I once watched a documentary of the Rolling Stones creating a song in their studio. Unlike the drama and flash of their shows, it seemed tedious. But maybe not for them. Because sometimes shaping any creative endeavor is simply doing the work.
My last painting session was an all day affair of: paint on, paint off. At the end of the day, I hadn’t progressed the painting. But I had learned a lot by not doing what I normally do. I tried different things and discovered some interesting surprises. It was: Oh, so now my figure looks like a Diebenkorn, a soft edged Degas, a German Expressionist. In the end, nothing really jelled on the canvas that day, but…..
I have 2 sister-in-laws who are speed walkers. They remind me of some cartoon characters who have fast spinning wheels for legs as they leave me in the dust. I admire them. But me, I’m a rambler. I tend to amble on my hikes, looking at everything and enjoying it. And in art also. The mis-takes revel new avenues while I explore The Road Less Traveled. And in the end: Satisfaction.
Threshold Guardians show up as we are about to cross thresholds. Threshold Guardians want to keep us in our comfort zone, keep us safe, to prevent us from moving into the Zone of the Unknown (where our dreams and desires reside). In the Wizard of Oz, it was that gatekeeper who told Dorthy and friends that they couldn’t enter Oz, “no way, no how”. It’s a dangerous time stepping across Thresholds.
In my painting, Crossing the Return Threshold, our heroine falls from the sky through a blue neon threshold. In my life, it feels like the intense pressure of going through a birth canal. Flying Monkeys! Cackling Witches! Oh my, tigers and lions and bears…
I learned the phrase “Use Everything For Upliftment” in a workshop and I’ve always found it helpful. I’m putting my frustration into life’s compost pile and using it as fuel, as fire, as the energy to make healthy changes. At my yoga class yesterday, I was having trouble breathing and realized, I think this is what panic attacks must feel like. That was new. It made it really hard to do the postures, but fortunately the class was about finding our center, both physically and emotionally.
It was a different kinda day for me….I was dreamy, spacey, forgetful. And I’m Queen of Organized Lists and juggling many different activities. When almost falling asleep, I read a line in a book that completely calmed me. Basically it was: It’s either going to happen, or it’s not, and either way it will be what is meant to be. I felt relief. Like “yeah, I’m doing all I can do as best as I can, and now it’s up to…..”
Starting a new painting, “Crossing the Return Threshold”. This is when the hero/heroine leaves the special world of the Quest and begins the return home. What is the “special world”? For Dorthy it was Oz, for Jason it was his voyage, for me it was giving myself permission to spend a year+ in my studio creating this new series. After this painting, I only one more painting and all 13 paintings are completely done….
Leaving the studio means re-emerging to marketing my art. I feel like a caterpillar leaving the safety of the cocoon. But as I am also 100% frustrated with the financial struggle I have been having as I put out money for art supplies and work less at my day job to have time to paint, I am really happy about becoming a butterfly. Starving-Artist-To-Successful Artist-Butterfly. So, now I’m looking for a venue to show the entire series and video it. Then, I’m approaching the many great galleries here in Santa Fe. And at the same time, my children’s picture book is totally complete and I’m sending it to publishers. It’s a little scary and also really exciting! Just. Gotta. Have. Faith.
My earlier series was all about the feeling of peace and bliss from being in the wilderness. I hoped to share the joy I found in such a simple activity. My paintings were all about Beauty. “Beauty is a Primal Force, an antidote to the angst of our times” is my quote.
My current series is more focused on Truth. And my truth is: finding the time and money to paint while supporting myself working full time in a down economy is challenging. When I read about artists living in cold water flats, having to choose between buying cigarettes or food, it sounds Noble, Heroic, and Inspiring. Not so sure that living it has felt the same. At any rate, in the spirit of Truth, I’ve decide to write about it. So, you be the judge.