Thursday, September 22, 2011


A wild autumn wind came and broke branches, howled around corners, and cast out summer in a whoosh and a whish. Me and little M curled up in each other and listened to the echoing winds and watched the light come in as quick clouds passed over head, letting moonshine in and then away again it went, with only darkness drawing in through our skylights.

The winds brought plenty of windfalls in the way of apples and the last plums at my Father's garden. And so many leaves fell too, not yet fully turned in color.

Many flowers still bloom though.

                              Bright and beautiful tansy

The tansy being one of my favorites, and the sunflowers of course radiating their brightness, like huge smiling suns. Yellow abounds, and some reds and oranges, pinks and even some blues now fading into the grey skies. The greyness or the whiteness, usually of these skies, seem to only heighten the brightness of Autumn's gifts. My new and lovely neighbor knocked on my door today to share the joy of a bright orange mushroom she brought from the woods, and three days earlier, my friend Sara arrived with the most beautiful purple green cabbage, as big as can be, all life force falling from its heart.

Well amidst all that I had a fever, for nights and nights it seemed, but maybe it was just four or five. It felt longer. I had chills and aching bones, and tiny pains here and there that would cause an out -loud ouch every now and then. The pains finally ended up in my head with a three day headache, which drifted away one night leaving a cough behind. Well I thought, that really seems a lot for one week. And as I bark away now, thinking of the month that has passed, I look inside to see if somewhere within is that familiar smile that renews me after each and every little challenge big or small, remembering the magic of all experience, and what grows from it. Yep its there! a small one but its there all the same: )
Its been a full three weeks though.

Before all the hullabaloo, there was this one thing that has had my deepest of attention and had taken away all my writing blog time, as I have been considered all sorts of things about it.

I did a course in Limerick called ASIST. It is a suicide intervention training course. I chose to do it a while ago, when I felt so compelled to try and turn around some of my grief, and perhaps it was indeed time to now offer some help. It was a very in depth and intensely filled course in learning the skills one might need to effectively help someone in a suicidal state. There is so much to say about all that, and how it effected me, and the healing that has come from it, and since doing it. Its a post all of its own at some point, I think.

It was empowering to say the least. ASIST is available to take all over the place it seems. It originates from Canada in the 80's and has been found to be so successful that it has spread.
Here, it is offered by our health system and is a free course, anyone can do it! You can learn to have both the confidence and skill to be ready to see those who need your help, to notice those who are suffering, read between the lines of those that hide it so well, and how to act for those who are really at risk. If I did decide to do some volunteer work in this area, I would looking here at Pieta house.

Needless to say, I have done very little work in the studio, but for the wonderful new little art classes I am doing with two daughter's of a friend, who are being home schooled now. Just a couple of days ago, we had such a time playing with color. I am working with them for a couple of months introducing some important elements of art making through the forest and the changing season, we are taking an adventure together through shape and color, light, and form. This week we had a grand experiment in color, me being quite enthralled by mandala's this past while in my own work, I stumbled upon a post over at Momemt to Moment, a veritable treasure trove of ideas in being creative with children. I was inspired by her post on making mandalas with nature. And thought it a wonderful way for us to work with color, and what an opportunity it is now, with the forest in full color transition.

This is what we made

We began with the darkest colors of our autumn booty, which we had gathered from garden and woods. We talked about what is bright and what is light, what is dark and dull, and put our colors in some kind of order. And as they radiated out we talked about the gradient of color and how they transition, and how leaves are green and turning to red, with oranges and yellows in between.  How different shapes and textures make refections of colors and others seems to suck the color in. 

It was so impressive to watch it grow and so beautiful to finish. The girls were so keenly involved with it, and stayed with it till the end. We painted then, anything we felt inspired to paint having made the mandala. They all decided on trees, and as little such groups do they began to compare their works, and the ever present question, it seems we can never shake off... who's is best?

Would you like to know a great diversion with this??? 

Ask them to sing their paintings!!!!!

Having explained again, that each child paints in a unique and wonderful way, I suggested they sing the feeling of their paintings to illustrate how different they are. I began, by humming a different tune for each work, which I felt described the feeling of the way they create. 
It works a charm and is so much fun.  It brings great appreciation in the individual nature of each one. The girls thought it such a funny thing and sang for each other's work too. Before long I found myself sitting with a wonderful kind of new minimalist jazz vocals happening with three wonderful little spirits.  

At some point then we were joined by Sophie's chicken and her half grown chicks coming in to visit with their cheep cheep and curious wonder at our floor creation: )

A few years ago I did a similar kind of project on an art residency with 5 to 7 year olds. I covered the walls in paper up to about their eye level, and played a game of dance and draw. They each had a crayon and a pencil of their own choice and I played music and they danced to it. When the music stopped they had to draw on the walls. 
It was pretty high energy as you could imagine, but the music was the director. I would begin with Rachmaninov and some fast moving music, bringing about some pretty erratic mark making and then end up with some of Debussy's softest sides, which brought such fluid lines and shape making, and a kind of calm. 
I was so interested at the time, how creative energy flowed and manifested, and unbeknowns to those little folks I was totally learning from them, rather then them from me. I wonder will they remember at all those dancing days with that 'artist' that came to stay for a while: )

It has been a whoosh this September, and really feels like we are coming up on winter faster here. It feels chilly and like halloween is around the corner. 
Everyone is talking about another cold winter, and I am still getting over the fact that summer did not give a lot of sunshine this year. I am making do with color again. And hoping this coming week to be in my studio a lot. Till then here is some pictures of mandalas I made of summer near my studio and winter and autumn last year. This autumn one has sold, and will be on its way soon. 

they are all part of my 'cellular work' pieces. More about that at a later date.

And then I will tell you of little M's day at the farmer's market and some of her new drawings that take my breath away, and will be preparing the magical Milla's parcel as part of the bio regional swap over on Mary's beautiful blog....... 
Till then ........Thank you dear reader, so wonderful to have you visit and look through these days with me xx


  1. My new and lovely neighbor knocked on my door today to share the joy of a bright orange mushroom she brought from the woods

    I love that you live in a place where things like this happen. My neighbors tend to notice nature only when a cockroach shows up in their apartments :)

    I hope you keep feeling better too.

    What I also love about this post is the color and creativity, and the theme of spots and circles that seems to come out in each vivid photo. Great post; it's inspiring!

  2. Wow, I love both the garden mandala and your beautiful painted mandalas. Thank you very much for your praising words about my Blog, although of late I have not been so very creative with the children. Life seems to bring me all the creativity I can handle:)
    It is so lovely to see all the colors of autumn, it is my favorite time of year, yet here in Mexico I will have reach deep within and remember the woods changing foliage in quite meditation.

  3. sooo enjoying that natural mandala and your lovely painting series that is giving me such calm thoughts

  4. Just stumbled upon your blog - what a lovely nature mandala. Wish there was some way to press all of that between huge sheets of waxed paper and hang it!

  5. Gorgeous way of working with the little ones Liz,what lucky girls! That mandala is a wonder in itself : )I love the clover in your beautiful paintings. My first thought when I saw them, was shamrock....Ireland xx