Poem of the Week: Earthsong

Dawn Huntley Spitz
Cape Cod Branch


A Sonnet

We love you, our Mother Earth, who gave us birth

We bless the land so fair you gladly share

We thank you for all you give that we may live

Your majesty we praise through all our days.

And yet we in our greed take much more than we need,

Plundering without remorse our very source,

Destroying by degrees our wildlife and our trees

We waste without concern, we slash and burn.

O creatures of the earth, you respect its worth,

This precious home on which you live and roam

Before mankind arrived, you flourished and you thrived.

But humans lack the key to harmony

And if we do not learn, before the point of no return,

To make amends… our story ends.


Art of the Week: Fancy Nancy

Jen Walls
Fort Lauderdale Branch
Fancy Nancy
Mixed Media on Aquaboard


Mixed-media artist and mark-maker, Jen Walls, is often inspired by mythology, folklore and stories of indigenous peoples. Self-taught, her art is the result of disciplined studio time, a regimen of exploratory and experimental projects and a good dose of magic. Her whimsical characters invite the viewer to explore the transformative nature of fairytales…entering the woods at night, conquering our fears and emerging on the other side as stronger, more compassionate versions of ourselves.


Jen considers storytelling to be the primary finishing medium in art. Her workshops explore personal storytelling and archetypes, along with a bit of quirky whimsy.


Unconventional materials are part of Jen’s standard repertoire, including wood reclaimed from scrap heaps and dumpsters as supports. Her preferred tools are paper towels, old credit cards and fingers, though she will occasionally use an actual paint brush. Her works consist of many layers of watercolor, acrylic, ink and paper. Hand- printed papers are part of the “clothing” of her whimsical characters.


Her first collaborative book, Blue Wild, was published in 2016, and features paintings “illustrated” by the haiku poetry of kindred spirit and writer Mary W. Cox. She was a featured artist in the 2017 book 100 Love Notes by author Hyong Yi.


Jen writes an introspective (and sometimes humorous) blog piece to accompany each new work of art, allowing a peek into the thought process and methods of every creation. An advocate for doodling in the classroom, the waiting room and the board room, she lives in Florida with her husband, son and assorted mischievous wildlife.


Art of the Week: Reflection

Diana Kaye Obe
Pensacola FL Branch
Charcoal on tan paper

Reflection is a tribute to the original peoples who populated our land for many generations.  These ancestors greeted Europeans stepping down from huge sailing ships into the “New World” centuries prior.  A wide variety of native cultures still continue to contribute dance, song, art, and culture throughout the great land of America.

Lost in her reflections, this Crow woman seems demure, serious, and thought-filled in her poise.  A hint of sadness upon her face captivated me and I wanted to record her on her wooden seat, by drawing with a piece of the earth, a charcoal medium, to convey and capture, at the very least, a depth of nature in which the native peoples of this country lived closely for centuries.  I strive to honor her customs and beauty.

Diana Kaye Obe


Art of the Week: The Glory of Aaron

Vivian Bergenthal
Connecticut Branch
The Glory of Aaron

Enamored of the landscape as subject matter, my reactions can be likened to a dance. The formula for each dance lies in the following symbiosis:  the give and take of rhythms, the sense of contrasts in color, shape and texture, and the compositions seen through the naked eye in combination with that of a camera lens. The ability to work successfully with mixed media has enabled me to achieve a kind of immediacy in my work. That I have been able to translate my initial responses to whatever images inspired me, to my handling of a variety of appropriate techniques has brought me great satisfaction.


Oftentimes, I find the world with all its uncertainties encroaching insistently upon the peaceful aura of a special moment in time that I am enjoying. Responding with my innermost being, an overwhelming desire to avenge injustice takes precedence over the concept of “beauty for beauty’s sake.”


Being involved in the arts is a blessing, for within the very process of creating art, transformation on various levels for both the artist and onlooker must occur. To be an open conduit for inspiration has always been my primary goal. The words of Ralph Waldo Emerson continue to resonate within me: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared with what lies within us.”


Art of the Week: Angels in the Garden

Polly Curran
Sarasota, Florida Branch

Angels In the Garden
Photography, 16 x 20

Polly Curran is an award-winning nature photographer. “The natural beauty of each individual leaf or flower becomes a work of art through the camera”. Their natural beauty gives a strong sense of intimacy in even the smallest things.

Curran photographs flowers, trees, butterflies and other garden friends. Her approach is founded on the cultural art of Ikebana and Haiku poetry; having studied these for many years while living in Japan. By using simple stroke lines and off-centered presentation, she creates work that captivates the eye.

“I try to bring out the best feature of a flower, leaf or tree to capture the soul of the image. For ‘Angels in the Garden,’ when I saw this image in the camera it was an emotional experience. Here was the beautiful orchid in the middle of unfurling it’s petals. Afterward, I created a Haiku poem to go along with it.

Angels in the Garden
Wings unfold in Nature’s beauty.
A flower blooms

This is my new focus – Haiku Photography. As I view deeply into a unique flower searching for the light, the space, the angle which elevates the image, I feel a sense of excitement when I find the ‘look’ I know is there.”


Art of the Week: The Violin-Cello Players

Susanne Schuenke
North East Florida Branch
The Violin-Cello Players, 1994
oil on canvas; (also available as a 48-colored serigraph)

… to play their score, to master the instrument, to perform life …
Seven different approaches on how to play music are depicted by this view of part of the orchestra, a detail of the bigger picture – the symphony. The vivid wood colors of the instruments dominate over the subdued black dresses and they are embedded in the swirls and movements of sheer music. The players’ portraits are very individualistic and characteristic of ways of mastering the task. The black haired lady in the center is totally involved and dedicated to performing her best. Her colleague in the front row, more experienced, disciplines her cello in a controlled but independent way. The young girl to the left struggles with difficulties, while the man 
in front of her represents a more individualistic style.
 The couple at the far right are quite the opposite; both using the same style, even the same position. Playing the same from their youth until their retirement age seems boring.
 And the one with the walnut brown instrument? Why he does not play? Is he pausing, unsure of the score, unwilling to obey the conductor, criticizing the choice? Or is it simply not his turn yet?

Click the link to enjoy a short 30 second video of Susanne’s work:
or go to her website to view more of her work or make a purchase:


Art of the Week: Hawaiian Fishes All The Way Down

Lucy Arnold
Golden Gate Marin Branch

“Hawaiian Fishes All the way Down


Hawaiian Fish ID chart

Skin diving makes me feel like I’m flying slowly over an unbelievably beautiful, alien world. Tropical fish are simply amazing in their variety of gorgeous colors, so they are irresistible as painting subjects. I chose to represent only Hawaiian fishes in this watercolor, since I’ve only been diving in Hawaiian waters. Many are long-time favorites of mine, while others are found at depths below my reach. The trick was making a composition of only fish, with no background water showing. Thus, these Hawaiian Fishes do go all the way down!

You may be interested in seeing more of Lucy Arnold’s work by visiting: lucyarnold.com


and the branch website: www.goldengatemarinart.org


Creative Inspirational Wisdom: Proprioceptive Writing—A Communication Loop

In this final blog series entry, Bobbie Panek encourages writers to try a new kind of writing to fuel creativity.


“From a voice in your head, to your arm and hand as you write, to your voice as you read what you’ve written, to your ears as you hear what your voice has to say. It’s that simple.”


As a writer, poet, and author I enjoy being inspired and motivated, and I enjoy hanging out with like-minds. I look for writing workshops where I know I will work on my favorite skill while I’m with creative people. A recent writing retreat that I attended is one that I’d like to share with others. It was so incredibly wonderful, it’s actually hard to describe—but here goes.


I’d first heard about Proprioceptive Writing from my twin sister, Beckie, who lives in the Adirondacks. She’s friends with Ann Mullen, who is a Proprioceptive Writing (PW) Teacher. Beckie had attended one of Ann’s weekend workshops and relayed to me how it “works.” I then read the book, Writing the Mind Alive, written by Linda Trichter Metcalf, PhD. and Toby Simon, PhD.


The sub-title for Writing the Mind Alive, is “The Proprioceptive Method for Finding Your Authentic Voice.” Now, I know the word proprioceptive is odd. Who knows what it means, and how can it help you with your authentic voice?


According to the dictionary programmed onto my MacBook Air:


proprioceptive |prōprēəˈseptiv|

(adjective) Physiology – relating to stimuli that are produced and perceived within an organism, especially those connected with the position and movement of the body. Compare with exteroceptive and interoceptive.


There is no similar word according to the thesaurus (I told you this would be hard to describe). But here is how I learned:


  • I bought and reread the book, Writing the Mind Alive, “The Proprioceptive Method for Finding Your Authentic Voice”
  • I signed up for a 5-day Immersive PW writing retreat taught by Ann Mullen and Anne Bright
  • Seventeen of us showed up at this Retreat Center called Wisdom House in Litchfield, Connecticut. (Workshops are on both coasts of the United States and also in Holland.) Here is the website if you want to look for more: http://pwriting.org
  • I met many wonderfully creative people
  • I learned a skill which I’ll apply for the rest of my life
  • I can attest this method brings clarification and grace to my life
  • The grace happened in the room where personal writes were read aloud
  • The clarification occurs each time I write and apply the writing method, listen to each thought in my mind, write it down, question my thought when I feel the urge by asking myself, “What do I mean by…?” and then asking myself four questions at the end of each 25-minute write


Okay, now—you’re perhaps even more confused by this method of writing, but I assure you it works. I’m thrilled. I feel more grounded than ever before. I listen to my voice(s); I give them space and learn from myself what I need, want, think and truly care about.


Too often, our culture is chaotic with constant chatter on-line, at home, in the car, in our heads. It is such a balm to settle down, to slow down, to think clearly and to listen to my thoughts. Trying to describe the method is like trying to describe a “gut” feeling.


The main message I’d like to share is to try this technique. Buy the book or attend at least a weekend workshop, apply this practice to your creative life, and see what happens. It works wonders. Oh, and one more thing: I’d love to hear your feedback.


Bobbie Dumas Panek is the author of Nature Walks: Zen Meditations, short observations written while walking two miles to work during the four seasons, published by FootHills Publishing 2010 and Just Another Day, a series of 48 stories about raising four kids on a dairy farm in the 1980’s, published with CreateSpace in 2015. Her poems, articles, and short stories are in numerous publications. Bobbie is Poetry Editor for the National League of American Pen Women. Please check her out at www.bobbiedumaspanek.com and find her on Facebook: Bobbie Dumas Panek, author.


OUR GUEST BLOGGING SERIES HAS NOW ENDED. We thank all Pen Women who submitted work for our Creative Inspirational Wisdom and It’s A Creative Business guest blogger series. We look forward to giving an update on the status of Creative Genius at Work, an anthology that will include posts from these two series, soon.

Poem of the Week: Magic Butterfly

Anne Ring
La Jolla Branch


Resting on a petal of the crimson oleander
Lemon-coloured fragile wings
Folded to the night,
Black antennae poised alert to warn of hidden danger
Yellow wings fan out once more
In the fading light.

Once a prisoner entombed you began your transformation
From the mud upon the earth
You rose to the sky;
Gliding through the universe resplendent in your beauty
Gossamer the wings so bright
Bearing you on high.

Gentler than the snowfall on some far-off hidden mountain
Ancient symbol of the soul
Are you here by chance?
Do you simply flutter through the days in careless rapture
Hovering above the flowers
Eager for the dance.

Or is there some deeper meaning to your sojourn here on earth
Herald to me as you fly
As you whisper by
Tell me all the secrets that lie hidden in your glory
Once, just once before I die
Magic Butterfly.

Art of the Week: Summer Dunes II

Mary Lou Griffin
Diamond State Branch

Summer Dunes II

Pastel, 12” X 16”

Mary Lou Griffin is inspired by the nature she sees around herself in the beautiful back roads of the Delaware Valley and along the shoreline of the rivers, reservoirs and bays along the East Coast. Most of her work tends to be landscapes. High chroma color, as well as the drama created by high contrast, are important aspects of Griffin’s work. Pastel is her medium of choice although she also works in oils and acrylic.

Of her process, Griffin says,

“I tend to paint quickly so I can pick up a color and use it with no mixing required. I spend a long time thinking about the painting, about what and how I want to say with it before I start. When I have a clearer picture of what I want to do, I dive in and become absorbed with it. I cannot paint a bit and walk away. I tend to work in long stretches until I am happy with what is there. It is at that time I will let it rest and come back to it a day or so later with fresh eyes. There will always be some minor adjustments before I am happy with the result. “

You may see more of her work at http://marylougriffin.com.