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





by the sea chunky ATC

I had never heard of a "chunky" ATC before until I read about it on Lisa Busch's Collage Stuff Blog -go there to check out just one of her beautiful samples. Lisa owns a business called "Collage Stuff" where she sells wonderful collage stuff!  I often find just what I might need for a project and also, collage items that inspire me to start something new! And Lisa runs super art swaps through her yahoo group - check that out too! I learned from her that a chunky ATC is a variation on a trading card made on a wood block, 2.5" x 3.5" x 3/4" wide. This was a one-for-one swap, sending directly to the person Lisa signed you up with. Here is what I came up with -a bit of my creating process. First some gathering . . . I have collected lots of lovely shells living in Florida!
 I did not have to, but decided I wanted to paint my block white. I got my blank chunky wood ATC from Collage stuff - follow this link and scroll down a bitThey are high quality pre-sanded blocks.
I used Goop glue (E6000) to secure the various shells.
The little gold sequin stars I got from Collage Stuff, the pearls were a broken bracelet.
The dictionary page came as a gift from Lisa with my last order -perfect!
Now my chunky ATC has shell "feet"!
For the back, I wanted a business card that had a copy of "Shell art" already on it.
(ATCs I created for another swap)
But Lisa wanted the back arted up too, so I stamped various images on white tissue paper using permanent ink. When adhered to the block with matte medium under and over, the tissue paper melts away. Only the image remains!
From the side . . . 

From the top!

The front, from the top. The crinkly wire wrapped around is from collage Stuff.

That was sure fun to do! Thanks, Lisa for the inspiration and organization.
My chunky ATC is in the mail as of yesterday, swimming it's way to Andrea in Texas. I have already received a beautiful chunky ATC from Gloria - what a great swap!


Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.
  ~ Chinese proverb

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

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



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




creative things


Tomorrow, 2/5 is Conscious Movement here in Sarasota and I am so looking forward to it. This is the closest thing I have found to the modern dance improv I did growing up and for many years after, that I love. The photo above is a Photoshop version of 2 photos I took at the last conscious movement event. I love taking just a few quiet photographs during the hour and a half and then bringing them into Photoshop and seeing how I can tweak them artistically. Tomorrow we may have visitors from St. Pete join us, so I think there will be lots of energy and spirit dancing in the room!

Today, I went to a wonderful Zentangle® class taught by certified Zentagle instructor, Mary Masi. I met Mary through Conscious Movement and Nia classes! Here are the two 3" x 5" tiles I completed in Mary's excellent class today . . .


Zentangle looks like doodling, but is really so much more. From the Zentangle® website, "Our Zentangle method is a way of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns. It is fun and relaxing. Almost anyone can use it to create beautiful images. It increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well being. The Zentangle method is enjoyed all over this world across a wide range of skills, interests and ages." Find out more about Zentangle here on the website. I found it so relaxing. 

I also visited a new studio and Gallery called Artspace on Anna Maria Island this afternoon. My friend Cheryl who hosted my collage class earlier this week, told me about Deborah and her husband who are opening this awesome space. It is bright and beautiful, with a gorgeous view of the Anna Maria Bay.

The view!! It is above the post office, 101 Bayview Plaza, Anna Maria Island, FL

It looks so good! They are going to have their first show to coincide with the Grand Opening on March 23 and I am definitely going to make a "Spring Cleaning" piece and enter! 

Afterwards, a quick trip to the north of the island . . . 
ahhhhhh . . . i love the beach. 


happy weekend! 
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

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 






shells of love


I made this for my son Dallas and his new wife Liz. They married on October 1, the same day my dad died. Bittersweet day for me as I was with my mom and dad where I wanted and needed to be, but not with my son as the wedding was in Massachusetts. I will bring this wedding present to them this weekend when I return to the North-lands (not Florida) for a family visit -my first time away from Florida in 2 years! 

Steven made the wooden heart shaped base for me at Lucas Boatworks where he has been doing tons of beautiful work, a lot of it with my dad's stash of wood, dad's tools and the skills dad taught him. How cool is that?? Dad is still here with us in a way. The shells that adorn the wood are very special (I think). Last January, Dallas and Liz had a break from their jobs in Italy and made time to visit Steven and I for 4 days or so while they were back in the States. They borrowed my car (and my camera) one day and went to the beach, 2 different beaches I think! 


They jumped for joy because they were in love and they were getting married this October.


They gathered shells . . .




They brought the shells back to our home, saved in a clear plastic bag. When Steven and I got home from bringing them to the airport at the end of their visit, I marveled at the changed sheets in the guest bedroom. Then I found the bag of shells on the bureau. Dallas and Liz obviously decided not to bring them with them as they were heading all the way back to Italy to finish the school year. Ah ha! (my little brain thought). I will save these shells they collected and make something for them someday. And so I did. This is just the type of creating I love to do. 







Dallas Chandler Foster and Elizabeth Kee Porter Hood
October 1, 2011


with love, lenna

moving along: sketchbook project 2012


I have made some progress in my 2012 Sketchbook Project and that is a very good thing because the Sketchbook Project Special Edition arrived in my mailbox the other day! The 2012 sketchbook project is due at the Art House Co-op January 31st, 2012 and the Special edition sketchbook project is due April 30th, 2012. Which ones are you doing??

I have reconstructed my sketchbook for the 2012 project. I removed the journal pages and taped them together to create a larger surface to work on, then returned them to the cover. I painted the pages and began working on them. While sometimes it feels slow going to me, I know I am getting back into the groove of working in art journals/the sketchbook project and other mixed media fun. I must say that my father's passing had (and still has) an effect on me, but we are all finding our way.


After bringing my sketchbook to my Nia class on the beach the other day I had an inspiration. A comment was written recently about using sand like glitter and it gave me an idea. I found tiny shells with sand I had collected and used fluid matte medium to create a beach inspired page. 

You'll see later in this post what the page looks like when dry.

Next up, I continued on the other side of the green pages . . .

I used many of my rubber stamps, a variety of inks and another NASA image!

The quote is a "tape transfer" - originally from a magazine:


I added more stars to the first side of the pages I worked on . . . .


I wrote a haiku and then added it to the page with a white jelly roll pen:

i see moon + stars
a shimmering paper sky
swirling energy . . .


 ~ the beach page!


There is still a little sand sticking to the pages -
of course, it's from me doing this! 


I have taken yet even more photographs and a lovely way to view them is via flickriver. 
Click on the Sketchbook Project 2012 photo set once there and you'll be ready to easily view! Thanks for joining me here.

Yours creatively, lenna




Nia: through movement we find health


I feel very fortunate that I am able to participate in Nia, a body-mind-spirit fitness program a few times a week here where I live in Florida -- and I have the option of taking classes on the beach!   


On Tuesday, I drove a little farther than usual to Siesta beach, Sarasota and had a lovely class with my instructor Kathy Oravec, below center. 


Siesta beach has won the recognition of #1 beach in the USA and it is a very popular fitness destination. There were so many people walking or jogging by, observing our class and smiling at us. Some walkers even made comments and a few even joined us! Siesta is a very social beach, and much more busy than the Longboat key beach class I had been to before. A view of the busy Siesta beach, below. 


Yes, it is still very warm on the west coast of Florida! Actually right now at 11pm the temperature is only 50 degrees, but during the mid part of the day it still gets up to 75-80. Very idyllic, I know I am blessed. Today I returned to Longboat Key for another Nia class. It was quite windy and I had a sweatshirt on. We start at 9am and I took this wonderful photo before class of the sun above Kathy's Nia banner, marking our spot on  the beach.


Longboat Key is a number of miles north of Siesta beach and is much quieter. I enjoy it very much. I was not sure initially if I would like doing a movement class on the beach, but I decided to try it and I am so glad I did -I love it! A week or 2 ago, just as we started warming up facing the ocean, 2 dolphins did a series of beautiful leaps out of the water. The waves were quite large today because of the wind and the sound they made was a perfect accompaniment to our dancing. Often the gulls fly overhead and it is really a very freeing experience to be outside, in front of the powerful ocean, moving and sensing everything. It is just what I need at this time in my life.  


 I took a quick break to drink some water and could not resist snapping a photo of Kathy teaching -beautiful. I have added a video below that will share with you more about Nia. If you are not reading this on the blog, you can link to the video here.




yours creatively, lenna