hello . . .

Lenna & Kathy Oravec at Nia on Siesta beach - December 4, 2012


To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
  ~ Bertrand Russell

If you think you can do a thing, or think you can't do a thing, you're right.
  ~ Henry Ford

Above are two quotes pulled randomly from a document on my computer, that contains all of the quotes I've collected because I love them. 15 years ago, my son Decklin created a program for me that randomly selects a quote I can add to my email signature or anywhere else. With a click of the mouse, a quote is chosen randomly from a very large list and copied to the clipboard, ready to be pasted anywhere. I love this program and still use it! So often the chosen quote matches my current thoughts or state of mind; it’s quite uncanny.

I wish to say I am sorry for my leave of absence from my blog. It has been a while since I have had so little to share with you! I think most of you know I have recently moved house and that has been the main culprit. We have been here in our new home 4 weeks now, which seems incredible.

I have not begun to unpack and organize my studio – I only continue to put this job off. A lot of other things are going on and so doing this was another decision making process that I did not feel I had the energy to face. And it still remains undone! Instead, my creative outlet recently has been my photography. Lately I have been working hard on catching up with the uploading of my photos and you can find them here on Blipfoto where I keep a daily photo journal, and also on flickr.

Since I like to use this blog to mostly share my art making process, I have not had anything to share with you! I do know I will make art, work in journals and create with paper & fabric again, but I am not at that place yet. We are doing a large amount of landscaping with the help of many talented people and that takes a lot of time. I am very seriously working on my health issues by exercising daily and sticking to around 1200 calories a day – fresh, wholesome, mostly vegan foods. I found out recently I have a chronic liver disease (fat cells in my liver) that can be reversed by losing the extra weight I have been carrying. I have lost 2 pounds in 2 weeks and while that is slow, I think it is good. Only 28 more to go!

So, do not fear! I will return with my art when I get things organized here. In the meantime, I will check in when I can but you can almost always find me on Blipfoto. The weather is beautiful here in Florida now and I am still dancing in Nia class as you can see by the photo above. All is well and I truly hope the same for you. 

xo lenna

1000 posts!

I can't believe it! This post marks 1000 posts I have written here since December 8th, 2006. yikes! I did not know that was true until I decided to write a short note to tell you that I would be taking a blog break for a while . . . but if you are a regular reader, I bet you guessed that already. I just finished my Nia white belt training last friday and if you have not been here since then, I changed the main photo of the blog to reflect that -check it out here if you are reading via a feed. The Nia White belt training was intense: long days for an entire week, but very well worth it. I learned a lot and have also signed up for the Nia Green belt training held in Sarasota in February. (That tells you something!!) The Green Belt is an optional training based on embodying the skills to teach Nia. : ) In the meantime, I am PACKING! Boxes and boxes. You would think I would be used to this by now, but no I am not - I am slugging through it all. I do think though, that Steven and I have found our home. One that is really for us, on a canal off the Braden River. Not too far from my mom, either. Our moving date is November 6th - So, I am signing off for a while. Thank you for visiting and for all your comments these past six years!!!!!!!!!!

On tuesday I went to Siesta Key beach for Nia class and took this amazing photo . . .


At least it was amazing to me!! Click on it to view larger. I hope you enjoy and I'll catch you on the other side : ) sending love to you and yours, lenna 

Elbow grease is the best polish.
  ~ English proverb





Nia Training

Nia is a cardiovascular sensory based movement practice that leads to health, wellness and fitness. Nia empowers people of all ages by connecting the body, mind and spirit to increase flexibility, agility, mobility, stability and strength. 


This week I am participating in the Nia White Belt Intensive Training!


My classmates, Pam, Dawn & Irene:


 My trainers, Charlotte & Gail:


The Nia Retreat Center on Anna maria island, FL:


There are more trainings scheduled for February, April & October 2013! Go to NiaNow.com for the details or to find one near you! We are learning the 13 principles of Nia and dancing everyday. Long days, but much learned. I have not done this much creative movement in a long time! I must go to bed now and recover . . . there are 2 more full days and one half day, with graduation on Friday :  )



Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion. 
   ~ Martha Graham 


creativity and Nia

Yesterday after Nia class, I was interviewed by international faculty member and trainer Gail Condrick. Gail has already edited this video interview and done a super job - see below. She's putting together a number of videos about the Nia White Belt Training coming up in October and February on beautiful Anna Maria Island in Florida. Gail will be team-training with her friend and Nia instructor/trainer Charlotte Jorgensen, October 13-19, 2012. I will be immersing into this October training! Below are the video clips Gail took of me telling a bit about why I have registered for this training. The video was taken inside Island Yoga Space where we have Nia Classes - I love the prayer flags behind me! I have embedded the video in this blog post, but if for any reason you can't see it please use this direct YouTube Link. To learn more about the White Belt Training and Nia - click here.

Video below: Behind the Scenes Planning a Nia White Belt Intensive with Gail Condrick!



From the Nia Website:

What is Nia?
Nia is a sensory-based movement practice that draws from martial arts, dance arts and healing arts. It empowers people of all shapes and sizes by connecting the body, mind, emotions and spirit. Classes are taken barefoot to soul-stirring music in more than 45 countries. Trainings are designed for those seeking personal enrichment and professional development. Every experience can be adapted to individual needs and abilities. Step into your own joyful journey with Nia, and positively shape the way you feel, look, think and live.

Additional videos: How close is the beach? Gail shows where you can take some time off during the training!

Gail's interview with Irene Schmoller, another White Belt Trainee -and why she is doing the training.

More videos here on Gail's YouTube Channel!

beach, clouds (amazing) and nia

I took these photos over the last two days locally on the Gulf of Mexico here in Florida. Sometimes when I take photos from far away, they come out of my camera with a painterly quality.

Aren't the clouds amazing? You can click on any photo for more detail if you wish. 
The photo below was my blip for July 5th on blipfoto (my photo journal).
The following photos were taken at today's Nia class on Longboat key.
Nia is a sensory based movement practice. What better place to practice than on the beach?

As you may note, I played in Photoshop with these two -fun!!

warm wishes of good health and lots of sunshine to you! 

Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. 
~ Theodore Roosevelt

float and dance

Last Wednesday Steven and I joined my friends from Conscious Movement and Nia for a sunset cruise on America's only floating chapel. Below is a photo of my friend Cheryl Wilson in front of the chapel on Sarasota bay . . .
Cheryl is obviously very happy to have received the kayak paddle Steven created for her,
painted in pretty mermaid colors (the top one)

Yes, the chapel floats and we all boarded! 
This boat/ chapel cruises the beautiful Intra-coastal waterways between Sarasota and Anna Maria Island on the gulf coast of Florida where there are beautiful sunsets. We danced into the sunset on the only floating chapel in this Hemisphere -the other floating chapel is in Australia, wow!

I have created 3 very short videos from this event with the help of my husband Steven, who filmed 2 of them. 
You can find all three of them on my You Tube page: www.youtube.com/creativelenna.
My favorite is the 3 minute one titled: The Floating Chapel, dance and float!
My friend Frieda told me it had her dancing in her studio in Scotland! 
We are cruising into the sunset as "Shout! You make me want to shout!" is playing.
~ such fun. 

Thanks for tuning in . . . more art to come.

You never know what you can do till you try.
  ~ William Cobbett



More lesson 4 - then some more on me!


I am taking a stamp carving class with Julie Balzer and originally wrote about what I did in lesson 4 here, in case you missed it. This particular lesson is about creating a series or set of stamps to use together. At the beginning of the video Julie showed us a banner shaped set she made with a cute little flat top, but then she went on to make a chevron set with a pointed top for the actual lesson. I really liked the banner shape and decided to make my first set that way. While I love this cute set of stamps I made . . .
. . . I just could not get that chevron shaped set out of my head! In fact, I found I couldn't move forward to lesson 5 until I made a set with a pointed top that could link together nicely. My "test" sheet is at the top of this post and you can see how I took my "flower" stamp and kind of linked it all together on the left. I am going through the lessons and carving my stamps pretty quickly (impatient to see my carved stamps!) so I figured more practice would be good for me. Below is my process of my second try with lesson 4:

Getting the shapes cut evenly is hard for me
All carved! My stamps are messy but okay.
Practice makes perfect!
A tag for me on the left and one for my friend, Linda K on the right.
Gosh, you must go visit her blog (link above!). Her chevron stamps are so, so cool!
plus she writes about how we talked with each other on the phone : )

For these tags I spritzed them all with water first to see what would happen when I stamped them with wet, dye ink. Just a little experiment for part 2 of lesson 4. I promise now to go on to lesson 5! Below are my banner stamps (L) in comparison with my chevron set (R):

And here are ALL the stamps I have carved so far in Julie's class:
Stamp carving 101 (click to leaarn more!)

This class has been totally enjoyable for me so far and I love having something to work on and learn/practice. I also find that doing the class at the same time as my friend Linda has really helped keep me on track. I love making tags for both of us after each lesson. What fun that will be to send & receive when the class is completed for us. And we got to speak on the phone together! I believe I have 5 more lessons to do. 

Besides carving stamps I played a little bit with watercolor blocks (like crayons) and soft pastels the other day and made a colorful piece on watercolor paper. I don't know what I will do with it yet but it was great to play in the spirit of the class I took with Bill Buchman. Here's a look:

I continue to take many photographs, most every day and try to upload one per day to my blipfoto journal
I have been able to return to dancing at Nia and Conscious movement . . . I am still going to physical therapy twice a week for my frozen shoulder but have improved by leaps and bounds! There are just a few rotating kind of movements that are not there for me yet, but I a happy to be able to dance again and do most things. My mom is doing well and Steven and I will visit with her tonight. Steven has made over 20 paddles now and he has been selling some. ; ) I am working on a 3-part video of his paddle painting process (editing now) and will share it soon. 
Our wedding anniversary is Monday and we are going to drive to the other coast of Florida, watch the sun rise over the beach on the east coast of FL, drive back home and watch the sun set over the beach on the west coast of FL, all on the same day - June 11, our 7th wedding anniversary! I do not think there are too many places you can do that . . . this is Steve's idea and since it is only a 3 and a half hour drive - so I said, why not? I am sure it will be memorable. 

Hope you are well, take care till next time. Any questions or problems with the new blog layout - template I am using, please contact me. If you are on the blog & click on comments, you may have to scroll down to see the comment box!

Nature gives you the face you have at twenty, it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.
  ~ Coco Chanel



Nia and healing

I went back to Nia class today for the first time in 5 weeks -yes, 5 weeks! Back in February I started having trouble with my right arm and shoulder. I thought I had tendinitis caused by over-stretching in a chest opener in yoga class. I kept going to Nia, but my arm seemed to be getting worse and not better, so in March I decided to rest my arm entirely and not go to class. Unfortunately, it still did not get better so I saw a sports medicine orthopedic doctor this week. It turns out I have a frozen shoulder, yuck! Doesn't that sound terrible? He gave me a cortisone shot which has already helped my movement and loosened my shoulder up. I'll start physical therapy next week. He told me that movement (within reason) would not hurt my arm -in fact, it would help it. Even though I still cannot raise my right arm over my head, I went to Nia on the beach with my friend Kathy today and it was really good for me in more ways than one. I felt very grateful and emotional standing there barefoot on the beach as the music started . . .



http://youtu.be/04L-rzzI5vI

This very short stop-motion video is made from photos I took while taking a break during class today. I am learning how to make different kinds of videos and this was fun to do. My friend kathy is an awesome teacher and has helped me to think positively about my predicament . . . .
I am healing my shoulder. xoxo  http://www.nianow.com/kathy-oravec



If at first you don't succeed, you're running above average.
  ~ M. H. Alderson



The adventure project

Another Art House Co-op project is done and sent. I had a blast! Do you think perhaps I am hooked on their creative projects? Maybe?? This one is a 30 second video made from subsequent photos I took one day last week for their Adventure project. I will embed it in the post, but if you cannot see it, click here.



Still trying to catch up a bit . . . I saw a orthopedic sports medicine doctor today after 2 months of shoulder/arm pain. I thought it was tendinitis that would get better . . . but in fact, I have a frozen right shoulder joint -yikes. I had a shot of cortisone and will be going to physical therapy as soon as it is scheduled. Anything to bring on more movement, less pain and more mobility, I'd say! In a few days I will return to my Nia dance classes which I have surely missed. I thought the exercise was making my arm and shoulder worse, so I stopped going about a month ago. The doctor said we want to get the joint moving again within reason -don't tweak it too much. I think I can handle that, so I am looking forward to Nia on the beach on friday. 

Thanks for listening! Tomorrow you will find one of my projects up on the gauche alchemy blog as I am the Guest Designer for the month of April! It is so lovely for me to be there on gauche alchemy with my friend Jo Urbani who is also a designer for them : ) 



Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing.
  ~ Marc Chagall



they say it's your birthday . . . .



My friend Kathy, who teaches Nia and gave me a really spectacular birthday today! 
Balloons, singing, a handmade card, a cupcake, her smile, her energy, a fabulously taught Nia movement class, her warmth, friendship and more -so sweet! So wonderful! 

Yes, Nia classes on the beach!  (I put together an animoto for kathy-click on the link)
I cannot tell you how wonderful this mind-body movement program has been for me. 


Nia has made me feel like a kid again!!!!!!!!!

I'm 55 today and loving it : ^ ) 
xo




dancing gratitude

I met Debbie Moran through Nia classes, Conscious Movement and Dancing Gratitude-all fun dance and movement related classes/events I have enjoyed very much since moving to Florida. Debbie asked her friend Michael Ringalever to film Dancing Gratitude on Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota and he put this cool video together. When Debbie shared it she wrote, "Christmas Day my friends and I celebrated our version of White Christmas by Dancing Gratitude on Siesta Key Beach."  ; ^ ) I could not attend Christmas day, but some of you may remember me participating on Thanksgiving day. Large silk scarves are used and people passing by are encouraged to join in and and dance their gratitude with us. I love this video; it is so full of joy!



The direct link is here if you cannot see the video.

From the Dancing Gratitude page, "This dance of gratitude begins wherever you are in the moment and has the capacity to bring a sense of inner peace and calmness back into play, combining movement, fun and gratitude to help release the stresses of the world and raise our vibrations, enabling us to create our own "healthier" version of reality ... one of both inner and world peace."

Love this! I hope you enjoy. Here are some photos from November's gratitude dancing . . .

wheeeee! 

my favorite photo of the day with Debbie on the left
and Mary on the right.


In gratitude, lenna

collage for the soul

Sometimes it seems like there are so many things I could write about and share with you that I don't know where to begin! Does that happen to you? Well, I decided I would at least share something about a fairly major event for me; teaching an IN-Person class for the first time since I moved to Florida over 2 years ago.

The photo above pretty much sums up what the day was like . . . happy! That's me on the right, with my friend Cheryl Wilson next to me; she hosted the class in her home. Gail Condrick, one of my Nia movement instructors is to the left of Cheryl working on her collage, and Jean, another Nia student and friend is up close in the red shirt. My friend and fellow Nia student Ann is taking the photo! I would say the class was a success. It was a lot of work for me, especially since I have not done this in a while, but I received many wonderful comments and we all enjoyed.

Tom wrote, "Lenna, I greatly enjoyed meeting you and taking your class. Thank you." 
He is already interested in a second class, which is in the works!
Jane wrote, "Your class was just what the doctor ordered! It really help palpitate my soul! Totally inspired."
Cheryl wrote, "Wonderful Creative Day with friends old & new. Lenna - amazing teaching, art and facilitation."
Ann said, "Creative Lenna's Collage for the Soul Workshop -we had so much fun and she is a great teacher!"
Wow! Thank  you all so much. What a lovely way to be welcomed back into teaching classes in person.

my students at work (play)

The lovely Zoe came by to visit (left) while Gail is working 

Gail's most wonderful collage!

Ann is working on her collage, lovely.

Jane had a blast and was very inspired! 

Tom did a marvelous job - love his contrasting colors

Ann & Cheryl adding to their art

Jean's lovely collage with a beach theme

Cheryl  is happy : 0 ) 

It was a great experience. After I rest up I will certainly be ready to do it again!!
Thanks to all of my students for your enthusiasm & wonderful art. yours creatively, lenna

every single moment you are . . . .





. . . . writing the story of your life.

I just realized, watching this animoto video I made, that it was actually about healing. The art you see, the Nia/dance, the beach, the sun, water and shells, taking these photographs, my dogs and my family, especially my husband, have been my way to heal after the loss of my father. I am so grateful for all I have and I hope you enjoy the sand and sea.






*I suggest watching this in full screen by clicking in the bottom right corner!
If you cannot see the video here, use this link.

p.s. this is the first time I have ever tried using video clips and I think it worked well!
To view more of my videos, visit my YouTube channel.

: ) lenna

photo collage and dance

On Sunday morning I attended a conscious movement event in Sarasota, FL hosted by Dance SRQ/Conscious Movement Sarasota. While there, I took just a few photos of this hour and a half free-form movement class without flash, not wanting to disturb the environment. Later at home, I brought the photos into Photoshop and layered two or more of them together to create more depth. I played with the filters and opacity of the layers until I came up with a number photo collages I liked.

The collage above was created by tweaking the 2 photos below after they were layered together.
Click on each photo for a larger view.



Here are some more I created with those photos...
I like the shadows created in the top section, below. They come from yet another photo.



The photo below was added to create the collage above

more variations . . . yes, I am obsessive!

My favorite I think . . . click on it for a larger view.

The dancing was . . . . "authentic" in the words of my Nia dance teacher Kathy, and I would agree. It is wonderful for me to combine my love of dance and movement with my new love of photography and being creative with it. I just wanted to share this! Have a creative and happy day. : ^ ) lenna


where does the time go?

I returned home Monday night from my travels to Connecticut to see my sister and visit with our families -her boys, my boys, extended family and friends. Now it's Saturday already! Geeze. Tuesday morning I was up bright and early to drive to Siesta Key for one of my Nia classes. It was very windy that day and the surf was loud but we still had a great class none-the-less. I dressed in layers and peeled them off.

A windy day on Siesta Key in Florida

I could not resist snapping a photo during class; what wonderful movement.

Below, I love these pen shells, I think they're called. I pick them up 
all the time (to use in my art) and feel like a regular magpie!

I joined Facebook this week, or was that late last week before traveling? Doing that has kept me really busy - learning how to use it. My account is here and I have started a creative lenna page which is somehow connected. I have not really figured it all out yet. I resisted joining Facebook for many years until I started doing Nia and going to Conscious Movement and Gratitude dancing -all here in Florida. If I wanted to receive announcements for upcoming events for these things, Facebook was how the word was spread. So I caved, and so far, it does not seem as bad as I thought it might be, so it's all good! 
On Wednesday, I took the dogs to De Soto Memorial for a walk and we spied a beautiful white egret.

Whoops!! That's our dog Asia, of course! 
Although, Steven often tells people she's part white egret as a joke : )


On Thursday, I captured some beautiful butterflies that love the flowers in my 
front yard . . .  click for a closer look.


Steven and I visited my mom on Thursday and took some photos of mom's pup, Loki.
He's a white standard poodle and really large for his age. He's only 6 months and teething!


wow!

Friday, Nia on Longboat Key beach was on my schedule and it was a beautiful day. There is really something to be said for moving barefoot on the beach, watching the birds as you stretch up towards the clouds, moving all your muscles in the wind, feeling strong and powerful . . . and we even saw two dolphins jumping out of the water as we were dancing yesterday.

The temps are still warm enough to swim if you are brave! 
Yes, there are seasons in Florida. Right now the temps are in the 50's - 80's.

My instructor on the beach, Kathy Oravec.
I can't say enough good things about this program, Nia.


Friday afternoon Steven wanted to bring me over to Lucas Boatworks and show me what they have been working on . . . look at this tiny Kayak being made from a kit!
It is for Kayak Kathy's 4 year old granddaughter, Izzy. 
Steven volunteered to make Izzy a wee kayak paddle.



my stamped coffee table is being refinished; I stamped this in 1998. 
Steven is giving it a fresh coat of epoxy to make it shine again.

I just loved how this wood shaving on his work table looked!

Steven showing me how he is shaping the kayak paddles he's making with my dad's tools.

I have a sketchbook to work in (two actually) and some colorful ATCs and luscious 4x4's are waiting to be made. I will be getting to all of this soon I know. In the meantime, I keep taking photographs and dancing! 
My very best to you, lenna

gratitude


yesterday i celebrated my gratitude for all i have and will recieve . . .


first, by joining my new friends in Sarasota I've met through Nia to dance on the beach.

It seems that many people who live in Florida celebrate their Thanksgiving by going to the beach with family and friends. One woman who stopped by and danced with us told us it was their tradition to get up early and cook, then come to the beach for the day and have dinner later. Some people even cooked their Thanksgiving dinner in the pavilions right there next to the beach! 


football on the beach was big . . . 


but I enjoyed dancing barefoot in the sun best of all.


we received both looks of curiosity and big smiles . . . 

 

what a wonderful way to start my day.

I traveled back home, 45 minutes but a quiet drive and prepared for my second Thanksgiving, a feast at Lucas Boatworks, where my husband is one of the 5 full-time builders. It was amazing!

Steven made mashed potatoes

This is held in the open pole barn where they build boats -all cleaned up!



 happy thanksgiving to Chloe and Asia too! 

 Dave Lucas, Steven and Austin

Austin is working in Steve's shop making a guitar with some of my dad's wood!

Austin has a nickname, "wood" and a tattoo of the same!

Always something fun going on at Lucas boatworks : )


we are grateful.

I am off to fly to Connecticut and visit my sister and family. Both of my sons and their wives/partners will come down to my sister's house from Boston - I can't wait! wishing you the best, lenna