We grow neither better nor worse as we get old, but more like ourselves
~Paula Guerin~

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


My daily Mantra!

I recently attended the 25th Anniversary
in Hampton, Virginia.
I have fond memories of being a part owner and artist
in this collaborative art gallery over the years,
in fact, I truly can't believe I left there over 10 years ago!
I was thrilled to be invited and so happy to attend!
The crowd that gathered was impressive ... what a turn out they had!

I purchased this lovely clay sculpture (pictured above)
 as a keepsake,
to always remind myself to
"Believe I can do anything"
Blue Skies Gallery believed in my artistic abilities,
and back then I was concentrating on
my hand weaving and I loved my work!
Now I stand here ... 10 years later
and barely find time to sit at my weaving loom,
I miss it!
I truly miss the time I spent working in the gallery,
the fellowship with other artists, the inspirations,
creative conversation,
meeting patrons from all over
as they visited the gallery.
Those were good times, wonderful memories
and I grew in confidence,
in my artistic abilities.

Attending this gala last weekend,
forced me to think about the past ten years 
since I left the gallery to pursue a full time position
at Gilbert Eyecare,
I had to give up a lot to work full time again,
especially time!
Time is a precious gift for sure.
Now here I am ten years later . . .
now just working three days a week as an Optician,
caring for grand children two days a week,
and fitting in my artistic pursuits wherever I can!
My artwork has gone totally in another direction,
and I have learned so much along the way.

Yes, I believe in Me!
I believe there is time to pursue what interests us,
I believe in the Artistic Process and in Growth,
I believe I have a strong purpose in my life,
I believe my words matter,
I believe in God, love, truth, faith, family and all good things.

B ` E ` L ` I `E `V ` E
in yourself
in your own dreams
in your life pursuits
You can do anything!

Donna Lee

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Poetry on a Wednesday Afternoon

Poetic Wednesday

thoughts flow from inside the heart
spilled wide open onto the page
scary yet cleansing emotions
 all rolled into one act
putting my pen to the page
writing freely
no holding back
breathing deeply
no holding back

i find myself at peace
with this process
meeting myself here in this moment
just being present
with my own thoughts
with all the complicated emotions
words will continue to come 
they say to me "you are safe here"

i think i will just stay for awhile
breathe in words
let them allow to flow within
comfort my own heart
relax in the writing process
poetry is a gift
not everyone gets it
but i sure do

5:55 pm

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Walking Through Change

Entry way found on a photo walk in Providence, RI

I have been walking through some changes lately
and I must say
it takes some getting used to!

Why is Change always such a hard thing to adjust to?
Letting go of some things, or should I say
the way things have always been ...
and stepping into new is taken some adjusting for me.
I have cut my working hours at Gilbert Eyecare,
to help care for my precious grand babies,
with no regrets at all.
We are still searching for a church home,
after leaving a church after 14 years.
My artwork has taken on some changes,
and things that used to interest me,
no longer do.
I have let go of collaging, some art journaling,
mixed media and weaving
in order to concentrate on art techniques
that calm my heart.

When we enter into this art world,
we truly think we can do it all,
we spend lots of time in art stores,
spend hard earned money to buy the supplies,
only to let them go later,
because they no longer interest us,

Our tastes are constantly evolving,
our interests are changing daily,
friendships come and go,
experience come in and out of our lives,
we remember the wonderful high
we carry home with us from art retreats,
only to find that feeling slipping away 
as we settle into real life again!!!
Then we find our attention goes toward something 
new something exciting...on to the next adventure.
There are so many e-courses out there
catching our attention
in fact, it's an overload lately.

So for myself,
I have stepped back in 2015,
concentrating on what calms my heart and mind,
being choosy about about how I spend my time,
how I spend my money and my efforts.
Being choosy is a good thing!
Here it is the beginning of March,
so it is time to check in with myself,
How have I been doing these past two months???

Working less,
caring for my grand babies,
writing poetry,
teaching Zentangle and Creative Writing
learning Calligraphy just because ...
letting my watercolors flow
is just the perfect mix for me!
It was hard for me to let go of working full time,
being an Optical Manger,
making daily decisions ...
yet here I stand
Walking through Change
and I like it.
Learning to slow the pace down,
concentrating on what I now need ...
it's really good stuff!
I'm not gonna say it's all been easy,
but necessary.

There is Power in just allowing change to happen

You don't have to do it all,
you don't have to have it all,
you don't have to be into everything,
just let your life unfold,
gently and naturally
watch what happens,
and be content with it all.
I stand here grateful for learning lessons,
lessons I needed to embrace!

Creating just for the fun of it!

Donna Lee

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Learning the Art of Calligraphy

View from my studio desk
(See my amazing cup by Alisa Burke???)

I have always been in love with the art of Calligraphy,
it's beauty and flow onto the page
or receiving an enveloped invitation in the mail.
It was something I always wanted to learn,
but other art forms kept taking their attention
in front of the line!
It was just one of those "bucket list" items
I hoped to get around to learning!

I took a beginning Calligraphy class
with my sister at the end of 2014.
It is where I teach Zentangle,
at The Muse in Norfolk,
it was only two and a half hours,
but it certainly got my interest!
I knew one class was just not enough!

I began to practice, practice, practice.
I created a Pinterest board for inspiration,
you can browse it here ...
Then I realized I needed more attention,
fellowship with other learners,
for reading books
(and there are some wonderful ones in my library)
just wasn't enough for me,
I need visuals, connection and motivation!

My book collection ... so far!

So like many of us, when you want to find out anything
you google it right?
I googled Calligraphy lessons Virginia Beach ....
up popped the name of
"Betsy Rivers-Kennedy"
went to her website, saw her work,
emailed her about possible classes coming up
and four weeks later ....
I attended my first class Monday night!

My work station in class ... oh my I loved it!!!!

We jumped right in ...
there were eight of us, some were returning students
that just couldn't get enough!
I found my little corner of the table,
received my supplies from Elizabeth,
made my introductions
and we began.
She jumped right in ...
learning how to dip the ink, care for your nibs,
how to properly hold the Oblique pen,
and began ... it was that simple.
Learning to hold the pen at the proper angle
is something that definitely must be practiced!

She came around and watched us,
wrote on our practice sheets for guidance,
all the while writing upside down!
She was pretty amazing.
Everyone quietly worked and shared
to soft beautiful music in the background.
I even found a new Instagram buddy!

The Art Studio we were working in was
so delightful for a learning experience,
I had NEVER heard of it before,
and had to use my Google Maps
to find it,
hidden quietly in our Downtown Norfolk area!
It's called One 11 Art!
So for four weeks, on a Monday night,
from 7:00 to 9:00pm
it will be my learning home!!

Practice sheets to guide me along

I feel as though I have found
what I have been searching for ...
sounds kinda silly huh?
I love the art forms that quiet my soul,
calm my heart and produce a gentle feeling inside.
My Zentangle, Watercolor Painting, Poetry
and now Calligraphy seem to all
go hand in hand with each other.
I can see how I can use all four mediums together
to produce amazing works.

We have to certainly try a lot of art techniques,
to finally give ourselves permission to settle in.
I have definitely settled into my art,
my life, my direction, my teaching
and I am here to say
it feels pretty darn good
at 57 years young!

I encourage you to not settle for just what is,
look beyond your normal routine,
find your own expression, not others!
Reach out and try something new,
search in your area for learning possibilities,
you won't be disappointed!
Change and Growth are all part of the process,
Learning forms who we are,
just step out of your comfort zone,
you may just find a treasure awaiting you,
I certainly have ...

Written by my teacher for me!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Enjoying a time out

A cup of homemade hot cocoa in my mug from Anthropologie!

Snow Day

Life just gives us treats when
we least expect it.
How I love a snow storm!
I love hearing about it on the news,
preparing for it
and waiting for it to arrive!
Yes ... I am one of the sillies
that has to run to the grocery store too.

How beautiful it is when snowfall begins,
there is such a quiet stillness,
a slowing down of routine.
With each snowflake falling
onto the ground,
it presents a sense of magic and awe.
The world outside becomes quiet and restful.

We are always so busy
in our day to day lives;
even when we try to slow down,
it doesn't always work.
The gift of unexpected snow,
a day home from work or routine,
its such a treat for me.
How I love being home whenever I can.

 I love being in my home
snuggled with the fire and family,
resting in the moment,
not able to run around town,
just staying put at home
can be a wonderful time.
Being snowed in forces us to slow down
enjoy what is right in front of us.

Always happy to wear my boots!

I was able to enjoy a day
of writing, beading, cleaning my home,
I re-arranged and created a writing corner for me,
I prepared for my next Zentangle® class,
and had a hot candlelight bath in the middle of the afternoon
(practicing some self care too!)
I love cooking a delicious meal
that I normally don't have the time to do,
it was a most beautiful Tuesday!

Time for a nature mandala!

Grateful for a snow day
Loving the time I took to slow my body rhythm down,
happy to be safe and warm
always seeking moments for
art and writing.
My snow day was amazing,
how was yours?

Donna Lee

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What do you see?

Taken during my SoulCollage® training!
Capturing a self moment

What do you see when you see yourself?
Look into the mirror and look, truly look.
See the beauty you hold within
Know that you are important and cherished!

What do you see when you see yourself?
Look deep into your heart,
 feel the emotions that come from within ...
what are they trying to say to you?

What do you see when you see yourself?
When you think thoughts that are negative,
do you speak words of self doubt?
Are you constantly unhappy with what you see?

What do you see when you see yourself?
Are you seeking moments of quiet,
calming your heart and your mind?
Finding those moments for self care and nurturing

What do you see when you see yourself?
Who is that girl staring back at you?
Fall in love with her again and again
Listen closely to what she has to say ...

Listen ... Carefully
and you will hear ...

if only you will Listen

(a poetic moment written in quiet 2-11-15 at 8:45am)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Zentangle is always near by me . . .

Created using Zendala tile!

I am always in love with the creative process,
I certainly share that enough here on my blog.
Recently, I have been trying my hand
at a few other pursuits ...
writing more poetry, art journaling in my
documented life journal,
working on my SoulCollage® process,
and loving the time I spend with my grandchildren!

When I do have a still moment,
a quiet time to reflect and draw,
I always find myself returning to
my first love

Zentangle and the Mandala Process

White on Black tiles ... another technique

Another love of mine ... Watercolor and Zentangle 

I always carry a small bag with my Zentangle supplies,
it was the bag I got in my very first class,
so it carries some sentimental value for me!!
It's also a great way of starting a conversation
when out in public!
All of my Zentangle students receive one as well,
they get so excited when they peek inside!

My Zentangle kit goes everywhere with me

So whenever I have a quiet moment,
at work, in the coffee shop, waiting for a doctor,
waiting for a flight in the airport ...
I usually pull out my little Z bag.

I love how this process is there for me at anytime.
It relaxes me when there is stress,
cures my insomnia in the middle of the night,
calms my heart and spirit,
it helps me with my writing process
and so much more.

I've been teaching this Zentangle process
since November, 2014
and have been practicing Zentangle
since 2012.
My journey has brought me to many
wonderful places to share and teach,
I have met so many wonderful students
who are continuing the process,
long after their class is over.
That truly delights my heart!

Sharing the process with my sister girlfriends during a retreat weekend!

I have lots of wonderful classes coming up in 2015,
you can catch my next classes at
The Muse Writing Center here,
I am always available for private or group sessions.
I have taught this process in many settings now,
and I still am surprised at the wonderful opportunities
teaching brings to me.

Students from Hermitage Museum

 I will be traveling to New Hampshire in June
to share this process at the amazing
I am beyond the moon about this opportunity,
Squam Lake, Zentangle, the beautiful woods,
girlfriend fellowship, reconnections with special people,
spending time with the amazing
 Elizabeth Duvivier, founder and creator of Squam!

A favorite moment at Squam in the City
Elizabeth, Bella and Me!

My 2015 is filling up fast
and I am truly grateful for the opportunities
that teaching Zentangle has brought me.
Each time I pick up my pen,
I get lost in this amazing process
and I want others to feel the same!
Blessings to you on your Wednesday!

Donna Lee
(Facilitator of Love and Creativity)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My Creative Process .

I am always amazed when the Creative Process takes hold.
There are days, sometimes weeks, nothing seems to come,
and there are days when in the studio,
it just overflows and time passes quickly.
The process of play and intuition go hand in hand for me.
The hardest thing for me is blocking out time in the studio,
it is rare these days.

I have been so blessed to take workshops
with some amazing Artists,
attend soul inspiring retreats,
work on some wonderful e-courses
and with each workshop and each book read,
I learn something new ... I take a creative nugget
and apply it to my own artwork.

We are all in this Creative Process together!
I am grateful for the knowledge and experience
I have gained over the past few years.
Now I am creating my own works,
with my own style and techniques,
choosing a color palette 
and designs that speak 

 I have been creating my own canvas work 
to fill my home,
I felt it was time to hang my own work,
not just the work of artists I have admired over the years.
I have created large canvas works as gifts for others,
each one carrying their own unique style,
feeling proud of my own accomplishments
as an Artist.
It has taken quite sometime for me to
call myself An Artist,
and mean it with confidence!

Creativity is a gift,
time alone to create is a gift,
having my own room to create in is definitely a gift.
How I feel a sense of wonder
whenever I enter the studio,
filled with white lights, art supplies,
and inspiration from others!

I am at home with my brushes,
I have learned to just let them move on the canvas,
letting them dance all by themselves.
I love just letting Creativity flow,
there were so many years I tried to follow
others style perfectly, being afraid
to step out on my own,
Believe me, I don't think that way anymore!

The Process is about letting go,
no judgement and certainly no rules,
that is where my best work happens!

Now I am teaching others through An Artful Spirit,
I am thrilled beyond any measure
to share what I know,
every quarter my Artful Spirit partner Suzan Thompson and I
lead others in day long mini art retreats,
the days are filled with magic and creativity!
You can check out our latest offering here
Our next will be held on February 28, 2015
at the beautiful
Virginia Beach Resort Hotel
I would love to see you there
and you too can learn this
beautiful and meditative painting process!

Sending you blessings, love
and all the creative moments you can find in your life.

Donna Lee

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My SoulCollage® Facilitator Training

How do you put into words what you don't even know what to say yet?
I have just returned home from training with
the amazing Catherine Anderson
for SoulCollage® Facilitator Training
January 16 -18, 2015
in Charlotte, North Carolina.
I had signed up in October
and was counting the days to get there!

I went this weekend with my dear friend
and Artful Spirit partner
Dr. Suzan Thompson,
which was a gift in itself 
to spend such beautiful and quality time
with my soul sister.
We wanted to learn this process together,
and share it in our own art workshops.

Six hours of conversation in a car (each way!)...
we got a whole lot of brainstorming done too!
I love it when we put our creative minds together.

From the moment we entered Catherine's studio,
I felt a sense of belonging, I knew it was going to be
a magical three days of learning.
My heart was wide open and spilling over!

The studio was a feast for the eyes,
inspiration everywhere and such beauty,
Catherine is an incredible artist.
She freely let us photograph whatever we wanted to
so I am sharing with you!

Catherine opened with the reading of a poem
which was one of my favorites by Hafiz.
I was overjoyed to hear so much poetry read
this weekend,
the Poet in me was delighted to hear
Catherine's beautiful soft voice
reading the words of so many poets.

Each moment, each exercise, each lecture
was thoughtfully carried out,
so much love and attention went into
the care and feeding of our souls!

First Day was wonderful,
and we still had two more to go!
We loved where we stayed,
I had looked into a Bed and Breakfast
803 Elizabeth Lane
that was recommended
and we were not disappointed at all!
Martha and Will, the innkeepers were charming,
the room was delightful
and our breakfasts were created with
love and care each morning ...
a great start to the day ahead!

Days Two and Three we continued to gather,
share, learn, open our hearts, learn from Catherine,
dig even deeper ... and all the while not wanting the day to end,
and I am sure I speak for all of us.
I have attended many retreats in my lifetime,
each one teaching me something wonderful.
I am so grateful and beyond thrilled with
this Facilitator training,
it has changed me, re-directed me
and for that I am over the moon.

 SoulCollage® is a beautiful and self-directed process.
It is a gift you can give to yourself.
It is an intuitive card making process
using images that inspire me.
There are no words or adornments, only images.
My cards are created by me and carry along
the wisdom I need when seeking
life questions for myself
(my written definition created during an exercise)

We browsed through image after image,
Catherine supplied unending images,
We created our cards with beautiful and inspiring music,
each one of us in our own zone,
not much talking going on . . .
we then shared our cards in a small group,
answering with a question . . .
"I am One Who ..."
we were guided through meditation,
we were touched with poetry read to us,
danced to music,
ate delicious meals,
had tea and snacks
cried many tears,
hugged lots and lots,
we opened up our hearts to each other,
twelve women became twelve sisters
in the course of three days,
how hard it was to leave Sunday.
I always capture my world through my camera,
I think the best thing is to share my pictures with you,
they truly say it all ...

I look forward to sharing this process with others
in my hometown, or even further away.
If you have a chance to have a session,
I encourage you ... I strongly urge you to do so!

It seems that each art form I pursue,
grows me deeper and deeper
to finding my own self . . .
My Zentangle® practice,
My SoulCollage® process,
Art Journaling and Poetry writing.
I am on a path to self discovery,
growing a little bit more each and every day.
I am so grateful to have experienced
so much this past weekend;
bringing me closer to my heart,
my dreams and my soul longings.

My 2015 is definitely off to a terrific start!

I was totally overtaken with emotion, joy and heartfelt feelings.
How blessed I will always be to have taken my
Facilitator Training with Catherine.
She is light, she is love and she is a total inspiration to others.
Thank you Catherine for making every minute
of these three days so beautiful!

Donna Lee