This piece was created over a couple of days, while I retreated to my summer getaway on Vashon Island. Its where I was born. This is the first year, since I had my son, that he did not come with me. I missed him so much–and all the rituals we usually share. Someday, when he’s not committing adolescence, and grown out of teenage hood, we’ll share our beach walks, our trips to the tea shop for reading & Majong, and our beach fires again.
This year, I truly did enjoy painting and breaking for beach walks. Eating minimally, journaling, reading Billy Collins’ poetry and laughing out loud with no one. Reading a whole biography of Annie Liebowitz. Painting some more. Podcasts. Listening to the soft waves while going to sleep at night. Feeling the passage of time. So bittersweet.
I love poetry. I love its density of images and the way it makes me cry. Rainer Maria Rilke is a favorite. I thought he–was a she–for years. I’ve interspersed a favorite poem by him between photos of this piece:
Go To the Limits of Your Longing
-Rainer Maria Rilke
God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
Before I talk about painting this bluebird girl, here are some other intriguing tidbits from the illuminating James Altucher:
Your Awareness is the average of
*the 5 things that inspire you the most
*the 5 things you eat
*the 5 things you think about most often
*the 5 things you read
….My thoughts need an upgrade. My food, friends, sources of inspiration, reading materials are all great. I’m lucky. And focused. But when it comes to thoughts….ugh my brain goes over the most boring things again and again. “That needs cleaning” “I need to finish that” “I’m late” “Where is Julian, now?” “More dishes” “I have to get something done” “How much time do I have left?” “I’m going to write that down” “Has he done his chores” ~an endless chattering of stupidness
What would I rather be thinking? In order to upgrade my average OVERALL thinking platitude? “That would be awesome to paint” “I’m going to go paint right now” “I love him” “I’m so lucky” “I feel great” “Everyone is so special” “I am a being of light”
I’m trying to bring in more mindfulness these days. A walking meditation of sorts. Here’s a great definition:
“Mindfulness is being present to whatever is happening. Without judgement”
Here’s some recent painting–while staying in Mindfulness. Or at least thinking I am.
Letting black paint and water run down through the piece.
This looks finished, but went through several more changes as all my paintings seem to.
I’ve been painting and pondering parenting. On Father’s Day. Here’s a gorgeous thought from William Martin in The Parent’s Tao Te Ching~ dedicated to Howard, who’s way better at this, than me:
Reward & Punishment Be careful of rules for your children. Rules diminish responsibility. Be careful of rewards for your children. Rewards diminish self esteem. Be careful of punishments for your children. Punishments diminish trust.
Let lessons be imposed by the nature of things, not by your own agendas or your own needs…
Don’t tell me this is overly simple. Perhaps the most courageous act of any parent’s life will be that moment when, even though it breaks your heart, you stand aside and let your children take the natural consequences of their actions.”
Here’s the final version of this painting, recycling a canvas, with the hand and eyes finally capturing her mood. 🌿
I love this looney sonnet so much, I want to marry it. Here’s a painting, that, like all my paintings, changes enormously before it finally reaches a place that I start liking. Sonnets work that way for me, starting dry, intellectual and then warming up into a blaze of emotion and insight.
All we need is fourteen lines, well, thirteen now,
and after this one just a dozen
to launch a little ship on love’s storm-tossed seas,
then only ten more left like rows of beans.
How easily it goes unless you get Elizabethan
and insist the iambic bongos must be played
and rhymes positioned at the ends of lines,
one for every station of the cross.
But hang on here while we make the turn
into the final six where all will be resolved,
where longing and heartache will find an end,
where Laura will tell Petrarch to put down his pen,
take off those crazy medieval tights,
blowout the lights, and come at last to bed.
I loved acting and all things Shakespeare in college. I memorized and performed 3 sonnets to a thoroughly surprised 400 level Shakespeare English class in 1987. It won me English Student of the Quarter, even though I was just mimicking Ian McKellen. That summer, I played Ophelia in summer stock’s wild west version of Hamlet. Apparently, you can drown in those cowboy boots, “too much of water hast thou Ophelia drunk.”
I’m loving quinichridone azo gold. I wish I could dye my own hair with it! I’m also using it in skin tones mixed with lots of GAC for a transluscent effect I adore. Here is a piece that took several goes before I could integrate her Egon Shiele-inspired hand to integrate with her mood. And her hair. ^.^
I’m in Zion Canyon this week. Hiking up into the most majestic places I’ve ever been. My breath taken away. Dizzy with depth perception! Some very high areas have narrow pathways along sheer walls –chains bolted in –with which you grasp onto for your life.
Here’s how it feels in charcoal and paper and paint–to push thru raw fear–and love it.
From my workshop #Entwined, #misty mawn. Portraits. Portraits. Portraits. How endlessly fun and challenging it is to draw and paint their moods. I love building up layers of skin tones, rubbing lines out with gauche, re-highlighting parts, etc. Its like a strange puzzle that I am drawn to doing over and over.