So this week the studio is aflutter with little replacements for that inner trouble-maker. Imagine a herd of beastly picketers lined up on your sidewalk holding signs of support for you in the world. Reminders to fill your sweet self with encouragement.
I've also started work on a new abstract experiment - trying to replicate the feel of last week's salvaged plywood but on a new board. Beginning with the application of dimensional grounds and thick white gesso, followed by gold and black gesso and then paint beaten to smithereens (a highly advanced art technique, I assure you) with scrapers, chopsticks and palette knives. I'll be using a limited color palette again, but more vibrant. My wise intern says I should give you a peek at the painting in progress, even if that makes me a bit uncomfortable.
Here's the progression so far - it will be fun to see how this piece ends up. In the meantime, off you go, waving your flag of marvelousness. :)
So what happens when we discard the idea of perfection?
This piece is (ahem) a perfect example. It began is imperfect as a piece can be - the very board itself is a piece of salvaged lumber, discarded at a metal shop. It was already painted (light teal exterior paint), scraped, grooved and rough. By starting with something discarded and hugely distressed, each layer I added to it just made it better. None of the angst of beginning with a pure, white canvas and judging each subsequent mark and brushstroke.
There was NO WAY this painting could ever be pristine and perfect. I embraced its rough imperfection by adding even more texture (dimensional grounds) and using a spackle knife to carve back into the layers of paint. And it got better and better. It is now the best that it can be. Which isn't perfect at all. But it makes me smile every time I walk past and get a glimpse of it on the easel. Now, if I can just look at each day this way - rough and discarded, ready to be improved and made better, not made perfect. Hmmmmm.
You have always been good,
like a fiddlehead fern, like a Rough-legged Hawk riding
a thermal. Look up. Let the sun ride your cheekbones, slide
along your jaw, and fill your mouth.
You are good. Hear me.
Take this in like water dropped to a nomad, like a breath
to a cigarette quitter, like rain.
You are good.
from the poem MANIFESTO FOR THE GIRL
For Every Girl - New and Selected Poems by Kate Gray
I so love the voice of this poet.
Do you pick up on a theme threading through your days on occasion? This week, conversations across many days were zinging with the theme of believing in your own goodness. And then the universe plunked this little book by local poet Kate Gray into my lap, thanks to the reader-of-my-mind at Two Rivers Books, owner Christine. I scanned the table of contents and dove right into this poem...and smiled. Thanks, universe. :)
Wherever you are in this day, you are good. You have always been good.
It has been just over four months since we planted ourselves in Portland, and already I've met a healer, a shaman, a moon-whisperer, a rug wizard, a book maven, a rebel, a tree advocate, two yodeling hound dogs, burlesque clowns, drag queens, a modern-day caveman, a 90 year-old plant nurturer and a rabbit named Bellatrix Lestrange (to name a few).
If you're in the neighborhood Friday evening, pop in to The Salty Teacup for a little malarkey-filled adventure of your own. You just never know who you might meet along the way. :)
Jen Walls and her imaJENation