Saturday, May 31, 2014

Not Blogging Much, But Making Many Ripples

"The Poppy Sea," mixed media collage
donated to Pacific Grove Art Center's Tiny Treasures exhibit/fundraiser

I simply wish to write,” I declared earlier this year!  Alas, here I am, blogging only twice this month, like bookends to the beginning and end of May, and again, I find myself declaring this same simple wish! 

If only making the time to write was actually simple.  I suppose it could be simple, but as I add new layers to my creative work, explore multiplying interests, continue my journey of mindfulness and inner discovery (and journaling privately along the way), focus on family life and strive for better self-care, fitting in writing for Paper And Ponder has become increasingly challenging (obviously so, based on the “sleepy” state of my blog!)  Hopefully, I can figure out how to return to a more consistent flow of writing posts.

In the meantime, I have been reflecting on the wonderfully rewarding experiences and accomplishments happening outside the realm of blogging and other social media posting, and I’m very grateful there are plenty of worthy reasons for quiet stretches in my online presence.

A most exciting realization has been the growing number of opportunities for me to make “ripples” outward, to guide, encourage and inspire others, to make a difference, contribute and finally gain a sense that I am doing meaningful work.  I’ve mentioned before how much I value these types of opportunities.  They used to be few and far between, and I’m so appreciative that they’ve now become part of daily life. 

As the end of the school year draws near, I’ve recently finished my responsibilities as an art docent and as an after-school enrichment teacher.  As much as it was my role to provide students with creative education and enrichment, they, in turn, contributed to what were educational and enriching experiences for me, too!  I’ve shared about my volunteerism as an art docent in past posts, a commitment I’ve maintained for the past 4 years and a role I consider vital as it allows me to initiate “ripples” of appreciation for art and creativity.  This year was exceptionally enjoyable, and I loved the students’ enthusiastic participation as we reviewed a range of art genres and artists such as Vermeer, Homer, Degas, Cezanne, Picasso and Rauschenberg.  One of the classes surprised me with students creating a wonderful thank you poster and verbally sharing what they appreciated about our sessions together.  What a heartwarming moment!   

Another surprise came from students in my after-school papercraft and collage class, another “ripple-making” opportunity.  The activity I planned for our last class was creating collage art on mat board.  Inspired by an assortment of materials, students were free to collage any design or theme they desired.  I provided a few examples and simple templates of hearts, butterflies and fish in case they were unsure which direction they wished to head with their design.  The class was only an hour in length, so sometimes offering a few prompts ensured they could take home a finished item and feel a sense of accomplishment.  At the end of this last class, some of the students sweetly presented me with collages as thank you’s for their fun experiences.  I was so touched by their creative generosity!

(Yes, our daughter was one of my after-school students who gifted me with a collage of hers!)

An even greater “ripple” is my work as a recently trained SoulCollage® facilitator now offering my own workshops in this creative, intuitive process of assembling collaged cards for personal insight and discovery.  SoulCollage® has been amazingly profound for me both personally and now professionally.  I’m excited to share many more details soon!

I offered a "Journey Inward with SoulCollage(R)" workshop a couple weeks ago at Pacific Grove Art Center.

"Ripples” are even surfacing here at home, undoubtedly some of the most personally important ones!  I am becoming a better role model for our daughter, enabling her to believe in her dreams because I’m finally believing in mine and working to make them come true, setting examples of creative empowerment and noticing how she, at a young age, is already feeling creatively empowered.  Just last night we attended the opening of the “Tiny Treasures” miniatures exhibit and fundraiser at Pacific Grove Art Center, and the defining moment of the evening was witnessing pride wash over our daughter’s face when she saw her donated pencil drawing, “Spring Rose,” hanging on the wall as part of this exhibit.  After I had donated two of my collage works, she decided to donate her own artwork!
Melia's "Spring Rose," pencil on watercolor paper

"Nestled," mixed media collage
donated to Pacific Grove Art Center's Tiny Treasures exhibit/fundraiser

As for making "ripples" through blogging, what's your best advice for finding (making!) time to write consistently while balancing all the other areas of your life?  I'm open to suggestions!








Thursday, May 1, 2014

Revisiting Fairyland

Fairy Lanterns "light the way" in Garzas Canyon at Garland Ranch Regional Park
A May Day (well, night actually) hello!  In celebration of May flowers, it seems timely to share this string of recent photographs snapped while revisiting Fairyland (what I consider to be one of the best real life versions near us!)  We delighted in nature’s wildflower gardens while enjoying a hike on Easter Sunday afternoon, a little family tradition of ours.  We were more appreciative than ever to be greeted by plentiful, beautiful flowers along this trail after visiting a couple of months earlier when we had seen sobering signs of the current drought taking its toll on the landscape.  Although rainstorms weren’t overly plentiful, they provided enough incentive to wake up all the slumbering wildflower seeds in time to celebrate Spring.  We noticed 23 different wildflowers on this hike, and there were even more we couldn't identify.
Baby Blue-Eyes, Fiesta Flowers, Lupine, Chinese Houses, Larkspur, Blue Dicks, (Foothill?) Clover, Dove's Foot Geraniums, Star Flowers, Indian Paintbrush, Shooting Stars, Milkmaids, Wild Cucumber, Fairy Lanterns, Miner's Lettuce, Thimbleberries, False Solomon's Seal, Woodland Stars, Meconellas, Poppies, Sticky Monkeyflowers, California Buttercups, Nettles
Fairyland is alive and well!

 Is there a real life Fairyland you enjoy visiting near you?!