Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March 31...a full moon to bless me


the day was sun blessed and warm...
I felt the weight inside my head
sleep was my ally
the hours flowed into the next...
when I was able
I went to sit on my back deck to soak in the healing warmth.
Work eludes me...
the headache is back and the pressure pounds
as I ease back into quiet solitude
my sanctuary is sleep
confused sleep at times
but my sanctuary is sleep.
Tomorrow is coming...
rest for now
but my tomorrow is coming.
I close my eyes to see calm blue waters
rolling up on the clean white sands...
I am walking into the healing white light of waters flowing.
Imagine and Live in Peace,
Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

try to be healthy during Spring Break....


I now know why it was difficult to get into my neurologist today...he is a gentle spirit who worked me in today but he was the only doctor in the office due to Spring break. After my examination, further discussion to my procedure and my incident on Saturday...he is advising me to have an MRA and MRI (with radioactive dyes to pinpoint specific areas affected) for brain, head and neck. I may have thrown a blood clot and will never ignore this timely warning sign again. (I have no idea why I am getting different type right now!) I went to have preliminary blood work and on Friday go in to the imaging center here in Newark to investigate what is happening. Until then I am to take it easy and rest and ignore all stress...Yeah like that is an easy thing to do. I called one daughter and visited my other daughter who is home for her girls Spring break and then went home to bed. The fatigue is a normal side effect of this after effect so I will sit out on the deck and enjoy the warmth and sunshine.

Tonight we had delicious left overs and I checked my emails and I am going to bed. My tea buddy Lennie sent me to a live video cam of momma Owl hatching her little babies. I can not wait to send the children so they can explore Nature up close and still be home. Thank you for all your support. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Let's saddle up girls...we are going on a rough trail!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Check out Cool 2 Craft for interactive videos...




Never try to get into a doctor's office on Monday...especially when it is Spring break and they may be away with their families. Hopefully I have an appointment around 3 in the afternoon tomorrow and I did get to speak to my neurologist. I spent most of the day in bed resting and exhausted at the same time...this afternoon I was able to make a dinner to share with Erin and Chance and do a load of laundry...then the dryer broke. It is almost funny...except it really isn't... laundry is one thing I can do in my home and now we will figure something out.

I discovered an interesting interactive video site...I finally had to go on Facebook to register... but the host is Tiffany Windsor and today she hosted Lisa Fulmer and her demo with alcohol inks....Heidi Borchers with a demo on making bread dough roses and possible jewelry...Ann Butler with her demo on faux raku pottery...and my favorite Lesley Riley's demo on transferring photos with TAP transfer paper that can be used to make images on fabric, papers, wood, leather, even mica sheets. Lesley was the main reason I went on to Cool2Craft and every Monday Tiffany will host a variety of artists for a 90 minute sharing session. This might be something you will enjoy just watching and learning about what is going on out there in the world of generous creative artists. Lesley Riley could fill the whole demo 90 minutes ...the TAP papers are remarkable tools for clear photo transfers and can be used into in so many processes. Check it out...try it you will like it.

I am going back to work now...I have been transferring my photos onto different fabric and canvas sheets to be used in my layered assemblages for the show...I am having fun and can use other art pencils, markers , stamps, stencils and so many other mediums to add to the narratives. I am almost finished with the March Crow Moon composition...I am adding my chain stitch drawing and will embellish my full moon tomorrow. I now know why March is also called the worm moon...when it rains the worms are all over the sidewalks and driveways...yucky for me but interesting to just watch them squiggle. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart


an armful of little girls...
Cole dino paper plates...
Rosie testing the sleepability of Cole's Dinosaur wall hanging...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

life should be celebrated through the eyes of a three year old boy

videoToday will forever smile in my heart's memory...Cole was three and how could this be? It was only yesterday when we made a midnight drive to MeGee Women's Hospital in Pittsburgh so we could be there with Erin and Chance as Marshall Cole entered our lives and our hearts. Cole will change the world ...he has changed my life forever with his "why" questions and his arms wrapped tight around me as we watch the scary parts that open the movie Monsters Inc. by Disney. Ken and I arrived early for a pancake breakfast, bacon, with fresh fruits, pomegranate and blueberry juices and hot steaming cups of coffee for the grandparents. Then it was outside on a rather cool day for the infamous dinosaur dig in the new sand box built by Dad and filled with all different sizes of many species of dinosaurs. Each participant decorated their archeology/safari hats and specimen buckets with sparkly stickers and stars to announce Cole's number three! None of the children seemed to be aware of the cool wind that was blowing and the light mist of rain. There were dinosaur sugar cookies and presents galore to open. Balloons were for bouncing and squealing when they burst by hitting the ceiling. I was so grateful to be there and you can see by Ken's video the parents had a great time as well as the happy grandparents and godparents. I hope you enjoy this window into our lives.

I am meeting with the neurologists tomorrow and hopefully we will make some needed adjustments so I can continue my real recovery. I know I did too much now...but on Friday I was just so darn happy to be out with my artists. A TIA is a small warning stroke and the proper word to remember is FAST. Check your face for drooping or visible changes. Arms raised and turned with equality in movement on both sides of your body. SMILE and check if you can grin and show your teeth to your mate. Teeth /Tongue to continue checking for facial abnormalities. I promised my son in law the next time I would go to the emergency room ... I was so tired from the whole experience and not being able to talk was frightening as well as the state of confusion I was experiencing. Thank you all for your prayers and emails. Tonight I am going to bed and tomorrow I will know more about the next steps. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Saturday, March 27, 2010

best laid plans...?



I awoke this morning in a state of total confusion...I could not find my voice...I could not speak and I felt as if I was hallucinating in a nightmare where I was lost...someone stole my shoes...I kept climbing rocks trying to get home to Ken. I knew I was in trouble but I tried to remain calm as Ken tried to reassure me and I quietly went through the FACE mind test for a TIA...a temporary stroke. Could I move my face and smile and stick out my tongue? Could I hold both arms up and level them as I turn them? ... I could not remember the last two items but I could feel my body needing to stop and sleep. I retreated to my sleep for a couple hours and by five o clock in the afternoon I was able to sit up and was hungry. I will call the neurologist on Monday...I stayed home ...and I recognize I did too much last night on our first date. I did not get to get over to have my day with Baby Morgan but tomorrow I will be able to have a birthday breakfast with Mr. Cole's third birthday.

Ken remained close by and watched the NCAA games...my Kentucky Wildcats are out as well as OSU is out so now the games are totally for the viewers enjoyment. I am going to bed early now so I can be fresh tomorrow morning. Rest for sure tonight so I can have my tomorrow. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday night date night.... final Fridays in Newark....










We rested inside today...it has been a little of everything today...this morning we have a couple of inches of snow on the ground. By noon the sun was out and gently melted the snow away but the winds were still whipped up so it felt a bit chilly when I would venture outside. I performed mundane tasks all the while getting a list for this and a list for that running in my mind. Today we went downtown to the final Fridays Art Walk and had a great time visiting different businesses, galleries , art openings and just visiting with old friends. It is hard to say what I liked best...finding a five inch chocolate dinosaur for an additional special gift for Cole's third birthday...going to see the Cartoonists exhibit at the Works and hugging old friends in town for the weekend...making lunch plans to meet with Michael Coronado about lunch and possibly assisting me to print onto silk some of my images.... walking hand in hand with my Ken... and realizing I let myself get overly excited and before I knew it I was overheated...literally. With each visit on the Art Walk you received an opportunity to taste new chocolates, visit businesses often overlooked thanks to the big national chains, watch my friend Rachel actually create the large Hershey's kiss paperweight that will be drawn out all the entries of those who visited the glass galleries. I received a small cobalt blue Hershey Kiss and I will treasure it always in my studio window. I made plans to have lunch with Lynn about attending the Ohio Day for the Arts in April in Columbus together. My words are totally inadequate when I try to express my joy and glee I experience when I am back in the middle of being with my old friends and artists sharing their love and passions. I will include a couple photos of Abby Rice and Rachel McFarland working together to create the candy kiss paperweight for the raffle drawing. I am so proud of Rachel ...I met her through her sister when I was the director of the LCA gallery that was renting from the Works and at the time involved with an integral part of the art movement and education in Licking County. Now being only one block away it is very evident to see the isolation or break from all the activity epicenter has hurt the traffic flow I had worked so hard to open and increase over my seven years. Change is inevitable so I am hopeful that the marketing will in time open up a more fervent advertising campaign...I want to see this become much more than just a social center for just a few persons. Where were the children ? I saw them at the Works with activities designed to pull them in and touch the world of the arts and sciences. The exhibit today was all about the cartoonists and contemporary comic movement with the artists present and available for discussions and questions many young artists might have. I met some new people working passionately to bring their marks into the forefront of our community. All in all it was a great day and we have made plans to get together with other artists who we have failed to see over the humongous snowstorms we experienced this past winter. Happy happy happy days were happening tonight on the downtown square.

I am going to finish adding my buttons to Cole dinosaur quilt and Ken is wrapping some costumes for him to explore and experience in his own fantasy imagination in his playroom and at this art table with his sister Baby Morgan. I am washing another load of darks and my comfortable jeans so I can get down on the floor and play with the kids and maybe take Morgan on a walk in the neighborhood while the rest enjoy the theater. We will stay over for the night and I plan on helping Erin prepare her birthday breakfast for family and friends... a low key...low stress dinosaur dig is planned so we should all have a lot of fun.

I have finally watched Food Inc. a documentary film by Eric Scholler's quest to find out where our foods come from before they get to the supermarkets. It was informative and yet frightening at the same moment. Food factories, fast food, menus that are not good for us . It just brought home the fact that cheap foods are not expensive because of snack food subsidiaries for foods that are too indulgent for our bodies. Salt, fat, sugar are in almost every processed food we eat today. The fresh fruits and vegetables are cost prohibited for the lower incomes...the cost of medicines to be healthy or fresh produce ... how we live our lives, the foods we eat and the foods we need to eat to be a healthy individual have evolved to become a balance game for our families. I ate a kiwi when I came home tonight...a sweet fruit from a place 23 hours away and I relished the delicious flavor and textures of this organic fresh fruit...non-processed and in the raw ...but the real thing...nothing artificial. Think first and then eat... if you bite it...write it down and really see what we are eating.

Well I have had a busy day and have to get back to work. Have a wonderful weekend with those you love. Go to your studios and create! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Where did my day go?




I stayed home all day and I feel like I have been running around on one of those little circles in a gerbil cage...you run and run but you never seem to get anywhere. I have washed all ...well almost all of my wonderful vintage fibers in a pre-soak and gentle cycle on my old Maytag Maggie. I actually washed a little too much because because I try to air dry them over night and then check them out in early morning light of day. They are drying on my kitchen counters, my furniture in the living room, the bathroom downstairs and up, my ironing board in my studio and on my studio table and studio chair. I love holding these precious threads as they begin a new life in my process...I have selected some of the imperfections to adhere on a board for my attempt to print with a fabric collagraph...my thoughts are also about what will happen if I can remove them with the remnants of inks and paints after i make a print...I have never done this before so I am telling myself to "Just Play".

I made the final adjustments for the dinosaur wall hanging for my dear Marshall Cole's third birthday on Sunday. We will spend the day over there on Saturday so I can care for my little angel Morgan..boy do I sound like a grandmother? The rest of the family will attend a special theater performance and then come home for a family game night. Sunday morning we are having a dino breakfast with Safari hats and special pancakes and treats for the day. The sun is suppose to come out on Sunday and tonight we are having snow flurries and thunder...the sun is coming back soon. I need to add the buttons to the dinosaur wall hanging so I will keep this a short spurt of activities in my day.

Tomorrow we are going to have a date...if we can both stay awake and walk around the courthouse square and taste different chocolates and see the art galleries openings and galas. I promised Ken we would be home in time to see the Ohio State University basketball game. March Madness has taken over my family...the phone keeps ringing as they each check on the latest scores. My sister is even getting into the fever pitch of fun :o). I want to sit still tomorrow and finish my Snow Moon piece and get some final photographs. I received a message today with the message to "seek understanding" in others and with my hands busy I realize how fortunate I have been in my life to have such a wonderful circle of creative artists. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

a conversation at goodwill: 100 Followers Gratitude Giveaway

a conversation at goodwill: 100 Followers Gratitude Giveaway

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

500 ART Quilts.... a celebration of needle and thread





Today the sun was shining and the rains are returning tomorrow so I went around town and drove myself to my post office, my bank, Memory Lane for my chocolate walk ticket for Friday night's Art Walk and then I went to pick up a few items for my auction designs and layers at Micheal's, visited an dear old friend who is dealing with saying goodbye to her dearest friend...her beloved husband who is now in Hospice care. I stopped by my daughters to check on her sprained ankle and to check in with the girls and then went to the grocery to select some mangoes, pears, blueberries and blackberries to boost my healing powers ... yes I said positive healing powers. Now I am free to work all day tomorrow when the rains come and spend the day wrapping a few birthday gifts for my Marshall Cole who will be three on Sunday. I will babysit with Miss Morgan so the rest of the crew can enjoy a Disney theater production at the downtown Palace Theater. Then we will have a small intimate family party...a exclusive dinosaur dig with the head gear to decorate for each child's party treat to take home to perform their archeology dig in their backyards. I know this party is for the children but I am really getting excited ...where did the time go? I remember the day/night when Cole was born...it is just like it was yesterday. I am so blessed with the children who hold tight to my heart.

My Amazon order came today and I got two incredible celebrations of the Art Quilt Movement over the last thirty years. The photography is exceptional and the artists are friends of mine who I can celebrate this united forum for sharing the art made from hands and hearts. The second book is by Sherrill Kahn and is chock full of lessons to experiments with surface development for future narrative works. The demonstrations and illustrations make me want to start right now but I will complete my Snow Moon and Crow Moon quilts first so I won't feel guilty about starting another project right now. I went to the Goodwills; both of them and then went to St. Vincent's Thrift shop to discover some elegant vintage pieces that I will hand treat and them soak and then wash tomorrow... to be embellished and transferred with photo images and context clues to tell the stories. Whenever I purchase these precious discarded fibers and buttons and such I feel as if I am recovering a legacy from another woman's lost voice. I can hardly wait to share with you all...in time I will have my photographer friend help me with her professional art skills so they will eventually go into a small book. I am feeling good and tired tonight but I really felt as if this was a very productive day and my dream is beginning to fill my horizon.

My Tea mate Lennie sent me a wonderful article about Celestial Teas from the Washington Post. I will closely read and digest this Joy from my newly found friend with tomorrow's breakfast ... I am going to invite you all to my exhibit and its opening if you are able to make it. I promise to get the documentation together for those who are limited by time, energies and family commitments but know in my heart you all are my wings of support...I will fly and pay homage to the women who came before me and the gifts they have given me. I am still enjoying Lennie's wonderful selection of teas...I just cannot choose a favorite one yet...more research.

Now it is time to get back to work...until the morning I pray you find serenity in your sweet dreams. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Only I know the secret about what my darling Hannah Marie is up to at the dinner table :o)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

gladiators sandals and an ikat clutch with beading...


I should have been working but instead I read my emails and visited Anthropologie for a splash of colors...lime...rich indigo.. orange fandango. I am so ready for a change in the weather and the warmth of sunshine to greet me every morning. I have been gathering baby gifts for my niece's first baby boy and her shower is on Sunday so I need to get things wrapped up and to the post office tomorrow. I also have to cut out small fabric crows for my Crow Moon piece and hope to applique them into the view of a opalescence moon. My day has been a slow one and I do think the weather has been oppressive and aggravates my headaches. I did not feel very alert until late into the afternoon so I will work tonight to release my frustrations.

The Anthropologie online store offers a breath of fresh air with their wonderful embellished clothing, bright sandals, creative home furnishings...all to delight the senses and our sensibilities for the oncoming warmer season and greenness outside our windows. I can not afford to purchase sadly but I do find this environment invigorating for inspiration. A little young in the clothes styles and mini sizes many times but the details are worth checking out. Someone out there is buying these unique items so there is Hope for the Art World...first Health care...tomorrow a better economy to encourage beautiful handcrafted sacred works for their homes and businesses.

Last night I began my research on an extraordinary woman who worked as a char woman by day and made exquisite spiritually inspired paintings at night that were inspired by her religious beliefs and "possible" guardian angels. I have ordered the movie of her life and her discovery and pure dedication to her passions and Art between 1905 and 1912 from a small community Senlis outside of Paris. A German collector who also collected Picasso and Rousseau and a woman who expressed her very soul names Seraphine. I still need so much more information but the examples of her paintings drew me in with her precision and harmony of hand mixed colors...a true oneness with Nature around her. I already know this ends in tragedy but I still feel pulled to create a narrative dedicated to her sad and tragic life.

Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart


Prayer Page for Peter ...hand-dyed, printed with Japanese leaves, hand quilted and chain stitch with tiny delicate beads...26" by 33"

Monday, March 22, 2010

I love Johnny Weir....




The thunder is pounding outside ...good luck having my little Rosie go out for her evening constitution. I worked most of the afternoon and added a Pink/Opal glaze on top my first layers of my canvas. Yes, I am curious to exactly where this slow painting process lakes me...I have to find the TIME magazine that was all about 1968...it is somewhere in my studio upstairs. It was my first year of college at the community college...safe and conservative thinking was nurtured until I took a contemporary History class where my professor actually questioned our governments positions ..."Why the Hell were we in Vietnam?"...Patsy's husband came home from Vietnam in a closed casket in his first month overseas...the fireworks from Fort Knox became extremely disturbing to my safety sitting on my front porch...questions stream in and I had no answers. "Hair" was all the rage ...could you believe they performed on stage nude?... my parents made me uncomfortable at times...I had my first love...or did I?...was I getting married to be free to have sex without worrying or Catholic guilt? God forbid I get pregnant! I made my girlfriends laugh when I said my daddy would have killed me! I am feeling the thunder right now in my chest as I honestly relive these fragile uncertain years...my aunts and my mothers were into the big kitchen shower baskets and "The Joy of Cooking" cookbook...hell I did not know how to make meals...it was my mother's kitchen. Predispositions of expected roles in a young woman's place in time ...where was someone like Johnny Weir then? Yes, I do remember the anger and rage against Jane Fonda but she was a communist...right?... did I really know anything? I know I did not know myself...but like Oprah said "when we know better ...we do better".

In the pursuit of change and with my limited emotional palette I could not identify my pain...my questions...much less research a transformation ...search for a self... and with out this this uneasiness transforms into a resentment that in time creates an inevitable crisis with enormous potential for turmoil. Wow this is one hell of a run-on sentence... I am amazed and grateful to be here now cherishing my thoughts, recognizing my fears, and healing with the passages in my art marks. Slow steady mark making...visible evidence of my physical and spiritual existence; my legacy in my memories and the loving support from women in my life that recognized my ever evolving overlapping spirals and thought processes. I am sure I am not alone in this "herstory" ... but for some reason tonight my memories are overflowing into my layered works.

Johnny Weir is such a dear courageous young man..skating in a world where sexuality is never discussed or exhibited in such outlandish daring mannerisms. He grew up in a rural community in PA with Amish buggies driving down the roads. At 12 years old, he fell into love with figure skating on television... and now he is an artist with fans around the world who love him for his joyful courageous life on ice. Yes, I understand...well maybe recognize why his individuality threatens others who may not want to understand Johnny's world of theatrics and dance and drama. I pray that Johnny will continue to be protected from any harm by his family and coaches and remain under the guardian angels he so elegantly has watching over him... may we all learn to be authentic in living our lives.

I have had a small amount of energy today but before I knew it I was overwhelmed by a wall of fatigue...I went to bed and immediately fell asleep. I am grateful for my journey today and received a dear card from my baby brother Mark this evening...I wish he lived closer ...I love my family and know they worry too much. My god daughter is in Tanzania working for social justice with her law professor for unprotected children...God bless you Amber Rose...I can still see you in my mind and heart as a small red headed little darling telling Ken to "settle down babycakes!" all the while wearing his size 12 shoes...just makes me smile. Be safe and come home soon... I love you dearly. Amber is the one with Dr. Oz who gently guided me to eating whole unprocessed foods...simple foods prepared elegantly...I have lost about 12 pounds...slowly but surely. Have a good night of peaceful dreams.

Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart


...the search for my roots and threads of connection...layers of memory coming round for a second look and examination....my photos tell me secrets

Sunday, March 21, 2010

my quiet Sunday...rest and more rest ...and yes a little work





I slept through my CBS Sunday Morning...I do so love to watch a little piece of the Big world on Sunday morning but I could not wake up and stay awake. My body is still dealing with the obvious leftovers from the medications and repercussions of the brain explorations on Wednesday. Sleep is aiding in my slow sloth like progress...I do every thing slowly right now but I am still here! I eased into the day and watched the Sundance channel with specials on the 1968 Broadway hit "Hair"...I love the music and even then I knew it was more than just a play with complete nudity and great music. I am creating a work for our summer auction to raise funds for the Midland Theater with the theme "Summer of Love". I have started a free flowing canvas and the text and layers are coming to me in my memory ...I grew up in Louisville, KY and went to a Catholic high school .... an all girl school...so I was very naive and very sheltered. Then I watched a special on Cameron Diaz and Cameron Sinclair who believes architects should design like you give a damn. They revisited New Orleans and gave an informal tour of the plight of the residents after Katrina even years later. This architect for Humanity and Community has projects all over the globe and is working to create space to change lives by building more than structures but also building a community. This manner of green works is an expression where we can all learn to be conscious enough to make better decisions for making our lives more effective with recycle, reuse and re purpose the materials we need in our lives. Everything from "clothing swaps" to making our personal studios incorporate found objects and recycled materials as often as possible. I ended getting up without losing my balance and added a layer of transparent colors onto my auction canvas. I went out on the back deck to play with the colors and the sunshine felt fantastic ...energy for body and soul.

I realize I use my whole body to do my work.... balance and vision are both very important qualities that I continue to nurture ...smile...we all need them. I made an incredible chicken salad with strawberries, almonds, orange slices, apple slices and deep purple grapes over green baby spinach leaves. I felt good just looking at it even before we ate dinner. I worked on my February and March Full moon pieces...yes I am a little late but I began collecting materials already for the April theme of pink moon. :o) For the quiet calm moments I began my hand quilting on the finished February Snow moon composition and I am truly enjoying the slow cloth process...one stitch at a time. Have a great week and continue working in your studios. Check out Seth Apter's The Altered Page for the last installment of Secret Sundays...I have so much to learn in such a short amount of time. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

top photo...Crow moon in progress

second photo...base layer for Summer of Love auction piece

third photo...my daffodils are blooming just for me :o)

fourth photo...Snow Moon before hand stitching and embellishments ...this is the fun part for me

Friday, March 19, 2010

you bless me...my daffodils are blooming and I am home...





I am home from the hospital and ever so grateful for the team of medical surgeons and neuro-surgeons who held me in the hands of the heavenly father and went into my brain and successfully acknowledged that I could begin once again to live my life without fear. My coils have now permanently sealed and the stint is still not working effectively to maintain my blood flow to the Circle of Willis near my optic nerve... but with the help of God's providence and grace a new artery has circumvented the stint to assist the continued blood flow. The team joked that I was in a state of total Zen and could maintain my lower blood pressure and slow my heart rate down and remain alert and calm as the doctor asked me questions and told me when the radio active iodine would surge inside my brain as they measured and documented the progression of healing that is now visible. I had to hold my breath at specific times but I had no fear...somehow I realized I was where I needed to be in this moment of time. I am very tired...and the headache is beginning to diminish with extra sleep and bed rest. My daughters have fed us both like kings and queens so with a few more quiet days I should be back to almost normal. I can now make an appointment with my eye specialist and we can move forward with a new prescription for glasses... I think I need to get a more durable but exquisitely colorful frames so I can continue my work ...vision is a priceless and I will never take it for granted. Your prayers have assisted me as I gather my courage from all my angels to move forward in my journey. Once again I realize that my spelling and typing will take some time to return to normal...be patient with me ...God is working with me on correcting this temporary setback.

I sat outside in the sunshine for a short time this afternoon and gazed into my little garden to discover the first small daffodils waving up to me to welcome me back home. You are all my daffodils and you bless me in my journey. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

It is miraculous how holding the hand of a beloved grandchild can energize and heal a weary spirit. May we all be bless in our circle of loved ones when we are deep in a heavy dark place in time... Cole and Morgan and baby number three on the way...the true gifts in our lives.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day....I am off



I have a few moments right now but we are gathering the proper paper work. I am wearing my green...for good luck! Ken is rushing around...I am practicing being still. As I stood under the warm shower I counted my blessings. I will be back soon so go...yes go....right now and make some work! Your studio is calling your name. Must. Do. Art. I read that on one your blogs :o). Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

tide pool condos....I am holding the future in my arms...






Today I spent preparing as much as possible for tomorrow...on the phone for 90 minutes with financial aid possibilities to cover the costs of modern miracles needed to continue living...I did laundry to avoid a backlog when I come home...I made an enormous pot of black bean/navy bean ham soup so all we add is cornbread... attended a board meeting for our Licking County convention and Visitors Bureau ...went up to the hospital to check on Tony and his predicament... and finally attended Maya Rose's musical production about saving tidal pools and their creatures from over development. Yes, I know I am supposed to be resting and I will more than ready to catch up on personal rest and recuperation time. The sun was shining today and Ken worked in my little garden to keep his mind off worries. We both are doing what we need to do to get by until tomorrow. I have talked personally to my four brothers and my sister so they will be informed and aware...I can send out a hello to everyone afterward and we can enjoy the March Madness. I did even fill out my bracket choices which made Ken smile at my choices but he assured me anything can happen in these tournaments.

Calling all angels...keep Tony in your circle of prayers as he has a long road ahead of him for recovery...there is not enough information to make adequate decisions and a final complete diagnosis. As many of you said if I love this little brother...that was good enough for them to add him to their spiritual affirmations. Get well Tony ...we both have plenty to do ...and places to go... and Art to create.

After my busy day I realized a truth I had always known...when the world gets a little out of control and we get too big for our britches thinking we can be in charge of everything... we need to stop...slow down and support the young students who are making music and creating plays to change the environment...save our Mother Earth. I am a sucker for these programs; I will carry these messages sung by our future Oscar winners and playwrights. I am going to try to get to bed now and thank you all for your kindest of messages....have a cup of tea tomorrow in the sunshine and see me beaming radiant smiles back at you. Art saves Lives! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Monday, March 15, 2010

down the rabbit hole....in more ways than one...



Calling all angels....prayers and circles of healing are needed for a gentle giant and friend...Tony. He has been admitted with fluid on his heart and his kidneys are not working adequately which results in shortness of breath and ill at ease with his body. I think of Tony as one of my little brothers...we spent many a lunch time in the gallery solving the world's problems and discussing alternative avenues for artists to create their artistic lives. His sensitivity and enormous strength for kindness has nourished this man of many talents. His wood working is spiritual and I am so lucky to have several of his pieces in out home and I gave Ken one for his Christmas in 2009. Ken loves him for their golf games and adventures on numerous golf courses in the area. They have bonded and attempted to discover ways that could possibly control some of my impulsive child like behaviors...good luck boys :o). You are in and will stay in my prayers until you are healthy enough to be out on the golf courses and debate how to improve your swings. Be well and get strong dear friend...we need you in our lives.

I hand washed some more vintage and somewhat stinky ribbons, laces and trims to us in my small assemblages. They are amazing after the careful hand washing and the colors are revived and now are easily softened to hand sew into a frame of sort. I also wash a hand crocheted...I think design element in the design of an eagle for one of my Mexico voices in the Aguilar sisters narrative. I washed in in my old Maytag... I know it is old and if it can survive the wash cycle with my towels it will work for an addition layer for the sisters series.

I began a small one week down the rabbit hole collaboration with the clues given for each day and interpreted in each artist's own vision. I discovered a hand painted fabric that I created with two friends in August of 1994 with Susie Shie and Marge Burkell and myself. Now I will add some jewel tones with my small Seta Colors before I cut apart and reconstruct the story piece. Have a great evening and wish me luck. Sleep safely Tony. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart


The game table on the top is one of Tony's example of his woodworking and the second piece is made from a rare Australian wood and he was guided by the voice in the wood itself....breath taking beautiful craftsmanship.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

please give us your impressions...

video

Ken has been busy working on the informative dvd to help demonstrate the different processes and design elements that go into making my works. Little by little we will add music and images and photos to play when the gallery is open but I won't be able to be there. Please give us your feedback and recognize we have never done this before but in theory we could loop the play cycle for a more informative interactive approach in the gallery experience.

It was a gray day with cold rains and March madness ruled the roost....different family members called long distance and the University of Kentucky had a great game over Mississippi while later Ohio State University won over Minnesota. Brackets are being completed and I just look and I think whew that looks like a lot of work filling that out....so I will cheer for Ken's teams! Lazy but oh so practical from my point of view. I had a restful day and spoke to family members with reassurance that the work will be done before I know it and rest and naps are my friends for the moment.

Have a great evening with your family and please be sure to check out Seth Apter's The Altered Page post for Secret Sunday as he has shared some interesting information and joyful aspects of artists lives. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Saturday, March 13, 2010

the shadow of his smile...Gene Bertoncini is still with me....


Thank you to the Morris family for sharing a jewel of an evening at our theater...The Midland.... with us...the music has been inside my mind all day as the raindrops gently washed in a gray day of our "nesting" in our home. Music has the power to put a fingerprint on our imaginations and Ken has been gathering images of my design elements for a dvd to play in the gallery when I won't be able to be there. I continued my research on mandalas...I have been inspired by these prayerful sacred circles of life. Different religions and cultures have made these ceremonial installations and I am incorporating a mandala in two ...maybe... of my processes. He chose on selection that Gene played last night to open the dvd process...it is powerful for me to witness this body of work coming together to fruition. My hands will be very busy for the next eight weeks and if I think too much about it I will be traumatized into a stone! One day at a time... one stroke at a time...one transfer at a time...I already need more ink for the printer...time to physically transform the images with embellishments, brush strokes and overlays of text and written language. Lord give me strength and the passion to push forward...it is not like a commission for someone else ...I am hopefully creating a dialogue with members of my family and community that will prove to be authentic and valuable. Time is my most valuable gift I have to offer my exhibit and those who believe in me as I work through this process. My Journey is becoming visible to me with Grace I received from women who came before me.

I am working on my small works tonight so I am trying to keep my focus and at the same time when my hands are busy with my intuitive motions; my mind is playing with compositions of other works I am pulling together.

Today is the 43 birthday of Steve Curati...Steve was a student of mine back in 1975 when I was a teacher in Canton, Ohio. I am so blessed to have several of this first classroom students who have remained in my life. We try to visit at least once a year and exchange phone messages over the gaps in our holidays and birthdays. They have invited me to join Facebook and such but my day's minutes are tied up for now...I can not see how I could add another social network to my schedule and do it justice. I love my small circle of friends and artists so we can really maintain a connection...remote yes over the keyboard...but of so valuable. We are worthy of good thoughts and kind spirits to enrich our solitary lives as isolated artists working in our studios. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

My tribute to Rosa Parks...in process...come close and this is the style of frames I have selected to tie the power of written words inspiring actions ...in my whispers.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Art Saves Lives...and friends do too!



Tonight ken and I had a date at the Midland Theater for a stage door Cabaret performance by Gene Bertoncini who is one of the pre-eminent jazz guitarist active today. His fluid technique and lyricism have won him international praise and accolades as the "Segovia of jazz. For two hours we were sitting on stage with this genuine man of wonder as he wove a spell over about 125 intimate friends. Gene is has an amazing background experience for example he was in the original band for Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. He has two great friends who collaborated with Gene on stage...Tom Carroll and Doug Richeson are both active in the contemporary music scene here in Licking county and Denison University. For two hours... I was carried away from any care I might have carried into the theater. A circle of friends celebrating the power of Art making and powers in music and Jazz.

Gene is a delicate skilled precision driven musician who can combine the Bosa Nova with a Chopin melody. His hands were in a ballet with the strings on his guitar and the shadows on the brick wall gave a sense of ambiance to the mood of candlelight and the fragrance of wine and cheese. I was transported to another decade and a place to serenity with multiple generations celebrating the art of making beautiful music. The total immersion while this magician with the wild shock of shiny gray hair demonstrated the mastery of the song "Someone to Watch Over Me". his arrangement of Covatina stole my heart as I listened to every note floating over my physical body...I felt the energy enter my body. He expressed his childhood memory of inspiration of listening to the great like Benny Goodman, Buddy Rich, Wayne Shorter and Hubert Laws on the radio...does anyone out there listen to a thing called a radio????

I am tired but art saves lives... because for a couple hours I was taken away and now I feel refreshed. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I am listening...even if it is sometimes difficult...


I have been drinking soul replenishing teas for most of the day. In my tea exchange I received a smorgasbord of delightful TAZO teas that delight my senses and settle my soul so that I can sit still to do my work. Doing what I love the most takes me to a place where there is no time. I returned to my hand stitching...my slow cloth ...is meditative like a prayer. I have tried to overlook my inconsistent stitches...I am much too hard on my self. My vision will improve after next week and there is no substitute for hard work. I did rest...when Ken came home we curled up in bed and watched "The Hurt Locker" ...a very dynamic movie directed by a woman who had insight to the overwhelming struggles in the Iraq War...who can one trust? How do you measure who is winning? Who are your allies? I can not say I can recommend this drama ...I am so conflicted about the war...who are we kidding? ...why are our finest youngest service people put into this horrendous hell? I told Ken I did not want to share this movie with Erin and Chance...Erin is carrying my new grand baby and "war is never healthy for children and other living things."

After lunch I told Ken I would do the grocery shopping and he could get caught up on his ESPN basketball college teams :o). I had clipped my coupons and had my list in hand and felt it was time to get out of the house and continue our quest for fresh fruits and vegetables. Ever since I saw parts of the movie "Food,Inc" on Oprah and Dr. Oz entered my life I am working to bring healthy eating and cooking into our lives. Ken carried up everything to the kitchen and we shared a kiwi and I rested with Oprah and more healthy tea. We had cornbread and wholesome beef vegetable soup for dinner and then I began hand quilting on a small piece. Before I knew it hours had passed and I felt the burden lifted from my shoulders.... I was working again. Work is healing for body and soul... and it is a slow cloth process but that is why I like making my sacred marks. I am listening ...even when I think I should be up ...I am getting more rest. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

the day the warm rains came....


I walked out into a cool moist veil
the day began to open up as if it was a fragile bud...
my body feels so heavy...maybe I am experiencing the heavy blanket of anxiety
sleep has been my solace... my companion.
I drank my passion tea ...perfect tea from a loving friend... a cup held with my two hands.
I made a soup from the remaining roast...added nutrients and vegetables
to fortify my body and my spirit... Namaste to my universe....
I heard the voice of a friend for over 20 years...
comforting..... soothing passage of time...a thread of sacred connection...
I received blessings from my angels witnessing ...listening...
watching for recovery...tomorrow I will be strong.
The soft gentle rains of our early Spring wave a new flow of renewal
I am caressing the peace... and my expectation for a newer strength...
the images of my dreams contain my mother...
asking me for help...but the reality was she was letting me know...
she is always...still here with me.
I wish you Peace in your dreams tonight...
I send you Love ...
I needed your Grace...
Thank you for being there for me.
Your Joy is contagious and feeds my soul.
Imagine and Live in Peace,
Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart