Categories: Arts, Journal, Nature
I’ve been busy creating but not posting. Here goes.
I’ve been busy creating but not posting. Here goes.
While I work on a larger canvas, sometimes I take time off from it to let my creative intuition develop. Yet there remains an urge to create. I bought some new paints and media to play with (Golden Clear Tar Gel, pouring medium, glaze, fluid acrylics). Here are three little pieces from recent days.
This first work is based on a photograph my cousin took. The light in the photo was so ephemeral, and I knew I wouldn’t capture that essence. So I went for a bolder look. My father grew up in Plattsburgh, NY, where the lake is. I sent this to him as a gift.
My daughter often suggests names for my pieces, and sometimes I take them! This one is called Autumn Splat. This one is sold.
Lastly, this piece! I’m always amazed what a few colors can do: two shades of green, yellow, burnt sienna, black, and white. This work is also sold.
This is my second painting done on a larger canvas. A friend of mine bought a townhouse in the area, which is a big achievement out here in the almost-most expensive housing market on earth. I offered a painting as a housewarming gift. Gradually the ideas of a colorful life and the density and intensity of urban living came to life in this work.
Some years, our family will “go to snow.” Last year there was none, so I took Claire to Los Angeles to look at dinosaurs. This year, despite there being plenty of snow, we didn’t get coordinated enough to go. We don’t ski, and there is only so much sledding one kid and two parents can enjoy. This has made for a quieter, somewhat duller break. Yesterday, Claire and I took a three mile walk in our neighborhood. She was very resistant at first, but after awhile and my gentle insistence, we discovered the joy of being outside. Her eye caught leaf impressions in a concrete sidewalk. We visited a small pond near our house. We played a game where she ran around and my task was to try to get a picture of her. We talked about friendships, and spiritual beliefs, and how to handle frustration. And we got silly. It was good medicine.
Almost six years ago I sat my first sesshin at Hazy Moon Zen Center. I did not return, for many reasons and rationalizations. But when my teacher put a winter weekend sesshin on the calendar, I committed to come. It was wonderful sitting with so many people and creating community. These are some small reflections on my experience. A huge rainstorm visited LA, unusual and impressive for California, and a gesture from nature that we might be worthy of deliverance from drought.
Practice has become a priority. Six years will not pass before I sit sesshin again.
Rain strikes the city
like a kyosaku startling
dusty streets awake.
The rain converses
with the windows
while water gushing
through gutters holds
a debate with the sidewalk.
Nearly six whole years past
the rooster still crows at dawn
in downtown L.A.
I met my match
outwaited her impatience
wrestled her on the mat
until she cried
not my way, the Way
and walked into the day.
I’ve learned I have some technical difficulties with comments here. I tried to fix the settings, but not all posts seem to allow comments without registering and logging in. No wonder I never seem to get comments any more! If you are participating in the Bloggy Bloggy swap, and the comments don’t work, please send your comments by private message on Swap-bot.
It’s late, and I’m exhausted. I volunteered as a Peace Ambassador at the San Jose march. The march was vibrant with loving and festive energy, creative and clever messages, and a wide diversity of people. About 25,000 activists attended. The Resistance has begun. At the end of the march were speeches, and there were many non-profit booths there. Because after the march comes the nitty gritty work.
If my album doesn’t show above, here’s a link: Women’s March – San Jose
And here is a link to the attending and supporting organizations for the Bay Area marches. Scroll down for San Jose.
For the last few weeks I have been working on a painting using a new type of canvas (to me) made of Belgian linen. It is incredibly smooth, and the paint glides on and blends beautifully. So I chose a palette and began to see what emerged. Two nights ago, I dreamt that I was pregnant. Most of the time I don’t recall dreams, so when I do, it has import. This dream felt so real. When I awoke, I was holding my stomach the way I did when I carried my daughter, feeling it taut and firm with life.
I finished the painting today. Sometimes when I paint I have an idea. Other times, as with this one, I start without an idea and work intuitively, without thinking and analyzing. Then I step back and see what I see.
This painting reflects a deep, intuitive exploration of the divine feminine within me and the earth. It makes me think of molten earth, the core of our existence. I also see a womb with an embryo, and an ovary, and the blood that makes the ground from which we arise.
I have gone through menopause in the past year, and now I am a crone. But while my physical body cannot create a human life anymore, I have graduated to creating life on a larger scale.
I want to thank my father for his recent gift that enabled me to purchase larger canvases!
“This old Chippewa I know – he’s about seventy-five years old – said to me, “Did you know that there are people who don’t know that every tree is different from every other tree?” This amazed him. Or don’t know that a nation has a soul as well as a history, or that the ground has ghosts that stay in one area. All this is true, but why are people incapable of ascribing to the natural world the kind of mystery that they think they are somehow deserving of but have never reached?”
– Jim Harrison
the hammock papers
We knew this day would come. We didn’t think it would be Christmas Eve. Claire began articulating suspicions a year ago. This year her friend in class has been arguing for weeks that Santa isn’t real. So, she began asking pointed questions. But she would ask the question and immediately follow with a rationale for why it couldn’t be us, before I could answer. Knowing it was coming, I cribbed this letter from someone else. Today she told her dad, “Please tell me, I really have to know.” So the letter was given, and we talked after. There can be a relief in knowing, even though there is sadness. (Possibly more for me than her!) Claire took it all in stride, with a maturity that I see evolving.
However, she says she still believes in the Easter Bunny (because she has the proof of a letter from him) and Tooth Fairy (because what parent would want to handle a bloody tooth, and keep them?), and that dragons are real.
No Longer Believing in Santa
“Sensations, from the beginning, involve a sort of doing. This means that, in an important sense, it is your doing self that brings your core self into being. You are responsible at the very deepest level for what it feels like to be you. But then, for your next trick, well, how about spreading some of that soul dust onto the things around you? Remember, too, that it is your mind that projects phenomenal qualities onto external objects. If you only knew it, you yourself are responsible for the feel of the world.”
– Nicholas Humphrey
Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness
And now, the Legend of the Christmas Spider
On Christmas eve, a long time ago, a gentle mother was busily cleaning the house for the most wonderful day of the year… Christmas day, the day on which the little Christ child came to bless the house. Not a speck of dust was left. Even the spiders had been banished from their cozy corner on the ceiling. They had fled to the farthest corner of the attic.
The Christmas tree was beautifully decorated. The poor spiders were frantic, for they could not see the tree, nor be present for the little Christ child’s visit. Then the oldest and wisest spider suggested that perhaps they could wait until everyone went to bed and then get a closer look.
When the house was dark and silent, the spiders crept out of their hiding place. When they neared the Christmas tree, they were delighted with the beauty of it. The spiders crept all over the tree, up and down, over the branches and twigs and saw every one of the pretty things.
The spiders loved the Christmas tree. All night long they danced in the branches, leaving them covered with spider webs. In the morning, when the little Christ child came to bless the house, he was dismayed! He loved the little spiders for they were God’s creatures, but he knew the mother, who had worked so hard to make everything perfect, would not be pleased when she saw what the spiders had done.
With love in his heart and a smile on his lips, the little Christ child reached out and gently touched the spider webs. The spider webs started to sparkle and shine! They had all turned into sparkling, shimmering silver and gold.
According to legend, ever since this happened, people have hung tinsel on their Christmas trees. It has also become a custom to include a spider among the decorations on the Christmas tree.