Offering HeART and SoulCollage® workshops to inspire your creative spirit
Closing Out the Old Year - Welcoming the New!
I love the ritual of reflecting on the year that has passed and contemplating the renewal and rebirth that a new year brings. There’s something so refreshing and hopeful about turning the page to a new year filled with possibilities. I hope my list of the top 10 highlights of 2021 inspires you to take a look back at the high's and low's of your year as you transition into 2022. My mantra this year is "More kindness: to others...and to the planet!"

As I do every year on January 1st, I threw the I Ching coins and received Hexagram #5. Read more about my top 10 highlights for 2021 and discover what the ancient Chinese Oracle Book of Changes told me about the year 2022.
Many blessings and Happy New Year! 
Here are my Top 10 Highlights of 2021
#1 Finishing My Book!

Staying home more this year, I dedicated myself to finishing my six-year-long book writing project. I’m thrilled to announce that my book,
Quest: My Story of Transformation in the Solitude of Wild Nature, will be published by She Writes Press in the fall of 2023! It’s been a labor of love and I can’t wait for you to read it. Now...onto the final edits!
#2  There’s no place like home

I deepened my connection to, and appreciation for, my sweet inner city bungalow home this year. I discovered my own little slide of urban wildness here on Bush Street with 20 different types of birds visiting my feeders (yes, I kept a list!), gray squirrels romping over fences and power lines, and a frog that croaked outside my dining room window all summer. (I never got to see it, though I sure did try!)
#3  Climate Calamities

In February we had a cataclysmic ice storm that took hundreds of trees and shut off power for over a week. In early July a heat dome covered the Pacific Northwest and temperatures soared to 117 degrees Fahrenheit. These extreme weather events inspired me to get prepared for more natural disasters. I followed the Red Cross guidelines for preparedness and bought a small generator. I could say "I’m ready," but is one ever really ready for such things?
#4 SoulCollage® Community Lifeline

Creating and sharing art with you has been a lifeline this year. Thanks to zoom technology, I’ve kept my connection with locals and met many new creatives across the nation.

It’s been my joy to offer gatherings like: Visioning for 2021, Courting the Muse, Celebration of Spring Equinox, Celebration of May Flowers, Angeles Arrien’s Four Fold Way, Celebration of Summer Solstice, Kintsugi SoulCollage®, Joanna Macy’s Climate Crisis as a Spiritual Path, and Winter Solstice – Nurturing the Seed Within.

Thank you all for bring your open-hearts and creative energies to the Virtual Down to Earth Studio this year. I’d be adrift without you and the community we've created!
#5 Welcome Molly!

A new member of our family, Molly Elizabeth Schweitzer, was born to my granddaughter, Megan and her husband, Jack in November of this year.

The east coast is far from Oregon, but Megan regularly sends me videos of Molly’s siblings, Jack, 7 years, Nora, 5 years, and Caroline, 3 years, fawning over their new baby sister.

Fingers crossed that I will get to visit them next spring.
#6 Experimenting in the Studio

Normally a collage artist, I experimented more with painting this year. In the process I learned to push through my fear and hesitancy and trust my creative process.

It’s a wonderful thing to still surprise yourself with what you can do in your seventh decade on the planet!

This painting titled: "July Full Buck Moon" was created while I was on an art retreat in New Mexico in October. Those rings around the moon are called "moon dogs." : )
#7 Art Mentoring

It’s been so rewarding this year to mentor other artists and help deepen their creative groove! It’s inspirational, educational (for both of us!), and just down-right fun.
Thank you for putting your faith and trust in me as your mentor and guide this year. May 2022 take us all deeper into freely expressing our unique versions of beauty in the world!
#8 In-Person Wolf Howls

For my annual quest this year I went up to the North Cascades Wilderness in Washington state to a sweet bee-paradise place called "Skalitude." On the last night of my solo fast, for the first (and most likely the last) time in my life, I heard a real live wolf pack howl at night. The experience resonated all the way through my body and into my bones! The Lookout Pack of wolves is estimated at eight members, and it sounded like all eight were riled up, yipping and howling. What a privilege. And I have to admit, at the same time, a bit spine tingling!
#9 Grief and Loss

On a brisk and sunny day in October, we spread my mother’s ashes at the Natural Bridge on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. It was so bittersweet – colorful autumn leaves, just like in one of my mother’s paintings, and a final goodbye. I miss her every day.

Also, three of my dearest friends were diagnosed with cancer this year. Their courage and acceptance of this part of their life journey reminds me that we never know what’s ahead, but our open, loving hearts will get us through one day at a time.
#10 I Ching Reading for 2022

I threw the coins for a reading for the upcoming year. My question to the Oracle was: “What can you tell me about the upcoming year of 2022?” Here is how the Sage answered:

Hexagram #5: Water Over Heaven - Waiting (Nourishment)
"Waiting is not mere empty hoping. It has the inner certainty of reaching the goal. Such certainty alone gives that light which leads to success. This leads to the perseverance that brings good fortune and bestows power to cross the great water.

One is faced with a danger that has to be overcome. Weakness and impatience can do nothing. Only a strong man can stand up to his fate, for his inner security enables him to endure to the end. This strength shows itself in uncompromising truthfulness [with himself]. It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any sort of self- deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be recognized.

This recognition must be followed by resolute and persevering action. For only the man who goes to meet his fate resolutely is equipped to deal with it adequately. Then he will be able to cross the great water – that is to say, he will be capable of making the necessary decision and of surmounting the danger."

May it be so! If you are interested in learning more about how to consult the I Ching, here is a great online source from the Salome Institute.

Sending you love and blessings for 2022.
Come join me for an upcoming Art and SoulCollage® gathering
Third Friday SoulCollage® Gatherings are back at the Down to Earth Studio

January 21, February 19, March 18, 2022, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Sliding scale $20 - $35. Come join us for the rekindling of the SoulCollage community fires. (In person with OHA Covid protocols)
I've missed having your creative hearts in the studio and can't wait to be in soulful community with you again -- creating, sharing, surprising yourselves with your brilliance!

 Those new to SoulCollage® can come early for an overview - Newcomer Fee of $45 includes 1 hour overview and 3 hour session.

Join me for these upcoming Friday SoulCollage® themes: 
January 21 - Tabula Rasa for the New Year
February 19 - In My Heart of Hearts
March 18 - The East Shield and the Season of Spring

Email GG to register.

Stenciling with Super Style

Saturday, January 29, 2022
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Art Department Supply Store
(In-person workshop OHA Covid protocols)
Workshop fee: $85.00

Stencils? Aren't stencils those uncreative things that allow you to make the same image over and over by painting or coloring through them? Yep. That's what stencils are...but they are anything but uncreative! With stencils, you don’t have to know how to draw (that scary word for so many). More than that, stencils can add layered repeated patterns that draw the eye into a world of delight. Plus they are a blast to work with!

In this workshop, we will explore the world of adding stenciled shapes to collaged artwork. Learn how to create your own stencils, and tips on how to combine shapes and designs to create pieces ranging from whimsical to serene – from birds and bouquets.
Come engage in relaxed playful expression. All levels are welcome.

Register with the Art Department Supply store here. Supply list provided at registration.
Temples of Kindness

Saturday, February 19, 2022
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Art Department Supply Store, Salem, Oregon
(In-person workshop with OHA Covid protocols)
Workshop fee: $85.00

Do you look at the exquisite papers on the shelf at your local art store and wonder how you might use them?

Come and fold beautiful decorative papers into little temples of kindness complete with secret compartments that hold messages of love, joy and happiness. Create this delightful 3-dimensional work of art to give as a gift -- that is, if you can bear to part with it. Better yet, make one for yourself and one to give away.

You can make full size (8" high) or half size (5" high). Follow step-by-step instructions to fold Origami boxes, cover matt board lids, adding beads and charms and secret messages to create a sweet temple of delight!

Register with the Art Department Supply store here. Supply list shown at registration.
Honored to Have My Writing Published

I was invited by one of my writing teachers, Ellen Santasiero, to write the story of stroke survivor, Deborah McMahon, for the book:
Just Say "Yes" to Life!: Stories of Thriving after Stroke by Stroke Awareness Oregon and Ellen Santasiero.

The book is a collection of 26 inspiring stories about surviving and thriving after stroke. Authentic, vulnerable, and brave, the tales give stroke survivors, and those who love them, hope for the best possible recovery and encourage them to never give up. I was honored to have my writing of Deborah's story included in this project, and doubly honored to write Deborah's story. Just Say "Yes" to Life! is available now Amazon.
Other Offerings from the Down to Earth Studio
Contact GG for questions or orders.

Prints of my latest work: "Being Held in Deep Grief and Unbearable Beauty" are available for $65.00 (12" x 16"). Plus postage. I'm really pleased with the quality of these prints.
A friend recently bought one to hang over her altar space.

Gift Certificates for GG's Down to Earth Studio for products, classes, or art doula services.

The Art Doula is Here for You!

Come and explore, discover, and birth your unique creativity.

Are you a tentative artist, or maybe a wanna-be? Do you feel the call to create something but don't know where to start? Have you heard yourself say the words “I’m not a creative person?” Or, maybe you think of yourself as only a painter, or only a crafter.
Let’s debunk those myths! I am an Art Doula, here to help you explore, discover, and birth more of your unique creativity. I'd so love to work with you in 2022 to help your creative life blossom. Zoom or in-person doula services available. More information on my website here.

Return of the Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat in 2022!

I'm thrilled to announce I will be once again facilitating a retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs next year...Yay! The retreat will be over the women's only weekend, May 20-22, 2022. I'll have more details within the next few weeks. Check my website for updates.
It seems like whatever I do, there is a Rumi quote that fits. Here is one for moving into the new year...

"Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames."

Happy New Year from my creative heart to yours.

May 2022 bring you more opportunities to create beauty for the world!