Blog

July 3, 2018

American Gravity

This piece was inspired by the immigration saga that began to unfold a few weeks ago.  Young children being separated from their parents with little hope of reunification…

Working on this song helped me grapple with deepening concern about the devolution of our culture.

I wasn’t sure what to name the piece, but landed on American Gravity,  since the force of gravity causes things to fall, and it also denotes great solemnity and seriousness.  I think both meanings apply here!

 

July 1, 2018

Diamond Enhanced 3

Hello!  Here is a very simple drawing I did a few weeks ago – again using color pencils.  For me, the bright colors and particular design exude excitement, vitality, and positive energy, as well as peace, order, and harmony.  I hope it does the same for you!

Stay tuned.  I have completed a new piece of music that I am in the process of recording and will post here in the coming week…

 

 

June 6, 2018

 

Hello!  My latest project was to create two sets of Christmas/Holiday cards to sell at various venues this year.  I had to create them this early in order to be considered for the Wellington Square Book Store, which makes their Christmas buying decisions now! [The cards also will be available for purchase on my shop page a little closer to the holiday season.]

The inspiration for these designs was a traditional “Celtic step pattern” I found in one of my Irish books. The central image, a square, incorporates three basic shapes arranged in four different ways. I made eight collages using the same three shapes for each design.

If you compare the top image in blue to the one below it in green/red, you will see that the pattern is identical.  Any difference in appearance is the result of the papers chosen.  [Note: the side ribbons are not based on Celtic design, but were added so that the image would fit a standard size card.]

I love all things Irish, and Celtic design has always spoken to me the same way geometric design does.  There is symmetry, harmony, balance, and simple beauty.  I remain fascinated by the infinite variety of ways these basic shapes can be expressed.

Happy Summer!

Jill.

 

 

 

April 26, 2018

Modern Lullaby

Hello All,

A few weeks ago I became captivated by another tune.  As much as I want to continue writing the new book (with one chapter complete and the second in progress), I made the decision to work with whatever creative inspiration comes my way, so the last few weeks have been dedicated to giving “birth” to this new piece.  My arthritic hands have made mastering this quite challenging, but finally this morning I was able to make a decent enough recording to feel confident in sharing this latest adventure with you!

The title that came to mind is “Modern Lullaby.”  It has a lilting sweetness, but with a twist: Some “white water rapids” serve as counterpoint to its melodic simplicity.

Hope you enjoy!

 

 

 

April 5, 2018

Here are the mandala drawings I’ve done since my last blog post.  I have 13 now; more than enough to make a 2019 calendar. Yea! (if you want to see these images in a larger format, they are also posted on the Gallery page).  Like the earlier mandalas, these are about 12 inches in diameter and are drawn with colored pencils. It is so much fun to see the infinite possibilities that can be created within a circle.  The circle has always felt particularly special to me.  It communicates something ineffable.

Randy likes the middle piece best.  He likes that it deviates from my usual symmetrical patterns.  The inner circles are a deep indigo blue, and they kind of lure you into their dark space…

I have been working hard on my new book.  The first chapter is complete and I’m now working on chapter two.  The writing process has been very engaging.  I thank God for computers, because I have been editing like a mad fiend!  I cannot imagine trying to write something if I had to do it with pencil and paper, or even a typewriter.  I am constantly changing, rearranging, and reworking.  It would be a nightmare without Word…

For me, the writing process works exactly the way I compose a piece of music.  First there is an idea.  Then I keep ruminating on that idea until more ideas come along to accompany it.  Then I refine and change, over and over, until I get a feeling that it “clicks.”  Until I get that feeling, there seems to be a lot of disconnected parts that don’t want to connect.  I write and rewrite and re-rewrite. At some point the pieces magically fit together.  A feeling comes: “It is done.  It is the best I can do.”

I also came to the realization that I can only write what comes to me.  I can’t write something else, or like someone else, even if I wish I could!  Somehow that recognition keeps me from second-guessing myself each step of the way.   Whatever comes to me, is what I write.  And then I just try to craft it as concisely and coherently as possible.

My goal is to complete this book before the end of the year, and then I will take on the herculean task of trying to find someone to publish it – if that’s even possible!  Not the fun part, but nonetheless I want to try.  Of course, I need to finish it first…..

Why do we have this lingering cold and threat of snow? Isn’t it April???????

Smiley Face

 

 

 

March 2, 2018

Hello!

 

This is what I’ve been up to in recent weeks.  Drawing mandalas with colored pencils.  Each one is 12″ in diameter and took a few days to complete. The first seven drawings reflect the seven colors of the chakra system (red through violet).  I also attach the most recent piece inspired by the colors of the rainbow.

The fun thing for me when drawing these circular images is that I never know how they will look until they are finished.  I start each with a pencil line drawing on mat board and then let the piece evolve with color. Except for the orange piece, I worked from the center of the circle out to the perimeter.  With the orange piece, I did the opposite – working from the perimeter into the center.

The seven chakra-inspired drawings represent themes for seven essays I’m writing that I hope will provide encouragement for young people who may be struggling in these turbulent times.

Speaking of “The Book”:  The actual writing is slow!  Partly because I’m having so much fun with piano and art.  But I am also spending a lot of time THINKING about how to best communicate my ideas in a way that will resonate with young people.  It’s more challenging than I initially expected.  I will need to “test drive” my first draft with some trusted young people to determine if anything I have to say is even relevant to them, or if they think I’m just an old fogey with quaint ideas that have no bearing on their life experience.  Particularly in light of the recent mass shooting in Florida, I am loathe to sound trite and out of touch.

Regardless, I’ve decided no matter how slow the process or how long it takes, I will write this book, because the concept seems to have merit, and if nothing else, I will document my own philosophy and understanding of life, gained from six-plus decades of hard-fought struggles and hard-won victories!  I want to share with young people concepts I wish I had not had to learn the hard way.

The mandalas are posted on the gallery page, too, if you want to see them on a larger scale.

Happy March (and soon-to-be spring)!

February 13, 2018

This is my first post since the end of 2017.  So, belatedly, Happy New Year!

I’ve been spending the last 6 weeks working on a new piano composition.  It has been coming to me very slowly, in bits and pieces, but now feels complete.  It’s a very simple tune, but also has some lyrical complexity that intrigues me.  It feels like riding a wave.  I had 5 or 6 different ideas for the title, but settled on “Awakening.”  Awakening to the day.  Awakening to what’s happening in the world.  Awakening to one’s own inner “music.”  Awakening in consciousness.

I have also been working on drawings for the book I plan to write.  Each chapter (there will be seven) will have a drawing that represents the theme of that chapter.  Five drawings are finished.  When I complete the other two, I will share them all in my next blog post.  The drawings are inspired by the seven chakras, or wheels of energy in the body that relate to various stages of our human and spiritual development.

I still think about the book a lot, and have written a few pages of the first chapter, but mostly the ideas are still just sloshing around in my brain, and I feel like the time is not fully ripe for actual writing.  I guess it’s the incubation (or gestation) phase of the process!  But now that my piano piece is complete (as long as I don’t get enticed by something new), and as soon as my other two drawings are done, I believe I’ll be ready to immerse.  Or, maybe I’m just procrastinating???

 Smiley Face

Anyway, here is “Awakening.”  I’d love your feedback!