Left Side of Spread
Right side of Spread
I feel like working in my journal much of today; i'm sorting out (or trying to) so many things in my head and journaling is the most satisfying and direct way to get at all those concealed places in my psyche. i've thrown out questions to the universe, i'm hoping to find some of the answers as i put it all out on the pages. i didn't feel like working pretty, i'll never find my answers that way. i have to work rough and raw right now.
"Our own life is the instrument with which we experiment with Truth". --Thich Nhat Hanh
It felt SO good to wake up feeling bright, like the sun. Last night I started painting and I knew the crack of light in my mind's eye was once again opening wide. I notice the symbols i'm often using in my work these days, are many of the same ones I've used for the past three years: birds, hearts, doors, windows, and faces. The new one I've noticed that's creeping into much of my work (although not this piece) is ladders. It's been an interesting symbol for me to reflect on; ladders are a vehicle, they can lead you up somewhere high that you couldn't reach on your own, or bring you down to the ground, so you're grounded. I'm curious to know how I'll use them in my future work.
I'm getting things ready for my journey to Saluda, North Carolina, where I get the distinct pleasure of teaching three full day classes at Random Arts on June 15th, 16th, and 17th. The class on the 15th will be process oriented as we experiement with intuitive drawing and painting, or said in another way, creating with abandon! Our focus will be on faces, not realistic faces, but quirky, simple, or personal-to-you faces. On the 16th, we'll be doing mixed media collage; I'll be demonstrating how to incorporate simple paintings and collage into your work. The 17th will be a mixed media collage class as well, with the focus on the femine icon. I am so excited, this is going to be a FuN, low-stress, art filled weekend; all classes are suitable for all levels of students. For sign up information, contact Jane at Random Arts. I hope some of you will come and play with me there!
yesterday was a real mixed bag for me, emotionally. i had the kids all weekend which is always wonderful and tiring as well. but mostly just wonderful. their energy is so fresh and vibrant, exciting, demanding, and innocent. after they left early afternoon, i took a short nap, one of those naps that you hope will be luscious but misses the mark by a bit. then the rest of the day and evening was spent in the studio, trying out ideas i have for projects and proposals that are coming due. i spent quite a while working, playing, and enjoying the process although in the end i ended up with nothing worthy of submission - just lots of experimentation. i felt quite agitated as time when on; what i wanted to do was have a temper tantrum like 2 year old violet and scream and stomp my feet, and drop to the floor crying. i decided against that :-).
instead, i pulled up my big old atlas-turned-journal which has been my saving grace these past couple weeks. I had snapped several photos during the day, many self-portraits. i wanted the entry to be real, to be my experience, so i began to work without thinking much, it felt easy pulling one thing and then the other onto the pages. everything on this two page spread is significant to me and my day, even the background paints. struggling with rapid cycling (part of the bi-polar) with depression so dark, it's hard to see any light sometimes.
today is fresh, my sweet husband has got jobs lined up for us to do outside together in the sunshine, and the sun is shining so brightly today on the baby green leaves on the big maple outside my window. another day to experience whatever is before me, whatever the universe is offering today may my heart be thankful to receive it.
i woke up this morning and looked at the familiar objects surrounding me in my bedroom, soft shadows in the filtered sun. i caught myself going into "routine' thinking/doing mode, you know that mode, where we start our days in the usual way, with the usual thoughts and the rote movements that weave all our familiar patterns. as i lay there, i soaked in the freshness, the newness of the morning. after i made my way down the stairs to let the dogs out, i stepped out onto the porch, my eyes taking in the soft beauty of the valley, feeling the cool fresh air of spring, heavy with moisture against my skin, listening to the chorus of birdsong. i picked out the sounds of determined male woodpeckers on opposite ends of the field, hammering away on their chosen instruments, the varied and distinctive sounds echoeing through the valley,they being all consumed with the urgent task of attracting their springtime mates.
later, as i stood at the kitchen sink, filling my glass with fresh well water, the precious first glass of the day, that extremely satisfying one that quenches a deep thirst after a night's sleep, i thought about how only hours earlier, this very same water lay soundless and invisible just feet below me, under the very ground i walk on. as i swallowed, i delighted in the coldness, the shining transparency of this essential life-giving, life-sustaining substance we call water . i delighted in the pure sweetness of it as it rolled down my throat, my body responding so perfectly to accept and assimilate it, passing it on to each one of my thirsty cells. i thought of how precious water is, how scarce it is in so many places in the world, and how my mother couldn't swallow it at all for the last couple months of her life due to a major brainstem stroke. my heart swells with gratitude at this moment and i wanted to share it here, with you. i hope today that you might take a brief moment to look deeply at that certain something in your life, whatever it is, that something that you most often take for granted; this simple act can fill your heart with overflowing joy and gratitude.
thank you to everyone who has commented in the past several days; i'm quite behind in responding individually but know that i treasure your thoughts, i treasure each of you.
Showing you these feels a bit like coming to greet you at the door, still in my favorite faded thread-bare cotton pajamas that have small holes and tears and little stains on the shirt in the front, that won't come out, even with repeated washing; my hair is unbrushed and i have sleep in my eyes and paint on my fingers and under my nails. i didn't dress up for you this time, not out of disrespect, but because this is who i am too, and i want to be true, to myself and to you.
Someone wrote this to me, maybe it was in one of my blog comments, I can't remember; "this is just another dip in the road". Yes, that's what it is going on with me right now. Nothing that out of the ordinary for me, just a dip, another big dip. I should be used to them by now, but they always seem to take me by surprise. Each day is fresh and brand new - I wake up never knowing if I will be full of creative energyor maybe I'll barely be able to rouse myself out of bed to do the simplest of daily tasks. Why would I share this on my blog, I ask myself. As near as I can tell, it's because I'm such a recluse, living out here in the country, and this blog is my conduit to the world, to my people, to those I trust and some I probably don't. I want connection, I want to be understood, and this incredible maze of electronics makes it possible to have friends in Australia and Europe and anywhere in the world there is internet. I write so I won't feel so alone.
I continue to work in my journal, lots of stress is relieved by creating, knowing that what i put on the page is for my eyes only. Still, I feel lost right now, I don't know where I'm going. I don't know where my art is going. Why it should bother me I don't know, I wish it didn't. But being in the uncomfortable place of between, makes me feel a bit afraid, and more.
I'm going to sprinkle beautiful photos in amongst all these dense sentences, heavy with thoughts and emotions. I feel blessed to have family and friends who accept me for exactly who I am, one with moods that fly from one end of the spectrum to the other in a matter of days, sometimes hours. Here is my darling grandaughter Violet Summer, celebrating her 2nd birthday. And her mommy, my sweet Heather, who is ready to give birth any day now. My sweet darling youngesst daughter Marissaa called me this morning. She wanted me to download a song onto my MP3 player - a song by the artist Corinne Bailey Rae called Seasons Change. Marissa heard her in concert a coupe weeks ago and was moved by the song; she felt that I would understand it, and wanted me to hear it. I played it tonight and cried; what a gift it is to be understood by my daughter, to be friends with her now that she is an adult. She knows me, she understands me...both my girls do, what a gift that is. I made lots of mistakes mothering the two of them, but I loved them unconditionally and they both are beautiful women, they make me proud.
I've read many blogs the past several days that echo many of the same feelings I'm having, I know I'm not alone, I know I'm not unique. There is an ebb and flow for many of us; and tsunamis (am I spelling that right?) for some of us. Everthing changes, everything is impermanent; this state I'm in will change as well. I heard a quote from the Dahli Llama, but I can only paraphrase it: in the most painful of times there is the greatest potential for seeing the good, the light. I do want to believe that and I hope it is true for us all. Potential is different than 'for sure', but there is a chance. I'm rambling, time to say goodnight, or good morning, depending on where you are in the world.
thanks to all of you that wrote me with your understanding, support, and suggestions on dealing with my creative block - i appreciate you all! let it all mull about inside, envisioning all my options, and the one i hadn't given much credence to, but the one my heart was begging me to see, was doing some artmaking just for me. a place to practice, take out my frustrations, splash paint about, glue down those bits and pieces that i pick up and save and want to use but they never quite fit into my painting., yes, i'm talking about getting back into my artist journal for awhile. my journals are funky, messy, and a comfortable place for me to just hang out. so, i pulled out one of my huge old atlases - it happened to be one i took to Annie Grgich's class once and has a piece she did in the middle, otherwise it's empty. i used the things that were an arms length away on my desk - some intuitive paintings i just did - the rejects (they were all rejects this time) and started to cut and glue them down on my gessoed pages, then spread on paints without giving thoughts to colors, just grab paint, who cares what happens, what will happen? and i notice that my curiousity is once again sparked which ignites my joy and silences my critic. now this stuff is exactly what i teach in my intuitive face painting, and i find it works for me every time. i don't know how long i'll be here, working without producing for a purpose, but i'll be here until i'm ready to move on again. above is a peek at my playtime, before i have done my journaling which i'm doing when i return home. today is my little granddaughter violet's 2nd birthday and there's a party of little people i'm lucky enough to be invited to . pictures are forthcoming!