Lyrical Paintings

I wish I was a soft refrain
When the lights were out I’d play
And be your friend
— Harpo's Blues by Phoebe Snow

Many moons ago, before seventy-five percent of what now occupies my life was either made or invented, I listened to LP records and painted. I took watercolor classes and dabbled in oils and eventually, gave it up.  I often wonder how much better I'd be today, had I stuck with it. Yes, I get it: forget it.

I'm painting again. Now that I've let go of all that I went after when I gave it up, I'm painting again.

When I saw that Roxanne Coble was offering an art journalling course using song lyrics as creative inspiration, I couldn't resist. Songs were my main inspiration when I used to paint and I completely understood her concept and excitement.

I watched all of the course videos, selected an old favorite by Phoebe Snow and then played the videos again as I followed along. Technically, there are a few things I'd try to improve (like painting a straight line when needed) and materials I want to purchase. Emotionally, I can't wait to make another spread and see what memories my choices of music and images arouse.

It's like having a conversation with my younger self and listening to her statements of uncertainty and hopes for the future. I get to tell her that it all works out fine and that she'll be happy and in love. Would I tell her not to give up painting? Meh.


In case you're interested:

Harpo's Blues sung by Phoebe Snow.

More images from Roxanne's Lyrical course on Instagram.


The Secret Message

Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.
— Robert Schuller

Fourteen years ago, I had that Schuller quote made into a wall decal for the yoga studio I was about to open. I peeled off the backing and pasted it up high to face our classes, right above the position where I thought instructors would sit. After I came off the ladder and stepped back a few feet, I realized that my color choice was too light and the words practically blended into the wall. Harrumph!

I didn't want the quote to be a distraction as I easily imagined people squinting to read the writing on the wall.  Luckily, before the first class, I was given an Indonesian-style wood carving that completely obscured the sentence and no one knew of the hidden message.

A few days ago, I came across that quote again and recalled the hopes I had had for my studio and the people it would serve. I had meant for it to motivate folks to look past their physical discomforts (the studio also offered massage and acupuncture) and focus on their hopes of well-being. No one saw the quote but it was always, the underlying intention.

So much has changed in the fourteen years since I carefully positioned, then hastily covered those words.  What astounds me, is that much of what I hoped for during those years that I sat or moved under that sentence, I now have in my life. It's as though, what I intended for others to do, so I did. Curious thought.

This much I do know, when you focus on what you want, not on what you don't want, the journey and the destination are just what you hoped for, maybe even more. Please, may I never forget that.

Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.


Image: A page from my art journal.


Hold That Pose


Sporadically, I join in on a photo-a-day challenge and when the prompt calls for it, I need to photograph an action. I use a gorilla-pod for my iPhone and Slow Shutter Cam, to capture the fleeting movement.

Not just the beginning of a yoga spin, but the movement during my clockwise rotation. Not just the end of it, which looks deceivingly like the beginning.


I pay a lot of attention to the end of a pose so the jump from a downward dog to Uttanasana is often a blur. It's a treat to be able to technically freeze the action and see that it's clearly not as graceful as I imagined.

The time spent shooting and editing each picture, posting it to Instagram, and receiving a flurry of responses all take place in less than a day. We're all on to the next action and the next photo, all 300 million of us. Snap, shot, post and done.

I wouldn't do it if it weren't so easy.

My actual relationship with yoga is quite the opposite. The beginning and the end are a blur to me. I don't know when I actually started and I certainly have no idea when it will end. This middle period though, feels like one long practice session. There are phases of inactivity and activity but always, the passion remains. I've spent a lot of time with yoga and I'm going to hold on to as many poses as I can.

I wouldn't do it if were too easy.