"We Went Left Instead of Right" - mixed media on 300 lb watercolor paper, 22" x 15". Ready to frame. Available here and at Artfinder.
How about some free play in the studio? For this piece, I put down thick gesso over an old painting, then carved through it with a chopstick. Once dry, I turned the paper repeatedly, examining the lines and looking for shapes. There! A foot! There! A moon! A bird! An antlered beast! The more I look at this, the more I am drawn into the painting, There are STORIES in here! It's a little like fall down the rabbit hole. You can bet I will try this again. An EXTRAORDINARY amount of fun.
And even more fun - a weekend in Sarasota at the Florida Watercolor Society Annual Convention! Just what was needed to infuse me with some much needed art tribe bonding time, inspirational art ogling and an absolutely mouth-watering display of art supplies and tools at the trade show. Brushes! Paints! Inks! Papers! Boards! Grounds! Oh my. Someone wipe the drool off of my face already! Ok, ok. Yes, a lot of it ended up in the car to go home with me. This is what happens when an artist is kept in the house too long.
One of the highlights of the weekend was a room full of wild creatives learning how to swashbuckle their way into the world of social media and tell their stories. They didn't mind at all when I donned a blue tutu and dared them to play Mad Libs as a storytelling prompt. These artists are GOING PLACES! What did they learn that you might be interested in? Here are a few juicy links:
hastagify - learn what hashtags work best with whatever you are doing on social media
linktree - add links to your Instagram bio page
IFTTT - add recipes to your life! Not just for artists. There is a little applet for just about everything!
The bird, the bird...feathered spirit guides appear in many forms. Hawk, eagle, sparrow...as many as their are birds. But what about birds in general? They appear in many of my paintings - what do they mean?
Often, the appearance of a bird sends the message of emotional control and weathering hardship. A symbol that you can do it - whatever it is challenging you right now. Bird also means endings and beginnings, but not rushing to complete one and start the other. Patience, right timing, waiting. (The dreaded "P" WORD is how it's known in our house! Patience is my husband's thing. Not so much mine, though I am learning.)
Bird can mean to use your voice to bring hope...something as artists we hope to do with each brushstroke. As humans, sharing our stories, using our voices to encourage - all are powerful bird energy.
With the wings of your bird spirit you can rise above hardship and adversity, separate yourself from worldly problems and enjoy lightness of being.
And now, enough birdsong to fill your day!
So how can I support her? By adding my voice to hers and speaking out, knowing it won't change the past and won't heal my pain, but might, just maybe, give courage to others.
I am also a victim of sexual assault. It was decades ago when I was still a youngster. At the time, I believed it was my fault. Because I was surely a bad person, because I didn't deserve to be respected. And I believed that no one would believe me because I was a child.
In later years I wondered how many others were subsequently assaulted by my attacker, and whether my voice would have stopped him. And I think, perhaps, many of us who have been assaulted wonder that same thing...until we see someone else come forward and be called names, denied investigation and receive death threats. And then we know our voices only make us unsafe, exposed and victimized again.
When an adult is not received with kindness and understanding as she gives voice to her sexual assault experience, how can we expect our children and grandchildren to feel safe coming forward at the time these things occur? I think of what this week's news is telling my own children about the world, and I cringe. What if, WHAT IF one of our own children does not come forward after an assault because of how victims are treated in today's society?
Enough, enough already.
are still pretty new but not brand new otherwise it's just a mushy mess. And if you wait until feelings are dried hard and set in place, it is kind of difficult to get any movement in them. They stubbornly hold fast where they are.
I lost a friend this week. She was young (44) and absolutely stunning - inside and out. A gentle spirit, a creative powerhouse and also deeply wounded and suffering. She took her own life. I am crying a lot over every little thing. So now is not the time to excavate my feelings on this. But in a day, or a week, or next month I'll be able to make words around this topic without dissolving into a puddle.
In the meanwhile, let's all give the person near us a big ol' hug, and give yourself a hug from me. :)
Even as I am forced to let go of this activity or that, pulling ever inward, a space opens up. A wide open space which wasn't there before...and the muse comes rushing in. In a moment of illumination I can imagine things in that space - new things, risky things, oddities and quirks. Things that were crowded out before.
We are like someone in a very dark night over whom lightning flashes again and again. - MAMONIDES Those flashes! I catch each one in a jar like fireflies. Each one a reminder to leap.
Too many times we muddy the waters of our own intuition by soliciting the opinions of others (and sometimes many others) before we make a choice. But asking yourself by yourself forces you to feel the weight of the decision and how your heart receives each option.
My sister gives me similar advice - to "try on" a decision as if it were a done deal and see how it feels. Sometimes the mere fact of doing that will give me a sense of relief, or alternately a sense of dread. Those feelings are exquisite little guideposts for which way to go (or not to go).
Nepo encourages us to uncover the language of our hearts in addition to our common language with others. Not to help others understand us, but to help us be ourselves - "to help you be you, to be the small sun you are." The heart will then communicate with our gifts, conducting them as they were an orchestra, and guide us on our way. I like the thought of that.
Wherever you path takes you today, be the small sun you are. Shine on, little sun, shine on.
Those bits of tree and shrub in the fence remind me of how tenacious life can be - flexing and bending against obstacles in order to continue growing, even if that growth is awkward or inelegant. Even if that obstacle must be incorporated into the very fiber of its own existence. Hmmmm.
I've thought a lot about this lately. Many of my mental musings and feelings are also inelegant - railing against the unfairness of life and the sheer magnitude of the obstacles. But that fence is teaching me something. My job isn't to wait for the perfect circumstances to grow and stretch and blossom. It is to blossom this way, right here, in the midst of the chain link fence. Firmly rooted, we can blossom wherever we are.
Here in the studio there are a few more paint-overs. This one knocked my socks off! Following the paint, layer upon layer and there she was. I see in her a reminder of how messy it is being human, and how tender the spirit can be in the midst of all that muck.
Jen Walls and her imaJENation