Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More about the dark...

I also don't think of the light as fertile. The dark is rich with fertility. The light is dry, is fire, but it is needed to bring the fertility to life. Afterall, complete darkness is not a necessarily enriching place to be. Okay, so maybe I'm talking the Yin/Yang aspect of light and dark. And it's all good in balance and moderation.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Still Point: Gestating



This painting is undergoing a re-make. The problem with painting a series is that when it is finished, you always have one in the series that's weaker than the others...unless of course, you are really, really accomplished at what you create...something I'm still working on becoming. 

So this was my weakest. I never really liked the way the paint went on. I could never really figure out for sure what was on top where--dark or light. I loved the marks and felt the paint did not do it justice. So I whited it out. Gessoed over all of the textured part of the canvas. Then went over the center, mostly low-lying section (except where the three circles are, that's raised, which part of the what's on top problem) with pearlescent. That was really cool. And made my decision about the light being at the back, dark on top, mostly. Then I had to figure out what to do next. I love gold gesso, so I chose that to go around the center section. 

Now what? Must add color--I kept the surroundground blue. Then I started working with violet mixed with red toned copper. That was cool and very dark and shiny (the moist part, you know). Then, on the lower right quadrant, I put in blue-green. Created an obstacle to overcome. Now my painting was divided by color. So that's what I faced when I entered my studio tonight. I was loving the elements, but not how they were together, had to make the painting more integrated. So I started adding blue-green on top of and around the red-copper-violet. And I was entranced by the close-up effect. I wanted to do that everywhere in the painting but had to stop myself.

The color combinations and effect made me think of peacock feathers and really colorful bruises (I had one that had amazing color that moved from knee to ankle and back for a period of about a month after I fell hard on my knee once) and gorgeous parking lot oil slicks. I love studying oil slicks after a bit of a rain. I know it's not cool when you consider what they really are (same with bruises, right?) but have you really studied the colors and the shapes? They quite often create mandala shapes. And they are blue with green and red-violet and a goldish-brown and dark, dark. Next time I see one, I'm going to drag a stick or something through it to see how it can be manipulated. Come to think of it, once I saw a jellyfish on the beach at Penn Cove that had all of those colors in it. It held my fascination until the tide threatened to take it back into the water. 

All this to say, that when I left my studio tonight, I felt like I was overcoming the obstacle, meeting the challenge. I like that feeling. I won't get back into my studio for a couple of nights, which is a bit of a frustration...don't want to lose momentum. 

Friday, March 20, 2009

Still Point: Descending

Because hanging upside down, cocooned in the dark was her way to enlightenment.
36"x36"

The Dark and the Light

I've been thinking about the dark and the light and working on the balance and dynamics between the two in my art for many years now. But it seems to be a more intense focus now. Friends wish me light quite often in closing correspondence. And I appreciate that because I understand the spirit of the intention. And I know about blessing into enlightenment and what that means toward spiritual growth. But I have to say that I love the dark. I love the dark.

Not dark alleys, mind you, but the dark places we go to lick wounds, to really explore emotion, to examine events of the past until we experience little deaths and rebirths through that examination. I think of the dark as the positive experience of the womb. It's a nurturing environment. And that's often what I am seeking to depict in my art. What is being nurtured in the dark, moist place we came from? At one time, at the beginning of our being, it was the physical self being nurtured there, but now, at this time of my life, it is the spiritual self that is gestating. And that is where my painting "Still Point: Descending" came from.

Some refer to the dark metaphorically as a place of fear and depression, but for me, it is a comforting place to face my fears. The light can be blinding, can obscure details, as when a person is standing, facing you, but is back-lit so that you cannot discern their facial features, read their demeanor. It hurts, on some level, to look at that person for any amount of time. So don't we really need a balance of the light and of the dark to see what is real and true?

In my paintings, I often surround the forms I am working on with dark. Since I work with textures, I have to make the decision of whether the dark is on top of the texture and the light at the back, or the other way around. And usually, there is a point in the painting where I reverse the main motif because I think of light as swirling around, in and out, and through the environment. But recently, I have been exploring that place where the dark and the light meet. I think of it as a "push/pull" of light and dark. It's been challenging and fun. But the bottom line is that I love the dark, and I'm not giving it up. I'm living to balance it with the light.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Re-Storing Feminine Consciousness II

Gather Insight, Birth Joy, Fathom Possibilities
Each painting is 5"x5", features Re-Store finds, ceramics by Clarissa Callesen, other metal findings, and of course, cowry shells

Re-Storing Feminine Consciousness Series

For this series, I shopped the Re-Store many, many times; therefore, the word with its double meaning had to appear in the title. At the Re-Store, I look for rusted metals (they say--well, Neil Young said it, anyway--rust never sleeps--and I like that personification) that served some purpose and are waiting to be re-purposed. I like curved metals, odd-edged metals, metals that suggest some other structure, like arches or mandala squares or circles, and I like springs and small tiles. Oh, and those plastic X-es that are tile spacers. 

I work on square canvas to suggest a mandala and search for the centerpiece to hold the focus, that for me, now, is a search and expression of Feminine Consciousness. One of my favorite places to find a meaningful centerpiece is in the ceramic pieces for artists that Clarissa Callesen creates. Not only does Clarissa create provocative assemblages that speak to spirit and the human condition,  but she also is generous enough to let her ceramic bits appear in other artists' works. This is where our spiritual and creative quests intersect; I have been blessed to have found her and to be a beneficiary of that generosity.