allowing

This week has me filling my well quite a bit with some much needed solitude, new music to chew on and some time with friends and family.  Today I went for a rainy walk with Lisa and Anna in  Spring Grove Cemetery which has been a favorite walking place and source of inspiration of Lisa’s for years.  Spending time with friends who are also fellow artists is a nourishing way to jump start my own creativity, making space for productive alone time.

A couple of years ago a movie called Once came out and I heard about it from numerous folks, all who said I would love it.  I finally got around to watching it this week and, as predicted, it was right up my alley.  The music in it is just the sort of stuff I like to listen to when working in the studio, so naturally, I began to dig a little deeper into who the artists are who put the soundtrack together for the movie.  Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova wrote/co-wrote most of the tracks on the CD and they have a delightful musical chemistry which makes this album somewhat different from the work that Hansard does with his Dublin based band The Frames.

I read a number of articles about Irglova and The Frames, but it’s Hansard’s thoughts on making music that really resonate with me.  He is an artist’s artist….

“Basically all songs are residue. They’re just bits of muck, for me. They’re not craft. If you imagine a snail that leaves a residue then goes off and dies, and for years there’s a silver path of residue across the wall of your garden shed. It looks gorgeous, but [pauses] I always imagine that people who make art just live a life. It doesn’t matter if they lead a good or a bad life, but they leave behind these increments in time, little bits and clues as to what emotional landscape or emotional mapping was going on at the time.”

People who make art just live a life.  wow.  I think there is quite a bit of truth to this, though there is also the show-up-and-work part of things that needs to happen as well, at least for me.  But this notion of simply allowing the art to happen is refreshing and maybe something I need to consider.  I am guilty of a fair amount of over-thinking which I often side-step by involving myself in process laden work, where losing oneself is a positive by-product.

So now as I listen to the music of my new fave Glen Hansard (as well as the hypnotic sound of my leaky roof) I think I’ll go lose myself in a bit o’ beeswax….

Back in the saddle, so to speak

There is nothing like a road trip to shake things up artistically, especially when things have been hard on the home front.  My trip south with Kim went off with out a hitch and we had a great time.  It was so good for me to hang out on the edge of things and just take it all in. It was restful, at least for me, although touring is hard work for the musicians.  The “lads” with whom Kim was touring were a great bunch of guys.  My favorite venue they played was Eddie’s Attic, the premier singer/songwriter listening room in the Atlanta area.

Not all of our time was spent working however.  We managed to find some wonderful second hand clothing shops in Atlanta and Greenville, SC and an amazing toy store in downtown Greenville.

The trip was only 2 overnights and was over in a flash.  I personally, could have used a few more days on the road and will have to plan accordingly next time and join the tour sooner!  A good chunk of our time driving home through the mountains was spent in the fog, which was a nerve wracking for driving, yet beautiful at the same time.

Upon arriving home I put the finishing touches on a quilt I have been working on for one of my dearest friends who is having her first baby.  The design is based on the notion of “friendly monsters” which the kids drew out on paper, and then I interpreted into a quilt.  The result is amazing and like nothing I have ever made.  Below are some photos….

Now that the quilt is done and has been presented to its new home, it’s back to the wax table for me.  Below is my latest painting in encaustic.  It’s 12 X12 inches and seems to be heading into different thematic territory for me.  I have only briefly touched on my own past experiences to make art, choosing more often to work from my present surroundings, or broader collective inspiration such as Nature or the idea of Place.  But recently, my interesting and at times wild life and upbringing have been bubbling up and begging to be interpreted into art.  Most specifically, an earthquake that my family and I experienced in 1976 in Guatemala City.  I have only made a couple of pieces of art work based specifically on that terrifying experience but I think I am ready to tackle this idea a little more head on.  I’ll see how it goes.  Processing old stuff is hard, but necessary sometimes, and powerful, especially artistically.  I’ll keep you posted…

Evidence

My bags are packed to leave tomorrow to join my friend Kim Taylor on the road for a few days of music and just plain old, gettin’ the hell outta here.  I am a gypsy girl at heart, from constantly being on the move as a kid, to my Navy wife days, to my wanderlust nowadays.  Travel, even just a few days here and there, can recharge my spirit in ways no other thing can.  The above quote is from an artist named Candy Jernigan, whose book Evidence just arrived in the mail today.  One of my amazing students introduced me to her and I love her work as well as her philosophy. Perhaps at the heart of travel is just what Jernigan speaks of; proof that we are really here.  Walking in the world.

Death has been at the door a lot lately and so naturally, all of us around here have been pondering mortality quite a bit; our own and that of those closest to us. First Esme, and now, Whitney Smith.  I did not know Whit personally, but wish I did.  He was held dear by friends of mine whom I hold dear, and that, to me speaks volumes.  Read his blog, get to know him, and his story.  Esme’s and Whit’s passings don’t hold too very much in common.  But two things come to my mind.  The first thing is that there are now parents whose lot in life is to go on living in the world without the presence of their children.  This is simply not the right order of events in life.  We parents are supposed to go first, before our kids. To have borne witness to the grief of my friends in recent weeks and days is an honor and I sincerely hope I have been an adequate vessel to it.

Another, more broad commonality between these two deaths is that both were caused by some glaring glitch in The System.  Only time will tell what sorts of ripples the loss of these two people will cause in the world.  I will certainly try to keep you posted here as the narrow alleys of Activism are navigated.

So where to from here?  Heavy, heavy stuff.  And yet, to pack a back-pack with an extra couple of shirts, spare undies and some sandles seems perfectly natural.  Hitting the road for a few days, more natural still.  Most of what I have packed consists of art supplies.  My matte medium is in a 3 oz. airline approved bottle, my pens are advertised not to explode in flight, I have my sketchbook and my camera and some of my favorite books to read.  I plan to gather evidence:  that the world is still beautiful.  that people are still good.  that my gathering of this evidence is meaningful and worthwhile.  I am hopeful.