Be Strong, Take Heart
This week a complicated convergence of ideas was at work in my spinning brain and in my little studio. I will try to explain what went on because somewhere in there I think is something important. It all started on Sunday when I made my monthly visit to the Ranch’s regular church service. This being advent the liturgy was focused on the anticipation of the coming of Jesus. At the very beginning of the service was a little repeated chant. This chant has a lovely melodious and melancholy tune that captured me and has run through my mind all week. The words are “wait for the Lord the day is near, wait for the Lord: be strong, take heart”. It is a sorrowful, beautiful tune. So with these thoughts swirling in my mind Monday I stepped into my studio for a rare full day to do what ever I wanted, no plan, no goal just the space and time to create. At first I was stymied, what to do? I looked through my sketchbook, nothing grabbed me, I sat staring at my studio wall and found my gaze on an old painting I did decades ago, a simple figure of a pregnant woman. I had painted it long ago, a different life ago. It had been returned to me last year by it’s owner who no longer wanted it and I had pinned it up, not knowing what to do with this painting that was mine but no longer me. But on Monday it spoke to me, pregnant with possibility. I set to cutting it up into squares. Then I cut some of the squares into full, round, pregnant mandala shapes, layering and stitching. This was interesting but somehow cold and structured, so I put a layer of paint, still not there, then I printed the chant in red letters, not quite. The words that kept rattling in my head from Sunday were “take heart”, so in the end that seemed the most important. So there it is; not beautiful or simple as the original figure, but layered and complicated, dark and hopeful, more me. And so as the days shorten it seems to speak directly to the darkest night. Here we are in a spiral of ancient traditions, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice and Christmas all beckon us to stand bravely in the darkness but look to the light. Be strong, TAKE HEART.
I’m taking a blog break for a little while I’ll catch up with you in the new year.