Thursday, February 25, 2010

Following O'Keeffe

My Grandmother decided to take up painting at 70. She signed up for a watercolor workshop. On the second day, she wasn't feeling well, so she sent me. I was seventeen. I had always drawn, but never painted. I learned to paint snow - cabins, fences, and trees in the snow. I learned to paint shadows.

Later, I took another class, in the evening, at the firehouse. (This was during the one year we lived in Kansas, in the same small town as the grandmother and aunts - wonderful, vibrant, funny, sisters. It would have been good for me had I not been completely preoccupied by teenage angst.)

In the second class, I painted with acrylics, copying a photo in a travel magazine - the gold sun sinking into brackish marshland beneath a yellow sky.

Aunt Alice asked if she could hang it in her gallery. I said sure. A few days later she handed me forty bucks. A man had begged her to sell it and she did. I had not given her permission to sell it. It was my first betrayal in the art world. But I didn't say anything. I had already learned it was useless to try to communicate with adults.

So over the years I would paint these small scenes, but only if someone had a birthday, only as gifts. And by the time I envisioned my new life, of following O'Keeffe to New Mexico I wasn't painting at all.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The O'Keeffe Effect

Beauty is like medicine to the heart. Art is a flower planted in the soul.

When my soul came back into my self, I began keeping a journal again. In it, I wrote a vision for my life.

Right before I left Colorado, I'd read an article about the legendary artist, Georgia O'Keeffe. It captured my imagination - her solitary loveliness, her fierce aesthetic, her independence.

She inspired my vision. Someday I would live in an adobe house in New Mexico. And I would be a painter.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Jade Buddha Sun Miracle

My friend Annie went to see the giant jade Buddha that is traveling the world. During the chants, the sun started to pulse - it turned green in the center and pink and yellow rays came out. She showed me a video on her phone. It is amazing.

There are videos on youtube of other sun miracles, in fact, I am the one who originally turned her on to them. Long ago some friends of mine visited Medjugorjie and came home with stories about the sun - that they could look straight at it - that it pulsed and spun.

Their enthusiasm for the Virgin Mary's appearances there are what started me painting Mary, angels, and saints.

And now we've had a miracle of the sun right here in San Diego.

Annie will soon be publishing her blog ("Sarah Vision") and I hope she puts in the video. I will link to it so all of you can see it too!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Starlight Deprivation

Yesterday my new friend K told me that a certain psychologist diagnoses patients with "starlight deprivation." He advises they go out away from the city and look at the stars. It makes sense that if we were originally placed in a garden, out under the sky, we are meant to have the starlight and the moonlight on our skin, as well as sunlight.

She also said that she dreamed of Oprah two days before she knew about my project. Hmm.

Then last night my New Jersey Girl wrote that I must be channeling my inner Oprah.

Then my Taos Painter friend wrote (in response to my writing that joy is a yellow door) that she had once painted a yellow door.

Maybe we are all weaving in and out of one another's stories and dreams, even if we have never met. Maybe there are NO degrees of separation. Maybe we are all writing on one another's skin.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Key to Happiness

On my walk today to Inspiration Point (my own name for a spot overlooking Maple Canyon), I had an inspiration. Or the Spirit whispered in my ear.

"The key to finding happiness is to allow your self to be happy."

Sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to be happy. It's that simple, yet that profound.

On my walk back, at the corner of the beautiful community garden on Juniper Street, an older gentleman leaned down to pick something up from the walk. I guessed he had found a lucky penny.

He said, "Did you lose a key?" and showed me the shiny silver key he'd found. I said no, but it looks important. He laid it on a mailbox. It seemed symbolic. Maybe we have all lost a key. And maybe the above saying can help us open a door again.

* * *

A long time ago I wrote:
Joy is a little room with a door - Your name is written on that door.

(I always see the door as yellow...what color is your door?)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Halleluia, Halleluia

Last night the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, K D Lang's haunting version of Leonard Cohen's most beautiful song filling the dome and falling all around.

Wednesday on Oprah the four tenors from Canada, the same song, and Celine Dion surprising them, joining the chorus, Halleluia, Halleluia...

A song that gets in my head and I don't mind having it there, for days on end. It seems that the Spirit will always get her word out, no matter what we humans are doing, good and bad and sad upon the earth.

She will insist on Halleluia.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Synchronicity is Ethereal

I keep hearing and seeing the word "ether" everywhere, now. I looked it up, because I knew it didn't have to mean emptiness or nothingness. And I found that ether is the invisible celestial medium thought by physicists to transmit waves of light...

Wow, that sounds like God.

I've gone on the Living Oprah site a few times now. I read some entries from the beginning, middle, and end. I think she is brave and honest. Her name is Robyn, I saw, and she is a Capricorn. The main character in the novel I just completed is named Robin, and I am a Capricorn. In one of her entries, she mentioned the word ether.

I love synchronicities. They make me feel happy, as if the angels really are watching over us and our paths in life.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Ether has been on my mind lately. After I went on Oprah's site the other night and saw my blog, The Bottle Tree, had disappeared, I thought it was a message - a clear indication I should not start this project. I wrote in my journal - "It was a sign - don't waste time on ethereal things..." In my dream Oprah did not give me her blessing, and now my blog had been kicked off her site. I decided not to proceed.

But a few mornings later I walked up to my neighborhood coffee shop to see the barista who is a friend of mine, a young, very cool, girl drummer who had once posed for one of my portraits. She introduced me to a guy, Sam.

We all got to talking about businesses we'd love to start, as there are a lot of empty storefronts in our area of downtown. I said I would love to start a gallery, but only if I absolutely KNEW it would be successful.

Sam said, "Yeah, like if Oprah supported it!"

I figured that was a message from the angels, as I had never even met him and there is no way he could know about my Oprah obsession. I began this blog the next day.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Swinging On A Star

"Would you like to swing on a star/ carry moonbeams home in a jar..."

Same song, different day, on my mind. The reason being, perhaps, this "Oprah Saved My Life" idea that keeps going around in my head. Monday night, flipping through channels, saw an actual show called "The Oprah Effect." It featured the girl, among others, who wrote the blog "Living Oprah." Now she can write "How To Handle Sudden Success!"

I am still unsure about this idea. The artist Agnes Martin said, "I try never to have ideas - they are almost always wrong." Besides, who can do all their ideas? Some creative people may have upwards of ten a day. Maybe twenty. Or one-hundred. I'll bet if one were to count one's ideas in a day it would be a lot.

Where the song and the idea meet is the concept of "hitching your wagon to a star." I do not know the difference, at times, between ideas of the ego and inspirations of the soul. It seems false, now that so many others have done it, to hitch onto Oprah's star.

Or maybe what is false is I abandoned that path. I used to be a devotee of Oprah. I used to bore my friends with her advice. I always felt a little silly that I took Oprah so seriously. And I always felt I shouldn't talk about her so much - that it might put people off.

Yet it also occurs to me I had a daydream/vision once of visiting God (who somehow looked liked Oprah, or I was visiting God with Oprah, or just visiting Oprah - it was a long time ago), and asking for the magic formula to step out of the desert and into the river - out of black and white into color.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Riding Shotgun With Oprah

I dreamed that I was telling someone I had once met Oprah in the doorway coming out of the Governor's ball in New Mexico. She was wearing a beautiful coat with a fur collar. (Fake fur, I am sure!) When she hugged me, my face brushed against her collar. She told me to go into the lobby and write something down. It was brief, but if I ever met her again, I would mention our meeting.

The next thing I knew, I was riding in a car with Oprah. We were talking. She was driving. (As if!) We were driving the wrong way, downhill, on an empty one-way street. But she remained unflappable and looked for a place to turn around.

I was telling her my idea for a blog (and book) called "Oprah saved my life." I mentioned (looking for her blessing) that I already had a blog on her site. She said, "Lots of people do." I told her it was an episode of her show, in 1988, that gave me the courage and permission to radically alter the course of my life.

I mused that there are many ways to save a life - mentally, emotionally, not just physically, but yes - even physically, as maybe a woman would watch her show and get one of the medical tests she recommended. Oprah said, very matter-of-factly, "I have probably saved a lot of lives."

We then turned north, the right way, uphill.

(In waking life I see north as a direction of abundance. Onward and upward, follow the north star, and so on.)