Hey Artist, Cowgirl Up!

283099_560840199728_2448688_nCowgirl up!
Put on your big girl boots and ride.

What does that even mean?

It means:  DO what needs to be Done!

Monday night I cowgirled upped.

Three weeks ago Blue Skies, my beautiful paint horse, decided to go bat guano crazy.
Well, not that crazy, but crazy enough.  He decided that he no longer wanted to be ridden.

How do I know this?
Every time I rode we would get half way around the arena and BOOM!
Ears flatten.  Body tenses.
He bucks.
I get off!

59806_10150272015870035_3546829_nFor two weeks I got off and lunged him into a lather.
(To lunge a horse means to run them in circles hoping he would realize that cooperation was a better choice than running in circles.  He did not get the memo.)

Half way around -BOOM- he kicks out and I get off.

Monday night, week 3, I called in an expert.
With great trepidation and my instructor present I saddle up to ride.

Same pattern.
Half way around ears flatten (his not mine), body tenses, and he bucks until I come to a stop.
I did NOT get off.
I stayed on.
Mark, my instructor, was there to talk me through it.
Keep your hands down.
Kick him.  Don’t let him stop.


I wanted desperately to get off.
And I preferred getting off on my own terms rather than flying through the air.

I had to choose between two voices.

The voice of experience, my instructor,
or the familiar voice of fear screaming inside my head, “Sell the SOB!”205077_10150482557445035_5421350_n

One hand on the reins and the other gripping the back of by saddle,
I rode Blue Skies through his pissy bucking fit.
And again.
And again.
And again four times in quick succession.


The next time through the pattern Blue Skies minded his manners.
Sort of.
Ears went back but his body did not tense and he did not buck.

It was not nearly as frightening when I was not alone.

It was a contest of wills between me and my horse.
With Mark’s trained eye and encouragement, I won.
That round.
There will be more battles before the war is won.
But I have tasted victory and I like it.25940_10152447229795035_32548799_n

Was it scary?
No, it was terrifying!

Did I want to stop?
Hell, yes!

Were those tears of fear or tears of victory running down my face?

What does this have to do with art making and the business of art?

EVERYTHING!  Ramalamadingdong! I STAYED ON!
I rode my horse.
I got off my horse WHEN and WHERE I wanted to get off.
I did not go flying through the air.  I RODE THROUGH IT!59806_10150272015855035_3502596_n
And, looking back, it was not so bad.   (It was significantly bad during.)

I could not have safely navigated the ride without an experienced coach.

And that is the tie-in.  For several years now I have navigated my art career alone.  It was not safe.   When the ride got scary I got off and ran around in circles!

Zip.  Zero.  Nada.  NO FORWARD MOTION!

Earlier this month I hired a coaching team.
We will be working online several times a month setting and achieving goals. 14582307_1066260956833143_4375205101929758720_n

It is dangerous to ride alone.
From the top of a bucking horse it is difficult to evaluate how precarious the ride truly is.
An experienced trainer on the ground instructing can take in the entirety of the situation and offer advice as to when to hang on and when to bail.

It is still my ride.  I am still the one sitting in the saddle, but I have a new perspective.

When I am paralyzed with fear I now have a team to talk me through the fear.

Steady on the reins.
Set back.
Keep moving forward.

Could I do this on my own?163049_1810757309142_2566981_n
Apparently not or else I would have already done it.

If you are an encouraging voice and would like to ride along with me the newsletter is just right for you.

When you hear of someone who might be in the market for art that will reflect their hearts and look great with their sofa, tell them about the website https://gwenmeharg.com/.

Family.  Friends.  You never know who might know someone whose life could use a dose of beauty and hope.  I am a “more, the merrier!” kind of gal.

6076_4593921486507_927793655_nHappy Trails!



Magic Shows And Pragmatic Artists




I am not a fan of magicians.  dscn7954
I am too pragmatic to enjoy the illusion.
I know it is a trick.
I don’t care how it is done.

Bah humbug!

BUT WHAT IF …  I drank the cool-aid?  I saw what I wanted to see?

Would it be different if I were to suspend pragmatism?


Jubilee and I attended the Texas State Fair in Fair Park Dallas this year and we were captivated by a very mediocre magician’s captivation of his young audience.  The children were enthralled and we embraced their enthusiasm.

dscn7995Silly trick.  OOOOOOOH.
Lame trick.   AHHHHHHH.
Corny trick.  Applause!

The children did not care that his tricks were old.
They did not care that his tricks can be purchased on the toy as aisle at BoxMart.
The children enjoyed not knowing, the brisk fall air, the early rising moon sharing the sky with the setting sun, an outing
with their parents and grandparents on a school night, and being fooled.

dscn7994Our State Fair magician ended with a fine illusion that I thoroughly enjoyed.
A beautiful illusion with a rope and knots and a box.   By then I did not care that it was a trick.  I embraced the illusion.

Akin to the frog who jumped into the pot of cool water and he did not notice,
because the heat was added gradually,
that the water was boiling and he was being cooked alive. 

dscn7989Well poop!

This blog has taken an ugly turn.
I thought I was writing about magic and the difference between magic and illusion.
Turns out I am writing about politics in America. 

I am a Christian.  Not a very good one, either.
It means I read my bible and carry with me a hope for something more and greater.
It means I believe that human beings are created in the image of God, male and female.
The bible says NOTHING about “race” just that we are created in God’s image and God’s image is male AND female.  (Isn’t THAT interesting?  Not say male OR female, but male and female.)

dscn7993The bible commends a childlike heart.
It also admonishes the reader to put away childish things.

There is a huge difference between childlike and childish.

A childlike heart is how and why I paint.
A childlike heart allowed me to enjoy a magician’s performance and the joy of the young audience.

dscn7960Childishness allows a huckster,
like the midway barker,
to lead a nation down a merry trail and to the edge of a precipice.

I am almost 56.
My first memory is of weeping adults in our living room, huddled around the television, watching the news of President Kennedy’s assassination.
I was almost 3.

I feared for the lives of President Obama and his family during their administration.  I prayed and I am still praying.

dscn7986This past year America has entered into times unprecedented in my lifetime.
More recent than ancient history, the times we are repeating are not really so long ago.  .
What is happening on our streets and in our local YMCA’s is reminiscent of stories my parents,
who are in their 80s, told of prejudice and discrimination when they were young adults.

Things are being said and done by average citizens, “good people,” that are not okay.

I don’t know who you voted for and that is probably a good thing.

dscn7996Regardless of who you voted for …
IF you are NOT racist …  now is the time to evaluate who you are and what you stand for before you go over the edge of the cliff.
IF you are NOT racist …  now is the time to get out of the boiling water and speak up for our brothers and sisters of color.

dscn7985Yesterday my cousin and I were standing in line to order lunch and an elderly lady behind us was wearing a huge safety pin in her turquoise t-shirt.  She told us, “It means I have your back.”

It is time to sit down and ask our created in the image of God, American selves,
“Whose back do I have?”
And, “What does that look like for me and my family?”

What To Do with the Flaming Sack of Poo On the United States of America’s Doorstep?

dsc_0027smWhat to do with the flaming sack of poo deposited on the doorstep of our nation Tuesday night?

For God’s sake,
whatever you do:


Let it flame out. 

Prepare now for the ensuing mess and clean up.

Hatred and fear won the election.

As a nation we can NOT ALLOW hatred and fear to define us.

The story is not over.
Just a new chapter.

I gotta go wash off my shoes.


Rats Scurry. People Ought Not.

14947789_1325730707479339_9033128899126711905_nI am writing from Holly Colorado.   I am sitting on the second floor (corner room) with a lovely window that rounds what would typically be a square corner.   Since I am working that makes this a CORNER OFFICE!  I. Have. Arrived.

Looking out I see other buildings, like mine from the mid 1800s and all the inner corners facing the cross streets are rounded.  It is quite lovely.


It was also disorienting during the night trying to find the bed  in a room with five walls instead of four.    I was the thing that went bump in the night.

This morning I am brewing PG Tips tea in a clear water bottle sitting on my corner window ledge.  It won’t be ready until this afternoon, but today I am not participating in the rat race.

Today I will not scurry.  Rats scurry.  People, while more than a few are rat-like, ought not to scurry.  Nothing good comes from the scurry.
For the past month I have been scurrying.  Yes, I finished three paintings, but the scurry did not get them done.  Actually, IF I had avoided the scurry I am certain that at least one more would be complete and possibly one or two more.  Scurry shuts down the brain’s ability to truly prioritize.

The urgent obliterates the important.

I KNOW this and yet….dsc_0126

Today I am on my way to Denver to spend time at the Denver Art Museum (DAM) and the Stills Museum next door.  Maybe some Red Rock hiking.  We will see.  We will see.   Instead of scurrying out and speed (not speeding!) towards Denver I decided to sit down. I am sitting in my simple corner room and watching my tea begin its slow brew.

It is quiet except for the occasional passing pick up truck.  The sunshine is nice.  Breathing is nice.
(Wow, that last pick up had a muffler!)
Carley Hughes, our priest at Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, challenged us to take 30 seconds- just THIRTY SECONDS- five times a day and be still.  I wanted to do it.  I was certain I could do it.

I have not done it yet.

It has been two weeks.  TODAY I am taking my 2 1/2 minutes to just be still.  Maybe I’ll talk to God.  Maybe I will just listen.  Maybe I will just be.

My art comes from connecting with the world around me.  From readi
ng.  From journaling.  From connecting disparate ideas and concepts.   I can’t do that scurrying.   I have to be still.  In my mad dash to “get it all done,” to “do it right,” TO JUSTIFY MAKING ART I have cut myself off from the joy of what I do and who I was created to be.

Scurrying is not good for anyone.  dsc_0102
It is not good for me.
It is not good for my family.
It is not good for my art.
It is not good for my community.

I wager that it is not good for you.

Give Carley’s challenge a go this week.
Thirty seconds, morning, meals, bedtime.
Find two and a half minutes to connect with yourself and your greater purpose.

A purpose beyond politics.

Time to check out.  (Literally, it is check-out time at the inn.)