Tuesday, September 30, 2008

From an interview with Tom Waits

"For me it's also a craft.
It's not something that drops out of the sky.
It's not something where you sit at your picture window
and watch the sun glistening off the trees
and a deer walks by and whispers in your ear.
It's really a craft, and it's hard work.
It's just a lot of discipline,
and hopefully,
you get better with each project."

"I started writing down people's conversations
as they sat around the bar.
When I put them together I found some music hiding in there."

Tom Waits

I love that art is everywhere. It's all in how you look at it.
It's right between your two feet.
Look and pay attention.

Previously I wrote that I struggle with art making.
What Tom Waits said about it being a craft, hard work
and requires discipline, I feel very validated, it is hard
work. Discipline~~yikes. That's difficult in and of itself.
Do you ever find yourself getting distracted whilst trying
to practice discipline? The dishes need to be washed,
my glasses need cleaning, the stray eyebrows on my chin
need plucking and my favorite.....suddenly a wave of
exhaustion come over me--I am tired and need a nap.
It seems so impossible at times to sit still and work.
We show up to work at our craft, and then are confronted
with all this trivial crap. It takes such effort to push
through all the distractions. Maybe it's all part of the

Friday, September 26, 2008

I don't know it's because I'm nearing that 50 mark, but I've been thinking about life. Its brevity, its richness, its bittersweetness. What am I doing with this weaving that is my life? What you do with your life really does matter. You can be a blessing or a curse. What do you want to leave behind? How do you want to be remembered?

Nothing Gold Can Stay~~Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay. ~~

Sieze the day. Have gratitude. Look at everything. Take nothing for granted.

The Road Not Taken~~Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference ~~

So how do you know you're on the road less traveled?
What does the road you're on look like?
Are you making a difference?
Throw your heart over the bars and your body will follow.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Writing to make sense of it all

I read in Stephanie Lee's blog this morning.....

"As we write, we are both describing and deciding the direction that our life is taking. As we become honest on the page about our likes and dislikes, our hopes and dreams, as we become willing to be clear, the murk of our life begins to settle and we see more deeply into our truth. Writing is a practice field. It teaches us how to do happy. It teaches us how to do brave. It teaches us how to do open, caring, loyal, resourceful, and, yes, vulnerable. If we can do it on the page, if we can let our imagination connect the dots, we begin to get a picture of ourselves as larger and more fully human than we may yet have managed." (Julia Cameron)

This quote gives me a lot of hope. Hope that the practice of writing is a teacher, that it brings clarity. Writing helps us excavate the buried parts of ourselves, to work through the hard things. Hope that the more we practice writing, the risk it takes to be vulnerable will become less.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Where art comes from

(Oy, what a bad photo....did I mention I'm not good at photography?!)

I saw a wonderful video on youtube featuring Judy Wise. She says, "Get to know yourself, what about you is differenct than anyone else? Use your history, your pain, your happy times". She keeps a journal. That is a fantastic place to spill yourself into.
I do struggle with my own creativity. Really I do. I understand learning techniques, but there comes a time where you must make it truly your own.
So where does art come from? The journal really is a great place to open up. Years ago I went through Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way with a beautiful group of people. Ms. Cameron strongly encourages "morning pages"--stream of thought writing for 3 pages. After those pages are finished, I zero in on a thought and follow that thread to see where it leads.
As I learn about myself, I'm finding so much that has been buried for many years. My dad is an angry alcoholic and my mother is rather needy emotionally. They divorced when I was 19 back in the late 70's. Even today....30 years later....I find my reaction to my dad's anger the same. I feel like I am 6 years old. I cower and become silent and withdrawn. It's a horrible feeling to this day. This is my pain, this is where, I believe-art will help us deal with our blocked emotions, all that muck we find ourselves stuck in. I want my art to have meaning. I want it to come from the deep place, with all it's uncertainties and scariness. I want other people to be able to relate to it, to have it touch them and mean something to them the way it has to me.
So many jumbled thoughts this evening......

Monday, September 15, 2008

Oh, the questions

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer
Rainer Maria Rilke

I picked up a book, oh probably 2 years ago now, by Anna Deavere Smith "letters to a young artist." For me it's a kind of devotional for the artist. During a fit of insomnia last night, I read- "You are an explorer, You understand that every time you go into the studio, you are after something that does not yet exist. Maybe it's the same for a runner, I don't know. But with running, or swimming, or gymnastics, or tennis, the achievement is measurable. Forget about competition. Rather, commit yourself to find out the true nature of your art. How does it really work; what's the essence of it? Go for that thing that no one can teach you. Go for that communion, that real communion with your soul, and the discipline of expressing that communion to others. That doesn't come from competition. That comes from being one with what you are doing. It comes from concentration, and from your own ability to be fascinated endlessly with the story, the sone, the jump, the color you are working with."

and this-

Undressing the Muse
When Sonny Rollins walked onto that bridge to play his saxophone to the wind he was stepping off the stage and into the woodshed. It wasn’t a failure of nerve, of course, nor was it only a deepening of his craft. He was breaking a voice apart and refashioning it. He was undressing his muse.
That’s what I want now: less stage, more bridge (the wind steady and relentless) and room to go about the private business of becoming—nothing more, not a single iota less—who I am meant to be.
And if that’s asking too much, then allow me to rest a moment, and when I wake let me be refreshed.
Sebastian Matthews

I've been spending--or trying to--time in my studio (woodshed, if you will) and work. I'm in a transition period as the art I was making was for art fairs...trying to figure out what people would buy. BIG mistake. I became so unhappy, there was NO JOY in creating. I need this woodshed experience, this digging deep, "the breaking a voice apart and refashioning it". It's been a real struggle, I've been practicing procrastination, resistance and avoidance. I probably spend more time journaling than art making. It's hard work.
More later.......

Friday, September 12, 2008

In this world......

"In this world, love has no color, yet how deeply my body is stained by yours." Shikubu
Sometimes I have a difficult time putting my feelings into words. Sometimes it's best done with shapes, colors and textures. The feelings are there nonetheless and feel as deep and raw as the sea. James Earl Jones said, "One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter." Do you ever feel that way?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Painting in progress

I have been struggling with this painting. I know what I don't want it to look like, but not really sure of what I do want. So far I've been going by "what feels right". I think I'm on the right track. The woman is holding a candle in a very dark room. I've coated watercolor paper with gesso, then gold paint. I'd like to let some of that gold underpainting to show through. Layers of acrylic on top of that. It's far from finished (like she needs a face) but wanted to show it at this point. It will be interesting to see where it goes from here.

Journal Cover

I made a journal using Teesha Moore's instructions. Very easy to make. The cover is pre-gessoed canvas. This is my first painted self portrait, I am happy with the way it turned out. I asked Paul what he thought, "Well, it doesn't really look like you." Hmmmm. I'm thinking close enough for government work. I have a whole box of paint that I'm trying to use up in my journals. Colors I bought for workshops or just because. I'm trying to narrow my palette down to get some cohesiveness in my work. Journals are the prefect place to use paint with wild abandon. I am an admirer of Juliana Coles. I hope to take a workshop with her sometime. She has workshop booklets available on her etsy shop. I started working on an exercise, it ain't about pretty, it's about going deep, it's about getting out of your comfort zone, it's about push and pull. This journal was made for these exercises.

Monday, September 1, 2008

September? Seriously?

It's been ages since I've posted. This has been a busy summer, now it's time to settle back into the comfort of routines. Today I met a goal. I posted several pieces of art in my etsy shop! Finally!

There are many things that are tugging to get my attention. A yard full of weeds that have grown far too tall.
Post construction cleaning. Time for art. A sink full of dishes. I still, so many years later, hear my mother's voice nagging at me to get the chores done before I could do anything fun. I am trying to silence that voice. I much prefer "moderation in all things".