Onto the next thing


Coolness Changing 
Watercolor

I've been at the edge of the Pacific all summer. Now, I am up in the mountains across the continent. 

Settling in will take some time. I'm looking forward to moving into new digs and starting my Fall 2012 Online Drawing and Watercolor Course. But what I'm really looking forward to is setting up a new studio space. To getting my brushes and paints unpacked. To mixing up water and working on paper.

Teaching my foundation course is always inspiring - both for students and myself. 

The online drawing and watercolor course always acts as a catalyst. I love the surprises that lay in wait for each of the students. And I am always surprised by each student. 

Join us starting September 20! 

See what can happen within yourself in 12 short weeks. 
Click here to read more and to register.
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Roll


Watercolor

It's September and I'm back. This watercolor pretty much says it all. I said that I'd gone surfing and I did but not on a board in the ocean. Rather with my attitude in my life.

It's been an amazing summer and I'll write more about it this month on my blog and in my eZine.

Meanwhile, I have a new 12 week online course in drawing and watercolor starting up on September 20th. I'm offering tuition at an amazing special price for the next week. Register now to take advantage!

I'll be back soon and up and running before the end of the month.

How was your summer? (Leave a comment below!)

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Gone Surfing



I'm on hiatus through end of summer. (Everyone needs a break!)
See you in September...
"Everything is waves. The universe of space and matter is charged with energy, and this energy is organized by God or by forces far greater than ourselves into the pulsations we call waves. Waves of energy. Like echoes of the heartbeat of the absolute being, waves give expression to the divine will. They give form to the universe."
—Drew Kampion (from "A Meditation on Breaking Waves")

Learn about my Online Drawing and Watercolor Course.
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Go with the flow


Blue Moon Blessing
Watercolor, 8 x 8

Creative Flow

The creative process is not just about output. Creativity requires ebb and flow. Intake and output. A balance of the two.

If we try to spend all of our time expressing, we collapse in exhaustion. If we do not express ourselves, we get toxic, stagnant. If we do not rest in between the two actions, there's no time for transition, reflection, readjustment, growth.

In meditations that focus on breathing, there is often instruction to pay attention to the space between the inhale and the exhale, the exhale and the inhale. It's the moment between tension and resolution, problem and solution. In music, that's an equivalent of the rest stops, silence.

Although it helps to think we are grounded by our things, ways of identifying ourselves and routines, the fact is that we spend much of our lives in mid-air. It's really too scary to consider our lives that way so we fill our heads up with chatter of what was and what may be as we're in process in between one experience or situation and another.

As I write this, the moon is at its fullest point. Tomorrow, it will be on the wane. This is the time to express, to breathe out, to release.

Stop for a moment this afternoon or this evening, and consider the full moon, the richness of your life, your abundant gifts. Tomorrow, consider how you express yourself and all that you have to share.

_______________________________

Express Yourself

Join my Online Drawing and Watercolor course starting July 12.

I give you instruction on the foundations of drawing and watercolor, guidance on ways to share your distinct gifts, and support and encouragement to transform yourself.

Try it out for 8 weeks to learn or review the basics. You can always sign up for the rest of the course later.

REGISTER NOW!
I provide the content and direction, YOU provide the energetic flow and transformation.
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Be willing to slow down

Watercolor

It's Summertime

Time to live easy. Time to dip into that summer reading list.

Right now, I'm reading Slow Love by Dominique Browning. In a jacuzzi. (One sure way to slow myself down enough to read for a long time.)

I've been a fan of Browning's since the mid-90's when I started subscribing to House & Garden just to read her editorials. Okay, and also to dream about houses and gardens. One of the great magazines of all time, I lugged boxes of H&G issues around for years — making good use of them for students and collages — until recently, and reluctantly, dragging what was left of them to the alley recycling bin.

A chapter in her earlier book, Around the House and in the Garden, about hiring infuriatingly inept contractors, helped me keep my sanity while building my studio. Slow Love chronicles Browning's life after H&G, and her frenetic job as Editor-in-Chief, suddenly (and unexpectedly) shut down. In the prologue, she writes that
"Slow love is about knowing what you've got before it's gone."
Slowing down is a good, good thing. We have to slow down to observe and connect with the world around us. Truthfully. Some of us can slow down naturally but most of us need a jolt, or tough love training to shock us out of our break-neck pace and obsession with past and possible futures.
"At the back of that hurry is the knowledge that it is a screen against honesty." Adam Nicolson
One of the main reasons I teach drawing and watercolor is to help people slow down, get real, bypass racing thoughts, be present in real time. The tools we use in my courses are pencils, pens, brushes, water, color, and paper. We start at the very beginning so that your creative house will always stand on a solid foundation. Whether you have no experience or some experience, your foundation is critical.

As you practice drawing and watercolor, you begin to notice that the light, your experience of time, your perspective, is always changing. Your experience in any moment is never to be repeated. You can't catch it with a camera, but looking back over drawings and watercolors brings some ineffable reminder of connection to a place in time. Because you slowed down enough to connect to your actual experience.

Schedule your practice of slowing down if you have to. In my calendar, at 6 AM on Monday morning of this week was scheduled "Rest All Week."

I'm going to get back to that now but not before reminding you that you can join us for an awesome training in slowing down, getting to know yourself better and learning to practice and understand drawing and painting as a path to self-actualization.
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Transform Yourself

Join us for my Online Drawing and Watercolor course starting July 12.

The value of this course goes well beyond your typical art class. Your return on this investment in yourself includes progressive, step-by-step drawing and watercolor lessons designed to construct a solid foundation for any subsequent artwork in any medium, personal self-development coaching, deep art history lessons in context of your drawing and watercolor exercises, deadlines that force you to do the work, companionship that helps you understand your own work better, encouraging, supportive and constructive feedback on your homework. And more.

Try it for the 8 week foundation phase to learn or review the basics.

You still have a few days to take advantage of the discount on the full course. But whether you choose to try the course for 8 weeks or for 24 lessons, you can easily spread out your payments over a couple of months or more!

Transform yourself with See Here Now.

REGISTER NOW!

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Who Made the World?


Order of the Golden Dawn
Watercolor, 8 x 8

Greetings on the Summer Solstice! 

Today the sun stands still and gives us our longest day. This natural marker combined with yesterday's new moon gives us great opportunity to consider ways in which we might prefer to spend our hours; what dreams we have yet to fulfill.

Now is (always) the perfect moment. The sun will start it's course to shorter days as the moon begins to wax.

I'm reminded of Mary Oliver's poem, The Summer's Day. I spent a day with Mary Oliver at a seminar a few years back and had the pleasure of one-on-one with her during her smoke breaks on the balcony. I was able tell her how much her work has meant to me. Here's her summer poem.

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


From New and Selected Poems, 1992
Beacon Press, Boston, MA ©1992 by Mary Oliver

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 Online Drawing + Watercolor Course starts July 12

If you've been wanting to draw and watercolor but have been putting it off for one reason or another... now's your chance to get started! Join me for a transformative online experience.

Not so sure? Give it a try for 8 weeks and get the basics.

Need some financial help? You can easily spread your payments over a couple of months or more!

Register now for my online course in drawing and watercolor, See Here Now and learn to observe and commune with deeper attention this precious life.

Transform yourself with drawing and watercolor. It's a great experience!


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Last Breath


Spring Sails
Watercolor, 4 x 6 inches

During this last breath of Spring, enjoy every fleeting glimpse. It's a rare moment. But so is every moment!

Listen to Last Breath, a bit from the soundtrack by Ji Bark for the gorgeous South Korean film Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring.


Learn to pay closer attention. Join me starting July 12 for my next online course.
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Register now for my online course in drawing and watercolor, See Here Now and save on the full course tuition for one more week.

Watch my intro video on this unique way to develop yourself and your creativity.

Next course starts on July 12.
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Fare thee well, Mr. Bradbury

Signals
Watercolor, 8" x 9"
Suzanne McDermott

It is highly fitting that Ray Bradbury passed from this earth last night with the Transit of Venus.

Bradbury has been an ongoing influence in my thinking about the world within, without and beyond. As fantastic as his stories and novels are, his words on writing and life are equally worthy. Look them up. Re-read (or read for the first time) his Martian Chronicles.
“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.” ― Ray Bradbury
Read My last conversation with Ray Bradbury by John Blake.
“I don’t think about what I do. I do it,” he told me. “That’s Buddhism. I jump off the cliff and build my wings on the way down.” — Ray Bradbury
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REGISTER NOW for my interactive online drawing and watercolor course starting July 12.  Space is limited. Transform yourself.

SEE HERE NOW!
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Keep your eyes on the sky


When you were the sky (where was I?) 
Watercolor, 8" x 9" 
Suzanne McDermott

Were you lucky enough to witness the annular eclipse last Sunday? Whether or not you were able to see it, you were probably somehow effected. 

For those of you who do not put stock in astrological (or even astronomical) matters, here's my logical take. Consider how the moon affects the tides, the way the sun affects the plant life that provides the air we breathe and food we eat. Then consider how we, as human beings, are made up of mostly water and are biological systems, not too unlike plants. How can the moon and sun (and planets beyond) affect the tides and other life forms on earth and not us?

Last Sunday's annular eclipse was just the start of a rare sequence of cosmological events. 

All eclipses come in pairs. Right now we're in between Sunday's annular eclipse, the lunar eclipse on June 4th, and a biggie in the sky world the transit of Venus, between June 5 and 6.

Use this time to make the most of whatever opportunities for change and development that are offered to you. If nothing is apparent, think about what changes you might want to make for yourself. Then take action. At least a step in the right direction.

This is a rare moment. Take advantage!

______________________________

My next online drawing and watercolor course starts July 12.  Space is limited. Join us now!

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!!!
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Vocation


watercolor, 5 x 7 inches
matted and backed to 11 x 14 inches
email me to purchase

It's Never Too Late
Vocation early 15c., "spiritual calling," from L. vocationem (nom. vocatio), lit. "a calling," from vocatus "called," pp. of vocare "to call." Sense of "one's occupation or profession" is first attested 1550s. —etymonline.com
On my 40th birthday, I celebrated the release of my first CD, Souvenir, at Club Passim in Cambridge, Mass. When I turned 41, I started touring full time all across the US and Europe. It seems like a million years ago.

A couple of years earlier, I was working at MIT and rowing on the Charles before work several mornings a week. One day I realized that, if I did not perform and create professionally as a singer songwriter, I would be a very unhappy camper at the age of 65. So, I changed my life.

Since then, I've produced six more album projects, created a load of musical and visual projects, programs, courses and exhibits, designed museum exhibits, designed and built a building, and more. I always feel like I am just getting started. At the beginning of any project, it alternately feels overwhelming and completely possible. I go into new things because of an insatiable desire for learning and new experience. Anxiety, self-doubt and mistakes are natural. So is the overcoming of those things.

If you've always felt like drawing or trying your hand at watercolor, I highly recommend that you start planning to take action now. If you're reading this, you have the opportunity to work with an exceptional teacher through a unique online program. With drawing and watercolor, there's a learning curve and then there's practice. Both of these things take time, so the sooner you start, the sooner you'll see the results.

FYI: These days, it's a fact that a high percentage of artists start their careers after the age of 50. I'm just sayin'...
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The Golden Rule


Watercolor, 5 x 7


The Golden Rule is all well and good when things are sailing along smoothly, you're in a happy mood and all's right with the world. The Golden Rule is far more difficult to follow when you feel wronged, are pouty or in pain, or walking around under a gloomy cloud.

It is under the latter circumstances when The Gold Rule needs to be remembered at all costs. 





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All Things Are Possible


Seascape 5
Watercolor, 4 x 6 inches

In the midst of a humungous spring cleaning (everything must go), I am coming across all sorts of things as I clear.

In honor of this exercise, I'm posting a painting from the early phase of my series Landscape into Art.

The sky is big and expansive. It feels like all things are possible.
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Startled


Startled
3.25 x 4.5 inches

Life is filled with the unexpected. It's one of the elements that make living so interesting. Whether the unexpected feels good or feels bad, it's better than extended ennui.

My life has been filled with lots of the unexpected recently. In a rather dramatic way, I might add. I could concentrate on that which feels bad, but, in fact, there's been some unexpected extra good mixed in.

I can't say for sure but I have a funny feeling that all of these startling interruptions are positioning me for a wonderful, brand new lease on life.

Time will tell!

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Heirloom Tomatoes


Heirloom Tomatoes
Watercolor, 12 x 18 inches

This was a sloppy foray with video cutting out mid-process. Sloppy is fine as long as you set yourself in motion. Allowing imperfection is key. Action is de rigeur.

Happy with action and results as I continue to work out with my new Rosemary & Company brushes.



Keith Jarrett performing part one of his Köln concert is a favorite though admittedly over-exuberant for tomatoes! The timing fit for the video so I used it.

My vegetable garden seeds are sown so I'm guessing more plant food is on the way as subject matter!

Still time to join us for April 5 Online Drawing and Watercolor Course! It's an awesome, inspiring and enlightening experience. You'll learn a lot!
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Revival


Effortless Breath, 2008
Watercolor, 5 x 7 inches 

Now the most beauteous moment of spring is upon us. The dirt in my new raised vegetable garden is prepared and the seeds will go in tomorrow morning. All the windows are open and I look out to flower trees filled with bird song.

I'm reminded of a short series I made four years ago when I was in the throes of my Landscape into Art project and deep into Degas landscapes. This series is titled Revival. It's the perfect time of year to repost it in its entirety here.

It's also the perfect time to post for my Online Drawing and Watercolor Course students who are now entering Practice Camp where we plan, create and execute individual series after the long haul of six months of study. We're all very excited! It's a good time to plant and nurture seeds.


After Maurin Landscape, 2008
Pencil, 9 x 12 inches



After Maurin Landscape, 2008
Ink, 9 x 12 inches



Mud and Ochre, 2008
Watercolor, 5x 7 inches



Awakening, 2008
Watercolor, 5 x 7 inches



Rush to Rain, 2008
Watercolor, 5 x 7 inches



Revival, 2008
Watercolor, 5 x 7 inches

The original Charles Maurin watercolor that influenced Degas (et moi!)


Charles Maruin
Landscape, c.1893
Vaporiser watercolor, 31.7 x 48 cm
The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum
Rutgers University, NJ


Next 8-week Online Drawing and Watercolor Course starts on April 5.
Email me to apply for a place. 

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Pears for Rosemary

Pears for Rosemary
watercolor and graphite
12 x 18 inches

I teach about materials within the context of my drawing and watercolor courses. Until a student is at a certain level, I stick to high quality student grade materials. At the end of my six-month course, I provide a bonus lesson on materials and resources to send folks out into the world on a new level.

In my quest for a really good brush, I have found my way to Rosemary & Company. I've fallen head over heels in love with their brushes! Last week, I received their Roger Jones set. I was so anxious to try them out that I stopped everything, set up a camera and made a rough, poorly planned demo of my first use. Even amidst the chaos, I knew that these brushes will change my watercolor painting.

The neighborhood was noisy, the cats were rambunctious, and the light changed so dramatically that I finally had to flatten the easel to get out of my own shadow. Alirio Diaz plays an assortment of short Spanish guitar pieces in the background to cover the studio din.


Join me for my next Online Drawing and Watercolor Course!
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Soft Recall


Soft Recall
Watercolor
6.25 x 7.5 inches
$47 email me to purchase


I am all written out! I am writing these days far more than I am painting. To everything there is a season I suppose is the best response to the situation.

If you would like to read more of what I write, sign up for my weekly ezine, Stroke and Flow. Look over to your right, in the sidebar. You'll see the form. You'll find twitter and facebook links, too.

You can also visit my blog to read a ton of words with pictures. Click above in the menu bar.

If you want my full and undivided attention, instruction and guidance, click on Online Courses here or in menu bar above. You'll get me up close and personal. As a friend who was taking the course this past year said... "It's like you're living here!"

I've added a new 8-week course that starts on April 5. Email me to apply for a place. 

If you're in Nashville, I have 2 seats left for a Saturday course starting March 24.
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Warm Heather


Warm Heather
6 x 6 inches
$47 email me to purchase

...from a memory of some ancestral land.



On my current land, I've struck ground for a vegetable garden.

Will write more about that on my blog in the next week.






If you're in Nashville, by request, I've reopened my studio for a live, in person 8-week course starting March 24... 2 seats left.
Click here to learn more and register!

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