Prosperity in Bloom because you're worth it!

I took this photo of a lone artichoke planted in front of my house early this morning. It doesn't especially like hot, dry weather and so I won't have a chance to eat it, but instead will enjoy it's beautiful purple bloom which ties in neatly with my good friend Chad Woodward's article about yesterday's Sagittarius full moon. He poses the questions: "What is blossoming for you now? What great, gestating truth emerges into the light for you to embrace?" For myself, I had an incredible marketing session with Marisa of Creative Thursday yesterday and feel invigorated, re-charged and ready to  initiate a new project and make some big changes creatively and soulfully. What I'm learning is important for all of us, but especially for artists and women.  We need to learn how to value ourselves and our work cause if we don't, no one else will.  To supplement this work I'm also doing a 40 day Prosperity Program; a meditation that I've shared with my Creative Soul Circle, so if you're a Museletter subscriber you are more than welcome to join us and try it out for yourself.

artichoke in bloom

What is Your Gift?

Kathy Crabbe, Ande was ready for any adventure, 2003, mixed media on paper, 8x10”.Kathy Crabbe, Ande was ready for any adventure, 2003, mixed media on paper, 8x10”. 

This blog post has been a long time in coming folks, so thank you for caring. There have been many tears,  many goodbyes and much love and prayers shared with family and friends in the last two months, but as Denis says, "life goes on" and so it does, and so too does this blog.

I said goodbye to my birth mother Sally (I'm adopted) and to my Grandad (her father) over the last couple of months and I also spoke at my Grandad's Celebration of Life.

But, my news is, that my newest project is to be dedicated to Sally. It is both new and old; a project near and dear to my heart since it's infancy in 2000. As you may have guessed from the artwork above, my newest project involves the 'lefties' as they are affectionately known, or more formally as the Creative Soul Cards.

These cards meant a whole lot to Sally and me and to Sal's New Moon group of best friends. One Christmas I presented Sal with a New Moon Kit based upon my New Moon Class and we meditated, pulled cards and shared intentions at the New Moon during that visit. Afterwards Sal started her own New Moon Circle with several good female friends. The 'lefty' cards were a big part of this.

At Sal's Memorial I met up with these friends and we cried and talked a lot about Sally. Her friends told me how much this spiritual group meant to Sal during her last months and how much the Creative Soul Cards touched all their hearts and encouraged them to write and share their hopes, dreams and intentions with each other every month.

So, I'd like to dedicate these Creative Soul Cards to you, dear mum and I will continue to teach this class and share these cards with others just as you shared yourself with us by showing us what love is and how to be in love. That was your gift and this is my gift to you.

So, stay tuned folks, I'm working on getting this Creative Soul Deck published along with a guidebook. It will probably accompany my class which I currently teach online but would like to teach in person next.

P.S. The Creative Soul Card pictured above, "Ande was ready for any adventure" was one of the last cards I pulled for Sally and so it was fitting that Ande turned up today for my first "Lefty" post. And, just like Ande, Sal was ready for any adventure and I trust she's on her next big adventure right now.

Sal and Denis Manitoba Rapids, OntarioSally & Denis

Kathy Crabbe: Guiding Your Creative Soul

A life in art: drawing and painting from life & inner need

Kathryn V. Crabbe, My My My Precious Love, 2012, acrylic, charcoal and pastel on canvas, 48 x 48”."

To create is only to reveal what essentially is. It is the vivid recollection of the as-yet-unknown in the known. ~ Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala

Nothing is less real than realism. Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things. ~ Georgia O'Keefe, The Poetry of Things

Unlike Georgia O'Keefe, my own still life drawings are filled with detail. Life is in the details. Details can be infinitely small, often go unnoticed and are over-looked, which is something I care about in relation to objects and to people.

My current series of nature drawings were created with the hard line of pencils, pastels and occasionally with watercolors (when I'm around water). I often choose subjects so filled with minute detail that they become a thing of abstraction. Details are confusing, which is my intention. I appreciate and value the ambiguity, metaphor and poetry that accompanies abstraction. My large paintings are also abstract, but without a lot of detail which acts as a sort of counter balance to the hyper realism of my nature drawings.

Elimination and editing is key, as it is in life. By releasing detail from my paintings I can focus on the essentials which are often spiritual and symbolic. There are hard choices to be made and discipline to be followed (not a popular concept I realize) in the building of a structure and a firm foundation for a life in art.

Kathy Crabbe, Wild Cucumber, 2012, pencil on paper, 8.5 x 11”.

The drawings in this post and on my art website capture my wild surroundings in the Southern California inland desert valleys, but so too does "My My My Precious Love" pictured at the top, but in a different way. I am at a time and a place in my life (my mid forties) where abstraction calls to me louder than anything else.

The artist must be blind to the distinction between 'recognized' or 'unrecognized' conventions of form, deaf to the transitory teaching and demands of his particular age. He must watch only the trend of the inner need and harken to it's words alone.

Wassily Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, published 1911.

P.S. Select drawings are now available for purchase on my website on a private page. To view these drawings please email me for the password.

The creative brain: where does inspiration come from?

Once artists are free to admit that they are crazily passionate about some thing outside of art, that still nourishes their art, you'd be surprised what you hear. I've learned that one artist gets most of her ideas not in the studio but in her garden, another was replenished with ideas by taking the same walk through town every day, another responds to stoop sales and street finds, another was into obscure horror movies, another horse-racing, another visited candy stores and bakeries, and so on. Also, while normal people may have to travel the world to get inspired, it doesn't take a lot to get a creative brain going. This passionate thing, therefore, is usually quite specific, controlled by a careful protocol, often quite secret, hidden, in the manner of Kepler's statement, "I live in a secret frenzy" - possibly the best two-word description ever of the creative brain at work (J.W. Connor, Kepler's Witch, 2004, p. 329), under the surface of an otherwise nondescript life.

This thing, in my view, is a reflection in conscious life and in art of the jumble of images in Andreasen's associative cortex that precedes a eureka moment: it sets the stage, creates a predisposition, for the eureka moment.

Essay by Robert Mahoney, "Eureka: The Creative Brain" from Accelerating on the Curves The Artist's Roadmap to Success by Katharine T. Carter & Associates.

For me, the thing that set off and inspired my Journey into Intimacy series was my desire to find a container, a tabula rasa, a safe place to let out my emotions. It was emotional pain that drove me insistently and unrepentantly to start this series. I literally RAN to find all my painting and drawing materials so that I could start creating BIG. This new series had a lot of emotion to express and capture and it felt BIG. So I grabbed a bolt of silk, attached it to the wall, set out all my acrylics, brushes, pastels and charcoal and began. That was in October of 2009 and I haven't stopped since.

Kathy Crabbe, Beginning to see the light, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48”.

Although the pain that initiated this series has gone away I find myself questioning what thing apart from my art itself, deeply and unconsciously informs my current paintings (still from the Journey into Intimacy series) now painted on canvas since 2012.

The first painting I'd like to explore is "Beginning to see the light" (see above). My emotions around this painting were intense. My best friend, a revolutionary, writer and fighter for the under-dog was visiting me at the time and she was working non-stop, hell-bent on saving the world and especially the United States. I was reading a book she loaned me by Chris Hedges called "Death of the Liberal Class", we visited Mexico (Tijuana), took walks in nature around my property and visited the vineyards nearby where my friend was appalled by the fakery and plastic-ness of the women she encountered. All the tensions and oppositions between the natural beauty of inland Southern California and the horrific damage wrought upon the women here who are madly creating a plastic persona to 'keep up with the Joneses' exploded into this, my first painting on a black gessoed background and before I knew it I'd painted my vision of this horrible beauty; a vision both intoxicating-ly magical and horrifying-ly frightening. The painting felt channeled; it appeared so suddenly and so brilliantly, capturing a split second fluttering in time where amidst the ruin of a culture I felt...something good. So that's why I paint and continue to paint and draw every day.