Whose life has not been touched by breast cancer in this day and time? As of 2013 there have been 2.8 million women with a history of breast cancer. Both of my mothers, I have had the good fortune of having two. Another my sister-in-law and too many dear friends, I am lucky they are all still with me. Thankfully, incidence of diagnosis is on the decline. Much of this is believed to be a result of early detection and increased awareness. Awareness effects change. A focus on wellness and making time for our yearly exams goes a long way to support our health, our happiness and our long life.
Pink reminds us it is Breast Cancer Awareness month. During the month of October Sherab Khandro Sacred & Contemporary Art will donate $5 from the sale of each pendant to the Breast Cancer Resource Room in Sedona at the Cancer Center of Northern Arizona Healthcare. This local organization supports women in recovery from breast cancer, facing radical changes in their lives. Our support makes a difference.
It is my honor to be alive at a time when more and more people are actively cultivating compassion, standing for peaceful resolution and looking through appearances to our common humanity. We make this offering with the intention of contributing to this movement. We believe that peace will happen in the roots of our communities, in the choices we each make with the gifts and the blessings we have received. Thank you for sharing this vision, each of us reaching out, helping those around us.
The “BIG GAY ART SHOW” Playful and provocative, just the title set reactions in motion. Those that attended found it was also genuine, inspiring, earnest and fun. The first of what Sedona Verde Valley Gay Pride hopes will be an annual event, the work in the show was a well selected mix of emerging and professional artists. Over the course of it’s three days 100’s of visitors, from artists to patrons attended.
This inaugural event was beautifully presented. I was proud to see my work hanging between a striking oil on canvas by Gregory Hull and the fine design and woodwork of Taylor Hellmann. A diversity of style and wide range of media made the show interesting, inviting one to stay, explore, discover.
Thank you to everyone who stepped up to make this happen. From the generosity of the Sedona Art Center to the committed volunteers willing to take on the challenging task of organizing a group of artists. Thank you Julie Hardesty for your vision and consistent commitment. And kudos to those emerging artists with the courage to share their work, together we made for a great show.
There is so much more to say about the talent that presented this year at the Big Gay Art Show. Ask me about it if I see you. For now I have to get back to my easel … the canvas is calling!
My work teaches me things. Each piece tells me a story. I invite you to join me in mine or make one of your own.
“Free to Fly” was inspired by the early stages of a flight into a new phase in my own life. A particularly profound transformation taking place in the chrysalis of my Buddhist robes, breaking down all that I knew myself to be. From the teachings of loving kindness and compassion and the support of a close community shaping a more mature, spiritual understanding of myself and the world in which I live.
The steps themselves were inspired by the story of the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, NM. When the chapel was built there was no way to get to the choir loft. The nuns were told they would have to use a ladder but this was not a practical solution as they wore long robes. As no other solution was forth coming they decided to pray to St. Joseph the patron saint of carpenters. They prayed for nine days (there are 9 butterflies in the sculpture). On the ninth day a carpenter showed up offering to build the stairs. He completed the stairs over the course of a few months leaving without a goodbye or a chance for the nuns to offer pay or a thank you. The nuns tried to find him even the local lumberyard had never seen him. The nuns wondered if he was Joseph himself or even Jesus as he too was a carpenter. The stairs were built in a spiral with no visible means of support (most spiral staircases are built around a central pole) and have been a wonder to visitors for decades since.
Earthly and solid in form yet with no visible means of support, the stairs were manifested through prayer and faith. The butterflies represent the ethereal or otherworldly nature of being. This sculpture speaks to the balance between that which is physical and solid in our world and that which is mystical or spiritual. Faith as the force that binds; faith in ourselves, in our beliefs, in the deepest knowing of our hearts…faith in the power of loving kindness and compassion as the most potent source in our world.
Completely intoxicated on fumes from a noxious wood sealing project, I ran a stop light. The officer was right on the spot. He gave me a ticket, rightfully so. He informed me that I could be arrested for DUI. I don’t even drink yet I was a wreck. Having taken all the precautions of respirator, protective clothing etc I had still been marinating in fumes. He could smell them, my story rang true. I was close to home and considerably more present than I had been when I sailed through that light. He sent me on my way. This was years ago, I was still ordained as a nun and scrapping about to make ends meet doing odd jobs, some of them very odd indeed.
Years later I deal with another kind of intoxication. Although this flood of chemicals may not compromise my driving skills they seem to have been at cause for great distraction: blinded by longing or inspired to believe I possess some kind of super powers, on occasion my life careening out of control. I refer to a combination of adrenaline and hormones.
Recently, under the sway of these naturally occurring and ever present chemicals, I had been building on a high for a week or so. I was preparing to perform in this years production of the Vagina Monologues, timing, delivery on my mind. Will I open the space for a laugh? Will they hear what is serious? This show is a powerful voice of a powerful social movement. It is a show that can change things if done well. It involves strong women alive in their femaleness. Vaginas talking, sex, what they like, what they wear, what they say, what is okay, what is taboo. This ol’ lesbian, single way too long, is runnin’ hot. Adrenaline, hormones, I am pumped.
I feel at home in this company of beautiful women committed to action. We talk, we share, we laugh. They are all tantalizing in one way or another. Most of these ladies are straight. Although flirting and friendship can be fun for all of us I steer clear of straight women for anything beyond that. Dangerous territory. Drunk, I hold on to the rail. Carefully, I allow the beauty of these women to touch me. It is exhilarating.
I love women, strong women who have likely, at our age, found their strength through trial. Women who are feminine, soft, curves; women who allow life to touch them, to feel, to cry, to rise. Women who speak out, engage, yet are tender in their knowing of the challenges life can bring.
I imagine such a woman by my side, in my arms, a woman I admire as she stands tall in her passion, in her love of life and her love of humanity. A woman who in her way, quiet or bold or somewhere in between, is alive with purpose in her life. I imagine we will sing together, dance together, our lights shining ever brighter.
We never really know when or where a meeting will happen. Would this fine lady happen to be single? Does she have an interest in women, in me? Fiercely independent, I long for companionship. I work hard and take my life rather seriously. I don’t take much time to play outside my studio but imagine if I were to meet a beautiful woman and if we were to share a resonance, a mutual rapport, shall we say passion? I imagine it would be time well spent, a gift to the each and the both. I really do believe we were meant to travel in pairs.
I am grateful, these beautiful women have reminded me of things joyful, things sensual, things possible. They have reminded me of the beauty and strength found in our vulnerability. Thank you ladies.
Cast of “Vagina Monologues” Sedona 2013
Head down, buried in my work, I maintain a certain sobriety.
“Where would you begin to tell the story of this piece?” a woman asked me.
“I would begin with a cup of tea,” I said.
Speaking an esoteric language of art and symbolism, some pieces say so much to me, a quiet moment of reflection necessary.
The story often begins with my dots. A common thread in my paintings, the dots represent the power of the moment, the small acts that come together to make great things happen and the insubstantial nature of all that appears solid and real. The specific elements of the composition and their arrangement support other potential conversations.
With this one I might begin with my interest in the study of the curve or possibly the symbolism of the primary elements of the design: damselfly, moon, fresh growth. I might first explore the choice of colors, their harmony and energetics. I am likely to begin in my head. Ultimately I wish to speak from my heart.
Flow, ease, movement, feminine, soft, all words that come to mind when I think of curve. To the artist, movement through space, carrying the eye, suggesting dimension, turbulent or easy curve communicates with a softened edge. I have begun a deeper study of curve. Structurally there is strength in curve. Curve is decidedly feminine in my mind, it’s softness, it’s strength, very feminine indeed.
The Buddha and the butterfly have been prominent symbols in my work to date. Recently the dragonfly has captured my imagination. In this piece the dragonfly’s female counterpart, the damselfly has made an appearance. The wings pulled back when she is at rest she is easily distinguished from the dragonfly whose wings are always extended perpendicular to it’s body. To many each is held in esteem as symbols of transformation, of freedom, of breaking illusions. All subjects I like to explore in my work, in my life.
She rests on a freshly blossoming stem on the backdrop of a rising, golden moon. As I sip my tea I see a story … tale of my own making … a wild imagining … or is it?
Arabesque is dance, it is art, it is flow
Come dance with me …
May this piece hold space for our awakening & our joy
Damselfly, feminine expression at rest Mother moon rising
Fresh sprig of life blossoming
You sing a song of my heart
A world in perfect balance
Love and Compassion as ruling source of Wisdom
Hearts alive, new growth
Turn the mind to color
Blue of body, the color of sky and ocean, vastness
Space and water, mutable forms within the formless
Openness, flow, welcoming change
The color of AH
Speech, vibration, movement
The damsel, feminine expression holding space
Do I reach too far to make meaning in the mundane?
I do not.
Look deeper, the world around us is more than it seems
In the ordinary we find the Divine
Red of the wing
Gold of the moon
Red, energy of grounding, Mother Earth
Of fire transforming
In my world, the color of Compassion
A wing propels flight
Compassion as power
Gold, intuition, dawning. Wisdom
A knowing light
Together a harmony
Fundamental in the study of color
Blue, red, yellow, primary triad
A perfect harmony from which the colors of the rainbow are made