Open House this Sunday at Chalk Hill Artist Residency

If you do not have plans this Sunday, I suggest a day trip to Warnecke Ranch in Healdsburg. Address and information below.

I invite you take a peek at a gold rock sculpture, acorn bowls, photography, videos and sound footage from my Shamanic Journey with Deer and to also peek into one of the most exquisite and historic properties along the Russian River. It will be a lovely 80 degrees and a full moon. No question I will be taking my ritual dip in the river.

Each piece was conceived and realized in the last two months while living and working in this other world called The Alexander Valley.

shannon mirrorabove: inside the installation space on Sunday

Yellow Chairabove: stills from a stop animation video gold rocksabove: gold rocks in progressfireabove: who doesn’t sit on the river by the fire naked?

above: playing with an installation idea

acorn bowl                        above: found rock on Valentines Day (no joke)                               on top of my acorn bowl

OPEN HOUSE FROM 1:00-4:00 PM

13427 CHALK HILL ROAD, Healdsburg, CA 95448

Works by the current Artist in Residence Brett Walker on View

Artist in Residency

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blue oak treeOut beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. -Rumi

I begin 2014 with two months at Chalk Hill Artist Residency in the Alexander Valley of California. The program grants me with a charming home and a barn studio on 265 acres along the Russian River. Alice, the fifth generation of Warneckes running the ranch is an artist (Alice’s Art) stemming from a lineage of great creative talent. Alice and her Aunt Margo realized what an exceptional place they could open to artists. Quiet and solitude manifest thoughts, visions and inspiration. The songstress Carol King says she is mere portal for the music which comes to her. With no distractions, a residency can completely assist such work.

During the first week in my new bedroom, a bright full moon came through the window awaking me at dawn. It took until I finally got myself out of bed and walked to the window to realize what the white light actually was. Being turned around like I was that morning explains how it feels to pull out of familiar life and distractions. This residency has quickly become another opportunity to learn more about how I look at the world. I chose to re calibrate my perspective after that moon. It felt like she was poking at my psyche saying, ‘Wake up and Be Who You Are.” I am reminded that I live for these sort of experiences. I had forgotten how alive I felt in India for two months or driving around Ireland alone for the same amount of time. This is rare, unique and a privilege.  Before I arrived I feared I was taking too much time away. Now, I keep wondering what took me so long to get here. Tonight is a New Moon. The Moon is Feminine. The moon will be my keeper for my second month along the river.

BELOW is a visual sense of what I have been up to. The big camera and old-fashioned film gets pulled out starting tomorrow.

breakfast with Rose

First morning breakfast with my rose quartzDuck eggs & duck eggs

morning view

front porch

Above: Morning views

barnabove: Studio

gold rockwork in progress

above: inside the studio

cabinlunch

back home ten steps for lunch

forrest chapelabove: run up to check out light in Forrest Chapel

bay treeswalk down to the river….

river1

river9-3

river2new moon river-3river4

good materialabove: bringing home some ancient artifacts

Fools Goldabove: rocks for piece called Fools Gold

napabove: my favorite time of day to read and daydream

forrest at nightabove: night walk to the Forrest Chapel

moon5above: full moon wake up at dawn

new blue moonI will be in the Forrest chapel way up there in the trees this evening gettin my New Moon ceremony on….

Love has the Power to Overwhelm Everything

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proof of heaven -1                                                             Yellow Moon. October 2013

A significant event this year was an evening listening to Dr. Eben Alexander speak on his account of passing from Life into the Afterlife. I was within a room full of doctors, scientists and spiritual seekers near Stanford University. We sat in front of a 60 year old neurosurgeon and former atheist who could not believe himself what he had experienced. He clearly was there because he witnessed the invaluable lesson of love which goes beyond the rational mind. Nothing gets me more overwhelmingly inspired than honest courage from a changed heart.

Alexander recovered from a coma which by all scientific explanation should have killed him. What he felt and saw as he moved away from this lifetime was so clearly etched in his memory as if it had happened in full consciousness. Scientifically, his brain was in a state completely incapable of storing this memory. He firmly believes this experience was stored in another space within him. As a scientist and atheist, Alexander kept reiterating how difficult this all was to him for a long time.

It is impossible to encapsulate what Alexander described because he himself said it was so beyond any words and sounds trite. He spoke beautifully however and goose-bumps kept popping up all over my body. Alexander affirmed what I deeply  hope to connect within my life and art. I crave to remember that life is short yet infinite when I let go of fear and live with love and light. Darkness triggers my brain but it can not overcome my spirit.

On Alexander’s passage into the Afterlife, he describes entering into an immense void completely dark and infinite in size. He rode on what can only be explained as colored butterfly wings. As he moved into the core, “the light was brighter than a million stars. The pure white light seemed to come from a brilliant orb with mirrored reflections where he was slowly spinning to the music of sacred acoustics.”

He felt like a “fetus in a womb floating within an invisible mother.” Mother was God the creator and the source who is responsible for the making the universe and all in it. He said he felt as if he was being born into a larger world and all he felt was complete warmth, comfort and love. There was a woman sitting with him. She kept smiling with her eyes to not be afraid. This woman he later realized was a sister who had died and had never met…but that is another long part of the story.

Alexander felt that there was, “not one universe but many and love lay at the center of them all. The world of time and space in which we move in this terrestrial realm is tightly and intricately nestled within these higher worlds. The core realm in the outermost is a pure conceptual flow. All worlds are part of the same overarching Divine Reality. From these higher worlds one could access time or place infinitely.”

I keep thinking about what Alexander described as it connects to the key points in that which I have read from other Spiritual texts. He affirmed it is real, relevant and moreover, incredibly important for us to consider as we attempt to shift evil into love and let go of fear and the ego mind on this planet. As he said, “Fear is the basis of the badness. Love has the power to overwhelm everything. Language and that little voice is what get in the way. It should not run the show.” As a neurosurgeon no less who always relied on science, he now encouraged not getting caught up in the 3lb gelatin brain. We dumb things down when we manifest self-will. I have heard this before but I can never try to practice this enough. So where do I go instead? I start with breathing more deeply, meditating, living with gratitude, looking to those who live as givers of generous love and asking my heart what I truly desire in this short lifetime. It is still beyond me that I have this opportunity.

Excerpts taken from Eben Alexanders’ 2013 Presentation and Proof of Heaven, A Neurosurgeons Journey into the Afterlife.

“Take up one idea.”

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“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it live on that idea. Let the brain muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea alone. This is the way to success and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced.”     – Swami Vivekananda Swami

I have spent a lot of time driving back and forth from San Francisco to West Marin in the last six years. On one of these early drives, I discovered a retreat center which is part of the Vedanta Society. I have since spent many silent nights and days on their 2,000 acres of land in Pt. Reyes. It has been a sweet place to learn about my connection to a spiritual practice and how to be at peace with myself. In this year’s celebration of Swami Vivekananda’s birthday who founded the Vedanta Society and really, brought yoga and eastern philosophy to the west, I was reminded of his belief.

Early this Spring, I placed this quote in my 2012 project Journal entitled, Blind Faith. This statement has helped drive all of my recent work which I will begin to share and talk about. In the meantime, here is a pic of my favorite sacred Oak Tree on the Vedanta property. Oak Tree

Mother Divine

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“There is special place in Hell for women who do not help other women.”

Madeleine Albright’s opinion has been running around in my brain this summer. With my new body of work, I am acutely conscious of questioning how I may contribute to helping my race in this short and blessed lifetime. I need my work to reveal and be charged with more honest, interesting and magnetic energy. I will be a woman who navigates to a new height amongst the majority of men in the art world. It is the honest truth that this is a new competitive drive in me. If that is what it takes for me to make the work which is inside of me anyway, so be it. I am just seeing the signs everywhere that I must and will move forward with a rhythm that beats to the spiritual drum of Mother Divine & Mother Earth. This is who I believe truly needs to be heard if our world is to survive. I look at God as a Goddess and I want her to tell me what to do.

I read the cover of the New York times all last week and started to cry. The news was tragically sad and I pictured women’s faces on top of these crazy ass political leaders, oppressors, megalomaniacs, rapists and murderers. I would not be reading the same news if the female spirit was in charge. It is the plain truth but unfortunately it is not the reality.

What do I do to not cut and paste corrections in my imagination but actually deeply move something with my blessing as a visual artist? How do I not ignore what is going on in the world while using my tool as an artist? My work might just change completely.

newsFemale Spirit                           little pics from my journal and the wall of my studio

“Silence Yourself”-Savages

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Brown KSomething I am thinking about a lot as I attempt new work…

“The world used to be silent…now it has too many voices…and the noise is a constant distraction. They multiply, intensify and they will divert your attention to what is convenient and forget to tell you about yourself. We live in an age of many stimulations. If you are focused, you are harder to reach. If you are distracted, you are available. You are distracted. You are available. You want flattery. Always looking to where it’s at. You want to take part in everything and everything to be a part of you. Your head is spinning fast at the end of your spine until you have no face at all. And yet, if the world would shut up…even for a while…perhaps we would start hearing the distant rhythm of an angry young tune and recompose ourselves. Perhaps, having deconstructed everything, we should be thinking about putting everything back together. Silence Yourself.”

2 Most Memorable & Inspiring Performaces

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Frances Ha is a really funny and super sweet film co written and starring Greta Gerwig. The New Yorker review says it well. “With her exquisitely touching spontaneity and the spin of verbal and gestural invention with which she inflects the slightest interaction-and despite her embarrassingly impulsive self-revelations and equally awkward deceptions-Frances is an artist who’s medium is life itself.”

Another unbelievable performance playing at The Marsh in San Francisco is So You Can Hear Me written and directed by Sofiya Marinez. It is a one woman show taking on characters of her teaching days in the South Bronx. I had continual goosebumps and a little anxiety watching her transform into other people 100 feet in front of me. I was blown away.

Sparking Empathy

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It was serendipitous to stumble upon Tillett Wright’s talk: Fifty Shades of Gay last night. This morning we received incredible news for the “Civil Rights Movement of our generation.”

Tillet’s talk is a beautiful one and forces me to remember that I can never ask enough questions. Only then will I find my “Self-Evident Truth.” Humans are not one-dimensional and it is Tillet’s gift to society to challenge this through simple photographs. Tillet left me clapping and teared up after 18 perfect minutes.

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