Friday, April 20, 2007


"Is a turtle a fish?", collage on paper, 8 1/2" x 5 1/2", ©2007

I was just looking at my stack of library books and was surprised to realize that 3 of them had the word "simplicity" in the title, and a few more of the books involve some form of simplifying, or at least becoming more conscious and aware by paring down what you are conscious and aware of. Obviously the topic is on my mind of late.

So far it's taken the form of a lot of sporadic spring cleaning and purging of shelves and closets. But I'm also trying to simplify in other ways. To simplify enough to focus on what's important, and not so much on what's just distracting.

I've noticed this trend in a few other bloggers recently also. In particular, I noticed this post from Peter Birch about traveling light, and thought he asked an interesting question: What things do I REALLY need? I've often tried to answer that question just about my books, you know, which books would I keep if I could only have one shelf of books, and the answer is almost always that I'd also have piles and piles of them on the floor. But it's a good question to ask. And answering it, and realizing how much MORE you have, will make you feel very rich indeed!

So, while I'm still working on my list, tell me, what do you REALLY need?

I do want to make mention of one of the books because it's such a lovely little book. It's Journeys of Simplicity: Traveling Light with Thomas Merton, Basho, Edward Abbey Annie Dillard & Others by Philip Harnden. Basically it's just series short bios of various people (mostly real, but some fictional, like Bilbo Baggins, and even an arctic tern) followed by lists of their necessary items.

One of my favorites is the list of Ephraim M'Ikiara, a Kenyan mountaineer and elder in the Pentecostal Church of East Africa, who in the 1980s startled two British climbers on Africa's second highest peak in subzero cold, when he showed up barefoot to pray. When they asked him if he needed help finding the way down, he replied, "Was it you who showed me the way here?" and proceeded to climb down on his own. This is the list of what he had in a battered leather bag: huge Bible, thin blanket, piece of hemp rope, small package of food, kitchen knife to cut footholds in ice, a thin jacket.

Just think about all the equipment a mountaineering expedition usually needs!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Illustration Friday: Fortune

Just a little contour ink drawing of a plush Maneki Neko (Lucky Cat) and a great (and true) fortune I got from a fortune cookie not too long ago. For those of you who don't know, Maneki Nekos invite good fortune. I like to collect unique Maneki Nekos (my husband and I call them "fortune kitties"), and have a small collection, including a couple of plush ones, a wind chime, and a wooden netsuke. One of my real cats broke one of my favorite ones late last year, a cast iron bell fortune kitty.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Call to Artists: Speaking in Tongues

Speaking in Tongues: The Spirit Unleashed
The gallery at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, Kenmore, WA
invites you to submit 2 dimensional artwork

Deadline: June 8th, 2007

Call to Artists

To many of us, the phrase "speaking in tongues" is strange, even frightening. And yet, artists speak in tongues all the time. As Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians, "…we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things in spiritual language." Artists describe reality in ways that are distinct from everyday language.

The artwork in "Speaking in Tongues: The Spirit Unleashed" will explore the theme of the divine Spirit, the Spirit unleashed in the world, and the gifts bestowed by the Spirit. Site links for resources and inspiration at listed at the end of this post.

Where: Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 6211 NE 182nd Street, Kenmore, Washington

When: July 8 - September 7, 2007

Opening Reception: Thursday, July 12th, 2007, 6 - 8 PM

How: Submit jpegs via e-mail to Please include your name and a few words about your work. Also include title, medium and framed dimensions of each image submitted. Submission deadline is midnight, June 8th. The work will then be juried and acceptance notifications will be sent out via e-mail by June 15th. All work must be dropped off or shipped to arrive at the gallery by July 3, 2007. All shipping costs are the responsibility of the artist. Specific instructions will be sent out with the acceptance notifications.

Cost: $15 (USD) entry fee, for up to 3 images, payable via PayPal.

Artwork can be for sale. The gallery will direct buyers directly to the artists and take no commission.

The gallery will take care of advertising and publicity, and artists with accepted work will receive postcard announcements to distribute themselves. Please have high quality digital images available for possible use in publications and postcards.

In addition to being displayed in the nave gallery, accepted works will also be featured on the church’s website.

For ease of transport, and so we get to meet you, we are especially seeking artists in the the area of the Puget Sound, but this call is open to all artists over 18.

If you have any questions, please comment to this post or e-mail me at

Some Resources and inspiration:

The Holy Spirit (Wikipedia)

Pentecost (Wikipedia)

Matthew 3:11-17 ("He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.")

Luke 1:30-35
("The angel said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.")

Luke 4:18 ("The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.")

John 3:3-13 ("The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.")

Acts 2:6-12 ("And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.")

Romans 12:6-8 ("We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us...")

1 Corinthians 2:7-3:1 ("But we speak God's wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.")

1 Corinthians 12:8-14 ("To one is given by the Spirit the utterance of wisdom...")

Stained glass window at St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican (wide view)

Holy Spirit tattoos at Religious Tattoos

Friday, April 13, 2007

Last night's reception

L-R: you can just make out Matthew Whitney's head, then in front of him is Sue Christensen, Renee Cooke, Eleanor Close, me, Fr. John & Ginny Fergueson

Here are a couple of photos of the reception last night. I'd say it was pretty successful, in that we had a good lively crowd, and there was a lot of positive energy and great conversation going on. Five of the seven artists were there, several people from our church showed up, some artist invited guests, and others, including a good-size group from New Vintage Church showed up as well. Wish all of you could have been there too. Came home quite buzzed, and not from the wine.

You can see a few more photos of the reception, including some of the artists with their work, on Flickr.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Visions" artist reception tonight!

show announcement postcard, click on image to enlarge

Tonight is the opening reception for "Visions of the Cross". I'm excited and nervous, but mostly excited. This is my first opening reception as not only a participating artist, but also as the curator of the exhibit.

Someone asked me the other day if I thought the show had been a success so far. I guess it all depends on what your definition of success is. My hopes for this show were:
  • To get great art from professional artists, and disprove the notion that all Christian art sucks. Check.
  • To let people know that we're here and that we value the arts as an expression of our faith. Check.
  • To have people outside our church hear about the show, and come see it. Check.
  • To have people really enjoy and respond to the artwork. Check.
So, even before the reception, the show has been a success in my book. To make it more successful, I'm hoping for a good turnout tonight. 4 or 5 of the seven artists involved should be there, so if you're in the area, please stop by - we'd love to meet you.
(Maps and directions)

I'm sure some of the artists (including me) probably hope for a sale or two, but this show will be a success, to me at least, even without that.

This is pretty much the same attitude I entered into when I was having my solo exhibit at the church (and when I do artwork like the altarpieces for the church). Though I did end up with several sales (my most monetarily successful show to date), the greatest feeling was having my work in a venue where it was truly experienced and appreciated on all its levels, spiritually as well as aesthetically. To let it be experienced as a gift from, and to, God.

Anyway, gotta go get the wine and cheese for tonight. Off to Trader Joe's!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Visions of the Cross artist: Angela Wales Rockett (um, that's me)

“Tree of Life”, acrylics/collage painting on canvas, 40" x 30", ©Angela Wales Rockett 2007

(One of these days, I will get a decent photo of this painting! Don't know why it's being so difficult.)

And the last “Visions” artist is, well, me.

To read more about the inspiration behind this painting, please visit my blog entry about it. In it, I wrote about how it was inspired by a sermon about the Cross by St. Theodore of Studios. Father Geoff recently approached me to tell me the painting reminded him of a poem by 16th - 17th century metaphysical poet and Anglican priest John Donne, though I can’t put my finger on the quote just now. But it was quite appropriate.

You can see more of my work on my website.

Visions of the Cross artist: Faith Alexander

“Difficult”, textile painting, 33" x 22", ©Faith Alexander, 2007

This entry is from one of our parishioners, a very active member of our Ecclesiastical Arts Committee, Faith Alexander. I’ve dubbed it a textile painting, sort of a painted quilt/wall-hanging. You can contact Faith at

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Illustration Friday: Green

This is a watercolor I created this morning in my sketchbook of a little mint plant that I bought the other day in celebration of spring. I also bought some thyme and rosemary. The plan is to grow a few culinary herbs out on our balcony. I've never had much luck with gardening, container or otherwise, so we'll see how it goes.

After completing this image, I took a walk, and was amazed anew at all the greens which encompass us: the evergreen pines and hollies, the glossy dark green rhododendron leaves, the yellow-green glow of that giant willow tree, dusty green thistle plants, fresh green of the unfurling new leaves, ferns, grass, moss… even the green logo of a Starbuck's cup in the gutter.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Art

Easter morning (Resurrection Sunday) floral arrangement (it's huge!) next to altar, under the paper lace altarpiece

I am bushed. It was a big weekend, going back to Thursday, and I've been on an emotional and activity high since then. It finally all hit me last night, so today has mostly been about resting and re-grouping. Very tempted to stay in my PJs all day, but the empty fridge convinced me to get dressed and do some grocery shopping, but I have not managed to do anything in the studio at all. I want to write about how wonderful Holy Week was, but the words aren't there to do it justice. The services, the music, the people, the joy and wonder…

The art I can write about, at least a little. The paper lace project you see above was a big undertaking, but seeing it in place made all the effort worth it. I drew the designs, and the Ecclesiastical Arts committee met on Saturday mornings to do the cutting. The finished result represents about a month worth of work. It turned out great, if I do say so myself!

As for other art at the church, the Visions of the Cross show is going very well. It's been very well received and people have been spending a lot of time looking at the work. The opening is this Thursday night, and we've had several people, outside the church, tell us they will be there, and a few others have already come by to check it out. It's very exciting to realize that my marketing efforts are paying off to some extent. I still have a couple more artists to blog about, and I plan to get that done before the opening.

I'm working on another call to artists now, for a show that will go up late June/early July. Hopefully I'll be able to get that done and posted before the end of the week, or Monday at the latest. So you artists out there, be sure to check back so you can submit your work.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter / Pascha

Easter altarpiece 2007, paper lace, 5 - 14' x 3' panels

Just a quick post to share some pictures of Holy Week services up on our church's Flickr account. It's been a wonderful, powerful week, and I'll write more about it (and the art) later. I'm off to Easter morning services now!

Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Studio Revamp: Part II

We did it! We managed to assemble the computer armoire. Armed with screwdrivers and chocolate (a bag of Cadbury mini-eggs to be precise), we assembled it in about 4 hours with a minimum of snapping at each other. As you can see, the cats helped a lot too. :)

Harlie inspects the completed armoire.

Marlowe inspects the top shelf assembly.

After the strenuous task of moving it into my studio (that thing is heavy), I rearranged and organized and weeded out and now my studio space works much better. I still have some organizing to do (does it ever stop?!), but it's very usable and I'm very happy with it. I now have a dedicated office space for administrative tasks (which I love being able to shut the door on!), a table with a chair for collaging, journaling, watercolors, reading, etc, and I have much more space around my easel, and a bookshelf that keeps my art books and painting supplies at hand. Canvas storage is still not ideal, but it doesn't get in the way as much as it did before.

I'm still trying to decide what to do with my drafting/drawing table. I bought it years ago while I was in college, and it's served me well, but I don't really use it anymore except as a surface that collects stuff, and to hold my paint pallet. I would probably be better served by a taboret, or at least a smaller table, which would take up much less space and not entice me to pile crap on it. I'm also still working on developing a system for storing and organizing my collage papers. Still just mixed up piles at the moment, though some of the piles have found homes in boxes and drawers.

Visions of the Cross artist: Andrea Pratt

Stations, acrylic on canvas, 16"x 12", ©Andrea Pratt 2007

Andrea's was the first entry we received, and yes, it did get juried in (how could it not?!). The painting has already sold, but she is offering 14"x 11" limited edition fine art prints for $40 at her Etsy shop. She only printed 10, and I know at least 2 have already sold (one to yours truly!), so you should get them while the getting is good. If you see me on a regular basis in person, she also sent me a few to sell, and I have 3 left as of this posting.

There's a lot of symbolism going on in this painting, and Andrea explains the significance here. Or you can see my post on Redeemer's artsblog.

To learn more about Andrea and her work, please visit her website and her blog.

Visions of the Cross artist: Renee Cooke

Days End, oil on canvas, 24″ x 24″, ©Renee Cooke

Renee says: It is called ‘Days End’ and reflects Jesus’ mood before he was crucified. I was trying to capture the human emotion that Jesus experienced, along with his strength and endurance. I feel peace when I look at this painting.

You can contact Renee at her e-mail address

Monday, April 02, 2007

"Visions" exhibit is up!

Installing the artwork.

It was a busy weekend. On Saturday we had a work party at church to get ready for Holy Week, and I installed the art show. It looks pretty good, and everyone who saw it was really impressed with the art. Sunday morning was the first time the entire congregation got to see it, and it was very satisfying to see them really soaking it in. That's one of the best things about getting to have your art in the nave of the church, people have a chance to really sit and be with the art in a way that just doesn't happen in galleries and museums. As part of our Sunday service we have a procession that leads us directly in front of the art on display and everyone takes the opportunity to get even closer to the work. It's fun to watch the reactions and see when someone is truly moved by a piece, which happened a lot.