Color Choice

Week 21: Divine Colour with Dion Dior

Identifying one’s “divine color” proved to be another lesson that absolutely spoke to me. It did not take me long to choose indigo as the color that I need to have more of. Some of the identities of indigo that Dion identified are imagination, intuition, visualization, insights, dreams, and visions.

I chose jonquil as the flower to paint because its Victorian meaning is “desire.” Desire motivates me and keeps me focused.


This journal page was started with water colors and quickly switched over to acrylics. For some reason, acrylics are more comfortable for me lately. I added the text with a photo editor.

The Tree

Week 20: Artful Shamanism with Effy Wild

This week had another personally powerful exercise. Effy shared a meditation technique where you listen to a drumbeat while using a prompt that she provided. The prompt had to do with becoming aware of the symbols that came to you during the meditation and to later explore their meaning as you are doing your journal page.

The symbols that I saw were an old growth cedar tree and and eye. The tree could symbolize steadfastness, life, vitality, prosperity, culture, etc. The eye could symbolize watchfulness, awareness, spirituality, seeing, knowing, & accountability. This is what I wrote:

The tree has a masculine, protective spirit–everything I love about masculinity. It is protection, it produces the seed of life, oxygen, art, shelter, a portal. We use it for staying out of the harsh elements, for telling our stories, building our communities. They have been here before man. A tree is a tree. It teaches us to be authentic. The cedar has many uses. It was used to build huge war canoes & masks that told the natives sacred stories. The eye tells us to be watchful of our planet-God is watching. The tree has life & has an awareness of that life that we cannot understand. We will understand only through spiritual eyes. We know deep down the right things to do and this makes us accountable.


Connecting With My Muse

Week 19-Messages from the Muse with Shiloh Sophia McCloud 

This week’s art journaling class fell like a gift from heaven. I have been playing with the idea of getting to know my muse better and Shiloh’s instruction presented as beautifully as her final product. She is an artist that I will continue to follow.

First, she set the stage to coax her muse into a visit. She set a place for tea, brought a rose, and offered chocolate. She then guided the student through a short visual imagination exercise in order to help them connect with and see their muse. In the end, the journal spread was magical and spiritual and a technique that I will use again.


Stories to be Heard

Yesterday was my 23rd wedding anniversary, and I happen to be lucky because it lands on the anniversary of the eruption of America’s most active volcano, Mt. St. Helens. It has been 33 years since her last major eruption, but that hasn’t put her out of everyone’s minds. The front page article of our local newspaper told of scientists around the world coming to our mountain for study among recollections of that dreadful day. The natives have a different interest in her, and yesterday I was hoping to hear her story from that point of view. When I was eight years old and a year before the mountain blew, I went on a field trip to the Lelooska Cultural Center where Chief Lelooska told the story of the “Loowitlatkla (Lady of Fire),” or Mt. St. Helens. He described her as a beautiful maiden with two brothers fighting over. When the chief became angry he turned all three of them into mountains. The brothers became Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood. Chief Lelooska explained that Mt. St. Helens does not sleep, nor can she rest because of the way she was transformed into the mountain.

30 plus years later, I wish to hear that story told orally again and hoped that heading once again up to the Lelooska Cultural Center for a night of mask transformation and story telling would include this legend. The timing of their opening night on May 18th had special significance to me.

Even though Chief Lelooska passed away several years ago, his brother Chief Tsungani continues to tell the stories that are his family’s to tell. The ceremony involves music, dance, story telling with the special masks central to each story. Potlatches in the Northwest were outlawed by the Canadian and American governments and illegal until the 1950s. Masks were confiscated and I assume some of the rich oral stories were lost. Missionaries expressed concern over what to them seemed to be evil (what Chief Tsungani attributed to a sleight of hand for purposes of telling stories). For example, a fire that starts at the coaxing of a shaman’s dance/song/prayer was seen as the work of the devil.

Last night, the chief did not tell the story of Loowit (the Little Smoking Mountain), but I felt that I understood the possible reasoning why. Perhaps it was not his to tell. I will continue to search for this story, and maybe that means that I will need to attend more potlatches in the Northwest area. I understand why the stories are guarded, but I feel that there must be a personal significance because from a young age I lived in the mountain’s backyard and have felt her rumblings. I long to hear her story-her story told by people who understood the earth as sacred-even alive with stories to tell.


Click on the links to watch a couple of short documentaries about the more recent return of the potlatch:   Potlatch 1 & Potlatch 2 


April’s Artist’s Dates & Walks were overshadowed by my preoccupation with reading deprivation. By the end of the month I was so thrown off that I believe that I really got back in touch with part of my younger Michelle. I felt a sense of renewal for physical vitality. I wanted to feel pretty again-to feel young again. I wondered if this is what a midlife crisis feels like. In the end, I felt grateful to have the opportunity to go on a trip to Florida with my husband. The calling sun becomes quite the temptation after a long northwest winter/spring.

Being a Facebook page owner has put me in touch with some great people. One afternoon (a couple of months ago) Laurel from Illuminating Souls offered free “angel readings.” I had never done these before, so it intrigued & brought me to tears to read the different page owners’ readings that day. It was such a sweet experience to feel that each person’s reading was so special and unique to them. Each reading also captured their best self–their potential. I decided this month, for my first Artist’s Date, to have a private reading. With little information about me, she was right on with my feelings and aligned with the direction that I have been drawn towards. She helped me to see that I have been leery of femininity, yet comfortable with the masculine. She recommended a couple of books for me to read including Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes which have turned out to be just what I’ve been needing (I can’t even begin to say how difficult it was for me to hold off picking them up until the new month). Laurel also taped the reading, so I was able to listen to it again later. In the end, I had two pages of notes and great new information for my journey ahead.

Two dates were spent with self-care activities like shopping, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, & a mani/pedi time. I am learning more and more that my artist needs to be pampered and to feel well and nurtured.

I went back near the mountain for my final date. The town that you go through to go up to Mt. St. Helens is Woodland. This little town has more going on than what one would expect. My favorite time of year there is spring because they have both the Tulip Festival and the Lilac Gardens in full bloom. I learned about these events back when I completed the Artist’s Way my first time in 2008 and have been attending whenever possible ever since. Woodland still has the small town feel, yet understands the value of hospitality.

My first stop was to the Tulip Festival. It was a little crowded for my style, but I went with it and took pictures with other people in them as well as the flowers. I enjoyed watching many ladies tromping through the flowers with their umbrellas up protecting them from the drizzle. I smiled to see many with cameras and many others with arms full of tulips.


Before heading home, I took a walk around the old town area, and I found Old Town Grill, a “new to me” restaurant to try out. My first impression of the place was that it was too dark inside. Most of the patrons were sitting on the other side of the establishment (in the bar) watching sports, and it definitely had the old bar feel to it (the kind that the lights are kept dim because the decor hasn’t been updated since the early 80s).  I’ve learned long ago not to judge a restaurant by its appearance, but in this instance it put me off because when I went to read the history trivia on the other side of the menu, there was a dingy build-up that was hard to ignore. Hand washing before eating helped restore my interest in eating.

The friendly waitress was also the bar tender which kept her occupied for a while before she could take my order; however, I didn’t mind having a little extra time to explore the historic pictures lining the walls of the restaurant of the trees, loggers, and settlers of the area. I felt an immediate connection with the past and got my next lead to go to the museum a couple of blocks away.

My sandwich was pretty good, but the fries were delicious. The grilled sandwich had freshly baked turkey breast, but a processed type of cheese melted over it that I did not particularly like. I would eat there again, but would probably try their club instead because so much of their food had a home made feel to it.


Next, I headed over to the museum. I found pictures of logs that were basically the size of the log trucks that carried them. I wondered where this old growth timber had come from. The ladies that staffed this small, two room museum were pretty knowledgable and very attentive. I learned that farming & the dairies were an important part of early Woodland. Going away, I felt that I got a good idea of its history and people.

A couple weeks later, I came back to Hulda Klager’s Lilac Garden the last weekend of their season. I did bring my daughter along (I know, it did not technically count as an official Artist’s Date, but I still wanted to include it) which turned out to be a good move since I fell in love with yet another lilac variety.

Gentle remembrances of the beauty of the bloom manifested all month long. The cycles of life may be arguably at their prettiest during the spring season. A longing of earlier times in life may surprise us, but shouldn’t be avoided because so many lessons may be felt.