What Inspires Me?

IMG_0283That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the topic for March’s Blog-o-Sphere Think tank is a monstrous one.  What Inspires Me?  Whoofta….where do I begin? How all encompassing is that question? And yes, I signed up to write about this topic because it means so much to me.  However, I’m going to limit my response to just one thing and one aspect within it.

As an artist, my answer is one that may seem trite.  But it isn’t when you think about the scope of it.

What inspires me?  Nature!  It is at the top of the list.  Let me explain why.

My dad was a landscaper.  I consider him to have been an artist who worked wonders with landscapes of the homes in the town where I grew up.  My work is heavily influenced by my observations of him working his magic.   Manicuring an evergreen from something that was unruly and overgrown to a finely coiffed thing of delicate beauty, turning an unsightly back yard into a lush setting, taking great care and respect toward everything that grows.

Just last week a dear friend brought back a gift for me from her visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s (FLW) Taliesin West.  A book filled with quotes from the man himself, FLW.  The first of his quotes that captured my attention was:

“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.”

The next quote that spoke to me was:

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.  It will never fail you.”

Where my art jewelry is concerned, those two statements are very true.  I found my artistic voice once I started creating shapes from things in nature.  Our backyard aspens have become the models for many of my pieces.


As I prune our aspens, I save various branches to serve as my models.  The details preserved in the leaves and branches help me to capture them in metal.  I refer to them often as I work.


The graceful way they flow out from the tree is what I try to capture in the cuffs I make that are part of my Botanical series.


I don’t limit my inspiration to aspens.  Yet I do incorporated them frequently in my works.  I think these photos exemplify what influence and inspiration our aspens provide.  A single leaf is as unique as our fingerprints.  The details of the veins that bring life to every cell within the leaf.  God’s beautiful creation embodied in a leaf, a branch, a tree.  I find it wondrous.  So my work, just as things are in nature, is unique.  No two pieces of my work are identical because they are hand made by me.

I feel truly blessed that I can escape to our back yard and soak in the beauty of being in the great outdoors.  A view of Pikes Peak is in the distance.  During the summer months, I enjoy the whispers our Quaking Aspens make with those leaves.  The fresh, clean air with clouds traveling across a turquoise blue sky.  The occasional whinny of a neighbor’s horse.  One of our bassets batting at me for attention as I try to drink it all in.  Sure, a lot of artists say they are inspired by nature and yes, I am one of them.  It cleanses and refreshes my soul, my imagination, my creativity.  Just one of the many things where I find inspiration.

Now lets see what my fellow bloggers had to say on this topic.

Andes Cruz:  https://andescruz.wordpress.com
Pallavi Gandhi: https://studioat605.wordpress.com/
marie bell ::  www.pencilfox.com
Tosca Teran:  http://nanopod.me/2015/03/11/inspiration
Catherine Witherell:  http://happydayart.typepad.com
Beth Cyr – http://bethcyr.com/blog/
Allegra Sleep: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/allegra-sleep.html?tab=blog
K. Skiles Studio: http://kaskiles.com
Shelagh Blatz: www.designsbyshelagh.com/blog


What would I really like to learn?

December’s topic, for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is “What would I really like to learn?”  I think I want to embellish this topic by adding there are areas of my life where I would like to improve and increase my skills.

I find this a tough question, because there are so many things I want to study and master the techniques.  2014 has been a great for me, because I took a couple of metalsmithing classes that challenged me and invigorated my creativity.  Along with that learning spurt, came the realization that I need to focus on and practice the new techniques I learned.  Of course, that makes taking on a new task not only difficult but a bit impractical in my mind.

However, in 2015 or sometime in the relatively near future, I would like to learn how to do some of the following, along with improving what I already do:


1. Granulation.  I want to learn how to do this.  In my opinion, Harold O’Connor is the master.  This is a technique where very small gold balls, aka granules,  are fused to the metal (usually sterling or pure silver).  Just look at the detail in this ring that Harold did.  It takes a ton of patience and is a tedious process, but as you can see, the end result is stunning.  One of the many key success factors is:  do not melt the gold!  Let the components reach the right temperature where the fusing takes place.  For the past couple of years, Harold has scheduled classes at a Denver studio.  It seems like each time I have a conflict with my schedule.  Maybe things will be different in 2015?

2. Meditation. I want to improve my meditation practice.  Unfortunately, I just don’t make the time.  That’s the problem.  I know the benefits of meditation.  Now I just need to incorporate it into my daily routine.

3. Drawing.  My ability to transfer imagery from my mind to paper via my hands needs work!  The designs I create for my metalwork are rough sketches of what I would like to create.  Fortunately, those sketches give me enough to complete the metal works.  However, I want improve this skill.

4. Focus.  Do you have a hard time eliminating distractions that keep you from getting things done?  I do.  I think it’s also known as procrastination.  I know how to avoid it, but some days, the computer beckons or the dogs want attention or I just want to veg in front of the television.  Yep.  Do anything other than the task at hand.  Then when I finally focus and put my mind to it, I finish things and realize it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  The end result is satisfaction with the accomplishment.  Nice.

5. Marketing.  In addition to my day job, I have a business.  I make Art Jewelry.  I love working with my hands.  Creating what I call personal forms of adornment.  I am so grateful that several galleries represent my work.  However, I am ready to expand and find new venues.  That’s where marketing comes into play.  I’d like to think I’m pretty good at this social media stuff, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like.  My conclusion is I need to improve my ability to market what I do so my work can be represented in other art venues both inside and outside of Colorado.

There are plenty more I could list.  As I look at these, they almost seem like goals or resolutions.  My preference is to think of these as commitments I will make to myself for my future.


Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers have discussed on this topic:

Andes Cruz:  http://andescruz.wordpress.com
Catherine Witherell:  http://happydayart.typepad.com
Pallavi Gandhi: http://studioat605.wordpress.com/
Tosca Teran: http://wp.me/pigO-up

Seasonal shifts….Do you enjoy the changing of the seasons?


I’m getting back on track with the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank this month with the topic “Seasonal shifts….Do you enjoy the changing of the seasons?

I truly enjoy the change of seasons, especially when I live in a place where these shifts are quite evident.

Spring’s arrival announces the rebirth.  I love to watch buds form and new life burst forth.

Summer signals maturity.  The fruit of spring’s blossoms emerge.

Fall brings a wonderful transformation. I am fascinated by the beautiful colors of leaves changing.

Winter provides a time for restoration.  It is as if everything is at rest, preparing for what is to come in the spring.

Now let’s see what my fellow Think Tank participants had to say on this topic:

Andes Cruz:  http://andescruz.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/seasonal-shifts/

Pallavi Gandhi: http://studioat605.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/october/

Robyn Hawk: http://flyviewsandreviews.blogspot.com/

Catherine Witherell: http://happydayart.typepad.com

Tosca Teran: http://nanopod.me/2014/10/20/seasonal-shifts/

Shelagh Blatz http://www.designsbyshelagh.com/blog


What if?

Dan & Kathleen @RedRocks

This ‘selfie’ was taken at Red Rocks on October 2, 2014 as Dan & I were looking forward to hearing Christian artists, Casting Crowns, Mandisa and Sidewalk Prophets.  I added the cute little graphic and posted the photo to my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts using the hashtags #CastingCrowns and #RedRocks.  Within an hour, the official Casting Crowns Instagram account had clicked on the ‘heart’ icon for our photo and I was so excited.  Then I had my “What if?” moment.  How excited would I be if God clicked the heart to show his love for us?  Immediately I realized He does.  Every day God hearts us.

May the peace and love of the Lord be with you now and forever.

Do you carve out any periods of solitude?

HDR 2 of 3

August’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is: “Do you carve out any periods of solitude?

Yes I do!  LOTS!

This topic came to mind for me as I was reading the July 26th passage from Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance.  That daily reading was titled “Discovering What You’d Like to Do, If You Ever Had the Time”.  It made me wonder how many people actually take a few moments, minutes or even hours in their day, just doing something they want to do in complete solitude.  As a result, I suggested this as a topic for our blogging cooperative and our leader, Ande Cruz, chose it.

I think, as with most aspects of my life, I am probably the one off from the norm.  I consider myself lucky in this regard because I am comfortable being alone.  Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy being around others, because I do.  It’s just that I learned how to enjoy being by myself early in life.  I am an only child.  As a youngster, I was able to keep myself entertained by coloring, riding my bike, playing on the swing set….there were a couple of other children in our neighborhood who were close to my age, but they were boys!  If I didn’t keep up, I didn’t get to play with them because I was a girl.  So I found ways to entertain myself.

As I grew up, I continued to gravitate to solitary activities.  Art.  Sewing. Playing the piano. Yoga.

At this time in my life, I have embraced the quiet time in my studio where I can listen to music and immerse myself into the Zen of creativity.  I have always loved working with my hands.  For me there is great satisfaction in spending time alone, immersed in my thoughts with the occasional basset wandering in for a bit of attention.  I find it soothing and relaxing.

Mediation is something I started to do several years ago.  There are so many benefits to that practice.  It requires that you find that private sanctuary where you can spend a few moments and rejuvenate yourself.  Generally I am accompanied by one of our bassets as I try to quiet my mind and go inside myself, which can be challenging.  Yet, when I can find a mantra with beautifully serene music, I can find that stillness to meditate.  I am always amazed by how rested I feel afterward.

All in all, I feel fortunate because I think I have a lifestyle that allows more quiet time than most are able to find.  If I didn’t have those moments of solitude, I think it would have an adverse affect on me.  Periods of quiet stillness refresh me.  I consider them to be vital to my health and well being. Those precious moments are perfect for prayer too; they allow me the time to give thanks for the many blessings I have in my life.  In my opinion, once this awareness comes, you just cannot live without it on a daily basis.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers had to write on this topic:

Andes Cruz:  http://andescruz.wordpress.com/2014/08/20/solitude-august-blog-o-sphere/

K.Skiles Studio: http://kaskiles.com/2014/08/20/artist-retreats-and-solo-time/

Catherine Witherell:  http://happydayart.typepad.com

Tosca Teran: http://www.nanopod.me/2014/08/20/blog-o-sphere-august-periods-of-solitude

Beth Cyr: http://bethcyr.com/blog/2014/8/19/blogosphere-think-tank-august-topic-solitude.html


The importance of animals in my life.


July’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is: “The importance of animals in my life.

I suggested the topic to our group because it came to me one morning as all three of our basset hounds were on the couch with me.  Some way, some how, each one managed to be touching me.  One on my lap.  Now realize bassets are not lap dogs, but they think they are!  And the other two laying so they were touching my side or had their head on my knee.  All I could think of was how blessed I am to share my life with these wonderful dogs.  I have earned their trust and love.

Animals have always been important to me.  I seem to have a special connection with dogs.  It’s hard to explain, but I can read them and they me.  There is a silent communication between us.

I love coming home to be greeted by enthusiastic howls and tail wags.  They bring a warmth to our home, in addition to tons of fur balls.

On those days when I feel a bit down, they sense it and do what they can to cheer me up.  Quorra will do her playful girl dance.  Newt has a quiet presence and just leans in to touch me gently.  Thor, the youngest of our pack, even has his way by batting at my leg with his ever so large paws.  It’s his way of saying “Hey, I’m here for you”.

My life is filled with laughter because of their antics.  I know a special love and bond that we share.

If medical studies are to be believed, they enhance my health.  Some days they can be a bit much as the manage to be speed bumps positioned directly in my path.  What that tells me is they want to be near me.  It is the basset way.

I cannot imagine my life without dogs.  I have had one since I was 5 years old with only a few years of absence for my entire life.

Of course, I have great affection for all forms of wildlife.  And I have loved horses since childhood too.  However, those who have had the greatest impact on my life have been dogs.

We have a stable pack.  They understand that Dan & I are the alphas.

When I read about people treating any animal as disposable, and even worse, abusing them, my heart breaks.  I know I cannot rescue every mistreated animal, which is why I think I spoil ours.  I want them to know how much they are loved and cared for and I know they understand.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers shared on this topic:

Andes Cruz: http://andescruz.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/animals-julys-blog-o-sphere/

KSkiles Studio: http://kaskiles.com/2014/07/20/animals-and-inspiration/

Catherine Witherell:  http://happydayart.typepad.com

Tosca Teran: short link: http://wp.me/pigO-sC

Shelagh Blatz http://designsbyshelagh.com/blog


A Quote That Changed Your Life

June’s topic for our Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is: “A Quote that changed your life

I cannot think of one single quote that has been life changing for me.  However I do have this one that has resonated with me for years thanks to Henry David Thoreau:  “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

The first time I heard this quote, I was in my 30’s.  It symbolized hope.  I was working in the insurance field at the time and I was not very happy.  I knew I wanted to do something else and one day the courage came to go back to school and get my degree in a field that I love.  Throughout all of that, and even now, I know that if I take the necessary steps (advances confidently in the direction of my dreams), I will achieve that goal I seek (I will meet with a success unexpected in common hours).

Now that’s pretty darn cool!

Let’s see what my fellow bloggers shared on this topic:

Andes Cruz: http://www.andescruz.wordpress.com

KSkilesStudio: http://kaskiles.com/studio-updates/

Catherine Witherell:  http://happydayart.typepad.com