Sunday, February 28, 2010

I'm still in RETREAT mode ... and that's a good thing

I have had a handful of friends asking me ... "when are you going to blog about An Artful Journey?"  and ... "when can we see the pictures from An Artful Journey?" ... and "what did you think of An Artful Journey?" ...  I mean, really, I could hear Kelly drumming her fingertips next to her keyboard, just jonesing for my first words.  :-)  {thanks, Kelly - I'm glad you want to read what I thought of AAJ.}

Well, to be honest, I've been hoarding the experience ... the memories, the newfound friendships, the sights and scents and sounds, The Presentation Center, and for said hoarding, I do apologize.  I need to - no, I want to share it all, with you all.  Really, I do.  But you have to remember:  Magpies are Hoarders Extraordinaire, and so in this instance, I'm going to really take on the magpie's persona and say "that is what I was doing ..."  Forgive me.

So.  I cannot possibly put into words just how it went for me.  I have a feeling there are plenty of other AAJ participants that are still processing just what happened, just what we all experienced {and while it was unique to us all as individuals, there must be some commonalities to what happened for us all - am I right, ladies?}.  I will TRY, though, to give it a shot {putting it into words, that is}.  It may take several blog posts to get it all out, and to try and get it just right.

Here goes:

It was amazing.  It was eye-opening.  It was warm, and welcoming, and beyond my wildest expectations.  That's saying a lot, 'cause I have a most vivid imagination, and I often have great expectations.  AAJ organizer and "mother" Cindy O'Leary did a spectacular job putting all this together ... from the location (The Presentation Center) ... to the instructors - which read like a "who's who" in Mixed Media:
Albie Smith ,
DJ Pettit ,
Leslie Riley ,
Nina Bagley ,
and of course, Kelly Rae Roberts  
& Mati Rose McDonough )

... to the beautifully quilted and embellished and filled with ephemera "Welcome" packets ... to the activities ... and between Cindy and Stephanie, we all felt well cared for and well managed.
"Managed?" you might ask.  Imagine if you can:  100+ women (and a few brave-soul husbands!) gathered all together.  At times, it had to feel like herding cats .. and yet, Cindy could get our rapt attention with a quick "ladies ???" and a little "ahem".  Worked like magic, every time.

It was magical.  It was perfect.  It was a new concept in Art Retreating, far as I know .. we each registered to spend the ENTIRE workshop (starting Friday night to breakfast Monday morning) in ONE workshop, with ONE instructor (except for those of us with the Dynamic Duo of Kelly Rae and Mati Rose) ... which meant that we had to fill just ONE supply list, and UNLOAD our supplies into just ONE classroom - for the duration of our stay.  Can you imagine that?   It SOOOO worked, I don't know why this concept hasn't been tried before.  I loved it!

AN ARTFUL JOURNEY was my very first art retreat experience -- and I'm thinking I just might be spoiled by it.  Guess we'll just have to rally 'round Cindy to make that FIRST ANNUAL REUNION happen in February 2011 - same place, same time, same participants.  Wouldn't THAT be magical, ladies?

So I don't know how much more I can say tonight.  Mark just returned from a three-day bike race in Vegas; I am coming off a three-classes-in-a-row Chris Cozen "high" {at the gracious-as-always Stamping Details in Poway, CA}, and I'm looking forward to my Monday morning class with Jane LaFazio and all my friends in there. 

I've got so much art on the brain, I even woke up at 4:20 am on Saturday - and could NOT go back to sleep.  And again, it was an early Sunday morning for me - I had to wake Rocky up, if you can believe that !!!

I am so tired, I can't even post a few random photos to whet your appetite for more blog posts about MY experience of AN ARTFUL JOURNEY.    Well, okay. Here is ONE:

this is how my work space looked Friday morning, right after we finished our GROUP SWAP - we each made little swap goodie bags for everyone in the group.  And COOL TREASURES we all received!  Our workshop had the distinct pleasure of including the 2 AAJ ladies who traveled the furthest to join us:  Beth from the UK, and Cathy all the way from Australia.  Can you believe that?!

And let me just end it like this for now:   what AN ARTFUL JOURNEY opened up for me is such an exciting place inside, I'm guarding it like a newborn.  The dream I have long held to actually "work" in the art field is blossoming, and I am hatching (there's that magpie reference again!) a plan.  And there has been a virtual flock of ideas flowing today that just can't be stopped.  It's so fun!  Wait - did I just use another magpie (bird) reference?  Oh my!

Speaking of winged creatures ... one of my guardian angels, my mother Edith, passed away six years ago today.  It was a Sunday then, too (Leap Year). 

I am ever grateful for a couple of things about her journey to her better place: 

One - she died the day before our daughter Kristina had a horrific car accident - and yet, Kristi walked away with only a few (large and severe) hematomas to her torso.  She had just left work, it was late and dark, and she was thinking of her Grandma Edie and praying that Grandma was at peace ... when it happened.  The policeman who first arrived on the scene told her he could not believe his eyes when he found out SHE was the driver of THAT vehicle.  THAT, my friends, was my mother, protecting her grandchild from harm.


Two - I inherited my spirit and my creative talents, if you will, from my mother.  I also inherited these traits from my father's side of the family - every single one of my auntie's had such great taste & style - truly, they did.  But it is to my mother that I owe the most - she encouraged my artistic tendencies, and she always always always believed in me.  When I returned to school to study Interior Design - at the ripe old age of 38, Mom was my biggest supporter.  Thanks, Mom, for that.

And so I believe that all these new ideas, this new DREAM that is forming, is due, in large part, to my mother - who continues to make her presence known to us, the family she left behind six years ago today.  I doubt that this is a coincidence.

I love you, Mom.

-- Davielle  

Living Clutter Free ...

This one isn't going to require much in the way of an intro ... if you know me, you know I tend to clutter.  Anywhere, any time, for any and all excuses (um, Christina is calling them "seemingly logical reasons" ... could she be on to something here?!). 

Let's dive right in, shall we?  {do you see how I'm stalling here? I'm asking for your commitment to join me!}  .  And then, THEN, once I hit "publish post" ... I am heading OUT of my office, AWAY from this computer, and TACKLING some of the clutter I now have major ISSUES with ... LOL.   Awww, come on:  laugh with me here, friends.  {photo shows my desk, 2009 - it does have a much smaller stack now, but still, a stack, nonetheless.}

--  Davielle

SO HERE GOES {with my random comments included, in this color right here ... dark charcoal gray ... am I procrastinating, or what?!} :
9 Seemingly Logical Reasons We Cling to Clutter

by Christine Kane

"Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away."   Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A retired man once told me he loved going camping with his wife because camping showed her how simple life can be "without all that bloomin' stuff she keeps everywhere!"

He's right!

Our lives are meant to be simple. Our intuition and creativity thrive when given freedom and space. Clutter is a disease. {I was afraid of that ...}  Each moment we ignore the reasons we hold on to things we don't want, those things rob us of energy, health, and clarity.

If you're a clutter-clinger, be kind to yourself.  {oh, good, she's giving me permission to cut myself some slack & be kind to me. }Begin with an awareness of your thoughts and excuses. For starters, read over this list to see if you can find YOUR excuse!

Clutter Excuse #1: "I'd be a bad mean horrible person if I…"

Guilt is heavy gooey energy that convinces us we're bad people if we let go of heirlooms, knick-knacks, unwanted clothing, or unwanted gifts.

These items clutter up our lives and keep us in a comfortable – but draining – place. And conveniently, we never have to decide what we actually do want in our environment. We become environmental victims. Often, that spreads out into other parts of our lives too!

Clutter Excuse #2 - "I spent so much on it!"

Do you punish yourself for having made a bad choice by keeping the item around? Or convince yourself that you're going to get your money's worth – even if it drains the hell out of you?

You won't. And it will.

We've all done stupid things. And we've all had to let them go. Now it's your turn.

Clutter Excuse #3 - "I might need this someday."

I often wonder how many idle telephone cords exist in the world. Way in the back of old desk drawers. Stuffed on closet shelves. They can't be gotten rid of.


Because we might need them some day.

Evidently, some day - in spite of technological progress - you're going to need that particular grey phone cord that came in the box with a phone you bought in 1989. {I know, but ... oh, okay. point well taken!}

Throw it out. Now.

Same thing goes for: The broken fax machine, switch plates from your first house, and every glass flower vase that came with deliveries. {uh, oh, guilty as charged here.}

Clutter Excuse #4 - "I might do this someday."

I know. I know.  {see, she knows me - she really really knows me.}

Someday you'll take those broken pieces of china you've collected and create a beautiful mosaic birdbath. {Oh my goodness, Christine knows about my broken pieces of china box - the one I "intend" to have Karyl help me make into a beautiful mosaic birdbath someday?!   And you think I'm kidding here, right?  NOT. }  And you'll go through those stacks of magazines and make that collage for your sister's 30th birthday party. (She's 51 now.)

Now – I don't mean to deny you your plans and dreams. However, I urge you to consider experiencing the infinite relief that appears when you let old project ideas go.  {consider the possibilities !!!}

Call your sister and tell her the collage ain't gonna happen. Buy a mosaic birdbath from an artist who makes her living from creating such treasures.

And then, make space for what you want to do. Don't fill your space with what you should do.

Clutter Excuse #5 - "I gotta look good to my guests."

CD's. Books. DVD's. Are these items treasured? Or are they simply a prop so your guests will be impressed by your intelligence and diverse tastes? {and here I thought I wanted them because I wanted to impress MYSELF with my eclectic music and movie taste ... dang, Christine's good at calling our bluff, huh?}

Remember this: we are motivated by two things: Fear or Love. Which of these keeps you clinging to items because of appearances?

Clutter Excuse #6 - "I Don't Know Where It Goes."

When items don't have a home, it's harder to determine whether or not they are clutter. Some things may seem like clutter - like the cute card that your daughter made that floats around from drawer to drawer - but they're not clutter.

They're homeless.

Once you start defining spaces for items, then it's easier to see when something doesn't fit anywhere and should just get tossed.

Clutter Excuse #7 - "My thoughts don't have any power. Do they?"

Everything has energy. The thoughts you have about the things in your home CREATE energy. If you are surrounded by stuff you keep out of guilt, then your environment holds guilt. If you hang on to stuff given to you by your ex, and you still feel bitter – then there is bitterness in your home.

Get it?  {getting it, getting it, getting it ...}

It's either fueling you, or draining you. Some things might be neutral, of course. But if anything triggers you, then that is your barometer. Let it go.

Clutter Excuse #8 - "But I never wore it!"

See Clutter Excuse #2.

Clutter Excuse #9 - "There's too much stuff!" 
{isn't that the whole point here ???}

Overwhelm can stop us in our tracks. {I once learned, in a Wendy Freer workshop called CLUTTER CLEARING, that "perfectionist" usually means one who is often overwhelmed by the task ahead simply because they SO want to "get it done right."  Fear of doing it "imperfectly" or "incompletely" can stop us - yes, I said US - cold.  And all this time, I thought that being a perfectionist meant one who always does things perfectly!  NOT.}  If this article makes you aware that there are lots of items in your life you don't like, then go slow. Schedule small chunks of time each day. It takes time to be clutter-free! But the newfound clarity and lightness are worth it!


Please do! Just be sure to include this complete blurb with it:

Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 11,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FREE subscription to LiveCreative at .


See Christine's blog - Be Creative. Be Conscious. Be Courageous - at .

Thank you, Christine. I needed this more today than any other day this week. 
To learn more about WENNDI FREER, with whom I once took a 2-day CLUTTER CLEARING workshop right here in Encinitas, California, you can find it here:

Just As I Am

Take a quick trip over to my other blog, I AM PRINCESS MAGPIE  to see a great post (borrowed from Andrea Schroeder) ...

It says a lot, A LOT, about body image. 

-- Davielle

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Going on Retreat ... AN ARTFUL JOURNEY, here we come !!!

{If you click on the link / title above, you will be taken right to the page that introduces the Retreat I am going to with Ann Deakers, February 18 - 22, 2010.  Although OUR Retreat has been sold out for months & months & months :-), there is also AN ARTFUL JOURNEY Retreat scheduled for July 18 - 22, 2010 -- and registration for that Retreat is now OPEN.}

SO ... what does this mean, exactly?  We've all heard the word "retreat", and in several contexts.  Right?

I found it interesting, and a bit shocking, that the definition that I usually attach to the word RETREAT is ... barely defined by Webster's {my mother's old Webster's is the one I use, dated 1956 and bound in leather} ... I define RETREAT as a ... getaway to a place where one is focused intently on ... relaxing, or learning something new, or spending time doing something we love to do -- as in "a spiritual retreat", or "an art retreat" ...  I even think of "a board retreat", as in ... when an organization's Board of Directors meets annually "on retreat" so they can be intently focused on ... their Mission.  

Isn't that what most of us think these days, when we hear the word RETREAT ???

I would venture to say, though, that my father, Frank - a World War II veteran -- would automatically think of ... the "real" definition of the word Retreat:

"to withdraw; 1.  act of retiring, or withdrawing, as from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable.  2. a place of seclusion, privacy, safety, or resort; a refuge; asylum; hiding place; den.  3.  an asylum for insane persons, inebriates, etc.   4. (had to do with aeronautics)    5.  The withdrawal, esp. when forced,  of troops from the presence of an enemy."

THOSE are the definitions that I think ANY military veteran would ascribe to the word "retreat".

I, however, did find one last, almost hidden, definition in Webster's that I can work with:

"To make a retreat; to withdraw."

AND THAT, my friends, is what an ART RETREAT means to me {as would a spiritual retreat}.  For one to "make a retreat" {ie, to leave behind their everyday life for a period of time, to just get away}.  To "withdraw", certainly, from our everyday responsibilities, and worries, and life. 

Ann and I are about to "withdraw" from our lives in San Diego to spend 3 full and artful days with artists KELLY RAE ROBERTS {  } 
{ Kelly Rae ... and Kelly's hands .. from her blog }

and MATI ROSE McDONOUGH { }, who are co-teaching our workshop at AN ARTFUL JOURNEY, where we will create a "Funky, Chunky Coffee Table Book".  You can imagine my excitement to actually, finally, be taking a workshop from the mixed media artist that started me on this mixed media "adventure" I have been on:  Kelly Rae.  I have art in my home from both Kelly Rae and Mati Rose, and it inspires me daily.

{ my "whole-hearted" elephant from Mati Rose McDonough ... 2009}

For me, an ART RETREAT means ... focused and relaxed time with like-minded friends where we just ... get & stay CREATIVE, where it's expected that we will get MESSY, where we are sure to have fun, and for me, it's a place where I find a lot of grounding, and even spiritual growth ... because my passion for art and creativity is something that comes from my SOUL.  I have found that the friendships created in art classes or workshops are some of the most amazing in my life.  ART is the common denominator that brings us together, and no matter how disparate the rest of our lives might be from each other's, it just Does. Not. Matter.

The beauty of AN ARTFUL JOURNEY, for me, is that it is being held on a "campus" known as THE PRESENTATION CENTER ...

in Los Gatos, California.   Click here to see what I'm talking about:

And I would be remiss if I did not mention CINDY O'LEARY, the fearless organizer of AN ARTFUL JOURNEY.  All her hard work is about to come to fruition, and I know that I speak for all the Retreat-ants when I say "thank you, Cindy".

What I am especially looking forward to, besides the art and the new friendships to be forged over the time we all spend together, is that it seems that The Presentation Center ... is mainly used for SPIRITUAL retreats -- a place of serenity, beauty, stillness, and plenty of Mother Nature.  The history of THE PRESENTATION CENTER can be found via this link:

Right there on their website, is this comment: 
"Escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Take time to communicate more clearly and deeply with your colleagues."

 And that, my friends, is exactly what the word RETREAT means to me.

I dedicate this post to my beautiful friend Ann, to whom I am ever grateful for the gift of  her friendship, for the role she has  played in my ... blogging; in my discovery of mixed media; and for encouraging me all along the way of my Creative Discovery Journey.  I love you, Ann, and I think you are the most amazing woman! 

We'll be back on Monday evening .. you can expect a mighty long post after I return, with plenty plenty plenty of "visuals".

--  Davielle

Thursday, February 4, 2010

the Garth man cometh ...

... to Warwick's Books in La Jolla. 

That's right, friends.  Garth Stein, author of THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN (starring Enzo, the narrating dog), was in town.

Six of us that enjoy Bunco together (this is our 4th year already!) decided to pay Garth and Warwick's a visit and were we ever treated to an incredible evening.

Garth treated us to plenty of humor, some poignant moments, and three (yes, 3) separate readings from the book.   ENZO came to life for me in a way I had not expected ... although just reading the book, I thought, made Enzo very "real" to me.  Somehow, when an author really BREATHES his work, and BELIEVES in his character/s, it makes a huge difference.

{photo:  CCI pup-in-program FRANCIE, with her co-raisers Lyn Comunale and Vickie Stone - and Garth Stein}

If you don't know ENZO yet, run right out - RIGHT OUT - and grab a copy of THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN. Seriously. It's a NOT-TO-BE-MISSED book. Trust me.  {or just click on the link here to head over to Amazon}

Hands down, the very best author reading/signing I have ever attended.  Bar none!

Woof!  Woof! ('cause "2 barks mean FASTER" !!!)

-- Davielle

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Beautiful Day

There is an old Japanese saying ...

"Let the past drift away with the water."

A couple of Sundays ago, Mark and I took a late-afternoon hike at Torrey Pines State Park.   I have been visiting TPSP since I was a very very little girl. 
{sister Francia, brother Jay, and a young Davielle}

I have fond memories of hiking through a trail that has been closed for years & years now ... it was known as "Fat Man's Misery", and with good reason.  Anyone out there remember that trail?!

Fortunately, Mark and I have made our life right here in Encinitas - just a few freeway exits north of my hometown of Del Mar ... so Torrey Pines is still just about 12 minutes away from home.   We are also blessed to have our red & cream sandstone canyon here on our property, with some wonderful Torrey Pine (tree) specimens of our very own.

{one of several Torrey Pines in our canyon}

But when we need a relaxing and mind-altering hike, we always head to Torrey Pines, the State Park ... the real deal.

If you're visiting from out of town, I can assure you, with all certainty, you do not want to miss TORREY PINES. Even better - invite me to join you there and we can have a new memory to share!

The photo below was taken on 1/24/10 by me, at Torrey Pines State Park, and when I read the quote about letting the past drift away with the water ... I flashed on this image ... you can just feel the power of the ocean, and you just KNOW inside that your worries can be taken out on the tide.  

It sure gives me a very peaceful feeling ...

--  Davielle