Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Spread Too Thin!

Really … it's all Facebook's fault.  I post there regularly with little time for that, much less this old blog of mine, but every time I come here, I regret not spending more time.

Since last I posted, I have returned from my extended reconnaissance mission to New Orleans.  My life has been about un-packing, organizing, cleaning, entertaining for the holidays and some important birthdays including my grandson, Robbie and my daughter, Sarah, so I'll need to back-peddle, just a bit.

While I was in New Orleans (NOLA),  I developed a style of painting on tiny canvases made of fringed, Belgian linen.  I acquired a license to sell art on Jackson Square where I hung my little pieces along with some of my larger art on canvas.  My "Baby" abstracts were pretty well received and I loved painting them!

Baby Abstracts by Bettina Makley

I also used these, little canvases for illustration-style paintings, which often evolved, spontaneously, from the abstracts.  The paintings below are mixed media pieces.  Created in layers, I would start with loose color, add the black and white, paper texture as a second layer, then add a detailed painting on top of that.  I always used the same paper, to keep the style consistent.  After that, it was anything goes.


I still, very much, enjoy working in this smaller scale.  For my children's birthdays, I painted their Zodiac signs.

OK, now I have the urge to paint!  See?  Spread too thin.  I need to spread some paint around.


Bettina Makley 2014

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Surprise! Some art.

Maybe, I'm actually settled enough, again, to start posting to this blog.  It's a nice little blog and I have been neglecting it.

I have a lot to catch this blog up on, including another life revamp, more spiritual awakenings and reports on life in New Orleans,  but for now ... just to get my blogging feet wet, again ... I'll just post some art.

"Spirit Bear" was painted with acrylics on recycled cardboard from a cracker box.  There's also a little paper texture added, which makes it a mixed media piece.  I did it for a friend who has bear as a totem. Spirit bears are real and they are endangered.  A little searching in Google images will bring up lots of cool pics and there's also a video on Youtube.

OK, the blog-block is broken.  Let's see where this goes ...


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Getting Down to Business

Spring is a great time for blooming.

Anyone who knows me, or has read my blogs over time, may know that my life has been a roller coaster and a few things have been clear.
  1. I am a creative.
  2. I am a music maker
  3. I move too much
  4. I always seem to be struggling in some way
  5. I am often seeking focus, clarity and emotional healing
Throughout my life, it seems I have been gathering important skills and experiences.  They float around in my brain and entertain me with their bright colors and impressive patterns, hinting at career and financial stability.

I could watch them for hours.

For the past few weeks, I have been in MAJOR transition mode...yet again.  Having experienced humungous changes in my situation with regards to relationships and employment, I am currently considering a geographical leap of faith of gargantuan proportions.  I'm being offered an opportunity to start over in New Orleans.

Seems like I'm always starting over, most recently in Wheeling, WV, then in Jersey City, NJ.  Each time, it has been with the intention of putting down roots.  Each time, I have had dreams of creating a productive and magical reality for myself.  Each time, it has ended in uprooting and interruption of my dreams and goals, to the point that I began to doubt whether or not the lessons of my life have been any use to me, at all.  There is one lesson, however, that was just not jelling in my consciousness.  I've observed it, I've even preached it.  Much of my work is based on it.  Isn't it almost funny how we can pat ourselves on the back for knowing something that we have not fully absorbed into our realities?

Trust your intuition.

That's it.  I've spent years doing that, in small ways...but the big decisions,  unconsciously mind you, I was leaving to friends and loved ones that I believed in and respected.  It's a safety zone that I was not fully aware of.  I surrounded myself with brilliant, amazing people...and waited for them to guide me.  I told myself they were my teachers, which of course they were, but at what point do I gather the courage to strike out on my own, totally trusting to what I have learned?  For too long I have listened to fear in the form of reason.  

It's time for my courage to catch up with the person I have become, especially in the last two years.  I am more fully prepared to take on life than I have ever been.  I have more education.  I have more and better equipment.  I have a plethora of creative skills, gathered over fifty-five years of exploration.

I f*****g rock.  ( heard me)

Something happened today.  Something I'm not going to be able to explain in a little blog, but it was internal shift where so many of the sparkly lessons of my life began to come together to reveal a much clearer path to unlimited possibility.  I had a business brunch with myself.  My intention was to do a little sketching, maybe even some art journaling, but as I began to jot down feelings and ideas, I realized I was in a real brainstorming session with my Inner Guidance.  I took notes like you wouldn't believe and did not want it to end, but after probably two and a half hours and five cups of coffee, I figured The Beechwood Cafe might be needing their table back, so I paid the check, saving the receipt of course, and came back to the apartment with a brand new outlook on my future...and it looks pretty bright.

I'm still buzzing from my productive morning (and a little too much, as I gain more trust in my own abilities.  I've decided to do this on a more regular basis.  I intend to spend more time, communicating with mySELF.  I seem to get a lot more done, that way.

(c) 2012 Bettina Makley 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Word for 2012

Photograph entitled "Sailing to Freedom".  (c) 2008 Bettina Makley

I had been thinking about years past...resolutions I fought with and didn't keep.  A few years ago, I decided to keep it simple and my resolution was to "love more, complain less" which I thought was a brilliant cop-out and something I could easily keep...The Universe, however, in its infinite sense of humor, decided to test that, right away, and as I was watching the only channel we could get in Wheeling WV, with no cable, I realized they did not switch to a New Years Eve countdown!  I MISSED the COUNTDOWN to 2008!!!!  I can't begin to tell you how emotional I was about that.  I don't think, in my whole life, that had ever happened.  I wanted to call that d*** station and give it to them, good!!!  The Universe...laughing... (yes...I heard it) grabbed me by my brightly colored reins and jerked me back, playfully, of course.  For the next three years I worked on that same resolution...with some success, here and there, but that simple resolution was a lot harder to keep than I expected.

It will always be with me.

This year, as many of my on-line friends were choosing single words for the year, I started tossing words around in my head.  Nothing jumped out at me, until I was talking with my friend, Liz in Honduras.  She was in the process of choosing hers, as well.  She inspired me, in only a few seconds, to take my word a little more seriously.  When I really opened my "eyes" my word appeared.  I wasn't sure I liked it, at first.  It isn't really snappy like "Joy" or "Peace" or "Creativity" or "Growth".  A lot of really cool words popped in and out of my head...but as I watched my word float around in my brain and saw my life situations bouncing off it in so many ways, I knew it was the right one.  My word for 2012 is....drum roll please.....UNBURDEN.

Unburden is the perfect word for me, at this time in my life.  Over the Christmas holidays, I had to make a trip to Wheeling, WV, to pick up the remainder of my things.  My daughter sold her beautiful building there, where I was living, something that was very difficult, but necessary.  It had become a burden on her and in order to move on with her abundant life, she had to let it go.  My things had to be dealt with..quickly.  My plans for Christmas were made long ago and were very different, but I surrendered to the Universe and was rewarded with a lovely celebration with my new grandson, which I thought I was going to miss.  While in Wheeling, I dealt with all my "stuff", going through boxes and sending piles of stuff to the Goodwill.  I got a nasty cold, which left me weak and uncomfortable.  Michael arrived with the truck on the 26th and we spent the next two days clearing out stuff.  I got the load down so far, that I only needed a 5'x10' storage space, and there is room to spare, for some things I have here.  Now that we are home and healing, it is really beginning to sink in what a burden has been lifted.

I feel lighter...better...clearer.  I have a lot of burdens yet to go, as I still have a storage space in Florida, but now, clearing all that out seems more possible than it ever has and as I release more and more "stuff", I find I am uncovering my Soul....opening my heart...and believing in myself in unexpected ways.

Unburdening will also apply to emotional burdens, attachments and expectations of myself and of others.  I am redesigning my life to allow for more peace, love and joy (we knew those words would come in, didn't we?).

As I write all of this, I realize that the word "FREEDOM" describes the real goal for my life...the essence of my desires.  This year will be about letting go...of guilt...of fear...of imagined obligations.  It will also be about getting more monkeys off my back, accomplishing tasks...and NOT taking on ANY new ones that don't serve my purpose in creating a more balanced, centered and manageable reality.

"Unburden" describes the "act" of making myself free.  Perfect. 

Happy New Year!



(c) 2012 Bettina Makley

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Cupcake Incident

It happened one year ago, today. I know that, because Facebook now has this cool thing where they post your status a year ago, in a little link on the side of the page. I've been meaning to blog about it, so this seems like a really good time.

I belong to several art groups on Facebook, Ning and other networking sites. In one group, Willowing and Friends, there was an art challenge. It was simple. Make a piece of art in any medium using the prompt "cupcakes". At the time, I was actively art journaling and used this prompt to try out a lot of techniques I'd been picking up from various artist videos on Youtube. The image above is what I came up with for the challenge.

So on this very day, one year ago, I posted that pic on Facebook and made a few comments about how much I would really like a cupcake, etc. Later on, around 2-ish, at work, I was having a discussion with two associates (one being my daughter, Natalie) about Synchronicity and the power of thought to create reality. It was a brief discussion and when it concluded, we all went back to our offices to get some work done. (I need to interject, here, that I was an administrator in the sales office of the condominium complex I was living in, at that time.) Anyway, a very few moments walks a woman I had never seen before...with a plate full guessed it...CUPCAKES.

Natalie heard my exclamation and came out to see what was happening. The woman's name was Jessica and she had purchased a condo in the building. She explained that she had made cupcakes for a gathering in her home and that her guests had not shown up...and so she thought we might like some cupcakes. (OMG...I know) But we're not done, yet...

After talking to Jessie for a bit and filling her in about our earlier conversation and my artwork, we thanked her for her (very delicious) cupcakes and she went back to her apartment. boyfriend, Michael, was at the store to pick up some wine. As he was looking around in this HUGE Wine/Liquor place for anything interesting, he glanced down to a lower shelf and saw a label he had never seen before. Can you guess? Yup! Cupcake! Not too long after Jessica had dropped off the cupcakes, Michael came in with the bottle of wine. (wow...right?) Still...not done.

Right after work, Michael and I were having dinner at a restaurant, when I got a text from my friend Jimmy, who had seen my post on facebook. He mentioned how disappointed he had been, earlier (um...around the same time Michael had come in with the wine), because he had stopped by this little bakery in NYC and they had been out of his favorite cupcake.

Jump to that evening, after Michael and I had come back to the apartment. I called Natalie and we decided to get the remaining cupcakes in the office and bring them up and have a toast with the Cupcake wine. At this point it was myself, Michael, Natalie and her friend Ricky. As we poured the wine, we realized there was one cupcake and one glass of wine we decided to call Jimmy, who also lived in the building. Of course, he came and there we were, The Cupcake Connection. As we sipped and talked, Ricky divulged that he had to make a choice, at some sort of event during the day, involving food, between two desserts. It occured to him that he had chosen the cupcake, as he had not had one in a very long time. "What time was that?" someone asked. "Around 2:30 or 3:00" he replied. At that point we compared our notes a little more closely and realized that all of these events happened around the same time, that day! It was also revealed that Jimmy's favorite cupcake was chocolate, which of course was the flavor of the cupcakes Jessie made.

There you have it. The cupcake incident. Just to update, Jessie has become a good friend...and still occasionally brings us cupcakes.

It is a wild, weird, wonderful world...

Synchronicity Rocks!

Bettina Makley

Friday, August 19, 2011

Background Experiments

This is a digital collage of some images from my 9x12 mixed media journal. If you click on it, you will see it much larger.

Just trying to keep the creativity flowing. I recently moved from an apartment in the city, to a house in the burbs and it's going to take a while to get completely organized. In the mean time, I have appropriated the second kitchen (yeah, we have as temporary studio space. There isn't much room, right now, to unpack all my boxes, but at least I can get to many of the basics, for art journaling.

This, from a recent Facebook note, explains my feelings about visual journaling:

"My journal is where I heal, where I grow, where I recreate myself, from the inside out. I scream into my journal. I cry into my journal. I laugh into my journal. I dance, celebrate life, mourn loss, gather skills, both personal and artistic, get angry...and quietly detox my mind and defuse the anxiety that can so often build up in my Soul. Creating is a food or breath, at least, for me.

When I am creating, there is a flush of energy that is almost intoxicating. Sometimes that "flush" is like a wave that hits out of nowhere and I do my best to catch it and ride it to whatever distant shore it is taking me, and though I may be surprised by the destination, I am NEVER disappointed...and I await the next wave with joyful anticipation. "

The collage, above, is an example of a creative wave. I have no idea where those pages are going, but I am really enjoying the ride, in what little time I have to create, these days. I'm scraping, painting, heating, tearing, cutting, drawing, splashing, spraying and writing, and there are new ideas emerging. More importantly, I am healing from months of stressing out over the move.

Baby stepping, back to my creative life. :)

*slinging paint with a great, big sigh of relief*


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