After too much time away, I was able to spend a few hours in the studio today with some luscious indigo ink. I decided to share the work via Steller - one of my favorite apps. I love that you can flip through as if it were a book and it feels like just the right combination of writing a blog and posting images on Instagram, doesn't it?
I rummage through a pile of canvases coated with oil paint, the work of well-intentioned but artistically challenged students in a beginning painting class at a nearby college. They are to be taken off their wooden stretchers and discarded. My offer to keep them out of the landfill is happily obliged.
Once off their stretchers, I recognize them as simple textiles - bare canvas covered with surface designs - the warp and weft still visible in a good number of them. Some designs are more coherent than others. Some are drab, some brilliant. Some barely smeared with color while others carry the bulk of the semester’s allotment of paint. All of them are pretty bad - but they are, to my eye, rich with possibilities.
At home, I spread them on the floor of my studio and examine them, wondering about the makers. The echoes of their memories are faint whispers in my ear that compete with my own - memories that are triggered by favorite colors or the odd juxtaposition of shapes and textures.
With scissors and glue, I go about making new memories from remembered ones, happy to follow the paradox and see where it leads.
Each is mounted on heavy Strathmore mixed media stock. I've resisted the urge to title these as I'm reluctant to influence the viewer's unique memory/memories.
Here are three of the over thirty I've completed thus far:
I like the way they vary - so much like the memories I carry with me.
You can view a larger selection on my Projects page here where I've listed them listed under New Works: The Paradox of Memory.
I find myself looking inside more often these days - seeking a touchstone of sanity, something - anything - that will quell the incessant talking heads and provide solace and a certain peace.
Today I found just that in the Song of Amergin, written several hundred years before the birth of Christ, and, reputedly, the first poem ever to be composed in Ireland. I can count on the Celts - my beloved ancestors - to never let me down when I'm feeling lost and in need of reminding that there is something greater, grander, and more powerfully and wonderfully good than the smallness, pettiness, and vileness that so many fellow beings seem happy to choose and perpetuate today. It puts things in perspective and reminds me that there is so much more than what the 24/7 news would have us believe.
I am the wind on the sea.
I am the ocean wave.
I am the sound of the billows.
I am the seven-horned stag.
I am the hawk on the cliff.
I am the dewdrop in sunlight.
I am the fairest of flowers.
I am the raging boar.
I am the salmon in the deep pool.
I am the lake on the plain.
I am the meaning of the poem.
I am the point of the spear.
I am the god that makes fire in the head.
Who levels the mountain?
Who speaks the age of the moon?
Who has been where the sun sleeps?
Who, if not I?
My wish for all of us today is that we might find that quiet place where that certain peace resides - and that we might all find there, in that place deep inside, our better, more noble selves and realize that we are one and need to do a whole lot better. Because we can.
I've risen earlier in the past 4 weeks than I have in a long, long time. To have a little puppy stirring next to me and quietly urging me to take her outside is a sweet way to be awakened though, if I'm honest, I'm looking forward to the day she can wait just a half hour more...
I take her outside, wrapped in my nightgown and robe. We stroll through the garden in silence, waking slowly to the world that is also waking slowly - and that is glowing with the warm rays of the sun just peeking over the horizon
Much later, after many other trips to the garden during the day, we stroll again, this time witnessing the sky change from blue to pink and gold as the sun winks in farewell and disappears.
I'm grateful that in between trips to the garden, I am finally finding time to return to the studio. I've been absent much too long of late. I hope my little pup Beyla will be joining me here for longer periods as she grows up and doesn't need quite so many trips to the garden.
The notes of a silent song fill my being like water falling into a still pond.
It plays with each beat of my heart, sustaining me and giving me hope.
With a ten week old puppy in the house, I don't have much time to sit still.
But last week I got out to run some errands (to buy more toys for said puppy!) and, not far from home, I got stopped by the train that periodically rumbles through our town.
As I sat there enjoying the few moments to do nothing but sit still and wait, the graffiti scrawled on the sides of the containers captured my attention.
I love the whole idea of these images that move - migrating on tracks to destinations unknown. They inspired me to use them in the studio today.
I'm grateful to live in a little town that has a train that gave me the chance to just sit still and wait. I'm grateful that I know how wonderful these unexpected quiet moments are to me.
Sometimes what could be seen as an irritating interruption to a busy day is a gift in disguise. The Universe knew exactly what I needed.
I'm grateful I saw it as a moment to stop and be inspired.
For the next several months I will be working on a new project.
It's actually a kinetic sculpture of sorts.
It moves and bounces and even emits the occasional noise.
I've come to think of it as a sort of Study in Black and White but I've given it another title.
I've titled it - or rather her - Beyla. (A good Norse name!)
Beyla is my my new project - my little kinetic sculpture/study in black and white - and the most wonderful new addition to our home. A sweet little blue merle aussiedoodle (australian shepherd mom, miniature poodle dad), Beyla came to us by way of Tom and Larissa of AwesomeDoodle in Louisville, Kentucky. Beyla was born in their home and her mom, WInnie, is their family pet. They are passionate about what they do. They are open and transparent and kind. We've been able to see Beyla 24/7 from the time she was born - even her birth! - via the Puppycam Tom mounted in the room they have set up as the Puppy Room. It's been wonderful to watch her grow, tumbling around with her six litter mates. By the time we brought her home, we knew so much about her, seeing her little personality beginning to form. She was also well along in basic training and knew how to sit patiently and quietly and wait for a treat. She learned that at just 5.5 weeks old!
She's sleeping 8 hours a night with just one trip outside around 2 am. She loves her crate and yesterday she learned "get in your bed" in a mere 10 minutes. Last week I taught her her name and "Touch". Today she's been running across the yard when I've called her name and happily pushing her little nose into my extended hand. Potty training has been easy with only a few mistakes - always because I didn't remember to take her out after she woke up from a nap. (I train a bit slower than she does!) She's all of 8.5 weeks as of today. Did I mention that she's wicked smart??? I think of her as the sweeter, fluffier version of Luminosity.
It will be a while until I get up to my studio again because I'm adamant about focusing on her, and working with her, the next few months that are so crucial to forming a happy, well socialized pup. But I'm hoping that when the time comes to introduce her to my studio she'll be as happy to be there as I will be to have her there!
I've taken a break from Facebook for a while because it was all getting to be too much for me. The chatter, the opinions, the commenting, the liking, the disliking, the posting, the friending, the sharing... I'd become overly involved and overly invested in all of it.
It's been about a week since I signed off, ostensibly until September but it may be longer. The quiet and peacefulness since then has been wonderful.
I'm still on Instagram and have no intention of taking a break; it calms instead of agitates me. And, really, what's not to like about slowly scrolling through images that show how others see the world and what they deem important enough to document and share? I come away feeling inspired and enriched rather than frustrated and depleted.
I often scroll through the photos I've posted, too - usually to remember what prompted the photo, or to critique the lighting or composition. But today I was struck by how the photos often relate to each other in surprising ways and, though they are posted in sequence, the rows of three that are displayed - and therefore the groupings of three - change each time a new photo is posted. It's fascinating really... the little stories they tell - or don't tell - as a result. This element of chance allows for some surprising synchronicity. The triads have subtleties in their connections, and the stories they tell simply because of their proximity haven't been planned - they just happen. Here are the triads that captured my attention today:
Today I was left with the realization that while I think what attracts my attention on any given day is an isolated, specific event, there really are no isolated, specific events - at least not in this artist's work or way of being in the world. I may think I'm aware of all the connections I make, but, obviously, I'm not.
That gives me immense pleasure.
Immense, immense pleasure.