New Space

New Space
You will love the view!

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.