Saturday, March 26, 2016

big magic

Shattered. 32 x 29. Mixed media on paper

"Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert is a book I should have read two years ago.

Two years ago, much in my life was upset and my creative energy leaked out. Two years ago, I felt empty. I also felt desperate to get back what was lost. I tried to go back to old ideas and disciplines that used to get me going artistically, but what used to work, no longer did.

It's possible that Gilbert's book would not have resonated with me two years ago. The frantic chatter in my head could have drowned out Gilbert's quietly insistent words.

I hear it now:

Take courage

She has much more to say than that, but for now, it's enough for me to hold on to these pieces and to feel them expanding inside of me.

Elizabeth Gilbert, interview on "Q" about "Big Magic."

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

spring forward

Sketch. Ink and watercolor. 9 x 9.

The best part about Spring in the Pacific Northwest is the abundance of flowers. The signs of new life after the dreary stillness of winter is welcome to me."Winter" does not just describe the time of year, but, also describes seasons of life. I feel like I am coming back to Spring after a very long Winter.

Did you know that when the conditions are right, it's possible to see a green flash at sunset? It felt like a beautiful gift to see the green flash last week as I watched the sun set over the Pacific Ocean in Southern California.If you look closely, you can see the shimmer of green just around the setting yellow sun in the photo above.

I did not do anything to earn the green flash. I just waited with patience and hope. And I watched carefully. My patience was rewarded.

The creative journey is different for every artist. My journey has been interrupted for a while by life. Nothing I planned, but hugely distracting. Aging parents. The arrival of grandchildren. Heartaches. Illnesses. Legal challenges. Economic hardships. Good things and bad. Distractions all.

I feel agitated and frustrated by this, but I know that I cannot force creativity back in to my life. Instead, I have been out in nature because I trust in its healing power. I am doing things like watching the sun set.

Ridgefield NWR
I've taken trips to watch birds at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

Snake River, Idaho.

I watched the slow movement of the Snake River in Idaho and mourned the loss of the huge salmon runs.

Snow outside of Burns, Oregon.
I played in the snow in southeastern Oregon and watched the white snow turn blue and violet in the fading light.

I walked the buttes of Nevada and studied the paths of the waterways in the soft rock.

I am finding my way back to my creative path by going deep into nature. Slowly, I feel myself healing and sorting out a new way. I think I can see the way up ahead.

Monotype. Katherine van Schoonhoven

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.

Lord Byron "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage"

Deadman "When the Music's Not Forgotten."