Tag Archives: terri windling

Lately

Faery magic is strong in the woodland this time of year.

This is a world gone mad.  Too many things to take in, too much heartache for a body to navigate really.  The things I love which carry me into the gentle places of my soul and self and which keep me grounded when the winds do blow have suffered for lack of care.  I look at this little home of mine here on the interwebs and realize that it’s been since August that I’ve written.  It is not as if I have not written, or drawn, or painted in general.  Just not here, where even when no one is reading, it matters most.

Today I took to the woods with one of our trusty dogs, the one and only wild Iris Rose, to ponder a plan of how to negotiate the dangerous waters of our time in a sustainable balanced manner.  It is October, my most favorite month of the year.  I adore autumn and all it has to offer in the way of cooler temperatures, misty mornings and the desire to get the knitting needles clicking once more….

A little drawing in response to Rob MacFarlane‘s word of the day “die Füchse kochen Kaffee” which translates literally into “the foxes are making coffee”; German regional phrase for morning mists….

I’ve recently taken to fair isle color work and I am fairly in love.

Iris and I walked the golden woodland…..

We paid homage to those who’ve been before us in this well loved place.

This lovely bronze plaque was placed in memory of dogs who’ve hiked here well before our time.

We admired the colors signaling a late but welcome change of season….

I played a bit with my fancy camera which, like this blog space, has grown a bit dusty with disuse.

The pace of things in the world has me feeling a bit weary.  All this running and seemingly little to show for it.  The season and my soul alike beg for a backing off, a swing toward the internal to come once more to the still point of my personal center.  This country, and the world at large could stand the same I believe.

With the dark season ahead, one often fraught with personal mental health challenges, I am looking back with pride on a few months of wondrous productivity and activity whilst simultaneously crafting a structure of future quietude to keep the wolves at bay in the months ahead.

The Resistance, as it stands, is in full swing and its toiling does take up space and energy.  I quite mindfully make the space necessary to be of service in these dark times but must balance that of course.  There is canvassing and volunteering and much reading to stay informed.  The news is too much to keep up with and it can drag a soul down to low places, but I do my best.  I am careful to turn it all off and hit the paints or the road when I need a break.

The flurry of work and words in the past couple of months have been exciting to birth forth.  Here I share a few things that have been occupying my eye, my keyboard and notebook, my interest and my heart.  It is my hope that I take to engaging more here in this space in the coming months as it forces me, in the best way possible, to slow down.  To think about what I am writing and the images I share.  Social media channels are wondrous in their own way, and I certainly find myself lurking in the more creative corners of their hallowed halls.  There is so much to inspire.  But here, in my own designated space, I can think through my fingers….

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.”
Isaac Asimov

….and maybe go a little deeper.

So, last I left you dear reader, it was August, and so very hot.  September came along and while the heat gave no break,  I encountered a small challenge to make a drawing a day in 1″ square scale.  This painterly adventure, combined with a whirlwind trip to Taos, NM was balm indeed to a tired soul….

The Reluctant Trapeze, inspired by the amazing tune Le Funamble,  (do click the link!!) composed by Gilles Le Bigot and played by Nuala Kennedy.
“But we haven’t even covered redcaps and hinkypunks!” ~Hermione Granger
“When encountering a new soup recipe, one must proceed with caution.”

These drawings were part of a month long 1×1 challenge put forth by the House of Illustration in the UK.  An artist they showcased, John Vernon Lord, had completed a year of them.

“He dreamed himself very, very small.”
“The harvest is in, and I am feeling too small to deal with it.”
“I can’t fly but me pigeon can.” ~Charlie

I completed the challenge and made 30 of these little works.

Even when the news did say there were magnificent displays of ill will and malevolence.

“I read the news today, oh, boy.”

Toward the end of the month of September, my long time, dear friend Kristin (whom you may remember from this post) and I somehow managed to make our way from Ohio (me) and Vermont (she) to Chicago for a seamless meet-up at O’Hare and on to a quick flight out to New Mexico.  The opportunity to introduce a dear one to one’s soul home is a gift indeed and we savored every second.  Not much was catalogued of our time there, but we did manage some image captures…..

Photo by Kristin McCole.

“It’s the most wonderful place you can imagine.  It’s so beautiful there.  It’s ridiculous.”  ~Georgia O’Keeffe

Photo by Kristin McCole
Koshares, uniting shadow with darkness; playfulness with survival; divinity with debauchery.  At least that is how I interpret it.

We timed our visit with the Feast of San Geronimo at Taos Pueblo (every year on September 30th, you should go) which enabled me to see and visit with some dear friends there at a very sacred time.  It was a gift and blessing to share these folks and this place who are so dear to me, with an old friend from the way back, equally as dear.  Kristin said to me at one point, “You’ve built a whole world here, Ames.”  I do believe I have.  I am deeply grateful.

Majestic Taos Mountain

Our journey was far too short for a proper catch up.  To be honest, in spite of the splendor we encountered, we spent a good deal of time in a state of deep grief over the recent goings on at the Supreme Court.  There is a collective, primal scream of rage emanating from  the women in my life over doing this all over again.  How many times has this story been lived, eh?  Though this time is was so public, and so top-level.  I am still grieving.

But, and this is the thing, somehow we must keep going……..

And so, once home, early autumn life began with a focus toward music each weekend at the Riley School of Irish Music.  Those of us who love the music aim to bring just a smidge of this video below to our own playing….

Little Sea Folk Festival – Open The Door For Three – Church Hill / Monaghan Jig from Dean Merrill on Vimeo.

While we may never reach this level, we did manage to play our annual ceili dance once more and folks who attended seemed to enjoy it.  Chatting with our caller, Éamonn  de Cógáin after the dance, he remarked, “This is growing!!” And indeed it is.

This gathering was such good medicine just one day after the horrific news from Pittsburgh.  Just one more act brought to bear by the hateful rhetoric spewing across the nation from the White House.

so much musical love

The season brings with it, as mentioned before, a renewed commitment to new needle bound adventures.  I’ve invested in some gorgeous wool from my local knit shop to attempt the crafting of a sweater.  We shall see…. But in the meantime, it’s always fun to get to know the source of all things wool.

And maybe even attempt a sketch or two.

Perhaps you too are experiencing a bit of whiplash of the soul.  One minute darkness and rage – the next minute, a shaft of light to pierce that darkness and provide a respite.  We here are fortunate to have these moments of lightness.  To make art and craft worlds with words is a privilege indeed, and one I do not take for granted.  I believe to my core that it is an act of resistance to play music, and craft beauty with line, paint and words.  I am fortunate to have the support of family and my day job that enable me to live this artful life.  Not everyone can.  Yet somehow, artists get the job done, one way or another.  Here are just a few whom I support and so should you…..

Claudia: here, here, and here

Folk On Foot

Terri Windling

Four Way Quartet (Did I mention we hosted a house concert???)

The list goes on.

And so where does this all leave me?  As you can see, there’s been a great deal of output here in the form of energy and a good bit of intake as well which is wonderful.  But my hope is that I can slow it all down a bit.  To corral things to more depth and to a more manageable realm for me as an artist.  I like to say that I am a crock pot in this world of microwaves.

I’m being careful to begin my day with thoughtful words, such as the lovely poetry by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland or stories by Sylvia Linsteadt who’s recent book The Wild Folk  inspired a tiny sketch…..

Which led to a larger painting….

The Offering, 24″ x 36″, acrylic on canvas

My hub and I are running away a couple of days after the election to Guatemala to visit friends and make some art – to shore up our souls for what’s to come in our lives personally and collectively, good or ill.

We will get home just before Thanksgiving (yes, I’ve ordered the bird from our favorite market vendor.)  I plan to write here on this blog-space from down there if I can connect, as it’s one of the most inspiring places.  So do stay tuned.

If you are interested in my travel journaling workshops based in Taos, Nm, Antigua, Guatemala and a few other smaller venues, do get in touch and we can talk about the best options for you.

Wherever this reading finds you, I hope you are finding some gentility in this rough world.  We are at a crossroads as human beings and we have some decisions to make as to the path ahead.  For me, it’s one of kindness and art making.

“Hang in there, make art, be kind.” ~Neil Gaiman in response to the news of Brazil’s election of a nationalist, right wing president.  To my friends in Brazil, we are here for you.

Love,

Amy

ps.

Chicken Soup

Half of my family is down with a rotten head cold that has us all operating a bit behind the power curve.  We had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday here with my whole fam damily and then hit the ground running to Chicago for an Irish Dance Competition the next day.  It’s a funny thing, this dance phenomenon.  It would not, in a million years, even with the Irish music thing we have going here, be what I would have chosen as an activity for my daughter.  Her younger years were spent camping (and yes, pooping) in the woods, creek-walking and playing with mud pies.  She was the queen of mismatched puddle-boot couture.  It was a beautiful thing.

So riddle me this:  How did we get from here, (pardon the pixels, it was early in the digidays)

to here:

in full regalia with wig, make-up, sparkly gems and fancy materials.  I haven’t a clue.

Rachel, at 6512 and Growing, a blog I read regularly and thoroughly enjoy, writes often about her daughter Rose, and her tendency toward pink tutus and glittery, quintessentially Girly things.  She marvels and wonders at this girl child, so different from herself in many ways.  And she lets her bloom, in the way a Rose is bound to.  I love this.  And feel like maybe it’s a small nod from another mama that we have done the right thing in following our daughter into this wild and sparkly world of Irish dance.  It was what she wanted to do.  So we did it.

The cool thing is, at the end of the day, these dance kids are athletes.  They just present their athleticism behind the theatrical veil of costuming.  Like most athletes, they are a little smelly, they wear sweat pants most of the time and there is little make up to be found off the dance stage.  I used to worry about my little dancer becoming some prissy young thing, bossing us around, wearing too much make up and getting us onto reality TV.  But instead, the opposite has happened.  My daughter and most of her dance friends seem to have a healthy regard for make up and dressy clothing as Theater.  All Show.  They understand that all of that is just a costume, and that real life can easily be spent in sweats and a ponytail, especially during exam week.  They have gotten to play with all the crazy make up and have seen what it looks like on stage…. and then they wipe it all off and go curl up in a corner of the practice room like a litter of puppies to watch a movie while they await the next round of events.  All in all, this pursuit of hers, while I didn’t choose it, has proven to be a healthy thing for her.  A mix of art and athleticism that you would have to see to believe.  Still, being an indoor thing, with loads of people milling around, it wears this introvert inside out.

It was good to get away from the hustle and bustle of the hotel to take in a little bit of Chicago.  It seems there is an entrance to the Ministry of Magic there:

And a cool stainless steel sculpture that’s a bit like a super-sized funhouse mirror.  It’s Big Art Name is Cloud Gate,  but most folks just call it the Bean.

But it was good to get home.  To some quiet. To my dogs.  To some soup.  This push pull between outer and inner selves is a difficult one to navigate.  For me at least, too much time around too many people is enough to wear me right down to my soul’s last nerve and then I am good for no one.  That said, too many days on my own and I can get a little depressed.  A good buffer for this is the online community of fellow bloggers, artisans, writers and thinkers that I keep track of via Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader, etc.  Over time, I have come to rely on checking in with certain bloggers whose take on life, art and just stuff in general can shake up any stagnancy that might be happening in my own work.  I mentioned Rachel above.  Although she is years behind me in the mama-trip, she is wise and mellow and funny and I look forward to her posts about their life in the mountains of Colorado.  It is fun to follow bloggers near and far.  Near is the gratitude practice blog of my friend Julie at the Magic Beans Workshop.  And far; I have come to follow a number of artists in a village in England called Devon.  I’ve admired the work of Rima Staines for years.  I came across her work when I was delving into anything and everything that might be found in the pages of Women Who Run With the Wolves.  In art school I had trained as a sculptor and leaned mainly toward abstraction and texture and material to give any sense of narrative in my work.  But as I have written recently, narration born of imagery and collective story (the fairy tale) is where my heart is lately and where my online research is taking me.  The artists I have been reading about in Devon are all steeped in the work that calls to me.  One of my favorites is Terri Windling.  She is a writer, a visual artist, a prolific blogger.  Many people look to her as a beacon in the nebulous and difficult world of Creative Work.  I look forward to her blog posts daily with their links to magical places and people and inspiring things to consider.  Some folks even credit her writing as life-saving.

Yesterday, via Twitter, I was made aware that Ms. Windling has been experiencing some recent health and personal difficulties that have placed her in a state of financial challenge.  Wasting no time, her community, both locally in Devon, and around the world thru her virtual community, have decided to come to her aid.  They have created an auction to benefit her cause which is creating quite a buzz.  Contributing artists include Rima Staines and Wendy and Brian Froud, among many many others both well known and still undiscovered.  Reading about this auction and Terri’s plight brought me back to the fundraising we did a couple of years ago in honor of our friend Esme.  We literally heard from people all around the world.  Many we knew, many we did not.  But so many contributors were fellow artists.

It used to be, the image of The Artist was one of solo pursuits.  And in many ways, it still is a solitary life.  But thanks to online communities and the relevance of collaborative work these days, artists can find themselves surrounded by other artists who help to lift them when they stumble, who support them when they are down, who inspire them when they are in need of light.  We are each other’s Chicken Soup.  If you have a few minutes, check out the plethora of gifts and goodies on the Magick 4 Terri website and consider doing some shopping there for a good cause.  By supporting each other in times of need, we enable our own work to continue growing and changing – all above the safety net of community.

Peace.

 

 

fruit

Yesterday, with temps in the single digits, a sketchy friend and I decided to move our studios to the warmer climes of the Krohn Conservatory for a bit to draw plant forms and soak up the juicy green-ness and humidity there.  As always, this beautiful jewel in the crown of the Queen City did not disappoint.  We spent an hour or so drawing in the cactus room with thoughts of our upcoming trip to Taos

Upon leaving, I commented on the gorgeous citrus trees, heavy with oranges and lemons, wishing out loud that I might be able to try one of them.  The ladies in the front office overheard and handed me this Ponderosa Lemon to take home saying it had been laying around for a few days and I was welcome to it!  What a lovely gift!  We then got to chatting about some beautiful terrariums on display at the conservatory.  They gave me some tips on getting my own terrarium to grow more successfully.  I have plans to stock up on some charcoal and a new fern or two in the coming days.  Meanwhile I have this fabulous lemon to draw…. (Iris is fairly certain this is a large tennis ball destined to be her play thing.)

In other news, my ice box of a studio space is featured today in Terri Windling‘s lovely blog The Drawing Board as part of her “On My Desk” series.  A number of bloggers have showcased the work spaces of fellow artist/writer bloggers over the years and it’s a fun way to get a peek into each other’s spaces, if only virtually.  Terri is part of a village of artists who live and work in the town of Devon, England.  She and another web-fave of mine, Rima Staines embody the notion of Storyteller for me.  I feel a tremendous kinship with these artists half a world away.  They seem to write about the same concepts that interest and fascinate me… the blessings of an artistic community, the blissful presence of traditional music, the inherent wisdom of dogs.  Although their work is quite different from mine, the notions that drive it run along the same veins that seek truth and mystery in the day to day human experience.

Tomorrow this single-digit cold snap is supposed to break and I will again have the wax pots on…. hopefully to pop a few more works up on the new Etsy Site.  I will, of course, keep you posted.