Category Archives: Deep Thoughts and Musings

I should probably include ramblings.

Keeping Up With My Own Evolution: Symbols

Symbols are everywhere around us.  Architects and artisans decorate their creations with them.  Some are simple, some are complex.  Look a child’s drawing and you will see a sun, a house, a tree, a family, etc.  Tour a church or museum and notice a cross, an organ, a pulpit, a relic, painting or sculpture, lion, elephant, cow.  The symbols we see and recognize mean something to us…..good or evil, meaningful or irrelevant…’s all in what we believe.

Drive along a highway and we are directed by symbols:  numbers, arrows and icons representing gas stations, restrooms, restaurants and approaching hazards.

We’re all familiar with human icons, perhaps a movie star symbolizing fame and fortune, or an historical figure representing conquest and power, etc.  Today icons have taken on an interesting commercial aspect as well.  Golden Arches…..

And then we have emoticons symbolizing emotions and connections we have with others in social media such as talents, shared interests.  I just saw an episode of The Big Bang Theory in which anger was shown by a downturned mouth on a red “smiley face”.  The color red turned that frown from sad to angry.  I loved it and laughed a lot just looking at it.

I’ve loved the fleur de lis as long as I can remember.  I probably first became aware of it in french class in high school.  It has held an increasing fascination for me as I’ve read about it in historical and religious material. To many, it’s a beautiful decoration, to others it’s an important symbol of light and power bestowed on royalty, and still others believe it representative of the power of the Catholic  Church, the Virgin Mary, the cross.  To others it is imbued with occult power and meanings.

I’ve come to believe that I am the one with the power, not the symbol.  A symbol has the power my belief gives it.

I’ve recently painted a cross that is a powerful symbol for me:  Thee Crosss.  The top of the cross, two horizontal lines of yellow represent the double yellow lines painted down the middle of an asphalt road.  Two vertical lines, representing erosion, natural, universal  forces, run down the center of the painting from top to bottom, crossing the yellow lines through their center.  This symbol reminds me who I am and where I am in the grand scheme of life on this planet.

I love knowing that we are all continually evolving.  It’s wonderful to know that beliefs I hold are subject to change and that with every experience I have, they are changing.  Life is such a magical miracle

My Teaching Credo

I. The most important skill an artist can acquire is how to see.

The easiest way to begin to see is to be alone, very quiet, and just observe the world around you. Don’t tell anyone else what you see. Just look and enjoy it for yourself.

When you see something interesting, begin to draw it in your mind. Notice the lines and the spaces between the lines. Notice the colors.

Ask yourself…..what is it that is so interesting to me. Now pick up a pencil. Write it down. Also write down what it feels like, this feeling of interest in this subject or object.

II. The second most important skill an artist can acquire is belief in yourself and your own ability.

You are one of a kind. You are so unique that no one else thinks, moves, sees or loves the way you do. So don’t expect anyone else to be interested in what you are interested in. Don’t expect anyone else to see what you see. And, mostly, don’t expect anyone else to love your creations the way you love them. Allow others to have their own opinions about your art. But, know that is all it is…..their opinion. Their opinion has nothing to do with you.

Follow your passion. Love your life and your art.

III. The third most important skill an artist can acquire is recognizing your emotions, your feelings. Let your feelings be your guide.

When you feel good about or feel intense interest in a subject, object, shape, color or line, go with it. Your emotion will shine through your art.  When you are excited about an idea, fascinated with a color, absorbed in …… are connected with your inner voice.  You can be sure of this because it feels so good.  It is you telling you that this is you…..if feels great.

Once you have a good foundation in these three skills, go ahead, focus on the established rules of good art…..your composition, color theory, etc. so that you can successfully smash them to smithereens.

Keeping Up With My Own Evolution: Reality

Perhaps, just maybe, the one thing I can say with a reasonable amount of certainty today is: “Reality is Individual”.  I no longer look around and think that I see my surroundings the same way everyone else sees them and especially that we feel the same way about them.  I also recognize that I see and feel about them differently from day to day. So not only is my reality different from the others around me; but, minute by minute, it is different for me myself.

I can accept that my reality is always changing.  For instance, at 7:00 a.m. this morning the sky around me was a bright hazy peachy-apricot color…..luminescent.  Twenty minutes later, clouds had accumulated so thickly that the sky was dark, grey and threatening.  Obvious, right?

But, what about the sunny day that I see as cheerful and then minutes later view the same bright blue sky as boring, or even worse, depressing? That had nothing to do with the sunshine or sky and everything to do with how I felt.  How I felt changed my perception, my reality.

Okay, this is the thought I am trying to let crystallize.  My beliefs are changing, evolving.  As they change, my reality changes. And….. I am beginning to recognize that how I feel means everything to me.   As my feelings change, everything about my reality changes.  I am causing these changes by being aware of my feelings and caring about feeling good, and feeling better, and even feeling great.

My mind-blowing conclusion is that my reality coalesces around me based upon my perception.  I love that word:  coalesce.  I love the images and feelings I have as I just even think the word.  As all of the relationships and things I want swirl around me, and congeal, coalesce, they become my reality.  How does this happen?  I have no idea.  I only know that it does.  I witness it happening every day.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying the paintings of surrealists of the late 1800’s, early 1900’s.  I’m enjoying reading their biographies and seeing how their paths crossed with each other and the intellectuals of their time.  I feel them speaking directly to me as I patch together  their observances and quotes.

Salvadore Dali said, “One day it will have to be officially admitted that what we have christened reality is an even greater illusion than the world of dreams.”  When he used the word “officially”, he couldn’t have meant world-wide…..could he?  Because reality is individual and no two humans have the same reality.  It is inconceivable to me that a large group of people could agree on such a thing.   We are all in such different cultural, social, political, economic and physical circumstances.

Dali’s friend, Rene Magritte, is quoted:   “If the dream is a translation of waking life, waking life is also a translation of the dream.”  Waking life is what we realize as our reality, our conscious life.  The dream, our subconscious.  We are riding on a constantly twisting ribbon of dreams, imagination, subconscious and conscious flow.  We are carried along, if we allow it, to greater creativity and satisfaction.

Another of their buddies, Pablo Picasso, said, “Everything you can imagine is real.”  I agree.  Focus on what you imagine and it will expand until others can see it is real also.  That’s what reality is.

These surrealist artists allowed their beliefs about their dreams and subconscious minds to flood onto their paintings, untamed, in order to present a perception of reality that would cause the viewer to question his own perception and even the perception of the whole culture in which he lived.

I want those who view my paintings to question my inspiration, my intention, my sanity… doesn’t really matter…..just question.

Keeping Up With My Own Evolution: Belief

The painting, Persistence of Memory, captivates me.  As I wander around in it, I wonder about the closeness of the symbols in the foreground, the elusive subject of time in our reality and the distance fading away… out of reach.  I enjoy thinking about the ideas and questions it evokes.  It begs the mental state of “there’s plenty of time”, a glass of wine and maybe a hammock.

“Surrealism is destructive, but it only destroys what it considers our shackles limiting our vision.”  Salvador Dali

Those “shackles” are beliefs.  Only beliefs limit our  vision.  I recognize that my beliefs are constantly changing.  I love the idea that as I let go of beliefs that limit any of my senses, I experience more freedom, more love, more joy…..MORE!

Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory

Magritte’s painting, below, does the same thing.  It makes me smile.  Don’t you love a painting that is full of symbols encouraging you to think, to ponder, and to give in to silence long enough to take it in, relish it and allow yourself to enjoy it for what it is without having to put words to it, judge it or make any kind of sense out of it?

Rene Magritte’s Son of Man, a self portrait

I like to think that the surrealist painters were reaching for maximum joy by allowing their subconscious feelings, emotions and ideas to be realized physically in the form of  drawings, paintings and sculptures.

All creators, no matter what form their art takes, receive from their subconscious and reach for total satisfaction and joy.  How can it be otherwise?  Those who insist that creators must suffer for their art are barking up the wrong tree.  Only an inspired, focused journey full of pleasure can produce a satisfying result.

Keeping Up With My Own Evolution: Contradiction

Salvador Dali was recently quoted in a fashion magazine.  “You have to systematically create confusion, it sets creativity free.  Everything that is contradictory creates life.”

I’d love to have a conversation with Sal.  I see no benefit to confusion. I prefer in my own life to feel clear, clear about choices, observations and especially clear about my feelings.  I think creativity is unleashed in moments of clarity.  I’m not aware of receiving any brilliant ideas in moments of confusion, only muddied paralysis.

Perhaps my disagreement with him is in assuming that he is equating confusion with contradiction.  Because. in one respect I agree.  In fact, I believe that life is contradiction.  Everything about life is contradictory.  And…..contradiction gives life, fuels life and enriches it.  Contradiction not only breathes energy, enthusiasm and fresh air into life, life cannot, does not, exist without contradiction.

Without contradiction there can be no choice.  I’m a big proponent of choice; so, bring on the contradiction!  Put two dissimilar things side by side and a choice will be made.  But, put two objects that are the same side by side and what is the point?  Bring on the contrast. It’s the contrast that makes life rich, makes a painting readable and debates interesting.

Most likely, if we were to discuss all of this in person, we would come to some kind of agreement.  His quote was taken out of context, after all.  I enjoy his paintings because they are thought provoking.  I can only guess at what point he was trying  to make or…..if in his own individual perception he was just sharing his own personal observations and realizations in a way that would shock the viewer into taking a closer look.

My point:  I want to enjoy contradiction.  I want to listen and question and enjoy without needing to make any kind of a judgement.  Confusion, not so much!

Analyzing My Evolution


I enjoy blogging.   I enjoy writing about things that interest me.  I find that the more I think about a subject, the more interested I become.

This world is full of fascinating things, people and ideas.   Once I get an idea, I’m like a dog with a bone.  I don’t want to let it go.  I talk about it.  I write in my journal about it.   I google it.  Once I goggle several aspects of it, it expands. I see references to it everywhere.  How or why does that happen?   ???   I just does.  It’s a fact.  It’s the Law of Attraction at work.

Then these ideas seem to dovetail over time with each other.  It’s a natural evolution.  I just sit back and watch them expand.  And not just expand, but deepen, become richer and more meaningful.  Life is just like that.  Everywhere around me I see beauty and fascinating  life.  I’m surrounded by a beautiful dance…..It’s a dance, a do-si-do of people and animals, nature , weather, constant movement.  The music we move to is always changing, the rhythm, the beat, is exciting and compelling or relaxing and soothing…..always changing.

I went to Disneyland, California Adventure, Universal Studios on one of those park hopping passes with my family.  About the third day, don’t even ask me which park it was…’s all a blurr, I was pushing a stroller with two grandkids through a maze, a mass of fun-loving families, and two people suddenly cut diagonally across in front of me.  I jerked back on the stroller to avoid clipping off their ankles.  They were totally unaware of the danger they had dodged.  And…..a man with a stroller coming from the opposite direction also jerked to a stop to avoid a head on collision with them.  Ours eyes met, registered the situation, and we burst out laughing at the same time.  He said, “It’s a dance”, as we passed by each other.  At that moment, I felt at one with the world.  Happy and satisfied.  It is a dance.

That’s the way I paint.  Moving to an unseen cadence that carries with it moods, emotions, feelings.  I love my life.  I love the time I spend painting.  I love seeing the way I feel splashed down on paper.  Sometimes it’s quick, sloppy movements, sometimes it’s careful, deliberate strokes.  I can look over a painting several inches at a time…..a finished painting and feel the emotions and interest with which I laid down the paint.

I live my life the way I paint.  Sometimes I slap-dash.  Sometimes I’m more deliberate.  It’s all in my mood.Sometimes activities require more attention to detail.  Sometimes I’m trying to  figure something out.  Other times I’ve set an intention beforehand and am more or less acting by instinct, moment by moment, letting feelings and emotions carry me.

I’m coming to realize:  It’s all good!  I’m coming to accept I’m doing the best I can with what I know.  And that’s okay.  It’s enough!  What I know keeps expanding and through that process, I realize I’m appreciating more.  I’m appreciating the inspired moments; and, I’m appreciating the downtime, the contemplative moments.  They all combine to form the dance of my life, the rhythm and joy of my life!  Can it be any better than this?

Keeping Up With My Own Evolution: Decisions

Letter to my 15 year old self:  Dear Sherrie

You are loved and appreciated and adored!  The Powers of the Universe are focused right on you, loving you, appreciating you and adoring you.  They are always with you and you are never alone.  Do not give any thought to what others around you say to you or about you unless their words feel good to you.  Think and do only what feels good.  Dance when you feel like dancing.  Sing when you feel like singing.  That’s expressing joy and you are a joyful being.

Whenever you have a decision to make, ask yourself “how do I feel?”  If  you feel stressed, worried or scared, do not make the decision yet, it will be a bad one.  Focus on something that makes you feel good;  for instance, appreciate the people around you who love you or the beauty of your surroundings.  Wait until you feel good and are happy…..that’s the time to make that decision, it will be a good one.

If you choose the green cupcake over the pink one, eat the green cupcake and lick your lips and fingers and appreciate every bite.  If you choose to be a scientist over a chef, go with your decision with all of your heart. Be decisive!  That won’t be your last decision and it certainly won’t be cast in stone.  Choices will keep coming.  How fun!  There will be plenty of decisions to be made in the future.

Let life take you in the direction of what you want with each decision you make one at a time.  There’s no rush.  There’s plenty of time.  I love you and appreciate you and adore you.  Sherrie

Keeping Up With My Own Evolution: Silence

Checking out the new fall TV shows is always fun.  This year, fall 2016, The Good Place is one of the comedies I’m recording. It’s about what life’s like after we die.  How does someone get to go to the good place when the life they lived on earth qualifies them to go to the bad place?  Well…..the myriad of funny situations around this premise make for a lot of fun.  I’m always up for a conversation about good and evil and so I’m enjoying watching and listening to these characters try to sort out their feelings and thoughts on the subject.

I’m especially enjoying the character Jianyu.  He somehow arrived in the good place a drug dealer/dj but was mistaken for a buddhist monk who had taken a vow of silence.  He didn’t correct that assumption by just keeping his mouth shut.  Everyone around him gave him the benefit of the doubt as each new situation arose…..surely, of anyone there, he would take the highest road, think the best thoughts and BE the goodest. With each new situation, he just stood there mute and the others around him voiced the pure, positive expression they expected from him.

I decided this would be an interesting thing for me to try.  I’m so quick to voice my opinions.  Could I keep my mouth shut long enough for those around me to fill in the silence? And if I could, what would they assume I would say?…..ooh…..I shudder to think about it…..but, what an interesting thing to do.

Allowing myself to be silent is presenting me with lots of gifts.  Surprise!  Surprise!  One big one is giving me time to be aware of others emotions rather than their words.  When I’m not thinking about what I’m going to say, I seem to pay more attention to their facial expressions and body language;  I gather more information and low and behold that information is sometimes completely different from what I think I hear in their words.

Another gift I’m realizing gradually is that I feel no pressure to respond…..and in most cases, as others see that I’m not responding, they jump right back in and continue their own conversation.  I can sit back and enjoy myself.  I no longer try to offer sage advice or solutions. The pressure is off!  I like this. This is fun.

As to evolution…..perhaps by listening more and talking less, I can just relax and enjoy others and their differences of opinion. Relaxing and enjoying both sound great…..sort of like being on vacation!

Bowie Paean

The myriad of personas that David Jones, David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke, donned on the stage and screen only begin to hint at his creative genius.

This past January, David Bowie died.  I began noticing articles in magazines about his death featuring pictures of his concert costumes and talking about his contribution to music, culture and the fashion world.  Many names of famous rock stars, musicians, fashion models and actors were listed as his collaborators.  I got caught up in reading about his music and then his lyrics and then about his fascinating life.

I’ve enjoyed watching one homage after another by Lady Gaga, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John and Jimmy Fallon on TV, and listening to them give him credit for the influence that he was in their lives.  He was an entertainer through and through.  And the entertainment they provided in his honor was flashy, bold and uniquely their own.

i am intrigued by descriptions of how he created a back story, lyrics, wardrobe and makeup for each new personality that he became while in the spotlight.  Over these past few months, I’ve been painting skulls.  I’ve become completely obsessed with them.  So I couldn’t resist painting one more.  In my skull painting tribute to him, I’ve combined some of the elements from his most famous photos.  This is my Bowie Paean.


Meditation?  I was encouraged to start a simple meditation for 15 minutes everyday. Immediately an image of a cross legged, religious person in robes sprang to mind.  No, no, forget any preconceived notions.  This is just you, by yourself.

Dress comfortably, I was told.  Sit comfortably.  Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Breathe in, deeply, but comfortably (don’t try to hard), and then breathe out, feeling your breath move through your body.  These were simple instructions.  So I decided, this must be doable.

Initially, I set the timer on my phone, relaxed and settled into my breathing.  Then, thoughts, worries and to-do-lists, one by one, popped into my mind.  I was told this would happen and not to worry about it…..just recognize the thought, dismiss it and refocus on my breathing.

The first few weeks it seemed like I wasn’t making much progress; but, gradually, those thoughts were fewer and it became easier for me to refocus quickly.  The only reason I kept with it was the wonderful feeling that encompassed my upper arms and torso.  It was a sort of tingling feeling…..a very wonderful feeling.

The one caution I received was to meditate without an agenda.  Don’t expect answers to questions.  Do it with a completely open mind.  Do it to relax my body and allow my mind to connect with my source, my God, my soul.  What a beautiful thought.

I’ve known that there are activities that are meditative.  I recognize as I paint that often I’m lost in a place without thought.  Many people describe their experiences while concentrating on these sorts of activities as being in a time warp. They are so focused that it’s as if they’ve lost time.  Scientists, artists,  musicians, athletes, well, creative people in any area, talk about “coming to” and realizing they’ve been totally absorbed in their process for minutes, sometimes hours at a time.

In the Tao of Physics, Fritjof Capra said, “During periods of relaxation after concentrated intellectual activity, the intuitive mind seems to take over and can produce the sudden clarifying insights that give so much joy and delight.”  I love that description.  I think he’s as much a poet as a physicist.

We all use words to try to interpret our experience, based on our belief system.  More and more, I’m using “intuitive mind”, imagination, inspiration, soul, source, God, inner being, and still small voice as descriptions of the same thing.  I want to listen.  I want to receive the inner peace and knowing that listening brings.  The problem, for me, is the noise, the everyday noise of everyone else, the radio, TV and my reaction to them.  That’s where meditating comes in.  It provides the quiet.

After months of meditating I can’t imagine ever stopping.  When all of me is quiet, wonderful ideas, exciting ideas burst onto my mindscape, sometimes as thoughts, sometimes as images. I get goosebumps all over my body.  I highly recommend it.

And, so, the thing I’ve learned and the thing I want to share with you is that meditating is fun.  After meditating, I feel more relaxed, happier, more clear about what I want and full of exciting and satisfying ideas.  What a blast!