Monday, April 30, 2012

30 April - May Eve

Celebrate as the ancient Celts did, bringing in the light half of the year on sundown May Eve, the beginning of Beltain. It is a grand time for merrymaking, weddings, dancing around the May pole, welcoming the Fairy folk back.
Each Day in the Year of the Fire Dog, #92
So for the next few days, gather flowers to leave on your friend's porch, share Mead around a bonfire, feel the expanse of the summer ahead. Live a little.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pastepaper Papierglyphs 2

Here is the recipe I used for these paste papers. There are many different variations that you can check out.
1 paste paper I have begun to draw on, stay tuned
1 part cornstarch to 7 parts water
Mix 1 part starch to 1 part water and let it stand while the remaining 6 parts of water is heating. When it boils, remove the water from the heat and pour in the slurry of starch and water while stirring constantly. When the mixture is smooth and translucent let it cool. You can then add color - watercolors, dry pigments, or acrylic.

To paint, dampen text weight paper, plop on some paint, and using a hake cover the paper. Then you can go in and create the textures and marks using your fingers, combs, sticks - use your imagination and have fun.
Book of Light, page 171, 9x9"

I M Pei

Today is the birthday of my favorite architect, I M Pei. Whenever I return to Washington I love to go to the National Gallery of Art just to experience the space. While Ilived in Boulder I would  often be inspired by this view (sketched on one of the postcards) at the west portico at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. 
Each day in the Year of the Fire Dog, #88
Pei drew inspiration for this building from the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings of the Ancient Pueblo Peoples, where I discovered petroglyphs for the first time. He said, he wanted it to look "as if it were carved out of the mountain". Learn more about this beautiful building at National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pastepaper Papierglyphs 1

Here is an invitation to play, especially if you feel blocked by the dreaded white paper. Make paste paint and do some finger painting! This video show some recent papers that I marked with the idea of petroglyphs in mind. 
This is a theme I have been revisiting, since the power of aboriginal art took hold of me in 1988. Then I produced 100 oil paintings of petroglyphs and pictographs of the southwest US. The appeal was about allowing myself to be reduced to the simplest form of communication about healing and intention. I want to follow the thread of thought began in these works of last year:
Book of Light pages 156, 157, 158, The Good Red Road, the Long Path to Peace, triptych 29x12"
The Petroglyphs in this triptych all represent a gathering together in community. And some of my favorites are more abstract:
Book of Light, page 182, 5x8"
Book of Light, page 182, 5x8"

Next time I will have recipes for paste paint.

Monday, April 23, 2012

1014 AD

On this day in 1014 AD Ard Ri, High King, Brian Boru of Ireland died in the battle of Clontarf. He unified the clans of Ireland.
Each Day in the Year of the Fire Dog, #85

The descendants of Brian were known as the Ui Briain (O'Brien) clan, hence the surnames Ó Briain, O'Brien, O'Brian etc. "O" was originally Ó which in turn came from Ua, which means "grandson", or "descendant" (of a named person). The prefix is often anglicised to O', using an apostrophe instead of the Irish síneadh fada: "´". The O'Briens subsequently ranked as one of the chief dynastic families of the country.

My grandfather used to tell my sister and I "now don't forget girls, you are princesses." So true!

To learn more about the O'Briens check

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Deepening Your Energetic Connection with the Earth

This compelling title form Elizabeth Frediani's newsletter peaked my curiosity. She writes: "Earth herself is part of the Great Mystery and the dark. Despite the efforts of some to control her, she moves in her own cycles and draws from her own matrix of energy. Our link to the Earth is primal and spiritual. Our bodies, souls, and consciousness are nourished and informed by her. It is our birthright to receive from her and our responsibility to honor her -- as home, healer, and living being."

to read more from the April edition go to

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 19-26 Earth Week

All week we can be especially aware of our unique stance on our Earth and how we can be in integrity with this relationship.
O'Brien, Each Day in the Year of the Fire Dog #81

When you plant seeds on April 22, also plant the seeds of your intentions to be responsible to the Earth.
O'Brien, Each Day in the Year of the Fire Dog #81 reverse

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lilac Flower Essence

Lilac Nature Spirits, 8x5", collaged drawing
On this beautiful day I set off to make a Lilac flower essence. Drawing the flowers allows me to focus on the connection with the nature spirits. Using this essence grounds us into the birth and rebirth process at this time of year. Personally, it initiated me into motherhood, and now into grand-motherhood. It is one of the few essences that influences the physical body; the spinal column and alignment. If you want to know more about this leave a comment. And here is a little video of the dawning sun through the bushes, the flowers in process and more lilacs.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Arts Council of Mercer County Gallery and Studio

O'Brien, Each Day in the Year of the Fire Dog, #73

This is my first  day to work at our new gallery - Wednesday afternoons. The Grand opening was last Friday and many people came to feast their eyes on our local talent. Stop in when you can. The address is 
120 Main Street, Harrodsburg 
Open 10-4, Tuesday - Saturday 

O'Brien, Each Day in the Year of the Fire Dog, #73 reverse side

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Joyous Easter

We love this day - it is so glorious. This is another movable feast, in '06 it was on the 14th. Easter is the Sunday following the paschal full moon, which is the full moon that falls on or after the vernal (spring) equinox.

O'Brien, Each Day in the Year of the Fire Dog, #78 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spring time for a new blog

My desire is to become more articulate about the ideas I want to share with you. Since the beginning of the year I have been studying so I can play with the big kids" (i.e., younger people who are more technical than me). Allow me to be honest and admit that I aspire to be more confident about my writing. In my art my "writing" is the free form script everyone always asks me about. The script is AKA the viewer's story. The script comes out in a loose and fun way, so I get out of having to account for meaning. But know this; my meaning is happiness to you!

Since one main focus in my lifestyle and art is the 4 seasons and 4 directions I will from time to time add an image of one of the 365 postcards from 2006 project, Each Day in the Year of the Fire Dog. The messages illuminate cross-cultural celebrations, holidays and Holy Days. When we learn about all the amazing similarities humans have and how we all like to get down in a jubilant style every so often, sharing good times together (at least we have each other) we can lighten up and celebrate in spirit with each other. This idea also sets me up for blog topics, ones that could inspire you!

Just for fun I wanted to start with the day I met my first grandchild. It touched me when I looked it up that it was Michelangelo's (a guiding spirit for me) birthday as well. Hey, also Einstein's. I KNEW that baby is smart!

O'Brien, Each Day in the Year of the Fire Dog, #45
The Spring Equinox was March 20 this year, same as it was in "06. In the olden days it was called Ostara and that's where the word Easter came from. We love to celebrate the balance of lightness and darkness. My husband likes to prove this by balancing an egg on end. Try it on the Autumn Equinox and let me know if it works. So far, he's the only one I've seen do it, and for a 24 hour period at that!

O'Brien, Each Day in the Year of the Fire Dog, #51
East is the direction we face in the Spring, my Medicine teachers taught me, and the color is yellow. It's like opening the golden door to birth and rebirth.