This week has been particularly challenging for my inner muse. Too much reading/listening/watching the news has my edges feeling sharp and pokey. My spirit feels consternation and worry, sadness and despair. And this is AFTER efforts to avoid news. Eee gads. Imagine if I were diving in and absorbing it all. Whoa.
Some time ago, a dear friend gave me a copy of John O'Donohue's To Bless the Space Between Us. Sometimes I just open it up and see what inspiration and wisdom it holds for me. Today's was a doozy! Read on:
And so I am wishing you a weekend of "turning aside from it all", as we celebrate mother's day and embrace spring, where everything is new again and we can perhaps "find our way home."
A reminder about the latest READER GIVEAWAY! Post a comment on this blog (or social media - tag me) about what YOU would/could/might do to express you inner WILD CREATIVE if you felt no rules at all! The winner will be announced next week, and will receive an original piece of malarkey. Because you, you and YOU are my favorite wild things. :)
Where I live now is overflowing with expressive individuals. Truly, there are ZERO RULES OR EXPECTATIONS when it comes to personal style or quirks here in unfettered Portland. Want a giant glowing medusa head covering the front of your house? No problem. A fence made out of old doors? Ok, sure. A bicycle tricked out to look (and sound) like Hello Kitty? Go for it! Blue purple pink green orange spiked long short shaved braided beaded hair? Well of course. It is only just now really beginning to sink in that this is what a non-judgmental society that values individual creative freedom really looks like.
And you, dear reader, creative yourself, are an ambassador of that freedom. You might even have a LICENSE TO BE WEIRD. (if not, I hereby issue you that license!) Maybe, just maybe, we can make a little splash in our own lives, being as brave in our personal expression as we are in our art. And if we were, maybe there would be a little wave...which could gain momentum and grow into a total tidal wave of free style energy in the world. Imagine that! We could.
My intrepid intern, Fiona, says it is time for another reader challenge. Post a comment about something you'd like to do (even if you maybe can't or likely won't) to express your wild self in the world. The winner will be selected at random, announced one week from today and receive an original piece of malarkey art in the mail. Because you are my favorite wild thing. Ready? GO!
The universe has been broadcasting this theme of courage recently....whether it is the BOLD strategy of artists Carl Stoveland and Shannon Torrence in documenting their determined efforts to land a residency gig, or the unified efforts of American and Mexican artists along the border creating a peace mural on the very wall that divides their countries - these art superheroes inspire me.
As do YOU, dear reader! Yes, YOU! Thank you for being a force of creative nature in the world. Now go out there and BE YOUR WILD SELF! Pictures would be appreciated. :)
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