Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Getting a Jump on Next Year's Ornaments

Prisms (Stacy Wills, 2013)
alcohol ink on beveled prisms

December has been a full month - far more busy than I thought it would be....but even in the midst of all the busyness, the creative itch must still be scratched!  I salvaged these beveled prisms from an old art deco chandelier and wondered if they might work as suitable substrates for alcohol ink.    I really like the way  the first two turned out, and I've got plans to make more...I'm thinking these would make good Christmas ornaments for next year.   Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Embody the Radiance

Light Body (Stacy Wills, 2013)
mixed media + sacred altering

Embody the Radiance

This is what happens
When Spirit
Pours through matter
Everything comes alive
Light incarnates
Love incarnates 
Embrace the truth
of who you are...
Embody the radiance
That is You

-Stacy Wills (12/16/13)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Feelin' Merry and Bright

I've spent the better part of the last two days making 

these alcohol ink on porcelain Christmas ornaments.

If you could see my ink-stained fingers, you'd know

it was a labor of love!

I was a teenager the last time I got crafty at Christmas 

and made  ornaments - salt dough ornaments to be exact.  I still have one or

two that have survived the years well enough to  make it onto our tree.

It took awhile to figure out the best way to do these,

but I finally got a pretty good system going.  The

hardest part was waiting for them to dry so I could

really tell if these were going to be "tree-worthy."

Once they were dry, I gave them a protective coat of varnish.

 I love the way my ornaments turned out so much

that  I'm already thinking about what I can do next year!

 I'll be taking these to a holiday market our

neighborhood is having tomorrow afternoon.

Hopefully, some will find their way onto 

someone else's Christmas tree!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I Go Among Trees (a poem by Wendell Berry)

The Tree of Life in Autumn (Stacy Wills, 2013)
alcohol inks on yupo + sacred altering

I Go Among  Trees

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.

After days of labor,
mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
and I sing it.  As we sing,
the day turns, the trees move.

-Wendell Berry (b. 1934)

While searching out this poem, I came across this video of it set to music by Giselle Wyers and performed by the University of Washington Chamber Singers.  Do you need a Beauty Break in the midst of a busy day?  Treat yourself to five and a half minutes of peace...

Prints of  "The Tree of Life in Autumn" are available here:
The Tree of Life in Autumn

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

For the Unknown Self - a poem by John O'Donohue

"Origins Unknown" (Stacy Wills, 2013)
alcohol ink on yupo + sacred altering

For the Unknown Self

So much of what delights and troubles you
Happens on a surface
You take for ground.
Your mind thinks your life alone,
Your eyes consider air your nearest neighbor,
Yet it seems that a little below your heart
There houses in you an unknown self
Who prefers the patterns of the dark
And is not persuaded by the eye's affection
Or caught by the flash of thought.

It is a self that enjoys contemplative patience
With all your unfolding expression,
Is never drawn to break into light
Though you entangle yourself in unworthiness
And misjudge what you do and who you are.

It presides within like an evening freedom
That will often see you enchanted by twilight
Without ever recognizing the falling night,
It resembles the under-earth of your visible life:
All you do and say and think is fostered
Deep in its opaque and prevenient clay.

It dwells in a strange, yet rhythmic ease
That is not ruffled by disappointment;
It presides in a deeper current of time
Free from the force of cause and sequence
That otherwise shapes your life.

Were it to break forth into day,
Its dark light might quench your mind,
For it knows how your primeval heart
Sisters every cell of your life
To all your known mind would avoid,

Thus it knows to dwell in you gently,
Offering you only discrete glimpses
Of how you construct your life.

At times, it will lead you strangely,
Magnetized by some resonance
That ambushes your vigilance.

It works most resolutely at night
As the poet who draws your dreams,
Creating for you many secret doors,
Decorated with pictures of your hunger;

It has the dignity of the angelic
That knows you to your roots,
Always awaiting your deeper befriending
To take you beyond the threshold of want,
Where all your diverse strainings
Can come to wholesome ease.

                     -John O'Donohue (1956-2008)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Adventures in Experimental Art

Sacred Altering:  Adventures in Experimental Art
by Stacy Wills

I love experimenting (aka "playing!") with different techniques and methods of creating art.   This has been one of those weeks where I have been "learning by doing."  I hope you will enjoy seeing what emerged as I used some of my existing alcohol ink artwork and a few photographs as source images for my "sacred altering" process.   Sometimes...most times...I get so lost in the process that I have no idea how I arrived at certain images...but that doesn't deter me from trying again and again.   A crop here, a tweak there...a filter...a flip...a blur...polar co-ordinates...the vibrant colors melding...blending...whirling together...like dervishes...discs...orbs...desert suns...butterflies...angel wings...and then, I have to stop awhile and catch my breath...before the next "what if I..." has me off and running again.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Minding My Own Beeswax: Exploring Encaustics

Chloe's Icon (Stacy Wills, 2013)
encaustics on wood, photograph digitally altered

This past weekend, I took a class at The Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural  Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi during their "Art by the Sea Retreat" taught by the fabulous and wonderful, Kat Fitzpatrick.  

Until recently, I had never heard of "The Mary C" (as it is affectionately known).  But a wise friend had sent me a link to their website.  As I looked over the list of classes to be offered, several piqued my curiosity, but   one definitely stood out - Courting Stillness:  An Icon Workshop for the Harried Pilgrim.  The medium was encaustics, which uses heated beeswax to which colored pigments can be added.  I have been wanting to learn about encaustics for some time now, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity, as another interest of mine is icon writing.

The facility and staff at The Mary C are top notch, and if you ever have a chance to visit or take a class there, I would highly recommend it.  The teacher, Kat Fitzpatrick, was excellent, well-prepared, generous of spirit and very encouraging to everyone.  She opened the class by anointing our palms with lavender scented beeswax, and for the next four hours, our group was a hive of activity...and with some pretty sweet results all around.  At the end, Kat sang over us an Irish blessing in benediction in one of the most beautiful, full voices I've ever heard.  (added bonus:  listen to Kat serenade her bees)

Above is a photo  of the icon I created using a photocopy of a picture of my daughter, Chloe, which I then digitally altered using my sacred altering process.  Other collage elements included a scrap of a wallpaper border along the bottom, and for the rose window, the center from one of my mandalas.

 I will definitely be exploring encaustics more in the future - it's a truly gorgeous, forgiving  and fascinating medium.  

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Recently, I came across this quote from one of my favorite writers, John O'Donohue.  It can be found in,  Anam Cara:  A Book of Celtic Wisdom.  It moved me profoundly and as is my wont, I wanted to link the words with images and create a video so that others might find the same comfort in his words as I have.  

I create videos as a way of offering a small oasis of grace and peace...meditation or reflection...in the midst of our busy lives.  Weary traveler, may you find Rest here.

The world rests in the night.
Trees, mountains, fields and
faces are released from the prison
of shape and the burden of 
exposure.  Each thing creeps back
into its own nature within the shelter
of the dark.  Darkness is the ancient
womb.  Nighttime is womb-time.
Our souls come out to play.
The darkness absolves everything;
the struggle for identity and impression
falls away.  We rest in the night.

-John O'Donohue (1956-2008)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Takin' the Easy Way

I just learned about this new app today - ProShowWeb - and decided to check it out.  Now I'm not the most tech-savvy person on the planet, but this app made creating this little slideshow/video SO EASY! It gives you lots of options as far as themes, special effects, music and the ability to instantly share to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more, plus upgrades are available.  I'm sticking with the free version for now, however.     When I find something that works, I like to pass it along.  Hope you enjoy watching!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Story - A poem by Mary Oliver

Hummingbird (Stacy Wills, 2013)
alcohol inks on ceramic tile + sacred altering

Summer Story
by Mary Oliver

When the hummingbird
sinks its face
into the trumpet vine,
and the funnels

of the blossoms
and the tongue
leaps out
and throbs,

I am scorched
to realize once again
how many small, available things
are in the world

that aren't 
pieces of gold
or power---
that nobody owns

or could buy even
for a hillside of money---
that just 
float about  the world,

or drift over the fields,
or into the gardens,
and into the tents of the vines,
and how here I am

spending my time,
as the saying goes,
watching until the watching turns into feeling,
so that I feel I am myself

a small bird 
with a terrible hunger,
with a thin beak probing and dipping
and a heart that races so fast

it is only a heart beat ahead of breaking---
and I am the hunger and assuagement,
and also I am the leaves and the blossoms,
and, like them, I am full of delight and shaking

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Clothed with the Sun

Clothed with the Sun (Stacy Wills, 2012)
photography + sacred altering

There is a morning inside you
waiting to burst open into light.

-Rumi  (1207 - 1273)

Source image:  Sunrise at Orange Beach, Alabama

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Agate

Agates (Stacy Wills, 2013)
alcohol inks on yupo

The Agate

The Lapidary's skill reveals
that Time has worked her magic -
Was it a rainbow under pressure
that became the treasured agate?

-Stacy Wills (6/14/2013)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

With that Moon Language

Eye Candy (Stacy Wills, 2013)
photography/sacred altering

With that Moon Language

Admit something:
Everyone you see, 
you say to them,
"Love me."
Of course you do not
do this out loud,
otherwise someone 
would call the cops.
Still though, think about this,
this great pull in us
to connect.
Why not become the one
who lives with a full moon
in each eye
that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye
in this world
is dying to hear.

-Hafiz (1325-1389)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Love Like That

The Sun Worshiper (Stacy Wills, 2013)
alcohol inks and crushed egg shells on yupo + sacred altering

Even after all this time
the Sun never says 
to the Earth,
"You owe me."
Look what happens
with a love like that -
it lights the whole sky.

-Hafiz (1325-1389)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

At Twilight

At Twilight (Stacy Wills, 2013)
alcohol inks on clay board + sacred altering

At twilight, 
when everything 
softens, the stark lines 
that once so easily 
defined our world, 
become blurred,
and all we took for
 granted in the light
 now, we strain to see.
At twilight,
when everything
softens - our gaze
must soften as well,
for only then
will we be able 
to truly see aright -
the wonder...the glory...
the essence
of all that is.

-Stacy Wills (5/2/2013)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Broken for You

Broken for You (Stacy Wills, 2013)
alcohol inks on tile, 6" x 6"

Recently I completed an online course, Art as a Healing Practice,  through Expressive Arts Florida.  At one point along the way, we were invited to consider how art might be made in response to tragedy, pain and suffering (the bombing in Boston had just occurred).   As I contemplated my own desire to create and offer a "healing image" in the face of tragedy, Broken for You emerged.  It did not start out to be this, but as I worked with the inks on the tile, moving them around, letting them dry, moving them around some more, and then removing some of it with a small brush dipped in blending solution, the image went through a sort of metamorphosis...from an angel...to a  woman weeping...to the Good Shepherd carrying the lost sheep across his shoulders, and then finally to the image you see here...a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.  As I worked the inks, the words of Jesus at the Last Supper kept coming to mind, "This is my body, broken for you..."  In sharing this, I do not mean to make any sort of theological or political statement, but rather to offer up my own response to the brokenness of this world.  As providence would have it, this morning as I thought about  the painting  some more, an email arrived in my inbox that led me to this site (inward/outward) and in particular to this poem by Tobin Marsh entitled Things Break:

This side of the resurrection
In the brokenness, defeat and sorrow,
Is where lie all the deep lessons of my life.

Nothing wants to be broken,
And yet everything must be broken.
To never break is to lie stagnant and eventually die.

Things break.

I break now and again.
Picking up the pieces can be an act
Of profound faith.

-Tobin Marsh

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Consider the Lilies: An Invitation to Rest

Stargazer Lily (Stacy Wills, 2013)
alcohol inks on ceramic tile

Why is it so hard 
for us to rest?  Did not
 John recline upon
 his Savior's breast at table?
Follow his example.
Do the lilies of the field 
toil and spin? Yet
no one thinks that it's a sin
for them to glorify God 
the way they do,
dressed more finely
than Solomon, and that
not of their doing.
Consider, oh yes...
consider them, when tempted
to worry about anything.

-Stacy Wills (4/21/2013)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pilgrim Walk

Pilgrim Walk (Stacy Wills, 2013)
alcohol inks on yupo

As I make my slow pilgrimage through the world, a certain
  sense of beautiful mystery seems to gather and grow. 

                                                 - A. C. Benson (1862 - 1925)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Green Mountain (a poem by Li Po)

Green Mountain (Stacy Wills, 2013)
alcohol inks on yupo,  2 1/2" x 4 1/4"

You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain;
I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care.
As the peach blossom flows down stream
and is gone into the unknown,
I have a world apart that is not among men.

Li Po (701-762)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Coming Home

Fly Above (Stacy Wills, 2013)
3" x 4 1/2" alcohol inks on yupo

I am returning home
after being away...
I am met 
exquisite silence.

The wrinkles of 
brain and brow
begin to smooth...
by the comforting hand
of the familiar.

Breath prayers
rise and fall...
i n h a l e
e x h a l e.

Birds, old friends,
come to call.
How long has it been?
How long?

O blessed communion
of I and thou...
the sweetest homecoming
of all.

-Stacy Wills (2/27/2013)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A New Life Takes Hold

Desire to Bring Forth New Life (Stacy Wills, 2013)
Alcohol inks on yupo, digitally altered.

"Therefore a person contains both the likeness of heaven and earth in himself or herself...A person has a head in which there is clarity, inspiration, and reason - just as the sky contains light-giving things, air and winged creatures.  A person also has the means to bring forth new life and the desire to do so - just as the earth has the means to bring forth greenness, fruitfulness, and animals." --Scivias II.1.2

-Hildegard of Bingen (1098 - 1179)

The creative urge
never goes away.
meet Means.
meet Desire.
A moment of clarity
in a midlife womb;
between crisis and chaos -
a new life takes hold.

-Stacy Wills (2/23/13)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Her Womb Grew Fruit

Her Womb Grew Fruit (Stacy Wills, 2013)
Alcohol inks on pear shaped river rock, set atop
 background of alcohol inks on yupo.

Her Womb Grew Fruit is a creative response to this text for lectio divina* (Latin for "divine reading") during Week 1 of Creative Flourishing in the Heart of the Desert:  An Online Retreat with Hildegard of Bingen through Abbey of the Arts.  

In you have flourished the beautiful flower
whose fragrance was given to all who thirsted.
And thus all appeared in complete greenness.

From heaven, dew spread over the grass
and the whole earth delighted,
because her womb grew fruit
and because the birds of the skies nested in her.

-Hildegard of Bingen (1098 - 1179)
from O Viridissima Virga

O Viridisimma Virga

For a unique audio/visual experience, begin listening to O Viridissima Virga, then click on Her Womb Grew Fruit to enlarge the image...engage your imagination...and see what arises.

*If you would like to learn more about the practice of lectio divina, an on-demand online course is available here through Abbey of the Arts.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

See the Flowers

The Dreaming Garden (Stacy Wills, 2013)
9" x 12" alcohol inks on yupo

See the flowers, so faithful to Earth.
We know their fate because we share it.
Were they to grieve for their wilting,
that grief would be ours to feel.

There's a lightness in things.  Only we move forever burdened,
pressing ourselves into everything, obsessed by weight.
How strange and devouring our ways must seem
to those for whom life is enough.

If you could enter their dreaming and dream with them deeply,
you would come back different to a different day,
moving so easily from that common depth.

Or maybe just stay there:  they would bloom and welcome you,
all those brothers and sisters tossing in the meadows,
and you would be one of them.

-Rainer Maria Rilke  (1875-1926)
Sonnets to Orpheus II, 14 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Light in the Forest (Stacy Wills, 2013)
alcohol inks on yupo, 5" x 4"

Light in the Forest came about the way many of my paintings do...by accident...albeit a happy one.  As an artist who is largely self-taught, I learn best by playing.    This past Sunday afternoon I had set aside some  creative "play time"  with my newest obsession, alcohol inks.  (I was introduced to inks this past year by the amazingly gifted artist, June Rollins.)   Working with inks is so very different than other mediums I'm accustomed to using...for one thing, they are very unpredictable!  They're also very fluid, as you might imagine, and when used on a non-porous surface such as yupo, you're never quite sure what's going to happen, but that's part of the fun!    Since the ink dries  quickly, I usually have a few small paintings going  at once, keeping a scrap piece of yupo  handy for the "run-off" that occurs sometimes.  In this case, however, the "scrap" looked pretty interesting to me at the end of the day.  I actually liked it better than some of the "on purpose" paintings.   As I was reflecting on it later, I was reminded of the song, Grace, by U2...in particular the line, "Grace finds beauty in everything."  One of my passions in this life is to share Beauty...in whatever way I can...as often as I can...and today, it comes in the form of a small scrap...meant for the trashcan...but Grace had another idea.   

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When No One is Looking...

Let it Rain, Let it Pour (Stacy Wills, 2012)

When no one is looking,
I swallow deserts and clouds
and chew on mountains
knowing they are sweet bones!
When no one is looking
and I want to kiss God,
I just lift my hand to my mouth.

-Hafiz (1325-1389)