When I first encountered Margie Wood’s art journal paintings I was completely smitten. Her use of colours, lines and soft greys feels both enchanting and very soothing.
Her process and approach to art echoes some of my own – that creativity has enormous healing power, and that the artistic process catalyzes healing and growth. In addition to paintings that create a hunger for more, she is a professional photographer and teaches creativity workshops in Venice, California.
I’m so delighted to be able to share some of her story and inspirations here.
What does it mean to be an artist? And when did you know you were an artist (aka intensely creative person)?
For me being an artist means finding, noticing and expressing beauty and meaning in all aspects of my life. Everything from the way I decorate my home, to the way I teach and relate to people is art for me. As far as the act of creating tangible visual art, I would say being an artist for me means staying open and honest, and allowing what I need to know to flow through me and onto the page.
I mainly create in my art journals, but my creative flow often spills out into works on paper and bookmaking.
I think I knew I was creative at a fairly young age, but didn’t know what to do with that energy back then. I channeled it into acting and taking portraits in high school, but then lost the thread until my late 20’s when I could no longer deny creativity’s call. At that point art just took over, and I was hungry for any and all creative inspiration. I designed and made cards, made books, carved print blocks, took pottery classes, doodled…you name it.
One day, in that quest, I found visual journaling as a way to process my feelings and life’s experiences through art, and my life was never the same. A path was forged, and I am still following its twists and turns to this day.
When you consider the words luscious and soulful, what comes to mind? Is there anyone you know who embodies these traits? When do you feel luscious and soulful?
The words luscious and soulful conjure up visions of all of my beautiful soul sisters on this earth (I am blessed to have many). They are my tribe, and teach me all the time what it means to be present, connected, luscious and soulful (aka: beautiful) on all levels.
I feel luscious and soulful in my heart when I am truly connected to and seen by another, or making art.
I feel luscious and soulful in my body when I kiss a beloved, dance or dive into the sea.
What do you love most about your body? And why?
I love that my body teaches me every day.
I love the lessons that she brings and the awareness that she raises for me to live my life in a more and more wholehearted and healthy way. As long as I listen, the lessons are always there.
I am also so thankful every day for the strength she provides when I need it, and equally for the softness and sensuality that is always available when I slow down (not my forte, by the way).
I am mostly grateful that she has carried me through this life and taken such good care of me through so many adventures and challenges.
What brings you pleasure? What senses are involved?
My friends and family and any time I spend connecting with them.
Love….expressing love and tenderness to someone I love, spreading love in every way I can think of to as many people as possible.
Mirroring back someone’s goodness and beauty to them in any way I can.
Watching a sunset anywhere, but most especially on a beach.
Sailing on my beloved boat. Feeling the wind and sun and the movement of the sea.
Listening to soulful music.
I could go on and on, but the senses are all involved when I feel pleasure….it’s a whole body and all sense operation!
If you had to throw a dinner and dance party how would you do it?
I LOVE to throw a serious party!
My ultimate kind: outside, near a beach, hanging lights, torches, a live funky band, delicious food, on a full moon night….with all of my best friends and family (hey, this kind of sounds like my 50th (in 3 years) that I am planning in my head already).
On a regular day, I would light candles, make yummy simple food and gather my dear ones. We would probably take turns playing our favorite playlists. Simple and delightful!
Where/how do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration in many places. In nature: hiking, sailing, walking on the beach.
By moving my body, by loving and being loved, from all of the brave people with whom I share this life, from my mentors, by surrounding myself with other creative souls and their work and hearts.
My family. I could go on for years here.
What does your ideal day look like?
It starts with a perfect cup of coffee and some beautiful music playing (right now I am obsessed with Beck’s Morning Phase) and some reflection time (usually writing and/or art).
Ideally, I would be in some beautiful natural setting (think Colorado Rockies or an ocean-scape somewhere)……the rest depends on the day, but meanders between my work (writing, editing photos or website/blog stuff), dog walks, exercise, being in nature, art making, connecting with my loved ones, and if its really a perfect day, an afternoon/evening sail followed by an evening in the marina with my friends and/or family.
What advice would you give to your younger self? How old is she when she needs this advice?
She is many ages, and the advice is always the same: to believe in herself, follow her heart and not be afraid to ruffle a few feathers by being who she really is.
DO NOT MAKE YOURSELF SMALL for others’ comfort (I still need this advice from time to time).
What is your most treasured possession? Tell a little story about it.
My sailboat, Haunani. She is named after my mother, and is my love and a true blessing in my life. She brings me peace, joy, learning and fulfillment unlike anything else in my life.
I learned to sail from my Dad, and this legacy inspires my relationship to my beloved boat and the sea. There is no place I would rather go to soothe my soul and rejuvenate than for a sail on my sweet sailboat.
Inspired resources: please share any heart-moving soul-shaking artistry or experiences that have moved you. What made it so powerful?
Oh man, I could speak for days on this. I think what moves me the most deeply is nature, especially the mountains and the sea.
Also, finding music that speaks to me and opens my heart and soul. Right now I am obsessed with Josh Garrels, Ryan Adams, Frazey Ford, Radio Head (specifically In Rainbows), Beck (specifically Morning Phase), Krishna Das, Daniel Lanois….and so many more.
I am also deeply inspired by other visual artists that put themselves out into the world authentically and unselfishly to inspire others and help people feel things and to connect with themselves. Right now I am thinking of Jane Davies, Flora Bowley, Orly Avineri, Laurie Doctor, Deb Jones, and many others.
There are writers and thinkers that also blow my mind regularly…some off the top of my head are: Rumi, Lao Tzu, Brene’ Brown, Danielle LaPorte, Julia Cameron, Jeff Brown, Marianne Williamson, David Whyte, Wayne Dyer, Jeanette LaBlanc and Pema Chodron.
I also take so much inspiration from so many creative beings in my life, whether colleagues or family. Honestly, inspiration lurks around every corner of my life, especially when I open myself to it.
Who are your favourite artists? And why?
I have so many, but my favorite right now are Laurie Doctor because she is as authentic and connected as they come, and is truly dedicated to her creative practice in a consistent and brave way no matter what. She was my 1st teacher and continues to be my mentor today.
My favorite artists today, that I do not know at all (or very well) are: Jose Parla….because when I look at his art I feel moved and shaken to my core; Alex Grey…because he is so obviously connected to and channeling spirit in his magical work. I also love his writing; Orly Avineri…..because she is brave and true and inspires so many others to be the same; Nicholas Wilton…because of the way he teaches so generously and speaks of his own process so honestly in his blog.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you and your art?
If I had a motto, it is probably this Wayne Dyer quote: “see the light in others and treat them as though that is all that you see”. When I first read that quote, I felt like I had come home. Even though I am learning to balance that out right now with self care and boundaries, it is the way I have always lived my life.
As far as my art goes, it has saved me and bolstered me in more ways than I could ever explain. The most important thing to me about art and my creative practice is sharing it. If through that act, I can inspire even one person to find their own creative spark, heal and feel the benefits and beauty that I have, then I feel at peace.
ps – to see more great interviews, check out the Lusciously and Soulfully interview series.
pps – if you know of any amazing artists I can profile in this series, send me an e-mail with their info – I’m always excited to connect with interesting amazing creatives.