“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


Moving into Art: Stillness & Space

A so-still tree.
Space to breathe.
That quietness.

I feel myself sliding into art mode, watching my half-filled canvases for clues, laying awake in the darkness listening for their whispers, half-hoping that when I awake they will be finished - completed by art-elves or fairies who have snuck in during the night, brushes in hand, knowing the direction I want to take. I sit & stare at these canvases, even the just gessoed ones - I watch how the shadows move across the textures I have chosen, looking for a sign, waiting for that moment of magical knowledge, when the painting reveals itself to me & I know how to proceed. I read notes to myself found in the bottom of my purse, where several small journals reside, and I am surprised to find that a few words jotted down 2 years ago suddenly make things clearer. I find that I am still interested in stillness, but the stillness surrounding actions, big or small. I find I am interested in the suggestions of things or people or events, rather than the things themselves. I feel myself pulling in to myself, preparing, knowing it will come, that I cannot stop it, that I don't want to stop it. I turn inward, going through my day noticing small things, small feelings, the touch of a windblown flower petal as it careens past, the shadow of a bird's wing. I study the trees and find them watching me in return. I remember the hawk flying fast & low across our path, golden red feathers shining in the sunlight, silhouettes of trees dark behind his flight, then the light sky, then dark, then light, then dark again & he is gone - disappeared into, part of that darkness. It all seems important. It all is important.

I must pay attention.
Then my brush will know what to do,
and my fingers will choose the perfect colors.
I must pay attention.
But not too much.


  1. Oh, to be an artist. I can't imagine looking at a blank canvas and knowing what to do, where to start. Blank paper has never spoken to me that way. Now a patch of dirt. Yes, that whispers to me! Can't wait to see what you come up with.

  2. I find that I am still interested in stillness, but the stillness surrounding actions, big or small.


  3. Such a magical post. Full of both detail and expanse. In the stillness we find the details. Am really loving your blog.

  4. i am so with you as you do this, listen, pay attention, let yourself flow into the canvas. it is amazing to me that you must do this everyday. work, paint, not paint, wish you could paint, dream about painting, paint some more, think about painting, write about painting and paint. i am sending good fortune and prayers for a peace filled heart your way.

  5. Brenda - Me either! :)

    Amy - Ah, you understand.

    Johanna - Many, many thanks!

    Robin - Art is not for sissies. :)

    Thank you all!

  6. The days
    have ways of knowing
    where the muse hides
    in wait
    for the time of casting
    to the winds.

  7. lovely to read of your artistic process. Stillness and attention leading to beautiful artful expression. This is a lovely tree and post.

  8. I think so many of the secrets in life lie in the noticing. Art, surely. Also, relationships. I know we can add pleasure, contentment, decorating, handcrafts, even good shopping - noticing is the key, isn't it?

  9. I love that you go into yourself to feel everything...I really need to do that and to really pay attention to the details that don't have to always do with work. You are an inspiration Debi!

  10. Ohhhh!!! What a hauntingly beautiful image. It IS stillness.
    Those canvases must be calling to you...

  11. What wonderful images and posts! Love your blog!

  12. This image illustrates your words so perfectly. What would this tree be without the stillness surrounding it?

    When we allow soulspace in our lives, we make room for the mystery.

  13. Oh but you do pay attention...to all things, especially the little things that might go by unnoticed if it weren't for your beautiful ability to see. To sense with all senses. And then to inspire us all to open our eyes and look a little closer.


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