Fumbling toward the Light

I couldn’t sleep.  Between dead ass drooling REM sleep, I woke up almost every hour, slightly confused about what planet I was on and wondering why my eyes were wide open.  It started feeling like I was missing something; something important that I just couldn’t quite reach.  Did I miss paying a bill?  Did I forget to return a call?  So, realizing that my window of opportunity for slumbering was past, I got up, made a cup of coffee and checked my phone.

On my messenger app, there were a few unread messages.  They came in while I was sleeping, searching for what I was missing while dreaming.  In the dream I was at a trade show, looking for my art and my husband, but all I could find was mechanical equipment.  Nothing at all that pertained to me.  I was trying to make myself fit in, to align with someone or something.  But it wasn’t working.  I was moving toward anxiety and worry – I couldn’t find my phone to call my husband and I was just about to move into full blown panic……….when I woke.

What in the hell was I searching for???  As the coffee was brewing, I read the messages that had been waiting for me.  Of the four messages, two of them were funny animal videos and two of them wrapped around my heart and held me close.  The first one was an article, sent by my incredible art studio mate, Cathryn Cooper, entitled “New Neuroscience reveals 4 Rituals That Will Make you Happy, written by Eric Barker.  I will tell you right now, it is definitely worth the read. You can find it at http://www.theladders.com.  The second message was from a very sweet friend who relayed a moment of her day when she and her boss were talking about the possibility that some people are truly angels and the conversation made her think of me.  Heart squeezed…….tears alight.

Both of these messages woke me up in different ways with a profound sense of gratitude.  You see, I bet we can all focus on what isn’t working in our world.  What doesn’t quite fit, what we don’t have, what we can’t do, who doesn’t like us……the negative world can just be endless.  I get so focused on daily, weekly and damn it, life long achievements, I don’t usually take time to see the wake and the ripples behind me.  So this is the crux of the matter for me and what I was so doggedly searching for last night……………..

Just Be the Light

There are times and situations in my life where my light wasn’t shining bright enough for someone else.  Or my light was covered by my own dark moments. Or someone misconstrued my intentions – or I reached out and shone my light on the wrong situations, the wrong people, through a desperate need to belong in places I didn’t need to belong!  For that, and so many other times, I am truly sorry.  I am a beautifully imperfect, flawed, messy individual.  However, my attempts to shine my light have also been noticed, appreciated and in ways that I am forever grateful, given back to me.  That’s the message – just simply be the Light.  Be the Light for the person in front of you, for yourself, for your art, for the world.  This does not preclude dark moments – that is part of this tattered beauty of  reality.  But to be a part of the light, any tiny amount, brings us up out of the darkness.

Today is another day, another opportunity, another chance to Be the Light.  May it be so.

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Personally Ours…..

If you are an artist, a creative or simply a living, breathing real life person, I bet you have had someone say to you, “You can’t take things so personally”.  Whether it’s your relationship with another person or a recent rejection, I’ve heard more times than I care to think about, that phrase which is supposed to be a salve to my heart. And yet, every time it is spoken I wonder to myself……..how in the hell do you do that?  How do you “de-personalize” something or someone you have invested part of your soul in?

Let’s back up for a moment.  When I am in the flow of creating, when a vision magically manifests in my head, I “see” it floating around, just waiting for me to acknowledge the fact that this vision was meant for me.  I quieted my mind and my own thoughts enough to allow my Muse to show up, to gently speak to me and am able to recognize that I had been singled out to bring this vision into the real world.  In that moment, I feel chosen, an individual blessed with a connection that is so intimate, so incredibly personal that I can’t wait to touch clay again to bring it into the physical universe before I lose the magic.

Taking things “personally” is, for me, what creating is all about!  If I am simply producing work, without a connection to its soul and it’s essence then I am not fully invested in the outcome. Yes, I take my art personally; and there are times, that I take rejection personally.  Well, most of the time, I take rejection personally.  I always wonder what I can do better, what edge I didn’t push, or did I push it too far.   But here’s the kicker………this is all part of the dance of life.  Being truly invested in my life means that there will be times that it ain’t all sunshine and flowers.  Fantasies don’t smell……….sometimes reality does.

If I allow the criticisms, the rejections or the apathy to take over my soul, I would not be able to create.  That choice is up to me. Now, I’m not suggesting that we should wallow in the misery of rejections or base our creative “mojo” on someone else’s opinion of it.  What I am leaning toward is that taking our lives personally is part of being an authentic individual with an authentic voice.  To be able to move through the struggles and disappointment and be able to come through it with even more passion for your art…..well, for me……..that’s the seat of the soul kind of love. I will continue to take my creativity, my art and my life personally, because, with all of its hiccups, travails and joys…….it’s mine.  Every last, personal drop.

 

 

 

 

Artist Crush

Artist crushes…….I’ve had a few.  For whatever reason, there comes along a few specials artists in a lifetime that clearly make an impression on who we are.  For me, some have been iconic but some have simply touched a place in me that changed the course of my artistic and personal life. If I have enough clarity and trust the sweaty palms and heart thumping reaction to their work, those artists can truly create a new dawn of understanding about myself, my choices and the unrealized beauty this world has to offer.  Below I share a short list of the top five that have had an enormous impact on my life.

1. Georgia O’Keefe.  You only have to look at my work to see the enormous influence she has had on my idea of beauty. From her undulating forms to her unique feminine perspective, her work conveyed to me that the sensuality of nature was something to be revered, to be celebrated. She was a strong woman at a time when that was an exception to the norm. 

2. Ansel Adams.  In stark contrast to Georgia’s work but at the same time a deep honoring of the natural world that blew my mind.  The majesty he was able to capture with his camera continues to bring me an enormous amount of strength when I am feeling small.  Yosemite was his muse and he did her proud.

3.  Prince.  I spent over 10 years as a fitness instructor and not only did his music bring out a fierceness in me, it also carried me through a rough marriage riddled with self doubt.  When I was teaching, and his music was playing………well let’s just  say the room was on fire! I pounded on the walls and rattled everyone’s cage and for a moment, we were all set free.   Some of the fondest memories of my daughters childhood is the two of us riding around and listening to his music at full volume. His smooth delivery, his coolness, his confidence……..all of it helped me to realize what I was missing in my life.  I had denied my creative life and he held up a mirror to me and , “Bitch……whatcha gonna do for yourself???”

4.  Christina Hope. Her reverence for the human form and the beauty of movement with her underwater photography left me speechless. I could only afford prints of her work but bought them and brought them home where I was going to appreciate them for years to come.  My husband at the time refused to “allow me” to hang them.  Well…….lets just say that those photographs propelled me into the next chapter of my life.  After the divorce, they hung prominently in my home for all to see.  The strength and beauty in her work gave me the courage  

 I needed to create a new life for myself.  25 years later they are still a treasure to me.

5.  Worley Faver.  My one and only pottery mentor.  He introduced me to coil building earthenware vessels.  His forms are masculine and yet have a softness to them that transcends gender.  His carvings are masterful and though they honor the Indian heritage of the craft, they are authentic to him and his spirit. I am humbled and grateful for what he has brought to my life.  

All of these artists have one thing in common……….Authenticity. This, above all else, is what I strive for.  It is my greatest wish for all of us.

Working for a Living……..

Through someone’s recent post, I have been contemplating the commodity of art.  The question that it raises in my mind is this…..Does it cheapen our self worth or the value of our art if we create with the expressed intent to sell?  This, for me, stimulates both sides of my brain.

The left side of my brain speaks to the facts –  that we simply must live in the real world.  We all have bills to pay, a living to make and a life to lead.  All of those things are made gracefully easier with money in the bank.  Everyone, including yours truly, offers fee for service in some way, shape or form.  I have a massage practice during the day that keeps me in clay and sawdust.  I had a friend once tell me that everyone is prostituting themselves all of the time in exchange for a living, some forms of prostitution are just more legal than others.

The right side of my brain pipes up and says…….Hey! Wait a minute!!  How can you put a value on creating?  If creation comes from a “source point”, a higher self or a higher universe, is it really ours to sell?  Artists get stuck in this conundrum more often then they would like to admit.  It’s hard to put a value on something that just flows out of us like water.  I know, for myself, that if I didn’t sell another piece of my work, my husband would simply have to build more shelves in our home…….and our garage……..and maybe a shed or two in the backyard.  I create mostly for myself – because it makes me a better person and because, if I didn’t, my life wouldn’t be nearly as rich in passion and creativity. 

But, in this time and place, artists must use both sides of their brain if they have the intention of living from the proceeds of their art.  I personally don’t think that it devalues the work if you choose to sell what you create.  Here’s the bottom line for me……..if joy visits you while you are thinking about, talking about or creating art why wouldn’t you want to do that every day, all day long, for as long as you live and breath here in this lovely place we call home?  By creating beauty, we, as artists, are making this world a richer, more vibrant, glorious place to be.  By purchasing art, collectors are causing this cycle of Joy, Creation and Beauty to continue.  If all of this puts a smile on your face, by all means, delve in and participate in this life affirming action.  I don’t know of a single person that doesn’t want or need more of the good stuff in their lives.

See Art…..Love Art…..Buy Art

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