Saturday, November 30, 2013

grace part 2

my second attempt at a grace mandala ..... with the star theme .... i love the imagery ... but ernest hemingway speaking of grace under pressure seems a bit ironic ....

happy last day of november.

have you started thinking about new year's resolutions?  or are you thinking about the december holidays?

Friday, November 29, 2013

the friday after thanksgiving ...

what do you do on black friday? the day after thanksgiving?
i eat leftovers.
i eat pie.
i make more pie sometimes.
i play games.
i stay in my jammies as long as possible.
i read.
i hang out.
i enjoy my family.
i ignore the football game on tv.
i don't shop.

and today, i'll brag.
last friday, i went to pottery and had 11 pieces finished. i had spent the friday before that in a glazing frenzy .... it was such a frenzy that as i ran out of steam, my pal carolyn (yay, carolyn!) helped me finish up.... glazing is not my favorite part ... and i think it is because it is not social.... during my pottery classes, we all sit at these large lovely tables chatting and creating .... and doing the "making" part with the wet clay ... the glazing is on the other side of the room and there's no big chat event going on over there ... just you and all those glazes to stir and mix and pour and drizzle and wipe and clean up ... alone..... so the extrovert in me doesn't like glazing.... i go to class for the extrovert part.... this is a new revelation to me ... i'm going to need to take a poll of the class ... i believer extrovert/introvert will line up with like/dislike the glazing process ....
but i digress ...
back to my brag....
i had 11 christmas gifts come out of the kiln. they are all under my fuchsia fleece in the picture ... 3 large rectangle platters ... 8 small round ones .... and the rest is just my stuff to make more ... i'm always making more....when my friends and family get tired of pottery, i'll need to take up a new hobby ... but it won't be shopping!

here's wishing you a black friday of no shopping .... enjoy your day doing something fabulous!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

happy thanksgiving

i love that thanksgiving falls right in the middle of pie week ... so perfect ... a day of multiple pies in the middle of much pieness ....
my specialty (that this week has become little.e.beck.artist's specialty) is pumpkin pie ....but all thanksgiving visitors have asked what to bring ... and all i ask for is pie .... i'm expecting four pies today .... and we'll have three of our own .... making the people to pie ratio better than 2 to 1 ... surrounded by family and pies ... the perfect holiday... happiness and pie to you and yours! 

****late edit... as i write this a few days before thanksgiving.... we already at two of the pies ... so only one from us to add to todays mix ... so five pies for 13 people .... a little more than 3 to 1 pie ratio... not bad ... 

happy thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


my mandala word was grace.
an important word.
not an easy one to convey in art.
the suggestion was to use stars.
and i did.
and before any color was added i saw circus.
not grace.
just circus.
nothing wrong with a circus drawing....
unless you want a grace drawing.
no grace.
but, in thinking of grace, i recalled a starfish parable.
and i turned my stars to starfish.
and it is subtle like a circus but says grace now.

i don't know who the parable is attributed to ..... (though not jesus, in my mind the primary parable teller) .... and i just wrote it from memory .... i feel like it is paul coehlo ... but it might be isaac asimov or mark twain or maybe a bunch of writers claim it! 

in case it is too tiny in the photo, 
here is what i wrote:

a man was walking along a beach filled with washed up starfish ….
he came across a boy, tossing starfish back into the ocean…
child, what are you doing?  he asked….
i am saving the starfish.
saving them? there are too many… you can’t make a difference….why does it matter?
the boy picked up a starfish and tossed it into the ocean … it matters to that one … and this one … and this one ….

don’t miss your opportunity to toss a star.  it matters.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

community ...

my mandala prompt was community .... i have a number of communities ... overlapping circles of friends ... church friends, school friends, art friends, pottery friends, tennis friends, book club friends, neighborhood friends, suthers center friends, college friends, family friends .... many people are in more than one of those circles ... there are also friends who know the garage door code ... friends with their own key to my house .... i didn't have a notion of how to draw community, my community, when i saw the word at the top of the email ... but in the body of the email, the candle was given as an image ... i like that ... being each others' light .... and then i felt like i found the perfect quote to go with it... nice how that happens ...
as we lead up to thanksgiving, i must tell you all that i am thankful for my community  ....

Sunday, November 24, 2013


my month of mandalas course suits me. i like having an assignment each day. i sometimes find the assignment too hard and skip it and do my own thing ... my plan is to go back to the hard words .... the day i did this mandala, the word was intuition ..... at the time i was doing it, i really knew that i was doing intuition well ... and right .... but now, a week or so later, i have trouble knowing that i felt that. did i really? it looks pretty to me. and i know i had certain ideas and notions and feelings while i created it .... but i can't really wrap my brain around that when i look at it. i love how it looks in fact... but is that because i felt successful as i made it? quite the conundrum .... like my intuition left!
i guess all art is like this ... you feel a certain way while you make it ... and maybe even want to capture that ( i can imagine this with mandalas, painting, music, writing) ... but when you are done, did you capture it? will other people who see it, know it too?

ok. my next blog post i will be less mysterious and rhetorical. less intuitive. more matter o' fact!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

poem, poet, poetry, poetic

i've been having a poetry year. i've read a lot of billy collins .... i've read an anthology of poetry .... i've been marching my way through the collected works of ee cummings. wow. i need a teacher to sit next to me while i read it. lots of it is just too ambiguous or abstract or unknowable ... i read a poem i thought i got ... i asked girl.beck.artist to read it. we totally read it differently. who was right? no telling. hopefully it was meant to be ambiguous and we both had a correct notion ... do you have a favorite poet? ....

Friday, November 22, 2013

helen keller and joy

how was helen keller so smart? so intuitive? so new age earth goddess knowing? it just seems so unlikely. she was the first deafblind person to get a college degree. extraordinary. and even as a deafblind person who could not see and depended on touch for everything, she could state something so concise as this? was her heart more able because other senses were diminished to the point of not existing? blind people have a greater sense of hearing.. does someone deafblind has enhanced heart? i'm guessing probably.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


change your clothes
change your mind
change your point of view
change your plans
change of heart

some people think change is good.
some people despise change.... work against it ... fight it tooth and nail.... 
change in the weather
change just happens whether you want it to or not .... 
i like change
mixing it up
the surprise

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

anatomy of a painting .....or ombre disfunction

begin a painting by having a feeling .... a notion ... a color sense .... ah ... i feel blue .... gather all the blueness from around the studio ...  
 once all blueness is gathered, realize just how horrible you are to your paint brushes ... get side tracked .... soak them all in alcohol .... while they soak, work on tidying up the studio ....
 while tidying up, take a better picture of your best blues ... marvel at just how many blues there are .. marvel at the different brands of paints .... miss your old favorite store pearl art supply. i tried to write that sentence just by saying miss pearl .... but as a standalone: miss pearl .... it comes off as a ma'am not a sentiment of nostalgia .....pearl is the next to far right paint brand .... the shop is long gone .... living on in a few near empty acrylics ....
 decide that to do blue you need to get organized.
paint dozens of dictionary pages blue. paint them in such a manner that the ombre blue look stretches far and away around your studio, table, floor, counter ....
 let the blue ombre dictionary page dry for days .... or weeks .... walk in and admire all those blue pages .... yay for blue.... hesitate to stack them or use them because they look so beautiful as is. dream about paper art installations .....ombre dictionary paper a whole gallery one day ....
 keep dreaming in blue.....
decide that you love ombre so much that you need to ombre a canvas. paint on the far side of the studio where you aren't supposed to paint so that you don't have to pick up the ombre'd papers of dictionary beautifulness

 admire that blue. come up with a plan. woefully pick up the papers so that you can plan a reverse ombre flower collage ......

 realize that you have enough blue papers to go through years and years of a blue period. good enough for picasso, good enough for e.beck.artist.

there's just nothing blue about blue.

Monday, November 18, 2013

pear pair, why are you so blue?

this is a 24 x 36 foot painting .... undocumented this year ... but released into the world .... i think of it as a painting of a very happy couple ... the pear pair that leans in to chat whisper ... to comfort .... i hope it is in a dining room watching over family dinners .....

Sunday, November 17, 2013

mandala prompt: question

sometimes there are more questions than answers.
sometimes there are questions and you are just supposed to think about them.
you don't have to find the answer.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

confucius' irish blessing

  here are two mandalas i made .... the above, playing with color and design....below, just design .... these two were for the joy of coloring and drawing .... as opposed to some of the others i have shown you that are to a daily prompt ....are you more of a confucius person or an irish blessing sort?

Friday, November 15, 2013

be strong.

i did this painting this summer .... a commission ... and it is now hanging in the sophie's middle school ... a donor from last year's renovation didn't want a room dedication, but wanted this bible verse put up in the school. i think that is an awesome idea, right? and then that bible verse seems especially good for 8th graders setting out on their way ....

Thursday, November 14, 2013

liesel's flower

after my lengthy sabbatical, i have much to catch up with here ... and actually can't and won't catch it all up ... i'll just do some art highlights that i want to be chronicled .... my friend liesel wanted a big pink flower. this is a 2 foot square canvas ..... i wrote some happy things on the background .... and then big pink flower it is! .... i'm guessing i did this in august-ish .... sorry to have kept it from you for so long! ha.  are there any words that pop out at you right when you look at it? i see emma ... and i see one potato two potato .... i think i see the potatos cause i know they are there and think the sentiment is funny in this context .... and emma .... i think i see that because of the hefty negative space under it .... like i left a gap so emma would stand up and be noticed ... but it wasn't intentional ... and i'm not even sure it's what i see first. i'd guess most people would read the top line first .... cause, well, cause it's reading and you start at the top left generally speaking!
so there you go....
i've done a number of these painting where instead of using collage elements in the background i've done this, using my own writing .... i like it ... but it does make me miss the collage bits ....

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


the mandala word for day 6 was through ... the things we are passing through on our journey .... i guess it could be chaos or mayhem or grief or upheavel or job loss or ... any number of hard words ... but none of those words are mine..... i think this "season" of my life is family ... or parenting ..... i'm going THROUGH the family stage, even though my kids are quite grown(teens, near teen), still revolves around my family, my children, their schedules, their needs, their problems. i actually don't have any problems that are ALL my own ....or not that i can think of at this moment ... oh, i thought of one ... but it's a sports injury (and i'm sparing you the details right here. you're welcome.) .... all of my metaphysical problems are ones that belong to someone else ... and i just take them up to share the burden ....   so .... i'm going through this parenting season .... and it is quite the circuitous route, right?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

box of joy

so .... for this month i am working on a mandala course ...

i'm meant to do one a day, following a theme, instead, i've done two and sometimes three a day to theme, one just following the whims of my doodles.... so on my coffee table now, i have an art box (formerly a clementine box) of joy .... all the things i need to keep my mandala practice on course are in there....

i gathered up some art books that i have (one on doodling, two on lettering, i might should add more), my 8x12 journal (70 pages), an old ruler, a new flexi ruler (super coolio), a green template circle maker, a compass, a protractor (i have a mental block on those, which is which? compass? protractor?) a prismacolor 24 pack of colored pencils, a dozen fine point sharpies, a dozen extra fine sharpies, and some extra pencils and erasers .... little.e.beck.artist has started keeping her journal in my box too .... what can be better than side by side coloring ....
 it is an interesting thing to me that by reorganizing something you already have, it seems better or more useful. i haven't looked at these books lately .... but now they are awesome all over again. i have sharpies, but just by moving some permanently to a box on my coffee table they become much used.  with a little thought, or a mandala prompt, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. love that.

Monday, November 11, 2013

following directions. or not.

if i had to grade this mandala on execution, i'd give it an A ... however, if i had to give a grade based on following directions? i'm pretty sure i get an F .... cause... well.... i didn't follow directions ... luckily, i am not being graded on any portion .... and in fact, i can rationalize away the fact that i did not follow directions. you see, the word was chaos. does this look like chaos to you? no, me neither.

so i was going with what i thought the norm was ... what's life? straight and narrow and color between the lines? so that's what is in the middle ... straight and narrow and color and lines and just so .... and then the rest? more real life, less norm? reality? the reality of my closet, my thought processes, my children's rooms, my art studio, my to do list is that chaos is just a little bit different that the straight and narrow and color between the lines.  real life chaos is the unpredictable, the not so tidy and colored between the lines. sure, war is chaos, but in my life, so is the laundry room and dinner time and rushing out the door after breakfast.... but MY chaos doesn't bother me. it's just not quite coloring between the lines. it is me. it is more free form and unexpected and this way and that way .... the chaos is important. it's life. i like my chaos and all those happy doodles that are outside the lines.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

four mandalas ... cause i have far more mandalas than days ....

 four mandalas. only one is for a mandala workshop word ... prayer. the others were just for the joy of exploring the circle, the doodle, the contemplative doodling, the search for a quote to go.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


i have a doodle book .... by jenny doh... craft a doodle .... it has an owl page ... so now so do i..... have an owl page. which is your favorite? i think i like the top most one best.

Friday, November 8, 2013


this was my first mandala .... november 1st ... my new habit begun ..... look how many circles and arcs in this ??...... i circled it up for sure ..... i think if you checked my last 800and something blog posts, you'd say my shape is a square. 90% of my canvases are squares. i totally made that up. 75% of my canvases are squares. well... i made that up too. LOADS of my art is done on a square. i like squares. my mandala could be done on a square ... in a square journal ... but i didn't take the time to find a square journal ... which now i'm happy about, because i have room under each mandala to put a quote. so now that's part of my process ... mandala making and quote searching. so, in the time i've been away from my blog, i've fallen for the circle. but i have a commissioned painting to work on ... and that will be a square. if i can just make the time to do it in between my circles.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

mandala: play

the mandala topic was play .... my first inclination was to play with my new supplies ... new color pencils ... new compass... new protractor ... new circle template ..... so i filled my circle with circles long before i ever thought about playing .... and then i decided to fill in my circles with play .... so ... let's play outside in the sunshine ....

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

mandala ... and balance

for the month of november, i am doing art every day ... different than nanowrimo a couple years ago where i wrote every day in my quest for a novel in 30 days ... but that was 50K words in thirty days ... so thirty pictures doesn't seem too hard. i have joined an online mandala course to keep me on track ... i get a lovely prompt emailed to me every day .... this is the sixth of november, so i've now followed six prompts ... but i've actually completed 14 mandalas.... above is my favorite thus far. the prompt was balance .. balance ... something i strive for, try for, hope for, want .... not sure i've had it lately. not sure it's super possible with teenagers in the house ....but, still working on it.  part of working on balance is art every day .... keeping in touch with the inner artist who is just THRILLED to buy a new set of pencils and markers, a fresh journal, a compass .... ah! the joy of a compass! who knew? i had forgotten how much i loved one.... middle school and high school had some compass joy for me! so .. here's to compass joy ... and refinding my blogging self.