Tag Archives: Creative Expression

A Bear in Winter

I’m drinking my morning wake-up coffee in a darkened house, sitting by the warm glow of the gas fireplace. Outside the wind is howling and it’s dark. Really, really dark. In the northern realm, we’re getting about nine hours of light from sun up to sun down. Most days, I am up before the sun is.FullSizeRender_1

I welcome the slower pace this time of year. There is plenty of time to catch up with indoor projects that were left languishing during the high months of summer. There’s time to spend in quiet contemplation, reconnecting  to my personal touch points— discovering where I am on my life path and where I want to go. Still, these dark days of deep winter can be troublesome for me.

The scarcity of light during the long, cold months nudges me into a state of near hibernation; I go deeper into my self-imposed cave each day. Since I also suffer FullSizeRenderwith a high degree of Seasonal Affective Disorder (aptly named SAD), this holing up indoors  has me longing to swaddle myself in soporific fleece and curl up into a state of cozy semi-consciousness to await spring’s return.

Oh to be a bear in winter, to close my eyes to the dismal dark and sleep through until the light returns.

Since I haven’t mastered the art of shape shifting (yet), and thus won’t be morphing into a bear any time soon,  I’ve decided instead to buy a full FullSizeRender_2spectrum light. I’m sure my failing eyesight will thank me as much as my moody self.

In the meantime, while I’m waiting for my GLAD lamp (Gobs of Light All Day)to arrive in the mail, I’m painting my blue period.


Autumn ~ The Season of Rich Reward

The Goddess of Autumn is holding court in all of her autumn finery and I am, gratefully, a guest at her table.


I think that autumn is truly becoming my favorite season. In my realm of the northern hemisphere winter predominates for six months, from mid November to mid May, leaving the remaining seasons to share the other half of the year among them. Spring bulbs often get nipped by a late, last frost, summer seems to be the most mercurial of them all–with occasional low temps that feel almost like winter, and then, almost overnight, fall is upon us and tender perennials wilt in the cold nights of early September.

Yet, every so often we are blessed with an autumn such as this year’s. This is what I’m talking about when I say I’d gladly trade a month or two of early winter for a lengthier fall transition.I suspect it is a fitting analogy to my stage of life as well. I would much rather linger in this sweet spot of relative health—physical and mental firmity—than slide too soon into a lengthy old age.


So for now, I am living in the moment, enjoying all that I have to be thankful for, including the rarity of fall days with temperatures to rival summer’s best (and minus the humidity). I am drinking in the beauty of deep orange, red, purple and gold with which Mother Nature has dressed her hair. I am relaxing in the misty morning sunrises and rosey hued sunsets. It’s like finding the pot at the end of the rainbow and discovering it’s brimming over with jewels and gold bullion. I feel a sense of enrichment during this time of the year more so than any other. I feel a sense of accomplishment, and a sense of possibility, a space to expand into for the future.

As I head into the dark half of the year, a time for turning inward and staying close to home and hearth fire, I am taking this moment of richness and rewards reaped, to ask–what next?too-soon-september

If you have been following the journey of the Dark Moon Lodge, we have come to our fourth and final task. Click here to learn how to sustain your life of enriching experience.

*Previously published in shorter version at Sage Woman Blog

The Art of Self Expression


Winter Dream

I have to admit, retiring from the 30 mile commute that used to begin my work day has gone a long way toward helping me appreciate the quiet beauty of winter in my northern realm. Listening to the wind roaring down the chimney, while sitting all cozy-comfy next to the fireplace working from my laptop is not so bad.

Watching dawn break on a light but steady snowfall I can’t help but feel at peace. It’s a perfect day for sipping jasmine tea (my favorite) and creating some art.

One of the best things about art journals is their flexibility and portability. I can create art with nothing more than my journal and a pencil or pen.

On days when I’m feeling the urge to create, but I’m not feeling ambitious enough for easels, brushes, water containers, paints and mess making – I can reach for my colored pencils, crayons and markers. When even those tools are not inspiring me, scissors, glue and some old magazines will do.


Mixed Media Collage

All this is to say, your art is what you make it – you being the key ingredient. For those of you who have entered the Dark Moon Lodge to experience the  art of self expression, it doesn’t matter so much what you put on your pages, just that you create the pages. Scribble, finger paint, doodle or cut and paste – it’s all about you.

This page began with the photo of flowers cut from a magazine and glued to the page. I had a poem I’d torn from an old book (don’t panic, I purchase books in very poor condition for this purpose). Before gluing it down, I turned it over to see what was on the other side – low and behold, it was exactly what I wanted to express that day. This often happens and I’m never sure if it’s just coincidence or something more.

I added a watercolor wash around the cutouts using water soluble crayons. I went over the flowers and leaves using colored pencils, then emphasized with black Pitt Pen marker, To give it some depth, I sponged on green & gold paint using a paper doily as a stencil.

On days when I do have my water containers, brushes and paints out, and I already have a big mess on my hands, I’ll often prep pages to use for art journaling. Any time I squeeze too much paint onto my pallet, rather than letting it dry up and go to waste, I use it to make backgrounds for future journal pages – even if all I do is scrub it onto the page with a brush or my fingers. I even clean excess paint out of my brushes this way. It doesn’t always have to be a background; I may cut or tear pieces of it for collage elements.


Finger Painting

This began as random, overlapping handprints (acrylic paint) on a wet surface that I’d previously painted with gesso and let dry. I used a bright pink Sharpie to make outlines of the patterns I saw. It looks very floral to me.


Bubble Paint

This technique came from an activity with my grandchildren. I tinted bubble solution using food coloring, and we spent the afternoon blowing bubbles onto paper.

So,  what do you feel like expressing today?

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