Dec 31, 2015

Joyous, Thoughtful, Healing New Year to All

2016 approaches... I lean into the sense, feeling, the essence of 2016...ever hopeful. 
It is a day of reflection and I pick up journal entries that whisper remember when. 

"Mystery of being a woman 
the balance that is needed
the silent quiet strength that runs in our veins
the ache & longing for healing.. for peace
the sense of mothering & longing despite 
the push to play with solitude.
A world of patriarchal domination
seeking males for their balance with 

"Many women choose to not give birth
But they still birth
They birth ideas, they birth love & understanding
They birth a bold new world
Mothering is always a part of it
The very act of bleeding reminds our body of who 
we are."-Annie

"The tears we shed, 
just as mother earth sheds,
washes the earth clean.
Early on I was told 
emotions were to be kept checked,
I matured... wisdom of the sages grew within me
Solitude became a friend
It was ok to be emotional, to cry for the world, 
for mother earth, release... cleanse
Healing began."- Annie

"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen

Energy exists in all living matter... how living matter is touched, seen, heard, breathed upon affects it's very molecular existence. 
Vibrations run deeply through living matter...
When we form a circle, a circle of intention, with hands of love we encircle this world, 
our earth.
We make a difference by loving through obstacles, 
through barriers, through creation
just as a child is formed in the circle of the uterus,
thoughts of love are formed in the circle of the heart. 
When we are thrown off kilter, 
our hearts are troubled
we gently pick up objects with our hands 
we allow ourselves to dream
to create" - Annie

In honor of Meinrad Craighead

To the women of Meinrad's retreat

You opened doors & windows into my heart

"Spirit Revealed"
These open doors & windows trickled up into my daughter & my mother... and all feminine spirits who surround me

Lorinda & myself at Meinrad's retreat 
Albuquerque NM
June 9-11 2006
To: Meinrad Craighead, Lorinda Bartlett, Susan Conners, Salinda Dahl, Mary Alice Hearn, Rita Hildebrandt, Nancy Lemke, Lynette Richards, Glenda Richter & Jennifer Star
To all in my life
A joyous, thoughtful, healing New Year

Nov 21, 2015

As the Holidays Enter Our Hearts, Earth Sighs...

The Holidays are upon us, hopes of brotherhood and sisterhood enter our daily thoughts. This beautiful earth that we live upon shines tonight.The moon in all her glory casts a blue shimmer on the earth's quiet forest floor. I am watching silently, quietly pondering why my heart feels heavy when I am surrounded by love, a warm home, food on the table and security. The earth, the people, the living creatures upon it's surface feel the uncertainty of war, anger, abuse, misuse of our resources and our love. What can I do? How can I make a difference in these situations? These thoughts float through my head, trailing through my heart... hoping an answer will appear. 
 I know, deep in my heart, there is always hope, there is always love and the holidays (if nothing else) remind us of this love. The need to hear soft music filling the earth with shimmering hope, the need to see beautiful paintings that remind us of the golden light that surrounds us, the need to taste food pulled fresh from the earth's sweet crust watered by the planet we love, the need to touch another human being softly, gently... with honor. 
I, as many of us, continue to believe that love will prevail. Service to others will lift us all. Education will be the key to unlock many hearts and souls. We are blessed to walk upon this planet and call it home. We are surrounded by daily abundance and inspiration, despite the terrible injustice that occurs each and everyday towards humans and the land. 
I feel the presence of God, Mother Earth, Great Spiritual Beings when I look out the window at the moon's glorious beams. Trees reach to the sky searching for the next ray of sunshine, deer silently wander by searching for food and shelter, and I reach for words searching to make sense of it all. 
Blessings tonight to all. 

Oct 19, 2015

Humble Pie

I humbly write about the use of technology to share, to educate, to advertise, to put forth artistic visions in order to inform and create an audience. It is a healthy dose of humble pie when downloading art work, blogging to an audience, and sharing the next educational art experience with family, friends and the public. 
Whether through Facebook, Blogger, Instagram, or group e-mails it is a world of unfamiliarity at my age. Raised on a farm in central Montana we were told time and time again (an expression used by my mama) to be respectful, quiet, and above all be humble. Work hard and that work would reward us with prosperity and wealth of character. 
Now I know this to be true but let's consider the arts....all of the arts. Unless we are working in education we are usually not afforded an hourly or even monthly wage unless well established in our field. How does one go about being "Well established?"
You must be seen, heard, and/or felt in some manner. By felt I refer to emotionally touched through the senses. Our work needs to reach a larger audience. Also we must connect to this audience in order for them to understand our vision. Thus, words and images (possibly musical notes and writings) must be sent out to an audience who has expressed interest. 
So why am I writing on this subject matter. I have been fortunate enough in my art career to be involved with the MAP program (Montana Artrepreneur Program) through the Montana Arts Council. This program has offered a chance for artists to expand their knowledge on marketing art and connecting with artists and visionaries from around the state of Montana (as well as professionals from out of state). Montana is comprised of rural areas... areas of great solitude but also great stretches of isolation as well. There were times in my life when I craved artistic voices, sharing of ideas, touching base on the creation of art and how to market it. 
Being an artist is being a visionary. Being an artist is an honor that, for me, was in my blood from the moment I was born. Being an artist means you have chosen a career that will need to be promoted in some manner. With pride, I choose to promote my art along with my fellow artists. Pay it forward, lift our fellow artists and those with artistic vision. For more on MAP visit

Sep 11, 2015


In order to center something you have to completely let go, breath and allow centrifugal force to take over. The spiraling center of a seashell dizzily guiding one to the center...the center of the storm where one might breathe easier. We cannot have a center without the whole (or do I mean hole... the folly of the English language). 

When moments of sadness and confusion enter, as they enter for all of us, I ask myself "why on earth could you be sad, for you are healthy and loved"...but there are times one must be centered for life to even out. 
Breathing helps....I imagine circles of light glimmering in hoops entering my third eye, through my organs, out through my feet...
Then prayers of gratitude for the earth, for it's people, for healing of the sick, for clouds that provide moisture, for small hands that reach out for love, for fresh water to drink, for forgiveness when all seems lost....centering ones' self. My grandchildren provide a center, helping others provides a center, my partner's love provides a family and friends provide a center (just as mother earth does.) So why the spinning tonight...
One feels pain in the air as energy is released, 
one must close the eyes and send love

Aug 21, 2015


Emerging Wilderrness

Unfolding Anciently



Vision Quest 
Annie and Enya 

Aug 14, 2015

The Artist Wilderness Connection

We arrived home yesterday, August 12. Nerves were on centrifugal force raging between radiant sunbeams of joy from a two week hiatus to oh lord there is a great deal of traffic and people milling about....I felt like the wolf child being reintroduced to a world of talking heads. There were moments that Enya and I would smile and people would turn their heads and give us a nod, (we love that you know). Purposeful living had flown out the window to be replaced with oh my yes I have one week to get this list accomplished. Once a breath was taken the panic attack began to ease up on my conscience and I realized I am the only one applying pressure...all is well. 
The Artist Wilderness Connection provided reflection and confirmation. A journey of perception, awareness, visions and insights. A journey that will stay with me for the rest of my time on earth and beyond. A journey of purposeful patterns & movements. A journey of family, memories and the knowledge we are never truly alone. We not only sleep and wake with thousands of dust particles from our ancestors of long ago but (as Annie Dillard points out) we walk upon their bones and noggins. 
The connection, the thread that binds us all... the land, the sweet earth and way beyond our comprehension... the universe. There was great simplicity living in a cabin of 225 square feet, built in 1927 (there abouts), sleeping in bunk beds and etc. 

Purposeful movement such as rising with the sun, fetching water, gratitudes with the sun, long hikes, journeying, creating, observing, breathing, laying out a simple meal and watching the stars and moon at night. Knowing exactly where east, south, west and north are...and centering our minds on that notion, centering one's mind in the wonder of the wild....quiet. 

Jul 28, 2015

Visual Thinking

One of my last entries as I prepare for a visual journey. One of the tricks I do to stimulate my brain and creativity is to randomly pick up books and, with closed eyes, let them fall open to a page that requires my full attention. This is where visual thinking begins for me. Seeds of imagination and different thought patterns provide stimulation and thus growth. Books are such a visual treat. You can smell, feel and see with such clarity. 
The book that landed in my hands this morning was Artforms. Knowing that the wilderness would reveal many artforms in the coming weeks, I picked this large educational book up and there was the sparkling knowledge that my brain required to jump start into this adventure. 
To visualize is to imagine or as this book points out visual memory provides a mental picture. What is of interest to me is how our experiences influence our inner visualization and outer seeing. This book goes on to discuss perception and human awareness...daily occurrences for all of us. Just think of images, conversations, and thoughts that enter our mind each day....ooftah as my Norwegian grandmother would say. 
Don Fabun wrote"Of all our planet's resources, the most precious is human awareness."
The book points out that to be aware is to be conscious and to perceive is to be aware through the senses (to understand through the awareness). What was of interest to me, is the statement, "Much of our sensory awareness is learned. The eyes are blind to what the mind cannot see."
Watching my 18 month old granddaughter touch a blade of grass with wonder reminds me of the clean slate that allows every object to be one of wonder. This week provided me an opportunity to have my older grand kids. What a treat and what remarkable learning's. While walking in the woods my grandson and I were visited by a large pileated woodpecker, tap, tap, tapping. I am always in awe of the sounds, colors, movement and form that hits every sense when viewing living forms. My grandson looked up and then continued chopping at grass next to him. I caught his eye and said " shhhhh, look up and breath quietly." We smiled at one another. We must clear our minds, allow ourselves to see everything new and fresh. This is how magic occurs, this is how the arts flourish. 
Young minds should be encouraged to experience every moment as a moment of fresh new wonder, a moment to learn and educate others. 
Artforms points out, in varying degrees we are guided (or limited) in the growth of our awareness by our parents, teachers, and others who influence us. Looking at objects and labeling them can limit our perception of them. We can miss the nuances and subtle beauty of the object. 
Robert Irwin, "Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees". 
What if we were allowed to develop our visualization patterns, encouraged to perceive life as an individual... where would this awareness take us??
Random thoughts that allow fresh art to occur. By the way this is not a wet great horned owl, it is whatever you would like it to be. 

Jul 26, 2015

Here is our art project for the Women's Mtn. Art Retreat in October!!

Lesson plan: Our Center… The Tree of Life 
Discussion of the importance of trees in our lives and throughout history. Several readings will be discussed including Annie Dillard “For the Time Being”, R.J. Stewart “The Miracle Tree” & Sharlyn Hidalgo “Healing Power of Trees”.   
Students (ladies) will bring pictures, photos and ideas for their personal tree of life. What is our center, the core of our existence? Compare the root system, the base, the trunk, the branches, and the leaves and buds with our physical and mental selves.  
The first layer will be the bones of the project. We will use textural sand and gels to build layers of surface to the canvas. I will demonstrate the use of the medium (sand) and the use of tools (such as palette knife). How does the trees surface resemble our own? Is our exterior rough, perhaps guarded or smooth and translucent? The textures will need time to dry. We will begin to pick out our collage layers of natural fibers, papers, & other such material.  
We will use acrylics for our second layer. The use of color is important as it represents you as an individual. There is no right or wrong at this point. I will demonstrate the use of color and discuss emotional color values. Each tree will be created as an individual expression.  
We will use batik and watercolors for our third layer. I will demonstrate the placement of fibers and collage materials upon the surface of the painting. After we are satisfied with our placement we can begin to pour dyes upon sections of our painting. What textures speak to our souls? Would the roots differ from the branches of your tree? Let your life, your individual story reveal itself through the tree. This layer will need to dry overnight.  
We will reveal the painting under the collage. A moment of wonder, perhaps joy or sorrow? The painting can be worked on at your leisure. The dyed fibers can be used in your personal journal for created.  
There is an example below. Blessings Annie  

Jul 15, 2015

The Gathering of Women

Oh the gentle gathering of women spirits, the circle of love and harmony. As I prepare for the Women's Mountain Art Retreat I am lifted to a higher realm of love and excitement. 
This crazy, hectic ride we call life does not leave much time for circles to be formed. Brief gatherings at the water hole, in the backyard, or on the street sustain our spirits for a week, a couple of days or an hour. Human contact physically and verbally are craved for. Sharing our stories, listening with an open heart, and looking into each others spirits with compassion is needed. 
The first Women's Mountain Art Retreat provided this circle of love and hope. The retreat has continued to provide a complete circle for many of us (including me). 
The picture above was one of our last gatherings of love and creativity. Each retreat provides something instrumental for each participant. This year the retreat will be held at the Pineview Lodge in Hamilton Montana. The retreat will be October 9-12. I am able to provide a scholarship for a sister that is in need. I am collecting names and contact information from any and all for this lady. We will draw a name from these suggestions and she will be gifted a retreat from all of us. 
There will be a life coach, a yoga master and artists aboard for this retreat. 
As always there will be great food, wonderful drinks and a gift as you arrive (including the gift of spirit). 
Contact me at the following information whether you would like to jump aboard or whether you know of a young lady that could use a circle of love and creativity. The retreat will be $650 for four days and three nights. all supplies and food included. There will be more information by the first week of August. 
Annie Allen

Jul 1, 2015

Women Classes and Gatherings

 Birds, Feathers, Foliage… Women 
We will be using procion dyes, watercolor dyes, fibers, watercolor paper, and yupo paper (polypropylene). All supplies will be included. These two classes are about experimentation and discovery. My belief is that we all have a creative center which needs to be expressed.  
You will need to bring a poem, letter, or some written matter that reminds you of the important women in your life. Also try to bring some foliage from the summer, perhaps some feathers and ( if you would like ) some photos of your favorite birds. If you do not have these supplies no worries for I will have some to share.
  I will guide you through the magic of colors and mixing along with the interaction of colors on the different types of surface. There is alchemy involved and patience is needed. There will be times when the dyes dry slowly and you will have to wait for the next step, there will be times when the dye spills over into an area that you didn’t plan for (letting go of control can be good) , and there will be times when happy accidents occur and we will cheer you on!  
I will provide sheets of information about color mixing and suggestions about the fibers and papers with the class. 
 Terry Tempest Williams wrote “We can change, evolve, and transform our own conditioning…. Empty pages become possibilities.” 

Dates: July 9- cost $45 July 10- cost $45 (if both classes are taken cost is $80) All supplies included, snacks and refreshments provided. Time zone- 5-7:30 pm 

I will be sending out information for the 4th Annual Women's Art Retreat through my website, facebook, and blog. The retreat is a three day, two night event featuring several artists in different disciplines such as visual art, sculpture, body movement, etc. Please feel free to request to be on the mailing list for this event. We are considering late fall and possibly landing at either Sleeping Child Hot Springs or Boulder Hot Springs. 
Annie Allen

Jun 19, 2015

The Sky Was (by e. e. Cummings)
can    dy    lu
        pinks shy
greens    coo    1 choc

  un    der,
  a    lo
      tive        s  pout

wrote of a romantic earth, revealing colors and shapes that danced through the string of his words. Mystery was hidden in the formation. Emerging formations, that is what I love to create.

“To be nobody but 
yourself in a world 
which is doing its best day and night to make you like 
everybody else means to fight the hardest battle 
which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.” 
― E.E. Cummings
I leave you with my favorite quote from Cummings, I am thankful for all in my life....that would be all of you. I am thankful for this sweet earth. I am thankful for survivors. 

“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” 
― E.E. Cummings
Images by Annie Allen: Emerging Formations