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Is Your Studio a Sacred Space?

“Sacred space and sacred time and something joyous to do is all we need. Almost anything then becomes a continuous and increasing joy.

What you have to do,

you do with play.

I think a good way to conceive of sacred space is as a playground. If what you’re doing seems like play, you are in it. But you can’t play with my toys, you have to have your own. Your life should have yielded some.”

Excerpt From

A Joseph Campbell Companion

Joseph Campbell

Well this sums it all up. I’ve always wondered about my preference for solo experiences.

My life has yielded phases where I’ve been in the “studio”. Athletics, Art, Dance, Horse, Music ; place and time where I go inward and seal off the external interruptions. As I move through the years I may change the focus but the need for the sacred remains constant.

How do you know if it’s a sacred place?

Like Joseph writes, there has to be play. This one is tricky especially when the “public” is involved. As an artist, I think it’s essential to stay in play mode and not let the outside in when painting. When I look at my best work, it’s when the session has been one of total play. Freedom. These energies are picked up by the viewer and connection is made.

How I love my torch! Fire. Liquid. Alchemy. As I look back at my various “studios” I see there are tools which create the environment. I recently was a guest artist for 4 high school classes. After the Q&A I began the demo. Out came my torch, a griddle, the paints and a panel. In two seconds I created a sacred space. The students gathered around and there was silence. Our little campfire of stories to unfold.

What are your thoughts about sacred space and time?

Leave a message by clicking on the post title which takes you to my website. Scroll down to the message box and leave a comment!



Part 2 next week!

By |April 19th, 2018|Categories: Brightlife, Studio Wildcat|0 Comments

Tell Me More about that Picasso

Last week when I posted about that wonderful Picasso painting, a friend followed up by asking me what was the title of the painting. I was so taken by the painting I forgot to find out the name! By then, I couldn’t remember on what site I had found the image but it was in my Photo Album.

I remembered hearing that there was a way to search Google using images. So I searched Google about image searching in Google; I know strange. In a blink of the eye I came across this item.

Google Reverse Image Search

It looked promising and simple. My requirements now with technology is that it needs to be simple, straightforward and free. Check, check, check.

I followed the instructions and pulled the Picasso image from my Photos Album and dropped it in. BAM! Up came the name of the painting and all the articles I could ever want to read about it. Which I did!

Femme Accroupie, (Jacqueline). Painted in 1954

Did you know he painted that piece when he was fresh in love with his final lover and eventual wife Jacqueline? And that she shot herself the day after he died many years later? Or he was greatly influenced by his great friend and rival Matisse?

Why do the stories make it even better?

He painted it quickly and in one afternoon. I can see him there in his shorts, striped shirt and cigarette burning in the ashtray. Or maybe he smoked after. And where was she? If you look carefully at the photo you’ll see the unfinished painting resting on the easel.

Power pose. Going to work on that too.



PS: You can read more about this work from the Christie’s website.

PPS: It’s kind of fun to search your own work too!

By |April 11th, 2018|Categories: Brightlife, Studio Wildcat|2 Comments

Looking at the Pros

I’ve been looking at this picture lately. Clearly not my work. I’m sure you recognized the style and Picasso came to your mind before you even began reading this post.

I love how it feels unfinished. Picasso one said that a finished painting is a dead painting. I see what he means now. I’m drawn to the happy untidiness and blocks of color. White spilling onto the lines of blue and red on the left side. Did he forget to clean it up? Why are those shapes loose yet the lower red corner tight? Emotional tension? Contrast. Rough, smooth. Tight, loose.

I bet the original painting has dirt and brush hairs in it.

I wonder how much of this painting is re-worked? Did he paint from left to right like Philip Guston or block out the whole piece?

Looks like he changed his mind about the upper right side. Was it originally black and then quickly changed to white? Maybe he just added some greys in there for texture. And what about all those brush strokes?

Picasso reminds me to play with the materials, shapes and colors. Simple. Slow. Let the color have weight and presence. I lose the reference of the woman when I follow his geometric trail of color. Look at those green triangles breaking apart! They tumble off her dress.

This is my next step painting. When in doubt, I check in with Picasso. What would he do?

Who are the pros you channel for inspiration and solutions?



By |April 6th, 2018|Categories: Brightlife|2 Comments

Five Scented Steps to Encaustic

I have an easy commute. Going to work is never a problem. No traffic, no apps to tell me the fastest route; I am lucky. Really.

Today I took the usual 5 steps from my backdoor down into the garden and around to the yellow door of my studio, a renovated garage. Even though it is a short distance, it is crammed with remnants of over 26 years of life. Rusted paint cans, sieves and buckets for when I had water flood into the garage, old bicycle helmets with the padding chewed away by mice and weather. It has been on my Spring Cleaning List since day one. I’m hoping I tackle this Spring. Now. Like next week?

After 26 years what flipped the switch?

The scent.

As I left the studio today I had two little paintings to photograph. The smell of the jasmine my neighbor planted on our shared fence was hard to ignore. It overpowered my disarray and I thought about my neighbor Joan who died a few years back. How she loved her garden and would spend hours in it “tidying up.” I felt her presence working in the garden as I worked in my studio. The bees would visit Joan and her scented jasmine and then find their way to my studio circling above my pots of melting beeswax. It was a comfort.

Every so often I would hear her sing song call: “You who…Francesca…“. We shared many stories from the back door; the usual neighborhood stuff but more importantly the listening to each other when we needed an ear.

As I said the scent stopped me in my tracks. I propped my two little paintings on some old roofing wood and sat on the backdoor steps. How lovely. That’s something Joan would say.

Decisions can come from making a pro and con list, or getting advice from friends, or doing research.

The best decisions come from the heart. Really.

As they used to say in my yoga classes, “Time to dust off the mulahs and shine.”

Wishing you a Spring Cleaning from the heart.



By |March 31st, 2018|Categories: Studio Wildcat|2 Comments

Could this be the Edge?

The end of the day. I have some paint leftover. Even though I’ve unplugged the griddle the wax is still warm for a few bold moves. The paint flows easily on to my test paper. The gestures are weighted and sure. I see this only after it’s done. Could this be an edge to explore?

The end is surprisingly the beginning.

The work that greases the wheel.

What edges are you exploring?



By |March 24th, 2018|Categories: Studio Wildcat|0 Comments
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