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.