" Art offers sanctuary to everyone willing to open their hearts as well as their eyes" ~ Nikki Giovanni

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Slowing down with Self

"I love and respect myself as I am"

I have been thinking a lot about these words lately ...

I created this mixed media mandala
while participating in an online course
I have learned so many techniques and ideas
for creating my mandalas
and I can't believe we are already on week three,
with just one more to go.

As I was creating this artwork,
this affirmation was included
from a bunch Louise had shared with us,
I chose this one,
it spoke to me loudly!

It is so hard these days 
to love and respect ourselves,
just as we are.
The world says we have to be ...
thinner, prettier, talented, richer, better, achievers
and so much more.

I am trying so hard
to slow life down just a bit,
to center my life around
what IS, not what IF's.
Appreciating the gift of my family,
my faith, friendships, my written words and poetry,
my artwork.
I am learning to believe in myself
and the woman I have become
and the person I truly am
right here and right now.

This isn't always an easy thing to do!
Life certainly carries it's challenges along the way.
For now I will quiet my heart and mind,
concentrate on what is
and appreciate what life has brought me.
Loving and Respecting myself all the while.

I truly love how art and life
are mingled together so beautifully.
I am grateful for this teaching moment
I had this week
and grateful for creative moments
in my studio,
one of my most favorite places to be!

Donna Lee

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Poem in my Pocket . . .

This is National Poetry Month
where we celebrate 
the gift of the poetic verse.
I am in love with poetry,
reading it, writing it, sharing it and teaching it!
I am always wanting to lead others to it.

Tomorrow April 17, 2014
Poem in Your Pocket Day!

It is where you choose a meaningful poem
carry it in your pocket all day long
and share it out loud
with as many people as you can,
sharing the gift of poetry.
I am so excited that it is tomorrow
and I can share it also with
my Senior Adult Writing Group!

I chose the poem
"Now I Become Myself"
by May Sarton
somehow these words feel perfect
for tomorrow,
so today I decided to share it with YOU!

Now I Become Myself
May Sarton

Now I become myself.  It's taken time,
many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
worn other people's faces,
Run madly, as if time were there,
terribly old, crying a warning
"Hurry, you will be dead before ---"
What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear
Or love safe in the walled city
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
is my hand; the shadow of a word
as thought shapes the shaper
falls heavy on the page, is heard
all fuses now, falls into place
from wish to action,
word to silence,
my work, my love, my time, my face
gathered into one intense
gesture of growing like a plant
as slowly as the ripening fruit
fertile, detached and always spent,
falls but does not exhaust the root,
so all the poem is, can give
grows in me to become the song,
made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and time is young
O, in this single hour I live
all of myself and do not move
I, the pursued, who madly ran
Stand still, stand still and stop the sun!

Little Donna Lee
Becoming Herself

It's not too late to gather up
just one poem
and put it in your pocket for tomorrow.

May your day be filled 
with happiness and all good things

Treasure what already is in your life!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Puzzled Thoughts

Imagine a Dream
My latest purchase from the Museum Gift Shop

My in laws have gotten me
hooked on puzzles!
Whenever we travel to 
Williamston, North Carolina
there is always a puzzle on the dining room table.
As we pass by the table,
we all add a piece here and there.
Laughing and celebrating when
just one piece is fitting into the puzzle!

I have come to really enjoy my own puzzles.
I love the time spent quietly fitting the pieces together,
relaxing and enjoying the process.
Sometimes it takes me weeks to figure it all out
and I find myself wondering
why in the world do I keep at it?
I don't have an answer,
I know it is good to keep my mind active.
Besides I like breaking away from my art table
every now and then,
I return to it refreshed and ready!

I find myself 
putting in a piece here and there
in the early morning hours,
with a fresh cup of coffee near by.
They have become a familiar friend to me.
Puzzles keep me intrigued and thinking
They work the mind with reasoning.
I need that for sure!

I know I have been able to work out
lots of thoughts in my head
just by working a puzzle.
It is good for one's soul,
just working in creative play.
I began putting puzzles together
because I have always been told
to keep the mind active
(for my mother had a journey with dementia)
I am determined that won't happen to me!

So the next time you find yourself
near a puzzle display at the store,
take a long look at all of the fun images
I promise you ... one will jump out at you.
Take it home and give it a try!
Break away from the computer, 
social media and your phones.
You won't be disappointed.

Donna Lee

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Return to Monet

Monet Waterlillies
Modern Museum of Art
March 28, 2014

While traveling to New York City
in the year 1997
I was able to see an amazing exhibit
Monet's Water Lilies
in the 
located at 
11 West 53rd Street

I still carry the vision
of the three large paneled
original artworks
in a very quiet room,
with only a bench
to sit and take it all in.
I bought the beautiful poster of the works,
had it professionally framed
and that poster now hangs
in the hallway of my home,
a constant reminder
of the artist
I so truly love.

Before leaving for my yearly trip to New York City last week,
I made it a goal that I would get to MoMA
and I would see the Monet work of art yet again.
I just happened to check the date on the back of my framed piece,
wondering if I had recorded a date to remember that day ...
as luck would have it,
I had pasted the museum ticket on the back
it was a little dusty, but still there!

So this time I had Returned to Monet
almost 17 years to the day
on a very rainy Thursday afternoon,
alone and eager to see the exhibit.

I will never forget how I felt
entering the same room
all these many years later

I was filled with emotion
and immediately felt tears falling down my cheek
It was as if it were waiting for me to return
after all these years!

The subtle beauty I saw in these large canvases,
the muted colors, the textured paints,
it was as if Monet were present in the room,
for I could feel his presence!

I took many pictures, 
including "selfies" along the way
and so many like this,
capturing the texture and colors
that Monet created with

I took the time to write down all that I saw,
recording all of the emotions in my journal,
and of course
being the Poet that I am
wrote a poem
"Return to Monet"
(I knew the title before I ever left home)

It was an amazing afternoon,
one I will never forget.
How extraordinary a feeling
to return to a place
you know you have been before
so long ago
it was as though
no time had gone by . . .

How I love the artwork
Claude Monet,
his work speaks to my heart,
this encounter
touched my creative soul!

So another MoMA ticket
is placed beside the original
always a reminder,
that I had returned
once more to Monet.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Guiding my Seniors with Zentangle

Zentangle and Coffee!

I have been helping to guide the Seniors of 
The Creative Writing Group
at First Colonial Inn
for over two years now
and what a blessing 
they are to me!
I have written about them before!

I was asked to lead them in a Zentangle Workshop
last Thursday evening
and what fun we had together.
I taught them about the history of Zentangle,
how it relaxes the soul,
how it helps us to sort out thoughts
and applied it to our writing practice
by giving them a prompt
"I am a Writer because ..."
Something for them to ponder on
while learning their 
meditative drawing process.

We relaxed and listened to beautiful
flute music
Rick Roberts
(one of the creators of Zentangle)
and it was so soothing and relaxing to all of us
We used the Apprentice Tiles and Pens
and they were so delighted to be learning.

It was a most beautiful evening
and I am so proud of the residents
of First Colonial Inn.
They created beautiful works
and were so proud of their accomplishments!
Here are a few captured moments
(They are so used to me and my camera!)

They all left wanting even more!

I love this group beyond measure
they have taught me so much
about living fully every moment.
Their love, their smiles, their friendship
their precious written words of life memories
have touched my heart.

I am the grateful one!
Zentangle continues to teach me beautiful lessons.
How blessed I am to have found this art form
and that I get to share it with others.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What I am Feeling ...

It is Mid March and I always get the winter blues around now.
Funny how life is cyclical!
I am tired of the cold and the unusual snow we have had
here in Virginia Beach!
Bronchitis has kicked my butt for weeks.
I want the softness and renewal of springtime.

I guess feeling restless comes along with it.
I know I am embarking on 
new phases in my life
and I am still trying to sort it all out.
I am letting go of things, seeking stillness,
creating like crazy,
writing more and more,
teaching classes
yet still feeling restlessness.

Writing always heals the heart,
my artwork soothes the restlessness.
Perhaps this is what 56 year olds walk through,
a time of transition.

As I step toward spring,
I look forward to freshness of life,
nature renewing itself,
flowers budding,
trees awakening
and the birds singing happily,
Lessons I can learn for myself.

I am heading to New York City next week,
just for a short trip,
but so look forward to connecting with friends,
walking the busy streets,
heading to the museums,
with my precious friend
visiting Dick Blick Art Store,
and I can't wait to sees 

NEW YORK always welcomes me,
and I love the hustle bustle of the city!
Perfect timing and a perfect place to get away!
I am looking at New York with creative eyes,
there is so much inspiration there.
I am sure I will have lots to write about when I return.

Feelings can get in one's way,
confuse the heart, but also open doors
at the same time.
Funny how that works,
 so until my next post . . .

Love with all your heart,
Live life passionately,
Seek out moments to grow just a little more

Monday, March 17, 2014

An Artful Spirit

Donna and I are hosting...

An Artful Spirit
A time to BE: 
Joyful. Playful. Lighthearted. Creative.

Saturday, April 5, 2014  from 9am to 4pm

Our theme this time is
Books, Books, Books!
Mini Books
Accordion Books
Writing a Chapter in the Book of Your Life

Won't you join us?

Register here: www.AnArtfulSpirit.com

We'll be in Virginia Beach.

This is a terrific opportunity to explore your creativity 
in a gentle & supportive workshop.

Join us! 

Just $109 for the whole day!!!
Includes materials (what a BARGAIN!!!)

Donna Wynn & Suzan Thompson

Artful Spirit
Needing a transfusion of play and creativity to rejuvenate your life?

Want to connect with others and feed YOUR artful spirit?

We've planned a one-day retreat with 
mini-workshops for you:
  • Books (How to make accordion books)
  • Books (Create a mini book or two for yourself or to give as a gift)
  • Books (Writing a new chapter in the book of your life)

Only $109 for 
an art-filled, spirit-infused, lighthearted, playful day!

Bring a friend for just $49 more!!!

Register soon: 
(Spaces limited)

Who We Are

Donna Z. Wynn
Donna works full time as an Optical Manager for a successful Eye Practice in Hampton Roads.  She considers being a Mixed Media Artist, Poet and Photographer her creative life's calling!   She totally enjoys watercolors, journaling, knitting socks, mixed media collage, photography and anything creative!  She has written her own blog "Gentle Threads" for three years and it is where she shares her creative stories and poetry writings. Donna has taught art classes for MOCA in Virginia Beach (Museum of Contemporary Art), private art retreats, individual art instruction and was once a part owner in Blue Skies Gallery, in Hampton, Virginia. Sharing her art knowledge with others is a joy and she considers it to be an honor to enlighten others to the world of personal discovery through their art experiences. 

Suzan K. Thompson
Suzan works full time as a faculty member at Old Dominion University, teaching in the graduate counseling program. Even though she has taught clay jewelry-making, water color, and "Finding Your Creative Self" classes at places like MOCA and the former Ghent Studio of Fine Arts, Suzan never really saw herself as an artist.  She considered herself a creative person for a very long time, but only when she found out about the philosophy of Wabi Sabi  in early 2011 was she able to truly claim this truth: I AM an artist! The three basic principles of Wabi Sabi are: Nothing lasts. Nothing is finished. Nothing is perfect. Suzan loves to create sacred space for others to find their own wabi sabi artful spirit.

This email was sent to dwynner@cox.net by suzan.k.thompson@gmail.com  
Suzan K. Thompson, Ph.D., LPC | 4529 E. Honeygrove Rd., Suite 304 | Virginia Beach | VA | 23455

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Poetic Thoughts on a Wednesday

There was a time . . . 

There was a time I'd never held my grand baby
Smelt her fresh baby scent
Seen her beautiful smile

There was a time I was much thinner
I never worried about what I ate
I could wear anything I wanted to

There was a time I thought Yoga was silly
I had never held a pose
I had never stepped onto a mat

There was a time I was never creative
I didn't hold a paintbrush in my hand
I didn't create a beautiful work of art

There was a time when my parents weren't ill
When I didn't know the horror of Cancer
I didn't walk down the Dementia roadway

There was a time when Poetry meant nothing to me
It was something that was studied in school
It was something that others pursued

Yet here I stand experiencing the New
Growing and Learning at every corner
Preparing for my next

(Poem prompt inspired by Jonathan Fields)
Written 3-6-2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mandala Artwork

"She searches to find herself
in all kinds of places
Yet here on this page
it feels just right
it feels safe"
She found herself again ...
for it has been too long
(Created 2-28-2014)

Whenever I find myself restless
I return to my Mandala Artwork.
Each one is different,
each one has it's own identity,
each one speaks to me in a different way.

My journals are full
of different designs
and I don't think I could ever pick a favorite one,
because when each one was created 
 at a time I needed clarity,
understanding and vision for something
that was going on in my life.
I always found the guidance.
so each one carries
significant meaning.

Mandala Artwork
has taught me to slow myself down,
listen to my instincts
and follow my own intuition.
I have worked out problems,
thought about so many things
and most especially
calmed my heart right down
during the process.

I am excited to be embarking
on a new e-course with Louise Gale
in April,
taking my artwork to a totally new level!
Louise is such a beautiful soul,
what a gift it will be to study
what I love most 
with an amazingly talented artist!
Please come and check it out!

She also has Mandala Mondays on her blog,
this piece was inspired from her
and I wanted to try out my new
Mixed Media Art Boards
by Strathmore

I have always been drawn to circles,
to patterns, to creating,
to painting with bold colors
my mandala artwork
reflects all of those creative choices.

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart"
William Wordsworth

I think if I were asked to give up
all of my creative adventures 
and just choose one thing I would keep,
it would be this.

Thank goodness that choice will never have to be made!

May you find yourself at peace this week
May you always find happiness and joy
Think about complaining LESS
May you jump into rain puddles
and experience adventure!

Donna Lee

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Heart Thoughts on a Wednesday

Step through moments of opportunity
(photo taken at The Hermitage Museum
Norfolk, Virginia)

Sometimes the heart is full of stuff
it doesn't know how to handle it all

Every day is a gift ...
we must choose to live it out carefully

We need to always look for
opportunities to learn and grow

Seek out times of quiet solitude
it is good for the soul

Cherish conversations with others,
you may not get another one
chance to listen

Quit wasting time
on things that aren't important

Find time for solitude,
it is good to be with yourself
and only YOU!

Writing helps on so many levels
always keep pen and paper nearby

You don't have to do it all
You don't have to know it all
you certainly don't have to BE all
just love YOU

Donna Lee