Sunday, July 23, 2017

Being There, several things have been trying to get my attention lately.  The need for focus, the desire for a deeper, more authentic experience.  For being there. Showing up for my own life. Synchronicity has spoken to my soul, loud and clear.

My re-reading of my last year's rewilding posts and how they got derailed by my tendency to turn everything into work, into a "jobligation" caught my attention.  An inveterate teacher and a lifelong "fixer" (as well as spending a chunk of my life as a caregiver), it's no surprise, but not all that conductive of the end I'm aiming for.  Or mean to aim for, at any rate.

And then this post appeared in my memories, on what inspired you, from our Artist's Journal Workshop blog, and this one, from this blog three years ago today, on the addiction of social media.  (Yes, three.  I keep trying...)

And yet...there is this pull, from both directions.  If something becomes habit, becomes dry, only going through the motions instead of being engaged, fully this productive?  On the other hand, this caught my eye in a book I'm reading--the concept that structure, discipline, repeated actions or rituals can keep us going through those dry times, until we can find our focus again.

That last was something I often heard in my church years.  I spent a time in the Third Order of St. Francis 20-some years ago, but found when I needed a more focused, personal spirituality--at least that's how I perceived it--rather than saying the hours with the church, I was no longer welcome as a member of that community.  The discipline, the praying with the church, was paramount--so said my director.

A friend just repeated the concept on a Facebook post, in different words.  Keep going, keep doing it (whatever it is), until you're inspired again.  But does that work?  For you?  Or for me?  I suspect that's a very individual answer.

I want to be present to my life.  Presence has been a goal for many years now...mindfulness.  Being there.

And yes, I have a tendency to read about it rather than DO it, sometimes...believe me it's not the same.

But I recently read a pair of books that made a very big impression on me: Gerald May's The Wisdom of Wilderness, and David Abram's Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology.  May's book was brilliantly written, personal, engaging, and deeply moving to me.  Abram's had a similar theme...being fully ALIVE, in all our senses.

I don't want the reading, my be simply going through the motions.

And yet...two years ago I chose "presence" as my word of the year.  Last year at this time, I wrote of re-focusing.  Presence.  Being there.

Perhaps someday I'll actually get there...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Looks can be deceiving...but the end result as well as process counts!

I have been more into drawing than painting of has a wondrous magic to me, as it did to my old mentor, Ann Zwinger, who talked about pulling the image from the blank page.  When we make one of our trips to one of my earliest heart homes, Bennett Spring State Park, I always seem to spend the bulk of my time filling journal pages, and this trip was no exception.

I'll admit I've been puzzled, though...I haven't been working in color nearly as much these past months, and not entirely sure why.

But as I told J., in part it is simply that I love to draw, always have.  It's simple, immediate, magic.

Hand, drawing instrument, paper.

No "Are my paints wet enough, what colors shall I use, oops--didn't wait long enough for that to dry, damn that's not the color I wanted, my yellow is muddy, I got my hand in my wash, where's that spatter brush NOW, I grabbed the wrong brush, and what the heck is wrong with that brush all of a sudden, anyway, it USED to make a point?!?"

Yes, of course I have recalictrant pens that run out of ink or leak at the worst possible times, and leads that break in my pencil.  But that comprises far fewer problems to hang me up overall, and drawing is indeed so delightfully, satisfyingly immediate.

Drawing instrument, paper, MAGIC.

That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it...


I will admit this one is rather simpler than it may look.  My dear friend Pat Southern-Pearce said kindly, "such a light fresh touch..."

Well, sort of...

I had originally just done the slow comtemplative drawing, on the spot, with my Falcon soft extra fine pen that turns out to be sooo dependable.

You can see the bent old sycamore just beyond the table that was my open-air "studio."  (My wee bear Traveller kept me company and encouraged me as I worked.  So did my drum.)

And as much as I love black and white drawings, I decided this one needed a soft spring background.

Way TOO complex and difficult to paint around, though, so I decided to take the chance on liquid mask over the drawing so I could splash in the color all in one go.

When I opened my jar of maskoid, though, I discovered it was so old it had thickened to a gluey I took a chance and thinned it with a bit of water, in the lid.  Too late to back out now!

I sacrificed an old brush to that stuff, but I figured if it worked, it would be worth it.  I carefully painted over the drawing and almost all the vines and tangled limbs, praying that when I removed it, it wouldn't take my drawing with it!  I let it dry THOROUGHLY before painting over it.

The mask was still thick and clumpy in places...

So far so good...
I mixed loose, light, subtle washes, spattered and sprayed and dripped, in spring colors...which I ALSO let dry very thoroughly, to insure the paper was back to full strength.  Any moisture weakens the paper structure and makes it far more susceptible to tearing.

I tried rubbing the mask off with a finger, but it was old and gummy and did not want to move.  I'd wear off my fingerprints before I could clean the whole drawing...

The search for a rubber cement pickup was on!  Fortunately I found one in a pile of other art supplies and began the long, careful removal of the gummy mask.

Hallelujah, the ink drawing survived!  The Fabriano soft press paper in my little folding journal is strong, well-sized, and up to the task.  Nothing tore!  No wonder I love that paper...

 A bit of additional spatter over the dry drawing/painting and I called it done, with a great, gusty sigh of relief...

So thank you, dear Pat!  Whereas it may look like a light, fresh touch it took a lot of slow, tedious work to get there.!


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