Tag Archives: Studio

Happy Easter – New Old Eggs…

Lake Superior's Easter Eggs on Ice


In 2011, Easter and Earth Day dates fell close together. This year is different, and the snow is gone early. This is another one of my favorite photos – from the beach and the gifts it brings. If you are new to my blog, you may have missed this gem… 🙂
Happy Easter, Passover, Spring or ??? to all the Good Eggs who read this.

This is a re-post from 24 April 2011
Earth Day was Friday, so was Good Friday. I spent the afternoon hours from 12-3:00 at the Church of the Beach, following my Christian upbringing. As I walked the beach and picked up trash, Jesus’ words from the cross ran through my mind… “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do…”
Everyone makes a difference – the balloons of someone’s celebration, ribbons still attached, litter the beach, along with indestructible Frito Lay Tortilla chip bags, assorted beer and pop cans, disposable diapers, toilet paper and even the cardboard tp rolls. This is a spring fling thing – as snow melts, mysteries are revealed. It is a mystery that people these days are still not responsible for their own junk. Earth is not a garbage can, it is a home we all share.

So I celebrated Earth Day by embracing the Earth and Thanking Mother Earth for the beauty I live in and cleaning up a little bit. Every day is Earth Day – for me anyway.
Luce County, where I live has no recycling available except for paper, which is collected by the girl scouts. To recycle, we have to drive our plastic, metal, cardboard, 100 miles to Sault Saint Marie, in Chippewa County. Not very Earth friendly, or pocket friendly these days. It’s kinda like living in a third world nation here, with snow.
Some of us have been trying to get recycling here for 5 years… everybody says they want it, nobody wants to pay the millage.

At the Library, where I am now working, one co-worker takes all the recycling home, then eventually gets it to the Soo. I have been saving my recycling all winter. Did you know that you could crunch up 6 one-gallon plastic milk jugs, roll them up and fit them into one plastic coffee can? Glass jars take up a lot of space, so I break them, carefully. Then put them into a plastic coffee can, put some rocks in with them, and shake the daylights out of them ~ My free version of that new exercise device. I can get a lot of glass into a coffee can that way. The newer round bottom cans are a pain. Can’t cut the bottoms off anymore. When will packagers wake up? There is room for improvement – attention to Earth friendly packaging has not been noticed by Campbell’s Soup and other big businesses yet…

Most commercial eggs come in styrofoam containers – non-recyclable. Brown eggs come in cardboard – YAY!

So, Happy Earth Day! Rest assured, this is not a complaint about where I live. Merely an observation and a call to action…
Lake Superior’s ancient Easter Bunny always gives new eggs, well chilled, stored on and under ice and snow. These eggs are billions of years old and solid evidence life goes on, recycling. My beach studio is intact and spring cleaning is underway. …and on the third day, a resurrection, peace and joy. Today I get to go for a sunrise service at the Church of Peace at the Beach and the Lake will sing it’s songs of Joy with a Hallelujah Chorus over rolling waves… It’s my version of a Holy Roller Easter… LOL!
May your Easter, Earth Day celebration be wonderful, however you clelebrate. Just hang on to your balloons and your beer cans, please. 🙂
Namaste – Star Bear

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Celebrating Life ~ Sharing Joy

The day was September 18th, a Sunday evening, after time making new friends, re-meeting neighbors and friends, attending a 2-day event, sharing a meal with friends, simple pleasures in life. All of that on the heels of a visit from my favorite (and only) son, and numerous other wonderful house guests over recent weeks, working at  a job I love… and visitors to my studios…

Joy stick... in the studio

Sometimes there is more Joy in my life than I can contain and sometimes I just cannot contain myself. Sometimes it just bursts out in song, or dance or making something.
This day, and after the past 3 weeks, it was just too much to contain… so I gave it to the Lake, the Wind, the Sky. The Wind, the Sky, the Lake, the Light, and the camera all conspired to support sharing my Joy.

Joy~filled Light

Sometimes words don’t work for me. Making things works for me ~ so I offer you Joy and Gratitude for the simple joys in life.

Joyful Breeze

Namaste ~ Starbear

Between Days

Today is a “between” day… the day between Father’s Day and Summer Solstice. I am grateful for having had my dad in my life for the first 19 years. He encouraged my art, my persistence, my patience, my curiosity. He taught me to be outgoing, fun, friendly. He laughed with us, played with us. He took me to beaches and horse barns and events. I loved him dearly. I know he is always watching, helping, loving and supporting me, even though he left this physical life long ago.

Tomorrow is Summer Solstice. That, too is a special day, marking time on nature’s clock… I am taking tomorrow off from my “job” to do my real work. To go to the studio… to dance, to live, to celebrate life! And I will not be alone…

This post is from last summer and it speaks for me still:

About the Labyrinth ~ and how I work.
Many questions are asked about the artwork I produce and how I work. Taking time to answer a few, let’s use the Labyrinth as a starting point.

First, someone asked,
How did you find so many stones to match in color, shape and size?
The short answer: Keep my eyes open, go where there are a lot of stones.
The long answer: I think of the beach near my home as Creator’s art supply store, full of wonderous materials for making art and finding beauty. With 31 MILES of wilderness beach at my feet, it is rich and abundant, filled with colors and shapes. Lake Superior’s beaches offer some of the most colorful stones on the planet. The inventory rotates with storms and wave actions, thus it changes regularly. Often, I think of the beach as “my studio,” a wide open space, full of creativity and a place to “play” with ideas.

Where do your ideas come from?
Short answer: Creator, being inspired by a word, a group, or an experience. Ideas flow easily when I am in touch with Joy.
Long answer: The week I created the Labyrinth, I had set aside time to celebrate the completion of Denise Linn’s 28 week Soul Coaching course. There were 700+ participants from all over the world. When I want to fully connect spiritually, I go to the “beach studio,” where the energy flows freely from all directions of the universe. It is where I meditate and express gratitude for all that I am blessed with. As part of this day’s celebration, I knew that Denise was in California, offering a celebration ceremony for the entire group, and we had been told of the date and time. It was during this time I went to the beach.
The Labyrinth was not what I had “planned” on doing this day. It just “came” to me. It was cold, windy, and I was wearing snowmobile clothes to be warm in the wind in April. A “perfect” day at the beach!

A small part of "my beach studio"

It's easy to find materials at this art supply store!

I had planned to simply meditate and perhaps build something small, yet monumental, as a momento of closure for the group and my participation. Searching for large stones to build something simple, I began once again to notice all of the beautiful flat round stones around me. It felt as if each stone represented a participant in the course, and they each ”spoke” to me with color and shape. As I gathered stones, I still had no idea what form they would take. Sitting with a small pile of stones and rubbing my hands together, the North wind was freezing! I had to get moving to stay warm.

Then I realized the wind was my ally! It was creating fresh canvases for me to “draw” on. A hawk feather blew near – Hawk – my personal keen eyed helper. I placed the hawk feather upright in the sand, where I first began to build… and it blew away while I was gathering more stones. It only blew a few feet away, to a better canvas…! I stood the feather up once more in the sand, as a blessing to the group and a sign from Creator – build here – do this!
And the labyrinth took form… each stone placed, guided by commitment, inspiration, joy and gratitude for 28 weeks of participation with a group of people I’ve never even met in person, but with whom I was strongly connected. The Labyrinth emerged, evolved after that, effortlessly. As each stone was carefully placed, it was as if I was taking another step in the Labyrinth – Walking Stones.
When I was finished, I looked for the Hawk Feather – it had gone with the wind!

How do you get the stones into such a perfect circle, spiral?
Short answer: Practice, practice, practice.
Long answer: I decided, at age nine, that I wanted to learn to draw a perfect circle without a compass. I spent weeks, one summer, practicing every day. I drew on newpapers, discarded envelopes, on the backs of letters. I drew with pens, pencils, crayons, chalk on sidewalks, drew in the dirt with sticks. (Today I would probably be carted off and diagnosed with OCD.) I was determined to be able to draw…better! Learning this skill has served me well. I can draw almost anything, with anything, on anything!
Did you draw a spiral first in the sand?
I did not draw the Labyrinth. I can “see” the shape I want and place things where they need to be to form that shape. In this case, I created a “drawing” using stones as dots… connecting the dots, connecting the people, connecting energy…

How long did it take to build the labyrinth?
Short answer: A few hours, an afternoon.
Long answer: My whole life. Learning to draw, learning to express myself in visual form is an ongoing process of practice, learn, do, be and practice some more. I “borrowed” part of this answer from Alexander Calder, sculptor, inventor of the mobile, the stabile and an artist with a great sense of humor! In an interview, someone asked him how long it took for him to create a simple line drawing on a paper napkin. They had seen him draw it in a few seconds, but when asked how long it took him to make such a beautiful drawing, he answered “A lifetime.” He was in his seventies, I believe, at the time. His answer helped me realize that we bring our selves, our life experiences, our sense of humor, our love for people, AND a lifetime of learning art skills to the making of art. The more I have developed my skills, the easier they are to use.
The Labyrinth continues as a project. I will continue to watch it and take more images of it, to see it in different light.

Why do you do this kind of art?
Short answer: It inspires me and it’s fun work. (It’s also how I make my living.)
Long answer: It is environmentally friendly art. Using what nature offers, I build, I draw, sometimes I paint, using the colors of the stones as a palette. It is a way to be active and outdoors, moving, thinking, planning. It requires that I be cognizant of the patterns of weather, time of day, movement of the sun and light. It engages my senses and sensibilities, fully, and time clocks become meaningless. Noticing the sun, the light become reminders of time to rest. (Oh, and my sometimes growly stomach!)

Where the Labyrinth lives - for now!

6 Weeks Later

Then, later, I photograph, over time, letting nature change the image. Different times of day, different light, makes a whole different picture. The wind moves the sand, creating a variety of textures – changes the canvas. I love watching these changes, often very subtle, sometimes very slow. The Labyrinth still exists, at this remote beach, and in an ongoing series of photographs.

Questions? Please ask… there may be an answer.
Comments? Please do!
Thank you for asking, reading, visiting, enjoying!

Betsy Lewis

Post-A-Day 2011 – Postcard from Earth Day Easter

24 April 2011

Lake Superior's Easter Eggs on Ice

Earth Day was Friday, so was Good Friday. I spent the afternoon hours from 12-3:00 at the Church of the Beach, following my Christian upbringing. As I walked the beach and picked up trash, Jesus’ words from the cross ran through my mind… “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do…”
Everyone makes a difference – the balloons of someone’s celebration, ribbons still attached, litter the beach, along with indestructible Frito Lay Tortilla chip bags, assorted beer and pop cans, disposable diapers, toilet paper and even the cardboard tp rolls. This is a spring fling thing – as snow melts, mysteries are revealed. It is a mystery that people these days are still not responsible for their own junk. Earth is not a garbage can, it is a home we all share.

So I celebrated Earth Day by embracing the Earth and Thanking Mother Earth for the beauty I live in and cleaning up a little bit. Every day is Earth Day – for me anyway.
Luce County, where I live has no recycling available except for paper, which is collected by the girl scouts. To recycle, we have to drive our plastic, metal, cardboard, 100 miles to Sault Saint Marie, in Chippewa County. Not very Earth friendly, or pocket friendly these days. It’s kinda like living in a third world nation here, with snow.
Waste Management? Ha! I contacted Ms. Green’s recycling to see if she would like to expand her business here… Some of us have been trying to get recycling here for 5 years… everybody says they want it, nobody wants to pay the millage.

At the Library, where I am now working, one co-worker takes all the recycling home, then eventually gets it to the Soo. I have been saving my recycling all winter. Did you know that you could crunch up 6 one-gallon plastic milk jugs, roll them up and fit them into one plastic coffee can? Glass jars take up a lot of space, so I break them, carefully. Then put them into a plastic coffee can, put some rocks in with them, and shake the daylights out of them ~ My free version of that new exercise device. I can get a lot of glass into a coffee can that way. The newer round bottom cans are a pain. Can’t cut the bottoms off anymore. When will packagers wake up? There is room for improvement – attention to Earth friendly packaging has not been noticed by Campbell’s Soup and other big businesses yet…

Most commercial eggs come in styrofoam containers – non-recyclable. Brown eggs come in cardboard – YAY!

So, Happy Earth Day! Rest assured, this is not a complaint about where I live. Merely an observation and a call to action…
Lake Superior’s ancient Easter Bunny always gives new eggs, well chilled, stored on and under ice and snow. These eggs are billions of years old and solid evidence life goes on, recycling. My beach studio is intact and spring cleaning is underway. …and on the third day, a resurrection, peace and joy. Today I get to go for a sunrise service at the Church of Peace at the Beach and the Lake will sing it’s songs of Joy with a Hallelujah Chorus over rolling waves… It’s my version of a Holy Roller Easter… LOL!
May your Easter, Earth Day celebration be wonderful, however you clelebrate. Just hang on to your balloons and your beer cans, please. 🙂
Namaste – Star Bear

Post-A-Day 2011 ~ Postcard from My Dream – Perspective

Fresh Perspectives

The ELEMENTS of Art and Life and Nature run in Parallel Lines in my brain.
I am an artist. I see as an artist, I think as an artist, I teach as an artist, and I still learn as an artist.
Yesterday, I was blessed to arrive at the beach (studio) and find no one else’s tracks on this stairway. I have been here so many times before and always had to follow someone else’s tracks, so my heart was leaping with Joy at the opportunity to finally get this shot – with no tracks. At last, with perfect timing, I was the first one there. It took 2 years! (Patience)

Perspective – I learned to draw perspective when I was nine. Lying on the living room floor, with a great big drawing pad, my dad patiently taught me to see how lines disappear at the vanishing point and how to move the vanishing point. Basic elements of art and seeing. The farther away something is, the smaller it becomes. Color diminishes, pales.

I think I spent weeks showing him vanishing points and perspective on walks, in the neighborhood, standing at the back of the church, looking up the aisle. He must have been very patient, too.

Perspective is part of how I learned to see… to draw, to live.
When something is close it appears large, and even if it is far away, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. We just can’t see it.
People, love, life are like that. Sometimes it’s all about putting things into perspective… Yesterday I was blessed with fresh snow, no tracks and a perfect example of perspective.

Life is wonderful!
May your day be filled with perspective – knowing what you can’t see right this minute is out there, you just have to keep moving to a new point of view to see it! At the bottom of the stairs, I found more basics… and beauty.

Namaste ~ Star Bear

Golden Opportunities

Friday, 3 September 2010 Chilly Rain
Awake early, a rainy chilly morning,
high on the doorwall overlooking the woods, appeared this lovely
amphibian, seemingly from out of nowhere.
Glad I have a stay at home morning. Leaping with Joy.

Golden

Dawning Gold

My! Such elegant toes you have!
Did they help propel you to this height?
How long will you stay,
attracted to this glass by light?

Long enough for dawn to break,
the rain to cease, the sun to shine?
Long enough to share your golden glow?
Just how long do you plan to stay?
(No plan. I’m sure.)
The camera wants to know!

Exposing your underbelly there ~
you must be quite aware,
frog legs are not our choice
of early morning fare!
Your breakfast of bugs?
Enjoy the feast.
No envy here, not in the least.

Daybreak

Daybreak Glory

Backlit by rainbow woods you stay,
moving not an inch.
How patiently you wait to eat,
without a micro flinch.

The sun now full, you stay an hour,
long enough to watch,
I turn my back and you are gone,
another bug to catch.

You’ve come before, in darkness,
no light to share your way
I thank you for your visit
between the night and day.
Copyright 2010 Betsy Lewis
*********************
May your day be as fun as mine!
~ Starbear

Work in progress – Steady as a Rock!

August 23, 2010

Quarter Past the Hour

















Finally, progress. I began this piece some time ago, and got stuck…. then distracted, producing postcards for the museum.
That aside, I realized I was missing something very important – studio time at the beach. I have had beach time, with family, with friends, with other’s families, with children… and no just “being” alone, creative play time. It is different. I have re-discovered that sometimes I like to be alone, to experiment, to observe, to listen, to “play”, to observe and play w/ the relationships of colors and shapes and allow and accept the guidance of the now.
So, here (above) is a teaser of that piece I was “stuck” on. Started weeks ago, left undisturbed on a public beach, over the past 3 days it has evolved. It may be finished. I will decide this week. This teaser is just a small portion of it.

A full beautiful day, 7-8 hours of uninterrupted time, gathering, building shooting – inspired 3 other peripheral pieces and encountered a visitor… see “Today’s Image” to meet the beautiful visitor!
New works in progress:

Simple Balance - Stable & Grounded

Balancing Act

Balancing Act 2


















And reaching a new pinnacle:
Taking wind into consideration, balance is pivotal....

Reaching a New Pinnacle

So three days of just being me, doing what I love. For the rock towers, there are many words, “cairns” = markers along the way. They have been built since the beginning of time, to mark paths, road crossings, give directions, leave a message. The Ojibwe word for them is “Inooksook.” Fun to say – In-nook-sook.
Such simple beauty in these stones. I love finding the “right” ones, fitting them together, finding the balance points, laughing when they fall, failing often, color coordinating them. With such a huge supply, it sometimes takes many journeys to and fro to find the best fits, flat, round, right thickness, color, patterns.
I would LOVE to do these as garden installations or gallery installations! I will probably bring these home… It’s a long haul, and worth it!

I do hope you enjoy these visits to the Studio… And a note to those who have posted comments – I try to respond when I am able. Working in town has cut deeply into my time, and know that your comments, suggestions, inspirations are all read and appreciated!

Stones Speak when we take time to listen –
Now 200 more images to edit! It was a fabulous 2 days! Felt like a 2 week vacation. May your days be filled with JOY and Dancing!
Be back sooner,
~ Betsy

More About the Labyrinth – Making Art

About the Labyrinth ~ and how I work.
Many questions are asked about the artwork I produce and how I work. Taking time to answer a few, let’s use the Labyrinth as a starting point.

First, someone asked,
How did you find so many stones to match in color, shape and size?
The short answer: Keep my eyes open, go where there are a lot of stones.
The long answer: I think of the beach near my home as Creator’s art supply store, full of wonderous materials for making art and finding beauty. With 31 MILES of wilderness beach at my feet, it is rich and abundant, filled with colors and shapes. Lake Superior’s beaches offer some of the most colorful stones on the planet. The inventory rotates with storms and wave actions, thus it changes regularly. Often, I think of the beach as “my studio,” a wide open space, full of creativity and a place to “play” with ideas.

Where do your ideas come from?
Short answer: Creator, being inspired by a word, a group, or an experience. Ideas flow easily when I am in touch with Joy.
Long answer: The week I created the Labyrinth, I had set aside time to celebrate the completion of Denise Linn’s 28 week Soul Coaching course. There were 700+ participants from all over the world. When I want to fully connect spiritually, I go to the “beach studio,” where the energy flows freely from all directions of the universe. It is where I meditate and express gratitude for all that I am blessed with. As part of this day’s celebration, I knew that Denise was in California, offering a celebration ceremony for the entire group, and we had been told of the date and time. It was during this time I went to the beach.
The Labyrinth was not what I had “planned” on doing this day. It just “came” to me. It was cold, windy, and I was wearing snowmobile clothes to be warm in the wind in April. A “perfect” day at the beach!

A small part of "my beach studio"

It's easy to find materials at this art supply store!

I had planned to simply meditate and perhaps build something small, yet monumental, as a momento of closure for the group and my participation. Searching for large stones to build something simple, I began once again to notice all of the beautiful flat round stones around me. It felt as if each stone represented a participant in the course, and they each ”spoke” to me with color and shape. As I gathered stones, I still had no idea what form they would take. Sitting with a small pile of stones and rubbing my hands together, the North wind was freezing! I had to get moving to stay warm.

Then I realized the wind was my ally! It was creating fresh canvases for me to “draw” on. A hawk feather blew near – Hawk – my personal keen eyed helper. I placed the hawk feather upright in the sand, where I first began to build… and it blew away while I was gathering more stones. It only blew a few feet away, to a better canvas…! I stood the feather up once more in the sand, as a blessing to the group and a sign from Creator – build here – do this!
And the labyrinth took form… each stone placed, guided by commitment, inspiration, joy and gratitude for 28 weeks of participation with a group of people I’ve never even met in person, but with whom I was strongly connected. The Labyrinth emerged, evolved after that, effortlessly. As each stone was carefully placed, it was as if I was taking another step in the Labyrinth – Walking Stones.
When I was finished, I looked for the Hawk Feather – it had gone with the wind!

How do you get the stones into such a perfect circle, spiral?
Short answer: Practice, practice, practice.
Long answer: I decided, at age nine, that I wanted to learn to draw a perfect circle without a compass. I spent weeks, one summer, practicing every day. I drew on newpapers, discarded envelopes, on the backs of letters. I drew with pens, pencils, crayons, chalk on sidewalks, drew in the dirt with sticks. (Today I would probably be carted off and diagnosed with OCD.) I was determined to be able to draw…better! Learning this skill has served me well. I can draw almost anything, with anything, on anything!
Did you draw a spiral first in the sand?
I did not draw the Labyrinth. I can “see” the shape I want and place things where they need to be to form that shape. In this case, I created a “drawing” using stones as dots… connecting the dots, connecting the people, connecting energy…

How long did it take to build the labyrinth?
Short answer: A few hours, an afternoon.
Long answer: My whole life. Learning to draw, learning to express myself in visual form is an ongoing process of practice, learn, do, be and practice some more. I “borrowed” part of this answer from Alexander Calder, sculptor, inventor of the mobile, the stabile and an artist with a great sense of humor! In an interview, someone asked him how long it took for him to create a simple line drawing on a paper napkin. They had seen him draw it in a few seconds, but when asked how long it took him to make such a beautiful drawing, he answered “A lifetime.” He was in his seventies, I believe, at the time. His answer helped me realize that we bring our selves, our life experiences, our sense of humor, our love for people, AND a lifetime of learning art skills to the making of art. The more I have developed my skills, the easier they are to use.
The Labyrinth continues as a project. I will continue to watch it and take more images of it, to see it in different light.

Why do you do this kind of art?
Short answer: It inspires me and it’s fun work. (It’s also how I make my living.)
Long answer: It is environmentally friendly art. Using what nature offers, I build, I draw, sometimes I paint, using the colors of the stones as a palette. It is a way to be active and outdoors, moving, thinking, planning. It requires that I be cognizant of the patterns of weather, time of day, movement of the sun and light. It engages my senses and sensibilities, fully, and time clocks become meaningless. Noticing the sun, the light become reminders of time to rest. (Oh, and my sometimes growly stomach!) 

Where the Labyrinth lives - for now!

6 Weeks Later

Then, later, I photograph, over time, letting nature change the image. Different times of day, different light, makes a whole different picture. The wind moves the sand, creating a variety of textures – changes the canvas. I love watching these changes, often very subtle, sometimes very slow. The Labyrinth still exists, at this remote beach, and in an ongoing series of photographs.

Questions? Please ask… there may be an answer.
Comments? Please do!
Thank you for asking, reading, visiting, enjoying!

Betsy Lewis

Labyrinth

...into the labyrinth


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking Stones

Walking the labyrinth

spiraling inward

and out again

breathing,

listening

feeling

laughing, working, playing, enjoying, sharing, uniting, releasing, celebrating… Life!

Betsy Lewis

copyright 2010