Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Sharing gorgeous art books at the Bellefonte Art Museum!

It's a TOME. There can be only ONE.
I am so excited. I spent my afternoon going through my library, which is fairly extensive (over 1,000 books), looking for art books to share with members and visitors to the Bellefonte Art Museum. Wow it was so fun remembering all the hours I've spent poring through them over the years. More than half a lifetime, and hours well spent, sometimes outside under a tree, sometimes late at night between work hours - keeping my dreams alive and keeping my eyes and hands in shape for the time I would be able to spend most of my time drawing and painting, which has been a lifetime passion and is now becoming my "second career" after retiring from 16 years with Penn State University, mostly as an instructional designer (web design of educational subject matter).

The image above is the book my wonderful husband handed me to donate to our collection. It's a textbook sort of TOME - lots of black and white photos, lots of lecture-type, nose-in-the-air carefully educated, opinionated text. The reason my little caption says "There can be only ONE," is that as the library manager reviewing and checking in books for donation or lending, I consider it my job to accept books that are stunningly GORGEOUS, filled with AWESOME illustrations, INSPIRING, and that cover a wide variety of subject matter, according to our membership talents and skills (I'm even bringing in a book on mosaic artistry, so excited because we have a very talented artist who works in that style).

We are not boring. We are here to inspire you. We are here to enhance skills you're interested in improving.

A few really inspiring anatomy books.
Many artists do not draw the human figure because it can be rather overwhelming, all those muscles (or not) and curves. We have several anatomy books that are so beautiful you can hardly resist getting out the charcoal and playing with the light and shadow that creates a recognizable human being.


Step-by-step instruction.
We have some lovely how-to books on many styles of imagery, including watercolor and pastel, oils, etc. Borrow a few and see what you can do! Book sign-out starts March 1st!

Quirkiness is something we can all relate to.
In the interest of inspiration, I'm also sharing some books on artists who have been successful in developing a reputation for quirkiness and fantasy, commentary on contemporary society, and little beautiful messages from the soul. James Christensen is one of these - our collection will include two of his lovely books. If you feel like you don't "fit in," no worries, we all fit in here precisely because we "don't fit in." We are individuals with inner vision, and our unique forms of expression hold value to our viewers and clientele.

I'll tell you a story...

This book was pivotal for me at the tender age of two years old.
Ancient, I know.
This is one of the pivotal images.
The line, the form, the color captured my imagination and my heart.
The images above come from a book my parents read to me when I was just two years old, and of course, many times in subsequent years. I fell absolutely in love with the illustrations - the line, color, form, and beauty of them. This is what sparked my heart to do this as my lifeway - to become an artist. To create beauty that others could enjoy and fall in love with. To make their hearts sing. As we roll into having evening discussions and afternoon storytelling time, I look forward to the opportunity to hear what sparked others to become artists. 

One day I had the loveliest conversation with one of our members. He had worked full career years at the University, and at retirement, he decided he wanted to have some legacy of a sort to leave to his children, so he started painting. And his paintings are beautiful. Such a great reason to lean into your creativity!

So with the setup of the library at the Bellefonte Art Museum, my main goal is to inspire others. I get to review the books donated or lent, and will be looking for this. Gorgeousness is definitely encouraged. No dump-offs, no crapola. 

Here's part of what I'm bringing to share, all cover washed and dedusted.

For the children xo
And here's what I'm bringing for our children's book collection. No Disney. Not yet anyway unless there's a big demand for it.

These are books that are beautifully illustrated by artists who have been able to build respected reputations. 

So I'll be spending a few days this week at the museum getting set up, and we'll start lending in March. Take a minute to pop into the Photography Gallery to check the bookshelves to see what's there that might inspire you to create your next masterpiece : ) And please consider sharing some of the books that have inspired you. You can lend or donate. And if your books feel like "gold," we can keep them on the premises, not available for sign-out, but for viewing in the gallery, yes.

Come check it out!

See you soon,

Your happy library manager, Jen


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Creating the Healing Place, Using Our Power

Big empty room.
Today was a lovely milestone day. We survived the days of taking down the bedroom setup in the third bedroom. Pete from the Used Furniture place came and took some of the stuff we had in there, and we donated the rest to the Salvation Army. Both were kind upon pickup. When the twin beds went out of there (which I thought we'd have in the house always) I sat on the ottoman in the living room and had to cry a little for a minute. Change is uncomfortable, but very very necessary.

After all the furniture was taken care of (sent off with prayers for prosperity, peace, and good health for the new owners of these items) I rolled up the Persian rug and we put it out on the curb. I had walked down the hallway a thousand times this past year, seeing that rug, knowing I could go into that room, but I would not find my Jess. The rug just held a lot of pain. So did the beds, as I had made them up with my heart in my throat before we went to get her and bring her home to heal. I had spread out all her new clothes on one bed, and gave her the task of taking the tags off, but she was too sick to even do that, so I did it for her.

I knew I could not live with that intense level of pain for very much longer, so we decided to change the purpose of the room. We had lots of really fabulous exercise equipment in the basement that I'd purchased over the years, but I never used it because our basement isn't dry and the air is musty/moldy. So we decided to bring it upstairs and convert the third bedroom into an exercise room.

Wow. What a day. I haven't felt this excited by anything in a couple of years. It felt so good to be heading into positive territory.

Grown-up toys!
My sister gave us a rug she wasn't using for the workout room, and it's just perfect. A little bit of softness and mood, which adds some warmth to the room. You can see parts of each lovely piece of equipment, including our treadmill, Crossbow, and Fluidity Bar, plus my little bouncer.

Rob's reviewing the manual for the Crossbow.
The treadmill stands by the window, a great place to walk to our hearts' content, and I was very pleased that I could download the manual for the Crossbow even after years of it sitting in the basement unused. Rob spent the afternoon swabbing everything down with Mr. Clean, and hooking things up, including our computer, which will play the coordinating DVDs and other really cool things we can download to make workouts fun.

It felt very special that though the morning began a bit wintry and wet, the sun came out just as my nephew and his friend arrived to help move everything, and it stayed out til just after they left. Magic. I so appreciated their patience and strength and safe maneuvering of all this equipment. Isn't it wonderful when our Earth Angels come to help us?

I got to rearrange the other spare room once the treadmill had been moved.
And as so often happens, when a project is being done in one room of the house, many other rooms get affected, so I spent my time rearranging the other little spare room once the treadmill was out of there, preparing for the arrival of the new queen-sized bed, and organizing things that hadn't been touched in years (CDs!). I rediscovered my wonderful music collection and had a good time moving things around. A side note to my West Coast and Far-Eastern thinking friends - I did some research on which direction is best for sleeping, thinking of Earth's magnetic fields and how the birds line up to orient themselves each day at sunset, how the fish and other animals navigate according to the magnetic fields, and discovered some very interesting information. I like to learn from ancient ways, so took in some Native American info on which directions are best to have your head when you sleep, and switched my bed accordingly. Now my head is pretty much southeast, which should be much better than the North, the direction I'd been sleeping for a couple of years - oops. Can't wait to see if it makes a difference.

Still a million more things to do, little details to take care of, finishing touches to put on the rooms, etc. I've decided to have the poster Alicia made using Jess's photo of Mt. Hood and the moon and the beautiful poem enlarged and will hang it in our workout room for inspiration.

For this I rise up.
All day in my head I had images of Jess and me laughing, several different instances over the years. I think she was sending them to me. One was the time we were driving across country, after the divorce, bringing my kids back East to raise them, and they were about 9 and 11 years old. They were excellent travelers, and we'd been driving for days. We stopped at a hotel one night and went into the restaurant for some dinner. The kids were so tired they were a bit punchy and got a fit of the giggles. I told them to quiet down because we were in a public place and their eyes got as big as saucers and they both looked at me with very wide grins and they said "but there's no one else here!" And it was true. The restaurant was completely empty. So we all broke into fits of giggles that we could hardly stop. That was one of the images she sent to me.

Another was when I lost the phone. You might have heard this story before. Jess and I were sitting outside in the pergola by the pool and it was dinnertime so I shook out my towel and slung it over my arm, got ready to go across the yard to the patio but realized I'd shaken the phone somewhere. I heard it thud. So I got down on my hands and knees and crawled around under the hostas looking for it. Didn't find it anywhere. And Jess said, "Oh I'll just call you Momma," so she did, and it rang. But it sounded way up high. And we realized that the phone had bounced out of the towel and straight up into the hanging basket that was over our heads, swinging from the top of the pergola. We cracked up laughing and I told her it probably would've been there for the whole winter if she hadn't thought to call me.

Another giggle fit we had was when we were hiking in Portland with Jess and somehow I ended up in the middle of a camera war. Jess was on one end and Rob on the other and they pointed their cameras at each other but I was in the middle and for some reason this struck our funny bones and we all cracked up laughing hysterically.

There was also a time when I put my sunglasses on my head and my hair stuck out all over the place and made Jess laugh like there was no tomorrow. She was a true gigglepuss all her life.

She was just sending me these images all day. Aren't I lucky. She knows it's the 10th and Momma has made a decision to step into her new world with a lighter heart. I will still cry. I will still miss her. But there's something healthy going on around that, and I think she approves.

Blessings to you and yours,

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Two Worlds Painting Done

Two Worlds all done!
Well I've made myself stop. Sometimes with painting it's knowing when to stop, and with this one I had a reeeeally good time.

This depicts the two worlds - spiritual and physical, and specifically, my daughter and myself as described in my blog post about this painting.

It's finished now, and I love many things about it, the main one being the creative power Jess has now in her new worlds. That's what I tried to convey in the design of her wings and her surroundings.

She's happy.
So this one is done and there's one more, which is the most beautiful of all. Will post about it when done.

Thanks for visiting!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Second Annual Review from my Employer, Dreamkeeper Creations

My good luck rabbit Ojime necklace which I wear all the time : )
So it is a bit past time for my annual evaluation from my bosses at Dreamkeeper Creations. I do this every year, to give me a plan and a touchstone and some encouragement. Here's this year's eval, which is a bit late because it was hard to write. But I'll certainly stick with this job. Oh yeah....

To Jennifer Berghage from her boss, Dreamkeeper Creations 01/03/16

Annual Evaluation

Dear Jen,

First, please accept our sincere condolences on the passing of your beloved daughter. We wish it could be otherwise, but we respect her choices and needs, as you do.

We are thankful that we still have you with us. We believe you have immense talent and we would like you to have a solid chance to develop it to share with the world. We would like for you to enjoy and revel in the moments that you are working to grow and to express your creative self, your mind and heart, and the appreciation you have for beauty.

We've watched you work through the hardest year of your life, and we'd like to highlight the qualities and skills that we see working for you.

It is evident that you have phenomenal strength and determination. It is evident that when you encounter challenge, you seek out ways to surmount it, some good and very effective, some self-destructive or weakening. In your situation for a limited period of time, the negative behavior is understood, and we sympathize. We are your best cheerleaders for working through it and letting go, for growing into the life-sustaining behaviors that make your work sing, and your heart sing.

It is evident that you have worked many years to create a store of reserves to pull out and lean on when you feel defeated, and you do pull them out, even as you work to escape the pain you have been feeling.

We would like for you to keep seeing your therapist, to keep that encouragement going, and the reminders that you are not your daughter, and that one moment is one moment, one appointment is one appointment, and what you do in-between makes a difference in how you're able to function and in how you feel.

We see that you're investing in both your restful life (new bed, peaceful bedroom with the comforts you find enjoyable), and in your physical life (creating your workout room where you can move your body and feel its strength returning).  We completely approve of these changes in your life and support your investment of them.

We would like to see you take some time to evaluate your direction for this year, creatively, no matter what else may come about, because it is the fire in your belly, the foundation of your existence here. You don't need to be famous, though you may become so, just create, do your very best, and spend time cultivating new friendships. Surround yourself with people who are doing what you're doing and working on living their own dreams. Drop the rest and anyone who does not encourage and support your dreams and efforts.

Choose carefully, focus, work hard, and you will see the reflection of your efforts and you will experience growing rewards. Stay focused when possible. Rest when you need to, walk in beautiful Nature, give your hands and mind and heart the power and freedom to do what they do, it comes from a higher source. This you can trust to bring you pleasure. And others too.

We are behind you one hundred percent. Follow your heart and don't let anyone steer you off your chosen path - listen and meditate. Enjoy your body movement.

We wish you the very best in 2016, a fresh new start, and a continuation of things that feel good. We are so very proud of you. Keep going. For you, for others who relate to what it is that you do.

Learn new things and let them fly. Spend time developing the social/online outlets.  Pay attention to the events at the museum, they are foundational to keeping you connected to others of like mind.

Carry on Warrior.

With love and respect and support and admiration - spread those wings and soar, we've got your back. We're looking forward to the wonderful year ahead.


The DKC Team