2019 Word of the Year: Community

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Last year, I realized quite deeply and profoundly how isolated I had become in my life, especially as an artist. This was a big reason I signed up for a class at Portland Community College in the fall, which almost immediately confirmed my suspicions. I do enjoy choosing a word to focus on for the year, and so focusing on community came to me quite quickly in light of what I realized last year.

In addition to choosing a word to guide me, I’m also starting the new year with Mel Robbins’ Mindset Reset program. This program is truly life changing with small, science-based, actions to improve one’s mindset. (Join anytime, no cost, no sales funnel). In the first week, I identified manageable goals for the first quarter in six areas of life: body, work, money, love, friendships and self worth.

My mindset deteriorated quickly in the fall when I gave up my summer outdoor exercise routine. This realization is how I found myself in late December clicking my way into signing up for a 10k in March. I am not a runner, mind you, but one day last summer I discovered myself jogging in the forest with a smile on my face and nearly tripping over the path in shock about it. So before I could overthink it, I signed up to motivate myself to exercise outdoors in the winter. This is a hurdle I have not overcome in 7+ years of living in the Pacific Northwest. Guess what? It’s working like a charm. I never feel like it, I moan and groan three times a week, but I put on my shoes and I do it anyway. See that photo up there? Taken yesterday on my longest run to date: 3.7 miles. It’s worth it. I’m not crying five days a week anymore either. The forest air truly lifts the spirit and helps the mind process.

Basically, in summary, you can expect to see more writing from me here on this blog in 2019, my friends.

2019 Calendar

luce means light…a reminder of your inner light for those days you feel darkness.

volo means flight…a reminder that your dreams need action.

ombra means shadow…a reminder that if we ignore our shadows and fears, they will only grow larger.

12 curated images invite you to pause, reflect, breathe, dream, plan.

Luxurious 100-lb. paper printed locally in Portland, OR.

These calendars are created with love from the moment I took each photograph, through the curation process, from choosing the name to the wrapping/shipping. Your purchase supports my small business and my small business supports the small printing business that beautifully prints them.

Based on what my beloved repeat customers tell me, I advise buying two: one to gift and one to keep. :)

Behind Every Beautiful Thing, There's Some Kind of Pain

We are in the thick of autumn. I learned two weeks ago that in Chinese medicine, fall is a season for grieving. I've been feeling that emotionally and energetically. Not only as I watch the trees change colors and shed their leaves, as the flowers go to seed and turn brown, but I'm truly feeling like a lot of my identity is dying away as I continue to adjust to parenting a teenager and thinking ahead to the next phase of my life (should I be so fortunate is forever and always the unsung lyric in my cells). 

Every day brings an internal sense of loss as I watch families around me with their younger children out playing, out trick-or-treating, out walking home from school with their tiny backpacks and tiny hands entwined with their mothers' hands. Every time I attend my art portfolio development class at the community college, as I learn about other artists' paths, as I learn about BFA and MFA programs, as I sit among the 20-somethings with their whole lives ahead of them to ponder such decisions, some of my own identity as an artist dies away.

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Any notion of my path ahead is shrouded in mist this season. As I research career paths and talk to people with clearly defined career paths, there is another layer of grieving who I was, who I am, who I am to be. Every time I tune into the news, I grieve for the suffering in my city, my state, my nation, my world. 

Yes, I would agree that fall is a season for grieving. I'm learning to lean into it, to recognize it and call it by its name, to trust that it's leading me somewhere anew (for example, to artist Richard Tuttle, this interview with him showed me I have some kind of energetic connection with him), to understand this is the natural cycle of life. 

"I always aim to live seasonally anyway," I say to myself.

So. What is soothing my grieving heart?

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1. Making art (read the story of this collection here).

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2. Observing nature (this is my ginko tree flowing in the fall breeze).

3. Pure love.

4. Meditation.

5. Taking action for the midterm election. It's my personal dream is to see 90%+ turnout nationwide so we can see where we really stand in this country. No more of this half the population staying home during our elections. Please vote. 

6. This quote:

If I am not for me, who will be for me? 

And when I am for myself alone, what am I? 

And if not now, then when? 

— Rabbi Hillel, Pirkei Avot 1

New Year Thoughts

I trust you are settling in to the new year, at whatever pace is best for you. I love the energy of January and I continue to try and pace myself, because it is still my nature to want to do too much in one day. My family and I went on a long overdue vacation the week before Christmas to San Jose del Cabo with some good friends.

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Although I was sick for most of the trip (boo), I did make it out on a paddleboard on our last full day, fulfilling a dream and a promise I made to myself every day on the radiation table back in 2015. Sick or not, it was glorious to be warm and listen to the ocean day and night. You can see more of my Cabo photos here.

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The colors have definitely lingered in my soul and my "word of the year" is show up: to the canvas, to my body, to my business, to my community.

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I really struggled with a lack of an inspiring, well lit, painting space in 2017 which is why I did a lot of watercolor work at my dining table instead of acrylic on canvas. After we took the Christmas tree down, the empty corner in the living room by a wall of windows was calling my name. So I've set up a mini studio right in the living room. It's a bit strange painting here but the light is so worth it. I've got two paintings going at once now, this pink/golden one and of course, I started the new year with an ocean blue palette.

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I don't think I ever told you but the very first layer of every painting I have ever made is full of secret messages like you see in the upper left corner of that collage up there. I intentionally infuse the painting with the energy of the messages. I let it be a mystery afterwards too usually, I paint over and trust it is all tucked in each layer. But when I shared this part of my painting practice with a friend last week, she thought it was a very important part of the story of each painting. This year, I am going to keep track of the secret messages for each painting and include them for each new owner on a handwritten note. 

In addition to painting, I've been doing some purging in my kitchen to support ease in cooking this year. I've been treading lightly into yoga before bed because I'm nursing a shoulder injury. I'm 2/3 of the way through planning the first quarter of the year for my business, with a heavy focus on finally getting my wholesale program up and running. By the end of this month, I will finish out the plan and also choose my core four to support in 2018 politically. I wrote a future letter to myself on New Year's Day, do you do that? It's not too late if you're interested. It's your year, your pace remember. I also printed some family photos from our vacation and framed them, all that's left is arranging them on the wall achieving a goal from 2017 when I sadly realized I'm a photographer with no family photos on the walls. 

Finally, back around to painting, I found this interview I did from 2016 and I love the way I described creativity as opening space to let your soul shine through. I'm experimenting with painting in different sizes than my standard 30x30. One idea I'm toying with is doing custom mini paintings with your intentions for the new year layered in.

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What do you think of that? Interested? Write me an email and let's talk about it.

Gift Guide for Nature Lovers

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I'm excited to share a collection of gift suggestions for the nature lovers in your life. I hand picked each item, sourced from independent artists, makers and small businesses, largely (but not exclusively) in the Pacific Northwest. Each item is under $50 and as a nature lover, I would be thrilled to receive any of these items myself. Let's check out my picks!

These dreamy meditation stones by artist Jenifer Lake are hand formed, cleaned, incised with one of a kind designs, fired twice, glazed by hand, & given a little blessing. The ceramic pieces weigh beautifully in the hand, they feel smooth & grounding sitting in your palm, lending themselves to a quiet, peaceful feeling when held. $45

This Relax-Fast Tincture by Fettle Botanic Supply & Counsel is like meditation in a bottle. It's a soothing, specialized selection of calming herbs to dial down the tension. $28

These single stem bud vases from Notary Ceramics come in matte white (shown), glossy white and matte grey on brown. Their lovely studio is right in my own neighborhood in walking distance. $44

My 2018 calendar, fede. speranza. amore., is a daily reminder of the faith, hope and love that is all around us and, most importantly, within us. Twelve calming, peaceful images celebrating the beauty of nature printed on luxurious paper sits on your desk or wall reminding you to tend to yourself, nurture yourself and love yourself. $28

This shibori moon tea towel from non-perishable goods is made of 100% hemp and comes in two styles: mama moon and baby moons. Hand-dyed with indigo blue and handcrafted. non-perishable goods embraces an authentic + artistic approach to a nourished life. they believe in the power of the handmade and cherishing the crafts and traditions which remind us of a simpler, slower time. $32

The Prussian Palette from Hushwing Watercolors contains two pans of handmade, professional grade watercolor and includes Prussian Blue and Colonial Raw Sienna. Each pan is magnetized and packaged in a metal travel tin. All orders are shipped with a handwritten swatch card, reusable hand dyed silk ribbon, and a small sheet of 100% cotton rag handmade paper to test your watercolors with. Made by an artist for all artists, learn more about the process here. $35 (Dear Santa, Are you reading my blog?? Love, Jessica)

Perfect for reading on the couch by the fire, or even in the tub, Devotions is a staff pick at the venerable Powells Books in Portland. This volume of poetry was carefully selected by Mary Oliver from her entire body of work. "Oliver is a much-needed voice in this time, with her praising of nature, the value of life, and silence." (Richard C. at Powells). $30

This holiday sampler from Fire Brew contains their signature set of all-natural, fiery health tonics, a bookmark of serving suggestions, and a Fire Brew shot glass. This whole food health tonic can be taken preventatively or when you feel "the crud" coming on during the winter. Learn more about the benefits here. $28

Ahh, this NW Rainforest Grey Salt Bath from Live Botanical is the perfect cure for the chill of winter after a day out hiking. Grey Salt hand gathered from the French coast using ancient Celtic practices.  The result is 82 trace minerals and high moisture content to achieve the most benefits possible from a bath.  Essential Oil Blend of Lavender*, Spruce*, Fir*, Cedar*, and Jasmine*. Created to open the airways, clear the mind and calm the spirit. $22.

These brass, organic triangle earrings from local favorite Betsy + Iya remind me of leaves dangling from a tree and make a statement. Approximately 3.25 inches long. $44

Finally, I suggest this e-book, Messages Everywhere, from Nissa Howard, who I have worked with extensively and have the highest regard for her work and wisdom. Nissa teaches by guiding you through the wilderness of your inner world. This interactive PDF contains 31 prompts to guide and inspire you with the dance between your spiritual experience as a human being and your human experience as a spiritual being. Instant download. $45

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2018 Calendar

My 2018 calendar, fede. speranza. amore., is a daily reminder of the faith, hope and love that is all around us and, most importantly, within us. It sits on your desk or wall reminding you to tend to yourself, nurture yourself and love yourself.

Gift this calendar to yourself and all the people in your life whether they are celebrating the faith, hope and love around them, or need to be reminded of its presence in our world.

Order yours today, these are in stock!

They will ship by December 1st in time for Christmas gifting!