I make an arbitrary brushstroke with water and slowly add color to the stain, watching it diffuse according to its own nature. Releasing expectation of what will come and surrendering to the discovery, I watch forms emerge unconsciously and spontaneously. Mistakes become obsolete. Once the paint dries, I return to the image with ink and outline the gradation of color. I am comforted by the lack of definition in the abstract imagery as well as the containment provided by the dark outline. Tracing the colors requires the focus of my gaze and the steadiness of my hand, but otherwise my mind is open. Without having to think about the composition, my attention is free to witness what arises to the surface as a result of mood or my uninhibited stream of consciousness. I consider art a way of being, not an achievement. When creative spirit is present, I am curious and guided!
Won't you please join me in the simple pleasures of creative play??
The collection of paintings here hold stories that are ready to emerge! The colors have shapes and symbols to show you in the making of a unique composition. Click an image below to download or print. Use a pen or marker (or a drawing app) to outline any shapes that attract your attention.
Discover and explore!
Here is some inspiration ... and please !please! please share your renderings with The Art of Shmee
I would love to see them!!
on Instagram @shmeereverie or e-mail at email@example.com !
Flow is a concept termed by Mihlay Csikszentmihalyi in his book, Beyond Boredom and Anxiety: Experiencing Flow in Work and Play. This blissful state of consciousness can be accessed in any activity where a person “loses” themself in the action. When skill level meets challenge, a simultaneous state of relaxation and arousal is evoked. It is a balanced state between enjoyment and concentration, where attention is high but effortless. I also see flow state as a steady rhythm between the mechanisms of the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic branches of the Autonomic Nervous System. Based on my own experiences of a flow state, I describe this kinetic homeostasis as both grounding and transpersonal. I am presently engaged in the activity while also feeling connected to something outside of myself. In these moments, my breath is regulated and my focus is relaxed and intent. I feel safe, calm, and in pleasure.
Last month I had the deep honor of participating in Blessed Unrest, the art & social justice festival from Crescent Moon Theater Productions. My collaborator and I wove together spoken word that came from the truths of our experience. Working on this piece affirmed my commitment to the creative process, and amplified my desire for this process to always touch into the collective. A greater honor was to witness the other artists who owned the stage in their varied forms. They reminded me of the regenerative power of art... available at any age, at any point in life’s process.
We can engage our own transformation (as long as we carry a tolerance for the discomfort and a commitment to the unknown) and creativity is a way to distill meaning to the essence. To articulate the ineffable experiences that are too big for words alone. To process and integrate. To invigorate and embolden the quiet voices inside. We all have quiet voices that are worth listening to.
I see there is an artist in all of us, a creatrix that transforms emotions, thoughts, and perceptions. There is also an audience in all of us, who has a blessed opportunity to step outside of the lives we know and into the experience of another who has something to teach us.
Photos by the great Paula Junn
Narrative cartography is an emerging field of research that looks at the relationship between maps and stories. Whether lived or literary, plot lines connect storylines and unearth the myriad of relationships alive in an ecosystem. Narratives are set in real and imagined places, and maps hold the stories of our many paths in life. Early mapmaking joins traditional mythology, folklore, and song as a carrier of knowledge of place and other-than-human life. These customs serve a key function in society for portraying cultural worldviews and helping individuals orient to life systems. In this way, narrative cartographies influence human relationships with place and other-than-human life. The characteristics of an environment impact our experiences just as much as our experiences impact the characteristics of an environment. The places we shape, shape us.
The first run of The Vagina Monologues in 1996 gave birth to V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against all women and girls (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender-based violence). With creativity and determination, V-activists around the world tirelessly work to end harassment, rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation and sex slavery. On February 14 of each year, artists around the world honor V-Day with a recreation of The Vagina Monologues. In recent years, the show has grown to include spoken word pieces and monologues from the community.
V-Day East Bay brought The Vagina Monologues to life with an amazing cast and collaborators. Performing in the Vagina Monologues was a deeply compelling experience for me, one that was enlivened by laughter and attitude emerging from the intensity of the stories we told on stage. All ticket sales benefit the Building Futures Women's Shelter and The Medea Project: Theatre for Incarcerated Women. I am honored to have been invited to share a spoken word piece that speaks to my experience as a gender queer / non-binary person. Working on this piece gave me an opportunity to reflect on the stories of my life and discover the artful wisdom within.
My Name is Shmee
Wow what an atmosphere at Bioneers 2018! The depth and breadth of conversation and art saturates and inspires. Bioneers is an innovative nonprofit organization that highlights breakthrough solutions for restoring people and planet. The Art of Shmee graced the outdoor stage with tapestries of windstruck patterns in motion!
Hop over to Instagram with these links to watch a video of the tapestries in motion: (1) (2) (3) (4)
Thank you to Art at Bioneers and our supports!
“I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again.” ~ Anaïs Nin
the Julia's Travels is an environmental fable that explores the relationship between industrial civilization and wildness through Julia's mysteriously guided adventure. Told through dance, theater, music and spirited storytelling, we explore unimagined possibilities to generate hope and dreams that will support a thriving future!
Julia's Travels will be performed in private locations around the bay leading up to the Bioneers Conference on October 12. Photos below from Commonweal Garden on Coast Miwok land in Bolinas, CA.
Crescent Moon Theater Productions creates original, thought provoking new work that spans across the disciplines of theater, dance, music and circus. CMTP also produces Blessed Unrest, an annual arts and social justice festival at CounterPulse Theater in San Francisco.
Photos by the gracious Michelle Magdalena Photography
Moon Bloom: a Vaudevillian Extravaganza
Celebrate the moon's mysteries with me, find yourself in midnight's delight...
In gratitude we dance the creative spirit alive and come together to make our new season thrive!
June 9 was a night to celebrate the fiery spirit of Polina Smith, powerhouse creatrix behind Crescent Moon Theater Productions!
CMTP is a non-profit production company committed to creating original and thought provoking new work that spans across the disciplines of theater, dance, music and circus. Amazing and eccentric talent stirred the room with a boisterous, lively and bustling night of cabaret, circus, tea, tarot and dance!
All money and energy generated at this event is to support the upcoming season for Crescent Moon Theater Productions, including ongoing circus arts performances, one original show, and the annual Blessed Unrest festival. CMTP began producing Blessed Unrest in 2016, bringing together artists and activists for a weekend of workshops, panel discussions, performances, and visual art exploring the intersection art and social `change.`
Follow Crescent Moon Theater Productions on Patreon to continue generative support of the arts.
Photos by the multitalented Michelle Magdalena Photography
Cheng-Ling Chen is an "everyday heroine" who created Herliograph to spotlight some of the inspiring women she sees doing amazing things, mostly unseen or under-appreciated by the world at large. Her hope is that people everywhere can connect deeply with one another's stories and in so doing, illuminate their own paths. I was humbled when she asked to include me among the shining spirits displayed on her site. My experience of gender identity embraces womanhood and expressions beyond the binary. I am forever in exploration of all that I claim to be, and appreciate conversations like this to crawl around in the spaces where ideas and language meet.
In October 20017, Chris Turner photographed me among the Cypress and Eucalyptus trees inhabiting the North West coast of Ramaytush-Ohlone land, and I shared some of my personal stories with Cheng-Ling. Visit my feature, Cosmic Dust , and meet some of my co-conspiritors!
TheArt of Shmee Shop is open on Etsy! I am stoked to offer some arts for decor - prints and tapestries - and to share one of my favorites out of the Shmee collection: puzzles. PUZZLES!
The spirit of my creative practice is playful and spontaneous, and I hope these offerings invite you into such joy.
Check me out! Link below
It was so exhilarating to be in a room full of my own creative explosions and to watch people engaging with every detail. THANK YOU to everyone who came out and brought their whole self ready to discover color and play in between the lines. THANK YOU to everyone who helped bring this vision to life and break it back down again. I appreciate your support more than I can even say, and love you so! THANK YOU to everyone from afar who sent beaming waves of excitement our way on Saturday. I do intend to turn this all into a roadshow one day and bring all the excitement back to you ...
My practice with watercolor and ink began during my first winter living in Brooklyn, NY after wrapping up four years of creative development in acting school and ditching my TV. I was in a major transition in life and awakening into far more questions than answers. Fortunately, I was invigorated with curiosity and had the works of my artistic and mystic predecessors to guide me:
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” - Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
On snowy nights, I would sit at my desk (a second-hand coffee table with a pillow on the floor), crank up some dubby bass music and elevate into a state to create. This was The Answer to my solitude, to my emerging spiritual inquiry, and to my need for a creative outlet. Seven years later, this practice is one of the greatest gifts in my life, and has fueled a creative path that extends beyond the medium that started it all.
This practice is more than creative, it is meditative. It is a time for my mind to ramble on, pitching concepts to my soul. It is a time for my mind to listen, gleaning insights from my heart. It is time for my mind to play, releasing stress and strain. It is a time for my mind to be open and free, flowing as an undefined identity.This practice is my teacher, helping me accept each brush stroke, sporadic as it may be, as an integral part of the Now and embrace the creative process as a vehicle for transformation.
Each piece in the show was born of this process and imbued with the bohemian tenets of Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love. (Ahem… Thanks, Baz Lurhmann and Moulin Rouge) I make an effort to bring my most authentic self to the table, and I offer this collection to you with the wish that you do the same. The perspective that you bring to the work is a key part of its presentation. This body of work is about discovery without definition. Perhaps the unknown isn’t some gaping abyss, but instead a colorful realm filled with imaginings that have not yet been born into thought. Discover yourself in the winding linescapes and abstract renderings; let your mind wander - it is safe to explore. I encourage you to dive deeper.
“I am my best work - a series of road maps, reports, recipes, doodles, and prayers from the front lines.” - Audre Lorde