Articles by Bo Mackison

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.

Frida Kahlo at the Tucson Botanical Gardens

Frida y Diego © 2017 Bo Mackison

The exhibit FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life was created by the New York Botanical Gardens (NYBG) to highlight Frida Kahlo, renowned Mexican painter, and her deep connection and appreciation of the beauty of the natural world. The exhibit was designed by award-winning scenic designer Scott Pask and curated by Adriana Zavala, Associate Professor of modern and contemporary Latin America art history and Director of Latino Studies at Tufts University.

Tucson Botanical Gardens (the Gardens) was the only garden selected to receive this exhibit by NYBG. This setting showcased the exhibit in a landscape familiar to the original home and garden.

Window View from Casa Azul © 2017 Bo Mackison

The gardens are alive with the colors and textures representative of the original gardens in Casa Azul (Blue House). Archival photos from the 1940s show their garden as a showplace and gathering place.

Casa Azul’s Pyramid © 2017 Bo Mackison

In 1941, Frida Kahlo and her husband and noted muralist, Diego Riviera, designed and constructed a small pyramid in the garden of Casa Azul, their home in a suburb of Mexico City. They based their design on Mesoamerican models. Various native cacti are on display in Tucson; pre-Hispanic artifacts were displayed on the original.

Frida Kitchen II ©2017 Bo Mackison

Frida was an excellent cook and spent many hours each day shopping for fresh foods at the mercado, then preparing dishes for family and friends. A small replica of her kitchen is located in the children’s garden of TBG.

Frida’s Art Studio ©2017 Bo Mackison

A unique view of a replica of the studio environment of Frida Kahlo. Shelves are crammed with small sculptures and books on botany, poetry, pre-Hispanic cultures. Stoppered bottles of mineral colors are ready for use.

The Two Fridas © 2017 Bo Mackison

Contemporary artist Humberto Spindola, artist-in-residence at NYBG during the Frida exhibit, designed and created this sculpture made of paper dresses and bamboo-framed mannequins. The sculptures are made from tissue paper, a modern adaptation of the Aztec-inspired amate paper made from tree bark. The skeleton is molded bamboo fastened with hemp cord and wax.

His sculpture is an interpretation of Kahlo’s painting The Two Fridas, a painting where Kahlo illustrated her dual heritages. One Frida wears a white, European styled dress; the second Frida wears the dress of the traditional Zapotec women. Note the healthy and vibrant heart vs. the unhealthy, weakened heart. Kahlo did this painting in 1939, the year she divorced Diego.

The exhibit is at Tucson Botanical Gardens runs through May 31, 2017. It is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Check current information at https://www.tucsonbotanical.org

Contemplative Creatives Journey – Spring 2017

EXPLORING — AND CELEBRATING — THE EXTRAORDINARY IN THE ORDINARY

This gently guided journey with Bo has infused my existing practices with renewed energy. Her exquisite leadership is informed by experience, training and soulful instinct. I consider her a modem mystic. ~ Mary Anne Radmacher

If the words contemplative and creative have a sweet juiciness for you and you’re interested in a different sort of workshop, read on.

  • Instead of schedules, I offer serendipity.
  • Instead of a planned curriculum, I offer surprises.
  • Instead of expectations, I offer possibilities.
  • Instead of learned objectives, I offer an always-available way to engage and interact with the world through art, nature and the written word.

I combine my roles as curator of life experience, writer, artist, and Certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach to offer you a meaningful and fulfilling workshop. Or might be truer if I substituted the word play-shop!

MY SPRING OFFER: YOU WILL RECEIVE REGULAR AND RANDOM PROMPTS, QUESTIONS, AND EXPLORATIONS as we shift from the sweet darkness and introspective work of the winter season, and journey towards light and a new time of awakening and growth. I will offer inspiration, new ideas, new ways of seeing and being.

Together we will explore themes and creative practices that inspire and encourage, elicit wonder and awe, uplift your spirit and feed your soul.

THE SPRING JOURNEY BEGINS MARCH 15, 2017.

This practice does not require that you set aside a certain amount of time each day (unless that is your desire.) Mostly, it is this:

  • a practice that is gently woven throughout your day
  • a practice that illuminates the extraordinary in the ordinary, enhances the uncommon in the common
  • ways of interacting with place that highlight the wonder of and connection with nature, no matter where you live, work and play.

We begin March 15th, as spring approaches, and we will journey together until June 15th.

I will journey with you throughout the Spring as we Mine the Divine from Within. I will share dozens of creative and contemplative practices as together we explore and connect with the awakening earth.

MY SPRING OFFER:

YOU WILL RECEIVE REGULAR AND RANDOM PROMPTS, QUESTIONS, AND EXPLORATIONS as we shift from the sweet darkness and introspection of winter, and journey towards light and a new time of awakening and growth.

I will offer inspiration, new ideas, new ways of seeing and being, as we explore themes and creative practices that inspire and encourage, elicit wonder and awe, uplift your spirit and feed your soul.

These practices do not require you set aside a certain amount of time each day unless that is your desire. Mostly, it is this:

• a practice that is gently woven throughout your day

• a practice that illuminates the extraordinary in the ordinary, enhances the uncommon in the common

• ways of interacting with place that highlight the wonder and connection with nature, no matter where you live, work and play.

There is a strong community and collaborative aspect in the group, but it is always invitation and opportunity, never a requirement.

Bo has created a safe and sacred space for creativity to flourish, respite to abide, and healing to occur – no matter what is happening in our internal or external worlds. The vulnerable and honest sharing of her own creative practices has invited me more deeply into my own. I cannot recommend this offering or her heart on others’ behalf highly enough. ~Ronna Detrick

In community and individually, we explore these themes:

word * vision * place

WORD

This practice focuses on how to connect — to the world, community, and self — using words. We will play with words, explore words, and connect nature and place using words.

I will share many ways to create poetry, even if you do not call yourself a poet or a writer. Poetry can be simple to complex, straightforward to multidimensional. Many of the writing practices are collaborative invitations.

Not only will we play with words – one-minute poetry, collaborative poetry, poetry prompts to create original pieces – but during the Spring season we will create postcard art and art using letters and words.

VISION

Mandala making will evolve from the practice of using metallic pencils on black paper – my preferred winter practice – to exploring the emergence of Spring’s color using found objects and a brighter palette of colors and papers. Focus: found art and mixed media.

We will learn to make simple book structures and incorporate these books in our exploration of the everyday sacred. Focus: Simple book structures. Content creation.

The photography component will focus on contemplative photography practices (using any camera.) Focus: new ways of seeing and interacting with your world. 

PLACE:

As Spring approaches and the days lengthen in the northern hemisphere, exploring and connecting with the outside world becomes more accessible.

I’ll be introducing the concept of backyard phenology – the study of nature’s calendar, an in-the-present survey of the cycles of plants and animals as they interact with climate and habitat.

We will consider the art of pilgrimage and how one introduces the concept of taking a pilgrimage when exploring one’s home and environment.

We will use writing, art and photography as creative vehicles to create a sense of place and embrace the essence of place.

QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU CLARIFY:  

Do you see metaphors everywhere and anywhere? Do you think in metaphor? If your answer is yes, then this workshop is likely something you will love.

Do you thrive with to do lists? Do you do your best, most creative work on a schedule while meeting deadlines? If your answer is yes, then this workshop will likely be a different sort of experience. Are you ready for this kind of change? Then come along and explore the creative and contemplative life with spaciousness and spontaneity.

Are you searching for a place of sanctuary, a place to recharge your inner battery so you can show up bright and energized for the demands of everyday living?

Together we will walk on a journey of enhanced awareness of the miracles and beauty of the ordinary, of renewed appreciation for the renewal of life as the natural world reawakens in Spring.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER IF YOU ARE INTRIGUED BUT UNDECIDED:

What if you to had a creative practice that could be done in free moments? What if instead of checking social media whenever a free moment arises, you chose to check in with yourself instead! I know there is a connection with self that I greatly desire and often neglect and I want to re-establish my connection with the present and the place in which I find myself.

Do I have the right kind of supplies? You create with the simplest of supplies, things you likely already own.

  • Paper of any sort, i.e. sketchbooks, copy paper, ephemera.
  • Any sort of mark-making media you already have, i.e. pens, pencils, markers, pastels, paints.
  • The camera of your choice (Cell phone camera is perfect.)
  • Mixed media supplies such as old magazines, household ephemera, a glue stick.

Whether you have a fully equipped art room or a box of supplies you store in a closet, you will find new ways to explore these things. Surprises or nudges will get your creative juices flowing. Hints on how to see or create in new ways will offer you unlimited creative possibilities, easily incorporated into your everyday routine.

WHEN:

The Spring journey is 13 weeks long. We begin on March 15 as Spring approaches, and continue until June 15th.

HOW:

Private community on Facebook. Everything will be delivered to a private Facebook group page and may show up anytime. Surprise and serendipity! You are encouraged to share your discoveries and experiences in the private group however and whenever you choose.

This guided and easily accessible process allows you to engage in the practice wherever and whenever you choose.

THE COST:

I offer you my knowledge, my skills, my presence and my enthusiasm. The cost for the 13 week Spring journey and community is $99.00. (This is about than $7.50 a week, what you might pay for a fancy coffee. Consider this a different sort of coffee break!)

Note: This price is locked in for you. Once you have journeyed through one season with me, you are welcome to join other seasons I offer at this price.

TO RESERVE YOUR SPACE:

Registration is now open. You can use the PayPal link below.

Click Here to Register.

I do hope you will join me.

 

 

Under the Sea, A Garden – A Mandala

 

Under the Sea, A Garden © 2017 Bo Mackison

 

4 Directions – A Mandala

4 Directions @ 2017 Bo Mackison

Emergence – Poem and Mandala

Emergence ©2016 Bo Mackison

Emergence ©2016 Bo Mackison

In the middle of the night
when my companion is the tick
of the second-hand
– and heart beat

In the early morning hours
awaiting first light
so still in the house
– too quiet

In wait for the coming of storm,
be it thunder, hail, snow squall
– or a brewing wild within

Midst scheduled days or days unfettered,
in calm or angst
with joy or grief,
– take up your pen and paper

And in keen or chant, praise or lament,
in raised voice or sultry whisper,
(remember this)
– all is sacred and profane

Cast spell and benediction,
turn your words into phrases
and phrases into lines
– invite unruliness and ecstasy too

Take up your pen,
invoke madness or muse
Take up your pen and write
– then, poetry emerges.