A warm spring day. A cat stretched out and rolling on the dirt path. The delicate white bloom and bright green leaves of a wild onion plant spills over the pathway's stone edge. They seem to be engaged in a conversation, Zeus's tail and the onion plant. Stranger things than that can happen!
Oh my -- the one year anniversary of this blog has come and gone without me mentioning it!!! How did that happen? Well, you know, they say time flies when you're havin' fun!
I began this blog on January 25, 2009, with a blog post entitled Freedom. My intention was to attempt to move steadily into my creativity and art making, and chronicle these endeavors in a blog.
I was drawn to the phenomenon of art blogging and wondered if I too could use this internet journaling as a way to explore and challenge my creativity and inner processes. For many, many years I had danced away from my creative talents. Creating collages and exploring myself in relation to them was something that I would do in spurts, with many dry years passing in between. It occurred to me that I could create artful goals and challenges for myself, announce them online, and then hold myself accountable online as well. Perhaps blogging would provide a vehicle that would stimulate and reinforce the creative habit. As a reality check, I also began my blog acknowledging the side of me that was a worrier with depression as a frequent friend, and all too willing to procrastinate and hide under the covers.
Many, many years ago I read a short story by Catherine Petroski, Beautiful My Mane in the Wind. I resonated deeply with the feeling of the young girl who would pretend she was a horse when things got tough. So it seemed appropriate that my blog's name should reflect that feeling. My Mane Blowing in the Wind represents the me that desires to move through life creatively, with freedom, and confidence -- like a horse running over the hills with its mane blowing in the wind -- or a girl on a motorcycle with her hair whipping behind her -- or a Hollywood starlet in a red MG with its top down. See you get the picture!
After a year and a bit of posting, I have to say that my blog has been exactly what I wanted it to be. I have set creative goals and met more of them than those I have not. I have met and made friends with some terrific people out in the blogging world. I am also not so worried anymore. I am enjoying the process, and I find that as I move on down the road, there is always another door to open, one more cup to drink from, another kite to fly. And most surprisingly -- there is growing sense of freedom -- my mane is blowing in the wind!
2009-10 Daily Journal Page Challenge -- Day 356: Work Your Magic
When I started this personal art challenge last year -- creating one journal page a day for a year -- I was curious to see if I'd stick with it. I was determined to bring my creative talents to the forefront but I knew how easy it would be for me to walk away. I am delighted to report that I made it to day 356! What an amazing and relatively easy journey it's been to achieve this small miracle. As a result of sticking to my guns, I have seen over the year a leap in my creative output. I have to admit that I'm still not generating steady income, but I will not throw the bebe out with the bathwater! Thanks to all of my friends, both online and in my life. There exists in the heart and soul a magical universe, it is up to all of us in big and small ways to believe and affirm this.
During this art challenge I filled 15 journals over the year! These are the terrific PaperBlanks Mini journals. Just love these little babies -- compact, beautiful covers that I can ornament -- or not, easy to transport, easy to fill. To read my first post about my Daily Journal Page Challenge go here. To see all of my pages visit my Flickr slideshow.
2009-10 Daily Journal Page Challenge -- Day 355: Float on Air
Wild thoughts occupy my brain this afternoon. What if a new way of relating is coming into being? What if it's based on fullness instead of need and hunger? What if you could reach out with your awareness and your beloved was there with you? What if separation -- i-ness, you-ness, we-ness -- did not exist -- only a united flowing, a changing, a moving as one? What if it's here, now?
On more day for my personal art challenge to come to a conclusion!
2009-10 Daily Journal Page Challenge -- Day 354: Unchain My Heart
Don't ask me what my pages mean. Often I just take images and colors and bits of this and that from different sources and slap a piece of text on it. But sometimes a page does reflect my inner process. Take this woman here -- great haircut, beautiful hair color, young, fresh -- and miserable. She doesn't see that she's the one who chained her heart to some tree trunk somewhere. She doesn't see that she's the one who can unchain herself. She's determined to hang onto that tree trunk, that chain. Maybe letting go might be more problematic than where she is now.
Gee, have I been there before? Yep? Am I there now? Nope. It's a whole different story now, and boy I'm looking forward to seeing how it unfolds.
2009-10 Daily Journal Page Challenge -- Day 353: All of Me
Sometimes I feel I've lived 100 different lives, been 100 different people...all during this lifetime. That makes for a lot of conflict because many of these lives and personas seem to be occupying the same time frame. All though this has led to a creative life, there is also not a lot of energy left. Well, I guess I could probably manufacture some more, because I have this inate ability to create different personas. Should I be on medication? Nah, how boring. Too bad I didn't become an actress!
2009-10 Daily Journal Page Challenge -- Day 352: Passion Counts
We are so conditioned to think that passion has to be between two people, However, passion can definitely be a solitary experience. Living a passionate life means throwing oneself exuberantly, gladly, into an experience in the moment. It requires one's presence, one's complete attention. A partner is not a prerequisite.
As I continue along with my erratic practice of drawing, I drew this piece on the spur of a moment on a 8" x 10" canvas. It uses pencil, ink, watercolor pastels, chalk ink pads, and pen markers. That day I had been driving through the Petaluma farmland -- the hills were so green, and the barns were so dark in contrast. I always love to look at the old (and new) farm buildings along country roads. These structures are always so interesting to me, probably because I spent a lot of my childhood exploring barns and sheds in the Kentucky landscape. I was doing some collages and then just felt the desire to draw something. This is an unfinished piece. I am not sure where to go with it -- or even if I need to. But I wanted to post it and if I make any changes I'll repost with the results. What I liked about it most was the softness of the sky and the hillsides. The barn is a bit hard. But overall the piece is satisfying.
2009-10 Daily Journal Page Challenge -- Day 349: A Leopard Can't Change
Really? Do we ever really change? We can gussy ourselves up, gloss things over, go into denial, even ignore the sore and angry and pitiful parts of our self. (Even try to outrun them.) But when push comes to shove they don't ever really go away. I think I need a body transplant, or maybe a brain transplant. Yep, that's ticket.
2009-10 Daily Journal Page Challenge -- Day 346: Connection at a Level
I believe most people wish and desire and dream and hope for a connection with others that is fun, passionate, complete. Unfortunately in this world, this goal is seemingly impossible. Yet the desire remains, and poets write about, artists paint it, singers sing it, actors act it. Is it all one big illusion? Perhaps. Yet I believe that the desire to light up oneself and another cannot be a lie. The desire itself speaks the truth. How we manifest it in our lives is to be found in our essential spirit. And that is a process that has its own rhythm.
2009-10 Daily Journal Page Challenge -- Day 345: Awakening the Self, Discovering Joy
It seems these days, joy is an elusive creature, a ghost of its former self. I think of the woman I used to be, the girl that knew joy and expressed it with abandon, almost capriciously. I wonder if I've seen too much, experienced too much -- not only in my life, but in the world at large. It's not that I don't have joyful experiences, but a continuity has not yet come into being. One that I know exists. It's there -- I can feel it, almost touch it. Perhaps it will surprise me when I least expect it, take me in its arms and fill me to the brim. It just takes unadulterated awareness and a perseverance beyond reason to claim it.
From art journal described in this post. Oh boy, isn't this the truth? We are so molded by habits and routines and shoulds and shouldn'ts and can'ts and wonts!You've got to retrain your brain to stay fresh, alive, vital. Tonight I taught one of my Pole Dance intro workshops. The oldest woman there was 70 years old and had gone through10 surgeries on her knees and feet over the past few years. She was limited in her movements, but as she moved within her range of motion, she started to loosen up and you could see the edges of her fear and defeat soften. She said that she had signed up for the class so that she could have a different experience of herself than the crippling, self-defeating "I can't" person she had become. I applauded her willingness to step up, take a major risk, and do something like this.Amazing.
2009-10 Daily Journal Page Challenge -- Day 340: The Heavens
The heavens are a woman loved by a man, a man loved by a woman. It takes a surrender that goes beyond understanding. It takes a body that can open to all of the feeling and life and passion it always knew existed. It takes a persistence, a faith, and a willingness to look at the whole picture and the courage to move beyond one's beliefs and perceptions. It is seemingly impossible, and yet achievable.
2009-10 Daily Journal Page Challenge -- Day 338: I Have Secrets
Who doesn't? Secrets are like smoky, hazy landscapes of your mind. It only takes a split second and there you are hidden among the ruins (or temples), wandering, running, skipping through villages and towns and cities that are vacant or populated with feelings and images and faces of your own making. You can get lost in them for minutes, days, years. Extremely satisfying, frustrating, exciting. Yet only for the moment. What can you do? Live through them -- until you don't need them anymore.
My sister Mary and I spent another enriching vacation in Mexico together this past month. We created art at all hours of the day and night, power walked the early morning streets of La Penita de Jaltemba, and drank cappuccinos seaside in the afternoons, watching my dolphin husband Munro body board in the Mexican surf. A glorious, healing, life-affirming seven days in which we renewed ourselves creatively and lovingly affirmed the importance of each other in our lives.
This year we created artist trading cards (ATCs) for one another (I'll post some of these later. I also brought two small Paperblank journals for us to alter. Mary's book is filled to the brim with positive, self-affirming pages that spill out from between the covers. My pages vary between self-reflective, playful, serious, wishful. I also tried to draw a bit and would often collage over some of my drawings. Both journals are soul-full, burst with color, and are a bit confrontive -- just like we are. I'll be posting more journal pages from that vacation as I get the time to upload them.
2009-10 Daily Journal Page Challenge -- Day 333: A State of Being You Can Realize
Living this life requires an extraordinary level of patience -- and compassion -- for one's self. Focusing on one's limitations/achievements, wins/losses, goodness/evilness is just a way to keep to the status quo. Judgment -- self-judgment -- does nothing. I would even say it's a tool of the devil -- an encouragement to stay in the same place you've always been in, whether that be a literal or figurative place of being. However (lucky for us) there is power in seeing the truth and a power in self-acceptance. There is freedom, there is motion. There is faith.
Welcome! My Mane Blowing in the Wind is a visual showcase of my art, oriel pendant necklaces, and creative musings. I have danced toward and away from art for the past 28 years. Much of the moving away from was due to what I guess you could call "artistic paralysis": I heard the muse but went internal with it instead of externally expressing it through art. But somehow my art keeps emerging and recently it seems to have taken on a life of its own. This blog is a record of that discovery.