Tuesday, December 8, 2015

one hundred



Today would be my grandmother's 100th birthday, she has been gone from this world for three years next month.  She was strength, she was steadfast, she was determination, she was a rock for me.  She taught me the importance of connection between past and present, she taught me accepting faith.  She had reverence for nature; she was proud, but she walked in humility.  I look to her memory still, when I need strength, when I need perspective, when I need comfort and she is always there.


With so much gratitude,
Joanna

Friday, December 4, 2015

free art {Favorite Finds Friday}


What is a find?  Something you discover, or uncover, something new, unexpected, perhaps a thing sought after?  Something longed for or just happened upon.

The work here is a series of six tiny pieces; typed text collaged onto partial book covers.  These pieces happened fast, with no planning and in the face of feeling personally and creatively discouraged.  I made them on a Thursday evening two weeks ago.  My intention was to put all six out the following day for Free Art Friday.  But because of the circumstances of that day, only one piece went out, and I shared the final one today, the other four speckled in between, most not on a Friday. 

I hope they were found and appreciated; but regardless they helped me find and appreciate some bits of me.
 
 

 

I believe in you


 
You Matter

Believe

Be kind (remember that includes to yourself)


You are creative


 
You are loved
 


With gratitude,
Joanna

Monday, October 26, 2015

right before my eyes







The last leaf on our Maple tree has changed from green to red.  Autumn is here, and almost past. This tree always changes at the end of the season when many others have already lost their leaves and become bare.


Recently I found a photo taken the day we moved into our house, moving truck backed up to the garage, Maple tree bare.  It was the day before Thanksgiving seven years ago next month.  


Even though much has changed about our house in these seven years what stood out to me was the size of the Maple tree; at least half its present height, almost spindly.


How much this tree has grown right before my eyes.  How much shade it offers in summer. How much glory in fall.  How much promise in winter and spring.  


It is that time when autumn is no longer fresh, the fallen leaves are turning crispy and my perennials are starting to brown.  It is cooler more than it is warm now; we have had our first frost.  


Maybe I will be there to catch the last leaf from our Maple tree when it falls; still and watching as it floats toward me, maybe I will be there to see what is right before my eyes.  
With gratitude,
Joanna

Friday, October 16, 2015

Rockford! {free art friday}




So talk about art in discovery!  I was giddy excited this week when I discovered Free Art Friday while scrolling an Instagram feed. With no more information than a hashtag, I decided right then that I would make a piece and put it out today. 

In the meantime I did a little googling and discovered that this is a global activity that has been happening for more than a decade.  The premise is simple, make a piece of art or craft add a tag offering it as free and place it in a public place where someone is likely to find it.  

This idea appeals to me on so many levels, and really connected with something I have felt passionate about for a long time; art accessibility; accessibility not just for a general public audience, but for makers as well.  The concept of Free Art Friday connects the creativity of a maker with the interest of an audience in a spontaneous and playful way.  It eliminates the expectations of formal art viewing and allows the finder to ultimately participate in the work of art, find it and take it home.  There is no cloud of “museums are not for me” and “I am not a good enough artist”   

For years I have heard the same kind of comments from people of different ages and all walks of life…I am not creative, I am not creative enough, I don’t understand art, I am not an artist, I wish I could draw, I was told I could not draw well enough…always with a sense of melancholy over the loss of a wished for acknowledgement of personal creativity.  Free Art Friday is the kind of activity that opens up these doubts and expectations, there are no formal rules and therefore we can all be the artist and we can all be the participator.   
   
Now back to Rockford (the town nearest my rural home) and me totally excited.  As I looked through the Free Art Friday blog and Facebook page I found links to city groups all around the world, but none here.  So here it is!  Free Art Friday – Rockford!  I jumped in with two feet; I put out my first piece and started the local Facebook community on the same day!  So join me!  You do not have to be an ‘artist’ you can share anything you have made, maybe it’s a poem or a crocheted doily.  You can participate completely on your own, or connect with a local or national group.  The idea is to share, to connect, to believe in your own creativity and the power of sharing it with others.

The image above is the piece I put out in downtown Rockford, Illinois this morning.  It is actually left over bits of college work that I schlepped home from the west coast last winter.  Doing this was an awesome experience, I felt nervous and self-conscious walking around looking for a spot to leave it.  And as I walked away after selecting one I felt totally embowered and free.

The saying says, “The earth without art is just, eh…” lets help dress her up a little bit!



With gratitude,
Joanna

Thursday, October 15, 2015

grace



There is green where otherwise there would have been none because I was blessed  with a rainbow who has given me more Grace than I could ever hope to know -- and I will never tell her to color inside the lines.





With gratitude,
Joanna

Thursday, September 3, 2015

morning walk, almost autumn



It is September which means the collective longing for autumn has begun.  But here in my portion of the Upper Midwest the air is still hot and thick, summer fighting its last battle.   I stopped this morning at a park I've driven by for years and I walked with my dog for about a half an hour.  I brought my camera, which has sat idle for most of the summer and I took in the last vestiges of summer giving way to the first flutters of fall.






















With gratitude,
Joanna



Thursday, June 18, 2015

returning




I haven’t written much in months; not here, or elsewhere.  

I am not sure why.

This was my most recent attempt, a little more than a week ago:

If there is a place that inspires me to write it is the Driftless.  
I don't know for sure what stirs me here, it is beautiful, but there is something beyond the beauty.  

There is movement here, movement in the land that captures the mind as it directs the body.  This land is vast in an intimate way; somehow close, somehow present.  

The mountains of the West are expansive and drenched in awe, they ignite my spirit and I love them.  But there is something distant in their mass and wonder, something that I cannot gain grasp of with my spirit nor capture with my pen.  

But the Driftless is close and when I am there I feel held and my spirit caressed.  

Today I talked with a dearest friend about just this; the paused pen, the dry spell, the wish for and the fear of the words.

Her pen is making contact again and her passion was infections, so here I am wetting my page and hoping for a flood.


With gratitude,
Joanna

Friday, April 10, 2015

small {this moment}

{this moment}

. . . . . . . . .
This moment ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . .


Thank you soulemama for the inspiration 

With gratitude,
Joanna

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

the wild air


It finally occurred to me that resisting the wind in the plains is akin to resisting the rain in the Pacific Northwest...so here is to learning to embrace heaven's wild air...


With gratitude,
Joanna

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

here.

I have just returned from my adventuring home trip, five weeks in the lush Pacific Northwest; fully loosing myself in the serene wilderness that I unknowingly took for granted in my youth.  Mountains dressed in green shelter the horizon, making a myth of its expanse.  I set my senses free, hoping they would return to me having absorbed enough of these wilds to keep me brimming long after I departed from them.



I cried during our final decent into Chicago; looking out over the flat upon flat expanse of flat land.  Where were my brimming buckets of natural beauty, the ones I stowed and stashed in suitcase and heart, mind, body and soul; how could I lose my fullness so quickly? 


About three days after returning, I found, while raking the planting beds at the front of my house, the first evidence of spring’s new green; the tiny clustered heads of Sedum pushing up through still defrosting ground.  So recently was this landscape frozen that a patch of ice accompanied them. 


It was in this moment that my buckets began rushing over again.  All of the mountainous beauty in the world could not compare with the wondrous bravery of this new growth, a tiny microcosm of the universe brimming with as much life as any lush enveloping forest of endless green.



And then I knew.  It was not the mountains that made me whole, but my seeing of them.  It was not the flatlands that made me cry but my fear, fear that I would lose the wholeness that I had found.  But alas, it is here, the here that is everyplace we stand, if only we allow ourselves to be there.  


With gratitude,
Joanna



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

sublime {words by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow}

Photograph: A single inscribed page in a small ringed binder, holding two stanzas from Longfellow's poem A Psalm of Life; handwritten by my great-grandmother, Elinor Hazel Will Voorhees, 1888-1965. I discovered this page last night while looking through a trunk that holds her belongings.  Last week, while going through boxes of my own belongings long in storage, I came upon a book of Longfellow's poetry given to me by the dearest of friends.  A Psalm of life was one of the pieces I immediately savored.  I did not know Eleanor in her lifetime, but this is not the first time that her life has touched mine, and I am honored by  her footprints in time that do indeed spur me on.

   
...................................................................................................

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
   Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
   And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
   And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
   Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
   Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
   Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
   And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
   Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
   In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
   Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
   Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
   Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
   We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
   Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
   Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
   Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
   With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
   Learn to labor and to wait.

~ A Psalm of Life, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

With gratitude,
Joanna