Summer during Ireland’s “heat wave” was a perpetually perfect gift. Ahhhh, beauty. This summer I loved being here on earth, dancing on warm grass and magical phosphorescent beaches. I was thrilled to be surrounded by kind and loving friends, baby blue skies, soft yellow flowers, music which made my heart sing, and long, crazy-beautiful weeks writing and finishing my book.
The book began during my months in Kunkujang, The Gambia, 12 years ago. During each mural project since then, I have kept notes and journals. All of these years, when it seems I’m only frolicking in seas and rivers, I’ve spent my life mining the most uplifting stories, when the ethereal has been most visible. The image of the front cover you see below was painted by Dómhnal Ó Bric, a fabulous Irish illustrator who has also illustrated the inside of the book, which will be available in the next few months. This summer was special because I worked with editor Daye Proffit, who helped turn An Artist and the Light into a beautiful piece, much more full and powerful than I could imagine.
I’m free, I’m alive, I’m open to perpetual beauty. When I left Ireland in September, I had the most busy and exciting weeks at the convent in St. John’s, trying to keep up with the 30 Presentation Sisters. Life was poetic and profound at mealtimes and jolly on the lift when I was painting. The Sisters, many of which are in their 90s and over 100, yet look about 75, were always such great lights for me to emulate. They are so used to doing the right thing, that Spirit has no problem working through them. I’m so lucky to have this strange life of mine! And I’m so grateful to develop these harmonious, uplifting, fun relationships where I get to grow my connection with Spirit and God’s Love.
The last project I just finished was with Susan Dailey, an old friend of mine from Fort Collins, CO. We were chosen as artists for one of the 10 inaugural mural projects for a new mural program in Boulder, CO. We painted a pointillist garden on the house of Ruth and Tim Smith, during yard-cleaning days where all the neighbors were working and playing together around us. In the picture, you see two of the four little garden walls. We had a bus tour at the end of the ten new murals, all of which were lovely and fun. My favorite moment in Boulder was when Tim and their younger daughter, June, improvised a duet on flute and pizzicato cello, of the Snoopy theme song. The talent of that little Junebug (and her sister and parents) was unbelievable!
We are in November and I’m lending a hand to John and Annie Pugh, as they begin another illusion masterpiece just outside the Denver Zoo, on Duck Lake. My favorite animal has always been the elephant, so I feel such strong gratitude each time I see the elephants from the top of the scaffold. I’ve also absolutely loved staying with one of my three sisters and her family as well as my Aunt and Uncle Godparents. :) John and Annie will return in summer of 2019 to paint the larger wall.
My last bit of exciting news is that I was one of the three finalists for a giant mural in Northglenn, CO. My design celebrated the last fifty years in exciting ways: I had a muse for each decade and utilized all sorts of styles, toys and ways from each into a cool design. I was nervous for the presentation, but with my giant model and Power Point, I felt bright Aha moments all around. The board of 15, including muralists Jay absolutely loved my ideas and how I would engage the community with paint and design parties. In the end, the job went to Chad Bolsinger, a Denver-based urban artist.
Since January of 2018, we have painted two new murals and restored one that was damaged in a flood. The most recent is a mural about WW1, in Manteca, California, a town celebrating their 100th year, which coincides with 1918, when Americans joined WW1. The second is a giant pointilist mural in Greeley, Colorado, where I attended college. The restoration was in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also known as “The Cereal Capital of the World.” I have worked in all three places before, so I had the lucky chance to visit and work with many wonderful friends and family. I also had the blessing of meeting many new friends; of trying a new style (pointilism), and seeing many new places. Thanks to Dómhnal Ó Bric, Bob O Cathail, The Díseart, Andrea Scott, Clint Ball, Kim Snyder, Susan Herold, Frank Garza, Ambrette Gilkey, Karen Kropp and family crew, Suzanne and Warm Hugs gang, Terry Pasquini, Dave Gordon and his installation crew, Charleen Carrol and many others for every moment and idea you put into these projects! Thanks also to Adam McLaughlin and family for the surprise Mother’s Day commission. It was such a joy to see you and meet the little ones!