Monday, July 26, 2010

Presenting: Creative Living Experiment - The Sequel


It's time.

I'll miss this space, but I bought the URL and I've been paying for Squarespace since January. Please come join me at my new digs:

I look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Post-Vacation Blahs

morning sun at Cap-des-Rosiers
(across the road from our motel)

It seems my trip to the East coast has left me in a tender space. After a week that brought soul-filling moments of peace and contentment I've slipped into a space of envy and dissatisfaction. It happened
after last year's vacation too.

Maybe it's Mother Nature's doing, she brings me back to my core and sometimes she invites me to stay a while and entertain Life's Big Questions. Or maybe it's just my disgruntled reaction to a return to work and schedules vs. the freedom of a summer road trip.

Whatever it is, my intuition is telling me to scale back to my list of proven
Basics and that means a little less time at the computer and a little more time taking care of myself and my home.

My intuition's pretty smart that way, I think I'll listen to it and see what comes.

See you soon.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Belle Gaspésie

view from lookout on the way up to Mont Saint-Alban's
observation tower
- Forillon National Park, QC

I'm back from my trip to the East coast and easing into post-vacation activities like work, chores and even writing here. I still marvel at the scenery taken in during our five days in Quebec's beautiful Gaspésie.

I'll be back with a trip report and a few favourite photos soon. In the meantime I thought I'd share the one above, taken on a climb up Mont Saint-Alban in Canada's Forillon National Park. It still takes my breath away.

Belle Gaspésie, I am smitten.

Friday, July 9, 2010

After the Flow, The Creative Ebb

work in progress - untitled

After the creative high comes the inevitable crash.

June was all about doing: setting up a new Web site, taking flying lessons in creative entrepreneurship, expanding connections with like-minded people, busting through artistic comfort zones and producing new paintings, conjuring up, planning and scheduling new projects for the fall. It was a full-on trip of creative momentum and energy.

Enter July.

July surprised me with a considerable shift in energy and is whispering to me about being: sitting, writing, observing, experiencing the present and letting go of to-do lists and expectations. It's also shifting my thoughts from the outward matters of business, networking and creativity to more inward matters like the home, roots, family and nature. It's a slowing down, a return to the core after a flurry of external activity.

I won't lie, there's a part of me (most likely an irrational one) that's afraid I've lost June's creative flow forever; luckily another part of me is practicing trust that this creative ebb is all part of the process and necessary to replenish the well.

Maybe it's simply time to embrace flow of a different kind for a while. I'm choosing to run sit with it and see where it takes me.

PS - I'll be away from this space for a week or so as I take a break to soak in some salty sea air, but I'll be back the week of the 19th - maybe even with that new Web site I've been promising! See you on the flip side. xo

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sweet Summer


"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability." ~ Sam Keen

It seems a stretch of hot humid days is upon us; today's creative momentum manifested into a burst of of morning activity that gradually transformed into blissful afternoon slumber.

Sweet summer. Bring it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Heeding the Creative Call

(12" x 6" on canvas)

I am bursting with creative inspiration. New ideas, ideas revisited, ideas in the making... they're all coming up in the form of insights, dreams and journal entries. It's creative momentum at its best I tell ya, exhilarating and scary all at once!

I've been here before, but this time I feel a renewed energy and optimism - a whisper of belief that maybe, just maybe, I can make some of these ideas happen.

It's time to heed the call.

What whispers are calling you?

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Work Complete

Midsummer Blooms - a work in progress

I show you many works in progress here, but I realized that I rarely show you the same piece once it's finished. That's probably because most of the time it never reaches that point.

Up until now if I didn't finish a piece in one paint session the chances of it ever being finished went from slim to none. Why? Because I was afraid of screwing up what I had.

Last week I took my unfinished Summer Solstice piece (above) to my art class and decided that with the intrinsic support of the group and my teacher I would walk out with a finished product. My frustration of having unfinished paintings sitting around the studio outgrew my fear and I decided to trust the process.

Turns out it really didn't take much tweaking for me to pronounce it complete, but the experience of pushing through and the satisfaction of getting it done were tremendous. Here's the end result:

Solstice in Bloom - a work complete
(see how I even changed the name in the process?)

How do you create? Do you usually finish a piece - whether it's a painting, a sculpture or a short story - in one session or is your work spread out across time? Do you find it difficult to pick up an unfinished piece for completion?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

One Year Ago this Saturday in June

One year ago on this particular Saturday in June, I married D. Today I weep with joy and gratitude at the myriad of moments from that day that are still so crisp and fresh in my heart and mind...
  • drinking champagne and orange juice with my chick tribe before the morning ceremony, realizing that I'd be OK no matter what because I had this amazing support network of women in my life;
  • seeing D. for the first time as I walked down the aisle to a jazzy Moon River, breaking into a grin that lasted the entire day;
  • swaying my hips to the jazz trio's rendition of Miles Davis' All Blues during the signing of the register;
  • holding D.'s hand and feeling him squeeze it nervously while he spoke to our guests at the luncheon;
  • catching a glimpse of friends and family working diligently to prepare our home for the evening cake-cutting party while we were having our pictures taken outside, J. and L. setting up the bar, Mom vacuuming the dog fur from the couch and windowsill;
  • reading contributions to our garland of wedding wishes over and over - laughing, crying and feeling overwhelmed by Love;
  • watching guests have fun with the homemade photo booth;
  • Cassie chasing her tail in the middle of the living room dance floor to Footloose;
  • D. searching out this song in the MP3's, leading me into an impromptu wedding dance, friends & family singing along in serenade;
  • feeling content and loved on so many levels.
I could go on and on, but I will spare you and leave you with a few of my favourite photos instead. All of them were taken by my beautiful Squam-sister and friend Kirsten Michelle.

arriving to the ceremony, chauffeured by Sis in the Mini Cooper

the I Do's

our friends and family are gorgeous!

sunshine and smiles

Cassie love

impromptu wedding dance
(this is one of my favourites!)

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Dark Side of the Moon

Is it Saturday's full moon? Was it yesterday's earthquake? Or is it the seemingly high number of bizarre accidents and incidents in the city this week?

These past few days have left me feeling discombobulated, off-kilter and distracted.

Is anyone else out there feeling it?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Welcome Summer

work in progress: Midsummer Blooms

Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all's right with the world.
- Ada Louise Huxtable
Happy Summer Solstice. I wish you many days of jeweled balm and drunken belief.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Feeling Alive and Grateful

cowboy boots and vintage tile
(feeling creatively inspired and alive makes me do bold things
like wear my cowboy boots to the office)

June is turning out to be a very productive, insightful and creative month with an abundance of ideas, inspiration, action, rest and play. I feel alive and grateful.

I've been...
  • working diligently on my new Website, one hour at a time, hoping to launch at the end of this month or the beginning of July - stay tuned!
  • incubating an idea for a Winter solstice event
  • enjoying the oodles of inspiration, momentum and practical information coming from Kelly Rae Roberts' Flying Lessons, trying to digest it, formulate it into goals and slate it into future time slots
  • witnessing individuals expand their comfort zones and spread their creative wings, inspiring me and no doubt others to do the same
  • taking breaks from the computer, spending time with a good book or with my Honey to balance it all out and recoup from intense outputs of creative energy
  • exploring and experimenting with various forms of structure I could practice to help bring some of my creative ideas to fruition
  • savouring the first local strawberries and fresh vegetables from the farmers' market
  • planning a trip home to New Brunswick with a side trip to new hiking destinations
  • thinking up new experiments and blog posts, jotting down ideas
  • catching glimpses of something in the making, another significant milestone in my creative journey that I can't yet pinpoint or explain
  • taking in the goodness of summer-like days, ready to welcome the season officially with open arms
Despite the fullness of the past few weeks and what could be perceived at busy-ness I feel content and at peace. Life is good.

How 'bout you? What leaves you feeling alive and grateful these days?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Scenes of Summer

A few images to celebrate beautiful weather and the sweetness of summer...

lady slipper in morning sunlight
(taken on our first hike of the season!)

sky lines


two of my favourite peeps

strawberries and Saltscapes
(dreaming of a trip home to the East coast and the salty sea air)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Sudden Influx of Creative Possibility

It seems that flying lessons has spurred me into an expanded creative orbit of possibility with so many ideas and actions I want to take that it's exhilarating and overwhelming all at the same time.

a braindump of creative goals

The past few weeks have been a flurry of creative ideas, opportunities, to-dos and micro-actions, followed by a few micro-crashes.
I'm not sure how to deal with it all, but until I figure out a system (or accept that I won't) I've been working through it as follows:

  • I write everything down: ideas, to-dos, what-ifs, questions, references, blog addresses, book titles, etc. Better have it clutter my desk than having it clutter my mind.
  • I write micro-actions on my whiteboard and erase them when they're done. Satisfaction ensues. (I seem to enjoy the soothing white space left on the board when I erase them vs. the increased clutter of lines when I cross them off.)
  • I set loose weekly and monthly goals. They may not always be realistic, in fact, they may be overly optimistic, but they give me a sense of focus and help me practice discernment and patience. Not all things need to be done immediately, some things can indeed wait.
  • I run with momentum when it's there. If I'm on a roll and the energy's high I go with it knowing that it most likely won't last. I accept the flow.
  • But I try to get to bed at a decent hour and allow myself time to unwind with a novel or some deep breathing to stop the creative monkey mind from taking over. I get excited about my creative projects and when the adrenalin's pumping could easily work on them late into the night - and sometimes I do - but it will catch up with me. I need to be aware of that.
  • I listen to my body and mind. If I'm feeling tired or struggling to focus or concentrate I stop and rest, knowing that the energy will come back. I remember my Basics and recharge. I accept the ebb.
This has been working for me for the past few weeks, but I'm not sure how effective it will be without injecting a bit of structure, whatever form that may take. Being a self-confessed productivity geek, I'm thoroughly enjoying the prospect of experimenting and figuring out what works to get things done.

How do you deal with an influx of creative ideas, possibility and to-dos?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Adventures in Abstract Painting

I'm taking an abstract painting class and it's pushing me out of my comfort zone both in my painting and in my ability to call myself an artist.

The good news is I'm slowly feeling that comfort zone grow with each class and each new painting as I learn different techniques and glean knowledge from my more experienced classmates. It's been good.

I'm still discovering my style and preferences. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to settle on just one and I think that's ok. Or maybe a preference will eventually show itself as I continue to play.

I thought I'd show you what I've been learning...

bloom blue


this is a work-in-progress replica of a piece in
Rolina van Vilet's book The Art of Abstract Painting


unnamed, a work in progress from my last class
where we practiced image transfers


Thursday, June 3, 2010

On Fortuitous Doubts and Insecurities...

something about Mary

I signed up for Kelly Rae Roberts' e-course, Flying Lessons: Tips & Tricks To Help Your Creative Business Soar, and resisting it greatly.

I love it. I know I want it. I believe it's the next step in the path I want to forge in both my artistic and work lives. But I've been blindsided by fear almost to the point of tears and all I can say is WTF?

This is not about the course. The course so far is amazing.

I suspect it's more about resident doubts and insecurities at even thinking that I could be a successful artist or a businesswoman. I knew they were there, I guess I just never gave them such a perfect opportunity to all show up at once. I guess it's time to deal.

Wish me luck?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Photography Month @ CLE Comes to a Close

Would someone please tell me where the month of May went? Seriously?

My Photography Month experiment is now at an end. Although I missed out on some of the things I wanted to do, I still consider it a success. Why?

Because it prompted me to pick up my camera. Even better, it helped me redevelop a lost reflex to reach for the camera and play. Just play.

I illustrated my posts here with images.

I googled a bit and found sites with tips for using point and shoot cameras (see here and here) and photography quotes accompanied by great landscapes (here).

I searched the house far and wide for my user manual to see how I could play with my manual settings. Unfortunately that's as far as I got 'cause I couldn't find it. (I was sure I saw it after the move.) But I was ready to play - and learn!

I reflected on photos, how they impact us and why we take them. I reflected on photography and how it's changed in the digital age from film, and even more from the age of Ansel Adams who lugged a limited number of plates up mountains to take pictures. I thought about how disposable it's become and is that a pro, a con, or either depending on the context?

All in all it was a fun experiment; I hope you enjoyed it too. And who knows, it may even seep into June if I can find that user manual. In the meantime I leave you with a few snapshots of the intoxicating peonies that grace my home these days. Till the next experiment...

happiness in a bloom

grace in a jam jar

pink explosion

center in focus


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Shadow Puppet Fun

one blank cement wall + perfect sunset timing
+ silly daughters and their mom
= shadow puppet fun!

running woman

tree pose

lopsided heart


Mom & daughters peacing out

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Joys of a Trusty Point and Shoot

My name is Stephanie and I own a point and shoot (P&S) camera. Her name is Matilda, she's a Canon PowerShot A590IS and she serves me well.


I used to post a lot more photos here on my blog. Then I began hanging out with a bunch of wonderful people who had nice (read: fancier) cameras and did all sorts of beautiful artistic things with them. So I became intimidated (self-imposed of course!) and stopped playing with my little Canon P&S. No more photos for Stephanie, or if there were photos there certainly weren't as many publicly displayed here.

Hooey. C'est fini ça.

Although there are things I can't do with my little Matilda that I could do with a fancier camera, there are many things
I can do:

I can play with colour, light and composition.

girly lamp

I can play with lines and shapes.
I can capture flare.

I can capture images of my favourite peeps, places or things.

D. and Cassie on Blue Mountain

I can stick it in my pocket or my purse for easy travel or access.

I can use my macro setting to take pictures of interesting details.

Hosta no 74

I can photograph my artwork.
I can illustrate a quote, a feeling or a story.

shades of grey on Bennett Lake

Plus so many things I haven't tried yet.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing the fancy cameras. In fact, someday I foresee owning one and delving into more technical aspects of the craft.

But today I needed a reminder that even with a simple point and shoot I can play and experiment;
I can illustrate my emotions and stories; I can take pictures that bring me pleasure or capture the essence of something I see. And so can you.

Do you have favourite point and shoot photos? Drop me a link in the comments if you do; I'd love to see them.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How I Experienced "A Vision of Squam" 2009 (or On Pushing Through Your Fears...)

A Vision of Squam 2009 promotional postcard

Liz Kalloch from Athena Dreams Design is posting wonderful write-ups from artists who submitted work to last year's Vision of Squam art show to describe their experience. A few of us were first-timers dealing with fears, insecurities and joyful courage throughout the process.

I invite you to head on over to see what
yours truly had to say...

Monday, May 17, 2010


I am basking in love and friendship from this past weekend. Sentences escape me, all I can offer you is a stream of words that come to mind to describe it:
family, friends, new baby smell, Cassie, communal party preparations, getting our groove on, merriment, smitten, disco, Imagine, emotional, party, laughter, fun, food, dancing, good times, warmth, appreciation, quiet, morning coffee, family walk, baby poopers, peace, love, celebration, home, contentment
Seriously folks, still basking.

Too busy working the room and passing out Swedish meatballs on Saturday night I've unfortunately no pictures of the '70s party for you today; I'll see if I can get a few shots from others who thankfully brought their cameras!

The weekend was much more than the party though. I leave you with a few snapshots of other favourite house-warming weekend moments...

Ashlynn and Grandma Woods

Sunday morning family walk to the beach - D. and Cassie chillin'

green leaves on blue sky


Ashlynn with Uncle D. and Auntie Steph

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Matter of Photographic Perception

"Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications,
offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution."
- Ansel Adams