Distilling a beautiful depth
To my dear patrons, this post is a “public” post, intended for those who maybe don’t read as often, or who may be new to the work and are considering participating later on via Patreon. To those of you who do chip in a buck or 3, or ten, month to month, please know that you keep this ship afloat, you are the wind in the sails that keep it all going. So many of the pennies you contribute are right now working behind the scenes to get this old blog into a more modern and navigable state in the form of a shiny new website. And for this, I am truly grateful. But for today, below is the post-Taos-trip report. A yearly thing….
A love letter to the participants of this most recent workshop:
I always come away from the Taos, NM trip in a state of awe. This workshop is my offering to the world. A way of seeing, traveling, art-making and engaging that is different from anything else. And each year, a small group of people, varying in degrees of experience and expertise, take a plunge of trustful open-heartedness and come along for the journey.
My offering is a humble one – in this world filled with so many shiny things in which to partake. My own world is one of moss-time; slow and somewhat fragmented. And I am routinely caught by surprise when a class fills with curious, interested, artful beings, eager to come along. Ever so shyly I make my way out to meet them and share what I have learned over the years, to share what I am thinking about and how I might catalogue that in some way into a travel journal.
Here we are again after another week, another year. The Taos trip is a sort of flagship as it were. It is at once where I feel most at home and most challenged. It sets the tone for the year ahead, offering an island of respite and recollection from the year just passed. (And what a year it’s been! yet again.)
It is a still point of sorts.
Last I left anyone paying attention, we were were careening away from Taos town at the very break of day after the workshop. The mountainous vistas achingly beautiful in their farewell. We had spent the evening before partaking of one final desert hike, under a smoky sunset, worrying over the latest wildfire, and pondering the journey home.
I was so very tired,
already missing my dear friends. And we hadn’t even parted one another’s company.
The week was pure magic. Somehow, outside of a couple of folks opting out of the class due to utmost care (and for this I am deeply thankful), we managed as a group to remain covid free. Everyone arrived ready to work.
and work we did! Below is a sampling of participant work. Like I have said before, sometimes I have beginner artists, and sometimes I have people come along who have been successfully making art for their entire lives (and I wonder to myself why they are even there!). Yet all who are called to Mabel’s are welcomed. And I actually don’t question much of that any more. I merely build the container in which to hold the work and step back to marvel at it all.
It was a gentle week in many ways. This group of 14 or so, along with a few companions and spouses, gathered and worked together with zero interpersonal drama. It was just so easy in so many ways.
It was also difficult at times. New Mexico is a fierce and weathering place and it does take its toll after a time. We took care to take care of one another.
There were field trips with old friends…
And we were glad to see them. I took it all in and sat in deep gratitude for the years this place have given to me.
As is usually the case, I soon found myself at the end of the week with nothing to offer up to the gods of the Socials. Once the week had begun, I could not splinter off to report to the masses online. I just don’t have it in me to be anything other than fully present when I am teaching or making art or music. This might not be good for the bottom line or for advertising, but it’s true to me and so I stick with it.
We did manage a few photos collectively however and at the end of our week together, everyone gathered in their party frocks for one final fancy meal at Mabel’s and to share our work with one another back in the classroom.
Now I find myself back at home, distilling it all. Wondering if the fever-dream of creativity and friendship, art-making and wonder were really all just a dream. I wonder how I can wrap words around the unfathomable.
I came across a post online by the marvelous Maria Popova of Brainpickings. She wrote that she’d put together a poem of sorts in honor of Krista Tippet’s 20 years of On Being based on episode titles. Without even reading her poem, I thought, “I should do that with my blog post titles!” And so I did. Wondering what would come of it. Was it the thing I was looking for to somehow convey the magic of the past week?
There were many words to mix together and choose from.
I’ve been writing here since 2007. Not many read my posts, but a few do and I am thankful for that. My new web designer/tech handler person says I’m an ‘ “og” blogger, from the way back,’ and I take this as a great compliment. Mining the titles of 15 years of writing, below is a poem which I think suits:
Notes to self:
Let us keep courage, on, in, near the tone of things.
A tale of Summer’s Travels
A golden opportunity; a need for slowness.
Gathering. On liminality.
Flights of fancy, gratitudinal expressions
Think Less. Breathe More.
Joy of Being
Rambling ways, whirlwind wandering.
On the move, peripatetic runaway.
Between worlds, shifting.
The end of the rainbow, virtually in time.
Seeking sanctuary, floating on air
Time bending, between.
When I have fears; On feeling small
Hunting and gathering; the work behind the work
Filling from a deep well. Digging deep.
A taste of practice. A call to action.
A measure of quiet.
Attending. Awakening. Aware.
Dreaming the between into being.
Making space. Between
Quiet beauty. Cosmic reverence
Contentment is wealth.
This is love
Stay and wonder
Come on along
And Just like that
Allowing the structuring of magic.
Enchantment. Inspiration. Artist’s pace.
What artists do:
A book and a box of colors
A glorious something else
Mere sketches, more sketches, PORTALS.
Pictures speak louder.
A day for greening. Gold behind the green.
Mode of magic making.
Red eye. Blue. Shades of gray.
Processing daylight. Come, chase the light.
Sometimes words will do.
Paint, how do I love thee? Watercolor play
Fully blooded magic. Gestures. Play in motion.
Illumination in situ
What do I know?
The language of drawing, mapping the unmappable
What comes next, shifted paradigm
This I believe.
The ancients, bubbling
Reminders, blessings, allies.
Stone whispers, living geology.
A living land where your name is spoken
Tiny offerings, Gold. Gifts of color and light.
Under a mountain
Picture This… Transition
At one. Drawn
Settling in, here, now.
Connecting through sketching.
While we are together
On traveling and coming home
Gratitude and liminality.
Joy before the journey’s end. Light returning.
State of contentment on impermanence
Successful. Returned. Enough.
Grateful for the mountain
Home again, do not disturb.
Gifts that keep on giving
On crafting one’s own world.
I find it fascinating that the words I have used for all this time can cast a net to hold the experiences of my most recent time in New Mexico, leading me to believe ever more so in the constancy of all things. I’m no quantum physicist, but I find some of the concepts fascinating. Perhaps all time is in this very moment. A vast void of now.
As this glorious summer of re-opening, re-engagement, and re-commitment continues on, I’ll balance all the nows at hand. Opting more and more often for a puddle of paint or the company of a good friend over the tantalizing offerings of the online world.
Week to week news will always be over on Patreon however, and my tech handler John is still weaving this old blog into the new space as he puts my new online home in order. So stay tuned for that.
I will announce registrations for 2023 (!!!!) classes early in September so mark your calendars for that. I will do my best to blast those announcements all over the usual channels, but let me know if you need more information. I’ll put you on an email list. Classes are selling out faster and faster each year which is humbling and amazing.