Friday, March 24, 2017

Because Of

Because of my wanting to make a bookmark to match the cover of a book I planned to read,

I scrounged around my studio for some sturdy paper,

found the black cardboard back I'd saved from a spiral binder, and

painted some background colors.

Because of the size of the black cardboard, I cut ten 1.5x5.5" pieces.

Because of cutting ten pieces, I now find myself creating a series.

Bookmark #7 joins the crew today:

Eddying Around in the Vacuum
1.5x5.5"; acrylic and ink on black cardboard

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Instead Of

I've been wanting to play with white ink on one of the starts from my cut up trickster-art for awhile now. Inspired by the work of Eva Magill Oliver, and instead of doing laundry and unpacking my suitcase …

A Small World Delivered into a Larger One
1.5x5.5"; acrylic, ink, and oil pastels on black cardboard

Thanks, Eva!

Here's a montage of several of my bookmarks to date:

bookmark siblings

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Don't Text—Touch

In the article I've been referencing recently, the final research finding presented by Kolb addresses the benefits of touch in elevating mood. Neuroscientists recommend hugs as follows:

A hug, especially a long one, releases the neurotransmitter/hormone oxytocin, which reduces the reactivity of the amygdala.

The message is very clear: Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don't text—touch.

Painting is a mostly solitary pursuit for me, given that I put my brush into gear at my home. But sharing my paintings does offer me a lovely way to touch others. 

In fact, I would like to send this featured bookmark as a hug through the mail … to someone I don't even know (yet). If you'd like to bring a little surprise and fun into the life of someone you love, speak up in the comments section below. If you're the first person to express interest, I will indicate what step to take so I can get the wheels in motion to mail the bookmark to whomever you choose.

The Sea Has Always Whispered to Me
1.5x5.5"; acrylic, oil pastel, and collage on black cardboard

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Here's What I Decided

The research I've been reading about the upward spiral of happiness fascinates me.

Here's another finding: Making decisions contributes in several ways to uplifted mood.

I know, I know, sometimes it can be so hard to make a decision.

Good news: brain studies back up the fact that making a "good enough" decision is good for us, better in fact than agonizing over making the absolute 100% best decision.

When I discovered today that I didn't have any bookmarks to go with the cover of a book I just borrowed from the library, I decided to make one.

It was a good enough decision and it's a good enough bookmark.

Here's hoping it's a good enough book!


Good Enough Decision
1.5x5.5"; acrylic and pencil on black cardboard
not for sale [until I finish the book]

Monday, March 20, 2017

Name That Feeling!

Further insight from UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Kolb: it is beneficial to label our negative feelings. Suppressing only sends us downward. Naming—in just a word or two—gets us spiraling back up.

A fundamental tool of mindfulness, labeling activates the prefrontal cortex and reduces arousal in the limbic system.

Got it.

When I landed here, I felt:


I'd let an outer voice get noisy enough to keep me from hearing my own inner voice, to no particularly good effect outwardly and certainly no good effect inwardly.

'Nuff said about that.

As soon as I named my feelings, though, I felt a shift and a lift.

I got my paints out again. Now this piece—a visual haiku—feels artistically and emotionally authentic.

And, in turn, I feel:


Empty Pockets Where Feelings Get Caught
1.5x5.5"; acrylic, ink, pencil, and oil pastels on black cardboard

Friday, March 17, 2017


Remember the other day I mentioned brain research's indicating that feeling gratitude leads to an upward spiral of happiness? Awesome, yes?

But guess what else?

Turns out, when you cannot find one single thing to be grateful for, it doesn't matter. You don't have to find anything. Remembering to search in the first place matters most.

From the research: Remembering to be grateful is a form of emotional intelligence. One study found that it actually affected neuron density in both the ventromedial and lateral prefrontal cortex. These density changes suggest that as emotional intelligence increases, the neurons in these areas become more efficient. With higher emotional intelligence, it simply takes less effort to be grateful.

I'm in!

Many's the time I search really hard to find something to be grateful for when I look at what I've put on a canvas.

In fact, I've got my searchlight on right now. I'm irritated by my "messing up" the first of the two bookmarks in progress below (naming what one's feeling is another upward spiral, by the way, but I'll save that for another day), so now I'm searching both for gratitude and solutions to the problems I've created.

I'll let these refrigerate for a couple of days.

All good, I tell ya!

bookmark in progress
bookmark in progress

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Fireside Chats

Fireside chats is the term used to describe a series of 30 evening radio conversations given by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt between 1933 and 1944.

My knowledge of history extends just enough to know that such fireside chats existed and that they were associated with Roosevelt. The term was familiar enough that it's the name I give to an annual get-together I have with long-time friend Wendy, at her home, beside a fire in her fireplace.

Our friendship doesn't go back to the '30's or '40's but, much to our surprise, does span several decades now. Is several the right word? Is several more than a few? Our friendship definitely spans more than a few decades. But I digress. Wendy and I have been friends for a long time.

We connected instantly when we met, and we can talk about anything anytime. Our friendship reminds me of summer camp friendships—we don't see each other every day, or even very often, but when together we pick up right where we left off, and we're all in.

We had one of our fireside chats a short while ago. The best. Always the best.

One of the topics of conversation was art and the many ways it can be shared. This bookmark's for you, Wendy!

You Don't Have to Knock to Come in the Door
1.5x5.5"; acrylic, paint markers, and oil pastels on black cardboard