Frosty Stars- (Frosty Sky and Twinkling Earth)

Do you know that the true essence of frost is light from stars in the sky? Well…what if it could be?

Frosty Stars (Frosty Sky and Twinkling Earth)


Nestling above us.

Falling to Earth,

Drawing sparkling blankets over Veridian beds of sedge and grasses.

Over blade and spike, they paint the path,

Asending at dawn in an invisible journey back to the heavens.

Suspended, they hold their sparkle on the clearest night,

Fragile as nests in hand.

Waiting until one frigid morning knits an infinite down coat

Of microscopic feathers pointing their return to the sky.

Stars again.

Ellen Kolbo McDonah, 2018


The Silence of Putting A River to Bed

Good night my playful, mysterious friend.

Over weeks and days, I have lingered over the sagging banks with cautious indecision, should I rest or should I run? Holding bird and foul between my covers, most are gone now. But I must crawl under an icy comforter of insulated cold, my voice silenced by the dark and unknown paths downward to become something larger than myself. The fury of spring screams can not be sustained, and the world walks away from my uncontrollable voice of sheer destruction, mumbling of insurance and death. No, I have had my bedtime story, and I am running slow and heavy. My foot sinks deeply into the smooth, sandy bottom and taunts me in.

Perhaps I could linger for a moment and place my head against the bank, coating sprigs and twigs with magnifying glasses of wonder? Yes, perhaps I shall, for I am not ready for the deep sleep of winter.

The warmth and snap of fall nudge me awake, blanket falling to the floor. The deep sleep is coming, but its earned well and will arrive on a secret schedule.

Yet, the paddler comes to my side watching and waiting, with admiration and memories of my challenge and power. The paddler knows that I tire of carrying it all on good graces. The paddler has earned my respect and knows me well.

So I will pull the covers over my nose, and hide my vulnerable back-side from the world. My over-wear is on, responsibilities are fulfilled, spring tantrums tolerated, and waters are running amber deep.

She is standing on the shore, fire creating a circle of connection to the world above. She draws the crescent of my smile, my last connection to the world above me. She will miss my antics and velvet voice, and then she speaks:

“Good night, my playful, mysterious friend. We will meet again in the spring.”

Ellen McDonah 12/2018

(About this entry:

I was inspired to write this to explain a longing connection with the river felt when the rivers ice over in Wisconsin. Somehow, I wanted to speak on behalf of the river to explain its need for dormancy, yet reassure its return.)

Adventurism Art Provides Inspiration

A few years ago, I sought inspiration as I created my sketches and oil paintings in the surroundings where I was painting. I joined a Plein-Air artists group and painted and drew pictures outside, usually in a picturesque area that we all agreed upon ahead of time. Although it was enjoyable to compare the styles of other artists with my own, I felt I was still seeking my own style and that my style was different from the others. It was hard to identify just what my style was, and it became confusing and challenging as a creative person to continue on the path that felt natural for me as an artist. Yet, I continued to create and tried to make sense of the creations that I was making.

I found myself becoming inspired by situations that sparked my creativity, and instead of placing myself in a creative environment (such as my studio or a Plein-Air setting) and “waiting” for the inspiration to come, I forced the creative inspiration by immersing myself in the creativity, such as an artist in performance art. Soon I learned that by becoming an active part of the experience, my art became more expressive and the inspiration that was sometimes elusive, as when staring at a blank canvas, flowed naturally and innocently without planning and forethought. As an active part in the creative experience then, my work became an outcropping of a larger creative and inspirational process, not the primary focus. 

My observations caused me to study the creative process of others, and soon I realized that many others were using a similar method as they produced artwork, and digital cameras and computers have produced the opportunity for artists and creative individuals to make what I call the “Adventurism Art Movement.” And after study and observation, I believe the work I produce follows this new movement as well as the work of others, who either consciously or unconsciously adhere to the creative principles that I have identified in the following paragraph.

Adventurism Art is a work which is made as the result of the artist purposefully immersing him/herself in a particularly creatively exciting undertaking, with the primary purpose to seek inspiration as the result of the unexpected, unknown experience. The culmination of the experience results in a product that was inspired by, or created during the “creative shock” of the experience, and the artist moves from a passive participant to a critical piece in the creative incident.  

An artists’ sensitivity toward feelings and intuition are an active component in the inspiration and the ensuing creative product of Adventurism Art. It is important to point out that individuals who are not accustomed to a feeling of inspiration in creative situations will not be able to “catch” the Adventurism art wave without practice. Just as any individual with an inexperienced ear in music would be unable to discern the difference in a note’s pitch without practice listening; a sense of inspiration can be subtle and illusive without experience. But I truly believe inspiration can be felt by any individual, and that any individual can produce a product of Adventurism Art under the right experiences and circumstances.

In other words, most artists “wait” for an inspiration, or create artwork with a specific motif in mind, but in Adventurism Art, artwork is motivated by inspiration as the artist actively and purposefully places him/herself in a situation of “creative excitement,” and “creative chaos.” In this way, the artist is taking an active and purposeful part in the inspirational process by trusting that their creative instincts will take over, not knowing what that reaction will be. Yet by inviting this openness and opportunity,  the artist invites unlimited opportunities for expression.

Intention becomes an important component of the Adventurism Art experience. Let me explain; If an individual’s primary focus is to produce artwork and decides to embark on an adventure or journey, that is NOT Adventurism Art. However, if an individual embarks on a journey anticipating inspiration at some point and trusting that the journey will produce that, and the individual takes materials to react to the inspiration as he/she becomes a part of that, then that is Adventurism Art. If I take my paints into the woods with the intention of painting a motif of a river and some pine trees next to it, and I produce a painting as a result of my trip, that IS NOT Adventurism Art. However, if I carry my paints into the woods for a walk on an undetermined path and suddenly see a scene that is unexpected, and I am inspired to create a painting; that IS Adventurism Art.

Let’s take a look at some examples of Adventurism Art:  A person who climbs a mountain with a fear of heights produces a video inspired by observations and the feel of the rocks during his/her experience. A person spends time in the woods, without the intention of producing a product,  and then begins bending willow branches, grape vines  and other natural materials into a frame and a product emerges. A kayaker paddles a river on a journey, taking a sketchpad and drawing materials, producing artwork during the adventure and as inspired by key inspirations during the adventure. A person investigates caves or unknown areas and is inspired by the sounds of the dripping water and designs on the walls and creates a painting based on the experience. 

Therefore,  Adventurism Art is the name of artwork produced by any individual who actively seeks a situation of creative chaos for the purpose of inspiring a product that is born by or through the adventure. The product created is the result of a multi-sensory experience by the artist as he/she immerses him/herself in the “artistic chaos” visually, auditorily, kinetically, or with taste. It is important to note that the product of the Adventurism Art experience is not meant to chronicle the undertaking itself, but is a pure, innocent artistic product of the creative energy caused by inspiration captured during the adventure, and produced as a result of the artist’s involvement of the adventuristic experience. 

c Ellen Kolbo Mc Donah 2014