Why is it?

When I stop to question, “why?” it is a fairly useless exercise.

Why does my friend have sinus cancer? Why are three very sweet women I know going through emotional crises because they have chosen to fall in love with men with addictive brain patterns? Why does life sometimes feel so crowded, frenetic, unruly and at other times so starkly lonely?

can you be the eye of the storm?

It is useless to question any of it while we spend our days. But mindlessness is not the answer either. There is such a thin line between taking responsibility for one’s actions, setting the goal to change and choosing to blame one’s self.
The hardest, most complex aspect of life for me is to be comfortable with not knowing.

Do I know where I will end up living? Do I Know how I will resolve my current very challenging circumstances? Do I have a plan for what I will become?

I look skyward and all of the balloons I once held in my hand have floated off into the stratosphere.
For months I stood beneath them and cried my heart out, yearning for the definitions of self as wife to Cameron, as Artist in Kelowna, as daughter to two individuals that are no longer alive. In just a few years I have stood by the bedside of three people I have loved and who were integral parts of my life. I have held their hands, been present to their spirits as they let go of this existence. Each passing left me feeling more unanchored.

sometimes stillness is transformation

With no place to work and make art, with no people any longer in my life who held a shared history with me I felt denuded and thrown into a wilderness. That dark night of the soul lasted five months.
I continued to function during the day because I had to but the grief would come up and overwhelm me at night. When my first marriage broke up, I could call my mother. When my mother died, I could cry into my partner’s arms. I could talk about my mother and transfer my care and concern to my step-father. Again, when he was no longer alive I could seek comfort from the man who pledged to love me.
The most difficult part of losing those you love is that you have no place to put that part of yourself any longer. Never mind not having a soft place to fall, there is no place to fall. Unless, of course, you have a spiritual practice.

winter leading nowhere

And finally this is where the last three years have lead me. I stand where I am now. I see that all that I held on to that has defined me in the past is out of my hands, flying away, irretrievable.
Can I be comfortable with the waiting, with the emptiness or opening up? It is no longer a question of “why?”. Life has become a deeper mystery. The discipline is to just sit with it and let it happen. But meanwhile, I am looking around me to find a way to keep the love flowing from my heart.

self dissolving, transforming

To survive the craziness of this time in society, I believe we have to keep the love moving. Because absolute hell on earth is to go to the dark place of bitterness. The deepest pain we can put ourselves in is to refuse to be open. There is no way out of this contract we have signed. Why is there pain? What is the point of asking? Just kiss it better yourself if you have lost “the others”  and get on with it. What ever it is. And find places to give affection as you move through the day.

Why? How the heck would I know?

Blogging and

Tomorrow I am teaching at UBC-O on the topic of blogging. The universe of blogging is as diverse as people’s lives. It will be interesting to see how I can help others to achieve what it is they wish to create.
Writing, telling a story,the record of who you are can come through on a site. Using the keys and images to bear witness to an individual’s experience. There are so many ideas I have for activating my blog so it can influence others. Art, writing, teaching and body surfing through the rough waters that can occur in life are my subjects.
Today I continued to clear and throw things away. Making space. Making order. It is powerful. When there is too much, there is too much to see.

To Make Art one must find one’s place

The day began beautifully. Birds were friendly today without the frantic protective snarl the mothers sometimes give the circling crows. It was gentle, the music of the birds.

wall by window is patched scraps of wood very unsquare

I mowed the lawn, weeded, cleaned up the back alleyway and found some more stones to extend the patio outside my studio. After that I half heartedly dug a ditch but soon grew bored with that and moved on to install the two sheets of plywood in my shed which is now a studio.old boards removed out of the "ceiling" to create a storage space
My skills with the saw contradict the name and the crazy cuts and screws shot into the wood trying to hit a stud looked like darts on a board in a very drunken pub.
But they are up and painted.
Afterward I cleaned up the studio, myself, the house and made sticky rice that was sticky. Yeah. The Adzuki beans do not give off a delightful aroma in 85 degree heat but I felt that in for a penny. I would fill the kitchen with steam from several pots cooking.

Change Your Mind sign goes up: Buddhist practice

In the evening, my homestay girl spoke one of the few words of English she seems to know: cheese. So we hopped into the car and went to chapters to look at books. I informed myself about the structure of dragons for a project I am working on. Then the cheese stop.

three windows from a mobile home on their sides

Last night when I went to Extra Foods by myself, I dressed up as I am wont to do and got a few items.
A man standing at the service counter who looked not insane, had all of his teeth and wasn’t shaking with palsy stepped forward and said, “You are a very handsome woman. Oh that didn’t come out right. I mean you are a very attractive woman.” I thanked him and after I was back in the car I realized I hadn’t taken the opportunity to practice flirting.
I have never flirted, being a straight forward, straight-laced leo raised in a Protestant home. It is on my list of things to learn: flirting, French, the GPS, how to hook up my printer. Not necessarily in that order.
So today was a full day, a satisfying day in which I am one day closer to having the studio set up, the last of the junk out of the yard, the car packed and off we go.

1946 shed filled with animal leavings and moldy artifacts becomes studio

Making a Studio

There are various ways to create. One is to take an idea and give it form as in generational creation. Another is transformative. An object becomes answerable for another use. The shed which was full of stored items, much of it redundant, lost in chaos, purchased while fantasizing about the super human powers of time and energy boundlessly available. Having gone through the mess and placed the objects on the lawn, I began the process.
What I find interesting is that it isn’t about the work. When I go through things I have carefully collected to be clutter, it is the mental energy, the psychic energy. I am pushing hard against the desire to become distracted, or the excuses which arise. One day I will make that fabric into a baby dress. Yeah when my grand- daughters graduate from high school maybe.
The next stage was getting things sorted for best distribution: share, salvation army, value village. I looked around for what people I knew who would benefit from objects that I couldn’t even remember that I owned.
Taking things to the dump in my little Nissan was a challenge and a bit of a joke. I just filled every crevice in the vehicle.
The dry wall got interesting because I had to break it up with a sledge hammer and put the plastic garbage cans in the back seat. Four trips later, I had it all gone.
Next was removing the cladding from the sides of the shed with a crow bar, taking the old boards down that were in the rafters. The dust, raccoon plop, spiders, hornet nests and cat poop was almost enough to stop me. But it didn’t. After I removed all of the boarding inside, I washed it down with a hose…. standing under the spray at times.
Next came putting in the insulation while wearing a suit that made me look like a Panda Bear… with the glasses on.
Because of my R.A. operating the stapler was murder but I did manage to get the poly stapled in place working three or four hours at a time.
At this stage, I twisted my knee and tore the cartlidge. The project went on hold while I lay on a couch for a month with the knee on a pillow. My bed became the couch because I couldn’t flex enough to make the stairs.
This was definitely a low point.
The death of one person after another and then the decision of my husband that lead to the end of my marriage. Now I am laid on flat out while the rest of the world is frolicking in the sun. Nobody was available to watch me ice my knee. I was very, very lonely.
And when I thought that was depressing, my computer quit and I had to peg leg out to take it in for repairs. Talk about isolated. Nobody. No people. No computer. No definition of self with the marriage collapsed and the art studio at the RCA vacated.
So I began to rent movies… I would hobble out and rent 10 movies at a time.
When I could take weight on my leg again, I decided to hire a worker to finish the insulation in the very peak of the roof and to poly that. He also put plywood up on one wall. It looks great. He accomplished that in one day.
With my new drill and screw driver I put all of the scrap pieces on the facing wall to have a place to hang art work. The sawing was crooked, the screw driver bit kept falling out and it doesn’t butt up against one another. But by golly, I did it myself. Now I am putting up two big sheets of plywood on the end wall so that I can put up the nice shelving system my husband designed when he was caring in both senses of the word.
The stone patio out in front of the door looks great. It is from the pieces of cement I broke out of the floor of the shed before I called a guy to pour new cement on half of the area.
None of the studio is square. The floor tilts. But the light coming in the odd and found windows is wonderful. Once the shelving is in… I can begin to work out there. I have a place to show my work and to create. I had to hire people for four days work but the rest… the rest is my clumsy and determined effort.

A change in the Weather, What next for the artist?

Dolphins sculpture Kelowna
The wind blows the Maple outside my window and the clouds cover the sky for the first time in weeks. Yesterday was all about reconnecting. A coffee brought to me in the morning, my son visiting with his dog, a friend going for a walk with me, communicating with two Face Book friends at night.
But the most basic communication is with self. I have to become more focused and see where I am heading. One of the things I have been engaged in recently is taking photos at night of things I see around Kelowna. Usual things seen with fresh eyes is the theme.

water like fire at night

Waiting through this pain
like my legs so numb
not moving
I look down and see
the progress I am making
is unclear
I cannot see the stones
I walk upon
Nor feel the contact
with the bottoms of
my feet.
Spirit, legs lift
I am hopeful
that just moving
will move me forward
to a new place
where I can dance again..
the beautiful shapes of water
Today I begin to make the shed into a studio, to get some painting done, to honor the gifts I have been given.
Do I know what will come?
I have the confidence to know I have vision and talent.

Those will be my guiding lights for now.the surface of the water is sculptoral

What is Normal: An Artist Asks

Normal is when you feel calm and peaceful. Normal is when you feel that you own a power that comes from your very being. Normal is when you can be without ego. Normal does not mean dull. It is the opposite. Truly whole people are brilliant… giving light, doing what looks to be impossible to other people, exploring the world without fear and not really even noticing what others are doing because they don’t care. It is holding both of your hands up to protect the flame of God’s gift that you were given. We all have it. But some are so afraid of not being normal that they don’t protect it. Some are so afraid of seeming normal they pour gasoline on it and it burns their hands, their heart and is extinguished in its own over fueled fire.

God or the universe or Buddha is about having power, creativity and love.If we move forward with these we are normal.


Listed below are three courses I am teaching for UBC-Okanagan Continuing Studies

Digital Photographic Art – From So-So…to Stunning

July 24 1 -5 pm
Discover, from an artist and photography judge, how to choose an image for the most artistic possibilities when taking pictures. Learn how to select, crop, and enhance digital images. Using simple techniques and basic software, you can give a professional polish to your photos and gain confidence in your work.
Total Cost: $110.88

Travel Writing
Monday- Friday July 26-30 9am-12 pm

Take a trip with a veteran travel writer, and discover what it takes to have your story published. Good travel writing is more than just describing where you’ve been and what you’ve seen. This week-long journey will teach globetrotters what you should know before you go and how to translate what you’ve seen onto paper. The session will look at how to generate story ideas, help participants develop their writing skills, and teach aspiring travel writers how to get their work published by writing pitch letters to editors. Whether your travel story is about far-flung destinations or the multi-faceted beauty of the Okanagan, this is where it all begins.
Bon voyage!
Total Cost: $252.00

Location: FIPKE Building 138

Saturday July 31 9 am – 1 pm

What started out as a simple method for keeping an online diary or journal has become arguably the hottest form of communication and expression of the day. Blogs are micro-websites that are typically maintained and updated by an individual. While many still function as personal diaries, a growing number provide commentary or news on a particular subject. This hands-on workshop helps you get started on your own blog, whether it’s merely a place to record your daily thoughts or a venue to share your ideas or opinions on the world today. Learn the basics: deciding what to write about; setting up a blog, step-by-step; using templates; uploading text, photos, video, and audio; and using various blog tools.
Total Cost: $67.20

Location: FIPKE Building 138
I currently have work at Gallery Vertigo, Vernon; Summerland Art Gallery; New Moon Gallery in West Kelowna; Wine Valley Accents Gallery, Summerland and a piece on the way to the Kamloops Art Gallery show.

I have moved my studio home from the Rotary Centre. Contact me to visit my new studio and view art work.
Cherie Hanson

This and That: Making a Future

Today was a day about getting the trivial out of the way. Just transferring my car from joint to full ownership, getting new insurance, buying food for my home stay, planning the show this weekend, finishing the small tasks in the yard.
Big decision such as what exactly I am doing in my life are awaiting Continue reading

Laying stone for hardscape has made the yard much more interesting. I now have a patio under the tree, one in front of the studio, a winding path leading to the backyard and all of the vines I have put on the fence are growing beautifully. I envisioned the yard to be softened by the vines so eventually the fence will be completely covered. This Friday the show is at the Rotary Centre and I want to have some of my medium sized pieces of canvas art for sale. I look forward to interacting with people and seeing the other artists. My friend, Karla, will be next to me and I always enjoy her company. This is the last quiet week. Next week I will be very busy with classes and having guests. Then in August I begin the adventure of going out into the world. Nervous and excited.

Summer Hides Its Face

The wind blowing over umbrellas, snapping off small branches and changing the paths of those who would stroll leisurely down the sidewalk, was a surprise to us today. It blew the sun out of the sky and left a muted grey-yellowy air.

red button

red button

While it has been very hot recently, I have found myself slowing down and having a rest every day. But these breaks have allowed me to focus on working images for my art. The activity level and goal may change;however, the pursuit of learning is constant. I am parenting myself by watching videos, listening to audio files and generally gathering information about relationships, men, how the brain functions, social interaction and transformational energy sources. Fascinating time for me even though from the outside it looks non productive.

Summer Isolation

The tree
whispers shadows
across the turquoise strip of sun
edging the mountain.
I stand alone in the
yearning yard.
Voices across the fences
sharing lives

Like lawn chairs

you folded up our marriage

and walked away.

A trivial, light weight thing.

sea shell canadian beige

sea shell canadian beige

Do you hear happy voices too

in your isolate dark?