Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Eco Trail Pics

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Eco Trail 11/24 at Lincoln Child Center in Oakland,CA

Exploration, Connection, and Co-Creation

This was an amazing day for my students at Lincoln. Those who attended were moved and had way to much fun. YES!
The Eco Art festival is composed of at least eighteen site-specific Eco-Art installations created by students and seven professional Eco-Artists. It was fantastic to work with this group of Eco artists. I had this vision almost a year ago and I am amazed at its manifestaion. I thank my co-collaborator Elizabeth Benson for all her heart and hard work in this event.
The festival began at 9:30 were students and staff discovered and explored the beautiful nature on Lincolns campus in the Oakland hills. A little more about the children and LCC where I teach below. Everyday that I work these extraordinary children my belief that art is transformative is affirmed. As the children walked and interacted with the trail I witnessed such joy and excitement as they engaged with nature through art. It was success and an opening for many to strengthen, awaken their relationship with Mother Earth.

Lincoln Centers Mission Statement and Description:
Lincoln Child Center prepares children with severe emotional problems to lead productive and fullfilling lives in the community, by providing children and their families with therapy and education in a healing environment
Lincoln Child Center provides educational, residential and community based treatment programs to children ages 5 through 14 years old, many suffering from abuse and neglect.

Each of the seven classrooms created tree Eco art
List participating artists :
Tree Shrines, Wishing Tree and Sister Circle activation by Lisa Rasmussen,
Poet Trees by elizaBeth Benson-Udom,
Nature Sanctuary by Zach Pine, MD,
Garbage Mural by Veronica Rivera,
Raincoat Tree by Lauren Usher,
Healing Arts Circle by Kelly Barrett,
Clay Earth Creatures by Nan La Torre,
Pine Cone Spiral by Joany Brody,
The event included poetry, and a drum and storytelling circle

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dreams come true

This is an image from my M.F.A. exhibition, which really was a dream come true. I call these triptychs "totems". More later.. hopefully two of these will be selling soon. There is interest. Cross your fingers, they are ready to be out in  the world. 
Anyway..a little bit about me  I am a artist and a world traveler.., I am  obsessed with sacred sites, nature, and the ocean. As well as shamanism and ancient esoteric and mystical philosophy. I will be graduating in June 2008 from John F Kennedy University in the school of Holism, Arts and Consciousness. A cutting edge graduate school (new paradigm thinking) and now under graduate school that produces change makers. What ever that means to you. I found it to be an amazing and transformative experience--eternal as well as external. That was a Freudian slip, I might internal...I like it.
  Currently, my paintings are being represented by the gallery Studio 333 in Sausalito, CA. The other work that I do is site specific, Earth Art which I will show and speak about in a later post. Also, I am a photographer as well as an collaborative artist. 
I am engaged in two very exciting projects with other artists. The first is the "Art is Moving", check out on this blog site! (under that title) Artist Lauren Usher and I are creating a space and face to challenge and hopefully transform perceptions of art and artist, here in our contemporary culture. 
The second project that I am involved in is the name is evolving. I call it "The Hands of Creation," which is an art project with artist/activists Janice Brewster and Nicole Chan breaking the silence of child abuse within our society. We will be doing workshops and Janice's goal is to have those participating to in vision a better world  and to create 1 million hand prints. With intention of what the world should be  for children. 
Lastly, I am a transformative arts teacher for children who are diagnosed as severely emotionally disturbed at a mental health facility in Oakland, CA. I have been there almost three years and seen what art really does it empowers, it heals, it transforms.... more discussion later..
This is my somewhat long intro...As I typing this I am beginning to understand the power of the BLOG it is telling my story ...my mythology. O...I do apologize my writing is very conversational and I frequently miss a connector words. My mind moves faster than my hand.
Please comment ...I look forward to the conversation. 

Sunday, September 28, 2008

To the land of the Maya....

Tonight I am leaving for an adventure to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. For some reason I have been called to go to Tulum this year. I will find out why-very soon. Of course I want to do a tree shrine there and I am still grappling with the potential of being arrested for doing art in public. I had a great conversation with Eco artist Gloria Lamson about this subject. It is something to consider when doing art in public space. At times the audience just doesn't get what you are doing. I write more when I get back.
I am really excited to experience a few of the Mayan sacred sites.

Monday, August 18, 2008

More on the Cease and Desist encounter

As I was destroying the shrine I become really depressed and at the time I was scared that the Ranger would charge me with a felony. The crows above in the branches seem to be chattering loudly with laughter. After fifteen minutes the Ranger came back in a better mood and said the good thing is you are not wanted for homicide. It looks like you all cleaned this up, I'll let you off. Phew... that was a sketchy encounter.
I left the giant feeling distraught on how was I to create my tree shrines around the world if I would be getting in trouble all the time. Don and I walked back to the campsite, that had a beautiful view of the tree and the ocean. I took a seed from the tree and I decided to create my shrine in our campsite. As it got dark I created the shrine around our lantern.

Point Reyes is such an amazing place. We stayed there for three days. The first day was hilarous as we brought out supplies out the Coast Camp, which was a hike two miles in. Don was freaking out as he had to carry all the wine and food. But the trek and pain were worth it. The ocean is just 200 feet away on this beautiful coastal beach. I love hearing the ocean as I sleep.l
Over all it was a fun adventure. Except I need to rethink my tree shrines, having to work with in the system or doing guerrilla work and being careful not to get caught....
Need to reflect on it all

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cease and Desist

Point Reyes, California August 08
" Cease and Desist " the Ranger yelled from his bullhorn from the fire road. He was at least a mile away. I was like a deer that had been caught in headlights, stunned and freaked out. In a couple of minutes the Ranger walked out to us and yelled "what in the world are you doing?"Not the reaction that I hope for my audience. I with some composure said I was an Eco artist and I was doing art around the tree. He started talking that this could be a felony and that I needed a permit to do this. Eeks! He took my ID and then a photo. He asked us to clean up and he would be right back, he had to check on a campsite.

This will continue...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The relationship with the interior and the exterior

I feel that when I brought the tree mandala into the gallery I was creating a relationship to the interior and the exterior. This body of work is all about relationship, a rekindling of our holistic being. When I think of the trees that I honor in nature, I also reflect on their inner rings that document their life. In this work I am honoring life, history and story. As I digest this work I think it it about relationship, reclamation of the interior i.e. spirit or consciousness. I hope it communicates my world view of animism and in this we are all woven into the same tapestry. I think the Hindi' s call it Indra's web. I feel the more tree shrines that I create in the exterior and the interior, the web will grow again strong. We will hopefully remember our interconnectedness.

I am such a pragmatic mystic.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bringing the Tree into the Gallery

At my Final Exhibition I wanted to created an installation within the gallery and represent the site specific trees that I had created art around. To form a web of connection between the interior world and the exterior.

The spice and pigment Mandala that I created was over three feet in diameter. I used the same materials that I use in my site specific work. At the show my greatest nightmare was that someone would walk through this work. I had visions of it as my great friends and musician (Frogwater) for that evenings daughter was dying to plough through it. The opening was a blur...I do remember going to show one of my artist friends Nicole Chan the work and gasped as I approached the destroyed Mandala. An old man fest up to it and said he had walked through it. What a test...what a night to let go and to embrace the impermanence of it all. This work even in the natural world is really about impermanence, just like Tibetan sand paintings. It is gentle revaluation of the truth of our transitory existence.

The destruction of this piece gave me an opportunity to create a ritual piece for our ancestors. The time was Halloween or Samhien and perfect. I went in the next day and resurrected this work. With red puja powder from India and peacock feathers. I made a call for fellow artists to bring rocks to honor their ancestors and to place them around the activated shrine. To create a circle of stones surrounding the interior..

To be continued.. more to tell on this work
Still to this day it is a mystery who destroyed my shrine, my art... for some reason I do not think it was the old man who did it...Although tramutic it really made the piece more powerful

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rite of Passage-Mt. Tam..Continued

This weekend was a great moment in my life. As a child I had always dreamed of receiving my M.F.A. I had fantasies of being an art professor that walked around this world with paint all over my clothes. Dreams come true. To receive an award was really not in my dream, but it made it even more powerful. I was compelled to honor this rite of passage with a tree shrine. I knew the perfect place, the meadow on the top of Mt. Tam, from this vista you could see north to the Ocean, Stinson Beach and south to the Golden Gate in San Francisco. Don and I hiked to the meadow on Sunday and saw in the distance a lone tree facing the extraordinary view. I instantly saw the red tail and I knew it was the place.
This work was a bit of challenge because of the rocks the surrounded most of the trunk of the tree. Never the less it was a momentous. Don and spent the entire afternoon lounging under the tree in reflection and I in absorption at the completion of my personal rite of passage.

I love how the image was like the micro and the macro. Within the rocks that surrounded the tree there was a minature forest. I guess it was not really a lone tree.

Rite of Passage-Mt. Tam

On June 14th, I graduated with a M.F.A. in the Arts and Consciousness Program at JFK. It was an amazing weekend of celebration and ritual. Don flew up from a L.A. on Friday I was overwhelmed with emotion and connection to my fellow students at JFK's small gathering at the Berkeley Campus. On Saturday was the formal graduation and I was awarded the student of the year in the Holistic Studies Program at JFK.
This is the speech the Dean gave to me-it was such an honor.
To Lisa Rasmussen:


Five years ago, you entered the Department of Arts & Consciousness as a student in the Transformative Arts program. As your creative process unfolded, your paintings grew ever more compelling. By the end of three years, you transferred to the MFA program to more deeply engage your artwork. During this period, you continued to develop a program in transformative arts for clients at the Lincoln Child Center in Oakland.
Your program bridged the gap between art as a transformative tool and art as a form of cultural expression. Your Lincoln Child Care Center students exhibited their work in a Sausalito Gallery and were the focus of an annual benefit for the Center. Because of your dedicated and creative work with the students at Lincoln Child Center, they have experienced the invaluable joy of self-expression and the all-important process of being seen in their fuller humanity. You have been a profound, transformative influence in their lives.

As an artist, your work has gone far beyond the limits of traditional painting. Your final MFA Exhibition entitled Caol Ait (Thin Spaces) reveals the full scope and power of your artwork, moving beyond the genre of painting into installation and environmental art, as well as movement, ritual and sculpture. In your teaching and in your artwork you celebrate the realization that art lives at the edges of life and spirit. You explore and then dissolve the boundaries between inner and outer, self and other and in so doing represent the highest ideals of Holistic Studies. You are an outstanding individual, and we are proud to nominate you as Student of the Year. Congratulations and best wishes for continued success.

Peter M. Rojcewicz, PHD
Dean, School of Holistic Studies

Friday, July 18, 2008

Salem, Witches, Haunted inns, the almighty dollar and "EARTH ART"

On July 7, 2008 I created my first East Coast shrine in Salem, Massachusetts the notorious place of the ‘burning times’ in U.S. This work was a memorial as well as a personal quest to foster reverence for the sacred feminine, which is the archetype of the Earth.
I arrived in NYC on a red eye and there Don picked me up in our rental car and we were off for an adventure to Salem, Massachusetts,which was 4 1/2 hours away. The day was totally lucid for both us. The plan was to meet Cynthia a great friend from JFK in Salem Massachusetts to reconnect and to do some art. We arrived sychronistically at the Salem Inn when Cynthia did. I checked out our room 12 and it felt dark and creepy. Later we had found out it was surrounded by haunted rooms above and on both sides. It was strange Don and I instinctively went to the Peabody house instead, which was a yellow colonial from the 17th century. After our experience in room 12 we asked for a room in the Peabody house.There the energy was light and spacious. Don was totally intrigued and was a ghost hunter for those two days, asking everyone if they had an experience with the spirits at the historic Inn. It is a beautiful inn with impeccable service and it is really haunted by unsettled spirits.
Salem is dotted with all these silly tourist traps. Over priced and kitchy to hilt.The shops were filled with cheap trinkets and the center monument was the lady from the TV show Bewitched. I felt unsettled and disappointed at the consumerism in Salem. It seemed like any other tourist town with a catch of history that they exploited. Were had the real roots of this place gone? " How and why does materialism, consumerism make a tragic event feel like a Ripley's believe or not?" as my friend and co-founder of Art is Moving, Lauren shared a similar experience that she had in small town in Spain where there was a torture museum that displayed the methods and horrific tools used in Inquisition . In the tourist traps of Salem, I felt uneasy and I was really unsure of where and if I was going to do my Art.

The next day we went to the Willows park which is right on the bay and I saw my tree. It was far in the distance..and isolated from the carnival like crowd.
As I approached it is was a lone maple tree steps away from the edge of the coast. The gross and some what symbolic thing was it had a used sanitary napkin at its base. I say that because there was garbage all over this park. This was an experience I have seen at many sacred sites around the world. At the Hill of Tara in Ireland, the most sacred passage called weirdly the mound of passages, was littered with garbage. Symbolic? I removed that and Cynthia who was videoing me said it was anointed by menstrual blood. Earlier Cynthia had created her own eco-art, a spiral with rocks on the beach. While she was creating I was moved to collect mussel shells to incorporate into my composition. The tree shrine that I was creating was a crescent,lunar one and the mussels also symbolized the feminine connection to the ocean, which is said to be the womb of the world.

As I connected with the tree I remembered an amazing dream that I had were I was led to the world tree and there I had created a shrine. Afterwards, I laid underneath the tree, starring into the heavens- through the branches of the eternal in Ahh..

I hope my shrines will help build awareness of our spiritual connection with the environment, and that they will help foster reverence for all life. if you actually stubbled upon one of my shrines shoot me a line or if you have comments I would love to hear your response.
Namaste, Lisa

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Earth Art in Creel Mexico, Spring Equinox 2008, Planes, trains, taxis, and ...

This was a beautiful trip and art adventure. We took many modes of transportation to get to our destination. We left the Bay Area on March 20, 2008 taking mass transit BART to SFO and took a plane to El Paso,Texas. We changed planes in Salt Lake City it was magical as we boarded the small craft to view the snow covered mountains with the sun and the moon in the sky. We then arrived in El Paso and took a cab across the border to Juarez, Mexico. There we hopped on a bus to Chihuhua, Mexico for six hour bus ride into the heart of Mexico. In Chihuhua we hopped on the famous train called El Chepa, which would take us into the copper canyon. We decided to take the local train as that would be more interesting, than the tourist train, which was filled with elderly, white middle class Americans.
We sat next to a beautiful Raramuri family. The Raramuri are the indigenous whose home is in the Copper Canyon. (more on them later). We got off the train in Creel and then rented bikes and rode into the Canyon, where I created this earth art.

Trickster dog, checking out my art. All of sudden I look up and this dog has been watching me create for sometime.

Raramuri women, creating in the distance from my own work. The English word for this area was Mushrooms and Frogs as the monoliths resembled them.

Beautiful ancient Raramuri basket weaver. She reminded me of the tree.

Down the road from my Earth Art was an old mission. There was a beautiful child there. I love the aesthetic of the Raramuri's.. the amazing colors that they wear. Walking Art...Art is life! More later on this project.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tree Quote

The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life and activity; it affords protection to all beings.

Buddhist Sutra


Monday, July 14, 2008


This photograph is a view that I took as I gazed down the Devils Throat at the Uguazu Falls in Argentina. What a mystical experience

Lands end Park, San Francisco 07

This tree shrine was created in San Francisco on the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean. My intention was to do a lunar shrine around a tree, when I use to live in this area I would meditate at, that looked like a lynx. Unfortunately, when I got there, it had been cut down. I had to find another tree. The tree that I choose was on the edge of a cliff. So I had to be careful.
Once again, I took organic pigments and created a series of half circles around the base of the coastal redwood. For me this last ritual was the most powerful. Creating with the melody of the ocean and the wind filled my being with light. I sat with the tree for hours, and as I documented my earth art I felt very content and present.
When I look at this artwork (all of my tree shrines) as a whole, I think about the space that is connecting these trees. That space is vastly filled with water. When I place the location of my earthworks on a map, the points create a rectangle. The solar and lunar shrines merge through the waters of the Bay. The lunar shrines merge through the ocean and the solar shrines merge through the earth. My hope is to build a relationship with these individual trees, as well as create a collective relationship among them. Just like humans, trees are community beings. My network has expanded as I have crossed coasts and countries, my web of relationships is growing stronger.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wishing Tree

My third tree shrine was also collaboration with children at Lincoln Child Center, Oakland. LCC is a mental health agency for traumatized and abused children, where I teach transformational art. My vision for this artwork was to create a solar wishing tree shrine.
The tree that we choose was a neglected olive tree, located on a small island of dirt surrounded by cement. Jasmine, my student and I poured beautiful pigments and contrasting hues to activate the energy in the concentric circles at the base of the tree. Then we tore Sari cloth into ribbons and asked the other children to make wishes as they tied it to the tree. It was quite magical as the children intuitively asked permission from the tree and made wishes for world peace, to go home, not to be restrained anymore and so on. It so was enchanting when little Sara animatedly bowed down to the tree like Buddhist monk. The wind blew through the tree with the simplicity and the majesty of Tibetan prayer flags.
In months later I had numerous enchanted students running up to me telling their wishing did come true!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tree Quote

A tree uses what comes its way to nurture itself. By sinking its roots deeply into the earth, by accepting the rain that flows towards it, by reaching out to the sun, the tree perfects its character and becomes great. ... Absorb, absorb, absorb. That is the secret of the tree.
-- Deng Ming-Dao, Everyday Tao

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Genesis of this series-2007

The first shrine that I had created was part of my neighborhood mapping practice for a class called Artist in Society that I was taking in my Graduate program at JFKU in Berkeley. Its premise was to look at our relationship with Nature and how does it integrate or not into our art and process. The most powerful being in my neighborhood is the majestic redwood that resides outside my front door. During my morning ritual, which includes lots of coffee and lots of staring, I always open the door and gaze up at the giant and greet him with great admiration, over the years I have named him grandfather. Also at the summer and winter solstices I celebrate his presence by burning incense and candles at the base of his truck. To me this amazing tree embodies strength and divinity.
This project has given me an opportunity to do art for the tree. Normally, he is a witness in my creative process and in this realm I feel he become an active participant.
It began with a trip to my favorite Indian store called the Indian Bizarre in Berkeley. Where I bought and array of spices and Puja powder, which is a vibrant red pigment used in traditional Hindi rituals.
As I opened the gate and walked down the path into my yard, I gasped in sadness as I saw a brilliant yellow and red bird lying dead in my path. I looked around for my three felines kids, to see if anyone was guilty. I immediately buried the bird with honor, but as I started creating the shrine I wanted to resurrect it. Was it a sacrifice?
I started creating the solar shrine, by circling the base of grandfather’s truck with the spices and pigments. I then created a series of concentric circles around the base of the tree. The pigments I intuitively placed creating a vibration between the contrasting hues. In a smaller concentric circle I embedded two power objects in the earth from various parts of world that I have been to--- a rock from the Irish Sea and a crystal that I received from a Shaman in Peru. At twilight I lit candles and placed at the four directions in the smaller circle. Lastly, at this time I documented the earthwork with photography.

Something weird began happening while I creating the shrine, honeybees had started dive-bombing into the assemblage and dying. In the morning the bees had gone crazy and were swarming in giant spiral in my yard. Instinctively I knew to dismantle the shrine immediately. Shortly, after that the bees went back to normal. It seemed from their response that I had evoked something while creating the shrine. Unfortunately, it seemed disharmonious. Was it the bird?
I destroyed the work like a Tibetan sand painting, leaving only in the earth the stone and crystal. Within the process of mapping my neighborhood I have seen in the garden a luminous blue dragonfly continuously landing on the stone. For me it symbolizes the shrine is still active.