Look Out Your Window and Be Grateful

“Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”  Martin Luther King

The sweet image below was painted by Yael Maimon,  an Israeli woman living 8 miles from the Gaza Strip.   This painting is featured in the February 2017 issue of Watercolor Magic, with the following thought from the artist:

     If you  look our your window at peaceful scenery, you have reason to be grateful.

 Let us all live in a world of peace.

War Zone by Yael Maimon


A Month Later-Day one

The “three day retreat” I mentioned lasted three days, as family has kept me busy.  Arriving early Sunday morning, I went to a beautiful little church to photograph the mountains.  The view was delicious and the people were welcoming.  This was a duet of refreshing delight that continued, without fail, throughout my stay.

View of Three Sisters from Episcopalian Church window
View of Three Sisters from Episcopalian Church window

I rented a darling little house close to town.  It turned out that my “retreat center” had belonged to a wonderful friend who, sadly, moved far away.

Window seat perfect for naps.
Window seat perfect for naps.
Deck just right for reading and soaking in the sun.
Deck just right for reading and soaking in the sun.

I had visited her many times in her little abode.  It felt like coming home to me which made my stay so comfortable. I ate at my favorite dining places, and every shop I went into I ran into old friends or made new ones.

Never miss a sunset when  you’re in the mountains.   I did, by minutes, but the after glow was stunning.  This was my bedtime art.


Sun going down over Mt. Washington. Reflection on the clouds over unknown hill.
Sun going down over Mt. Washington. Reflection on the clouds over unknown hill.

The next evening was cloudless and rather uneventful, nevertheless just as stunning.  This get-away ended too soon.




“The first instance of the practice of forgiveness in our lives surely arises in relation to oneself.  I will stumble less through trial and error, find less to forgive of myself the more I gain perspective of the relationship I bear to the larger picture.”  Quote by Treasa O’Driscoll, “Celtic Woman: A Memoir of Life’s Poetic Journey.

This was one of those surprise books I ordered for a friend but was drawn into its well crafted and alluring pages.  I’m off on a three day retreat, paints and book in hand. What a gift.DSC01237

My imagination ran wild through the cosmos as I created this piece, wondering which tiny spec puts in to perspective where I/we are in this complex universe.

Transient Hypofrontality

My last post on Art and the Creative Brain ended with the following paragraph:

Now, as an artist, I go mad with excitement as I discover research and publications describing findings through Brain Mapping, fMRI, CAT and PET scans,that uncovers what’s happening neurologically   when creativity knocks on my/your brain, heart, or gut…and ”Walla,”…

It’s October 2010, and I’m taking down-time after a bout with kidney cancer, my third cancer since 1992.  I’m still here…that’s another ” Art Project” I will probably talk about later.

Watercolor on Paper

There I was in home from the hospital, in bed, tired, lonely, and alone.  Friends and family literally dropped out of my life when I really most needed… “anything.”  A glass of water, a hand to hold…a husband???  Where’d he go?  This was a strange change I couldn’t ignore it.  Something’s up.  Wake up, Self.

Not willing to take this abandonment laying down, I began a major re-evaluation of my life.  As with all my other “threshold moments” I’d experienced throughout my times, I knew a major reordering  was on its way.    I cleaned out some of the old and brought in new light – delight… that ended informing closer connections with other artists and delving deeper into my own creative process.  I saw groups of artists all around me – deeply devoted to their art and to one another

Four months later the “gift of cancer” arrived. It was mid March, Sunday evening, and I was listening to On Being, a PodCast hosted by Krista Tibbitt on American Public Media.  Her guest was Rex Jung, a neuropsychologist who researched Creativity and the Everyday Brain.  The Durango Kid used to be my idol, then John Denver, now it’s Rex Jung.

This is what Krista wrote about him. “Rex Jung has notably helped describe something called TRANSIENT HYPOFRONTALITY.”  WOW!  This term stopped me in my tracks, “tans – hypofronalyalissss?”  It took me a year to learn to say it.  It’s really quite simple to understand, the word says it all – once you get it.

“In layman’s terms,” Krista goes on to say, “it’s now possible to see the difference between intelligence and creativity in the brain.  We can watch the brain calm its powerful organizing frontal lobes and become more “meandering,” less directed, in order to make creative connections.”  And guess what else, Jung goes on to debunk the myth of the “right brain-left brain” rumor.  This interview was crazy with the finest information I’d come across in a long time.

Bursting at the seams with excitement I called two painters, a poet, a potter, a dancer, a singer songwriter, and a chef – I couldn’t find a master gardener -and proposed to these accomplished artist that we come together to study the creative process that each of us experiences as we do our art.  In other words, it’s not the product but the process that will be at the inform our exploration.

Watch for my next post to get the scoop on how we began our exploration…..

My Journey Through Art and Networks of the Brain

Winter Mountains
Winter Mountains


MY NAME IS “SU,” No “e,” and I’m a life-time Oregonian living deep in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.  

At last…at long last, the Oregon Cascades have gotten it’s first dump of snow. Four feet in the past four days. But now it rains, melting ice blocks and clearing roads.  Nature has offered the perfect metaphor to describe “Art,” “Creative Process,” and how it waits for the Artist’s frozen brain to melt and find “clearings” in which to create.

Blocks, frozen brain, clearing, and beginnings are descriptors of the topics I will discuss over time on this blog site.  Join me.

I am an artist, but that’s not where I began.  In my professional life I WAS a registered nurse, and for 35 years maintained a private practice in Biofeedback, Behavioral Medicine, and Neural Therapy – Brain Wave Training.  In my practice, I taught many patients to control and heal various diseases and/or disorders appropriate and responsive to biofeedback interventions.  Patients learned to control Blood Flow, Muscle Contraction/Relaxation, Heart Rate, Skin Response to name a few.  I often used Brain Wave Training methods to observe the brain at work and rest, while anxious or inattentive… and everything in between.  Neural Therapy led me through a long journey of inquiry, enthusiasm, befuddlement, and  fulfillment.

Now, as an artist, I go mad with excitement as I discover research and publications describing findings through Brain Mapping, fMRI, that uncovers what’s going on inside (and out) when creativity knocks on my/your brain, heart, or gut…and “Walla,”…