The warmth of the sun shines on my shoulders and the soft breeze gently touches my skin. I am feeling happy & carefree. My body awakens, taking it all in preparing to begin a new day. My route takes me through desert terrain along the Arizona Canal and then through pristine golf greens. It’s like a candy store for the senses!
On my morning rides, I observe. The birds sing their morning songs. I watch closely and with respect, our Arizona wildlife at play….In wonderment I think how intricate life is and I smile. The cute little desert Meerkat squirrels playfully dash about, popping in and out of their burrowed homes…some sprawled out sunbathing, looking so peaceful. The darling Cottontail rabbits sit and watch with their wide dark eyes as I ride by. The ducks, with their brilliant feathers are wading softly in the water as they bob for breakfast while the sweet ducklings tread water trying to keep up. The covey of Quail, with their brilliant headdresses on, rustle in the brush and scatter about. The quirky lizards dart in and out of view.
Occasionally on my morning ride, I spot a coyote or two running through the green belt or resting on the freshly watered grass. On the dusty canals edge, bareback riders often trot by on their gorgeous, strong, and steadfast horses. I have met some lovely humans on my route like Daisy, Jackie, Barbara and a dad with his cute baby in tow. I fondly call him Mr. Mom…it makes him smile. Human connection & learning about one another… what an amazing gift! And oh, the cute dogs I see, always enjoying their morning walk! On rides end, I will stop and pluck some wildflowers when in season, bringing sunshine and cheer to my home space.
On my evening rides, I reflect…the air is calm and settling, peaceful. The sun begins to fade yet still warm, bringing an array of soft colors to the desert. There is a light haze across the green belt and a golden glow to the water. The temperature drops as my path dips into a wash, a refreshing reprieve from the hot desert day. The intoxicating smell of creosote lingers in the air. My mind is at ease and thinks deep.
I think about my beautiful daughters…their gorgeous souls and the strong bond and love we share. I think about, with gratitude, the dear souls that have always been there for me, encouraging me, loving me through this life journey. Sometimes, on my evening rides, I reminisce of my younger days with lyrics of my favorite 70’s & 80’s songs playing in my head… many times bringing heartfelt tears that roll down my cheeks. I think about the sensitive soul that I am and how I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I stop and take in the beauty of the sunset watching carefully as it descends behind the mountains, noticing the gradual change in hue. I feel the warmth of the glow as if the sun was hugging me… I think about our unsettled world, sending that warmth out into the universe for healing. I think about all that I am grateful for, thanking God for this day and the new one on the horizon… a day sure to be filled with hope, opportunity and wonder …another day to observe, feel, love, create, dream… another day to go cruisin’!
I would love to know what your “cruisin’“ looks like! What are you doing during this unsettled time to bring peace, find joy, have fun? Please feel free to share with me in the comment section!
With gratitude and open to discovery, I go walking barefoot in the desert. The desert can be dry, harsh, gritty and vast. The desert can also be inviting, lovely, spiritual and freeing. I have been blessed to live in the Arizona desert all of my life. This beautiful terrain has brought me strength, taught me perseverance and brought great joy to my heart. The desert has expanded my mind, opening me up to possibilities & opportunities. The desert has given me courage to explore, try something new and to be surprised!
“The Art of Surprise”, also known as Intuitive Art, is the creating of space within to explore, giving permission to self to express without judgment. It is about letting go of the idea of perfection … it is releasing, freeing and healing. I often hear, “But I don’t have a creative bone in my body”… But you do and it lives in your soul! Creating is about bringing out emotion and passions from within. What comes from the soul & the heart through the hand to the paper is pure perfection! Sometimes we feel clogged, stuck, stressed …this art practice allows us to move these feelings through, using art mediums to paint, draw, spatter, paste etc.. It is fun and joyful & can be revisited time and again when a little heart and soul tune-up might be needed.
I am thrilled to announce the offering of classes featuring “The Art Of Surprise“! Trying something new may often feel like walking barefoot in the desert, intimidating & tough at first but then the beauty emerges, the view breathtaking and full of surprises at every turn! I am excited to explore and to walk with you … you will be surprised at what blooms! Click on “Classes” to learn more!
…always have been a bit, not overly but enough to want to set out in my teenage years to understand more about this trait. I wanted to embrace my shyness, not apologize for it but was also aware there were things I needed to work on. I began by enrolling myself in a speech and communication class in high school. Giving a speech in front of classmates was a terrifying thought but knew it was needed. I am thankful for the talented teacher and incredible human in Rose A. Nack… a tiny powerhouse of a woman who embraced the strengths in all of her students. While others may have identified certain traits in us as a weakness, not Rose… she saw the strengths in those traits and in us all!
Looking back, I can see the shyness in me as a young child. I had difficulty approaching others with questions, didn’t like being in front of a camera and I liked my quiet time. I have a pre-school report card that reads in the teacher comment section: “Jana enjoys swinging on the swing set during recess most days”. I am sure that was my reset time after interacting and communicating during class. Amazing at that age, I knew exactly what I needed for my little self to recharge.
There are the characteristics of being shy that can hold us back. When it comes to compliments, I love giving them but have had to learn to accept and receive them. Modesty is a shy characteristic but can be to a fault. While I feel being humble and modest is a good thing, I have had to practice accepting what others see in me and my work. Speaking up and standing up is not easy for the shy type. Speaking the truth in love is how I have approached this one, as that feels good and right to me.
There are many positive things about shyness … it can bring a sense of calm to others around you. People who are shy tend to be approachable. I have often been told that I am a good listener and easy to talk to. I truly enjoy learning about others, listening to their stories and really hearing what they have to say. Shy ones enjoy deep friendships and have a hard time with small talk. Spot on! I love my friends and am incredibly thankful for each one of them…they get me and I get them. In a female, shyness may be viewed as gentle and soft… I embrace this, trying not to let the sometimes harshness of the world change this in me. The ability to adapt & overcome adversity …I really like this strength and it has served me well over the years as I experience the challenges that are a part of this life journey.
I am thankful to my dear mom for passing along the shyness gene. She knew first-hand what it was like & she always encouraged me along the way. I am thankful for the gifts and lessons this trait has brought to my life. I see the strength in all of my shyness, it is a part of what makes me, me. Oh, and I still love to swing & I am still shy in front of a camera!
Embrace what makes beautiful you, you!
I close my eyes… I see sunshine beams, blue skies and strong hands. I picture the tiny seeds placed ever so gently and watered carefully. I feel these hard-working hands in the rich organic soil tending to their gardens and crops … the farmers sharing of their land …growing, harvesting with each bundle picked, a labor of love, a work of art, sent out to us to nourish our bodies and breathe life into our cells.
As I begin to wash and prepare, I take a moment to appreciate how these bundles have come to be and the journey they have been on. I then take in the delicious reddish pink color of the stems and the raw beautiful shape of the deep green leaves. The remaining soil that washes away …yet another glimpse of the origin of these vibrant plants once deeply rooted in the earth. I think about the nutrients contained in each stalk. The preparation is peaceful, gratifying…performed with care & gratitude. I am thoughtful of all the precious gifts of the earth… never once taking for granted what we have been given to care for.
Photo: Bundles of vibrant organic Swiss Chard from a dear friend, delivered to my doorstep …another labor of love.
A beautiful song written by Mike Neal, performed by Faye Davis & Mike Neal live from their bathtub, 2012. It’s about the sweet and simple things in life. Enjoy!
“Trading up, trading everything / I won’t mind losing one single thing.
I want my ocean, I want my garden dream / closer now than they ever seemed.
Train long and winding… winding in.
Hanging back, like I was taught / Oh my hometown sure helped a lot.
Wandering eyes, from all but one / and in those eyes I saw the rising sun.
Train long and winding… winding in.
Lay me down in tall grass / Taste it all before we pass / Hold me close one more time.
Warm waters, middle of the night / Ocean waves in soft, glowing light.
Southern breeze, make me sway / Grace above, carry us away.
Train long and winding… Train long and winding…
They pop up after it rains, sometimes in the harshest of environments. They often bloom beautiful flowers, blanketing the landscape with vibrant color… brilliant yellows, oranges, purples and blues. They dance gracefully to the wind, swaying to and fro. They often are mowed down but bounce right back, standing even taller than before!
Some are nutritional, some are medicinal, and some simply bring a smile with their beauty…they all nourish and strengthen our soil. Perhaps these amazing greens are not here to annoy us but rather, they are here on this earth to teach us. Is this just a plant growing in the wrong place? I don’t think so. I think these smart plants know exactly what they are doing!
During challenging times, we look for comfort and search for strength to get us through. What if we begin looking at these plants as a gift rather than as a nuisance? What if we begin to look at these strong and resilient flowering greens not as annoying “weeds” but as warriors… providing us with that strength boost we need to carry on…reminding us to be strong wherever we are planted, to be grateful even for the smallest of things, to never give up and to forever remind us that we all have a brave, beautiful & strong warrior within!
With Strength, Grace, & Love,
I am constantly learning and growing, striving to view all life experiences as gifts to deeper my understanding. I must say that my understanding is being put to the test right now in these uncertain days. I often wake-up thinking this was just a dream. My heart goes out to us all as we navigate through this time. We may be apart but together we stand, even stronger as we stay focused on the good!
Challenging times often brings reflection. I find myself being thoughtful of my blessings. The blessings in my family and friends are at the forefront always, cherishing the beautiful love that lives there. The little things like the funny, laugh out loud text messages from my brother and the sweet, just checking in messages from my daughters and friends. I give thanks for the sunshine, the singing birds and the blue skies. I give thanks for music, cruiser bicycles and the kindness strangers are showing one another. And, I am so incredibly thankful to all on the front lines working tirelessly to take care of us!
I am grateful for my cozy home studio…a peaceful, happy, joy-filled place to be still, create, and reflect. This online place to share my works is a gift. I have no idea how many people visit my site, read my blog or view my artwork and that is ok. If you have found your way here and have explored my website, I thank you! My hope is that on these pages, you will find things that you enjoy, take comfort in, resonate with, make you smile!
In this stillness I also must carry on ~ so I share with you a zoomed-in peek of a large canvas currently on the easel, a work in progress, just like me! Art, an expression of the soul …so deeply personal, so deeply healing….so deeply comforting.
May you find strength in the stillness of this time and remind yourself of the things that move your soul! Please take care and be well!
She was a beauty… hard top, bucket seats, wall to wall carpet, great lines, all packaged in a soft champagne-gray topped off with a running horse medallion. It was my parents first car purchased as a couple with the hefty sticker price of $2,300. The 60’s were simpler times. I was brought home from the hospital in this beauty of a car, in a basket. This sweet coupe was the family car with baby and doggy in tow on most rides.
I remember one longer ride we took. It was after my dad had been preparing for an art show. It was time to hit the road with his creations and we were Colorado Springs bound! Our sturdy and sporty little car was packed to the brim with freshly glazed canvases. To create an extra shelf, the windows had to be rolled down a bit, probably not ideal for my mom’s 1960’s beehive hairdo!
I don’t remember much about the drive or the art show but I do remember that little car filled with my dad’s work. His handcrafted wares, each brushstroke a labor of love with an emotional attachment to each piece. I think often about how my parents persevered to support our growing family, not always easy as entrepreneurs! I admire that he was honoring and pursuing what was making him happy and I admire my mom for supporting that dream. Making it into the art scene wasn’t (and still isn’t) easy! Marketing back then was a pounding of the pavement, in person and by word of mouth.
I don’t know if we came home with an empty car after that art show road trip but paintings sold or not, my dad was beginning to make a name for himself in the art community. And for our ‘65 Mustang, well, looking back, if I were to give her a name it would have been Destiny ~ a beauty of a car, always sturdy, carrying precious cargo… always arriving us safely to our destinations, with a dream of creating and destined for great things! I am thankful to my dad for showing me that honoring one’s dreams and inspirations is important for the soul! And I am so very thankful that he shared his love of art with me! A ‘65 Mustang named Destiny and a daughter following her dreams, still believing in the pounding of pavement and old-fashioned word of mouth … I know my dad would be proud!
The human body has always amazed me. The eyes in particular, I find incredibly fascinating… such complex organs that help us sense and experience yet in a different and special way for us all. I was reminded of this as I began pointing out some subtle variations in colors to a client. She shared with me that she did not see what I was seeing as I was sharing how some shades had more cool blue tones and others had warmer red tones. What one person may see in a creative expression (colors, composition etc.) another person may see in a totally different way.
It is often said that our eyes are “windows to the soul”. I can’t see what my eyes express as they view & experience my surroundings but I sure can feel the widening, softening, sadness, joy, happiness and so on that I know my eyes are reflecting from deep within! Is it the emotion one has as they experience what their eyes view that determines what they see? Do creative souls have deeper emotion while using their sense of sight? Do past experiences play a part in what we see? I don’t know the answers to these questions and I feel this goes way deeper than science. What I do know is that our eyes are magnificent organs and a beautiful gift to behold!
I feel truly blessed to have my sense of sight. I think often about those strong & beautiful humans that aren’t able to use their eyes to see but use their strong sense of touch to navigate their surroundings. I can only imagine the depth of emotion! Not for a moment do I take my sight for granted. I am thankful for the use of my eyes to mix paints, creating, sensing and experiencing, turning these colors into shapes on a canvas. I am thankful for the opportunity to gaze at vibrant desert colors, a gorgeous AZ sunrise or sunset, the soft clouds, the waves of an ocean, the majestic mountains. I am thankful to be able to look into the eyes of others. I am thankful to feel deeply and share what my eyes observe. I see the beauty in that we each have unique views of our surroundings. The sense of sight, you amaze me!
Have you ever found yourself walking about with no particular place to be, no schedule, no phones, no plan? Maybe you have felt this freedom during a vacation or maybe instead, you find yourself needing a vacation from your vacation!
Wandering frees and expands our mind and gives us a much needed rest from all the noise of this world. It is nourishment for the heart and soul! And just as we find the importance in working out and nourishing our body, we must take the time to nourish our beautiful and fragile insides. It can be difficult to tune out, to unwind, and it might feel unproductive and uncomfortable at first. While wandering, there might be a feeling of disconnect. It may take time to fully experience the beauty in wandering! It is truly precious time when we are wholly connected, to self, giving us the ability to see and feel deeper.
Perhaps it is taking in the sights and sounds of nature or getting lost in the colors and textures inside a museum. Maybe it is a delicious bubble bath or listening to your favorite music. Maybe it is curled up in a cozy chair reading a great book or time spent in prayer/meditation. For me, my favorite wandering time is hiking in the desert or getting lost in a painting way beyond the depths of colors. Whatever it may look like to you, the beauty in giving yourself permission to wander revives and energizes! It is a beautiful gift of self care and where there is self care there is a gentleness in spirit.
The beauty in wandering…it is magical, lovely and grace-filled! I hope you find yourself wandering soon, your self will thank you!