This is a celebration of interviews with high vibe creators in the world. Lucky me to get a chance to visit with them and share these tips with you. We are talking about beautiful things that have a “form” and how it relates to drinking the nectar of “formless” like spirit, spaciousness, inner peace, or the nameless feeling of being totally present and joyful.
I am a long-time lover of Julia Cameron’s books whose brilliant words lay a strong foundation for living a creative life. I have read all her books and in exercise after exercise, it trains your brain how to live that dream life of creating what you were meant to create in this world. The staircase she builds is sometimes in the sky and resonates with this:
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” Henry David Thoreau
Here we are, living in a historic time where the rug, wait, no really, the entire earth is pulled out from underneath us. I make a study of daily inspiring activities and observing what tools and habits are helping people be flexible and remain joyous in such a strange and stressful time. Is there a connection with beauty around us and our mental fortitude?
I had the great opportunity to interview Donna Rennea Smit who is the owner and vibrant creator of “Like Your Junk”, fused glass that will bring a big smile to your face. Although I have yet to meet Donna in person, I see that our appreciation of nature, light, color, shapes, and beauty is a deep connection. From reading this interview, I think she has mastered the Dance. . .
“Life is a spiritual dance and that our unseen partner has steps to teach us if we will allow ourselves to be led. The next time you are restless, remind yourself it is the universe asking 'Shall we dance?”
― Julia Cameron
- Do you feel beautiful things in your home/office are beneficial? If so in what way?
Our home is our sanctuary. We live in a ranch-style home with a very open floor plan. We are able to sit on the back patio and sip coffee and tea and watch the illumination of colors with each sunrise looking east. We have about ½ an acre that is planted with edible landscaping along with perennials. Daylilies, roses, tulips, columbine, Shasta daisies, along with hundreds of sunflowers sprinkle color throughout our yard. As an artist, our yard has several pieces of yard art I designed that can be outside all year long. The beauty in our outside surroundings is complete with a new energetic and wise puppy, Chaco Latte. We also have a very old and wise cat that is still in charge of the household. Our front porch faces west and we can see Mount Rose and watch intense sunsets, beautiful cloud formations, and watch summer storms roll in on our porch swing.
We have a saying in our house” Sunset Call” which means stop what you are doing and head to the front porch to watch the beauty of nature as she begins her slumber.
Our beautiful things inside our home consist of art collected from all over the world. We enjoy collecting art from local artists of each community we visit. We have several family photographs of our children and family throughout our walls. It gives me pause to have beauty throughout our home because I realize how grateful I am, and how blessed we are in our life.
- Is there a color theme, shape, element of light that captivates you, making you aware of the present moment and how does your work as an artist enhance this experience?
Light. Our home has windows everywhere. The natural light intensifies the colors of subtle greens, vibrant red, ocean blue and white walls in our home. Our home may be in Reno, but water and light are an integral part of my life.
Water has become my meditation during this pandemic from kayaking mountain lakes to riding my bike in the mountains. I create nature-themed fused glass and multimedia art. Whether it is a sunset or sunrise, frost or morning dew, glistening waves on the seashore, my mind sees glass sparkling. I’m a collector of Mother Earth.
I gather seashells by the ocean, rocks from river beds and lakes, wood from the forests, and anything shiny. I guess I am a bit of a magpie bird. My travels influence my art as I learn about the cultures of other people and their customs. I try to be present in the moment discovering and sharing experiences and ideas.
“In nature, light creates the color. In the picture, color creates the light.” Hans Hofmann
- Please share a room or a loved thing that is something that makes me feel a sense of inner spaciousness.
Our backyard brings us such joy during the summer months, but my favorite room would have to be our kitchen/dining family room which is just one large room. My heart is full when we have family and friends over and the kitchen is always the best spot to be. We enjoy cooking and like to be creative with new and old recipes to share with others. Just enjoying the “Joy of Being” at the moment brings happiness. Creating a delicious dinner or creating a piece of artwork gives me the same joy. We also are looking through the eyes of our four-month-old puppy that is in awe of everything. Being able to share new experiences with him has filled a void in our lives we didn’t know was even there.
- Over time we may not really see our beautiful things in daily life, what is in your experience keeps a space fresh and a place of peace and presence.
Giving thanks and having gratitude is my daily mantra. Our grown children are venturing into an unknown new world. One has just started law school, one is creating documentaries and podcasts, and the other is taking a project management certification. The bonus is all their spouses have made them become better people and are supportive of their goals. As I reflect, I am most proud of my best creation; our children. They are kind, bright, funny, and of course beautiful inside and out. My inner peace comes with the knowledge that my legacy is in good hands. I’m very blessed to be a resident artist at Copper Cat Studio. I’m in an environment of positive energy and people. I have learned over the years to try and surround myself with positive and like-minded individuals.
The beautiful things in daily life can be very simple. Just today we headed to Prosser Lake with our kayaks and puppy. We were totally by ourselves. The lake was flat as glass and we fished for a while. Letting the puppy run down his energy we headed across the lake in our kayaks. Osprey flew overhead, geese bobbing upside down for fish, and we saw a few humans on paddleboards. It was so quiet, just nature breathing in and out. We finished the day with an early dinner out (we haven’t been out to dinner since June) and then came home to watch a baseball game. Pretty tame day, but I must have said several times, how wonderful the day was. That is how Mother Nature’s beauty and slower tempo give me a place of inner peace.
“If light is the spiritual quality of painting, color is surely its heart and passion.” – Robert Reynolds
You can find Donna teaching at Copper Cat Studio.
This is a wonderful multimedia piece created by Donna on her Etsy site: