Monday, April 23, 2012

Creativity & Shamanism 

Sunset over the Forest, pastel on paper, 
33" H x 28" W

The newest CREATIVITY & SHAMANISM© workshop, LIVING A CREATED LIFE, was developed in 2011 & 2012 in response to requests from students for a comprehensive system of practical shamanic technologies and modern theories about the creation process that could be applied everywhere - not just in visual arts but to every aspect, big and small, of daily life.  

The workshop has been offered both as three separate 3-hour classes and as a weekend-long, in-depth exploration of shamanic practices and work with the land.  

In LIVING A CREATED LIFE each of us discovers profound and personal answers to some of today's most pressing questions:

- What does it take to live a life of ongoing joy, purpose, and fulfillment - in continual connection with Universal energy and participating fully in the expansion of human consciousness?  

- How can we best fulfill our essential nature:  loving self and others, serving, and contributing authentically to our communities and our world?  

Over the course of the workshop we deepen our relationship with Source; master the context of sufficiency and radical gratitude; learn the simple, everyday practical tools of creation; and celebrate the revelation of a balanced life of creation, devotion, and action.

Carol Dearborn is a visual artist, initiated shaman in the Peruvian Inca tradition, President Emeritus of the Sufficiency Foundation, Reiki Master Teacher, and trained facilitator of the Pachamama Alliance Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposium. Carol has more than 30 years' experience teaching art and many forms of energetic healing. She is the 3rd generation of women painters in her family to use art as a force for healing, transformation, and world peace. Her mission is to help awaken modern cultures to our freedom and responsibility to create a sustainable presence on Earth through the evolution of human consciousness and particularly our connection to the sacred in all forms.

Carol gives gallery talks and conducts classes and workshops for artists, educators, spiritual groups, and the general public. Offered in conjunction with her exhibits, these talks and workshops often center on Earth-honoring principles and practices, tools for exploring human creativity, and the importance of art in an evolving human consciousness of reverence and responsibility for all life.

Please see Calendar section for details of upcoming workshops, or contact:

Exhibitions 2011

2011 was a full year for shows and other events.  Here are a few of the year's highlights:

Solo Exhibition Attleboro Museum

                                                   Full Moon at Manasarovar, pastel on paper, 28" H x 33"W
                                                   (fine art prints available)

Attleboro Arts Museum hosted a solo exhibition March 30 through April 29, 2011:  ten new works from the Where Heaven Meets Earth series depicting encounters with the sacred at places of energetic emergence around the world.

The Journey Chosen for National Exhibition
Journey to Ausangate

The Journey, pastel on paper, 
33" H x 28" W

Jurors at the Arts Center/Old Forge selected "The Journey from Ausangate" to be part of the Northeast National Pastel Exhibition, on display at the Center from May 14 - June 25, 2011.  The exhibit then traveled to other locations.  

Please visit the Arts Center site for more details.

Textile & Pastels In Provincetown Green Arts Festival 

                                                             Full Moon Flood, pastel on paper, 21" H x 18" W
                                                          (fine art prints available)

Three pieces - textile and pastel - were chosen by the Provincetown Conservation Trust for exhibit at Appearances, Provincetown's 2011 Green Arts Festival.  The multimedia, interactive exhibit was displayed throughout the city from April 15-2.
Tree and Its Reflection, textile, 36" H x 31" W

Life Art Heart Expo

                                                                 Trees Embrace, pastel on paper, 33.5" H x 26" W

Lovers of art and spirituality celebrated a day of art exhibits and talks by healers, philosophers, and experts in many areas of spiritual study.  June 11, 2011.

Solo Exhibition Bentley University

Shadows at the Sanctuary, pastel on paper, 26" H x 32" W

On February 26 2012 Bentley University's Conscious Capitalism Institute hosted a solo exhibition to accompany a presentation of the Pachamama Alliance Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream SymposiumThe exhibit contained paintings of sacred, indigenous sites in the Peruvian Andes and Pacific Northwest, and included the monumental triptych Earth, Water, & Sky:

 The purpose of my artwork is to celebrate

the beauty, mystery, and spirituality of the natural world.
 I try to make visible the energetic oneness of all life
as a way to inspire honor and
 preservation of Earth.

The Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposium is a transformative educational experience that empowers participants to respond to humanity's current situation with action and informed, grounded optimism about our future.   

Illinois Women Artists Project

Lakeview Museum / Bradley University
                                        Sunset over the Ocean I, Carol Dearborn
                                        pastel on paper, 23" H x 26.75" W

The Illinois Women Artists Project—documenting among others the Burnham family of artists, with work by American Impressionist Anita Willets Burnham, her daughters Carol-Lou Burnham and Ann Burnham Smith, and Burnham Smith’s daughters Carol Dearborn and Jane Bernhardt, as well as audio clips describing the mission of their art—continues, with a recent article in American Art Review (with a biography of Anita Willets Burnham and image, CafĂ© Tabac). 

                                        Cafe Tabac, Anita Willets Burnham, 1930

The exhibit, which began at Lakeview Museum, Moves in mid-March from Quincy Art Center to Tarble Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University, where it will remain until September 30, 2012.  

Additional information on the Burnham family of artists from the IWA Project:

Over the past century, the women of the Burnham family have established themselves as painters, etchers, toymakers, illustrators, writers, performers, art therapists and art teachers. Their artwork is vibrant and imaginative, their compositions always fresh, intriguing, often amusing.
Anita Willets Burnham (1880-1958) was the first to develop her artistic talents. She toured the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, saw the women artists' paintings and decided to become an artist. She trained at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1906, she hesitated when Alfred Burnham asked her to marry him. Could she be an artist and have a family? He persuaded her that she could.
Anita always said of her first daughter Carol-Lou (1908-1997) that she was "born with a paint-brush in her hand." With no trouble at all, Carol-Lou learned to was serious business in the Burnham household. She spent her life painting and teaching art.
In 1921 Anita decided her family of six should spend a year traveling in Europe. Her third daughter, Ann (1921-2001) was only nine months old. They toured and sketched and painted every day, often trading their sketches for food and other necessities. By the time they returned home, Ann was producing sketches, too. She continued to paint and later became an art therapist.
From 1928 through 1930, the family traveled in the Far East and again in Europe. When they returned Anita wrote a book about their travels called Round the World on a Penny, a lighthearted tour guide for family travelers. The Burnhams' artwork illustrates the book.
Today, Anita's granddaughter Jane Smith Bernhardt is a portrait artist, a trained actress and a writer. In 2003, Jane founded the Hibakusha Peace Project, a multimedia tribute to the survivors of Hiroshima. For more about her work, visit her website.
Anita's granddaughter Carol Dearborn explores the mystery and spirituality of the natural world with her oil, pastel and mixed medium paintings of landscapes. An activist for environmental sustainability, Carol also teaches Creativity and Shamanism, inviting students to open pathways to creation in all aspects of life. Learn more about her work at her website.
Enjoy the work of these wonderful artists.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Monumental triptych EARTH, WATER & SKY was created to depict the meeting of the great elements of Earth at the foot of sacred Apu Ausangate, majestic mountain to the south of Cusco, Peru, and one of the guardian forces of this great Inca capital.  

EARTH, WATER & SKY, pastel on paper; each panel 80" H x 44" W.  Please inquire for pricing and shipping details.  


My inspiration has always come from the woods, mountains, lakes and seas - sacred places where the power and spirit of Earth and the universe are strongly felt.  Many of these spiritual centers have been recognized for thousands of years by

Near Umantay, pastel on paper, 34.5" H x 27"W

indigenous peoples in all parts of the world. 

This summer I'm traveling to two of the world's most holy mountains to connect with spirit and receive direction for a new body of paintings.

First, Apu Ausangate (click here for a film about life in the region of this sacred mountain), great protector of the city of Cusco, Peru, and provider of wisdom, practical knowledge, and fertility... and amazing, continual spiritual and visual inspiration for my work.  Two years ago, camping at 16,500' at the foot of Apu Ausangate, I woke in the middle of the night to a flood of information - answers to questions and prayers I had offered the day before. This channel of communication has been open to me ever since, providing direction and the particular instruction to begin a series of "portraits" of Apus - divinities who dwell in Andean mountaintops.  

After this trip I travel to Kathmandu, Nepal, on the way to Tibet's Mt. Kailash.  This holy mountain, said to be the abode of Lord Shiva and his consort, is a mecca to four Eastern religions.  Taking part in the holy ritual circumambulation of Mt. Kailash has been a longtime dream - for artwork and tools of healing.  This pilgrimage will be led and protected by spiritual leader Shri Anandi Ma.  It is a great honor to accompany her and her group.  

On both trips I open my heart and eyes to the wonder of communion with the great forces of our world - or should I say where worlds meet?  It is my vision to create depictions of the sacred spirits that inhabit these places; depictions that 

Right:  Mt. Kailash, Tibet /photo Herbert Wong

will convey their physical as well as energetic power, to be used for altars and healing centers as well as for inspiration in any form.  

The body of paintings produced from these trips will be on exhibit throughout this coming year.  Accompanying workshops and lectures on sacred teachings and elements of the work on location will also be scheduled.  

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Creativity and Shamanism classes for the summer of 2009 have begun - 


Creativity and Shamanism 

2009 SERIES I 

For thousands of years shamans have used art to bring about healing and manifest their visions in the world. What we might call abundance or sufficiency is the model for the universe as they know it, one in which love, gratitude and joy prevail, human life is in respectful balance with the natural world, there is always enough in Source, and every life form – including rivers, mountains and stars - is honored. 

In these classes we follow shamanic customs to make ourselves available to new levels of creative awareness, vision, power and possibility.  Using the tools of visual art and elements of our natural surroundings we explore our unlimited capability to imagine and co-create new physical realities for our personal lives and for Earth.  Our creations become places to observe spirit intervention and guidance as well as permanent locales of healing in the land and in our hearts. 

Combining visioning, healing and creation of reality through drawing, painting and collage mediums, in this workshop series students also receive basic attunements and begin to assemble personal mesas in the Peruvian shamanic tradition.  

One student's creating of his emerging from sadness and taking wing.

The envisioning and creation of physical healing of the spine.

Here a state of isolation is transcended by the creation of many forms of connection to the world and universe - a vision that began to manifest into this student's consensual reality (the reality we humans have agreed is available to us through the experience of our senses) within a few days of this depiction.

Recognizing that our work is to connect deeply with the land, to heal ourselves and then to take responsibility for the greater community of all beings and the emergence of a new consciousness, a first step is to acknowledge our power in creating change.
Taking responsibility for our role in creating can be a revelation in itself for those raised in a Western consciousness that often rewards conformity, obedience and suppressing our voice and unique powers.  

In the shamanic tradition access to spirit, alternative seeing states and creative joy is reawakened.  

The power to envision, depict and bring into being elements of physical reality is universal, yet Western culture has allowed us to forget this gift and responsibility for bringing about healing and balance in the world.  

A depiction of the quadrants of a student's life showed desired future states of being, accomplishments, relationships and events.  These began to be noticed in her physical reality in the months following their detailed envisioning in the large painting/collage in progress, above.

Grounding in the land by connecting to the voices of nature and spirit is essential to this work.
Here natural elements are assembled symbolically to acknowledge, celebrate and create into physical reality.  These outdoor mandalas, or sand paintings, are places for interaction with and intervention by spirit.

Despachos, or gifts of prayer and gratitude to spirit are created to maintain balance and observe reciprocity, or ayni, by giving in proportion to that which is received.  In this case prayers and intentions are offered for the birth of a baby.  
 Here prayers for a safe journey are offered in a despacho.

An outdoor mandala commemorates the physical death and facilitates the transition of a married couple.
A ceremony to create and maintain energetic ties, or ceke lines, between two lovers separated by geographic distance.

A mandala to acknowledge the death and great continuing spiritual presence of a beloved teacher.

In places of spiritual power desired outcomes are often brought into being with great speed, clarity and force. 

Here the setting is the Peruvian sacred mountain, or Apu, Wakaywilka. 

PLEIN AIR EXHIBITION: Historic Gardens of Salem, July 11 & 12, 2009

It was fun last weekend to be part of the tour of private gardens in Salem's McIntire Historic District.  The weather was (finally) lovely, and members of the local Garden Club served as guides and hostesses to the event.  (At left one Garden Club member posed with my card at the entrance to an historic garden.)

Visual artists and musicians were invited to add to the festivity of the weekend by stationing themselves decoratively within the gardens.  This was wonderful for me because it meant painting for the first four hours to magical flute music.

Painting "en plein air" of course means outside, but sounds a lot better in French.  So when you paint outside, don't worry about bugs, sun, wind, peeing in the woods, and other annoyances.  There's a certain reverse cache in pretending you do not have a studio, and work only spontaneously and with great speed and joy as gods and muses lead you.   Actually, making art can always be like this, if only we remember...

On Saturday I was in the garden at 37 Chestnut Street, sometimes called the most beautiful street in America.  It is a treasure of Federal Period architecture, particularly that of Samuel McIntire, who I'm honored to say is an ancestor, though I show no architectural promise at all.

I found a shady spot at the end of the garden with an Italianate urn of geraniums and settled in for a few hours.  Sadly, my speed in painting also pales in comparison to that of grandmother Anita, many of whose watercolors bear notes about the scene painted and the circumstances, along with her signature and, often, "15-min. sketch."  Her 15-min. sketches are just as realized as my 2 or 3 hour ones!  Think the lesson of the day may be not to compare oneself to ancestors...
Looking back toward the main house at 37 Chestnut.
A three-hundred-year-old apple tree next door... 
Sunday afternoon I moved to number 3 Hamilton Street to paint in the gardens of a Colonial Revival house, built apparently in 1927, although one would never guess it wasn't 200 years old.  The exquisite gardens around this house are largely perennial, with details like seashell paths and walls covered in clematis.  
I tried again to find a shady spot, and settled on a sweet, ivy-lined brick pathway toward the back of the house.  The sun came and went under gigantic clouds but I was able to catch some of the shadows of ferns on the brick.  
The finished painting sold - a gratifying end to my summer garden tour experience.