When the painting writes, too…

Mythic Musings on the Journey Known as Codex

I was raised, as a child and as a theologian, in worlds devoid of images. Images were for others and “we” were not like them.

Words were my first art form. Useful. Approved. Occasionally even eloquent.

Quilts came next. The liberated sort, full of wild colors and wonky lines that began teaching me to trust my eyes.

Bone broth came after that. A huge container. The very best ingredients. Energy. Time. Lots of time. A new kind of embodiment.

Then, in my wandering, I tumbled into Intentional Creativity ®… and eventually into the arms of Grandmother Moon, the in progress nickname for my most surprising journey, Codex.

The path has been both Wilderness and Promised Land. Sometimes in the same moment.

One day, just as we were about to begin, Shiloh asked me what kind of images graced the hallowed halls of the seminary I attended. I was shocked to hear myself reply, “Old, dead, highly educated white men.”

It was true. (A bit less so now, but that’s a story for another day.)

When I look at the painting now titled The Co-Creative Soul, I see a quilt, for I have picked through generations of scraps, like baby dresses and old aprons, and added the words of my own code: Word, Remember (which also means Remind!), Create, and Steadfast Love, all a bit mysterious, in the Hebrew.

Grandmother Moon, who appeared first, needed her partner, Grandfather Sun. She needed a visionary eye and a huge heart and a red thread.

Symbols appeared and disappeared again, leaving their energy and allowing for change.

Finally, in these last few days, I –  and perhaps you, as well – appeared in the gaping empty space at the bottom of the canvas.

Hands, which are also power in Hebrew, raised in thanksgiving and praise for the eye of my soul, which has been waiting to be recognized for so long.

I have painted an understanding of Co-Creation!

And then, written on the back of my discoveries, another scrap collected from the recent musings of Shiloh Sophia, during the days of the fires.

My work in the world is to wake the sleepers to degree that they are ready to wake. Period. The way I do that is through Intentional Creativity. Full Stop. Full Start. 

There is a bit of tending to do yet, and some rainy teal prayer drops to make for souls in California, but today I take this new expression of a very old, very big calling as language for my work, too. And my heart is changed. Again.

(slb  10/29/19)

Amen. Amen. Selah.


Reality Check!

Writing while paint dries for tomorrow’s big event… my first artist market!

Two carloads full of stuff have already been dispatched to the classroom where I teach group workshops, conveniently located just across the street from the bazaar. There’s another full load of art for morning!

The studio angels are already begging to go, too. Doesn’t matter where. They just don’t want to miss the fun!

We ventured out today for last minute necessities like a first aid kit, a desperately needed picture frame, a hole punch, and bungie cords to hang the banner. Oh, and flowers and chocolate. Can’t do Intentional Creativity® without them!

I have a plan for lunch and some fizzy stuff chilling.

I have a wardrobe plan in case it rains and one in case it doesn’t. (The weather is looking better… prayers appreciated!)

The printing is printed and the email sign up list is ready, thanks to help from some gifted, patient friends! I have gift bags and bubble wrap. I even have a participation event – assuming it actually doesn’t rain – which, obviously, includes dots!

It’s been a long day.

Finally, about half an hour ago, I fired up my laptop and checked Facebook.

Reality check, indeed.

You see, lots of my paint sisters live in California, much of which is, once again, on fire. Some 50,000 souls have been ordered to evacuate, many of them in Sonoma County. The word historic is appearing in the news. And it seems the news is getting worse.

My teacher is safe and offering beds to those who are not.

And I am, in this moment, deeply conscious of the luxury lurking in the hour Bill and I spent today rearranging “stuff” in the kitchen so that it works a bit better than it did, especially when it comes to counter space for feeding the Beasties.

I know I’ve shared this with you before but I’m about to add it to the last painting to be finished tonight. It’s a practice known as metta or loving kindness meditation. There are many forms of this ancient prayer. Here’s the somewhat abbreviated one I’ll be adding to the gallery sides of my small canvas:

May all beings be… peaceful, happy, well, safe, and free from suffering. 

You are most welcome to join in the sense of this prayer, whatever your tradition. And may you and yours be peaceful, happy, well, safe, and free from suffering.

So be it. Amen.

PS… Market survived. Am about extroverted out! One of my favorite parts of the day was the dots for peace participation project. The picture, above, is of two young brothers who started out afraid of “messing it up” and finished with extra large dots made by  their brilliant notion of dipping acorns in paint!

Amen, again!

Practicing What I Preach!!!

It’s been about two years, now, since I switched to twice weekly blog posts at the encouragement of the miraculous Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, known to much of the world as SARK.

It was scary at first. And there have been times when it was a stretch.

Today, I’m working hard to come to the end of a very inconvenient cold.

I’m scrambling to be ready for the Sunday’s Artist Market in the parking lot of Avondale’s The Beer Growler. Up to my eyebrows in works-in-progress. Hearth Tending in Red Thread Cafe Classroom land.

And somewhere, under my favorite painting tunes, I heard a hoarse voice croaking, Take care of you… 

If you’ve known me a while, you’ve already guessed that it was my voice!

So… I’m going with a couple of gifts for you and half an hour for a nap, before it’s time to feed the Beasties.

First, a whole patch of intentions for a bountiful harvest in your world, pictured above.

And, a quote from United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg who, today, was awarded the 2019 Berggruen Prize which is give to a thinker whose ideas, “have profoundly shaped human self-understanding and advancement in a rapidly changing world.”

Let our lives be full of both THANKS and GIVING! 

So be it for me. So be it for you. So be it for all the world.

Amen. Amen. Selah.

A Big Week for Questions!

There’s an old saying that goes something like this:

You don’t know what you don’t know until you know.

Today was a day like that.  And, no, we’re not going camping! It’s just that next Sunday, the 27th, I’m doing my first outdoor artist market, known as the Bizarre Bazaar.

Trust me when I tell you that such an adventure involves a lot of things that I didn’t know I don’t know.

Never mind that  there’s paint drying all over the house. I thought figuring out which tent to invest in was a big project. Turns out the trial run of putting it up was an even bigger adventure which had me longing for the good old days when things came with pictures and instructions!

Thank goodness for the Legendary Eagle Scout. (Though apparently this is not the kind of tent Bill remembers from back in the day!)

IMG_6151Me, either!

I’m just glad for a cool, sunny day and the kind friend who loaned me a box of tent weights.

We never quite got the thing that raises the center of the frame figured out but made it far enough to fold the whole contraption back up and stash it in my car until we can take it to the marvelous storage room where my classroom is, conveniently located across the street from said bazaar. A step stool is going, too!

One of our favorite servers at the Corner Pub was kind enough to give me some marketing advice over lunch. A couple of other friends have answered endless questions and filled in the things I didn’t know to ask. And huge thanks to the buddy who’s coming to help during the big event.

Apparently it takes a village to make an artist!

We have easy plans for dinner this week. There’s more painting to do!

And information sheets about upcoming workshops and commission work to create. And rope or bungie cords to get for hanging the very cool banner another dear friend made appear. And wires to put on original canvases. I wish our girls could be here!

My friends at Amazon are supposed to show up still today with necessities like chairs and table cloths and pumpkin leaves. (Again, who knew?)

All the while, I’m busy reminding myself of something I once learned in a workshop on hypnotherapy. The feeling we call nervous and the one we call excited are exactly the same, physiologically. How we experience them is simply a matter of context and interpretation. I’m going with excited!

If you live in the Atlanta vicinity, I hope you’ll come join the fun. Lot’s of cool local art, interesting people, and a great chance to get a jump on holiday shopping! There might even be dots to make!!!

The bazaar will be from noon – 6pm, on the 27th, in the parking lot of The Beer Growler (and along the side street) at 38A N. Avondale Rd. Avondale Estates, GA 30002

If you’re not close by, you can join the fun by visiting my online shop, here.

And one more thing… if you’d cross your fingers or make some prayer dots that I won’t need my cool purple rain boots, I’d be grateful. Original canvases and rain, not so much… though I’m thrilled after a whole day of rain yesterday!

An Early Morning Dream

For years now I’ve been learning about the memories and connections we have conscious access to, and ways to invite access to new things filed away inside us. Lots of training in Ericksonian hypnosis opened many paths for me through the years.

Lately, I’ve been learning about the gateways of image and embodied access.

Don’t worry. That’s not quite as woo-woo as it sounds! But, first, let me tell you a story…

For most of my life, my dreams have occurred in what my neuro-linguistic programming friends would call the auditory-digital processing mode. Translation: more like listening to an audio book than watching a movie, which is to say that they very rarely involved conscious visual images.

I thought I was weird. Turns out, I was just more familiar with words than pictures. (And possibly a little short on one of the B vitamins. B-6, I think.)

Since my deep dive into Intentional Creativity and the world of making images, though, I’ve begun to have increasingly visual dreams!

And, the embodied – or kinesthetic – act of picking up a paint brush or marker and moving it to create those images opens up access to more of my creative imagination. (Well, not just mine…)

(Now, if you’ve sometimes had scary dreams, it helps to know that only the things which are ready and safe to access become conscious.)

Anyway… yesterday I was having a great time painting my first TreeWoman image and she graciously agreed to be shared with you, even though she’s not quite done.

Then, Luther was kind enough to let me sleep this morning, which meant there was time for a dream to find me.

It started out with an old song playing in my head. When I looked it up on YouTube during my first cup of tea, I found a video I didn’t remember. Hope this is as much a gift for you as it was for me!


Then, in my dream, I found myself at Summer Camp, sitting with amazing women and girls under a forest of trees, learning all over again about the things that connect us with each other and the Earth. We were playing our special Camp version of Red Thread Circles.

I didn’t know it back then, nor did I know the language, but that was my first conscious experience of the Divine Feminine!

Then my dream changed, as dreams often do, to my first granddaughter’s second birthday party.

DSC00654Kenzie was very into dressing up so we got her a huge basket full of wardrobe items for her imagination.

Little did I know that, years later, I would be hanging out with a tribe of folks known as Cosmic Cowgirls!

When I woke, I had the sense that much of the dream had been TreeWoman calling me to live more fully the important places of connection that have long slept deep inside me.

So, I painted some more. Circles for TreeWoman. And rain.

Then, my Midnight Muse- in-progress, who is deeply involved in all this newness, announced that she wants a cowgirl hat!

I’ll keep you posted…

Oh, if the whole access thing intrigues you, stay tuned as I learn more about the miracles of Motherboard!


A Bountiful Harvest!

It was a busy day in the studio!  Women gathered for creating and reflecting.

A follow-up to September’s workshop on Abundance Muses.

We began with some noticing and wondering. What had been different since our last time together? A wild variety of answers with one thing in common… our intentions were actually changing things in our lives and the lives of those we love!

Some red thread.

And a new question. What might we be hoping to harvest in this season? As we pondered, rain fell gently in the garden which is a hugely hopeful thing just now.

Then, editing those harvest hopes into a one or two word prayer. You guessed it! Time for dots!!! Each dot a prayer…

IMG_6108I’ll admit it’s the first time I’ve prayed while embellishing the bottom of a pumpkin! Then some time for paint drying and lunch.

A big pot of harvest-appropriate butternut squash soup. Truffle potato chips, chocolates, cheese… reminders of Italy.

And more dots. This time on the tops of the pumpkins!

Plus a few spares for my first artists’ market, known as Bizarre Bazaar, scheduled for October 27th! (Stay tuned to see whether Bill and I can actually put up the tent!!)

After that, some time for our Muse paintings. Some light here. Some shadow there. Moons added in honor of tonight’s full Harvest moon.

A new technique here or there. Scary colors doing magical things.

The new studio table baptized in paint.

Lots of support and encouragement wrapped in stories of how we got here from there.

A visit from my CODEX moon, with some pointers on shading and highlights.

And a considerable amount of leaping over the studio angels, who slept on, lulled by their favorite drum music.

Then, some words from Shiloh Sophia McCloud’s Tea with the Midnight Muse.

Here are a few of those words (though I can’t do the layout justice) on the off chance that you might have some harvesting to do, too!

Fear Less, Love More

fear less… love more… doubt less… dream more… mock less… hope more…

hesitate less… dance more… pretend less… be more you…

think less… receive more

May Bounty shine on you and yours… Sue and Phoebe and Luther

’tis the season for soup and paint…

The big wooden bowl in the kitchen is running over with ingredients for my favorite fall soup.

The studio is running over with canvases and paint and (dirty!) brushes and scraps of collage paper and way more extra texture than would be considered optimal by most artists. Luther is still blowing coat!

Here are some in-progress pics from the studio, complete with repair work underway. The soup recipe comes next!

First, the beginnings of an owl who has insisted on having tea with my Midnight Muse.


Then, TreeWoman, sketched in, with lots to say!


And now for the recipe… my own concoction, just for you and yours!

World’s Tastiest Butternut Squash Soup

Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day and awakens and refines the appetite. – Escoffier

Makes about 6 quarts of soup. Leftovers freeze well. 

Equipment: You’ll need a 10 quart stockpot and a couple of pans for roasting veg. I use heavy gauge stainless ½ sheet trays. An immersion blender, food processor, or Vita-Mix type blender are really handy. In a pinch, a food mill will work. Or a hand potato masher.

Ingredients: I try to pick organic squash that are more cylindrical in shape, than those that have the bulbs on the bottom. They’re easier to cut up and peel! Also look for smaller squash, about 2 lb. or less in size. They have thinner skin and smaller seeds. Plan ahead for this soup and buy pears about 5 days ahead of time so they’ll be ripe. If you need to purchase stock, the varieties in the shelf stable boxes, no salt added, organic if you can find them, are usually the best choices. A small, local butcher may have broth periodically. That would be a great choice! This soup is comforting in the same way that the m-m-good tomato stuff from the can seemed when you were six. But way better!!!

Note: Additional ingredient suggestions are listed below under Garnishes.

  • 2 quarts bone broth or veg broth, preferably homemade. Chicken, turkey, or pork are all great. Veg works really well, too, for an easy vegan dish.
  • About 6 – 8 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with a bit of kitchen string.
  • 1 – 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh.
  • 3 – 4 lb. total butternut squash (about 2 smallish ones), washed and peeled, with seeds removed. (If the squash are really small and tender, sometimes I skip the peeling!) Chop into chunks about 1 inch square. The pieces don’t have to be pretty. They just need to be about the same size. (If you want to save the seeds, rub orange strings from them with a clean, dry dish cloth. Rinse well. Spread on paper towels to dry.)
  • Good olive oil.
  • Good grey Celtic sea salt.
  • Freshly ground pepper…black, mixed, or pink.
  • 3 – 4 ripe organic pears, washed, cored, seeded, and chopped to about the size of the squash pieces. (Substitute organic apples if they’re more local or pears aren’t available.)
  • 2 large or 3 medium organic red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, washed, cored, seeded, and chopped.
  • 2 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped. 

Preheat oven to 450 F. 

Cover 2 sheet trays with unbleached parchment paper, if desired to help keep veg from sticking.

In a 10 quart stockpot, place the broth you’ve chosen and heat gently, adjusting heat as stock thaws or warms from fridge. Bring to very gentle boil. Skim any foam that appears on top, and continue to simmer slowly while you prepare the veg.  Add thyme and bay leaves.

Place squash pieces in a large bowl. Drizzle with good olive oil to coat lightly and season with salt & pepper. Toss together well. Be a bit generous with the s&p.It will be most of the seasoning for a big pot of soup. Hold on to the bowl. You’ll need it again in a few minutes!

Spread squash on prepared sheet tray, in single layer. Place in oven at 450 F for 15 min.

While squash begins to bake, prep veg and pears or apples as noted above. Add to bowl. Drizzle all with good olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Toss together well and arrange in a single layer on 2ndsheet tray. Add 2ndtray to oven and continue to roast, along with squash, another 20-30 min.

You’ll begin to smell the veg as they get close to done. Check with fork for tenderness. They should brown to about a medium tone. The squash will get darker than the pears and onions. Remove  trays when done.

Check simmering soup stock. Raise temp a bit so it’s simmering fairly boldly, but not boiling. Remove bay leaves and herbs if used. Transfer all the veg into the stockpot CAREFULLY. An extra set of hands is helpful for this. Mix well and allow to simmer to blend flavors, 10 or 15 min.

Prepare desired garnishes. Get creative! Here are some thoughts to start:

  • Chopped pumpkin seeds. (Save squash seeds until fully dry and use, lightly toasted, in other soup or salad, or save them to plant in your garden.)
  • Popped corn, lightly salted.
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley or other herb or green of choice.
  • Crumbled, cooked sausage-preferably local in spiced pear flavor or Italian sausage, mild or hot, to taste.
  • Good, homemade toasted bread croutons, pan fried in a bit of melted butter.
  • Crumbled local goat cheese
  • Really fine, aged Balsamic vinegar for drizzling just a bit.
  • A dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche.
  • Chopped avocado. 

Just before time to serve, puree mixture. A hand-held immersion blender is easiest. Other wise, transfer in batches to a food processer or VitaMix (blender). Use caution with hot liquids – only fill containers ½ full! If using a food mill or potato masher, allow liquid to cool a bit first to avoid burns. Working in batches, mash and blend soup well.

Stop when you like the texture you’ve achieved. Chunky, really smooth, whatever works for you! If you want it super smooth and velvety, you can pass the puree through a fine screen sieve. The cone shaped ones worked well and you can push soup through with a wooden spoon. It’s all a matter of personal preference. I’m fine with a little texture left in mine!

Return all soup to pot, if necessary. If using hand-held blender, be sure plug does not fall into soup! Stir to blend well.

Taste for seasoning. With a good, homemade broth base and generous seasoning along the way, it probably won’t need any additional seasoning. I like the pure, clean taste of all the veg! If you like a little heat, try:

A few drops of hot sauce, to taste, or a pinch of cayenne or chipotle pepper. Warm spices like cinnamon, curry, or nutmeg are another good choice.  

When it tastes perfect to you, it’s ready! Small children may like to do their own garnishes and are more likely to actually eat the soup if they do.

Set your imagination free on serving options, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. Traditional bowls and spoons are great. Try shot glasses in a small bite appetizer setting. If you don’t have enough soup bowls for your crowd, teacups or coffee mugs will work.  Add a slice of really good bread and perhaps a piece of good cheese and you have a fabulous meal. Have fun!

Save those leftovers!!! Cool soup before placing in freezing containers. Glass jars break a lot. We use BPA-free plastic but never pour hot food into it. I freeze soups like this in quart, pint, and even ½ pint size containers. Then you can thaw what you need for a family dinner, a comforting lunch on a crazy day, a care package for a friend, or even a creative way to add extra veg to any soup or sauce. Try thawing a small container and using the warmed soup instead of cream or olive oil to mash potatoes!!! Leave an inch of headspace before placing the lids to allow for natural expansion when it freezes. Label clearly including whether the broth base is meat or veg. And be sure to date it. That’s a freezer full of comfort food and all you did was cook dinner!






Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach