Gypsy Painter

From Highway 66, 2009
Can I tell you about a dream that's coming to life?

Here it is:

Three months -July, August, September- spent in Santa Fe, Taos and Abiquiu.
Classes at Taos Art School and Ghost Ranch, painting in Georgia O'Keefe's footsteps.
Time on the River Chama and camping.
Lots of camping. 

Its shaping up! I'm into the logistics now: 
-completing a Kickstarter proposal (they help artists fund all kinds of projects)
-looking for contacts/places to stay
-looking for someone to care for my horse while I'm away
-investing some real time into honing the fullest description of my intentions in going.

So far, those intentions are are:
To bring about 7 to 20 pieces and a great body of photography,
To make connections with artists and art venues in Santa Fe,
To get to know that magical part of the world a little more intimately and
To accomplish some progress that is of a more spiritual nature.  

If you have any ideas, comments, concerns, visions, premonitions or other contributions, please find the invitation to share them right here in the palm of your hand.


The residency is still a go if I am accepted (which I will hear about in a little over a month), and that would happen at the end of September/beginning of October (see the previous post for more of the story on that). 

And the vegetables? They're juicy.
You'll see them soon.

Activism? Check this out. A friend and I attended this Symposium, and it blew my mind. 
Some would say that I'm a fairly easy-to-excite person, but this kind of excitement is in an entirely different category. Never have I felt so positive about being able to really make a difference in the world.
I've included my friend's notes about our experience at the end of this post. They may seem a little lengthy at first glance, but she's a great writer (and an incredible musician, by the way. Ever heard of Amanda West? Her music will remind you what it is to feel.) – its well worth a read.

Thank you for reading, and peace be with you.


"This year, 2011, to celebrate Earth Day, I attended a symposium sponsored by the Pachamama Alliance* (*see below), called “Awaking The Dreamer, Changing the Dream.”  I was so moved by this experience that I want to share with you a bit more about it. I also hope that hearing this may inspire you to do the symposium on your own (you can find one near you here: and no, I don’t have anything to gain from your participation except for hope in our shared future!)

The mission of the symposium is: to bring forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on our planet.

Through film, discussion and exercises, the workshop explores three primary questions:
1.)      Where are we now?
2.)      How did we get here?
3.)      Where do we go from here?

Here are some notes & reflections from my experience of examining these questions. The four hour workshop obviously includes much much more:
1.)    Where are we now?

Melting icecaps, rising oceans, warming temperatures around the globe, massive climate change... Overpopulation, over consumption of resources… The biggest mass extinction of living species since the ages of the dinosaurs… Not to mention the extinction of human cultures and languages – the modern industrial and technological societies are running the world via corporations that now hold the legal rights of a human being, but have none of the heart, soul or conscience of human beings. These are frightening and dark times.

To let this kind of information (and this is only a pin-drop summary of some of it) sink in to the level of true understanding requires an opening of the heart and the experience of a great deal of pain. What is happening right now on our planet is awful and so devastatingly heartbreaking that everyone’s initial reaction to it is to turn away in disbelief. We awaken and look for a moment, then go to sleep again because we cannot handle the inevitable emotional reaction to this awareness.

But a powerful new idea for me is that this pain is normal, even healthy. This pain is useful because it comes from LOVE, and allowing ourselves to experience this pain, to not be afraid of it, is the first step in moving forward and our guide for what we need to do.

2.)    How did we get here?

The seminar proposes a wonderful idea ~ humans are not inherently flawed, or evil, malintentioned, or even stupid. We are simply mistaken. We are functioning from unexamined assumptions - an untrue set of subconscious beliefs, which have led us to the desperate situation we find ourselves in today. These culturally misguided beliefs are things like:

- I am separate from everyone and everything else
- What I do doesn’t really matter and doesn’t make a difference in the world
- Humans are separate from and superior to nature
- More is always better, and we can have infinite growth on a finite planet
- Technology will save us
- Competition is more natural than cooperation
- Success is measured by how much money you make and how many things you have

3.)    Where do we go from here?

One of the biggest awakenings I gained through this symposium came from a visualization we did. We closed our eyes and imagined we were sitting in a big meadow near a river, in a circle with our great great great grandchildren. The earth was safe and healthy, and humans and nature were thriving together in harmony. The children asked us what we did, all those years ago, when the world was in chaos. What part did we play?

What shocked me in this exercise was not the question the children asked but rather, the image of a future world where we had survived, where life as we know it had not all ended in doom and destruction! Somehow, I had never thought to imagine something like this. I think this is because as humans, we have a tendency to react, instead of to dream and envision. Most systems in place in the world today are a result of reactions to something that wasn’t working, instead of creations stemming from a complete vision of the best possible way something could work.

So, this is one of the things this seminar asks us to do – to change our dream for the future, and envision what WOULD a healthy, whole and sustainable future look like? It is time to start dreaming new dreams!

In thinking about what to do for that future, it is easy to feel alone. But we watched a clip from the Bioneers Conference in which the speaker shared that there is a movement going on right now that is bigger than any movement that has ever come before. Some have called this humanity’s immune responseThere are over two million organizations working towards social and environmental justice issues. The names of these organizations worldwide began scrolling across a screen. The speaker said, if we were to watch that screen for all of today, and all of tomorrow, and all next week, and all of the next month, we would still not have seen the name of every organization on that list! That was powerfully comforting to me – to feel that there are many all working towards this new dream.

The other most significant exercise for me was this: take a piece of paper and fold it into thirds. On the leftmost third of the paper write a list of all the things you love to do – your passions, what makes you come alive? Then on the rightmost third of the paper, make a list of what you see as the greatest needs of your community and of our earth that trouble you most at this time. Then, open up the paper fully, and in that middle third think about what actions could link these two areas together. And that is your part. And, it may not even be something you need to DO, so much as someone you need to BE.

One last idea from this seminar that was incredibly helpful for me was from Lynn Twist, co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance. She said, it does not matter exactly what it is that you do. It can be large or small. But it is essential that you find YOUR part in all of this, and do that. You don’t have to do it all, you can’t do it all. But you are not alone, and if you find your part and do that, that will be enough.


Of course, we must ALL find our part if it is to be enough. So I deeply urge you, on behalf of all humanity, on behalf of the earth and all its living creatures, on behalf of your life, and my own, and all the great great grandchildren to be, please awaken and do your part, whatever it is, it is undoubtedly the most important thing you can or ever will do. The entire future of everything on our planet depends upon it.

thank you so much,
with love & respect,
your fellow earthling,
~ Amanda

* The Pachamama Alliance was born in response to a request from the Achuar, an indigenous people deep in the Amazon region of Ecuador. Guided by their dreams & visions, the Achuar decided to seek a partnership with people from the industrialized world who could work with them in protecting their rainforest home and traditional way of life.

 From the beginning of this partnership, the indigenous people encouraged a focus of ‘changing the dream of the modern world.’ It is our ‘dream’ ~ over-consumption without regard for social and environmental consequences ~ that is driving the destruction of not only the Achuar’s rainforest home, but the health and well being of all peoples, our planet, and every living creature on earth.

The Symposium’s goal is to change this dream, to wake participants up from the trance we are living in, to identify the unexamined assumptions that create and maintain this trance, and begin to appreciate the extraordinary possibilities emerging at this time in history. Participants are encouraged to find their unique and powerful role as agents of change in creating a new and sustainable future for all of us.

Since its launch in San Francisco in March 2005, the Symposium has spread rapidly, reaching hundreds of thousands of people in 50 countries on six continents. It is now being delivered by nearly 3000 trained volunteers in at least nine languages.

Great Basin NP, activism, Seductive Vegetables & current shows

"Of Sinew and Soil"
So my incredible–and currently international–design team (Keith Garrett-web master and Matt Fitt-photographer) managed to crank out a terrific update to my website in a very short amount of time. Twelve new paintings, three new drawings, fifty new photographs, a new section of Eco-Activism links and a refreshed profile which includes a bio and photograph are now available for your viewing pleasure.  If ever you need some design support, I highly recommend Keith and Matt. They're good on that kind of rare, heroic level.
Check it:
Most recently I posted about dreams of visiting Santa Fe and spending some time there to make some work. This is still a potential, but in the meantime I have sent in an application to Great Basin National Park to be reviewed for their Darwin Lambert Artist in Residency. Great Basin NP is in Nevada, close to Baker, and features landscapes offered by the desert, a 13,000 ft. peak, 5,000 year-old bristlecone pines, over 40 "wild" caves and 6 sub-alpine lakes. The residency would be between two to four weeks long, during which I would be provided the opportunity to paint my heart out, stay in free rustic housing, share a little of what I'm doing with the public and leave a painting to be included in the Park's permanent collection.
Cross your fingers with me! I'll hear back from them in June.

I am currently working on a completely new body of work that I'm entitling "Seductive Vegetables".
Because vegetables are unspeakably sexy.
Especially vegetables painted in black and white, dramatically lit such that their suggestive forms make you wonder...vegetable? Land? Human form?
Yeah. I'm really into them.
So far we have bell peppers, cabbages, artichokes and some pumpkins.
Have some favorite provocative vegetables or fruits you'd like to suggest? Lay 'em out for me. I'll probably paint them.
Twenty-five percent of proceeds from this body of work will benefit sustainable agriculture.

By the way, did you know that to date, we have raised over $2,000 for local land preservation? "We" refers to those who have purchased my paintings, the places that have inspired me to paint them and the organizations who have supported this activism. Save Mount Diablo and Muir Heritage Land Trust have been incredible resources for this movement and you can read more about them on my website by clicking on their links in the "EcoActivism" section under "Links".
Thank you to all who have made this possible! We are making change with art!

Currently much of the work from the "Peace of Wild Things" show (that was exhibited at The Barn in Moraga, November 2010) is hanging on the walls of the beautiful hardwood yoga studio called Purusha in San Francisco. Visit and experience some Wyoming via canvas while you rest in Shivasana there.
Several works from the "Desert Vision Quest" body of work still remain at The Barn (you can see that body on my website along with the "Peace of Wild Things" body of work--check the Paintings Gallery).
Always looking for more venues, so if you hear of a call for art somewhere conscious of land preservation or some other form of Eco-Activism, please do let me know!!

That's all for now...

Eyes on Santa Fe...

Well, it looks like there may be something afoot in Spring. New work is brewing; and the moment for its unveiling is fast approaching. It will be epic. And I need a venue!!

Meanwhile, this gypsy painter woman (yours truly) is looking for an exciting art program in Santa Fe, NM to emabark on this summer or fall. Something of a cross between an internship-study and an artist in residency program. 
Could be in Taos too. Or Abiquiu. 
I'm hoping to create an alliance with a gallery in Santa Fe that feels like the right fit for what I'm doing (and I know it exists...), and would like the time spent at this program to also be spent making that alliance. 
A month sounds like a nice chunk of time. Doesn't it?

If any of you good people reading this blog have any ideas or directions to suggest, please do so in a message below.

Meanwhile, a quote from a very wise fellow:

"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best–" and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called."

May you enjoy those moments...and keep them name-less.