An Artist's Quest

October, a Slow Striptease

I’ve been meditating on the meaning of October these past few weeks as I worked on my ode. This October has been typical of other years, swinging from rain in the beginning of the month only to spin and twirl back into warms days and mild nights again.  As the month winds down there is a more persistent crisp cool in the air tempered by the warm glow of the long angled sun that runs her finger smoothing all the sharp edges in a gentle caress.  After the rain came the grey gold hills surrounding this little valley suddenly popped a gaudy green, a perfect stage for the slow striptease performance-taking place out in the October vineyards that line the river and gnaw along the edges of the hills.  In the summer the greens and golds all blend together and it’s hard to see where one thing stops and another starts, but October has stripped off her outer garment to first expose a demure pale yellow-green petty-coat, and then, this week tossed that aside for a more lurid and vivid yellow-orange-red windswept bustier and matching pantaloons.  This performance has a few more weeks to go, and it will be a long slow reveal before this valley is stripped bare and lies naked in the winter fog.

As the days pass to weeks the layers and intricacy of the landscape are more visible, more complexity is exposed.  The show in the fields is a metaphor for a little life lesson. This month I have had a bit of a wake up call, a pinch (more a slap really).  I was showed, in no uncertain terms, that life and living is complex and to pay too much attention to one aspect of this life and ignoring others puts the whole tricky balancing act in peril.  As many of you know I started this blog a little over a year ago.  It’s launch coincided with my taking a leap into a life lived through art.  I quit my teaching job at a parent education preschool because I felt strongly that while it is a wonderful school with a mission I believe in, it wasn’t my mission and that I needed to do art, teach art, and write to be whole and true.  I’ve done that this year and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, my mind and soul have been liberated.  But along this journey, while my art heart was soaring, I’ve been sitting, a lot.  Sitting at my computer doing freelance graphics and writing and of course blogging, sitting at my desk in my studio, sitting at my sewing machine.  When the finger in my right hand went numb I blamed it on tense muscles, I changed my workstation, a little, but not enough.  I got a massage, went to the chiropractor and finally after almost nine months, I went to the doctor, got my neck x-rayed, only to find that the bones in my neck are degenerating to the extent that the pinching I feel is is not knotted muscle but bone on nerve! Yikes that can’t be I’m only 49!  But here’s the October lesson- there are layers of our life, just like the multi-tiered layers of the landscape and sometimes it takes a little cold snap and little dash of rain to reveal their edges.  The good news is that with core strengthening, and a lifetime commitment to more, and varied exercise, this doesn’t have to impede my life and love, but if I ignore it, slide back into the idea I’m too busy to take care of this layer of my life, it will come back and bite me hard and put both my body and my art in peril.  So thank you October for the big reveal, I have my art, loves of my life in family and friends but I can’t ignore the body. I need attend to all the layers of my life.  I hear pole-dancing is the latest exercise craze, I’m sure that builds your core muscles, ughm… maybe that’s what Octobers slow striptease is trying to teach me… don’t worry I won’t blog about that!

To learn more about this October painting and other works from this blog and beyond go to


6 responses

  1. Mary Anne

    October: the year is ebbing away in a blaze of colors. Then the quiet time, winter, arrives and I focus inwards on goals accomplished, lessons learned, the glimmers of new ideas. My creative self continues to be active but the pace is less hectic, less demanding – in line with my environment. I take long walks, stretch my muscles and revel in the seasons of my live.

    October 29, 2011 at 7:10 am

    • Sounds like a practice I should follow thanks for your comments

      October 29, 2011 at 4:43 pm

  2. Pamela

    Dear Lisa,
    I feel for you. I feel in March at the coast and blew out thee dics. It is a recovery process, but one that that can be done without medication. I have a wonderful friend form Norway, I will share all of her thoughts, and cures.
    My thoughts to your health.

    October 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm

  3. Thanks for you concern, I know a lot of us are struggling with our bodies, something we may have taken for granted for years, is now becoming the most persistent squeaky wheel on the wheel barrow of life! Lisa

    October 31, 2011 at 1:27 pm

  4. Beth Foote

    Thanks, Lisa, for your post about taking care of one’s body, something I’m paying attention to these days, also. Beth

    November 12, 2011 at 10:49 am

    • Boy it’s hard to keep it up! even though I have been thoroughly spanked I still have to talk myself into it half the time, you keep at it, and so will I. Lisa

      November 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm

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