Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Artist's Way - Week Two

"Tastes Wine Bar" painting
by Jennifer Mosquera

Week two of following Julia Cameron’s 12-week course outlined in her book The Artist’s Way was another busy week! I attended my first board meeting at the Denver Art Society, had drinks with artist and curator Jennifer Mosquera and Russell Wilbar at his artist reception at Tastes Wine Bar & Bistro in uptown Denver, saw a screening of Our City Dreams – a documentary about five female artists navigating the New York art scene, and had brunch with the Dana Cain – Denver’s event planning diva.

With my full dance card I didn’t find time to complete the suggested week two exercises, but I did manage to write my three morning pages each day and I scheduled a solo artist date with myself – a stroll through historic downtown Littleton on Saturday afternoon. So considering this past week was even busier than usual, completing two out of three Artist’s Way assignments isn’t bad, not bad at all.

What have I gained during these first two weeks following Julia Cameron’s course? For starters, I think writing three morning pages is making me better at time management. I’m more aware of what is on my to-do-list each day, including my three morning pages, and I’m finding that I am more present – more in the moment – as I move through my day and cross items off my to-do-list. The net result: the discipline I’m developing by reading a chapter a week, writing the three morning pages, and taking myself on a solo artist date actually seems to be making me more productive and aiding me in keeping the different aspects of my life in balance. I’m only two weeks into the 12-week course, but so far I’m grateful I decided to take the challenge and follow The Artist’s Way.

Photo originally posted online by the
American Academy of Pediatrics

In other news, I’m excited about the volunteer work I’ll be doing with the Denver Art Society as a member of the new event planning board. Founded two years ago by Sean McGowan, the goal of the Denver Art Society is to provide free art education to every child in Denver by the end of 2010. To do so, the board will be planning fundraising events throughout the year. First up: a screening of the art documentary Who Does She Think She Is? and a companion art show for women. My dream to bring this film to women artists in Denver is being realized and we’re supporting a worthwhile cause: ending artlessness! We’re shooting for a May screening and art show. Details to come…

To help end artlessness, please visit to sign up to be a volunteer or to make a monetary donation.

Our City Dreams movie poster
courtesy of filmmaker Chiara Clemente

Don’t waste your time renting the documentary Our City Dreams. While it was interesting to see the art work of five different female New York artists, I found the documentary lacking cohesion. Other than all five artists are women, not native to New York City, but all moved there to pursue their artistic endeavors, there is no other correlation between them. The independent film lacked so much organization of thought that I’m having difficulty describing it. Maybe you should see it and formulate your own opinion. To view the trailer visit

Check back next week as I work my way through week three of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, host the next meeting for the women’s writing group I am a member of at my apartment/art studio, and meet with not one, but two, prospective commissioned painting customers.

In the meantime, to see Jennifer Mosquera’s art please visit

To see Russell Wilbar’s art please visit

Tastes Wine Bar has two locations: uptown at 1033 E. 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80218 and 4267 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212. Visit to view their menu.

And you don’t want to miss Dana Cain’s events so visit for details!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Artist's Way - Week One

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

Writing three morning pages each day, as suggested by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way, is much easier said than done. Week one and I only managed to write them three out of seven days. Not bad, considering I only averaged five to six hours of sleep every night for the past week, but if I were being graded on this self-appointed assignment, I wouldn’t be passing.

Why so little sleep? In addition to working full-time in an office, I’m a full-time working artist, and a soon to be published author. That’s right, later this year I’ll be adding author to my list of credentials. An essay I am writing about the role art has played in my life and the necessity for me to honor my creative spirit is being published in a book. This past Friday I attended a workshop hosted by the publisher so in preparation I spent many a late night last week finishing my first draft so that I could get feedback on it. But if getting ready to be published isn’t enough, I was sleepless in Denver as I also prepared to hang ten paintings at Larimer Hot House and I finished painting my two masks for the annual Denver Hospice Mask Project.

Larimer Hot House
Denver, Colorado

Larimer Hot House is located at 2810 Larimer St, Denver, Colorado 80205. Enjoy my vibrant abstract paintings while dining at the Hot House Monday through Friday, home of the Ten Buck Lunch (includes sandwich, soda or bottle water, homemade potato chip or potato salad, pickle and a krispy treat) and where Breakfast Burrito’s start at just $3.50. Breakfast is served from 7am to 11am. Lunch is served from 11am to 3:30pm.

Awaken the Dreamer Within and
The Golden Thread of Truth

The Denver Hospice - which marks its 32nd Anniversary in 2010 - is Colorado's oldest and largest hospice. The annual Mask Project helps people in the Denver community at a most critical time - the end of life - and enables Denver Hospice to continue their comprehensive and compassionate program of care. The 2010 Mask Project is free and open to the public, with hundreds of masks by renowned artists, celebrities, sports figures, political and community leaders on display at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center from April 1 to April 30, 2010.

I also struggled in week one of The Artist’s Way course with scheduling my weekly artist date with myself. The challenge? Balancing work with my personal life. Between my day job, painting, and writing (and the business of managing my multiple careers), I don’t have a lot of time to spend with my significant other so it felt criminal just to think of doing the fun things I had planned this weekend without him. So solo artist date? I’m looking at big fat goose egg on the week one score card.

Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith
Photo courtesy of Agape

But how could I attend a lecture and workshop with the world renown Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith from the movie The Secret and leave the love of my life at home? It would have been selfish to deny my partner the opportunity to experience the powerful and inspiring messages to let go of the perceived failures and disappointments of 2009 and to follow your bliss as 2010 unfolds.

Photo courtesy of Festivus Film Festival

And with my other half being an avid movie fan, I couldn’t go to the Festivus Film Festival on Saturday with out him. That would just have been rude. Plus, whose hand would I have squeezed during the horror film shorts? And who would I have talked to about the heartbreaking story of nine year old rapper Priscilla Star Diaz in the documentary P-Star whose dad pimped her out to music industry to pull the family out of poverty?

So as week one of my course in The Artist’s Way comes to close I hear the 12-step slogan, “Progress, not Perfection” ringing in my ear. The over achiever in me wishes she could report that she’s off to a perfect start, had written three morning pages each day, and carved out time for a solo artist date, but three days of writing morning pages is three more than I had written the week before so I celebrate my accomplishments.

Check back next week as I continue my 12-week course of The Artist’s Way, reveal some of the exciting things that are happening at the Denver Art Society, and report on my screening of the independent film Our City Dreams, a documentary about five female artists navigating the New York art scene.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Year, More Art

It’s only January 10, but already 2010 is off and running with me trying to catch my breath and keep up with it and all the fun, artistic things there are to do here in Denver.

Johnathan McFarlane, Tim DeMasters, and Eric Matelski
Photo courtesy of Art Pimp

I spent the first Monday of the New Year attending First Monday Art Talk at Dazzle where Eric Matelski interviewed Johnathan McFarlane and Tim DeMasters, the directors of the Festivus Film Festival, “Real Indie Flicks for Real Indie Fans.” This year celebrates the 3rd annual festival and runs from January 14-17.

Visit for the festival schedule and to purchase tickets for this year’s four day event. Single Screenings are $8, a Day Pass (good at both venues – the Bug Theater and Oriental Theater) is $15, but a Festival Pass is only $40 and gives pass holders access to the Festivus Lounge where you can enjoy free drinks, mingle with the filmmakers, and relax between screenings.

The gallery at The Denver Art Society
Photo courtesy of Sean McGowan

Friday night I hung out at the Denver Art Society where I took in the art and enjoyed the musical stylings of local singer/songwriters Josh Jacobson and Julie Tiehen. Founded by local artist Sean McGowan, The Denver Art Society is a non-profit whose mission is to provide free art education to every child in Denver by the end of 2010. I’ll be volunteering my time there in the coming year to help raise money and awareness.

For more information about how you can support the Denver Art Society, please visit

Rick Dula and me, Marcella Nordbeck,
in front of his mural at the Denver Art Musem

Saturday I was introduced to artist Rick Dula at the Denver Art Museum (DAM). If you’ve checked out the Embrace! exhibit than you’ve seen Rick’s mural at the top of the stairs on the second floor. It’s like looking through glass at the inner workings of the $110 million dollar construction. Rick’s mural, like his smaller paintings, is so lifelike you’ll swear you’re looking at a photograph, if not the real thing.

After Rick and I discussed the techniques he used to paint the mural we walked a few blocks over to the William Havu Gallery, which represents him, and looked at his latest works currently on display including the painting “Hamilton Building Construction View” that was the inspiration for the DAM mural. Afterward Rick, myself, and the rest of our party, discussed the probability of the DAM keeping his mural over drinks and appetizers at the Cap City Tavern even though the Embrace! exhibits were not created with the intention of keeping them after the show ends on April 4, 2010.

To learn more about Rick Dula, visit

Check back next week as I’ll be reporting about my experiences “Rev’ing” up the New Year with Rev. Michael Beckwith from the movie The Secret, screening films at the Festivus Film Festival, and beginning my 12-week course of Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. 12 blogs in 12 weeks about my trials and tribulations as I attempt to write 3 morning pages each day, conduct weekly exercises, and schedule weekly artist dates with myself – all while working full-time, preparing for a couple upcoming art shows, organizing my own film screening, and writing an essay I intend to have published by year’s end – can I do it?

Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge is located at 930 Lincoln St, Denver, Colorado 80203. Go to for information on upcoming jazz acts and First Monday Art Talks.

Go to to learn more about Eric Matelski, his art, and the events he organizes to support other local Denver artists.

Support singer/songwriter Julie Tiehan by donating $15 at  for a presale copy of her new album so she can finish recording it.