this gray and rainy afternoon. I was surprised and delighted when more and more people arrived and more and more chairs had to be brought in. By the time the program began it was standing room only for more than 60 attendees.

Two area poets, Julia Connor and Victoria Dalkey, read some of their poems which were by turn reflective, picturesque, imaginative and profound. After listening to them speak I wanted to attend some of the local venues and read my own stuff aloud. But more than that, what I took away from the event was a sense of recognition that I had found another ‘tribe,’ other people who are similar to me, not only in interests and abilities but in demeanor, appearance and, of all things, age!

Several years ago I had visited a local café that hosted a poetry night every week. It felt very French and Left Bank, a place were in the 50’s and 60’s the Beats and the hippies would hang out. The place was always packed, the noise level high and the poets – well, in general they were either young males fueled by testosterone and activism, or old males wearing leather bomber jackets. I know I over generalize but ….

The poetry read, to my mind, was usually aggressive and always heavily cadenced with a sing song beat which smote the ears ( I think that is the first time I have ever used the word smote in a real sentence) like a hammer on an anvil. Outside the café young men stood in small groups smoking cigarettes and drinking from paper bags. It was not a venue in which I felt comfortable or particularly welcomed.

But last Saturday, as I sat waiting for the program to begin and the seats to be filled, I overhead conversations, such as the one by the tall-standing, gray-haired woman who was saying how she had moved to senior housing and had simplified her life enough to have time for the arts. She was joined in conversation by a gentleman/poet sans leather who related his experience in downsizing and who I later learned would be featured in an upcoming program.

As I looked around the room I saw most people were middle aged or older, at least 50% were women and nobody was drinking out of a paper bag. Even the readers were sporting crow’s feet and wrinkles. But it was not just the maturity of the audience, it was their respectful presence and receptive listening. It was the quiet “oh’s” of appreciation when a poem was finished. The readers did not pound out pentameters and didactic phrasing – it was more conversational and lyric.

At the end of the program, I hung around to take a picture of the poet/readers. Both engaged me in conversation when I expressed my appreciation of their work. They asked my name and listened without impatience. The gallery owner and the co-hosts were equally cordial. A member of the audience announced free wine and appetizers at her home for all those interested and available.

On my drive back home I was delighted with my afternoon. Here were other birds of my feather; the possibility of new acquaintances, even friends, arose.The pleasures of the spirit are paid in the currency of time, rather than coin. Even though I have to live very simply and frugally, I have extraordinary opportunities to do as I please.

My only New Year’s resolution for 2012 was to attend more live music venues. Little did I know that baby step – the noon time free concerts – would snowball into art exhibitions and poetry readings. Now that I have found my tribe, my calendar should be very busy in the coming months and provide lots of fuel for creative fires.


I recently discovered I have more levels of craziness to explore and decided to start a separate blog/website for art. Over the next few weeks, I will remove most of the zen gallery from this site to avoid a lot of duplication. Meanwhile, I invite you visit the new site at I will not be posting often at the art site – just adding new pictures or announcements, so sign up for the occasional email notice – or else! 🙂