New Space

New Space
You will love the view!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

JOY In The Moment

I have gotten very busy; caught up in Christmas shopping, decorating, trying to finish up this quarter's grades and evaluations in the midst of holiday activities.  It is Saturday morning; the day is dark, a dreary rain falls from a wintry gray sky.  The Art Museum is my destination....meeting students for a tour.  It will be Christmasy and festive.  I will enjoy it.

I sit within my cozy warm studio overlooking the pond as raindrops disturb the surface.  The drops falling one by one remind me of a very young Jeremy (my youngest), maybe 8 or 9 running into the house one summer day.  He rushes to his bedroom where I hear him digging into his toy box.  He comes out with his snorkle and goggles and runs out the backdoor to jump into the above ground pool.  In a few minutes he comes in all excited:  "Mom, you should see how the rain drops look from the bottom of the pool!"  He had ran out, jumped in to lay on the bottom so he could watch the drops from below.

Youth, so fresh, so alive, so caught up in the wonder of life.  A touch of sadness washes over me as the thought of disease and dying punch into my thoughts....Jeremy lives with chronic disease and did, even then.

Yet, living this very moment there is only joy!  How very important it is:  to know, and even to have the ability to contemplate that we WILL die, yet, to stay focused on this moment, this joyuous miraculous moment of life, bursting forth life!

Raindrops dancing now, splashing into the pond.  The Koi have Jeremy's view from that day.

What must it feel like to be an ant being hit by a huge raindrop?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Revealing As The Leaves Fall Away


Fall, the season I am living both literally and symbolically as I find myself at an age considered the fall of life.  The work of fall has to do with leaves:  much change in appearance, much letting go, sweeping away that which is finished,  looking at who we are as we become bare, as we watch "things" fall away, things such as youth, physical beauty, careers if we retire, fame if we have accomplished it, successes and accomplishments.....all kinds of attachments.

In fall we become naked before ourselves.  I say "ourselves" because, after all, it is only ourselves we fool with all our attachments and outward coverings!  Bare of all those things I have covered myself with (talents, successful career, a look or attitude that attracts the opposite sex, publicity, possessions)....STUFF.  Naked.....all the leaves having fallen away, WHO AM I? 

This is what interests me now.  Is my core substance such that losing the leaves I am even more....because I shine from my core.  This is my hope; and in this hope is a resolve to let go (to grow old) with a grace that lessens the fear of ageing for my children....well for all who know me.

Life, death, consider them equals, and so they are, one as certain as the other.  One as important to the purpose of existence as the other.

So in this fall of 2010 I hope that you allow your inner beauty to grow and to shine.  There is purpose in the fact that fall is so beautiful.  And always fall triggers such introspection. See that it is the deep down authentic you, the real you, stripped of all the coverings, that is truly an expression of the joy and wonder that is life.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Give A Carrot!

Jason, my oldest son, his wife Renee and my two little grandsons, Jaden and Skylar, were here for the Halloween weekend.  It happens that my youngest son, Jeremy, and his wife, Meaghan, are recently the proud owners of a horse named Phoenix.  I won't go in to how this came about, but there is a whole other story there (I say this with a smile).  We took the boys to meet Phoenix; Jaden anxiously waited to feed Phoenix a carrot.  Phoenix loves carrots, and, in fact, yesterday Meaghan told me that Phoenix was getting a bit too fond of treats and therefore checking hands and pockets of every human he had the chance to meet.  Do you think he might be suffering from "entitlement?"

Carrots, as we all know, are very good for you.  The beta-carotene is good for your eyes, as is the fact that carrots convert to vitamin A in the body which also improves eyesight and helps you see better in dim light.  Beta-carotene in carrots is also an antioxidant that helps protect you from heart disease, cancer and macular degeneration.  Alpha-carotene, another benefit from carrots has been shown to protect from lung cancer.

The point is, if you are said to "Give a Carrot" you are giving something good for the receiver.  This brings me to the point of my ramblings today:  politics.  I do not typically get into politics except in very private situations.  I have long considered myself an "Independent."  I have in the past voted both sides of the ticket.  BUT,  like so many in this country I am absolutely disgusted with politics.  I am sick of the name calling, the blame, the black and white thinking, the refusal to work across "party lines" for the good of the people.  I am appalled to find that in spite of the fact that our President Obama won the Presidential seat only two years ago, with our country in the midst of TWO wars, right after the collapse of our major financial institutions and the spiraling downward of our stock market AND the bail out that was called by then President Bush a "necessity for saving our economy" many people in this country actually now "see" him, Obama, as to blame for it all.  Two years??? Do you suppose that is enough time to actually "fix" all that was wrong?  And to do so when your opposing party has said "NO" to cooperating with you in any way?  By the way, the consensus from experts from both parties is that we had to bail out these institutions.

Well that is my first frustration.  My second is that there seems to be an absolute "refusal" to work together among the heads of our two party system.  We are in trouble.  I don't care who is to blame (though from my perspective it appears to be the fact that we are now a global economy, like it or not; and our corporations have the wealth and the power to do whatever they want and to even buy off our congressmen and women.)  Remember, corporations are not patriotic unless they are headed by honest and patriotic executives.  Corporations are world wide citizens, moving wherever and whenever they can find cheaper labor and fewer regulatory inhibitions to their money making purpose.  THEY ARE NOT PEOPLE.  They do not have conscience nor empathy.  They do not "give a carrot!"

And are you aware that corporations can now contribute however much money they wish without having to say where it comes from to any campaign (and remember, they do have the money).  Do you not suppose this could mean they can also buy the candidate that best fits their interest?

So, isn't it time we SEE.  "GIVE A CARROT."  We are in trouble.  We have millions who have no health insurance and others having to declare bankruptcy due to illness, we have seniors who have to decide whether to forgo food or medications, we have poor right here in our ghettos and even in our rural areas who need help, we have a middle class that has been dwindling in numbers for the last 50 years.  It IS our middle class that carries the brunt of our tax burden.  And, by the way, it is a historical fact that a culture's strength and stability is directly proportionate to the strength and stability of its middle class.

EAT A FEW CARROTS.  They help us "see" the truth in our situation.  I think we have to stop reacting to the fear politics around us and take the time to look into what it is that will really help change things.  I guarantee you it is not about being Democrat nor Republican (NOR Tea Party).  It is not about defending the Constitution, it is not about whether or not our President is Muslim or a US citizen (that anyone can believe either of these persisting rumors really blows my mind).  It is about whether or not we can really "give a carrot" and put some time and effort into knowing the truth of our situation and seriously looking for ways to make changes.

It shook me last night when a teen in my class began sharing how depressed and hopeless she was feeling.  This was the case on many levels, but when she got into politics and how the condition of our country and its politics were affecting her, and the rest of the group chimed in in agreement, it really got to me.  She said she no longer felt "hope" that she could make her "dreams" come to fruition.  She said she was sick of our major political parties refusing to work together to figure out how to fix things.   Basically she was saying she has lost "the American dream."  This conversation went on to include how many teens each of these in my class knew who felt suicidal because of this hopelessness.  I think we must take this seriously for the sake of our children.  If we don't stop fighting and blaming and reacting and start really doing something constructive we are failing our children.  I really believe this.

So, the point of this blog today is to ask that you "Give a Carrot"....that you really care enough to do all in your power to stop the negativity and give from your heart something healthy, something that enhances the ability to "see" our way out of this mess we find ourselves in.  I believe we are the greatest nation in the world, but I also believe if we keep abusing this position we can lose it.  I do "give a carrot!!"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cleaning In The Studio

                                          Classroom Studio

(Oct. 23, 2010, Jan Groenemann)

Saturday and feisty fall,
Outside my studio door
The wind blowing in with the leaves a fall thunderstorm
Forcing the chimes to scream more than sing
I find myself cleaning, clearing clutter
Pulling everything out, making it visible
Wrecking the order of my space
In order to discover and discard

Up on the top shelf in the far corner I find
Yellowed envelopes filled with written pages
I slide them out, taking a seat at an empty table
Here, reading from the mind of my much younger self
Young wife, mother of three small sons
One already diabetic
Trying desperately to keep a marriage together
That was destined to die

Hanging on, with my words
To a religion that ran low on regard
For a woman who needed strength
Who needed to know
It was OK to demand commitment
And respect and focus
Whose teachings of submission
Allowed for coping co-dependency

Even then I was optimistic
In my openly lonely situation
Learning to mother
Learning to give endlessly
Learning to love unconditionally
Learning to fly
Learning to let go
Let go, let go, let go

Filling black bulging bags
One after the other
Saying goodbye to the girl
The young mother
The submissive wife
The writer of religious themes
And stories, making space
Allowing for the changes that came

Giving birth to the woman
The mother of sons and grandsons
The friend to daughters-in-law
Loving unconditionally
Even the man whose side she left
So that the artist and poet
And mature spiritual being
Was allowed to emerge

I slide the writings back into the envelope
Even the one about “learning to fly”
And the poem titled “wife friend”
Even the girl, the young woman
Whose smile is still on my face
And whose belief that
In all things there is purpose
Still lives in my heart.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Leaves: A New Perspective

Leaves: A New Perspective

Spiraling downward on invisible currents,
Sailing on updrafts, leveling, landing
Gathering as a conference; colorful and individual
As members of a happy crowd
They dance and gossip
On the tarmac that is my drive
Moving in as close as possible to my door
Waiting there, quietly, out of the range of fall gusts
A steadily growing crowd of fall leaves
Their last wings
Final meeting

It has frustrated me in past falls
This constant gathering, whispering, waiting
That they do at my doorway
As if hoping to sneak in on sneakers
Or breeze in on boots
Keeping me sweeping, sweeping
No end it always seems to the
Trail of crumbled colors
Descending into dust
To be vacuumed up
Discarded and dumpstered
A constant chore

As they leave the classroom, the group of teens
Who have sat and shared
discussed and drawn characters from their imaginings
For the last hour and a half
A fasting from the fall fury of school
And homework, SAT’s, exams
I complain about the levee of leaves that blocks the door.
Hearing them crunch beneath Rebooks, Nikes,
My background chorus as I say,
“Goodnight, have a good week.”
“They are all gathering here,” they cheer
“They love your house!!!”

Leaves, gathering here in safe haven?
Nature’s palette of creative colors
Floating, hovering, piling one on another
Inviting games like dig potato
Or offering to model
For rubbings or paintings
Or even just reminders of the myriad of colors
That only fall can conjure
Leaves for lessons
In letting go or going with the flow
A new perspective:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Work Completed

"Doorway With Curtain"

                                       "Doors Bleeding Time"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sharing A Wonderful Fall Evening

Fall is my favorite time of year, and one of my favorite things to do is to sit outside with the smells and colors of fall, especially in early evening when there is that glow that only fall brings.  It is as if the colors from the leaves are rising like a fog and tinting the predusk light.  I swept my deck and cleaned the filters in the pond then decided to sit on the deck and sip a glass of iced water  The mood was so perfect that I came in and got my camera and did this shot.  I added a toss of leaves and and the wine  and glasses just because what adds most to such a perfect fall evening is great conversation with someone you love.

I had hoped to capture the glow, but my camera was just inadequate for that.  Still, I think you can get the idea.

When I came in to check my blog and prepare to do this post I noticed that there had been another comment to the IRISES blog.  It was my son, Garic, the one whose photography I have posted a few times.  This was his comment.  "This is officially my favorite blog entry. I love you, Mom."  Well, a beautiful fall evening cannot get any better than this.  Thank you, Garic.  You will know how it affected me when you get the message I left on your phone.

And so, this post turns out to be a tribute to a beautiful fall evening and to my three amazing sons.  They keep me believing in the male gender!  They are full of integrity, sensitivity and compassion.  Some of the best conversations I have ever had on any subject has been in a room with all three of them and my two daughters-in-law.  I am so grateful.

I hope you too are experiencing the joy of a wonderful fall evening.

Saturday, October 9, 2010



I’ve planted Irises in my garden
Old-fashioned purples with yellow centers
And blue
I recall them in Mom’s flower bedsAlong with the salmons and browns
And brilliant red Cannas
She weeded them, bent over
Her mind a million miles away in thought

My horse, Fanny, nipped her shoulder once
While she was weeding
Fanny, velvet nose, horsey smell that I love
My fantasy-come-true mare who
Flashed an angry look at those she did not trust
But she nipped my Mom playfully, innocently

Irises…my great aunt Sylvia grew them, too
And Grandma and Dad (we grandchildren called him)
Aunt Jean had them growing along the sidewalk
I can smell their heavy fragrance from memory
Bundled into a glass vase and placed on the dining room table

They lined the front porch where I stood
With broom handle microphone and sang at the top of my lungs
Where I pulled Fanny up close so that I could swing my leg
Across her broad back
Mom would bring iced lemonade and set us in front of the fan
On those summer-days, so humid it was difficult to breath….
Like sticking-your-head-in-the-oven hot

Mom was warmth and kindness and safety….
Does she know she still is?
She says, at 82 she is ready to go
But does she know my more-than-weekly phone calls are not just for her?
I need her still….to tell my stories to
And knowing she is OK and interested in scrap booking,
Reading, Days of Our Lives, life
Grounds me
Lets me keep believing in unconditional love, in God….
In miracles

I water the Irises, long past their spring blooms
It is fall and leaves are floating through the air
I think of Mom, go inside my studio that overlooks the garden
And pick up the phone

-Jan Groenemann
October 8, 2009


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Abundance At The Bounty

Sunday, Oct. 3, was an absolutely beautiful day, cool temps, severe clear, and brilliant sunshine.  The turnout for my opening in Washington was great.  The biggest surprise for me was that almost every person (well at least 3/4) of the 40 or so attending was someone special to me (friend/student/family).  The "Abundance" experienced was not what you might expect at an art opening, not crowds of buyers from the local area, but a crowd of those who love and support me.  I am so grateful to each of you who came to make it a special day.  I know it was a long drive for many of you.

For those of us in the arts we are often judged as successful (or not) by the crowds we draw or the sales we make.  But the truth is, what is really important is the joy we get from the process of creating and the love we get from our relationships.  This was the message I got from Sunday.....I am blessed with the greatest of Abundance!  A special thank you to each of you who came.

And thank you to Larry Pogue (a wonderful artist himself) who organized the event, helped me hang and missed the Rams game to be there.  Thank you, too, to the staff at American Bounty who served wonderful food and drinks and then set up a special table for 16 of us to share dinner together after the event. 

It was an absolutely wonderful day!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Creative Expression Can Break the Cycle of Chronic Pain

A few weeks ago I wrote about the "power of focused attention."  This
article, sent to me by my daughter-in-law, Renee Groenemann, comes from
the opposite direction but with the same message.  By allowing ourselves
to get in that place from where creative expression comes we can distract
ourselves from the pain of negative experiences.

We know that creative expression releases the same hormones as are
released in jogging.  According to the article below, it can also give relief
from chronic pain.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- There's more to the healing arts than just
medicine. Numerous studies show how creative expression through music,
writing or art work can break the cycle of chronic pain. The topic was
discussed at the For Grace's 3rd Annual Women in Pain Conference.

For Radene Marie Cook, chronic, intense pain from injuries she suffered
in a plane crash is a way of life.

"It means that with my pain, there are so many signals and it's at such a
severe level, that without treatment I'd have a heart attack or a
stroke," said Cook.

Cook finds some relief in art, poetry and music.

"There's something about getting inner conflict and inner feelings out
to where your eyes can see it," said Cook.

Artistic expression can be more than just a form of therapy. For patients who
have pain that's difficult to describe, art can help patients communicate with
their doctors.

"Some of the pain is indescribable when nerves are involved. It does
bizarre stuff," said Cook. "But I could show them a picture of something
being electrocuted and they could understand that."

Pain specialist Dr. David Bresler says art can be a distraction from the

"When they realize that they're becoming obsessed and concentrating way
too much on their pain, they need to break that cycle in some way, and
let their mind focus on other kinds of things," said Bresler.

One powerful prescription: focusing on the positive.

"One of the things that we've learned is that whatever you give
attention to, grows," said Bresler. "Whether it's your garden, your
children, or your worries, anxieties and fears. When people pay so much
attention to pain, the pain will grow."

It's that advice -- and art -- that keeps a smile on Cook's face.

"I wanted to put on the walls everything that I could look to and grab
immediately that told me I was going to make it," said Cook. "It's a
reminder to say, 'Yes, I can and it's going to be OK in the end.'"

                         "Tree Poem" is part of the Abundance Exhibit at
                          American Bounty TODAY in Washington, MO.
                          I'd love to see you there!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Life Enhancing Opportunity!!!

                                                  Photo by Amy Kartmann

No, it isn't usually so obvious as in this photo my friend Amy took, but I do believe that all of nature speaks to us and brings us messages for enhancing our lives. I would like to help you experience this first hand:  that every life experience is your teacher if you are aware enough to notice.  This is the subject of my workshop:  Awakening Your Creative Spirit.

This workshop is designed to give you techniques for honing your awareness and connecting with your creative energies.  So whether you want to better express yourself through one of the arts or simply wish to make your life more in tune with your authentic self, this workshop is for you!

Tools utilized for this workshop:  meditation/visualization; drawing; painting; and writing.  No previous experience needed.

I promise you a day that is life enhancing.

Workshop cost:  $125 (all supplies included)

Contact me to register:  (636) 441-3828 or

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Opening This Sunday, October 3, 1:00 to 5:00, For Jan's Solo Exhibit At American Bounty Restaurant In Washington, MO

Artful Journal Workshop: Great Fun and Great Creativity

We had great weather and a full house for the Artful Journal Workshop on Saturday.  At first the participants were a bit overwhelmed with the amount of materials and new techniques, but once everyone settled in to work on their own journal pages the creativity began to flow.  Everyone agreed it was a very creative and productive day and that a second workshop should follow soon.

So, again, let me know by emailing me at if you are interested in participating in the next workshop!  No date is set as yet.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Spiral, Symbol of the Journey of Life

                                Photo by Garic Groenemann   Irish Spiral

For mankind the spiral has always been a compelling shape. Why does it have a positive meaning for every culture that ascribes a meaning to it? Perhaps it is because we, on this tiny planet whirling around one of 100 billion suns, can call a spiral galaxy home.

The spiral has found its way into the art of almost all cultures, from ancient primitive rock carvings on all continents to today's corporate logos. They show up in Celtic art, native American petroglyphs, Nazca earthworks, Arabic architecture, Japanese rock gardens, Hindu spiritual texts, Australian aboriginal paintings and African art. Surprisingly, no religious or political group has claimed exclusive rights to the spiral. It remains non-sectarian, or maybe pan-sectarian. The spiral belongs to everyone and excludes no one.

In various mythologies the spiral is a globally positive symbol. Here are some of the meanings that have been attributed to the spiral:

* Carl Jung, the famous psychiatrist, said that the spiral is an archetypal symbol that represents cosmic force.

* In ancient Britain, the spiral seems to have been associated with the feminine as the doorway to life.

* It has been associated with the cycles of time, the seasons, the cycle of birth, growth, death, and then rebirth. The cycles of time and nature are the cycles of life.

Some consider the spiral a symbol of the spiritual journey. It is also considered to represent the evolutionary process of learning and growing. It seems that life doesn't proceed in a straight line. The path of life more closely resembles a spiral. We seem to pass the same point over and over again but from a different perspective each time. This is often referred to as “coming full circle.” To walk and then stand in the center of a spiral or labyrinth has been a psycho-spiritual exercise for centering the consciousness.

The spiral stands for coming into being:

The spiral shows up often in nature - in hurricanes and tornados, in the pattern of seeds in a sunflower, in the growing tips of ferns, in the pattern that leaves grow on a stem, in the shape of a nautilus shell, and, as a helix, the shape of the DNA molecule.

For me personally the spiral represents finding deep peace in the midst of the constant chaos of life.  My students tease me about how often I talk about "going with the flow" of life.  And, it is true, that I see life as a river, much like in Herman Hesse's novel Siddhartha.  In that river the surface is dramatically affected by the crises of flooding or wind or downpours of rain.  Yet, also in that river are deep, deep pools where one can drop to the bottom and be totally unaffected by the traumas taking place on the surface.  I visualize that settling to the bottom of a deep pool as allowing myself to descend into the center point of a spiral.  Here is not a place of escape, for you can clearly observe what is taking place, and the furthest reaches of your spiral float outward like tentacles or antenna keeping you connected. But you can also remain centered and calm regardless.

So I like to think of the spiral as the basic symbol for the journey of life and at the center, like the center of a great hurricaine, you can find your center, your peace.  That peaceful center is my wish for you today as we begin fall of 2010.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Today I have had a lot of errands to run.  It is an incredible day, sunshine and soothing temperatures, and I feel and smell fall in the freshness of the air, the crunch of pin oak leaves under my feet....I've had time to think about the fact that this week has flown by without a post to the blog (mostly because I am feeling the need to paint, paint, paint) which led me to consider the new painting series I am working on called "Doors."

Doors fascinate me.  One opens and I am so excited for the opportunity it brings.  But sometimes it slams shut before I am prepared to accept it; then, still another opens.  On and on this has happened throughout my life.

Sometimes a door is there, unlocked, waiting to be opened.  It takes some decision, some determination, some action on my part.  It was the move from the Foundry, the door I chose to close there, that started me on this series of paintings.  With that closing was the knowing that working in this new studio was to open some new doors.

So, today I am very aware of doors:  the ones that have opened me to amazing experiences, the ones that have slammed shut bringing to me most terrible pain until I could see it had to shut in order to find the next to open. I find myself between doors in some sense.  Perhaps fall brings the sense of closure, winter will give me hibernation and rest, so that in the spring I can reach out, pull away the rusted lock that only appears to block my way through the next door. It is then that I will walk in to the new experiences that await me.

This door, the one I am waiting for, knowing without doubt it is to open, has been there waiting for me.....waiting for a long time.  That is why this photo taken in Ireland by my son Garic really speaks to me. I have been growing toward this door for a very long time....for all of my life.

I don't mean to sound so mysterious; I cannot tell you what lies within the door I am moving toward.  All I can tell you is that it will be exactly the right door at the right time.

The painting I am working on presently is titled:  "Door With a Curtain."  I realize this is because I cannot yet see what lies behind this door.  I simply am enjoying the living of the anticipation.  I promise to share it with you when the time comes.

Until then, don't miss the doors opening for you.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Get a New Perspective on Your Life Through Life Coaching

I spent this past weekend (Labor Day) in Cincinnati with all my children together.  The weather was fall perfect.  When I first arrived, Jaden and Skye, my grandsons (7 and 3) were so excited to show me they could climb some of the trees in their yard.  You could see that three feet off the ground was such a high for them.  It brought back many memories for me of climbing trees when I was growing up.  I climbed every tree I could manage in my yard and in the yard of my grandparents.  I also climbed many trees in the woods surrounding my house.  I would sit for hours in one of those trees wondering at the view.  From up there I got a totally new perspective on what was then my world.  Sometimes I would become a circus performer hanging and swinging from grapevines that hung from the trees; other times my brother, cousins and I would climb high in a sapling until it began to bend wildly toward the ground.  That new perspective allowed my imagination to fly. 
A different perspective on the world, on life is sometimes exactly what we need in order find the motivation and the inspiration to move beyond some stuckness or some limitation in our lives.  This is the excitement of Life Coaching.  It does exactly you a different perspective on your life, helps you identify what is keeping you stuck or limiting you, and helps you to move forward to what you really want in your life.

I share this in order to ask that you share the potential of life coaching with anyone you think could really benefit from it.  So many people are discouraged, depressed, stuck or just not living up to their potential.  Yet, we always have choices.  Sometimes we just cannot see that we do.

My Life Coach training is through The Institute for Life Coach Training.  I know how to ask the right questions in order to help YOU find the answers right for you.

Friday, September 10, 2010

ABUNDANCE: A Preview Of Work In The American Bounty Exhibit

                                         "Between A Rock And A Hard Place"

                                          "By Day"

                                         "By Night"

"Crossing Kansas"


Important Notice: Change of Date for Opening at American Bounty

In order to accomodate American Bounty Restaurant
the date for my opening reception has been changed.
Please note and mark your calendars as I hope to see
you there:

               Open Reception:  Jan Groenemann
                       Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010
                 American Bounty Restaurant
                       430 West Front Street
                       Washington, Missouri
                        from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mellow Musings.....

   As I walked into my studio this morning, picked up my pen and began to journal, I realized I had allowed this week to get so busy that I had neglected this for a few days.  When I do neglect to journal I am not quite of the same awareness in my day.  Somehow, saying a conscious hello to flowering lilies floating on sun-sprinkled pond, talking to the fishes (Heloise, Abelard and St. Francis), acknowledging how simply good it feels to breathe and stretch--to be alive--and being grateful--these things awaken me more, not just to the day but to "joie de vivre."

This morning, though still summer warm, there was that scent of fall on the gentle breeze that played the chimes in my garden.  For me fall is a time for hikes in the woods, biking on the Katy trail, and workshops.
The Artful Journal workshop is filled for Sept. 25, but if you are interested in this workshop do let me know, as I will be organizing another one at a later date.

I also want to remind you of the opening of my exhibit, "Abundance," at American Bounty Restaurant in Washington, MO on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2:00 to 5:00 PM.  This is a wonderful time of year to take a drive in the country, stop in and say hello at my opening, and enjoy sipping some wine at one of the beautiful wineries in the area.

If my post this morning seems a bit mellow, it is because September brings me to a mellow mood.  As we enter the fall of the year I find myself instrospecting about the year thus far.  For me it has been a year of major, yet meaningful change.  I am excited to be back to doing more workshops.  My artwork feels more inspired, and so many things seem to be just flowing.  I feel at peace and so very grateful.

This week, my daughter-in-law, Renee Groenemann, Growth Director at Grace Tree Studio in Cincinnati, sent a contract to me for retail items they will be carrying in their gift shop.  She asked for an inventory of the work and an explanation of how it would be "A Purchase With Conscience." I found this a very thought provoking question.  For me doing anything with "conscience" means doing something that supports my deepest beliefs.
Here is my response:

"Art speaks from the very core of the artist, and those who resonate with a work of art are connecting with that artist's soul.  So if you connect with my art to the degree that you want to take it home and live with it, you have a conscious recognition of that is here, in this deep place where we are all ONE.  Here we understand that to support another is also to support ones self.  If my work touches you on this level then certainly your purchase of my art is supporting me on that same deep level......therefore, it is a purchase with conscience."

May you experience this beautiful day with a fullness of conscience.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Power of Focused Attention

This summer I was blessed with having my 7-year-old grandson, Jaden, spend seven days with me.  This was the first time we had such a block of time together, just the two of us.  So you can imagine all the plans I had for showing him the best possible time.  We did have a wonderful week together, and pretty much had worn one another out at the end of each day.  Yet, what I came to realize is that even had we stayed home the entire time, it would still have been a wonderful week simply because we had time to place focused attention on one another. 

I was also reminded how a child puts this focused attention on everything they do, from talking with O'ma (that's me) to exploring my garden with the telescope we got at the Science Center, or painting in the studio.  A child is constantly high on life because of this focused attention.

A few years ago I attended a conference in Palm Springs, California organized by the Center for Noetic Sciences.  Here I participated in a workshop that taught the art of focused attention.  We were shown how putting focused attention on a complete stranger could create a connectedness between the two of you in a very short time.  We also learned that "focused attention" is the key to keeping love alive in a marriage, or actually, in any relationship.  In other words, we were shown the "power of focused attention."

The importance of focused attention is something I experience every day in teaching drawing and painting. The more I can get a student to "focus" on what they are drawing or painting, the more they are able to capture its essence in their artwork.  And the more I can get a coaching client to focus on what he or she really wants his or her life to be, the more likely he or she can make that happen.

And so, today I'd simply like to remind you to practice "focused attention" as you go about your daily life.  It is a part of being present in the moment, a part of seeing how each experience can be your teacher and/or your inspiration.  It is also key in knowing what you are feeling or needing.  Focused attention means being fully aware of what you see, hear and feel in each moment of your life.  It will keep the child alive in your and give you a natural high.

Thank you Jaden for reminding me of this.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Creating An Artful Journal Workshop (Sept. 25) Is Almost Full. Sign Up Now!

Making Art Makes You Feel Good!

Did you know that being creative releases the same "feel good endorphins" that jogging releases?  Doing art actually does make you feel better.  In addition, being creative improves your ability to learn on all levels.  It enhances your skills in every other subject.  Plato, in ancient Greece, was the first to connect the arts (music in particular) with math.  The Greeks, in fact, believed music was so important that every citizen was required to study music until age 30. They considered music the most important of the arts.  Today we know that all of the arts affect both learning and mood in positive ways.  So, art really is a type of therapy.

You do not have to have a desire to become a professional artist or to sell your art in order to benefit from doing art.  This is especially important for parents to know.  Your children benefit from doing art in a mirad of ways, just as adults do.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

OPENING: "Exhibit, American Bounty Restaurant"

You are invited to attend the opening
for a "one woman exhibit"
of Jan Groenemann's work
titled "Abundance"
Saturday Afternoon
October 2, 2:00 - 5:00
American Bounty Restaurant
430 West Front Street
Washington, MO

(The show hangs from
Sept. 18 through Oct.30)


Saturday, Sept. 25
9:00 - 4:00 Fee $125
110 Millbridge Ct.
St. Peters, MO 63376

Life as Inspiration for Your Creative Expression
Saturday, Oct. 16
9:00 - 4:00 Fee $125
110 Millbridge Ct.
St. Peters, MO 63376

Saturday, Nov. 6
9:00 - 4:30 Fee $125
Grace Tree Yoga and Personal Growth Studio
West Chester, Ohio (Cincinnati area)

Contact Jan at:
to register or for more information.

Featured Student: Jan Wolf

Jan Wolf has been dedicated to her art for many years. She is my most long term and accomplished student (and a dear friend), and has been a part of my Tuesday Morning class on and off since the second year of the opening of my home studio. I celebrate my 25th year of offering classes here this year. For these reasons I have chosen her to be the first featured student.

Jan is a professional. She has accomplished the ability to capture all of nature with her amazing realistic watercolors. Presently she is working to perfect abstraction, and you will see by the photos of her work above that she is very successful at this as well.

Jan also has a line of note cards created from her original artwork.

In Jan Wolf's own words:

"Art is a means of expressing oneself, and this has been a 'process' for me.
As I have explored different mediums, I've begun to understand myself more
and be more at peace with myself.
Sharing ideas in class is very inspirational for me, and I want to try every
new concept I see.
My interests are centered around home and family, and art, for me, is an
expression of these things. My favorite subject is nature, including flowers,
birds, and animals. My most recent endeavor is to see and paint in a more
abstract way. Achieving this is my goal."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More of My Art

Web Site VS Blog Spot: A Good Question

The painting above, "A Softening, " sold this Spring in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The one below, also recently sold, is titled: "Earth Maw." I am sharing these today because one of my blog followers had a good questions for me: "Why do you not show more of your paintings on your blog?" This made me realize that for many of you, my blog may be your first introduction to me as an artist; so I want to clarify my reasons for starting a blog.

First of all, I have a web site where you can learn all you might care to know about my professional life; here you can view many of my works of art. Please do visit this site to learn more about who I am as an artist, author and instructor of classes and workshops: In a couple of weeks or so I will be going live with an updated web site, but hopefully it will be at this same address. I will announce this when the time comes.

I recently decided to create a blog for the purpose of networking both with other bloggers and with people who may find me on facebook or who might learn of my blog from mutual friends or friends of friends. It is my desire through the blog to share on a bi-weekly (sometimes more often) basis things that touch me, inspire me or even just amaze me as I live my daily life. I will use the blog, also, to announce workshops and/or exhibits to those who might like to participate.

In addition, I plan to periodically feature students and their work. I also will share articles on creativity and quotes that inspire my creativity with the hope that you might also be inspired.

I so much appreciate your comments. You can comment right on the blog at the end of any article, or feel free to send me a personal email at .

Thank you, Larry, for your comments that helped me realize an explanation was needed. Here are a few more examples of my artwork:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Artful Journal......

I have been journaling almost daily for several years. Typically these journals are so private that I burn the old ones to make room for the new. However, there is a way of journaling that allows you to express yourself through both written and visual arts that has really captured my interest. There is little as fulfilling as artfull journaling. And it is because of how fulfilling it is that I want to share the concept.
Find an old book; mine happens to be a very nice size, and it was found at a garage sale. It is not in great shape, but still holding together enough that I can utilize its cover for the cover of my journal (with a little paint, yarn, ink and other found objects). Then I either gesso over, paint or cover with papers and collage each page which then becomes the blank canvas for my journal entries.
I allow the ideas to flow from my creative may be a quote that inspires one page, an idea growing in my mind, or an experience that touched me deeply. Then I simply begin intuitively pasting, painting, and writing until the page feels complete.
It is helpful if you have collected nature objects, ribbons, fabrics, papers, old jewelry, little books of quotes or poetry (though using what comes from your own head is even better). The internet can also be a great source for ideas. As you begin to work with your journal you will also begin to notice what items you want to incorporate and therefore want to begin to collect.
Fall Artful Journaling Workshop: Start saving items for your journal now and let me know if you are interested by emailing me at , and I will send you a personal email notice once the date is set.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Natural Awakening....

I just recently returned from a drive to visit my Mom, Norma Hawkins, in Mtn. Grove. It was a rather quick trip as I drove down yesterday and returned this morning. But we had a great visit. I am blessed to have a Mom that I can talk with about anything; and that I can feel totally myself with. Because we almost lost Mom earlier this year, every chance I have to spend time with her is all the more precious to me.
On the way there and back I found myself contemplating "Awakening." Being spiritually aware has been something I have been seeking for what seems my entire life....certainly from the time that I would swing for hours in the tire swing, as a child, talking to and trying to comprehend God.
It was long ago in ancient Greece that Plato, in dealing with the questions, "Who Am I? What Does It Mean," first came up with the concept of a soul separate from the physical body. He also believed the soul was immortal. Since then our idea of the soul has not really changed much at all. Still, in our culture, those who believe we have a soul, see it as separate from the body or separate from the ego. I was thinking about how this plays out in the battle between right and wrong and good and evil. We are constantly fighting the desires of our bodies for the saving of our souls. Have you ever noticed that the more you try to change someone else the more they dig their heels in to defend their present position. Isn't that exactly how it is when we try to stop eating too much or drinking too much, or whatever desire it is that plagues our bodies?
And so, life is filled with this suffering. I do what I do not want to do then I live in fear for my soul. Suffering, fear....are these negative emotions truly part of the path to awakening. Is there a better way of understanding who we are? What if indeed we are whole and perfect, but we just do not understand that we have built a barrier to that part of us that is connected to God and to truth---the soul. I feel that the soul is our true guide, the channel through which the divine can speak to each of us. Our souls speak through our intuition, through that "still small voice." Yet, in our science worshiping culture we do not take this "voice" seriously.
It is my experience that the more I do take this voice seriously the more my life flows.....the less I experience suffering or fear.....the easier, in fact, it becomes to align my body with my soul. If we begin to trust that our souls' are guiding us to what is ultimately best for us in this life as well as the hereafter, perhaps awakening will be just a natural outcome of this process.

Friday, August 6, 2010

It Is All About The Process.....

In meditative journaling I have often gotten the message that when we worry about something from the past or feel anxious about something in the future we actually miss all that there is to actually live, and that is "this moment." It is in being fully present in the moment, which is impossible if your thoughts are on past or present, that we LIVE.

Creating is always "in the moment." Today I got an email from a dear friend (Hi Sharon) who is creating her best work yet. Here is what she had to say: "I am really having a good relaxed time, working with the texture and enjoying the experimentation and experience of 'not producing' a piece of artwork.' I love how the texture develops, and I, too, feel the paintings have a sophistication about them. I could have developed them further, but they just felt right where they were."

I agreed with Sharon that she needed to stop right there....leave the paintings where she felt they should be. I believe that when we get our minds fully focused on the creative process rather than on "producing a piece of art" we allow ourselves the freedom to be "in the moment." Our best creativity comes from exploration, not from production.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bringing a Little Magic to My Life

Today as I literally ran out the door to get the mail, I stopped short half way to the box, because right there in front of me was a hawk! Huge, alive, standing right by my mailbox, eyeing me as I eyed him. For a few minutes neither of us moved....we just stared at one another.

Finally, seeing he had no intention of flying away and realizing I was going to be late for class, I waved my arms gently and he flew to a tree in my neighbor's yard.

Being part Cherokee and owning my own set of Animal Medicine Cards (a gift from cousin Tom who I swear is a reincarnated shaman), I knew I needed to check out what this most unusual appearance might mean. After all, my maiden name is Hawkins. Here it is: "Hawk. You bring a clue about the magic of life! You remind me to watch for signals and signs, to keep a keen eye and bold heart, and to fly close to Grandfather Sun. You remind me to let nothing keep me from freedom of flight."

Signs. Yes, I do believe they are left for us every day as a means of insight and inspiration. So you can believe I will be looking for the "magic" as I go about the next several days.
Here's wishing you a little magic in your life as well.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Something to Consider in Creating the Life You Want

"At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want." -Lao-tzu

The problem most of us have is that we seldom take the time to "listen." Remember, you cannot create the life you want until you first figure out what it is you truly want.

O'Keefe Revisited

I've never felt the desire to live in the desert, but each time I reach a time of transition in my life I seem to end up visiting there. There is something about the dry, barren terrain that sort of cleanses my soul. The dry hot winds sweep it clean, and I am ready for a new beginning.
My trip to Taos and Santa Fe was just such an experience. If there was a theme to this trip it was Georgia O'Keefe. I visited Ghost Ranch where I was able to see many of the sites where she painted and also the house she first rented then bought there.
I also had the opportunity to visit her house in Abiquiu, NM. It took Georgia 10 plus years to purchase this house from the Catholic Church there. She wanted it for the surrounding gardens where she could grow her own fruits and vegetables. Once she did buy it she remodeled it into a beautiful adobe home and studio. Here I realized that Georgia felt much the same about her surroundings as I feel about my home studio and garden. It was her "place of peace." I was listening to NPR and the interview of an author as I was driving last week. I cannot recall who the author was nor what he had written, but his words stuck with me. He said, "Creativity flows out of silence and solitude." I find that for me this is certainly true. It is in the silence and solitude of a peaceful interior that creativity blossoms and grows until it must be poured out.
I have always enjoyed Georgia O'Keefe's art, but it was not until I saw it in person at a retrospective at the Chicago Art Institute that I truly related to the spirituality of it. On this trip I also visited the O'Keefe Museum in Santa Fe, my second time. This time the show was "Abstractions," which I found especially inspiring.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Imagination is the Preview of Life's Coming Attractions

The above quote comes from Einstein. If you want a life you love, you might begin by imagining just what that life would look like. Write it down in detail. Create a vision collage that includes all the things you imagine, and keep it where you will see it often in a day's time.

So often I see coaching clients who are dissatisfied with their lives, but they have not taken the time to really determine what they want their lives to be. You cannot create the life you want until you imagine in detail what it is you do want.

Take the time to imagine.

Feeling Inspired!

Emerging from the New Studio.....

I have felt led to explore some new painting techniques which include layer upon layer of paint with sanding in between. This results in a rich and glowing surface which reminds me of an "inner glow." This is #1 of my "Door Way Series."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Settled Into A New Space

Hi and welcome to my first blog. It is my intention to post bi-weekly and to put together a monthly newsletter. If you are receiving this link, please take the time to let me know if you would like to be on my blog email listing and receive updates from me. It is my hope in this blog to:
* share articles on the creative process
* share inspirational quotes and stories
* share artwork in process
* feature the work of students of all ages
* share coaching guidelines for creating what you want in your own life
* let you know who I am and get your feed back so I can also get to know who you are

I am so excited to announce that I am finally settled into my new Garden Studio. If you have visited the Foundry to find that I am no longer there, I apologize for the inconvenience. I have been a resident artist at the Foundry Art Centre for five years, and it has been a wonderful experience. I've made many friends, and I am sure some of you saw my work for the first time there. However, once I completed the garden studio it began to call me back to paint in the solitude of my home environment where I am surrounded by flowers, nature, and Koi. So in May I gave my notice and moved at the end of my contract in June.

I want to extend an invitation to visit me here in my new studio. Call first, (636) 577-0591 or (636) 441-3828, so that you will be sure to catch me in. When you arrive, walk to the back and ring the bell beside the gate.

My new work has a new look, as I expected. Over the last several years I have struggled toward a more minimal expressionism, but I think the busy life I was leading conflicted with creating less busy art. These new paintings, however, are much more minimal. I feel they validate my choice to work again in solitude and in a more Zen like setting.

The photos show you my new painting environment, and I welcome you to come and share with me here.