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Art is Happening!

Art is Happening!

Sept. 7 through October 31 at The Bainbridge Island Library !

Join me for Art Walk , Friday, September 7 from 5 to 8PM – Art will be happening right there and then! I will bring some art supplies … and we will see what happens..!.!

Two of my pieces will be on show for this 2 months long group show of Bainbridge Artists. Part of art sale proceeds will be donated to the library  #supportyourlibrary #supportartists #supportartmaking

Art walk Invite Library 2018

Artwork by Karen Chaussabel – Harvest of the Heart XIX – Mixed media on watercolor paper – inks, threads

We have been invited to bring a something that shows our process for the display case at the entrance of the library and I brought a small sketchbook, plus ink! Often the inks bleed through to the next page, as you can see, and I just work in that impression into my new piece!  I could use heavy paper to blot the excess but choose not to to. It takes care of the blank page issue! And it’s part of my “going with the flow” attitude. 🙂

Library display Sept 2018

Small sketchbook and ink – Karen Chaussabel


Hearts – The Island Gallery February 2017


Heart is what keeps me in the flow, in coherence with what is. I try my best to listen in, and from there I choose material to partner with. The great variety of materials I draw from enables me to have a range of expressions, to be fluid and in tune with them. Making marks with ink, pen or a bar of melting encaustic paint gives me a feel for gesture and movement where I find myself to be free, open, playful. Those are qualities I pay attention to when I create. Pieces of thread that are stitched or collaged on paper also embody playfulness through their shape, placement. They remind me too of the process of connecting and following the thread of inspiration that moves through me.

Processed with MOLDIV

Heart is what mentors me in the art of movement, movement guided by a balance between being active and letting go. I embrace a sense of unfolding. Using encaustic paint on a hot plate creates pools of molten wax and when I press the paper onto it to create a monotype, colors swirls, blend. Where the encaustic goes, I follow.

With my ceramic hearts, I let what touches me guide the shape, size, texture, but ultimately they come into being from being released into the alchemy of fire. And those bits of glass that became pools evoking water remind me how much I just dive in and see where it takes me!

What I see embodied in these pieces today and what is part of my art making experience are those very movements of the heart.  I am touched and grateful for their presence in my art, in my life, as they connect me to a spirited sense of exploring, discovering, being.

For more about the my work in ceramic, you can view my Cradled Hearts video .

Processed with MOLDIV

Greetings Cards featuring my artwork – Available at The Island Gallery – Bainbridge Island, WA

Harvest of the Heart

“As you learn to live by heart, every choice you make will become another way of telling your story, calling your tribe, and liberating not only your heart but the hearts of others.” –  Martha Beck

I read these words by Martha Beck​ and see the sequence of choices that led to the creations of “Harvest of the Heart” – a body of work in encaustic monotypes that evokes the bounty of nature, ripeness and my childhood in the countryside in France.

It started with a pause, and stillness. I was on a creative retreat where nature was the heart of the experience, as a studio, a subject and co-teacher.  I paused because I did not quite know what to do, where to go, so I stopped for a moment.  Then I took a step, rather tentatively. I gazed down, spotted a feather and picked it up. I gaze up and see this small wild apple, still green at the end of a branch.

Apple K. Chaussabel

K. Chaussabel

I found my inspiration, or rather it found me!

I sat down on a big boulder below the tree, feather dipped in ink, my hand following the contour of this fruit, over and over.

Nature notes - apple

Nature notes – apple


I loved the ease, the gentleness of this find, of this encounter,  and I felt it also in my hand, in the contact between the feather and the paper. There was a certain tenderness. It was echoed by the presence of a statue, hands cupped, an orb resting in them.

Nature Notes & Statue K. Chaussabel

Nature Notes & Statue
K. Chaussabel



Holding K. Chaussabel

K. Chaussabel

In hand, and in my gesture,  I was following my heart, connecting to memories of my childhood spent in the countryside in my native France.  Those memories were more vivid at this point time as I had moved to Texas where the land was flat, arid and felt very foreign to me. Suburban life added another layer of challenge to the experience…  Here I was, on this retreat in the Eastern Townships in Québec, in a natural setting that brought all those feelings to the surface.  Ink and feather in hand I was retracing, and recalling my roots, steeped deep in nature.

It is a process that continued, grew, beyond time and place.  Back in the encaustic studio, “Harvest of the Heart”, emerged from pools of molten wax, spreading and sinking into paper – along with a touch of pen.

The making of a monotype K. Chaussabel

The making of a monotype – Harvest of the Heart series
K. Chaussabel

I grew up harvesting cherries from a cherry orchard, vegetables from my parents, grandparent’s gardens.  Abundance was shared. We gave and neighbors brought and shared what they grew, raised.  Our family also gleaned chestnuts,  foraged for wild blueberries, raspberries, mushrooms.  There was a bounty from nature, wild and cultivated that permeated my childhood.

This is the story woven into Harvest of the Heart.

Harvest of the Heart Diptych Encaustic, Paper K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart Diptych
Encaustic, Paper
K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart Fullness I, IV, II Encaustic, Paper K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart Fullness I, II, IV
Encaustic, Paper
K. Chaussabel

It is a story I get to share  this coming July for my debut at The Island Gallery.

There is a natural unfolding, an ease, just like the beginning of this journey, to showing  Harvest of the Heart for the first time, here on Bainbridge Island.  For I have found, for the first time, since leaving my native France, a place where my French country roots are alive, once again. It has been a long dormancy for sure! The taste of the local harvests offered by farms, food artisans, neighbors and friends, has awakened them!

I am deeply grateful for nature’s offerings as well as for those who share their bounty with me.

Harvest of the Heart Encaustic, Paper K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart
Encaustic, Paper
K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart Encaustic, Paper K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart
Encaustic, Paper
K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart Triptych Encaustic, paper, pen K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart
Encaustic, paper, pen
K. Chaussabel

Opening night is July 10, 2015!


Framed and matted pieces are available through The Island Gallery

 Ste 120, 400 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 –

(206) 780-9500  –



An Invitation

“When the going gets tough may I be quiet. May I steep for a while in stillness.” Katrina Kenison  –  What a lovely invitation.

It takes me back to a time, not long ago, when that was all I could do. It wasn’t easy to come to term with but I am glad that I did let that be the way. In the process I learned and came to a knowing that being present with what is is an active process! It is also a form of self-care, an offer of gentle, kind, support towards oneself.  Like a warm loving hug.


Being Moved Series – K. Chaussabel Mixed Media on paper

Holding our heart, gently, tenderly.

K. Chaussabel

K. Chaussabel

Katrina Kenison’s reflection for On Being with Krista Tippett continues on, beautifully. Here is the link:

This is a link for my post about Stillness, with more images that embody my experience:

EXPLORING! – Showing Feb 1. to March 30


Showing at the Gallery at Grace   –  February 1 to March 30 –                   8595 Northeast Day Rd., Bainbridge Island, WA 98110                  Phone:(206) 842-9997                                                                                    Hours: Tuesday – Friday 9AM to 4PM & Sunday 8-11AM

Exploring! is the story of an encounter. It is an encounter that took place in the silver mining city of Zacatecas, Zac. Mexico. In the midst of the ruins of Ex-convento San Francisco, now Museum Rafael Coronel, stood before me a majestic specimen of agave americana (century plant, maguey in Spanish). It was large, full of life.


Agave Americana – Zacatecas, Zac., Mexico – Photo Charlie Quinn


I was struck by its presence, its vitality. This plant embodied strength, resilience, rebirth and that spoke to me, deeply. It still does.

This is the starting point for Exploring! I followed this thread of inspiration through different media. I explored form and feeling by printing, painting, stitching on papers of various kinds, with encaustic, ink, fibers. It is a body of work that represents my delight in exploring, tool in hand, heart open.





At home at the beach

It’s been sunny and warm these past 10 days and here in the NW it’s something one celebrates and embraces, wholeheartedly!

I went to the beach and took some sketching material with me.  I picked a very large log to sit on and take it all in, the sky, sea, marine air, scent of the roses, birds in the marsh singing.

It all felt very nurturing. And I felt I could settle in, and be. Be, with ease. Aware

Being gentle and finding heart shapes around me resonating with that gentleness in my own heart felt very supportive, heart warming, inspiring.

The words “unexpected beauty”  carried on in a very real way for me when I gazed down and saw a  rope nestled against a young rosebush stem and log.  It felt like the perfect spot to set my sketchbook in. It made me see my quick, in the moment, gestures, in a new light.  They are very much heart conversations. And seeing them cradled in this manner, made me feel a tenderness for those pieces.

The process of seeing my pieces cradled in this manner, presented in an impromptu ephemeral art show at the beach, made me appreciate my sense of creativity, my ability to make myself at home wherever I am. What a heart warming, soul tending moment this was and still is.

This experience certainly contributed to my sense of trusting and knowing that while the outer home is not clearly defined for me at the moment, the inner one is in the making. To be continued!


Stillness. It found me.

It did not feel easy, nor comfortable at the time. It came out of anguish. And one day, it appeared in my work. It’s one of those doodling moment that had a lot to say…


There it was right in front of me. I saw something soft, calm in the image and it brought me comfort. I saw an air of serenity that reassured me, an air of contemplation that invited me in. It really felt like the only way to go, was to step in… and step in I did, and not for just a moment, but for a long while, a long long while. What I found is that it takes discipline to stay in. Stillness is where I find everything. And it’s not so comfortable to be face to face with fears, sorrow, hurt, whatever is. It takes courage to look at what is hard. It takes heart to acknowledge all that is discomfort. It draws me in further…


In its midst. I find yet another way in. Surrender. Surrender to what is. That, I am finding out also takes resilience. Lots.

Staying in stillness takes discipline and in that discipline I found the art of cultivating patience. I came across an article that spoke of patience as “an active state.” I completely agree. There is a lot happening in stillness, more than what meets the eye…
I find it’s place where being compassionate and tender towards myself is being supportive.


It’s the cradle where I can honor what is, release with kindness what no longer serves me.


Stillness, it’s a safe place to honor, cherish and release what is.


And in that journey, a transformation takes place.

An opening of the heart.


Making space. Making way for the new to step out.


Vibrant. Renewed.

Lighter. Open larger to life, in and out


Stillness. It’s the space for embracing all of what I am, for letting patience guide me gently. It’s the fertile ground for growth, for finding the blessings in the winter in my heart and soul. Stillness is the vessel from which new growth sprouts forth.


I just came back from a two weeks trip of a lifetime to China where I studied Qigong and visited numerous historical sites and temples. I am still processing all I saw and experienced….

One of the experiences that stands out for me right now, is walking up many many many steps to reach the top of Eimei Shan, a sacred Buddhist mountain.  Stepping up and up and up, through the forest, in the fog, I was keenly aware how magical and extraordinary an experience this was for me. I took a moment to celebrate  where I was and it was captured in this picture:

Pausing to express gratitude and Joy - Eimei Shan - K. Chaussabel

And these are my first creations since I came home.

Moved - Encaustic on paper- K.Chaussabel

Moved - detail - K. Chaussabel

Moved - detail - K. Chaussabel

Moved- detail - K. Chaussabel

“We are life’s music, so let us dance.”

Julia Cameron – Prayer to the Great Creator

Following the thread

“Suivre le fil,” following the thread, is a French expression that means to find one’s path. It’s an expression with a lot of meaning for me.

Following the thread for me is about following my heart/art.  It’s about listening to what intrigues me, what peeks my curiosity and following up on that feeling and exploring. That’s exactly how I got started on making art 10 years ago. I saw a course description that spoke to me. It read “for those who want to try but never did and for those who did but want to try again.” This description sounded good, so I decided to sign up. Little did I know then, that taking this creativity course would take me on a journey well beyond that class…!

And interestingly enough, thread became a companion on that journey. I followed and used it in my various explorations

It started to appear with collages, as another way to make a mark.


Ink, thread - K. Chaussabel

Thread, paper - K. Chaussabel

The thread made its way into encaustic as well

Encaustic, thread, on paper K. Chaussabel

Encaustic, thread, ink, on paper - K. Chaussabel

The gift of a sewing machine allowed me to explore the use of thread in a yet different manner. I use it in a deliberately random manner, though the results are nothing but random….  I call them wild mind stitching.

Stitching my heart out - K. Chaussabel

Stitching my heart out - K. Chaussabel

Stitching my heart out - K. Chaussabel

The thread showed up when I explored other media, like glass and ceramic.

Fused glass with copper threads - K. Chaussabel

Fused glass, copper wire - K. Chaussabel

Fused glass, copper wire - K. Chaussabel

Raku with cheese cloth impression - K. Chaussabel

Following the thread, following the path of heart.

wire, bark - K. Chaussabel

Serenity – Letting the light shine through

I came across a quote that articulates rather well my current explorations.

“Serenity is not freedom from the storm, it is peace amidst the storm” Anonymous

This piece speaks of  this place for me.

Encaustic monotype - Surrender

This is what this piece looks like when it is backlit:

Being present in the storm and finding sanctuary in its eye. Surrendering to what is and in the process discovering the unseen.

Finding serenity  by letting the light shine through.