I have been busy, I feel like I’m always busy – I am in perpetual motion and while I proport to be an artist not enough of my time is spent making art. By far I spend more time promoting my art workshops, designing new workshops, writing about new techniques, and teaching than I do making. I am forever in an internal conversation about the balance of teaching and making. I do enjoy both and to be frank I couldn’t make a living on just the art – people hunger to open up their creative hearts and I love to help them through my workshops. But sometimes I want to make for the making, not because I’m going to teach a workshop and I need a sample, not because I’m going to write a magazine article and need to pitch an idea – just make. So, this week despite an anvils weight of anxiety about all the things I need to do for an upcoming workshop and art sale, despite the fact that there are always contacts I should be making and connections I should be deepening, and despite the absolute mess in my studio, despite all this I chose to make. And what do you suppose I chose to paint? A still life. What a wonderful term – Still Life.
Still –noun -deep silence and calm; stillness – Synonyms quietness, silence, stillness, hush, soundlessness, noiselessness, calmness, calm, tranquility, peace, peacefulness, peace and quiet, serenity
Life –noun – the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death – Synonyms existence, being, living, animation, aliveness, entity, sentience, creation
What an interesting parring – perhaps that is why artists are drawn to create a still life. Something in the tug between stillness and animation the juxtaposition of tranquility and change. A still life is capturing a quiet moment in the act of changing. The fruit will wither the flower fade the moment in between is caught up in the still life.
Unbeknownst to me – in the chaos of my week, my month, my year – still life called. Despite that fact that I didn’t have time for making this week, I didn’t have room for making this week- still life called. I’m so glad it did and I’m so glad I listened. The making of these two paintings calmed me, readied me, revived me. The stillness in the action brought me back into my body and breath and made me ready for this weekend’s teaching – this month’s selling and showing.
I give thanks to the universe for showing me this perfect persimmon, this fecund pomegranate and whispering in my ear to stop, to make and observe this quiet, abundant moment – to allow and honor – Still Life.
Well summer is waning, don’t say it I know what your thinking “but it’s not even Labor day yet!” – true enough but for me – here – ordinary time has begun. School is back in session and I back to my classroom of kiddles, summer camps are over here at The Bishop’s Ranch, and summer visitors have all come and gone, my son is back at college. For me this is a perfect time to make some resolutions – create new habits, and get into gear with the habits I let slide in the extraordinary days of summer. So I’m back to my yoga class and morning hikes, I’m back to my breakfast of oats and quinoa and now I am adding flossing every day – I know what you’re thinking “she doesn’t floss everyday?” I confess I don’t and I’ve been lying to my hygienist for years but this week I have flossed every day! More importantly I have decided I want to meditate every day – a bit of flossing of the mind if you will- loosening of the flotsam and jetsam that clogs the mind and gently pushing it out. I have set the bar low to start I have been meditating 10 minutes a day. I figure if I can start that habit and prove to myself that I have the time then I will stretch it out longer as the fall progresses. I have to say I feel it, my teeth and gums are vibrant and happy and so is my spirit – things feel less stressed less pressing… Ok I know it’s only been a week but really It’s good – I’m keeping this habit.
To commemorate the opening days of ordinary time I decided to start a art journal. I haven’t really done one – I have a sketchbook that is more about ideas and inspirations but just quick notes and scribbles. I found this 1960’s art book- that was titled “Modern Painting, Contemporary Trends”. The pages are nice and thick and not glossy at all. If you can believe it the color art photos are pasted in individually! Anyhow I lightly gessoed up some pages and decided to do something…. I remembered my thoughts about the return of ordinary times and decided to depict ordinary objects. My eyes landed on my scissors and a sewing needle. So here it is the first two pages in my art journal (pictured above) I used pencil, marker, watercolor crayons, tissue and other papers from my stash with some matte medium over the top – Oh Yeah and of course as you’ve probably noticed my favorite obsession, I did a little spray painting with stencils too. I promise to show you more as ordinary time continues!