Sunday, June 9, 2019


Early morning-45º and sunny-Peacham, Vermont 
Dearest Readers,


Final painting of Winged Dervish in the studio_36"x82" full size_acrylic on canvas
My wrestling with a painting is done! With the help of my artist friends, Annette Lorraine and Sharon Biddle, I have a finished work of art! This winter I shared on this blog my struggle to pull beauty and personal meaning out of a two-part painting of wings. 
Early stage_right side of wings-horizontal

Early stage_left side of wings-horizontal
I avoided the studio, without a clue how to move the piece along. I hated to look at it. I robotically puttered, painted and scraped away until one day I angrily slathered the outline of a horizontal maple tree across the wingspan. I stuck with it.
Addition of maple tree shape across wingspan in the studio
Something clicked. The tree is me of course, an old metaphorical friend-self. Suddenly the green background became water, the wingspan dropped away to a mere framing device, the circles turned into bubbles and the shapes surrounding her began to whirl and float–still not right, but on the path.
Left to Right-AnnetteLorraine, me, Sharon Biddle
I had shared the painting in progress in my studio with Annette and Sharon who saw through my painterly confusion. This was not advice-giving, but a kind expression of how the work felt to them, what they were excited by, and what maybe didn’t work. They also brought over their own artworks in progress to share and get feedback for–beautiful watercolor landscapes and some project ideas for the future. It was a glorious day of artistic insight!

I am grateful for their comments. They loosened my mind without telling me what to do. Later, alone in the studio, in the spirit of bravery, I swung the maple-me around to the vertical, and hoisted the two stretched canvases one on top of the other like a tree should be, sacrificing the concept of wings, but not of flight. 
The wingspan now is just a hint of an arched line. The feather tips instantly became striped turquoise cocoons, and the deep greens of living water now whirl beneath me. The branches mimic outstretched arms. Light and shade feel hot and cool. This is the magic of reorientation! 
What a joyful relief!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


Early morning, 14º, Peacham, Vermont 

We take long trips.
We puzzle over the meaning of a painting or a book,
when what we’re wanting to see, and understand
in this world, we are that.
-Rumi, Quatrain #549

Dearest Readers,
1. In early January, I showed you the left side of a divided painting of colorful abstract wings entitled Winged Dervish, (see above). I was off to a vibrant start in the new year. Some of you questioned the little circle of skulls in the left corner. “They are buzzing around in the background like death”, I said. Here’s my back-and-forth progress since then. I invite you to enter my painting process over the month of January. 
2. Here's the first iteration of the right-hand wings. I liked the bubbles and floating shapes, but I felt the hearts nestled in their little eggs were too surreal. (Who knows?) So...
3. I added a gesso white-wash over the right side to partially obscure them, and I introduced an outline of a tree trunk (my Spirit Self). "Now where am I going?", I thought.

4. Here's the full outline of my tree over both sides of the wings in my studio.

5. Then I faintly gessoed in the left side branches, making sure to entangle the circle of skulls. "Would that slight change tone down their prominence,"  I wondered?
6. Not really. Here's a closer look.

7. The elements of the painting were getting too crowded (jumbled)? I decided to fully fill in the entire tree that was floating across the two-sided painting. Hmmm. Not sure. Much of the color is now obscured. "Is this good or bad"?, I ask myself, "Where am I going with this"?
8. Time to think. I like the bubbles and shapes on the lefthand panel, so they will stay, and I feel the skulls have something to say, but friend-artists have told me they are still too prominent, pulling the viewers eye insistently to the bottom left.
9. Yikes ! I really wanted a colorful tree to express my joyful self, so I took the plunge and painted it, as happily as I felt. (Above). This is now too overwhelming and it doesn't speak clearly about spirit, and eternity.

10. So I whitewashed the entire winged background. This is better...calmer. The tree, the skulls, the shapes and bubbles and the outline of the wings remain for another time to wrestle with. They seem to be essential.

Truthfully, I have a hint of a direction to go in. I'll let you know what I discover next time.

Sunday, January 20, 2019


A pair of newborn wings 
Fluttered like hands hooked at the thumbs.
Open. Close. Open. Close.
Making broom tracks in the snow 
And flickering shadows in the crisp moonlight.

I opened the window, reached out 
and gave them a boost.
My hands in their feathers.
Up. Down. Rise. Descend.
Off you go.

Left Wing In progress with Tree Self emerging_Week 2 

Dearest Readers,
A couple of weeks ago I introduced you to one half of a new diptych entitled “The Winged Dervish”, acrylic and oil on canvas. Here's where I am so far. (See Above). It is still in progress, morphing as I add the left wing to the right, seeing what happens when all that shape and color crashes against the opposite side. 

And here is your first look at the left side in progress:
Winged Dervish-Right Wing in progress with Tree Self  emerging
Too much going on? Maybe. Let’s see what happens this week as I add some paint here, sand away some color there. The image leads the way to what will stay and what will go. I sit back and stare, roll my studio chair away and lean back to get a wider view. 
Studio View-side by side
My head says Not right yet. I need some quiet inside or outside the pair of wings. I’ve added my spirit self to the mix…the outline of a tree slumbering across the winged landscape for stability, and strength in flight. The skulls remain along a branch, contained, but buzzing around to spoil the party.

Sunday, January 6, 2019


“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.” 
-Mary Oliver, Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays

Early morning, NewYear’s Day, Peacham, Vermont 
Dearest Readers,
The Winged Dervish_41in x 36in_acrylic and oil on canvas_January 1, 2019
Today I introduce you to one half of a new diptych entitled “The Winged Dervish”, acrylic and oil on canvas. It is in progress, incomplete, but full of fire as it promises to take flight.
Winged Dervish_Detail_ January 1, 2019
On Easter Sunday 2011in Atlanta Georgia I launched this blog, The Interwoven Heart…to give voice to deep, deliberate new directions in my writings, and visual work”. 

Today I’m relaunching The Interwoven Heart after a year of silence, a new home purchase, knee surgery, and finding myself like a whirling dervish spinning too fast in multiple life directions. Happily, in the last month, my studio has become electric again, a paroxysm of redirected creative juice. More paintings, drawings, and portraits exploring transformation, “being a tree” and being in community will follow throughout the year. 
I hope you will join me!

Monday, January 1, 2018


“Proceed with love, care and courage”
-Roshi Joan Halifax, founding abbot at Upaya Center, Santa Fe, NM

Me out walking during an early snowfall this season
Dearest Readers,
This is not polished yet, but I want to note that something just happened as I lay in bed listening first to an NPR radiointerview with Jesuit father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries in LosAngeles, a gang intervention business for street kids,
and then after reading the Afterward by Michael Chabon to his little swashbuckling Jewish adventure tale, “Gentlemen of the Road”A tiny door opened inside my timid brain. A mouse finally had the courage to turn the knob and emerge into the bright-light with a daunting idea to use my impending house purchase as a vessel for creative adventures, not just as shelter and safe haven.

That’s right! This Friday I’m about to close on a little house in the center of Peacham, Vermont, my beloved adopted hometown. Here it is: Ta-Da! 
You can use the link directly below to see the rooms inside: 

Needs an outside paint job which will happen in late Spring, but it’s well built by hand, with mid-century modern touches, a linoleum floor in the kitchen/dining room just begging to be a studio, and no worries about splattered paint. It comes with an acre and a half of land, a barn and a lovely raftered empty space over the garage with possibilities.

It turns out I’m not a brave person. When I learned in October that my rental apartment along a forested dirt road in Peacham would not be available after May 1st, I pulled emotionally inward from fear of change and loneliness. I wanted my family to be nearby to pat my hand and give me advice.  I began an anxious search for other rentals in the area, weighing options nightly at 2am while staring at the stars from my bedroom window. 

Rentals are not abundant in a small town of 720 people. The thought of moving to another village scared me. I love this sharing, earthy community, and all my new friends.

To regain my equilibrium, and quell my anxiety, I had to down-regulate from my daily painting regimen and stop offering my volunteer services. During those 2 am episodes of wild insomniac mind, I re-discovered my Confirmation rosary and a book of contemplations, “Comfortable with Uncertainty”, by the American Buddhist nun, Pema Chodrun.  The meditation reflections, and my prayerful recitations on the rosary gave me some control. I can see why some folks call them "worry beads". It worked to soften my mental suffering! So does a sky full of stars.

I considered renting a “tiny house” still under construction on the outskirts of Peacham. It was new, aesthetically beautiful, and full of light upstairs. 

After days of agonizing, I knew I’d be too isolated and further away from friends and in-town life. The rental price was right, but I would be miserable.

One of my sanity strategies was not to decide, but just walk – walk, walk, walk – up and down the hilly woodland roads. I asked friends for advice. Many helped. I tried seeing the situation humorously (no luck there). I needed to take action. Logic kept telling me to rent the lonely house on the hill because it was a cool design and the rental price was right. An imaginary finger wagged in my head that I’m too old for home ownership and all the headaches.  

Then one morning another brain-snap cracked me open. I was reading an article in bed from  a recent Art in America magazine about an artist who creates installations in her studio. (Her name escapes me.) Something clicked. I realized I could make installations inside the little in-town Peacham house that was still for sale, or make a small apartment upstairs to rent out if my finances turn out to be inadequate. I could live like I want among friends and close neighbors. I called my realtor and made an offer that day. I followed my heart, and turned a scary situation into something fat, full of possibility and maybe transformation. I’m still not sure, and still worried, but that’s OK.