Something in the way she immersed herself…

How you do make art? Where? When? Why? Anu Mathur changed several of my perceptions on this topic. And she, I believe, disliked the term art. Perhaps, because such a small word diminished all she was doing. Art, of course, is everywhere and surely, in a mindful sense, frame an angle – and so it is, a work of art. Just as it is. Anu reminded me of this – in her penchant to foster engagement in the natural landscape – rubbings or as seen here, dancing in the marshes of Chester County, Pennsylvania – last spring.

She is dancing, there, with my daughter. They spoke a common language: curiosity, playfulness, and wonder. I am not sure how I will break the news to my daughter – as I am processing the news, myself, on unsettled terms. Anu Mathur passed away from a long, grace-filled warrior fight against cancer. We, 21st Century Earth, are losing her too soon – this round.

She was a great many things, as my recent Op Ed on Race and Mindfulness highlighted. By trade, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Design. To me, she was the kind of mentor I missed out on in traditional schooling: innovator and someone willing to listen to the natural landscape, immersing oneself rather than labeling and seeing how the natural landscape could serve us. This kind of empathic tango, seeds for a community built with Anu and her partner – Dilip da Cunha and friends of the Charlestown Playhouse – Jessica Wolff and Allegra Churchill. We call ourselves TAPESTRY – building a literal something, from nature rubbings and art with nature as our studio; a more beautiful something built from smaller, individual pieces donated towards the end of each workshop.

And we call ourselves TAPESTRY – inspired by the ideas of Anu Mathur, that through mindful immersion rather than past information or knowledge of how we understand the natural world, oneself, and one another – we may build a more beautiful something. Anu will be with every step of my artistry moving forward and in true Anu fashion, I will welcome her whispered critique on my word choices and we will compromise, that words aren’t enough sometimes.

Keep moving forward, whatever you call your efforts – as I will do – to make the world a more beautiful place. And, well, I will look for the bird flying over us, noting that angels never really go away, they spread their wings and evolve.

Mindful Artists Connected by Water

Photography by Peter Slater

Many of you are aware of my penchant for water, and what wetness – persistent albeit ever changing degrees of wetness – teaches us regarding our radical interconnections to the environment and one another.

It is with that sentiment in mind, and the grace of Peter Slater, that I feel a sense of kinship to someone’s work that is outside my own country of origin; some might say we are separated by the distance of one ocean, one pond, and yet, my mind likes to think, artists like ourselves remain connected by the continuity of a fresh perspective (including one that values how water flows constantly between us, connecting us, more than separating us).

Please offer a warm welcome in the comments or by reaching out to this talented, mindful artist – directly.

This month, I am honored to introduce to the Reframed world, the wise-angled point of view of Peter Slater. Peter is self-described as “retired” from the world of Sports and Leisure Management, living latterly across the pond from my US digs, in Newcastle upon Tyne. The “retired” in quotes, as he appears to be in the middle of a budding artistic career. Photography has been his means to express his interests in the natural world, particularly birds. He also has a keen interest in music and art.

I am grateful to learn of his refreshing and soulful perspective via the Instragram-Community. He is located via @pasjest510.

While you’re there, send me a hello at my budding platforms @jesshonig and @reframeyourartistry, and share your work via #reframeyourartistry to continue growth of a mindful artists’ movement capturing moments – just as they situate, right here and right now – of compassion for self, other, and the planet.

Empty? Begin again…



      Even the local grocer is crying out for creative problem solving…let’s all begin again. 


Needless to say (which happens to be my toddler’s favorite transition statement, at the moment – FYI, thanks to the Little Critter books), so yeah – needless to say, we are in a period of forced firsts. When we use the term forced, it sounds so rough and aggressive, no? Hmmm, I’ll begin again, for the sake of modeling…

Welcome back to a period of new beginnings. Rethink how you want to be living? Reimagine how you wish to be art making? Rethink how to spend time (in the flesh, eye to eye, skin to skin) with those you cohabitate with? Reimagine….possibility.

There is no time, like this moment, to start living with new intentions and habits.

Let’s begin again, as I often say…let’s begin again:

The more time we spend with something in open curiosity, rather than routine applications, the more dynamic it becomes. Frequent beginner’s outlook applications result in novelty and playfulness. Open to the subtleties. It’s good for you. Do not judge outcomes, just take in the moment of creation. 

Reach for a new palette, explore new materials, work in a new environment, consider artistic genres of which you are curious, explore a new or neglected voice.

In these new moments of art making, begin with fresh intentions and point of view. The rest is subjective shaping, morphing into whatever it is that you – the artist– constructs – and the audience perceives, which often isn’t one and the same. How fun! 

Create Your Own Universe while Social Distancing

Creative introverts have long known the secret expanse that is our own imagination. Mix in the flexible problem solving of a mindful artist, and voila – you have a well built homebound machine.

That power combo fuels something (approximate, perhaps, in memory) that I recall Louisa May Alcott teaching me in her Little Women – “destitution is the mother of invention…”

Join me, explore ordinary household items that could be transformed into an extraordinary universe for you and your little ones, while social distancing.

Please share your ideas in the comments so that my daughter and I, and many others -could explore, as well. Social distancing=Isolation? eh, nah – it’s the new Radical Interconnectedness.

Here is my recent adventure with my daughter:

  1. Locate that household item you almost threw out, because it broke (ie, here – fridge drawer). Give it a new life. Watch Toy Story 4? All things have feelings, including inanimate objects. They await a fresh purpose …otherwise they should be passed along for someone else’s repurposing vision. 
  2. Get your Dr. Seuss-honoring-Oobleck on…I’d like to thank Charlestown Playhouse Orange Room for traumatizing me and providing a lasting imprint on the fluid properties of Oobleck. As a parent volunteer, a few weeks ago, in truest parent-volunteer intentions, the experience made me a better parent. Because? Threshold for stress, foremost. When I was asked to CLEAN-OUT a three foot by two foot bin of WET oobleck, YES, I dang well lost my mind; but more so – when my husband said we had to preserve the FLOUR for our daughter’s upcoming birthday cake – I thought, CORNSTARCH AND WATER! Back-up plan for a morning of tactile delight with my toddler. So, I got my own Oobleck on…kinda. You can see…it turned out, SO SO…
  3. OOBLECK is a 2:1 ratio, cornstarch to water, people. That’s it. And we had only so much cornstarch to work with.
  4. NOW, given our OOBLECK awkardness, clumpy and goopy and some leftover very wet areas, this provided the greatest inspiration of all: LET’S CREATE AN ISLAND, WITH VOLCANIC LAVA, AND AN OCEAN. Thanks to a boost from food coloring, that is just what we created.
  5. The rest of the adventure, endless…and history. Because, this time around, I knew how to clean it up. WAIT UNTIL IT ALL DRIES UP! SCRAPE, RINSE. DONE!


Mindfulness For Unprecedented Times…



It’s been a whirlwind for most of us, in light of the concerns and precautions engulfing our world. I am sharing mindful wisdom that I am practicing. Trying to live and share, respecting boundaries and health, during these unprecedented times:

    • ascertain information from minimally biased sources
    • read news articles rather than social media blasts to slow down stress reactions
    • gather information in moderation, compartmentalized amounts of time rather than news streaming – constantly – on the television, like white noise
    • enjoy your morning coffee, exercise, and shower? bravo, keep that up…
    • consider a breathable, flexible schedule that spells out a few actions and engagements for the day
    • now, more than ever, carve out time for art making
    • if you are homebound, tending to loved ones, that is an obvious priority
    • respect the priorities and boundaries of others
    • if you are working from home, prioritize the essentials of the to do list – the rest of the world is doing the same, right now
    • take stock of what your true priorities are, practicing a priority A v. B column, and let go of the B column til our way of life recalibrates
  4. SAVOR.
    • with senses wide open, soak in extra moments with rapidly growing children or aging parents
    • be grateful – exactly where and as you are, right now
    • we are too busy during those other days of 21st century standards, pause
    • slowdown, that clean or that phone call or that evening story
    • allow stillness and joy via gratitude, to provide deep healing properties
    • create with novel materials already in your home (waiting to be repurposed), recreate your career, rebrand creatively….now, has never been, and you were made to BE, creatively in this moment.

Press Play-doh onto the Walls!


Almost all good things come and go…what’s your wabi-sabi?

Readers and clients are aware of my broad stance on what constitutes art: there is a material, an outcome, an intent to express – and so long as no one is intentionally harmed in the process – I’m down with it.

Art affecting material things – that’s an ongoing philosophical dilemma, for me. Part of me likely does not value the material world as much as most people, and yet, I honor that defacing property or things of importance to others can be a terrible violation of trust and respect and safety. So, when I think about guidelines for my toddler, I adopted traditional ones like – markers and crayons go onto paper, only, unless permission is granted.

When it comes to play-doh, you’d think I’d take a similar stance. Stickers throw me into a philosophical spiral, as well.

I hear a conversation in my head like, “there is value in your daughter learning boundaries.”

“But who made the boundaries, and why?” I spat back at myself.

“Oh, shoosh,” I reply, “concrete boundaries give her peace of mind, it will make her a better friend and guest, and she will already know what to do in the classroom.”

But then I hear the voice of her magical, progressive playschool in my head  – so long as you are kind to yourself, one another, and the environment, you’re cool. It’s both challenged my parenting guidelines at times – ie, I used to be firm that “on slides, you only go down,” and enabled my artistic biases.

Typical Monday in suburbia, I had an aha moment. It was a small opening into permission to broaden, or rather sink into broader ways, how I wished to allow my daughter to be – especially, as an artist.

So, then, this typical Monday in suburbia, when she brought this very wabi-sabi idea (of pressing play-doh to walls) to my attention, I said, “sure honey…throw some play-doh all over our finest molding, coated in bleach-white paint. you go, girl.”

I thought of my past self: the worrier, the rule follower, and the one concerned that a child from my wildest side could never fit it…

Then I embraced the moment, and glad that I did.

I aimed for an up-close photo to capture the ephemeral art (c’mon, I’m not that liberal to let play-doh permanently crust over the main entrance of our home). My daughter shouted, “No momma, not yet! No picture.”

I asked, “why not?”

And she replied, “I’m still in process.”

At the sound of her declaration, my wild-art-heart exploded with joy and confidence.

What are your guidelines regarding art and children? Please share…and please share your stories from the front line!

Explore to Restore.



In the natural world, now,

I have an unspeakable sense of belonging.


Immerse yourself outdoors for at least ten minutes. Have your smartphone with you only for the purpose to potentially take a picture. Feel free to leave your phone behind, as well. Locate an object that seems displaced: a fallen leaf, a pebble all alone, or a blade of grass upon cement. If collecting this object does not harm the object nor the surrounding nature of things, take it with you for a project or future inspiration. If you prefer to leave the object in its most natural state, take a smartphone or mental photograph. Simply, be aware, be playful, and find one new element of nature that you might have overlooked, if you hadn’t immersed yourself outdoors with beginner eyes.