Sunday, December 9, 2012

Waking Up!

Awake!  (Stacy Wills, 2012)

"Beyond living and dreaming
there is something more important:
waking up."

-Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rain in the Desert (a poem by John Gould Fletcher)

south by southwest (stacy wills, 2012)

Rain in the Desert

The huge red-buttressed mesa over yonder
Is merely a far-off temple where the sleepy sun is burning
Its altar fires of pinyon and toyon for the day.

The old priests sleep, white shrouded;
Their pottery whistles lie beside them, the prayer-sticks closely feathered.
On every mummied  face there glows a smile.

The sun is rolling slowly
Beneath the sluggish folds of the sky-serpents,
Coiling, uncoiling, blue black, sparked with fires.

The old dead priests
Feel in the thin dried earth that is heaped about them,
Above the smell of scorching, oozing pinyon,
The acrid smell of rain.

And now the showers
Surround the mesa like a troop of silver dancers:
Shaking their rattles, stamping, chanting, roaring,
Whirling, extinguishing the last red wisp of light.

-John Gould Fletcher (1886-1950)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

let the beauty we love...

Multiples (Stacy Wills, 2012)

let the beauty we love
 be what we do.  there
 are hundreds of ways to
 kneel and kiss the ground.

-rumi (1207 - 1273)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

you glow, we take fire

You Glow, We Take Fire (Stacy Wills, 2012)

you talk, we act.
you learn, we seize.
you inspect, we choose.
you chew, we swallow.
you bargain, we buy.
you glow, we take fire.
you assume, we know.
you ask, we take.
you search, we find.
you love, we languish.
you languish, we die.
you sow, we reap.
you work, we rest.
you grow thin, we grow fat.
you ring, we sing.
you sing, we dance.
you blossom, we bear fruit.
you taste, we savor.

-composed by a young beguine,* name unknown,
in response to criticism from a master of theology.

*the beguines were a christian lay religious community most active during the 13th and 14th centuries, comprised of women who dedicated their lives to jesus.  semi-monastic in nature, they took no formal vows, but lived out their lives in prayer, personal spiritual development, caring for the poor and other acts of charity.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

a fish cannot drown in water

Healing Mandorla (Stacy Wills, 2012)

a fish cannot drown in water,
a bird does not fall in air.
in the fire of creation,
god doesn't vanish:
the fire brightens.
each creature god made
must live in its own true nature;
how could i resist my nature,
that lives for oneness with god?

-mechthild of magdeburg (1207 - 1282)

Friday, October 19, 2012

have you ever....?

seeds of life (by stacy wills, 2012)

have you ever wanted to learn how to draw a mandala?  then head on over to guada's circle, where she is offering a free class based on the classic "seed of life" pattern.  i came to know of guada (guadalupe brizuela cabal), through the willowing website, and have really enjoyed her work and her generous spirit.    she also has a youtube channel where you can check out some of her other art.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

let heaven touch earth

Heaven and Earth (Stacy Wills, 2012)

have mercy o god

let heaven touch earth again

and let me be caught

in that loving embrace

have mercy o god

have mercy...

-stacy wills (10/4/2012)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

creation two ways: a visual meditation

this video is best viewed in full screen.  if you are not able to view it on my blog, you can watch it here on youtube.  creation two ways is a creative response to some of the material i am currently engaging with in an online course, women on the threshold, offered through abbey of the arts.   enjoy!

Thursday, September 20, 2012



i have a new, that is!   i have been feeling like i needed to return this one to its intended purpose - that being mandalas, but i've branched out creatively speaking, and wanted another place where i could explore a different kind of art, as well.  over time i will be migrating the art on this blog that is not mandala-specific to the new one.  so if you begin to notice some images  missing, you'll know they've been moved to the other site.

the new blog is called:  sacred alter  and yes, that's alter with an "e."  if you visit, you'll see why...and of course i hope you will visit. :-)

the mandala below came about as a creative response to the current course i'm taking through abbey of the arts, called women on the threshold.  this has been a year filled with thresholds for me personally - and not all of them have been easy to fact, most of them have been very hard...and i find it very difficult to be creative when things are tough.   through participating in this class, however, i'm finding the creative juices are flowing again...and i am ever so grateful for that.

eve's whisper 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

the end of eden

the end of eden (mixed media 2012)

what is it i desire...
what do i long for so much
 that i am willing...
willing to reach for it,
willing to stretch myself,
 to extend myself 
past the point 
of being comfortable,
to take that  risk?

i think of eve...
in that moment.
i imagine her
seeing the fruit of that tree.
was it just out of reach?
did she have to stretch beyond
what she thought was possible....
find a strength inside herself
she'd never known?
straighten and  lengthen her whole body
 as never before?
did she exert herself, extend herself, assert herself -
 more than she ever had?
did she stand on tiptoe
wishing - oh wishing to be taller?

i see her -
reaching...stretching...a l m o s t  there...
just a little bit  m o r e. . .
 when suddenly
  her hand grasps
the object of her desire,
and for a split second
 her feet leave the earth.

and i wonder...
is there something that i long for that much?
or have i told myself...
don't even try,
you know it's out of reach.

-stacy wills (9/12/2012)

Monday, September 10, 2012

crossing the threshold

 i am currently involved in an online class via abbey of the arts called  women on the threshold.  as with any course i've ever been a part of at the abbey, the journey through the material takes me places i never dreamed i could go.

this past week, we were invited to do "gush art" (the focus is on process, not product) while listening to a piece of music of our choosing.   this first image (layers) is what came through.  i was very aware of that big red gash...which for me symbolized a very deep wound - the  deepest kind of wound that affects body, mind and spirit.


in my artwork in general these days, i find i do not want to be limited to one mode of creating, so i took layers into some image editing software and did some "digital gush art" using it as the source image.  thus this...

(phoenix rising)

became this...phoenix rising.  when taken into another realm, the deep wound transforms into something else entirely...a healing, of sorts, occurs.

in art, as in life, when the invitation to step across a threshold comes, transformation happens...limitations fall away as you taste freedom, and suddenly you realize you can never go back, indeed, never want to go back to the way things were before.

the song i listened to (i will be free by cindy morgan) while creating these pieces is one i've known and loved for many years.  it has always held special meaning for me...even more so now.  it was not until today, however, that i saw the video for it.  talk about crossing a threshold!  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Coming Full Circle: Mandalas by Stacy Wills

Coming Full Circle:  Mandalas by Stacy Wills

All of the mandalas in this video have been
lovingly created with digital assistance
from source images such as photographs
 I've taken of things in nature, or cropped
  portions of  original mixed media artwork.

If you are having trouble viewing the
video on my blog, you can watch it
here on youtube.

Ishwarle performed by Aradhna
used with permission.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

moving water - a poem from rumi

meandering by stacy wills
(9" x 12" mixed media on watercolor paper)

moving water

when you do things from your soul,
you feel a river moving in you, a joy.

when actions come from another section, 
the feeling disappears.

don't let others lead you.  they may be blind or,
worse, vultures.

reach for the rope of god.  and what is that?
putting aside self-will.

because of willfulness people sit in jail, 
the trapped bird's wings are tied,
fish sizzle in the skillet.'ve seen a magistrate inflict visible punishment.
now see the invisible.

if you could leave your selfishness, you would see
how you've been torturing your soul.

we are born and live inside black water
in a well.

how could we know what an open field of sunlight is?
Don't insist on going where you think you want to go.

ask the way to the spring.
your living pieces will form a harmony.

there is a moving palace that floats in the air
with balconies and clear water flowing through,

infinity everywhere, yet contained
under a single tent.

- rumi (1207 - 1273)
translated by coleman barks

Thursday, July 19, 2012


recently, i have been part of a collaborative art experience where each participant creates one blade for what will eventually become one complete fan.  this first blade was my contribution to that effort. 
i found the experience so enjoyable, however, that i went on to create two more, just for fun.
seems as though i have been bitten by the fan blade bug - and happily so!
i'm not sure what the finished project will look like, but i am certain  it will be FAN-TAS-TIC!

Monday, July 9, 2012

befriending the rose

how can i befriend the rose?
she  does not lack 
 for admirers, yet
how many eager suitors
would pluck her
tightly bound
in hopes 
that she will bloom
in captivity.
but i,
i would let her be -
just as she is,
to flourish and thrive
on the vine -
in sunlight and rain,
darkness and moonbeam,
thorns and all.

-stacy wills (7/8/2012)

Monday, July 2, 2012

silence on fire

o be still, while
you are still alive,
and all things live around you

speaking (i do not hear)
to your own being,
speaking by the unknown
that is in you and in themselves.

i will try, like them
to be my own silence:
and this is difficult.  the whole
world is secretly on fire.  the stones
burn, even the stones they burn me.
how can a man be still or
listen to all things burning?
how can he dare to sit with them
when all their silence is on fire?

-thomas merton (1915 - 1968), 
from his poem, in silence

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

...into the great beyond

(The Monk and the Moon, 2011)

(The Great Beyond by Jacob Moon)

i first heard jacob moon's music over ten years ago,  and have been a fan ever since.  this song, in particular, made a tremendous impact on me from the first moment i heard it, so i was really excited to find a new live version of it today, and thought it would pair well with this image.  if you enjoy this song, you can check out more of jacob's music here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

talking in circles

Circles create soothing space, where even 
reticent people can realize their voice is welcome.

-Margaret J. Wheatley

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

art is contemplation

art is contemplation.  it is the pleasure of the mind
which searches into nature and which there
divines the spirit of which nature herself is animated.

-auguste rodin (1840-1917)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

awaiting the birth-hour

everything is gestation and then bringing forth.  to let each impression and each germ of a feeling come to completion quite in itself, in the dark, in the inexpressible, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one's own understanding, and await with deep humility and patience the birth-hour of a new clarity:  that alone is living the artist's life - in understanding as in work.

-rainer maria rilke (1875-1926)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


a mind that is stretched by a new experience
 can never go back to its old dimensions.

-oliver wendell holmes (1841-1935)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

granny's garden revisited

gentle lady, mother of nine,
widowed too young -
no time to grieve;
times were hard,
life had to go on.

in your golden years,
when you could take some ease,
you planted the whole front yard
of the house on clemson street
with flowers -
an outpost of eden.

you were already white-haired
and worn
when i came along.
i loved the way you poured your coffee
into the saucer for me -
laced with sugar and lots of cream.
you would pat my hand,
and say:  come sit near granny
and i would snuggle up beside you,
my head, resting on your  bosom.

i did not know then
what i know now -
how age and the cares of this world
catch up with us in the end.
how i wish i could roll back time
and join you in your garden
once again....

-stacy wills (4/21/9012)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

an instrument of grace

everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. gardening is an instrument of grace.

help us to be ever faithful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, and without light nothing flowers.

-may sarton (1912-1995)

source image: female rhino beetle

Saturday, April 14, 2012

gratitude unlocks...

gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. it turns what we have into enough, and more. it turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. it can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. gratitude makes sense of your past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

-melody beattie (author, b. 1948)

Friday, March 30, 2012


she enters as one
weary of the struggle

the slow crawl
of a soul in agony
to know the purpose
of her existence

surrendering to all
she cannot change
to all she cannot fathom

a fine button of silk
is all that holds her now
to this world
as the final ecdysis* reveals
a harder skin

a tough exterior
belies her vulnerability

inside the chrysalis
a metamorphosis
is taking place

it is the movement
toward imago
the movement
toward realization
the movement
toward emerging

in triumph she sits
atop an empty shell

she leaves as one reborn

-stacy wills (3/30/2012)

(*ecdysis: from the greek, ekduo - to take off, strip off)

Monday, March 19, 2012


is it just me
or do dogwood blossoms
seem to levitate -
suspended in mid-air,
while the azaleas riot below?
and the wisteria
the way it hangs
in delicate clusters
like grapes on the vine,
ripe for pressing -
positively intoxicating!

-stacy wills (3/19/2012)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

mirror, mirror

i hear it, know it
in myself,
the familiar echo
of long-ago longing,
as i listen to
my darling daughter,
she of the rare green eyes,
wish for brown.
i've done the same...
there was a time
i would have gladly
[foolishly] traded:
grey for brown
curly for straight
mousy for raven
fair for olive
comfort for speed
but then
who might i have been
had i gotten my wish?
certainly not the woman
sitting next
to this beautiful
green-eyed girl.

-stacy wills (3/17/2012)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

the fire rises in me (a poem by symeon the new theologian)

the fire rises in me,
and lights up my heart.
like the sun!
like the golden disk!
opening, expanding, radiant--
--a flame!

i say again:
i don't know
what to say!

i'd fall silent
--if only i could--
but this marvel
makes my heart leap,
it leaves me open-mouthed
like a fool,

urging me
to summon words
from my silence.

-symeon the new theologian (949-1032)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

places to pray in

everybody needs beauty as well as bread;
places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal and cheer and
give strength to the body and soul.

-john muir (1838-1914)

source image: cypress swamp along the natchez trace

Monday, March 5, 2012

the light of your soul

may the light of your soul guide you.
may the light of your soul bless the work you do
with the secret love and warmth of your heart.

may you see in what you do
the beauty of your own soul.
may the sacredness of your work
bring healing, light and renewal...

-john o'donohue (1956-2008)

Saturday, March 3, 2012


the image is more than an idea.
it is a vortex or cluster of fused ideas
and is endowed with energy.

-ezra pound (1885-1972)

Monday, February 27, 2012

words are in short supply

i give up (9" x 12" mixed media)

i'm still working my way through life book 2012, and also recently began an online lenten pilgrimage via abbey of the arts. the coupling of those two things, along with some other projects i'm involved in, has resulted in some interesting (to me, anyway!) artwork. i wish i had words to express the riptide of emotion these classes are stirring up in me, but words are in short supply these days. in the meantime, i'll just let the art do the talking.

the ecstasy (12" x 16" mixed media)

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise.

-Julia Cameron (b. 1948)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

coming of age

coming of age (9" x 12" mixed media)

i learned to love
my name
when i learned
its meaning.
who wouldn't
love being
of the resurrection,
able to live

-stacy wills (2/12/2012)

my painting for week 6 of life book 2012 was done using the paint over collage technique. the theme for this month (february) is "celebrating the achievements in our life." for a perfectionist like me, that is not an easy task, but i forged ahead and was quite surprised by what emerged. life book is turning out to be quite the eye-opener.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

laughter is the best medicine

(laughter is the best medicine, 9" x 12" mixed media)

at the height
of laughter,
the universe
is flung into a
kaleidoscope of
new possibilities.

-jean houston (b. 1937)

this is a page from my life book 2012 project. this week's assignment was to do a self-portrait using a black and white photo-copy of a favorite picture of yourself. i was really scrambling to find a fairly recent (and half-way decent) photo of myself. they're rare as hen's teeth because generally i loathe having my picture taken. however, this one was snapped before i could protest and it catches me in the act of laughing - something you'll find me doing quite frequently - and, as those who know me will attest, often at the oddest moments.

for this portrait, i collaged the image onto a sheet of watercolor paper, then painted over it using caran d'arche neocolor II's (aka crayons for grown-ups!) as well as some watered down acrylic paints. once that was done, i scanned the painting and played with it digitally, giving myself a cool punk hair-do.

Friday, February 3, 2012

to mingle with the universe

from all i may be,
or have been before,
to mingle with the universe,
and feel what i can ne'er express,
yet cannot all conceal...

-lord byron (1788-1824)
from his poem: The Dark, Blue Sea

Thursday, February 2, 2012

the gift of tears

in god's economy
our tears are never wasted.
there is no shame in crying out -
does not the psalmist say
that god knows our weeping
indeed, saves our tears?
when jesus wept, were his tears
not also kept in the bottle
that bears his name?
and has he not tenderly knelt before
many a weary and broken soul
in an unexpected guise,
(like that woman long ago)
and washed their feet with the same?

-stacy wills (2/2/2012)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

i can't help but wonder...

come see! come see!
come look at the stars
with me...
did one shine more brightly
the day i was born?
which star in the sky
is my name written on?
will it fall to earth
and be done
when i die;
or shine brighter still
when i'm gone?

-stacy wills (1/31/2012)