I’ve been spending some time, not so much time, but energy, updating my website. It is old in “on-line” time, maybe 8-10 years old and way out of date as far as cyber world is concerned! Thanks to a loyal long time friend and her connections, the work has been done and now I’m learning the new ways…..it is not easy for me. This week I managed to delete all the paintings on the PAINTINGS page and had to send an emergency “help signal.” Fortunately she was able to restore it and remind me to be careful about what is “selected” when I “delete.” Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep my studio discipline intact along with all the other components of my schedule. I’m hoping and trusting that this updating and blogging will get to be a quick and small part of my week in the days ahead. This updating will help me stay in touch, have a better presence on the internet, and interact with people who are interested in the work I do. Meanwhile…….the tools are in readiness and so am I !
Today’s blog continues my involvement with “Thirty in thirty.” Today is September 5, day 5, of the challenge to produce 30 new images this month so I’m posting new images that have been produced………………..and pondering a few thoughts:
Numbers 2, 3, 4, 5:
RIDGE (acrylics on paper)
EARTH ANGEL-SINGING BIRD
(painted, embellished clay)
I regret that these pictures are from my “lowered standards.” I just haven’t figured out what kept them from being better representations of the brighter colors in the paintings. Today I’m posting a quote from Madeleine L’Engle: “Inspiration far more often comes during the work than before it.” I think this quote comes from her book Walking On Water. She was my son’s favorite writer when he was in junior high. I have loved her writings too. She claimed that she started getting herself into “writing mode” each morning by sharpening her pencils, never mind that she never wrote with pencils, but always with a typewriter or keyboard. Creative types have their rituals. When I enter my studio, I feel the call of the Spirit, and especially if there is cleaning/organizing/straightening to do……..I can start on those chores but after handling papers/paints/brushes/beads/etc. it’s pretty difficult to get the chores done and much easier to experiment with putting several textures together on my drafting table and adding a bit of Napthol Orange or another few scraps of paper and glue…….then I’m into it.
I’m on the fence. Having been challenged to produce thirty images in thirty days, I’m still waffling about taking it and giving it a go. You see, I’m a slow, ponderous creator. I’m glad it is thirty-in-thirty and not one a day. It’s a September thing and many artists are stepping up. Two remembrances come to mind, neither of which are exact memories. One is that I remember being told that a famous poet, and my unclear memory is that it was William Butler Yeats, wrote a poem every morning before breakfast. He advised his students to do the same. When one pert student asked him how he could possibly do such a thing, he quickly claimed, “I lower my standards.”
The other remembrance is a challenge from the well known abstract artist, Katherine Chang Liu, “If you paint full days for two weeks, you will have a breakthrough.” I’m not sure of the benefits of thirty-in-thirty. The only one I can think of right now is that it would take me close to producing my 2000th image, which is a benefit of dubious merit. Lowering my standards, how could that benefit my work? If it would give me a breakthrough, that would be a worthy benefit….but that is a topic for another blog, weeks from now. Speaking of blogs, maybe I should consider a challenge in that segment of my production, especially since my last blog was in June.
Note: This is an old post which I have “reposted” today in response to Seth Apter’s invitation to “dig down into buried treasure.” Enjoy other “buried treasures” by taking a look at the links list on his website listing other artisans who have participated: http://thealteredpage.blogspot.com/
On one of my routine early morning walks up the Ocotillo Trail I noted a cluster of walkers standing in the trail ahead. One person raised a hand of caution and directed my attention off to the side of the trail. A night hawk, a Whip-Poor-Will, was on the ground not far from the trail. She was difficult to see, for her coloring was the same as the rocks and dirt where she nestled. Eventually when I could see her I joined the awestruck focus of the little group of reverent spectators touched by God’s amazing creation.
Day after day, I could barely wait to walk the trail. Hastily scribbled signs were stuck to the gate at the trail head: “Please leave your dogs home!” and “Keep dogs on a tight leash?”and “Bird nesting near trail.” Mother Whip-Poor-Will episodes were better than the movies. Sometimes we had to look for a long time which caused fear that she had moved away from us. Sometimes she was very close to the trail, sometimes under a bush or near her favorite rock.
One day, a friend and I stood for a very long time watching her breathe, open her eyes and close them again. Suddenly we were stunned when a tiny yellow fluff ball popped out from under her soft brown breast. The miraculous birth had taken place! The mother bird barely seemed to notice when two more tiny babies moved from her warm protection into the hazy morning light and joined in an awesome ritual of newness. For days the playful dance of the wee birds continued. We gasped as they moved farther and farther away from Mother Whip-Poor-Will. She seemed uninterested in their antics yet always ready when they ducked back under her breast for solace. Amazed and dazzled by this encounter with God’s creative force, we watched, hushed by sheer wonder.
“NEAR THE TRAIL” (mixed media)
This painting belongs to a series of art pieces I have entitled “THE GIFTS.” Most of the pieces in the series have little gift packets which contain mysterious literal gifts: passages from scripture, musical score, beautiful papers, postage stamps, medallions, quotations from life’s spiritual seekers, meaningful symbols of faith and/or tiny natural objects such as feathers, stones and shells. They are hidden from view but their mysterious presence is intended to impact the composition.
Selecting colors and textures for this piece caused a sense of worship to develop in my spirit. It’s a sensation I often experience as I work. The sensation of worship runs the gamut of emotions from doubt to exhilaration to peace and joy. Time disappeared as my focus intensified, trusting the Spirit, choosing symbols to include, deciding on shapes and brushing on the paint, for I hoped to commemorate the sacred encounter I describe above.
“NEAR THE TRAIL” has an overall shape I associate with a worshipful place, a sanctuary. Eggs often symbolize new life or new beginnings and they do for me too, along with other varieties of newness. The delicate green leaves in the upper part are an additional symbol of newness and growth.
The art piece includes a portion of Psalm 139 handwritten from my memory. It contains the question: “Where can I go from Your (God’s) Presence?” and its answer: “If I ascend to heaven, You are there and if I make my bed in the pit, You are there. Even if I take the WINGS OF THE MORNING and settle at the most remote place, YOU ARE THERE. Your hand guides me and your right hand holds me fast.”
NEAR THE TRAIL (detail of gift packet)
Repost, or re-post do you know that word? I have responded to Seth Apter’s challenge for bloggers to repost a favorite blog on June 12, 2013. His challenge included these sentences:
So, watch for a repost on my blog coming up next week!
My hope for you in 2013 is that you savor the peace that is beyond understanding. Don’t even try to reason it or understand it; allow it, welcome it, trust it, savor it.
“Sunset Gift,” collage (sold)
Often brooding azure skies reluctantly relinquish their colors to dominant orange hues overtaking the realm. A dynamic argument of colors on the horizon gives way to restful evening darkness. Prayers of invocation summon peace.
“Matthew’s Canyon,” watermedia/collage (sold)
Solitude is the place of purification.
“La Gorce Arch,” watermedia/collage (sold)
Wait for the wisest of all counselors, Time.
I’ll be in Albuquerque this week to teach the Masterworks workshop for the New Mexico Watercolor Society. The class is full. I will present a demonstration of painting/collage after lunch(starting at one o’clock) on Wednesday to which the public is invited. It will be in the Hispanic Arts Building at Expo New Mexico (The State Fairgrounds) in conjunction with the Masterworks Art Exhibit. This will be an exciting time for me. We will be painting intuitively, trusting that good things develop when we let go of too much rational thinking. We will be painting tissues, making stamps, gluing and folding and building………stepping outside the box, knowing we are free to paint the worst painting in America, enroute to greater facility with our expressions. Good things will happen, I’ve never seen it fail.