Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Drawing Evolution

I've been thinking that the narrative piece of my thesis project needs to include some exploration into the origins of art-making in my life so, I went and looked through some of my old sketchbooks. It was pretty neat to see how differently I see things today.

As far back as I can remember, I was encouraged to draw. My mom always had crayons and markers on hand when I was growing up. I was given sketchbooks for christmas and I learned all about the different grades of pencil lead from my dad. I used to go with him to the small art supply store in our town. It smelled of linseed oil and new paper in there and I loved going because my dad would let me pick out a few pencils, kneadable erasers and stomps (used to blend the pencil on the paper).

I always liked drawing people and faces. In one of my earliest drawing memories, I'm drawing a portrait of my dad and trying to decide if his mustache belongs above his mouth or below it. I think I may have tried it both ways to see which one worked best.

Later, I enjoyed making up characters in my drawings. Like this one drawing that I did when I was 9:
(note the Jonathan Taylor Thomas poster in the corner, LOL!)
Here is another face drawing done around the same time:
Art was always my favorite subject in school, but I first learned to draw at home from my dad. He taught me that learning to draw was really about learning to see. Learning to see the dark areas and the lights, the shadows and the highlights, learning to see not only the shape of something, but also it's depth, and how the light hits it. He taught me that drawing from life requires going beyond what the mind first encounters and labels, in order to look more deeply and see what is really there.
(These two drawings I did when I was a teenager)
In high school, I spent a lot of time drawing in my sketchbooks, drawing faces from magazines (like the ones above), flowers and still life's. I especially loved drawing eyes. Every once in awhile, I still catch myself doodling eyes and flowers in the margins of notebooks....
Have you ever kept a sketchbook? What kinds of things did you/do you like to draw? Did it change over time?


Monday, October 25, 2010

Dear Life


Dear Life,
I really enjoyed writing to you last week, so I thought I would do it again this week. First of all I have to say thank you because you provided me with all of the things I asked for last week! You provided me with the time I needed to get done all I'd set out to do...somehow, even though I always think you won't, you always pull through. Thank you for proving me wrong once again. I also want to thank you for aligning me with yoga class podcasts by yoga teacher Hillary Rubin. This morning, I did the 60 minute "Your Life is a Work of Art" class. It was a wonderful way to start the day and the week. It helped to remind me that you are a work of art, Life. A full, vibrant canvas of beauty, passion, texture, darks, lights and love.
Until next time,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Friday Five: Five New Items

I woke up this morning feeling bummed that I missed putting up a Friday 5 list yesterday. Then I remembered, "hey, this is my blog and I get to make the rules for it!" Wahoo! So, on this beautiful Saturday morning, I present to you my Friday 5 list!

In this week's Friday 5, I am sharing with you 5 brand new items now available in the Art Asana Shop:

1) "Root Chakra Collection Notecards (Set of Six)"

I created this collection of blank notecards from three of original paintings that were inspired by exploration of the Root Chakra.
The Root chakra is an energy center located at the base of the spine. Activities that engage the root chakra include standing yoga poses, spending time in nature, and physical movement. Activating the Root Charka creates a sense of grounding, support, abundance, physical health and stability while dissipating fear, restlessness, and disassociation from the physical body.

Each card measures 4 1/4 by 5 1/2 inches and is printed on photo quality matte white card stock with archival inks. Each card comes with a matching white envelope and both are sealed in a protective clear sleeve. I send them to carefully and colorfully packaged in a protective mailer!

2) "Root Chakra-Symbol Notecards (Set of Two)

3) "Root Chakra-Affirm Notecards (Set of Two)

4) "Root Chakra-Yantra Notecards (Set of Two)"

5) "One Wooden Stand"

I had my brother make these little wooden stands to go with my Art Asana 2011 Desk Calendar. They also can be used as stands for one of my notecards to create a "mini-print". Originally, he made these wooden stands as place holders for the table numbers at my wedding! Currently, I have 11 of these in the Art Asana Shop.  The grains colors and cuts of the wood vary on each piece. Each one is unique! 

Stay tuned for next week....I have plans to finally unveil another surprise for the shop that I hinted at a few weeks ago!!! I can't wait to share it with you!

Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

(Guest Post) Six Ways Yoga and Art Connect

Last week, Courtney, from the wonderful blog Yoga G33K asked if I'd be interested in having her write a guest post about her experience with a Yoga and Art Workshop she was a part of! I was so excited about the possibility and to hear about her experience. Today, I am excited to share it with you! Welcome Courtney, Thanks so much for sharing your story with us!

Hi! My name is Courtney and I’m visiting from www.YogaG33k.com where I write about yoga and all kinds of geeky stuff! I recently modeled yoga poses for an “Art and Yoga” workshop and wanted to write about the experience here at Art Asana! Eliza’s blog is always bringing art and yoga together in the most organic way and this workshop spoke to that so strongly. The students grabbed their charcoal and sketched madly as Blythe and I held yoga poses for minutes at a time. Throughout the workshop, several parallels between art and yoga arose and I wanted to share them with you.


Art and Yoga both invite….

  1. Intention. Whether you’re on the mat or at the easel you always begin with an intention. We set an intention at the beginning of the workshop and no matter what it was it could’ve been translated into the yoga practice or the sketching process.
  2. Breath & Body Awareness. Yoga may incorporate the use of breath and body awareness in a more literal sense, but this is a powerful way for your yoga practice to enhance your creativity and art. Being aware of the space within you and around you is very powerful on the mat and when being creative.
  3. Relaxation. Both yoga and art allow for a space of non-judgment and peace. Letting go of your own expectations as well as the expectations of others is common ground for art and yoga. During the workshop it was easy to see the students opening up and letting their walls come down with each moment that passed and I’m sure you find the same experience at home on the mat or when you’re being creative.
  4. A Practice. In yoga and in your creative space, there is a sense of coming back again and again to “practice”. Rolling the mat out and setting out your art supplies brings a sense of building on where you’ve been. A little bit at a time each day and you build your skills and confidence.
  5. Movement and Fluidity. The brush across the canvas, catching a fleeting moment with your camera, and flowing through a vinyasa practice all invite you to be in the moment and flow. Being too rigid in either practice is considered something to avoid!
  6. Energy Awareness. Being aware of the energy around you is something that makes art and yoga pop! A piece of art that captures the essence/energy of a moment is the piece that you connect with and yoga postures each hold their own energy that the student connects with as well. Being able to read this energy as an artist or a yoga teacher is immensely helpful.

So there you have it! I hope that combining your creative outlet with yoga will enhance both practices in every way! Namaste.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What will you teach the new generation about creativity?

{"Create" Original Mixed-Media Painting}

Over at Scoutie Girl it's We Scout Wednesday and this week Tara Gentile asks,

"What will you teach the new generation about creativity?"

Ironically enough, as part of the thesis paper I'm working on, I've been exploring the idea that we are all innately creative. Every single one of us possesses an incredible creative capacity. Have you ever made a meal? Decorated a house? Made up a song? Written a sentence? Done an experiment? Spun around the dance floor to your own rhythm? Made a baby? Made someone laugh? Made something else? Congratulations, you have created! You are a creator! You have flexed your creative abilities! I believe that one of the main features of being human is our ability to create. In the past, our species has created fire, tools, methods of communication, social systems, and incredible structures to live, work and worship in, just to name a few. We come from a long legacy of creators. But over the course of life, we often become disconnected from our creative power, disconnected to this element of ourselves that is ultimately our link line to a greater power source. Our creative abilities disappear from our view under the layers of who we think we are.

I believe that our work in this life is to unearth who we really are from those layers. Each experience we encounter becomes yet another stage to perform that very act. Part of the fun of life is in the re-discovery of who we really are: bright, expressive, full, creative beings.

So, I will say to a new generation, to you, and to myself:

Do the work of unearthing the creativity that you possess and that is your birthright. Know you already have all the tools you need to find it and that doing so will make the world a better place. Make art. Make music. Practice. Dance. Move. Take in beauty. Make a meal. Make up a song. Make a positive change in your life. Make an offering to someone. Play. And don't ever give up.

What will you teach the new generation about creativity?


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Applesauce and Artlessness

I'm still cranking out writing/ideas/brainstorm papers for my grad study and although it's about a topic I love, I am feeling a little Artless, especially with no clear frame of time in which I'll be able to get out my paints again....Not to worry though, I'll be back at it soon enough... 
For today's post, I thought I'd share what I did this past weekend during a few quick days at my parent's home in Vermont. I was still pretty sick from last week, but I did get out for a little late season apple picking. With those apples we made homemade applesauce!
{me, bundled up to pick apples...it was pretty cold out}
{dropped apples floating in puddles left from the nor'easter the night before}
{back at home, we cut the apples up and let them soften in a pan over heat}
{once the apples were soft, we put them into the "squeezo" machine. We had to push them down into the funnel with a mallet as we turned the hand crank}
{that pushes the apple guts out through a hole}
{and leaves all the sweet, mushy goodness to fall into the bowl}
{and then you have warm, delicious applesauce. And the whole house smelled good!}
This is one of the reasons I love fall. It was also fun to do a project that had an end in sight and that I was actually able to finish! 
Now, back to work on my grad study....

Happy Tuesday!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Dear Life


Dear Life,
You have been moving along very fast lately. I can't seem to keep up with you. If you could slow down a little bit, I would really appreciate that. If you could give just a little more of the time I need to finish some of the papers for my graduate study, time to make some new art work and update my etsy shop, and time to create better planned yoga classes this week, I would be forever grateful. Also, if you wouldn't mind doing laundry for me, that would be really awesome too. Thanks so much, Life.
With Love and Graditude,

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Five: Glimpses from my week!

I am sitting here wondering what happened to this week!


It's been one of those weeks that has felt as though I can't keep up with life. I am still a little bit under the weather, but getting better. For today's friday five, I thought I'd share five glimpses into the happenings in my life this week:

1. I have been hard at work on a part of my thesis this week. It has taken precident over my art-making for the time being as I try and make some good progress on it. I'll go back to art-making soon and then float back and forth between the two.


2. My brother has been in town! He spent the summer in Alaska, but is back for a bit and it has been a blast having him around!


3. We made delicious homemade pizza

4. We went to a back yard barb-e-que (perhaps the last of the season) dressed in warm sweaters and sat around a campfire. It was wonderful.


5. I received my "Registered Yoga Teacher 200 hours" id card in the mail! I'm official! Hurray!

I hope you had a wonderful week and have a wonderful weekend!

"Regard everyone you meet as a purposeful character in the movie you've scripted...." 
~Alan Cohen in Wisdom of the Heart
Impossible to Embrace
On Tuesday, Kristen Walker, reader and blog friend (can I call you my blog friend, Kristen?) asked for advice in embracing the people in our lives that seem impossible to embrace. It's such a good question, I decided to write about it in a post! It's one I struggle with as well. 

I too have/have had people in my life who know how to push my buttons, drive me crazy, and make me angry and upset. They are the people who set me off so quickly, that all my well intentioned beliefs of being compassionate and seeing the good in others, go right out the window before they even have a chance. 

I recently read this wonderful article in the newest Yoga Journal (November issue, I think) by Sally Kempton that had some great advice about dealing with people in our lives that we have difficulty with. The article was referring to family specifically, but I think the advice could apply to anybody we come into contact with.

Everyone is a Teacher
In the article, Sally suggests that we begin to regard everyone we meet as a teacher. The most difficult people in our lives often have the most to teach us about ourselves. She suggests looking at the people we have difficulty with and asking ourselves: "what do these people show me about myself? What do I have in common with them? What do they teach me about how to live?"

She says that the answers to these questions tell us a whole lot about ourselves and help us to not only accept and embrace the other person a little more easily, but also accept and embrace those parts of ourselves that we dislike. 

To me, that's what "embracing the whole spectrum" means. Not always easy to do, but it's something we can experiment with...


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This Wave


"Consider all the pain and all the pleasure
You have ever experienced,
As waves on a very deep ocean which you are..."
~The Radiance Sutras, Lorin Roche, PH.D

After all the excitement of last week, I am feeling pretty under the weather with the onset of a nasty cold.
So today, I am doing my best to gracefully accept even this wave of my ocean, to embrace the full spectrum of my experience by being present with it, by being gentle with myself and by giving myself permission to be "down and out".
What are you doing today to embrace the full spectrum of your experience?


Monday, October 11, 2010

Experiencing the Sea

{the Corwith Cramer}
On Board the Corwith Cramer
This past week, I spent my time sailing down the coast of Maine to Rhode Island on a tall ship sailing vessel called the Corwith Cramer. The Cramer belongs to the Sea Education Association, an educational sailing program that offers college students the opportunity to study at sea. My husband works for the Sea Education Association (SEA) and every year, the Cramer makes a transit from it's yard period in Rockland, Maine back to Woods Hole here on the Cape. This year, I was invited to join my husband and the crew of the Cramer to go on the transit. I was entirely nervous/excited about this experience because I had never been on a sailing vessel and never been so far out on the ocean that you can't see the shore.

{bow of the boat}
On Watch
It was a fabulous experience. I was put on a "watch" crew and every 8 to 12 hours, our watch was on deck for 4 to 6 hours, hauling sail lines, standing watch at the bow of the boat (on the look out for other boats and/or obstacles to avoid), steering and maneuvering the ship through the waves.

When we weren't "on watch", we were either eating a meal, cleaning the soles (floors) and heads (bathrooms) below deck, doing dishes in the galley (ship kitchen) or sleeping in our racks (6 foot long bunks).

{bunks in the main saloon--I slept in the one on the right!}
No Matter the Weather
The very first watch that I stood on, was especially adventurous, as we bombed through a storm. Winds, rain and waves pitched us all about, but it was actually better to be on the deck in the rain and wind then down below because the air and the ability to see the horizon line helped me not feel so sea sick.

I was wearing my father-in-law's foul weather gear (which was a bit big for me) and a harness, which could be used to clip in to lines we set up to walk from one end of the boat to the other. Waves crashed around us and sometimes spewed water onto the deck as the boat rocked back and forth and up and down. We scrabbled around the boat, putting sails up and taking them down. I didn't know what I was doing, but I just followed the directions of the amazing Mates/leaders who were in charge. It was wild and exhilarating. It was one of those experiences, were I got a glimpse of mother nature's power and realized how tiny I was in the grand scheme of things, just one little part of a much greater whole.

{looking up one of the masts}
Drawn to the Sea
We did get some beautiful weather also. I experienced a dawn watch (3am to 7am) in which the stars spread flawlessly across the sky, faded into soft grey and then spat morning pink onto the canvas of a new day.

I now have a much better understanding of what draws people to the incredible, powerful, changing, loving, energy of the sea.
{the Cramer sailing away. goodbye!}


Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Corwith Cramer
{photo credit: Chris Seward on Flickr}

"I think back when I wrote: 'Soon I will be going to sea. What will happen?' Now I know. I was about to be inspired." ~Luanne Rice

Today, I am embarking on an adventure. 
I shan't be long. 
And when I return, I'll tell you all about it!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Big Dreams and Gratitude


I have some pretty big dreams, goals and things that I want out of my life.
These goals include (but are certainly not limited to):
*building and growing "Art Asana"
* becoming an Anusara-Inspired yoga teacher
*moving back west (for a little while at least)
*living for a year somewhere in Europe
*traveling to India again (I do after all, have to cut off my dredlock...have I told that story? Hmmm..I will..)
*(someday) having kids and building a home with my husband

For me, part of looking forward to the future and staying steady on the path to get there, is remembering the beauty and wonder that is right in front of me now and appreciating all that I have in the present moment. 

So, today I am grateful for:

*Autumn arriving in rain and a coolness that invites me to wear a sweater and drink Tulsi tea

*colorful zinnias and my blue chairs to brighten up the grey day

*Walks on the beach with my dog (which we do again, now that it's fall! It's not allowed in the summer)

*people who believe in me even when I don't believe in myself

*wonderful teachers, mentors, and friends

*good books (currently these include: Wheels of Life by Anodea Judith, Coaching the Artist Within by Eric Maisel and Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende)

*yoga students who tell me my class made a difference in their day!

*impending adventures (more on this tomorrow!)

For all this and so much more, I offer my deepest gratitude.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Five Yoga Blogs That Rock!

This week my blog has been pretty yoga heavy, but really that is a reflection of my life this week: yoga-full! I just got back from teaching my last class of the week and I'm ready for a nap! I really do love this teaching thing. I get so riled up about yoga and the alignment and themes in my classes. So emphatic and energized, that I light up like a firefly! I get more excited talking about yoga than I do about just about anything else I might talk to people about (yup, even more than art-making, although that would definitely be a close second!) My students might even think I'm a bit crazy because of it. Hopefully they find it endearing.

Blissfest - 24

Luckily, I'm not alone in my enthusiasm. Recently, I've gotten a lot of inspiration and enjoyment out of reading yoga blogs. I've listed some other ones in a past post, but here are five new ones that I've been enjoying:

1. Yoga G33K
I love the quirky, down to earth approach to yoga talk and life at Yoga G33K, which they pronounce yoga "geek". Right away I felt at home visiting this blog. Plus, I have a little bit of blog envy about her snazzy wordpress theme background!

2. Bernie Birney
Bernie is a certified Anusara Yoga teacher and I find out about her blog via the Anusara Facebook newsfeed (a inspiring source of quotes and information, if your feeling like a new FB friend). Bernie makes me laugh, she's a slight bit sarcastic, and was once called an "anti-yoga teacher" (as she says in today's post), yet she still hits on deep, fundamental, life-altering truths in a way that is real, raw and absolutely beautiful. She's also just recently committed to writing on her blog daily. So I will be committing to reading it daily!

3. Bay Shakti
Another Anusara yoga resource (I can't help it, I love Anusara!), Bay Shakti is a blog that is actually dedicated to the Anusara community in the "Bay Area" of San Francisco. It features interviews with teachers from the Bay area and discusses events that are going on there. Even though I live quite far from the Bay area (give or take 2,000 miles), I still enjoy what they have to offer! I'm even going to use their most recent interview with teacher Darcy Lyon about her art and it's relation to yoga, in my graduate study research!

4. Naturally Nina
Naturally Nina was introduced to me by a friend from college (and reader of this blog---Hi K!). Nina, just married the brother of another guy my friend and I know from St. Lawrence. (It's like one of those sixth degrees of separation kind of things). She also happens to have a beautiful blog where she writes about her life and yoga practice. She just recently completed a yoga teacher training at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health (another place that I have deep love and respect for---but that's another story for another day). She writes in these beautiful little snap shops, a few sentences that paint a whole picture! (This is a quality I would like to develop in my own blog writing!)

5. Neesha's Blog

Neesha Zollinger's Blog is a brand new blog (She started September 17th!), but I can't wait to see where she goes with it. So far, she's shared some insights into Anusara yoga in a beautiful, poetic way. She is a fabulous teacher and a warm, engaging writer, so I'm exited to follow along with her on this new blogging adventure. Neesha was my very first Anusara yoga teacher when I lived out in Jackson Hole, WY. I had no idea then what an impact this yoga would have on my life. No idea that it was the beginning of something magical. I am grateful to Neesha for introducing it to me.

So that's it!
Happy Reading! Happy Friday! Happy Weekend!


P.S I have decided to implement a new format for my newsletter, making it short, sweet and weekly. And of course whenever change presents itself, instinctually, I want to run and hide. Fear streaks through me and I procrastinate like crazy. I've been meaning to write the newsletter all week, but I keep holding myself back. But today, I'm going for it.

I'm stating it here on the blog, that by 8am this evening, my newsletter will be in your inbox!

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