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

Under the Sea, A Garden – A Mandala


Under the Sea, A Garden © 2017 Bo Mackison


4 Directions – A Mandala

4 Directions @ 2017 Bo Mackison




The winter journey is now in progress. I anticipate offering a spring journey which will begin in March, 2017. If interested, please email me at bo at and I will add you to a information list.

I am offering an online workshop, the likes of which I have never heard of nor encountered in my life experience. If the words contemplative and creative and journey have a sweet juiciness for you and you are interested in a different sort of workshop, read on.

  • Instead of schedules, I offer serendipity.
  • Instead of a planned curriculum, I offer surprise.
  • Instead of expectations, I offer possibility.
  • instead of learned objectives, I offer an always-available way to engage and interact with the world

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 perhaps I might say playshop!


Items to inspire and encourage, elicit wonder and awe, uplift your spirit and feed your soul.

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
  • an ordinary practice that illuminates the extraordinary
  • ways of interacting with place that highlight how no place is truly common
  • a practice that will draw your attention to just how incredibly extraordinary your ordinary is

I will offer inspiration, new ideas, new ways of seeing and being. Until the crocuses bloom. Yes, you read that correctly. We will begin December 1st, the day I associate with winter’s beginning, and we will go until the day my backyard crocuses bloom and herald in the awakening of spring.

I will journey with you throughout the winter, holding a lantern to illuminate the path we walk together, offering light and connection and dozens of examples of how I explore and see the world – a way of deep connection invoking the wonders and mystery of word, vision, and place.

word * vision * place

Let me explain further.


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

I will share my practice of containers, an original practice I’ve developed. I’ve been working with the concept of containers to explore self, relationships, community. Everyone I’ve introduced to these practices finds them instinctive and telling and so easy to understand. There is much to see in this exploration; it truly illuminates the path to discovery.

I will share variations on how to write a poem, even if you are not a poet or a writer. Poetry can be simple to complex, straightforward to multidimensional.

Just as I believe everyone is creative, I also believe everyone has an innate ability to play with words. And yes, one plays with words to create poetry.

Word play is poetry. And it is a writing practice that is deeply meaningful.


Oh, the things you will see! The simple and the complex, the mystical and the ordinary.

There will be mandala creating. There will be map making and book making. There will be contemplative photography practices (using any camera.) These are ways of seeing and interacting with your world.


A sense of place is important. I deeply connect with the places I live and travel, be that prairie, mountain, desert, or shore. And I incorporate dozens of ideas in my day that offer enhanced ways to see and appreciate my surroundings. We will use writing, art, photography and more to create a sense of place, to embrace the essence of place.


There will be practices for all occasions! Oh! I like that! A practice for all occasions. For the common and the uncommon times in life. For the ordinary that is extraordinary. (This is the thread that runs through this practice. Yes?)

  • Practices for exploring nature and travel. And practices for your trip to the grocery store or your daily commute.
  • Practices for calming and grounding. For awakening and celebrating.
  • Practices for being being being. And for seeing seeing seeing.

Your work is a sacred exploration to me. The composition of your photography paired with just the right quote or poem draws me in to a space in my soul and invites me to linger. Your mandalas are an exquisite study of beauty and complexity, yet seem like something I might be able to learn. And then there are your words. When strung together, they become music and find a way deep into my bones.

So when you offered an opportunity to explore and study with you, I jumped on it. I know it will be a soulful, explorative journey filled with wonder and surprise. I can’t wait to get started.

~ Sharon Martinelli, Artist, Activist, Crone


Do you love metaphor? Do you see metaphors everywhere and anywhere? Are you intrigued by 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 join in the fun.

Are you searching for the positive instead of the negative, for the song instead of the scream? I am not advocating for rose-colored glasses and Pollyanna-ism. I know from much experience that life is not all rainbows and unicorns. And still, I choose to embrace life with appreciation, generosity, kindness and respect. Does this resonate with you? Then this workshop might be affirming and relevant for you.


What if you to had a creative practice that could be done in free moments? What if instead of checking Facebook whenever a free moment arises, you periodically chose to check in with yourself! Personally? I love Facebook. I love love love the connections I’ve nurtured using social media. And sometimes? I know I seek more. I know there is a connection with self that I so desire and sometimes neglect, that I want to re-establish my connection with the present and the space in which I find myself.

Do you have art supplies that you would enjoy using, but they are off your radar? (This might look like a fully equipped art room or a box of supplies you store under your bed.) What if you had playful and/or meaningful ways to use these things? Surprises or nudges to get your creative juices flowing? Hints on how to see or create in new ways? Imagine the possibilities!


First Crocus © 2014 Bo Mackison


I light the lantern to illuminate the path on which we travel together on December 1st. We will continue our journey until the first crocus pops through my backyard’s earth (or snow cover) sometime in early March.


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

Dive Deeper materials will be offered several times a month on a password-protected blog and are optional. This is bonus material and not at all required to reap the benefits of the full experience.

This guided process allows you to engage in the practice from anywhere in the world and at any time of the day or night.


I offer you my knowledge, my skills, my presence and my enthusiasm. The cost for this inaugural three-month journey and community experience is $99.00. (This works out to about $7.00 a week, or what you might pay for a fancy coffee and a little something on the side. Consider this to be a different sort of coffee break!)


Registration is now open. Email me at I will send you a PayPal invoice and add your name as a participant to the CCJ Facebook page once I receive your payment as confirmation.



To hold the lantern high to broadly illuminate our contemplative and creative journey. To connect with community that embraces life in all of its many manifestations. To offer wisdom and experiences that bring forth an awareness, appreciation, and awe of everyday life. To explore – and celebrate – the uncommon in the ordinary.

And to do this with you, my friend.

Will you join me?

The instant Bo Mackison articulated her vision for this online course I knew I wanted to participate. I have a lot to learn from Bo whose talent delights me. I am excited to benefit from the ways she sees the world.

~ Mary Anne Radmacher, Author


Wild. Fierce. Free. A Mandala for Ferocity.


Wild. Fierce. Free © 2016 Bo Mackison

I created the fierce and unfettered mandala while watching bits of the Bully Debate. I was in deep need of finding balance in the swirling, angry energy. Prior to last night, I’ve limited my exposure to much of the presidential campaigns. That is not to say I am not paying attention to the news or unaware of the “talking points” for the various campaigns, only that it seemed wise to greatly limit what feels like coarse and intrusive reality TV.

However, last night I did choose to watch the debate. Or bits of the debate.

And so, while I listened to the candidates I created a powerful mandala that offered positive energy to counteract the negative. Ferocity as response.


Focus on Fierce © 2016 Bo Mackison

Focus on the center. The true center. Positive energy. That’s the practice.


The practice of combining mandala making and setting intentions, part of an online workshop I’ve created that melds words, vision and place. Details coming this week!