Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Shamanic Art original and print

This original chalk pastel is titled “Lunch in the Garden” and captures the intense vibrancy of sitting in a still cool July morning, enjoying a cuppa and looking out at the extravagant ornateness of summer blooms. ..while perhaps wearing a fish hat.

As a visual artist who has taught many years of middle school and university level art students, as well as given hours of painting workshops to adults, I love to surprise my student’s creative process by creating images in unusual ways.  This pastel probably wins the prize for the most peculiar source for an art image that I’ve ever suggested.

My students and I sat in a circle with all manner of almost used up art materials on a table in the center.  Amid much laughter and increasing little kid messiness, we passed a breakfast cereal box around and around; each one of us selecting a tube of paint, crayon, pen, ink brush—anything that would make a mark—and covered the inside of the box without peeking inside.  When we had as much color smeared on ourselves as we imagined was smeared inside, we opened the box to dry flat.  What a riot of color and pattern!  Such a wild story of shapes and textures could never be told by planning the effects or checking on progress.

When the art materials were dry, we used strips of white paper taped into a small picture “frame” and moved these around the cardboard until we found forms that spoke back to our wandering gaze.
Once we had located an area and taped our frame over it, this was cut out and became the source image for our painting.  We then had the good fun and visual challenge of trying to replicate exactly the different materials and marks to a scale that ‘jumped up’ into art.


Original Chalk Pastel on Matte Board
20”(w) x 13”(h) (51 cm x 33 cm) unframed…$500.00
Matted to fit 26.5” x 20” frame
shrink wrapped on foam core for shipping
shipping included

Custom fine art print on acid free velvet art paper
with archival inks

17” x 11” (43 cm x 27 cm) unmatted….$150.00
shrink wrapped on foam core for shipping
shipping included

To order contact Kristen at

See more shamanic art originals and prints at 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why take in a stray cat?

I believe I was fortunate to grow up in a family that took in strays. Cats would appear and soon be curled into a corner of the back porch; dogs wandering the road would find a food dish and then a name. Because my father was the high school coach we seemed to take in stray kids too. Saturday afternoon would usually find leftover team members watching baseball or discussing the Friday night game. So when this lovely grey cat began appearing at the edge of the woods and then more regularly in a sheltered spot by the garden, I of course began giving her food. My rough carpentry skills became involved as an old piece of camping foam transitioned from ground pad to a box liner—and soon she was fully at home as the outdoor kitty.

We returned from our winter holiday to discover what the OK already knew—she was looking for a place to have her babies. I spent lots of time imagining how this was going to unfold. Would she go off and have her kittens in the wild, not showing them until they were older, if they survived at all? Would she want or need to come inside, further distressing our already grumpy indoor kitty who didn’t want to share anything with the intruder? Would she be able to bond with her babies, or perhaps hurt or abandon them? It’s amazing how many dire scenarios a person can dream up based on no evidence of alarm whatsoever.

When her time came, she came and got me with loud complaint, and we sat in the sun in the garden—she in the kittening box and me nearby—while she made a perfect new mom job of delivering and caring for 5 kittens. So now what? And what does this have to do with making shamanic drums and creating the Journey Oracle card deck?

Now what…will be whatever the next step is for the happiness of all. I am learning not to have expectations and anxieties. I am learning from the outdoor kitty to just do the next thing: eat, nurse, sleep. All will have homes when the right time comes.

This story relates to my shamanic art is interesting ways. I sometimes find myself taking in stray drums and rattles. Someone gives me a drumstick found at the free store here on Cortes, a rattle appears at a garage sale; sometimes I even seem to make a drum that becomes a stray. This large shaman drum with its ghost painting and deep voice has been sold and come back twice—each time through no complaint with the drum. Maybe these spirit companions who travel to the other realities can also be strays. If so, then they are coming to the right place. I am happy to give them all food.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why make a cover for Oracle cards?

When I found this slightly mold-stained, broken-spine I Ching in a used book store, my first response was to buy silk and cotton and spend days making a covers and wraps, and then more covers to put around the covers. I do this for two reasons: the first because an Oracle so old and venerable needs to be honored with beautiful clothes and have a house to rest in when not working. The second reason is because beauty is always vulnerable to jealousy and grasping, and the ornate wrapping deflects attention from the deeper beauty which is the wisdom of the Oracle.

I made traditional I Ching “yarrow sticks” out of an old palm frond found drying on the lava covered shoreline of our holiday rental, and for the same reasons—to honor and disguise—I stitched a separate bag for these.

I do something similar for my Journey Oracle card decks. Every once in a while, a color combination of felt will not work well—this green pouch with red insert is a bit too “Christmassy” for me. When this happens, rather than discard it, I embellish it into my momentarily personal Oracle card deck cover—adding more detail as time allows. It doesn’t matter to me to finish the work before letting anyone see it. I use the deck with its cover “in progress” and sure enough, someone will comment on what I am doing, and I will tell them that everything Holy likes to be honored with beautiful clothes and have a house to rest in when not working…and just like that what was unloved becomes valuable.

Everything made by hand is made first to honor the Holy in nature which reside in the physical materials used, because the Holy delight in what we do with our thumbs, since I understand they do not have any. So I guess this is my third reason to make a cover for Oracle cards. I love to feed the Holy of the moldy paper and the palm spines with my art.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How to use Oracle cards

I am often asking myself how to use Oracle cards. Even though the materials, images, words and dreams come from the Holy in Nature, it is us humans who translate these into meaning that guide our sometimes troubled and confusing lives. I recently found a very old version of the Journey Oracle deck stories and remembered my first version of these oracle cards from the spirit world were not in story form at all, but in a series of statements about a situation.

Join with me in creating a reading. Close your eyes and think of situation for which you want some guidance. Imagine you have drawn Journey Oracle card #1. Let this very old new form of the Oracle bring you insight.
Email me at if you have been reading the Oracle in its published form, and have received a new or different order of insight with the form presented here.

SUIT: journey CARD NAME: Day Of Unhewn Stone # 1

Gaze into the picture on the phrase side of card 1. This is an image of your situation. Describe what you see using simple language. Notice colors, shapes and also what you feel. These five sentences deepen the meaning of your situation.

This situation began by being all set up.

The prevailing energy of this situation is laden with dirt.

The core energy pattern of this situation is dark and foreboding.

The Mother of this situation is exotic.

The Father of this situation is a line in the sand.

Turn card 1 over and gaze into the picture on the question side of the card. This is your relationship to the situation. Notice colors, shapes and also what you feel. These five sentences deepen the meaning of your relationship to the situation.

My relationship to the prevailing energy is filled with wonder.

My perception of the situation is fleeting.

The impact of this perception is varied.

The connection between the core energy pattern and the situation is felt as distressing.

The momentum of this situation is fed by going asleep.

Read the sentence below. Close your eyes and visualize this support helping your situation.

A relationship with claws is the support that will guide you in this situation.

Open your eyes and gaze again at the question side of card 1. Read the question aloud. This question about your situation came in a dream.

How safe is this repair?

How is this an answer to the question? A bubble.

Feel the question change your situation. These sentences will deepen meaning about change coming into your situation.

The power needed to shift this situation will be heard as a harsh sound.

Change will come into this situation by reverting to old patterns.

Your relationship to the change in this situation is like a doorway.

The moment of letting go into the change of this situation will smell heavenly.

The concern to be avoided within this change will taste heavy.

These sentences will deepen meaning about the transformation resulting from change.

The wisdom of making it the best ever will empower the transformation of this situation.

Completed transformation will be felt as a quality of black night.

Turn back to the phrase side of card 1. Read the phrase. This is guidance from Divine Will.


This prose poem is guidance from the Oracle. Read these phrases. Some more than others will speak into your situation in a way that you can best hear right now. Allow time to reflect and integrate. Wisdom will be revealed by feeling the truth of the Oracle in your own way.

helps you go deeper

must go this way

a guardian in this place


been there before