Friday, November 30, 2007


Fire in the Wheel - (Circles of Light series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007
source image: false bamboo

This has been an intense week for me as I navigated my way through even more transitions and change. Life seems to provide us with an ever abundant supply of new adjustments. I have touched on moral, ethical, and financial issues, as well as on the health and well being of people important to me, during this past week. In the past I have experienced these times as moments of adjustment before the Wheel starts on its new cycle.

When I first looked at this image, faint Bible school memories of Ezekiel and the Wheel came up for me. This morning, as I began posting this blog, I was reminded of the Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card:

"In readings, the Wheel of Fortune can indicate a vision or realization that strikes with great force. If you've been struggling with a problem or tough situation, this card can signal that you will find the answer if you stand back and view everything from a larger perspective.

The Wheel of Fortune also represents unexpected encounters and twists of fate. You can't predict surprises; you can only be aware when one is circling around. Indeed, Card 10 often suggests wheel-like actions - changes in direction, repeating cycles and rapid movement. When the energy of the Wheel arrives, you will feel life speed up. You are caught in a cyclone that may deposit you anywhere. "Round and round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows."

A potted false bamboo grows outside my window. All year long its leaves are beautiful shades of crimson and gold. In the fall those colors are even more pronounced. I am grateful to this tree for its graceful beauty and for the way it reminds me to look deep. During these times of increasing darkness, I believe the light shines even more brilliantly within.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


persephone's starPersephone's Star Mandala - (Goddess Circle series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007
source image: pomegranate section

In my perfect world, ink manufacturers would offer consumers more choices of ink using cartridges manufactured in the US using US parts for a lower cost. The fact that generic ink is manufactured in China adds a political spin to this issue. I was grumbling about this lawsuit to an artist friend of mine who reminded me that I could probably have my cards printed in China and shipped back for a lower cost than anything I could do here.

There are no easy answers. Neither Canon nor HP are embroiled in these patent wars, and certainly there is generic ink, manufactured in China, still available for purchase for those companies. But would using generic ink be an ethical decision in the long run? Certainly, my actions don't just affect me.

I will not stop creating mandalas over this issue. I do know that. How I will have them reproduced is today's piece of the puzzle. Dang, sometimes that corner piece is just so elusive!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanks for the Love

radiating peaceRadiating Peace -© Shirley Two Feathers
Blog Source: Mandala Madness

Shirley Two Feathers has an amazing blog where she features all things mandala. I have been following her for quite a while. Recently she featured some of my greeting cards on her blog. Thanks for the link love, Shirley.

Another fearless mandala artist, Sweet Irene, recently honored me with some blog love which I have posted towards the bottom of my page. I love Irene's courage and enthusiasm. She is strong and brave and healing through her art. If you have not met Sweet Irene yet, now is the time to go say hi.

Thank all of you as well who commented on my irritation with Epson. My intent was to express dissatisfaction with Epson's corporate greed. You know that once there is less competition, ink prices are bound to rise even more. And if Epson sets an example and wins this case, will HP and Canon follow suit? I intend to write to both Epson and my state senator. Final decision on this cease and desist order will be made by President Bush. It is the lack of choice being given the average consumer that irritates me. I know that there are other answers out there for how I choose to market my art, but printing my art with an Epson printer is not likely to be one of them.

Sunday, November 25, 2007




ink, crayon
© sue o'kieffe 2007

hair brained ideas

hair brained ideas

ink, caran d'arch
© sue o'kieffe 2007

all along the watchtower

all along the watchtower

ink, caran d'arch
© sue o'kieffe 2007

the effects of watching ghost whisperer

the effects of watching
'ghost whisperer'

pen and ink
© sue o'kieffe 2007

On her blog Creative Every Day, Leah suggests doodling and sketching first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I look forward to my night time drawls. I've been having so much fun with this process that I even purchased some new pens. I know that eventually I will want to incorporate these doodles with Photoshop, but right now Im grateful for some time away from the computer. Yea. As if that could happen for too very long.

Thank you, Leah, for encouraging this playtime for us all.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


MAGIC GARDEN MANDALAMagic Garden Mandala - (Garden Mandala Series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007

Within the past couple of days I learned that the U.S. International Trade Commission has issued a cease and desist order against the manufacturers and importers of generic ink cartridges for Epson desktop inkjet printers, ruling it as an infringement of Epson patents. You can read more about that ruling here

This ruling will have a direct impact on my capacity to print my greeting cards at a reasonable cost. Im glad that I have all my orders printed. At this point I don't have an answer for what I will do going forward. On a philosophical level I believe that business has a right to protect itself. I feel the same about copyright issues for myself. On the other hand, there is something just wrong when replacing ink cartridges is as costly as purchasing some desktop printers. Certainly, not all consumers who print photographs or digital images at home need high quality archival inks; currently we do not have a choice, and that is what I believe needs to be offered. Certainly I will consider another brand of printer going forward. Not long ago a class action suit was filed against Epson because their printers registered being out of ink before the cartridges were actually empty, and Epson lost that suit.

I was angry when I first heard about this ruling, and then I realized that holding onto this anger would only make finding other solutions for this dilemma harder to manifest. This little snafu may very well help me turn my attention to those long term business goals that do not involve printing.

Please share your thoughts with me on this subject.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007


solstice lightSolstice Light Greeting Card -© Sue O'Kieffe 2007

dancing in the lightDancing in the Light greeting card - © Sue O'Kieffe 2006

I reached another one of my goals on Thursday when Plaza Design, the area's largest gift and home decor store agreed to carry eight of my greeting cards (4 of my holiday cards and 4 of my all season cards). I love 'em for their beauty and simplicity. If you would like to order something special during this gift giving time (perfect for tucking inside a box or sending in the mail), order now!
You can view my card gallery here and here and email me at the contact info at the right for shipping details. All cards are $4 plus tax, with a three card minimum.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


pen, crayon, caran d'arch, digital embellishments
© Sue O'Kieffe 2007

pen, caran d'arch
© Sue O'Kieffe 2007

pen, crayon, caran d'arch
© Sue O'Kieffe 2007

I loved making these drawings. I promised myself no pressure in this challenge from Art Every Day Month , and I did find them a satisfying way to unwind after what was an intense week at work. I think my inner world is definitely reflected here. I could say lots and lots, but I'd rather hear what you have to say. My digital ears are wide open!
Neda of Papiers Colles tagged me and here are my answers:
1. If you owned a bookstore, what would you name it?
I wouldn't own a bookstore. Support Your Local Library
2. Which literary hero (male or female) would you like to be?
Orlando, by Virginia Wolff
3. If you were given the chance to be born in a different decade, which one would you choose?
One in the future
4. Who would play you in a movie?
Carol Burnett
5. What was your favorite toy of all of times?
I enjoyed playing with spirographs, which looked something like this: go here
6. What do you like to collect?
Rayon clothing
7. What is your guilty pleasure?
Younger men (shhhhhhh.......)
8. If you had the power to change one thing in this world, what would that be?
C batteries would come packaged in 3's and 6's
9. What is the worst book/movie you have ever read/seen?
I don't know if it was the worst, but I think An Officer and a Gentleman was highly overrated. Ugh.
10. What is the worst kind of music, in your opinion?
Anything that glorifies violence
11. What's the only food you will not eat?
12. Tell us 3 things about yourself (2 of them true, and 1 untrue) and let's see if we can figure out which of these is fantasy.
Im a published poet
I know how to yodel
I have a light up clown nose

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


DREAMSCAPEDreamscape Mandala - (Circle of Light series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007

A year ago I had a dream. In it I was visiting a cosmic library with neon purple walls. In this dream I was shown an archaic language that no one knew how to read anymore and was told I would be sharing this language in my mandala art. At the time of this dream and for a few months afterward, I explored working with images of crystals, but I was not satisfied with them when they were printed. I felt like there was a better way to produce those images so light could shine through them. I knew that if I sent out that request to the Universe that eventually the answer would come back to me. I am still waiting. Luckily, Im pretty patient.

Right now Princess Flowers (Tibouchina urvilleana),are blooming in grand profusion until the winter rains finally beats away the last of their petals. It has been one of my favorite fall plants for as long as I have lived on the North Coast of California. I love being able to share today with you the story it holds within.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


hereHere - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007
pen and crayon

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I am jealous of you artists out there who create non-digitally. I see you all having assorted types of fun doing weekly collages and other types of expressive art. Im envious of your scissors and pots of glue and gloss. I used to do stuff like that, and I found it kinesthetically very satisfying. Then I found out about the November challenge at Creative Every Day , and I decided to play along as best I could. I love doing these little line drawings. I can take my sketch pad and crayons and doodle away to my heart's delight before I go to sleep at night!...

crazy goddessCrazy Goddess - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007
pen and crayon

...and I get away from the computer monitor, which I tend to sit in front of most of the day. It's a nice way to use a different part of my brain. And my inner child can be messy and not have to worry about being perfect....yippee!!

Here's to play!

Thanks to you who gave suggestions in naming my most recent mandala. I decided on Spirit of Light, which was chosen from artandtea's suggestion. If you want to learn about different kinds of tea and view some incredible beadwork, be sure and check out her blog!

Friday, November 09, 2007


Spirit of Light - (Circle of Light series)-© Sue O'Kieffe
source image - bamboo stalks and leaves

Who wants to help me name this mandala?

Saturday, November 03, 2007


For today's tutorial I thought I would show you a simple way to convert color photographs to greyscale and then colorize them using a hue/saturation adjustment layer.

This is a photograph of the entrance to a retro used clothing store where I live.

Click on the adjustment layer icon button and select hue/saturation. Drag the saturation lever all the way to the left to totally desaturate the image to grayscale. Tick Colorize window.
Play with hue/saturation levers until you are happy with the results. This setting is Hue 76/Saturation 24
This setting is Hue 329/Saturation 93.

Have fun playing with another way to colorize photographs. How could you integrate this technique with others I have demonstrated here? (When you figure that out, please share them with me!)

Also, in case you've never noticed my links to the right, I also have a list of resources for photoshop tutorials you might find useful. Most of them I think are geared to newer versions of PS, but you never know what you might learn.

Happy Photoshopping!

© Sue O'Kieffe 2007


Good Fortune Mandala - (Spring Seasonal Circles series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007
Source image: oxalis leaves

Yesterday I began to write down goals for the New Year. I think about this time of year, with another turning of the Great Wheel and the return to Standard Time (in the northern hemisphere) as the beginning of a New Year. It's never a bad thing to revisit, re-evaluate, and update specific goals, something I have always felt some difficulty in setting. What is it exactly I want to manifest? Now this is language easier for me to understand, but both modalities of thought have some common characteristics.

So yesterday I jotted down some specific goals I intend to accomplish in this coming year:
  • Commit myself to one year of full time work outside the home
  • Get my books in order and keep them maintained
  • Finish my business and marketing plans
  • Obtain a business license
  • Create a budget
  • Pay back personal loans
  • Pay off credit cards
  • Continue blogging
  • Get my website up
  • Participate in 5 art shows in 2008
  • License my art work
  • Explore other streams of income
Please share your thoughts with me. Do you set goals? What steps do you take to reach them?

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Fleur Radieuse - (Circles of Light series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007
Source image - purple chrysanthemum

I created this mandala for my friend Karen Anderson's birthday. She is an incredibly talented astrologer and good friend on an upward path towards spiritual enlightenment. Karen and her partner Barry Martin are launching their website and I want to wish them all sorts of best wishes for their coming new year as well. You can visit them here. I hope you will.

I have been writing about this being the Celtic New Year, and thinking about what I have accomplished in the past year. It's so easy to consider how we fall short but less often do we consider giving ourselves an atta girl. So I pulled out my list of goals for this year to see what I have managed to accomplish thus far.
  • Take class in Dreamweaver (done)
  • Design website (nope)
  • Start business blog (done)
  • Increase mailing list to 500 names (10 new names per week) (not even close)
  • Obtain resale number (yes)
  • Get business license (not yet)
  • Get bookkeeping set up (tomorrow)
  • Participate in two arts shows by the end of 2007 (done 4)
  • Have clearer understanding of art pricing (done)
  • Place my greeting cards in stores (3 so far)
  • Begin investigating licensing of my art (yes)
  • Work towards financial stability (yes - willing to commit to a year of full time permanent work outside the home)

So for today, just for myself (and anyone else who needs some props) I give myself this standing ovation