Musings on Being the Artist of Your Day

Tag: creativity (Page 1 of 3)

What is Nature Healing Immersion?

The mini-retreat begins as we enter Fitzgerald Nature Reserve at Moss Beach. Photo by Mary Gow.

We met at James Fitzgerald Preserve at Moss Beach, a tucked-away-becoming-popular alcove about thirty minutes south of San Francisco on the Pacific Coast. Our cars lined the entrance to the trail. A car trunk was open with folded blankets to sit on if we didn’t bring something already.

The mini-retreat’s full title drew me in: “InVisioning and Emergence:Trauma-Informed Art & Nature Healing Immersion.”

Our small group walked up to the bluff that overlooked the Pacific and looking down at the beach there were about twenty or so seals sun bathing. One Kodak moment I saw a baby seal eagerly scooting up to it’s mother.

It was one of those splendid cloud-free blue sky days on the coast, fog-free too.

Jovani, Dr. Lisa Chu and Ann Sullivan (left to right), lead the workshop. Photo by Mary Gow.

The event was hosted by Dr. Lisa Chu, MD, artist and SoulBodyMind Coach, Ann Sullivan, LMFT, art therapist and modern mystic and Jovani, improvisational sound healer and painter.

Lisa I already knew since she’s a fellow Chinese American female artist. I find her one of the most driven people I know tackling the sticky issues of the ancient wounds of women, especially Asian-American women, and at times particularly Chinese women.

When Ann Sullivan she said she was a “modern day mystic” I immediately resonated with her since she explained that it’s a way to say she’s a person seeking a spiritual path in modern times.

Jovani brought musical instruments to play, as she’s an “improvisational sound healer.” She brought a HAPI drum, a small cast iron drum was about ten inches wide and eight inches tall, that made deeply resonant sounds I thought were from a much larger drum!

About Moss Beach

The three workshop leaders created a safe space to spend three hours exploring our own healing.

We took time to introduce ourselves as we sat in a circle. Then we listened to healing music, free to make any sounds we felt like making.

For the next hour we roamed about the woods in silence and could make any sort of art we chose, they brought the materials.

Thinking was discouraged yet I found myself doing exactly that.

There’s no right or wrong though.

"Completion," color pencil drawing by Mary Gow

“Completion,” color pencil drawing by Mary Gow

After that hour we went around the circle and showed what we created.

The music and sound, art making, breathing, walking in Nature soothed me.

Sitting under the canopy of tall trees quieted my inner chatter.

I was practicing just being.

Being with Nature.

Being natural.

What a gift.

I thought how can I create a new habit of ending each week with a bit of Nature?

Nature refreshes me.

Making sounds was healing.

An afternoon of sensory immersion in Nature reminded me that even if we only can spare minutes, an hour, or once a week or month, it’s urgently important to give ourselves the gift of quiet moments in nature. You don’t have to attend a workshop to do it.

But it doesn’t hurt.

Where You Can Share Your Dreams and Build Your Own Planet

Chris Wayan, founder of the World Dream Bank. Photo by Mary Gow.

Chris Wayan, founder of the World Dream Bank and Planetocopia. Photo by Mary Gow.

Chris Wayan, creator of World Dream Bank

Chris Wayan hugging one of the unique planets he created. Photo by Mary Gow

It’s an online library for dream art of any kind including images, texts, and songs.

At first it consisted of hundreds of his favorite dream stories and paintings.

Since 2000 Chris Wayan’s main project is the World Dream Bank.

“Some narrative dreams just require prose; shorter more emotional narratives may work as poems; stories with striking visual elements or strange creatures or settings are a natural for comics; intensely emotional dreams may work best as songs,” he said.

Dreams, according to Wayan, help resolve issues or offer advice.

“This week they pointed out where a leak in our roof had to be, though my consciousness had missed it for two years! I don’t see how people can ignore their dreams–they’re a huge, vivid part of my life. Only seems natural to do art about the fascinating places and beings I’ve seen.”

Now his World Dream Bank is up to 2500 pages, and nearly half the dreams and art are other people’s contributions.

Wayan also writes poetry, prose, and songs in addition to painting, sculpting, drawing and making comics.

Mostly he creates dream art.

Chris Wayan with a furry creature he created.

Chris Wayan with a furry creature he created. Photo by Mary Gow.

He’s lived on Bernal Hill over 20 years and always considered himself a San Franciscan though he grew up its suburbs.

His biggest non-dream art project is Planetocopia – a series of sculpted globes with online tours of their lands and cultures playing with ecology, feminism, pacifism, and Utopia.

From his website you can also figure out how to make your own planet! Visit Planetocopia at

“Go to to share your favorite dream, or show a drawing of that one dream you can’t forget…” said Wayan.

New Apps for Storyboarding and Selfies

"Murphy and Mary," A Sequence Photographed by Mary Gow Using the Selfissimo App.

“Murphy and Mary,” A Sequence Photographed by Mary Gow Using the Selfissimo App.

At some point every day I review the day’s headlines for about five minutes, surfing the web.

From this habit I find something that peeks my attention and inevitably I take notes in my Evernote.

A recent find is well worth sharing!

Google is offering 3 new apps for free including one that allow styling of videos into comic strips. Wow!

This I found out from the article headlined with: “NEW GOOGLE APPS STYLIZE VIDEOS INTO COMIC STRIPS, NIFTY LOOPS,” written by Michael Kan, Dec. 11, 2017 for PC Magazine.*

“On Monday, the company unveiled three new imaging apps that leverage some experimental technology Google has been playing with. Google is calling the software “appsperiments,” which tap into the power of smartphone cameras and computer vision algorithms that can identify objects in a picture.”


The first app called Storyboard is available only on Android phones. Your video will be converted into a single-page comic strip.
“The app automatically selects interesting video frames, lays them out, and applies one of six visual styles,” Google said.


The second app is available on Android and iOS phones. It’ll snap selfies in black and white. The camera will flash when it detects that you’ve stopped moving.


The third app is only available on iOS. This app allows you to go over a video once it’s been shot and pick parts you wish to dramatize by slowing down the play rate.

“Shoot a video in the app and then remix it by scratching it like a DJ,” the company said.

The video can then play in a loop.


We’re living in an incredibly creatively expansive time. The ability to create storyboards using your phone, have your own photo shoot in black and white, create looping videos that can dramatize effects that used to be only available to those with sophisticated equipment.

Now all of this is available with what we carry in our purses and pockets.

These amazing smart phones get smarter every passing day.

Still there’s no replacement for the imagination needed to utilize these tools.

There’s only one YOU in the whole Universe who can create the way you do.


The Super Bowl and Timing

Venus Time, painting by Mary Gow

Venus Time, painting by Mary Gow

A workshop scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Sunday was just cancelled. I wonder if it was because of the Super Bowl.

At the grocery store today several people in front and behind me had shopping carts full of party snacks, bottles of wine and cartons of beer. I wonder if it was because of the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl Sunday is becoming more and more like a holiday in the U.S.A.

Magic Time

In Russell Bishop and David Allen‘s “Managing Accelerated Productivity” course, Allen says he gets more done on Friday and Saturday nights and on holidays than any other time.

But some part of me finds it so “counter” to be at home when the social norm is to be out at those times.

Would you feel comfortable having your Friday night on a Wednesday night?

Sounds do-able doesn’t it? Why go along with the crowd?

Which leads me to knowing and honoring the times you know you’re at your best. When do you do your most creative work? It’s what Craig Ballantyne, Editor of Early to Rise, calls the “Magic Time.”

Through experimentation I’ve found my magic time is before 2:00 p.m. So I try to work on my most challenging projects early in the day.

I think it’s ideal to get grocery shopping done by Thursday for the upcoming weekend. Avoid weekends at the grocery story, especially after 3:00 p.m. on Sundays which is what I call the end-of-the-weekend-rush-to-get-the-groceries time.

Except this Sunday at 3:30 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time), when Super Bowl XLIX begins. That might be the best time to go grocery shopping. Or to work on your next painting.

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