Thursday, November 3, 2011

Morocco Memories

It's funny. My time in Morocco seems so long ago, and I have had so many other new, growing and wonderful experiences using and making art all over the world. However, I will always think of Morocco as the jumping off point in doing some new things with art, story and faith. If you have enjoyed this journey with me, you can keep in touch via my website; The Creative Call. I am onto new chapters in my personal story, and I hope you are as well.

God's Blessings to You!


Friday, September 2, 2011

New Blog!

I have started a new blog to chronicle my travels to Cambodia:

Morocco Musings

It has been nearly a year since I fist stepped on Moroccan soil. So much has happened since that season. I have traveled the world! Please see: for all the latest news in my world.
I do hope to have a show in the spring with many of the paintings I did in response to Morocco.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Farewell for Now

I am hoping and praying to put on a show of all the Moroccan work I have done this past year - sometime this fall. Until that time, this blog is going to just rest. I have a couple of art adventures to attend to, so art strictly with Morocco in mind may not happen for a couple of months. I have enjoyed sharing this journey with you.

Thank you for your encouragement and support in so many ways as I worked in Morocco, and then processed that experience back home. It's been an amazing experience.

In a very real way, I have art in my suitcase and I am heading on out to help others make art and share life and our stories. Blessings to you all!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Portrait Drawing

I have left off making Moroccan art until I return home from Nicaragua - which will be very soon. Today, I drew a portrait of a well-regarded pastor from Central America. He was one of the key speakers in Honduras when I traveled there. Another pastor asked me to do it for a thank you gift.

Tomorrow, I hope to put down some finishing touches, and then present it tomorrow night.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Final Collage - Girl Living in Boxes

I am working on this final collage today, and I will post a photo this evening. I am now hoping to finish up all my Morocco work for some sort of show in the fall. It is a dream at the moment, but when I return to my home in August, I am looking forward to settling in for a year of art making and encouraging others to make art at a more tranquil pace.

The time I have spent in Nicaragua has helped in me being able to just sit and enjoy God's creation, or enjoy a Spanish conversation of sorts or just enjoy playing with the children.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Collage of the Girl Living in Boxes Begins

I am starting....thought I'd share the process. The girl living in boxes in Morocco with shoes that need to be trimmed. Collage has been wonderfully freeing. I'll add more layers tomorrow.

Whoops! I decided to change the little girl completely after a visit from the daughters of Pastor and Pastora. They just came by with my wash. They are so nice! I love being with them.

I am really happy to have clean sheets on my bed tonight! The last 2 nights, I have been sleeping on some clothes because I
was waiting for the sheets to dry. Drying clothes here is quite like Morocco in that way! I am happier with the brightly colored girl. I think she is more readable.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Extreme Poverty by Tennis Club

Occasionally, after a long day at work, several of us would have a little dinner, a bit of pizza, at a tennis club close to the school. It was all so neat and tidy; the clay courts were pristine. However, just beyond the beautifully blue and inviting swimming pool at the same club, was a ghetto of sorts. The ghetto jarred us into the reality of the extreme poverty that exists in Morocco.

I can see a little girl heading into the box-like shapes of a house. The mad jumble of materials somehow make a home for a family. As I sit in relative ease in this really hot and humid house in Nicaragua, I am once again struck by the contrast of my living situation and those of others. I have a nice tile floor and wonderful electricity. I have running water and a flush toilet. But, I don't think this little one has these amenities. I'd like to honor her in a piece of art.....I'm thinking.

Monday, April 25, 2011

“. . . art lost its basic creative drive the moment it was separated from worship. It severed an umbilical cord and now lives its own sterile life, generating and degenerating itself.” (Ingmar Bergman)

I found this interesting quote early this morning. It is a favorite quote of a woman who wrote a book on forgiveness. I have to try to get her book when I am back in the states, but it seems, from the reviews, that she has written a good, balanced, first-hand account of her journey forgiving someone who killed her son. However, that is another story.

Two things strike me about this quote. One, when I am telling my students that God made them and loves them, that God made them with creative arts capacity as a reflection of Himself, then I am connecting them with their creator in a worshipful way. This is a good way to connect them with Him and honor Him for what He has done and who He is.

Two, the visual artist should not be excluded from the worship arts in our churches. Visual artists got kicked out, so to speak, and haven't really been invited back, save for a few churches worldwide who understand the connection between art and worship. Of course, each local body will have its' own expressions of visual arts, but churches should not be devoid of visual art in their corridors, sanctuaries and places of fellowship. So many just do not understand this.

I ask musicians if they'd like to be removed from making music in church, and they eagerly engage in that discussion. So, why the disconnect for visual art? I am praying my place of worship becomes more inviting toward visual artists, so my church family is a part of restoration for the visual artist and worship.

This sterile separation of art and worship can be seen in Moroccan mosaic art as well. The mosaic tiles seen at most mosques, in my opinion, are for the benefit of the worshipper to numb up, so to speak, and not really be cut to one's soul and make connection with our creator God. However, the art there does work in concert with tenants of the Islamic faith.

Just my musings today....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Coming Home

I was chatting via Facebook today with two dear friends, Jill (lower right), my former roommate in Morocco and Judy(left), my friend who understood my sense of humor, who are vacationing in Malaga, Spain. We have all taught in Morocco, and our escapes to Europe have made the time in Morocco extra special. I know friends who are in Portugal or Rome right now, as well, on Spring vacation. Those special weekends or even week away made the unusualness, the differentness of Morocco more manageable to our western sensibilities.

Funny how we are happiest with our normal, whatever that might be.

I'm thinking of immigrants fleeing North Africa at this time. It has to be really hard for them, understanding they'd rather be where their home is as well. Maybe they want a better life, and they are fleeing death. I imagine, however, they are lonely and longing for home. I hope they can come home, in their hearts
at the very least, to the one that made them, no matter where they wander. I am thinking and understanding a little as I travel from place to place, their journey is not an easy one.

I am currently making a series of collages, forming a puzzle, based on the parable about coming home- the parable of the prodigal son. The home-coming in the story is really about coming home to the Father's heart. One son does, one son doesn't.
I hope I can portray it well in the collages I make. To show I have come home to the Father's heart. To be continued.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Moroccan Archway Accordion Book

I finished up the book late yesterday, and I have taken a couple of photos of it this morning in the bright sunlight. I am happy the paint seems to have cured well, and I hope to share this book at home and in different parts of the world.

I am hoping to see if I can share it at lunch today with Pastor and Pastora. This has been a growing time for me in the collage art form. I am still learning about telling the essence of something through art. I believe you can click on the photo to see it in a larger size.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Single Heart Tile

My next archway represents one of the many non-working fountains I saw around the area of Morocco where I was living. One really large fountain/archway is by the grande mosque in Casablanca. It is so large-scale that it is jaw-dropping at first. Many of us took photos there. The fountain is enormous, yet non-functioning. No water. Maybe it is turned on during a special day?

I have a photo of myself sitting on the ledge of this grande mosque fountain because the mosaic tiles make an enormous whole. The repetition of the tiles without subject matter are an artistic device. The Islamic faith does not want artists to promote any idolatry by using subject matter in artwork.

I look at the giant mosaic once again, and I think of the men I met chipping those tiny shapes into tiles with simple tools while sitting on the dusty floor of a ceramic studio in Fes. One man I met, chipping away, quietly handed me a heart shaped tile he had made. One single tile. He seemed to be turning away so as not to make eye-contact. To me, that lone tile heart is the very best of art.

I want to honor his act of kindness in this archway. Thank you for the single tile heart.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Bakery and Beggars

I have made one of my arches in honor of the beggar ladies outside the bakery across from where I lived in Morocco. I also want to honor the bakery guys who were always so welcoming to Jill and me when we would pick out our pastries for the night. Jill and I had fun going to the bakery many afternoons after a hard day at work. It was a bit of solace. We loved trying to connect with the bakery guys and our beggars in broken French, Arabic and English. It was especially sweet when we would put our hands to our hearts and the ladies would as well. We were becoming friends.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Grand Archway

There are many, many archways in Morocco. Some are a part of large areas of Islamic worship. There, the archways are also decorated with mosaic tiles. They remind me of puzzle pieces in a way. They interlocked perfectly. But, I almost wish they would be random here and there to express some new found creativity.

Also, there is much that I have been thinking about for this piece. A student once shared that one has to cross a hair thin bridge to go to heaven. One's good deeds and bad deeds have an effect on how fast one goes across this hair thin bridge. The bridge is razor sharp. The student firmly believes she'll have to go across this bridge one day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Little More on the Medieval Door

I had very little time for my own art today because I was really trying hard to finish the mural in Los Cedros. However, I did add some brads or studs on the door I made yesterday. I wanted to suggest that medieval aspect. Good night! That's all for now....except....

I do want to also post a lovely Valentine I just received from a student in Morocco. It made my day extra special!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Old Medina

The old medinas I was able to visit in Morocco were usually painted in white and a bright blue. In the old medina in Rabat, Morocco, there were many unusual doorways with the blue and white painted combination on the walls. I felt I had stepped back in time to the 6th or 7th century. The walls were irregular, the doors were medieval. There were many alleyways to walk down. Often one found dead ends, and beautifully tucked away gardens. What fun to visit this medina!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Primary Colors Archway

The photograph is not working out today, but I am putting this up as a place holder of sorts until I have better lighting. I did work on my third archway toward my archways book or set of collages. I might just frame them individually. I love the primary colors of this one. I am working from a picture my colleague, Gail, took while we were in Morocco.

I'll try to get a picture up tomorrow of all the archways so far.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Archway to the Beach

One day, when my friends and I were driving back from a trip to Aljedida and beyond, or something to that effect, we spotted a building that seemed to be ruins. What I noticed was a beautiful archway leading to nowhere save for a beautiful beach. Since buildings seem to rarely be completed in order for the owners to pay less in taxes, this was standard fare.

The archway and azule, blue colors captured my imagination. There was a bright beach in the distance with the hot, Moroccan sun overhead. The wind guided the surf and sand and grasses.

This collage is only painted papers.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Moroccan Archways

I am a tiny bit busy in Nicaragua (see my Creative Call Nicaragua blog posted on the right hand column of this blog), but I have decided I need to make a little of my own personal art along the way. So, I am pulling out the painted paper archways I made at Marge's house merely a week ago. I have very few supplies here, but I will see what I can come up with in another country far from home.

I remember seeing a man on a horse as we entered the Fes medina. Even though the archways are broad, it always seems a little claustrophobic in most areas of the medina. I tried to portray that in this piece. The medinas in Morocco are often fascinating with brilliant colored items for sale. The colors will not fade quickly from my memory!

There is also a mix of old world beauty and cheap knock-off Chinese goods. My Guess watch that I bought at one medina is an example of those wonderful Chinese goods. Where do they get so many name brand sports bags to sell?

Once outside the medina, I drink in the fresh air with friends, and we think we've done something epic by wandering through a Moroccan medina. And just maybe we have.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Calle Nueva

I am going to have to temporarily spin off from this blog for my trip to Nicaragua. I hope to establish a blog central to host all the trips I may be headed toward. For now, I am off to Nicaragua!  To be continued.....

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Painted Turtles

While sleeping on the airplane from Connecticut to Minneapolis, I was suddenly, abruptly awakened by the burning thought that I needed to make turtles out of the painted papers I did with Marge, to bring to Nicaragua. I was literally awakened with such fervor that I almost got up to go make turtles. Yikes. Now, where would I go on this plane? If I was designing an airplane, it would have studio space.

Why was I wide awake? 
(Still small voice?) I looked over at my sleeping neighbor. Nope, wasn't him. OK, turtles. I'm on it. Soon.

Fast forward. Today, I do have to PACK in order to go to Nicaragua, but I am also pacing myself with some art-making and shopping with Lori. She has offered to help me get a little coffee maker for the home where I am going to be staying in Nicaragua. It should be a help to other teams who come down there to hang with folks in the village.

I'm trying to not be worried about tarantulas, scorpions and biting ants. I think there should be some sort of traps for these pests. I'm going to look for a "tarantula hotel" to trap those babies! Or at least google it.

I remember that lavender is distasteful to scorpions, I mention it to Bill and Lori upstairs, and Lori hands me an upside-down, drying clump of lavender from her closet. Another gift to bless all who enter the home where I am going. And ward off scorpions. Please. (Do I suck the blood out if I get bit?) I'll google that, too.

My painted turtles.
OK, back to the turtles!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Take-off for an Airport 5K

I have an hour and a half delay right at the start of my return to Seattle. Before take-off, there is no take-off, for at least an hour an a half. I try to get comfortable with this sudden change. I feel a slump, of sorts, in my heart. The next leg of the trip may be stressful with very close time frames to run/walk a 5K at the next airport. An airport that now seems even larger than the last time I was there. Maybe it'll be a marathon. I'll miss the flight, then what? You know how the mind works. I'll be sleeping on a series of chairs with stiff armrests that mess up my real ability to lie down. Buying odd magazines and nuts.

Then I settle my soul down a bit. I turn to God and pray, handing things over to Him. The One who knows me best. I plop into one of the white rockers they amazingly have at this airport, and I turn, in my mind, to my Master Craftsman, my Maker, who designed me in His mind and brought me, His artwork, into existence. 
Lord, I'm having a little stress here. Can you please see me through this one safely, so I get home? I pass the stress over to Him as well. My frame can't handle it. I rock a little, thinking of my grandson, Calvin, and comforting myself. I rest a little. OK, I can do this.

I guess I'll go check the boards and see what's next. To be continued.....

The photos are for all to see, in case you want to come to an airport that has some relaxing chairs. I have successfully refrained from buying a UConn T-shirt, a Yale T-shirt and lots of large candy bars.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Final Day in Marge's Art Boot Camp

This is my final full day in art boot camp, and I have finished all the projects I have started. Marge suggested I display all I have made in her gallery at home. So, I laid out everything I have made during the past week. And breathed a deep sigh of relief and satisfaction.

Telling my story through the pottery shape.

Marge, the art sarge, has decided to become a videographer for her art friends. I think she'll be famous in this medium someday.  :-) She has worked me to the bone, but I am a better artist, person and teller of my faith story. I am eager to put into practice the things I have learned under her fine care. Thanks so much, Marge and Nelson!  Here is Marge's blog to follow all her magnificent art:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Using Art to Tell Your Story

I am dog tired today; I have made art from breakfast till dinner. How can an artist get so physically tired? I haven't run or done the treadmill, but I am really wiped out! After dinner, I'll continue with making the pages of my story to share with others in a variety of countries. We are all excited at all that is happening here at Marge's "home front."

I'll try to post the full book tomorrow - my last day here in art world. Today, I am sharing page one of the book here. Marge has transitioned over into videography. She has made videos of Pat telling her story as she was making her story rope. Good stuff for sharing soon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Making Art Books/Telling My Story

Just so you know I have not forgotten the Moroccan arches, I am posting a picture of the concept I have currently perking on the back burner. I am hoping to make an art book using the arch as the shape on each page. I have had to set it aside for now. 

Today we visited a very special couple who listened carefully and lovingly as I shared my story. They are so grounded in God's love. They have been in several cross-cultural places using art to share relationship and stories. It was a special afternoon with them. I could say so much more, and I hope to share in person with many of you.

Their transparency was restorative and healing as we shared, prayed and sipped our tea.

Once we returned, Marge carefully showed me how to make a fine accordion book to use to tell my story. I practiced cutting, gluing the book together. Then she showed me how to apply gesso to both sides of the book. I am now preparing my second book all on my own while Marge takes a little break on the couch. She MORE than deserves it! She is one amazing woman. 

Nelson and Marge capped the evening off by taking us to a nice spaghetti dinner at their favorite Italian restaurant. If anyone wants generosity stories, I've got them! Just let me tell you about Marge and Nelson. We have totally re-arranged their beautiful studio space, have books and prayer journals lying all over the place along with old cups and napkins by spent cups of coffee. The artists rest  and create in this loving generosity.

I am also posting the second set of tags I have made for the wordless book. The photo may be a little dark because it is already 10:30 PM, but I hope some of you enjoy them.

If you'd like to see and hear Marge's perspective on this creative week, follow her here:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Story Ropes

Marge sharing her story with story ropes.
Today was a turning of the corner in my understanding of using art and faith. Story ropes. I'll have to share them when I return to the great Northwest and beyond. Marge shared her story first, using her story rope. She came up with the idea for the story rope when preparing to share art and faith in Rwanda.  Marge and Pat (another wonderful artist and mentor) listened carefully as I shared my story with them using my story rope. It is amazing to see one's life, so far, in the "story rope" art form. I am totally sold on it!

I am blessed to have made something that may be helpful in a variety of situations and can easily be replicated. There have been many, many ah-ha moments during this art retreat/workshop with wonderful Marge the art sarge, and today was no exception. She continues to be so kind in sharing what has been helpful for women in her cross-cultural experiences, as well as in sharing her story. 

My Story Rope.
We've now begun prioritizing which projects I should learn in the few remaining days I have here. I think we are going to relax this evening a little by watching Pat's famous flamenco movie, but the process will continue first thing tomorrow. Thanks for joining the journey!

If you want to meet Marge, see her blog and find her art at:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Getting To The Essence

Today was an absolutely lovely day. I have been so blessed to be able to spend time with Marge and Nelson, Pat and now, Martha! What a day of listening to Marge the wonderful art sarge, and trying to bust out of my tightness in my art. Marge is trying to get me to the wonderful place of creating the essence of something. The wheels are turning, on the right side of my brain, ever so slowly.

One assignment today was to take a photo and try to replicate it into shapes using painted paper. This is a process. For me, it might take a bit of time. I began with the lighthouse image, then Marge suggested I try something simpler. So, I moved to the suitcase shape. That is simpler and quite useful for this next series.

I viewed a few videos with Paul Hobbs sharing his art and faith. So much perking here art wise! The creative, fun fire hose continues to blast on the east coast at Marge's house!

I was working, on the sly, when my mentor wasn't looking, on a book of Moroccan type arches to use in a book in the future. I'll try to post a little picture, but then, Marge just might find me out:-)

For the real scoop see:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wordless Book Tags

One cool way to share faith in Jesus is to use the Wordless Book. It is a book with just colors: gold, black, red, white and green. Gold represents heaven, black represents sin, red represents Jesus' sacrifice for our wrongs, white represents the clean hearts we are given (Jesus' righteousness) as we are saved by Him and green represents growing as a follower of Jesus. 

Marge has taught me to think outside the box on this one. As usual, I have loosened up a bit, doing my artistic gymnastics with my new coach on the east coast. It has been lots of fun, and very stretching. The only other part of this project I need to complete is the sleeve to put the tags into for protection. That is a project in itself. More to follow........

My amazing mentor, Marge!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Learning Design With The Cross

Today was a real workout for me! Marge lives up to reputation - Marge the Sarge. I have "come to the source" as they say. She is a living, breathing, walking expert on art, arts in mission, painted papers, collage, telling your story through art and much, much more. And she is a good listener as well! I feel like I've been hit with a beautiful, creative water hose of sorts!

To see Marge's perspective on our time together, and see her amazing art go to:

And this is only day one. Stay tuned!!!!!