Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Friday, July 21, 2023
Thursday, September 15, 2022
Under the waves
under the cloak
felt and rarely seen
a wordless language emerges,
tasteable not speakable.
Alight with inspiration
muses ignite the air.
Dervishes dance, seeds burst into blossom.
Selkies song, siren song
behind, over, around,
another way calls.
The prayer wheel spins, letters blur,
and the unseen whispers secrets.
My cells understand, but cannot speak it back to me.
The world of art,
the home of prayer.
Seeds of creation arising and dissolving.
The ecstasy of almost touching it,
the exquisite longing to pierce the veil.
To be on the other side.
The artist dips her ladle into this cauldron,
scoops out what she finds
and puts a frame around it,
so the rest of us can peer into the space
where Mystery plays hide and seek with herself.
I was completely overwhelmed, not only because she took the time to write and revise and send to me, but also because of the emotion I felt when I thought of how intensely close she came to uncovering a great deal of what I had been thinking and feeling during the creation of this visual communication. She completed the cycle for me and entered the dialogue. In her poem, Maureen provides a precious gift for me as artist, as human being.
Maureen is a healer through her poems and professionally as a mental health therapist. And she's a wonderful human being. I highly recommend her book The Phoenix Requires Ashes: Poems for the Journey: https://www.villagebooks.com/book/9798986241500
The Painting Process
The painting began with the idea of a block of made up text on a gold panel and a blue-green wash in the background. Asemic writing intrigues me. So I began there. I used gold gesso and black posca acrylic pen. Then the painting sat. What next? I looked at the painting like this for ages. I even wondered if I could leave it where it was. Or should I cover the whole thing with other gold panels and text? I still might do that one day in another painting.
Then finally, I told myself, just do something. I started working around the gold panel with orange posca to make it more dimensional. That was fun. But then I took the white posca and did a variation in the center of a form I often doodle. I think of her as a woman on a pilgrimage. To what? To where? Always moving closer to self and to truth. And she always wears a hooded cloak. Is it protection? A way to anonymity? Instead of the usual long curving lines I usually doodle my quester with, I scribbled form with the white acrylic. That was fun. And she emerged.
As I looked at the two forms together, the panel of asemic writing and my quester, I noticed to the right, in the way the blue-green wash held to the canvas, the form of another figure emerging from the ether, sort of ghost-like. So I used the same white acrylic pen and the same scribble method to enhance this form’s presence. At the time, too much was going on in our world, as is the way these days. Women are losing their rights to their choice for health care and, in fact, to save their very lives, along with their right to privacy. I was looking for a touchstone, some foundation that told me we would not only survive this bloody-battering, but also emerge with stronger resolve to keep moving and keep our spirits intact. I was reminded of a lecture I attended once about the female quest. We need to share our quest stories, to talk within our communities about our experience, what led us to the question, the helpers, the low point (nadir), the rise through the ordeal and return to ourselves. And in reality, women were learning to share their stories. So what is written on the panel in this piece? Is it the stories of those who have come before? Does it provide the key to progressing through this particular challenge? It was at this time of working the painting, I published it on my fb page and called it “A Ghost of a Chance.” There was a slim thread of a chance, yes, but with it, the threat of it all unravelling, yet it continued to hold form on my canvas.
At this point, I was again tempted to call the painting done. It said some bit of what I was cogitating on. But it didn’t communicate as a composition. It didn’t tell enough of the story. So when I asked Margo, a member of my art pod, if it was done, she told me I needed some purple above the gold panel. It was working that when the spirit-ghost form told me that the colors swirled from her hands. I was in love with the negative space between the spirit and my questing-being form, so I was motivated to preserve that as a part of the composition. But I also wanted to communicate the power and swirl of colors coming from the spirit hand. As I worked that swirl of color within the finger forms of power, the panel of asemic writing started morphing. Was it solid gold panel? Or was it growing to solid, or were the truths written on parchment that was disintegrating? Is the truth ephemeral? Is the Way something only to glimpse in a moment? Will it destruct upon touch? Is the touchstone, the pillar of truth untouchable?
And then the painting sat for weeks, trying to tell me some thing, some way to move forward. Finally, I started adding color to the center form, the female on her quest. Her shawl became tattered—a result of the tests she had endured along her quest. The melding between the orange layer on top and the blue layer underneath became vein-like. I liked that idea.
Then I realized that the guide on the right that either created the pillar or energetically illuminated it for the questing being had her own emergence from within, behind, and through the blue background. The guide came swirling from the dark underneath, the rending of the colors from beyond the blue background.
And that was it. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
Saturday, July 23, 2022
Saturday, June 11, 2022
(In the hallway with Ria Harboe's and Dan Brooks's paintings. Mine are the three in the middle.)
Monday, January 4, 2021
I'm interested in monoliths because, usually, they're created by ancient cultures. That taps into my very being--I feel the soul connection. Lately, monoliths have been part of the political discussion, as in "We are not a monolith." As a white woman over 65, I feel that declaration when stated by individuals who are part of another group of beings.
I am also interested in the word "myth," which can mean a widely held but false belief OR, conversely, a truth of a people. This election season revealed both aspects of myth. Oh, the stories we tell.
The monoliths in my painting do not stand completely separated from each other. They each have elements of the other. There are places where overlapping occurs, where foregrounds flow into each other.
Step 1 was perfect grey applied with a brayer and then wiped off in places. This layer took about seven minutes, and it was so tempting to call "done." But where's the fun in that? The working title was "Feeling Some Kind of Way." Once I started working on it, though, monoliths emerged. I miss some of the white that's in the beginning layer but not in the finished piece. But, at the same time, I love what I replaced it with in the finished piece and don't wish those details/colors/forms gone. Ah the decisions, the settling in, the letting go. Pervasive part of the process. Some would say it's invasive rather than pervasive, though. Ha!