A knowing look, a knowing smile…. the older I get the more I know I don’t know much. I don’t know the depths of someone’s pain, the meaning behind the smile, the gesture, the tone. The more I know the less certain I am of my certainty. That’s a good thing, I think. I’m teaching myself to be less judgmental, reminding myself I don’t really know what is behind or underneath the surface, that I can’t really walk in anyone’s shoes but mine. This painting is about the idea that the only way to know anyone or anything I must share myself – a laying bare, a nakedness, an openness. I’m thanking Eve in this painting; she is sharing the apple with me, telling me that to know any true thing at all I must share my true, naked self. I’ll try – the first bite is crisp and tart, sweet and juicy – like life, like love, like living.
Check out my schedule of workshops for the next nine months – I hope you can join me and get your creative juices flowing. Creative Workshops
A couple of weekends ago I taught a Mixed Media Art Journaling class at the Mendocino Art Center. The center is located in the quaint artsy coastal town of Mendocino in on the Northern California coast. It’s a beautiful little town and a lovely place to teach. On Saturday, after teaching, I made my way to the local bookstore and as I often do, I found myself thumbing through the poetry section. This poem of Mary Oliver’s spoke to me and I used it as my inspiration for my Sunday demonstration in my workshop the next day.
I Go Down to The Shore
I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in our moving out,
and I say, ok, I am miserable,
what shall –
what should I do? And the sea says
in it’s lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.
–Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
The poem speaks to where I am right now- “I have work to do”. I had a summer with busy parts and lazy parts, visits, travels and guests. It is wonderful to get out of the routine, get out of the ordinary, to play with the rhythm of the day and the rhythm of the week. But at some point it is time to return to ordinary time. There is comfort in the return – the structure of rising early, exercise, and getting down to the business at hand. This week was that for me, doing Ranch work, making sketches for a commission, meetings, emails, even this blog, all of it. My to-do list has been sitting ignored for some time now and this week it’s boxes were checked, things completed new items added. It is both daunting and invigorating to return. So forgive me if I brush past you in my bustle, like the sea, “I have work to do”.
Lately I’ve been exploring symbols. For my birthday last summer I got a couple of books on symbols. They explore, in great detail, the symbols humans have been making throughout time, religion and culture. From the 20,000 years old red cow deep in the caves of Lascaux to the most recent facebook thumbs up and texting emojis, humans have been trying to express through symbols the meaning of the world around us. It is interesting to me that some cultures went down a pictorial depiction path for their written language as in the ancient hieroglyphs of early Egyptian and Maya cultures all the way to the much morphed but still based in a picture symbol of Chinese and Japanese. It makes me wonder about languages that are base phonetically instead. Have our brains developed differently because of how we enter our written language? Does the visual come more naturally to those who have grown up with a pictorial based writing system? (Some PHD student out there take this on! Please). That is a very long introduction into my recent endeavor to create my own personal hieroglyphics my own code for ideas and thoughts and feelings. I don’t have any interest in other people understanding them these signs are for me. I’m filling up pages in my sketchbook with scribbles, x’s and o’x and crossing them out until one that is simple, and somehow true, reveals itself. It is an interesting exercise- one that has no beginning or end just a little wander into wondering. Here is my Mixed Media art journal with my symbol for LIFE.
I’m teaching a Mixed Media Art Journaling class in beautiful Mendocino California on August 6-7th here is a link for more info and registration > Mendocino Art Center Registration
Every year at this time I say I’m not going to get crazy with all the holiday this and that, and every year I really try to keep it under control. But the gatherings and the baking and the making and organizing is just part of the season, part of the harvest time of a rich relationship filled life and really I wouldn’t want it any other way. This year as in past years, I gravitate to the pomegranate as a symbol of the season. My pomegranate tree is hanging heavy with this wonderful fruit. It is like locked treasure chest with a thick leather case. Opening it is always fraught with the possibility of juice and jewels everywhere, but once it is open the reward is evident. The color, the shine, the multifaceted jewels filled with sweet, sweet juice there is nothing else quite so wondrous to me. So here’s to the season of abundance and wonder and a bit of hard work too, enjoy its sweet, sweet pleasures.
Here is a page from my art journal. I am excited to say I’ll be teaching a class in Mixed Media Art Journaling at the Mendocino Art Center the 1st weekend in August. I would like to teach more workshops like this if any of you have a suggestion of a retreat or art center that would be a good fit for my offerings please let me know and even better if you have a personal contact for me, I would really appreciate it!