11 In Women Now

Art and beauty is good for the weary mind and soul

Shelby Fleetwood Gallery in Santa Fe

Russ photographed this Christina Chalmers painting called Listening to the Earth


Back when we bought our house in Sonoma, twelve years ago, we worked on it for several weeks before it became what we wanted it to be. For those weeks of construction and dust and chaos I would escape to places in town that had art and beauty. I’d hang out in well merchandised stores or galleries. The beauty settled me down and gave me strength when I got weary of the mess. After an hour or so I could return and tackle the questions of tile colors, grout colors and light fixtures with hammering going on in the background.

After the week we’ve had living with the wildfires in Northern California it’s good for me to remember what brings me solace, to seek what connects me to Source; that spirit that is steady, positive, and loving. Art is on that list.

I’ve been meaning to share with you some of the art Russ and I fell in love with in Santa Fe when we were back there in June. I have a special thing for art that relates to fashion or a woman’s form. It felt like a spiritual moment when Russ and I walked into the Shelby Fleetwood Gallery on Canyon Road.


Art by Christine Chambers

A sculpture by Christina Chalmers


There were several paintings and sculptures that focused on women and fashion. One artist moved me particularly. Her name is Christina Chalmers. As I viewed every piece of hers I realized I had seen her work before many, many years ago in a gallery in Mendocino, CA. It was when I was really fresh in my business. I had a fantasy of having her work in my office but as I recall the price tag was $13,000.

Luckily it costs nothing to look at images of her work. It’s great to see them in person in a gallery but the next best thing is to take a minute to click on this link and view the images of her and her creations. All her work was large scale but even the small images will give you a sense of her talent.

Born in 1948, she sadly passed away earlier this year from cancer. She was described to me as a gypsy as she would create studio spaces in various locations, including France. Here’s a quote from the artist:


Each of my works is a personal epic. Each garment image is a cloak, which shelters a universe luminous, spacious, incalculably rich and truly vulnerable. Finally, for me, there is this question: Does the light descend from the sky or rise out of us?


This painting titled Ancient Heavenly Bodies sold about a week after we’d visited the gallery. I love the repeated word “passion” on the dress.


Christina Chalmers

Ancient Heavenly Bodies by Christina Chalmers


Here is her artist’s statement and her biography. I found it fascinating and inspiring. I feel sad that she left this world so early. I can imagine she left behind hundreds of ideas for more works of art.

This sculpture by a different artist was completely intriguing. Stacy Phillips created this mixed media sculpture called Sasha. You’re looking at tons of crystals there. Understandably, the price reflects that. It’s $55,000.



I’m not sure who did this piece that was in the backyard of the gallery but it speaks to me of the community of women, like us!



Shelby Fleetwood Gallery is located at 600 Canyon Road. I’ll be making return trips for share Maybe you’ll visit there one day too.

What brings you back to center when you feel frayed?

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  • Reply
    October 19, 2017 at 3:30 am

    Outdoors and nature are sure bets to calm me down, and my cats. Friends and an outing also work…so many comforts to choose from. I love that you let us peak into the world of Christina. Her work is stunning and certainly does speak to the soul. My favourites are the dress sculptures for sure. We have a yearly studio tour in our area in Ontario (Canada) and the artists are fantastic to see at work. It is so nice to see the artwork that one cannot afford yet still enjoy. Thanks for the tour along with you. The two holding hands outdoors is so beautiful as well. Can dream of having such beauty for ourselves. Keep the good thoughts close.

  • Reply
    October 19, 2017 at 3:44 am

    Like Diane above, nature soothes my frazzled and/or wounded self. I love walking, taking deep breaths and soaking up Gods canvas. It helps me escape the stress I am currently swimming in. Right now I’m in an Olympic size pool surrounded by alligators. So walking is a must. As always thank you for sharing such beauty. Hoping you are doing better! Best wishes

  • Reply
    Sandi McDougall
    October 19, 2017 at 6:00 am

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful pieces of art. The outdoor statue brought to my mind “i’ve Got your Back”. It’s amazing. Hope you have an amazing day Brenda. High of 75 in Fargo today so we all will feel blessed by the sun.

    • Reply
      October 19, 2017 at 9:44 am

      Always great to get some Fargo news. Big hugs to you and Paul!

  • Reply
    Cindy La Ferle
    October 19, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Love this post, the art — beautiful!

  • Reply
    Sue Cervantez
    October 20, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    It’s so good that you are taking time to take care of yourself Brenda. There is a long road ahead for your community with lots of hurdles to get over, but my hope for everyone is a renewed sense of community with even greater love and understanding. After reading your post, I was reminded of my own wonderful vacations and wondering why the great times fade away so fast. It’s because I don’t revisit them in my mind, months or years later. Just doing that can be a real boost to a funky mood, or sad or stressful times. Thank you for reminding me to look back and remember and thank you for sharing the beautiful art with us. Sending a warm hug to you~

    • Reply
      October 24, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      Thank you so much, Sue! I’m accepting that warm hug and hoping you’re feeling mine too. It’s nice to have this community right here as well to help with the healing. It’s been such a blessing to have so much support. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Reply
    Trinnie Q
    October 20, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Hi Brenda, and your beautiful community. I hope the devastation all around, is somehow beginning to heal in tiny ways, like the fibrin covering and healing the wound. My thoughts are with you all in the weeks and months ahead. What a lovely and most needed topic your blog is. Beauty, so subjective, yet so healing, is where I dind solace and rejuvination when I need it. This takes place in many forms for me. Children and their adorable ways, talking with those I love, my twin, my family, partner and friends. Surrounding myself in a beautiful environment, either person made, or nature. But especially the sea ! Guaranteed, always to soothe my soul. Luckily I do have access to it on a regular access basis. I breathe it in, I breathe it out, then repeat. Sending much love from Oz x

    • Reply
      October 24, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      I just took a very deep breath reading your comment. It’s so nice to hear how others incorporate beauty into their rejuvenation practices. I feel lucky to have such a great family. They always make me feel happy. I’d love to see that sea of yours! Thank you, dear Trinnie!

  • Reply
    October 23, 2017 at 10:35 am

    What makes me back to center when I feel frayed?

    Exercise — yoga, aquarobics, walking outdoors, sitting in My Chair surrounded by My Stuff. 🙂

    Also — coming up with new outfits made of the clothing in my closet (and adding those combos to the lists I make of “Outfits.” And trying on clothes in my closet.

    And — soaking in my big tub that’s in a corner surrounded by uncurtained windows (we live in the woods). Sipping a lovely chardonnay on the porch while spying on the groundhog, the squirrels, the deer, the butterflies, the humingbirds, the turkeys, the crows, etc.

    Being in the same room with my husband. His presence just makes everything OK.

    I am a fortunate woman.

    • Reply
      October 24, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      Ann, reading this comment was like reading a beautiful poem! You are a fortunate woman and you inspire me. Makes me want to pour a glass of wine and go outside and appreciate the hummingbirds, butterflies, squirrel and neighborhood cats who come around. I’ve just felt more centered by reading what you do!

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