Sometimes the art tells a story I didn't know I needed to hear...until I hear it.
What began as a rough charcoal sketch (and, in the end, decided to remain rough and sketchy), became instead a story of being present in the midst of change. The ever-present change, shapeshifting, flowing nature of being that asks us to settle in to being, well, unsettled.
The pose and awkward arms of this figure captures the way I feel most days, living at the edge of my eyeballs, arms akimbo, trying to appear graceful while exuding awkward attempts at balancing.
We live in a world where we "tell all" (what we had for dinner, what our pets are doing, what our neighbors are up to) but where our hearts are seldom spoken. And if we do speak them, we don't speak them all.
When I speak all of my heart, it is terrifying to do so. I feel so vulnerable, so exposed. I cannot help but tremble and be tearful when I speak like this, open-heartedly. Recently, in sharing a dream of mine, I learned it was entirely out of my reach, and I nearly wished I had not spoken my heart's desire. And yet....as the days pass I feel the love I have given myself by speaking it, and the deep trust of the other in my sharing of it. And I have the courage to do it again. Courage, it seems, grows with the practice of it.
Thank you, dear reader, for welcoming my words into your own heart. You encourage me to keep speaking them. xo
The order of things has been on my mind. And the universe gave me the above unicorn wisdom in the midst of my pondering. And it then double nudged me with this quote from Tony award winner Andre De Shields: Slowly is the fastest way to get to where you want to be. Oh! Maybe I'll take a long nap to be sure this sinks in. Isn't the order of things THINK, NAP, KNOW?
But fear (like loneliness and sadness) are just tiny specs of the many things that are Lola. It isn't right that it should hold such power and demand so much attention. For now, I am only getting comfortable with the idea that I can be constantly uncomfortable. Sitting in the hot seat and looking at the thing makes me squirmy. Can I really do that all the time? Maybe. Because the discomfort says I am challenging the thing instead of looking away. Facing fear is an ironic bravery, isn't it? It says I am not afraid of being afraid.
In the studio, a week of letting the paint dictate the art felt like a long exhale. Wooooooosh. Like this piece, which began with some watery layers on Yupo and then looking for the shapes within the paint. Seeing the floating woman immediately, I smiled. The art, it seems, wants to express my thoughts.
The color palette is swiped from a photograph. The ethereal trees are carved into the paint, painted over with veils of transparent washes, then lightly and loosely (sort of) painted again with a chopstick dipped in titanium white. The hard edged rectangles keep her from becoming unmoored within the painting. She floats, but she won't float away.
Well, you see what's happening over here, don't you? It's all stuff and nonsense now! At least in half of the studio. The other half has a large figure in process, with about 70 of the 80 million requisite layers done.
There is something deeply satisfying about this teeter-totter between the whimsical and the serious. And sometimes one flows into the other - like the color palette of this crow, which was fully stolen from the figurative piece. Which was, in turn, swiped from a photograph.
So I suppose the lesson here is this: play hard, think hard, steal colors from everywhere. And when in doubt, put a bird on it. :)
Which got me thinking about the impact we have on each other in the world - this big, confusing world of superpowered humans and precious individuals, and the heaviness or lightness of our footsteps. I want to walk gently. And so you get a double-dose of quotes today!
I want to walk lightly, even joyfully, through whatever days I am given. I want to laugh easily. I want to step carefully in and out of people's lives and relationships. I don't want to tread any heavier than necessary. - Steve Goodier
You light-stepping big-loving super-powered human, I wish you a day of joyful walking and heaps of easy laughter. xo
Instead of charcoal and brushes and paper towels, water and paint, there was sandpaper, a Dremel, more sandpaper, olive oil, a torn paper bag (for buffing) and a new-to-me glue called PaleoBond. Along with a lot of studying of fossil images to see how this little one might have been splayed if she had been fossilized. It's an incomplete skeleton, and the bones have been arranged largely to suit my sense of composition, so they are likely all in the wrong places. And it is an unnerving, daunting task to take two rare things (a beautiful burl and a precious skeleton) and then do stuff to them. Oy! But it seems, in the end, a relic-worthy setting for a bird long lost in the sand.
About the art: beginning with a colored-pencil sketch on gesso'd wood, adding layers upon layers and watching her personality emerge. A little sprinkling of gold leaf on the horn, and a tidying layer of paint.
Jen Jovan and her imaJENation