Free Spirit

img_20200117_161104Whenever I take those online personality/characteristic/values tests the term “free-spirit” always bubbles up to the top of my list.  Free spirit has been defined as ‘an independent or uninhibited person.’  In my mind, I’m half-way there. My existential crisis always circles around my need for freedom above all – however, real life seems to fight me every step of the way. Talk about internal turmoil.


Living a free-spirited life is not as easy as it sounds. I have come close to this state several times in my life: as a young child lost in my imaginary Barbie world and not caring if she was stylish or even married; as a teen, quietly rebelling against anything that seemed too normal or accepted by the popular crowd; now as an older woman, seeing the world through eyes that have seen a lot and knowing that much of it is just cultural bullshit.

At age 63, I live a relatively “conventional” life. At least I think I do, who really knows? When I’m working in my art studio, is my creativity simply reflecting the unrelenting culture insisting on some level of conformity?

One thing I know for sure (Oprah’s phrase, of course), my internal life is free, always free. Anything less could lead to another bout of a black night of the soul. Not fun, but eye-opening freedom always ensues.




Art Reception ~ Please join us

The Three Graces now arise

Ethereal, earthy, entwined

Melodious, in rhyme.

                           – Patty Carley

The Three Graces and friends Art Show

What: An art exhibit by Carolyn Abrams, Patty Carley, and Joanne Van Genderen with special guest artists Bev Skoll and Maddie Salvie.

Where: Sand Lake Town Library

8428 Miller Hill Road

Averill Park, NY 12018

Reception: Sunday, January 12, 2020 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm

NextTribe Interview: How I Dropped Everything to Be a Full-Time Artist⁠ ⁠

It was great to see my submission to NextTribe published on their web-page. I submitted answers to questions about my reinvention and transformation from public school educator to artist.

NextTribe is an on-line platform designed to support and encourage woman over 45. I love its upbeat and humorous nature. NextTribe creates community, connects women with each other, and broadens how we think about our lives and the years ahead. 

You can read my interview here describing how

I reinvented myself in midlife and became a full-time artist.

Shanti Arts – Nature, Art, Spirit

Still Point Arts Quarterly Winter 2020
Nature Art Spirit
Issue No. 36

I am honored to have my art included in the Winter 2019 edition of the Still Point Arts Quarterly as well as their on-line art gallery. The art that was chosen is at the end of this post. I love the theme of this issue, Phenomenal Women, and am awed by the wonderful interpretations by the other artists and writers.

Shanti Arts describes the Still Point Arts Quarterly as “a truly beautiful and engaging art and literary journal. Produced four times a year, each issue focuses on a theme and features historical and contemporary art, fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. The Quarterly has been praised for its rich content as well as its splendid layout and design. Intended for artists, nature lovers, seekers, and enthusiasts of all types.

A subscription to the interactive digital edition is FREE to anyone who signs up .

Subscriptions to the print edition may be purchased as well as copies of past issues.

Indulge yourself in a visual and literary feast—four times a year.”

The Three Graces
Safe Space

New Journal Page Spiritual Awakening

Our art journaling workshop instructor, Diane Segal, gave us a dreamcatcher prompt. My first attempt was a total disaster. So much so that I ripped off all of the collage elements and redid the page once I got back to my studio. I’m happy with the results now. It speaks to my desire to learn as much as I possibly can about the spiritual perspectives of other cultures.

New Art Journal Cover

The Hand of Hamsa

The Hand of Hamsa dates back thousands of years and was a sign used by those who were superstitiuos and wanted protection against any negative energies. Over the years the symbol became an icon of protection.

My art journal now has this symbol of protection on the front cover thanks to my teacher Diane Kotlow Segal and her wonderful art journaling workshops.

Abstract Art + Mixed Media = Perfect Alchemy

As a mixed media artist, my work is an ongoing source of experimentation and surprise. Applying the use of a variety of mark-making techniques to abstract art allows for unexpected twists and turns as each piece comes to life. Simultaneously applying a limited color palate invites viewers to experience a sensation of orderly chaos.


Abstract art can be like the of inner lives of those who are seekers: sometimes tangled, usually nonlinear, and always complex.

DIY Intention Cards

Felt the call to make myself an intention deck. I love how the cards look, feel, and speak to me. Knowing that these cards would be for personal purposes, I was free from perfectionist inclinations and truely enjoyed the creative process.

I’ve started to identify intentions for each card.

In My Studio

What can be better than that brief moment in time when your work space is in perfect order? You know that feeling when everything is in its place, supplies within easy reach, and a new project idea is all set to go?

Well, let me back up a little and share a recent experience prompted by one of those cute little art carts.

It’s cute, don’t you think?

I decided to put one next to my work table just like you see in those perfect Pinterest pictures. In went a few pencils, brushes, and gesso. Hmm, maybe I should sort my pencils by color and type before continuing. Oh, and my paints really could be organized according to the color wheel.

Before I knew it, the apocalypse swept over my entire studio and this happened

and this

and this

Needless to say, I spent the entire day sorting, excavating, and trying to make decisions on what I might part with to clear out some space. Despite being a minimalist in most areas of my life, all bets are off when it comes to art supplies or any salvaged “junk” that can one day be turned into a work of art. Does this strike a chord with you?

Then, after a couple of days of hard labor, this started to happen

then this

and then this

So now the challenge is keeping it this way.

But of course, once the creative process steps in, I can’t make any promises.