i first noticed her walking down the boardwalk. we were both enjoying the colorful graffiti on the retaining wall. I immediately took a liking to her hat, and stopped her to ask where she had gotten it.
she informed me that she had made it herself from pieces of an old but favorite sweater (she was all about recycling). i also learned robin's egg blue was her favorite color. i asked where she was from, and she answered that she was a snowbird and had come from the cold north country on her way south. she told me her name was robin.
she explained that she was a bit late starting her journey south this year because she finally gave in to a yearning to experience what she was missing there up north in the days that passed after she journeyed south each year. so she stayed. she told me that in those lonely days, with everyone gone, she experienced more darkness than she knew was possible for a heart to endure. so she began writing poetry to fill the dark hours and singing to the trees, deer, and stars. as the days and nights passed she felt an ache in her heart and it grew stronger and stronger. when she asked the ache what it was saying it told her of a longing deep in her heart, one she had buried so many years ago but the singing and poetry had brought it to life again. the longing wanted to rekindle a friendship with her childhood friend, a kindred spirit who understood her and could make her laugh harder than anyone before or since. they had lost touch years ago and the thought of finding her and visiting with her again filled her heart with joy and hope.
and then one morning the miracle happened. she woke up to find a a map drawn in blue crayon lying next to her pillow and on it was a large X where her friend was now living. She wasted not a moment and began her journey south immediately, carrying only a small candle which she keeps with her always. when i asked her why she carries this candle she simply said that if everyone who has some can carry their light, no matter how small a light it is, that it will make the light stretch, so those who have none can see. i asked her if she might sing one song for me before she left and she did. she sang a song that my mother often sang to me when i was a little girl called "all the birds are here again" and then she was gone. i will miss her but can even from here feel the warmth of her small light brightly shining.
"Music-- a naked woman running mad through the pure night!"--- Juan Ramon Jimenez
Nisha could tell you stories...story upon story, about her adventure at the seashore. about how she lost her left hand, about her secret necklace that she lets hang down her back, an amulet of sorts, carved by a goddess on an evening of the waning moon, how she was intentially pushed to near death off a shelf by an envious friend , but managed to survive to tell the tale although she now bares a scar on her head and suffers lapses of short term memory loss (similar to that of her maker).
Although Nisha was born with descending knees, a trait that runs rampant in her gene pool, she refused to give up her dream of becoming a dancer. Through continual experimentation and practice, she discovered that she was a gifted performer of placid dance (common on the outskirts of Repose) and now entertains audiences worldwide.
It's true, she doesn't have a horse, like some people, but she hopes that she might one day (and if not a horse, she could be quite happy with a camel).
I am thrilled to announce that Lesley Riley's newest book Fabulous Fabric Art With Lutradur is finally out in print! If you're familiar with any of Lesley's other books you know what a wealth of information she packs into her publications, and I for one can't wait to experiment with the techniques and projects she has shared with us in this one. I am also extremely honored to have a piece of my own artwork featured inside the covers.
If you'd like a chance to win a copy of this little gem, leave a comment here, on this particular post, up until midnight Thursday January 30th. On Friday January 31st, I'll submit all of the comments left on this post to a random drawing and announce the lucky winner. Good luck!
FYI - Lesley Riley is the generous one here...she is donating a copy of her fab new book for the drawing.
i wanted to let you all know that we are fine out here, our river stayed within its' banks this time so no flooding. thank you to everyone who has called, commented, and emailed asking how we're faring. my thoughts and prayers go out to other folks here in the state who aren't so lucky and are having to contend with flooding and these record breaking water levels.
all the major roads leading south from the seattle area to portland are closed and may be for awhile, no one knows how long, but i will be going to the get-to-gether in bandon oregon anyway. i've booked a flight out of seattle saturday morning, arriving in portland 50 minutes later where judy will pick me up in her trusty subaru, and we'll make our way south for a much anticipated week of artmaking and fun with a houseful of friends.
I am SO grateful to have gotten a plane ticket and to still be able to go. after being cooped up here for 3+ weeks, i am more than ready for some fun and conversation. the hardest part now will be sorting out what to bring - it was easy when i thought I was driving my big car, I'd just bring everything - now i have luggage and limited space. I do know it will be light on the clothes, heavy on the art supplies.
here are a couple more cardboard/encaustic journal pages you haven't seen. i'll be putting this book together while i'm there. i'm not bringing a computer and i don't know if we'll even have internet even if i do have access to one, so i may not post again for several days. in the meanwhile, i hope you're doing well and i hope you'll come and visit me again later.
front cover: encaustic covered painting on cardboard with stitching. This painting contains two faces, can you see them both?
one symbolizes birth, innocence, life;
the other fear, death, the grim reaper.
Back Cover. I will include some thinner pages made of paper and fabrics before binding - these are the encaustic portion of the book
Good News: the snow has almost all melted, we can see about 50 percent bare ground now.
Bad News: Flooding is happening all over the state, the rain is coming down, the snow is melting and i'm keeping an eagle eye on our rising river from the window here. i'm supposed to leave early friday morning to head down to the southern oregon coast for a week long retreat with girlfriends and fellow-artists that has been on the calendar for almost a year, and now there is talk on the news about the I-5 being closed in the coming hours if the Chehalis River goes over it's bank and covers the road like they are predicting. Last year when this happened (remember I was happily stranded at Judy and John's house during those floods?) they didn't get road open for 6 days. I'm thinking positive - realistic - but positive. one day at a time....
I am not a realistic painter, I use my camera when I want to capture the "realness" of something. I think of all my art as a self portrait, if I am creating from that place of flow and heart. What I try to capture, even if I can get at a hint of it in my work is some quality or essence in myself, either apparent to me at the time or hidden and something I discover while I work. There is a sense of satisfaction and even relief in getting it all out somehow, through color and line, and also a sense of gratitude that i have this healing outlet. So if you're afraid of trying a self portrait because you're trying to make it look "real", maybe you could expand your definition of self portrait, giving yourself room to explore without expectation.