I Stopped.

I Stopped.

For the first time in my life I stopped. I stopped creating, making new work, for a year. I’d never stopped before, never stopped experimenting, pouring everything out into my drawings, ever. It was always where I knew I could go to make peace with who I am, remember why I’m here. Pure expression, without compromise in the privacy of my studio. I knew I could always meet my own Self there, without a doubt. It was all there, wanting to be drawn, made visible, always. I obeyed that calling consistently. It’s been one of the greatest pleasures of my life and the most life affirming but for this past year I just had to stop.

Without connection, communication, without an alignment with the outer world this does not work. I am not in this solely for my own pleasure. I could no longer carry on in this way without my tribe, allies, collaborators, a consistent exchange on every level. So I stopped. I will stay here until Grace moves me and brings who and what is needed to continue. There is nothing passive about this kind of stillness. Nothing to do with my work ethic. It is a place of power, containment, remaining sensitive to the timing and rhythm with what is.

Grace has been moving mountains all along. This is not a story of lack. This is an affirmation of the Truth, in writing. I’ve made a huge catalog of work over the years. Work that I am proud of and is timeless. Work that was made with all of my love, skill, passion, with the highest of intentions. Work that can not remain a best kept secret.

There can no longer be a separation of the work I make and my life, my own being. There must be an authentic embodiment of the women and the expressions I draw. I’ve realized that all this must be integral, made manifest, not just on a piece of paper. I asked, prayed, for the changes and shifts needed to unfold so that what I know to be true, good and right for myself could finally manifest. Passion, love, skill, service, in relationship of every kind.

And well, I was brought to a grinding halt. In the Spring of 2013 I had a physical and emotional collapse. This had happened once before over ten years ago during a time when it was clear that I needed to switch gears so when this happened again I at least knew what was going on. And so, the process began. It got dark. I was sick and had to build my reserves back on every level with meditation, prayer, nutrition, every resource available. My marriage ended. My little family as I knew it had to completely change shape or I would never thrive in any way. The girls on the paper would just remain there, lifeless, stagnant, alone unless I allowed for this change to occur. As a mother I knew I had get to higher ground, or my own little girl would never thrive either. Your children, they see every part of you, every choice, and they experience the consequences of those choices. I had to obey what was calling me out, excruciating a choice as that was I did it. And so I stopped. Stopped the sacrificing and the over extending that my marriage devolved into. Along with that went my entire social structure. Lots of friends fell away as they will in the face of loss. Divorce, death, illness.. It’s not for the faint hearted or the fair weather friends. The ones that stay or enter at these times are the keepers. And as all this was playing out my father died. My father was never an ally although if he had known how to be one he would have been. Everyone does their best but that doesn’t make it enough. I suppose that’s where I learned all about the excessive sacrificing, doing without what was needed, endlessly resulting in coming up really short.

So I stopped. We’re so conditioned never to stop. Never, ever, unless absolutely forced to. I only knew how to persevere, that that was the best and the only strength. Courage to let it all go is a whole other thing. Faith in a power so much greater than yourself that all will and can return in a massive upgrade is a whole other thing as well. My eyes now only on the prize being a life where there is ease and depth and a gorgeous fulfillment that has nothing to do with striving or struggle, staying true to the best visions I can imagine. Those visions aren’t even yours to begin with anyway I realize. They themselves are a the gift. Those visions come with the grace and the power needed to manifest them. We get what we want, but we really do have to want it. I’m not talking about extreme grandiose ideals. I’m talking about being able to be in the world along with a community and a family that wholeheartedly has your back and you theirs, a partnership that is a true match to your depth and values, collaborations that are mutually beneficial in every way. None of this has been there really and why I’ve had to up my conviction and just stop – stand in the attainment of it all while none of it is in sight. This is the kind of creativity that is required now. It may look like doing nothing to some but alas it is a very potent and poignant pause. A pause that only those who’ve been down that dark tunnel of not knowing in the slightest what’s going to happen next and of loosing a lot at once can understand. A pause that magnetizes only what is good and true and best for everyone because that is the only intention.

We’re in a world now where we’re all mostly about exposing and constantly sharing our most polished, idealized, filtered selves. I for one love a perfected presentation but for now this is the part of the art and life that I want to share because this part does serve at the end of the day. The process of building your own world comes with much defeat, feeling defeated and exhausted, coming up empty when you’ve given and expressed from your depths with the absolute best of intentions. But this is what I’m learning now, defeat, feeling defeated, is just a habit. There are SO many ways to see a situation. SO many perspectives and angles if you can just walk around it and keep looking until the Truth emerges. The Truth has zero failure, pity, isolation, sorrow. Those feelings may arise but always there is another layer underneath. Keep going, it’s there. I promise. It’s deep inside but you have to get so quiet and still sometimes to find it. Thank GOD for my steady meditation practice.

If you’re a pioneer in any sense this is what you’ve signed on for. Get into it. In one sense you can’t be reliant on approval from others and at the same time, there is a need for others help, assistance, camaraderie in a very real way. I had to stop because I do need to do this in relationship with others. I can’t carry on as I have, making work in almost total isolation without enough of an exchange in the ways of communication, visibility, utilization..

I trust that there is magic in this exact moment. That in this moment are the seeds of recognition and reciprocity that will soon grow and evolve way beyond expectation. Vulnerability, gentleness, forgiveness, compassion and togetherness are in the potion of this moment. I’m a good witch. It’s all very personal, and by all means I hope universal. It’s my birthday in a few days as I write this. Another new beginning. Soon I will be back on my feet, blossoming and creating in every way. I am deeply grateful for that, for being alive, for second, third and forth chances.. I’m going to pull this one from the archives. The “finale” from the Gloire’ series made about twelve years ago. She is timeless, infinite and very ready to serve in the way that she was made to. May it be so.

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Gloire, Finale, 2003
Sumi ink and collage on paper

“The Light”

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Pastel on paper, 22” x 30”
Custom framed in gold.How do we draw what is not possible to draw? What cannot be seen? How can we possibly interpret what is beyond the physical representation of this world? Pure Spirit, The Light; the aspect of our existence that illumines and guides, protects and sustains us as human beings regardless of circumstance. Does Grace have a sound or a visual component? Well we can try, and we can sense it in each other, in the ways we help and uplift each other when it is really really needed..

My friend Tommy Mastro has ALS. He lives the daily existence of witnessing his body deteriorate and stop working bit by bit. It is physically, emotionally and psychologically painful and exhausting. Having a friend or a loved one with ALS will catapult you into wanting to help and support in any way possible. My window into all of this has inspired me to advocate and help wherever I can. I am grateful for every opportunity that comes along to join in the fight, to raise money and awareness.

“The Light” was made specifically to help raise money to support and sustain the incredible cost it is to live with ALS for Tommy and his family. There is a benefit coming up Sunday, Sept. 7th where “The Light” will be auctioned. The starting bid will be $500. If you are interested in participating in this auction and cannot be there please contact me.

It has been beyond amazing to see you all participating in the #ALS #icebucketchallenge and donating. It is a miracle really. I made this before any of this began so know that this drawing carries within it the vision and hope for a cure. It is about the light and the spirit that exists in us all especially when it is seemingly dark. ALS has finally come into the light, into the forefront, no longer an unknown disease desperate for attention and funding. The light of our awareness is here now and will play a huge part in bringing forth what is needed for all those living with this awful disease. You will be seeing here more art made specifically for ALS charities and to support people and their families who are living with ALS. I look forward to sharing it all with you.

Much Love,

Tobie

Eclipse Series

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Black sumi ink on paper.

These were made during the last two eclipses in April ’14. Exploring stark and strong emotional contrasts. These moments occur with urgency and a necessity to illuminate truths that may be hidden from our view both internally and outwardly. This requires courage, tenacity and a genuine willingness to see beyond what seems like total darkness. Faith that beyond this darkness, is the most benevolent Light.

This series will remain up for the next two weeks at Sweetly Inked. 548 West 28 St. Suite 230 at 11th Ave.

 

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Christmas 2013, “Star of Wonder”

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My “Star of Wonder” ultimately depicts an event that forces you to change direction completely towards something higher. This event makes it impossible for you to move or think in the same way as before. It carries with it a deep longing to seek a higher, deeper, more expanded truth. To leave wherever you are now for higher ground. It is clearly a Divine intervention; a beam of light from above that shines from far away into the unclaimed, disowned, dismissed parts of ourselves. My “Star of Wonder” came in the form of a series of events this year, some joyous, some heartbreaking but it was clear that everything that has happened was all far beyond my own doing or creating.

Even as a long time meditator there are times when I just can’t find the God within. Yet in those moments it is amazing to find that yes, God is out there as well and can be seen and perceived clearly through the lens of humility and vulnerability if I let it. If I allow myself to see He is as much out there as in there. The prayer and the silence are in perfect unison. The Yogi and the Christian parts from my roots in perfect unison finally, no longer a conflict. A healing and an expansion that has changed my path and my perspective entirely, allowing for a much broader pathway for my ancestors to love and create through me. Westward leading, still proceeding…

These events, these unmistakable Divine interventions reconcile what is disconnected in me, if I have the faith and trust to see them that way. We are being healed even if it hurts like hell. What’s more, we are being brought to a place that we might never ever go on our own. No longer able to contain the darkness, we put our face towards this beam of Divine Light and begin to travel willingly… we move towards what is holy, what is sacred and only that. We move unswervingly towards what is true, what is meaningful and beautiful – towards what is clearly the road Home, my path illumined by pure Grace. This new path has illumined our minds and hearts so we can no longer see or follow anything else but this Light. It is the path of Love. Star of wonder, star of night… westward leading still proceeding…..

 

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I played this incredible rendition of the classic “Star of Wonder” by Tori over and over while making these drawings. There is nothing like it; filling me with an elevating exalted spirit, triumphantly moving upwards and onwards….. Heaven is here, Heaven is there, and it is a major blessing to experience it all as a gorgeous Divine Orchestration – it is a blessing to surrender to this “solar fire”.. westward leading, still proceeding ……………

 

“Star of Wonder”

We three kings are coming again
Bearing gifts from the east, from the east

Some say a star will rise again
In the hearts of humankind
Some say we have been in exile
What we need is solar fire

Star of wonder, star of night
Star of royal beauty
Westward leading, still proceeding
A star ‘ceeding, a star of wonder

We bring gold and myrrh for Him
From the east, frankincense from the east

Some say a star will rise again
In the hearts of humankind
Some say we have been in exile
What we need is solar fire

Star of wonder, star of night
Star of royal beauty
Westward leading, still proceeding
A star

Star of wonder, star of night
Star of royal beauty
Westward leading, still proceeding
A star ‘ceeding, a star ‘ceeding
A star of wonder, of wonder

Merry Merry Christmas to you all. May 2014 bless you with the greatest and highest perceptions of whatever is given and not given. May you find a deep contentment and bliss that only the best kind of goodness can blossom and thrive from.

MUCH LOVE, Tobie

REPLICA – Martin Margiela Scent Memory exhibition for SHOWstudio

A group exhibition in London at SHOWstudio featuring artist’s work incorporating Margiela’s new line of fragrances. We were all given a fragrance to inspire a visual that came from the unconscious to the conscious mind. Mine being “Promenade in the Gardens”. I loved this process!

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My scent memory: “BOYS IN THE TREES”

Almost immediately this brought me back to the foyer in the house I grew up in. Perhaps this scent was close to something my mother wore or maybe one of her friends.

~ My mother and her friends are getting set to go out. The women are all dressed up. The front door is open, the cold air comes in from outside, their high heels clicking around on the octagon tiles. Their coats on, perfumes all intermingling with their laughter and jokes. I am sitting on the stairs watching through the banister.

It is an innocent time, full of wonder and confusion. This scent carries the resonance of a grown woman. It is earthy and sensual, warm and confident yet it brought me way back to a time when being in the fullness of being a woman felt very abstract and far away. I am reminded of a brilliant song by Carly Simon from the 70’s called “Boys in the Trees”. She had such a way of describing that time and this song describes my inspiration for this drawing perfectly.

I found a rather young and introspective photo of Naomi Campbell by Steven Meisel which had exactly the right feeling for this as she was the model that I given to incorporate.

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Carly Simon “Boys in the Trees”

I’m home again in my old narrow bed
Where I grew tall and my feet hung over the end
The low beam room with the window looking out
On the soft summer garden
Where the boys grew in the trees

Here I grew guilty
And no one was at fault
Frightened by the power in every innocent thought
And the silent understanding passing down
From daughter to daughter
Let the boys grow in the trees

Do you go to them or do you let them come to you
Do you stand in back afraid that you’ll intrude
Deny yourself and hope someone will see
And live like a flower
While the boys grew in the trees

Last night I slept in sheets the colour of fire
Tonight I lie alone again and curse my own desires
Sentenced first to burn and then to freeze
And watch by the window
Where the boys grew in the trees

“Boys in the Trees” is available for purchase at the SHOWstudio online shop.

Now Is The Time

There are some people that spark something in you that you carry in one form or another throughout your life. Something about them finds a place in your heart and stays there regardless of where life goes. This kind of reminds me of that line from Joni Mitchell’s “Case of You”.. “part of you, pours out me, in these lines from time to time..” It’s all in there, and at some point it makes its way onto the paper; the people, the music, images and impressions. Ultimately it’s love.

Tommy Mastro is one of the first people in my life that would leave something in there, in that reservoir of inspiration that I would draw upon for years, consciously or not. We were friends in high school, he was one of the first seriously talented people I knew and I wanted to be around that. He was clear that he would be a drummer – a really good one, for his life’s work. I was clear that I would make art as my life’s work and so that is how it went. To this day I cannot listen to Led Zeppelin without a deep appreciation for all the good things about that time. The music and so much about Tommy stayed with me even when it was time to take off for NYC and make my dreams come true.

Fast forward to now, more than thirty years later, a lot of life has happened. I did not stay in touch with Tommy Mastro throughout those years though remarkably in sort of parallel universes we both carried on, staying true to making art and music without much compromise, dedicating our lives to our passions and a spirituality that would give it all so much more meaning and purpose.

When I found out that Tommy had been diagnosed with ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, we reconnected. He can no longer play drums. All life as he knows it to be has changed and will continue to change in ways that no one ever imagines their life will go. The way that this disease will progress is completely unknown. Life has become 100% about living in the present moment in order to find the peace and contentment that is inherent in all of us in every circumstance. It is now all about the now, even loving THIS now, this time.

We acknowledge the opportunities we have in this moment to connect in more authentic ways, reaching farther and deeper into ourselves, while simultaneously reaching outwards to help, soothe, reassure and support. In these kinds of now we get to expand the virtues; compassion, generosity, empathy, selflessness.. We find genuine bliss that is beyond what happens. It is there, and it is miraculous. There is no other reason to be here really. When we can no longer “do what we do”, this is what we stand on and it is becoming more and more obvious that this is all that really matters.

I am compelled to be a part of helping Tommy to just be able to move through this in a way that regardless of how this goes he can be free of as much stress as possible, to mainly keep his focus on all the goodness that is. As we know, a huge part of living with an illness is about having the best of the best in the ways of nutrition, practitioners, physical therapists, whatever assistance is necessary at any given time, and that most of that is not covered by insurance.

If you have been thinking about buying art from me, now is the time. 100% of your purchase will go directly into a fund that is set up to support Tommy through this. Go to the editions section on here and choose whatever you like or if you want to come for a studio visit I’d be happy to have you. Contact me directly and we can sort out the details.

Nothing would make me happier than to utilize my work in this way. The intention behind this work has always been to uplift and inspire and now is the time for it to serve in an even more expanded way.

With much love,

Tobie

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Sag Harbor Studio

My husband Peter just built this in our back yard. It’s not finished yet but I’m going to start working in there anyway. I am making a new series of charcoal drawings. They’re so messy that now is the perfect time. I’ll be sharing these over the summer as things progress. Let the soot begin..

I Am a Bird Now

“I Am a Bird Now” is the finale drawing from my McQueen Tribute. I have made a small edition of ten 24”x 36” giclee prints. I’m enjoying getting into the process of printing so more pieces from my archive will be made available in this way.
I’ve referenced the magnificent golden bird from McQueen’s final collection; his Creative spirit now flying freely and continuing here in this realm. “I Am a Bird Now” is about what cannot die and the eternal bliss of liberation.

Snow Angel

I’m On A Plain

I’m having a nineties moment that started on a plane coming back from Arizona. I was squeezed up next to the window having been seated next to a giant. They just took my fancy massage oil and my yogurt at security so the kvetching was about to go into full throttle down the runway. Nirvana’s “I’m On A Plain, I Can’t Complain” pops into my head. I’m always amazed how the catalog of music stored in my brain shows me what I’m thinking. Right, I’m on a plane – returning from a trip at a spa in the desert. I’m on a plain, I can’t complain.

I’m now listening to the Nirvana MTV Unplugged album which is in my phone. I’ve done this route from Tuscon to New York several times so I’m familiar with the fantastic and varied landscapes. I decide to photograph it. Immediately I start seeing the huge potential in collaging with these textures etc.. I’m on a plain, I can’t complain…Re-appreciating that song, moving from cramped and crabby to expansive.That was so much of what the nineties were about for me – movement, and there was a tremendous amount of energy and inspiration that seemed to be penetrating me from almost every direction. The dance floor was still thriving in the underground. There was still an underground actually. Actual artists and musicians were thriving in pop music as well. I think that was pop culture’s last hurrah before the ignoring started for me. My obsession with West African dance was in full swing as well. I hold all of this now with such reverence. All those dj’s, those countless brilliant sets would have me transported for hours. And all the Tori, and the Alanis and the Bjork and the Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Hole, Live………… It really did seem like no matter where you looked there was something good.

One thing was noticeably absent during that time though. It was amazing in so many ways but I wasn’t grounded really. Nothing was in place that is now. I was flying and twisting and twirling in body mostly. I was going higher and higher but there was usually a crash of some kind. As far upwards and outwards as I was going it was clear to me the next direction had to go inward. It was around ’97 or so that the necessary inquiry started, a meditation practice was established, I met a great teacher that set me on a path of inner work. Life really changed and laid the ground for everything that exists now.

So I’m thinking about what propels me now, about how this all relates in the present. The thought of taking off for a weekend to go to a rave in a van with a bunch of friends or heading out at 4am to catch the last set of one of my favorite dj’s is science fiction at this point. It’s not about re-living anything. It never is.

I am reaching back into my period of “Big Time Sensuality”. I am utilizing the movements and sounds made then now because it’s just a better time for me to do so. These figures are straddling the confines of time and space. They exist in the realm of ALL IS WELL, which is constant and always. They are adorned and made of what we stand on and can take off from. I’m On A Plain, I Can’t Complain.