Saturday, June 29, 2013


"A sound like water came from the mountains.  It was the wind in the forest,"  
John Giono The Man Who Planted Trees

Milded exclaimed, "I wish there were two Saturdays in every week!"

"Yeah, me too!"

Once a week or more I try to gather with friends at local restaurants.  Our groups or one on one conversations give us mini-vacations, a freedom from care....The Great Escape!  

We bring to the table ideas, books, dreams, hopes, plans:  enjoyment of life.

We share stories.  * "Strories that help me understand what it is to be alive on this Earth."

We leave for home or other committments, relaxed, refreshed, and energized.

*  "One thing I've learned from the life I've lived: The world can only be saved by one man or woman putting a seed in the ground or a story in someone's head or a book in someone's hands."

Song of the Day: Two of Us by John Lennon and Paul McCartney from Let It Be Album

*A Cafecito Story by Julia Alvarez, stunning woodcuts by Belkis Ramirez  Visionary Artist, Author, and Tai Chi Instructor, free PDF E-book, Silver Butterfly, Create A Vision, Awaken Your Creativity

White Spruce with Cones, photo by Paul
Rainbow Butterfly, light in my hands, photo by Rob

Thursday, June 20, 2013


*  "I see Angels in the Architecture,
Spinning in Infinity...." 

**  "Paintings are like windows opening to the world," Pablo Picasso

New to Old, a matter of perception
Sr. Mary's Abbey in York, England presents itself as a shiny new surface on my painting "completed" years ago, but in reality, the Abbey itself is old and in ruins?  How did this happen?  Why did I paint the Abbey Church as if it were whole and new?

One evening my son, Rob, and I caught Rick Steve's Europe Travel show while waiting for another program.  All of a sudden I shouted and pointed to the TV!  "There it is!  There's St. Mary's Abbey in York, England!  It's a ruin, a skeleton of stones."  Based on Emilie's photo, I thought it was an Abbey in operation today.

The Big Picture
I quickly retrieved  my painting of St. Mary's Abbey and pondered it.  Emilie had photographed the Abbey, standing near it.  She took the shot straight up the building and tilted the camera on purpose, giving a mystic effect.  Painting buildings definitely are "new" to me, with detail and straight (or not so straight) lines.  St. Mary's Abbey is a big canvas, 24" x 30."   A smaller surface is so much easier.  My husband always tries to stretch my imagination and level of comfort zone by taking me out of the box and into a challenge.  He does this by buying large canvases for me to tackle.  He knows I will be on task.


This painting began to haunt me again.  The perspective always looked jumbled and tumbled about.  I set the art work on my easel and viewed it from a distance in the living room.  I noticed the smooth appearance of the brush strokes, so different from the crumbling "off center" look of the rock ruins.  Still the painted strokes called me to take a brush to it!  Something I "never" do....

Old to New, a fresh coat of paint
One morning, the energy felt just right for painting.  Painting energy is turned on right now (but not all the time).   Picking up the correct window of inspiration for painting and creative play is fun and relaxing as well as a physical work out.  I do a lot of walking around while I paint.  A few Tai Chi warm ups and I am ready to go.

I select the frequency of the day, Chants of India.  I hear healing tones, hums, and words in the music.  Ravi Shankar plays the sitar.

Sasha the Cat stares carefully from her leopard blanketed chair.  I am circling around the painting, preying, hunting, watching, waiting.  I visualize finished effects of rough cut stone and subtle shadows.  I want to keep the ethereal blue of the original intact. Stepping back for a distant view then stepping close for a brushstroke or palette knife scrape, I begin to carve in the new look, a painted makeover.  How about a bit of facial tissue for softness as it wipes and blots across the surface of the fresh oil paint?  How about a Q-Tip for a soft blended touch?  I relish picking up my large ancient worn brush from college classes.

"I need another brush!  A small chisel brush!  Here it is!"  A chisel brush paints fine lines as well as larger areas of paint.

With a palette knife I scrape blocks of rocky strokes across the once smooth painted surface of the original painting.   The building ages in seconds.   With nature's paintbrushes of wind and water, the process takes eons.

My husband joins to help.  Like scientists, we study computer images of St. Mary's Abbey, the stones, the arches, the sparse statement of rock solid blocks interspersed with lace-like crumbling.  We feel the energy of prayers and chants from the past.  I have a few Lindor Truffle Candies during my study break.  I am hypnotized by the images.  I recall that when the original painting was done, there were no everyday home computers or mobile devices, and I had not yet practiced Tai Chi!

We work as a team!  My husband helps me straighten a very crooked part of the building..."Paint it here!  Put the line from this point to that one!"  Together we work on the "hole in the wall image?"  What is that?  We even put in a few stress fracture cracks.

It feels from the computer photos, that there may have been an angel, sculpted in relief near the mysterious dark spot.  To my surprise, I had already sketched in the angel, wings and all, years ago.  I enhanced her with sculpted brushstrokes rather than carved stone.

When I stepped back, to my surprise, a small figure had painted himself with outstretched arms walking along a ridge of stone in the middle left side of the painting!

Five hours I painted all at once!  fFueled by chocolate and ambition, will power and adrenaline, "I quit, I like!"  Knowing when to quit is the hardest part of painting.  Overpainting and fretting will take the intrinsic life right out of color, line, and shade.

I sat in quiet rest and pride of accomplishment, practicing cool down Tai Chi routines.  Time had slipped by so quickly, I was amazed at my stamina.  Usually two hours are my limit for painting and often shorter than that.  After this session I wasn't even sore or stiff!   ***Tai Chi practice helps me to feel better building greater flexibility and range of motion over time.  I am much stronger and more flexible today than yesteryear.  I smile to realize Tai Chi is a means of social support.  I have a circle of positive friends now.

Journey to Forever
What have I learned?  I pay more attention to the builder and the stone cutter.  I feel a deeper process of vision to achievement.  I will never look at edifices or ruins in the same way again!  "All is process," my son, Rob reminds me.  Yes, I plan to paint more large canvases. 

Intent Leads Energy:  A Sacred Journey of a Painting takes Another Step.
I hear a silent voice: "Paint Another One!"

**  "As a child, Picasso learned to paint like an adult.  As an adult he learned to paint [play] like a child," Rick Steves.

Related Posts:
Tonal Vision, The Power of Music in our Lives (Jan 2011), Encounters with Michael, The Artist Meets the Archangel (Mar 2011), and Sacred Destination, Sacred Geometry (Sept 2012)

* Paul Simon, singer songwriter, Call Me Al 

Chants of India by Ravi Shankar produced by George Harrison

**  Rick Steve's Europe on PBS.  Quotes from Rick Steve's show about Montserrat, Picasso, and Salvador Dali. Take a tour with Rick, relax and learn, TV or online.

Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres by Henry Adams.  Published in 1910, take a pilgrimage into time, discover sacred sites. Thousands of free full text books and illustrations online at

Tai Chi:
*** The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi, Peter M. Wayne, Ph.D., with Mark L. Fuerst contains the chapter, Enhance Your Creativity with Tai Chi. 
Visionary Artist, Author, and Tai Chi Instructor

Images by Dahlis:
St. Mary's Abbey, York, England, 4 photos:
Original painting (1994) smooth stones
Original painting, Angel in the Architecture
Re-painted rougher stone work (2013)
Close up, Angel and Walking Figure

Sasha the Cat, "contemplation"

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


                                                                                                             Feel the Qi~

Some years ago while learning Tai Chi, I encountered a personal experience.  I jotted down some notes and later typed them out.  Over the years, the print-out vanished.  A few weeks ago, I remembered my story.  I even saw the printed paper and type font in my imagination.  I pictured myself holding the story in my hands and savoring it again.  A week later, while discovering bins of archives, writing, articles, photos, sketches and more this exact story popped into my hands!   And here it is:

Dr. Yang Jwing-ming and his Electric Handshake

Rewinding time, I read again....

June melted toward July.  Excitement mounted about our trip to A Taste of China Tai Chi Seminars held in Winchester, Virginia hosted by Pat Rice.  It was the Saturday Morning Tai Chi class in the park right before my husband and I left for the Blue Ridge Mountains for the seminars.

 I remembered Dr. Gu's words.  My teacher told me,  "I want you to meet experts."

Aaron, a Tai Chi student and friend, shook me out of my daydream.   "Dr. Yang jwing-ming is my hero!  If you talk to him tell him I said 'Hi,' and I hope to meet him someday.' "

I mused to myself.  "How would 'I' connect with a Tai Chi Master let alone speak to him in person, ask a question, or relay a message?"

The morning of Take-Off Rob, my son Rob smiled,  "Have fun at Tai Chi Camp!"

"Send me some energy," I replied weakly wondering how I would be able to get through the rigorous classes.

Rob shot back, "You're meeting Jou, Tsung Hwa and Dr Yang, you can send me energy!"

When my husband and I got to Tai Chi camp the "etiquette' rules suggested students not ask the Masters for favors, pictures, or autographs.  "It's not Hollywood," my friend Louise mentioned before I had left home.

Seeing Jou, Tsung Hwa in a Chinese restaurant and catching his eyes was heart stopping enough.  Then the next night to be sitting "front row center" for his seminar was an unplanned event!  My Tai Chi life was changing fast!

The following morning dawned sunny and hot, attending Dr. Yang, Jwing-ming's Taiji Qigong Seminar filled me with energy!  I crackled and sparkled all over.  His dynamic personality exploded in person.  Better yet, many seminars were open to all levels.  As a beginner, I felt comfortable. Dr. Gu had trained me well.

"Have fun with your practice!  Just like break dancing: shake rattle and roll!"  Dr. Yang showed the true "Creeping Like a Cat," then "Explosive Power" of Tai Chi energy.

After the seminar, I gingerly approached Dr. Yang's display table, a banquet of books, video, and music.  I searched the box of Cd's for music for Yang Long Form practice.  There were several hundred music selections, most of these were written in Chinese characters.  


I looked up in desperation.  There was a pause in the milling conversations...I took the chance while a fellow was getting out his cash.  "Oh can you help me please find the music for the Yang Long Form?"  

Without hesitation, "Here it is," Dr. Yang fished out the Cd Taiji Melody.  "Long Form music is the 88 Pattern, The Short Form (Yang 37) is on it too!"

I headed downstairs with my prize!  I opened the car door and slid into my seat.  Paul suggested I buy more products as well, for gifts and home practice.  When I went back to the counter, many items were already sold!

Again I blurted out:

"Dr. Yang, Jwing-ming, I have a Tai Chi friend.  His name is Aaron.  He can't be here today, but he hopes to meet you sometime."

"Give him this!"  Dr. Yang smiled as he extended a warm powerful yet gentle handshake.  Chinese Master's hands are often very warm with buildup of Qi (energy) through many years of practice.  I felt the electricity of the touch.

During that summer, a group Tai Chi friends met in the park for daily morning form practice.  Aaron came to practice when he could.  I didn't forget the handshake, but I was sort of shy and waited for the right opportunity.

One sunny day, Aaron and I talked after class.   He was thinking of moving out of town, looking for new paths on his continuing life journey.

The time had come! 

I repeated the above story to Aaron and added, "This handshake is from Dr. Yang!"  I transferred the energy of the handshake.

Aaron was blown away for what he called the "jolt" of electric qi that came through my hand and from Dr. Yang, Jwing-ming's original handshake.  

"I can still feel the qi!"

So can I!

  Harmony and Balance

Related Posts:
Keywords: Tai Chi, Meditation, Intuition

Dr Yang, Jwing-ming, Yang Style Tai Chi, Qigong, and Martial Arts Master, books, DVD's, seminars, music and more.  Story printed with permission from Dr. Yang.

 Dr. Yang, Jwing-ming

Jou, Tsung Hwa, mathematician, author, Tai Chi master, The Dao of Taijiquan, The Dao of Meditation, "Thank you for all you taught us...." 

Taiji Melody, a selection of Form Practice Music is now available in MP-3.

Dahlis Roy:  Visionary Artist, Author, and Tai Chi Instructor

Feel the Qi detail of oil painting by Dahlis
Yin and Yang, a study in balance and harmony 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


The Dream of the Black and White Horses

Years ago, my son, Rob and I took a drive to a nearby park for a walk in the woods and prairies.  A horse and rider came by on the trail.  How exciting to be so near to  a horse again!  I remembered my dream of a horse family, black and white, in cut and paste cartoon style. 

I pick up *Silver Butterfly and read:

"Driving home from the park and rounding a hilltop, I saw a field:  a field of black and white horses!...."

"In the dream, to the left of the horses was a broad expanse of bright green, an unreal neon hue....The style of the painting in my dream was entirely different  from the usual delicate Impressionist look.  The horses were boldly drawn and sharply outlined in black, something my father told me never to do as he coached me in drawing skills.  The sky was grey white, and the immediate foreground was white...."

"I took out my rough pencil sketch and prepared to paint the vivid dream vision.  I thought about the field of "painted" pinto horses I saw after my walk with Rob...."

There are many dimensions on life's canvas:
The Dream
The Sketch
The Scene
The Painting   

"In sharp contrast to my usual pastel oil shades, I chose bold black and white, bright yellow, and vivid veridian green.  I picked up a broad sweeping brush for sky and ground, and added horses in sharp outlines with a thin liner brush.  The paint was fluid and flowed out like a watercolor image...."

Paint Your Dreams
I proudly showed the small finished painting to my friend Joanna at our monthly informal meeting over coffee and books at a local cafe.

"I think the horses represent your inner strength.  The green symbolizes hope to develop this inner strength waiting there." 

"We can clarify our dreams with a walk in the park."

Related Posts:
Key Words Blog Search:  Horses, Dreams, Meditation, Intuition, Tai Chi

Forgetting is more Precious than Remembering guest author Paul Lam, M.D. (May 2013), Off the Grid (Oct 2012), Running with Horses (March 2012)

Resources:  Paul Lam, M.D., a family practice physician in Sydney, Australia, helps people worldwide connect with Tai Chi exercise for balance, strength and well being. 
Visionary Artist, Author, and Tai Chi Instructor.  Request free E-book PDF, Silver Butterfly Create A Vision, a Tai Chi journey with a mystic twist.  

The Dream of the Black and White Horses and Detail Black and White Horses, oil painting by Dahlis Roy