At the Marin County Fair earlier this month and caught a picture of a Sleeping Beauty. Heaven for a pig? A little bit of mud, some clean shavings and a bit of oat straw, a yummy breakfast, a warm morning, and of course an unending stream of admirers in awe of your off-the-beaten-track beauty.
In the studio today, but it was difficult getting in there -- I procrastinated by finding lots of house things to do and errands to run. Why does it take so much effort to do something I like to do? Another one of those ongoing questions or self-inventory that has no immediate answer. Nevertheless I spent 3 hours in there today and caught up on journal pages. I also took photos of all of the beads I bought at a local bead show I attended on Sunday (can I claim the 3 hours shopping as an extra studio day???). I found a lot of beautiful semi-precious stone beads (snakeskin jasper, moss jasper, red agate, etc.) and crystal beads that I plan to use in my animal totem pendants.
I spent 5 hours again today in my studio. Some of the time spent with Sophie, some on my own. Today I made a shadow box out of an altered page calendar I did in 2004. Twelve artists each choose a month: mine was January. Cold, deep blue skies and constellations seemed appropriate for that winter month. Thinking of the constellation Pegasus, I found an old engraving on the net and used that image as my center piece. The background is book page about yearly resolutions; I handwrote mine -- see, create, dream, believe, imagine. It is such a lovely collage and it has been languishing on my art studio wall, so today I decided to give it a home by making it into a box. I found the perfect shadow box that has a hinged front. I painted the outside with Lumiere paints, gray, green, and halo blue/green. I happened to have a page of crystal stars and used them in varying sizes. Simple. I like going through my studio and completing projects, items that have just lain around gathering dust. Freeing up energy for new projects perhaps.
My grandmother was an important person in my life. She gave me a lot of structure and guidance. She was very creative -- she painted, drew, sculpted, sewed, sang acted -- and passed those talents through my mother to me. She was intelligent and could suss out any situation and any falsity in one second. She was also a very frustrated woman who never found happiness in her creations, and never took her talents to great heights, real or imagined. I have had this beautiful, but sorrowful pen and ink drawing by her hanging on my office wall. She made this in 1926, she was 28 years old. It features a naked woman crying or praying. It has always resonated with me, perhaps because I am the daughter and granddaughter of two creative, talented women who never did anything with their art. I have always had mixed feeling about this drawing -- probably because it was too close to the truth --I have lived the same life (and lie) only until a few short years ago when I decided to try to bring my talents out into the world. I am not famous, but my work and my jewelry is out there -- on the internet, in a published book, in people's homes and on their bodies. Today I took down my grandmother's drawing and added a Nelson Mandela quote (courtesy of Sophie) to the front of the glass: "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you, yourself, have altered."
Collage: My Darkest Hour by Virginia Simpson-Magruder, 1986
I went to hang it on my gallery wall, outside my studio and saw a collage I had made in 1986 -- I was not that much older than she was when she penned this drawing. I was struck by the similarities of the woman in the collage and my grandmother's, and I was struck by the appropriateness of the Mandela quote. And as I looked at both pieces, I saw that I am altered, I am no longer that person who suffers, or grieves, or is afraid to bring out what she has created into the world. That as I hold the awareness of that history of loss and sadness, it is being replaced with the opposite -- a woman of talent, beauty and the knowledge that I am exactly who I need to be right now, in this time, in this place. I also realized that today, July 16th, was my grandmother's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mimi, wherever you are.
Well, getting into the studio this week everyday was a bust. I just couldn't make art a priority. I could blame the 3 hours a day I spent at the Theatrical Camp I'm attending, but really that's only 3 hours out of 16 waking hours. So, what happened? It's not that I'm not being creative -- I think all my energy is just pouring into new venues -- new dance styles (Modern, Contemporary, Hip Hop) and acting, and singing lessons. Today I did spend 5 hours in my art studio. I finished my Earth in Balance Altered Book. I feel great about that -- and I had forgotten how much fun it is working in this medium. With this book I tried to express my feelings about the necessity of bringing back to the world the Feminine -- in order to heal and bring nature back into balance. I also filled the tin (Altoid) box with leaves, acorns, and animal power medicine cards, then tied it up with ribbon and slide it into the niche I had created in the book.
Today I worked again in my Earth in Balance altered book. As I began creating another spread in it, I had the idea to make a poster for an altered book workshop that I am going to be teaching at the end of the month. Using an AB spread would be the perfect vehicle, plus I can take the AB down to the studio and let it serve as an advertisement for the workshop.
Well today I spent 6 hours into the studio. Don't ask me what I did -- I haven't the foggiest. Well, that's not really true. I spent at least an hour straightening up in prep for Sophie who was coming for a session. I had at least 40 magazines spread all over the studio floor from the day before. I had to wade through a sea of magazines, in various stages of disarray, to get to my table, which was piled high with 10 different types of art supplies, strips of paper, ink pads, and flotsam and jetsam. I am definitely sure that even if I had an art space three times the size of this one, at least once a week it would be carpeted from wall to wall with magazines and books and containers of cut out images. I like having everything out there in front of me. Sophie and I went into the studio around 1:30 and didn't raise our heads till 5pm. I worked on today's Daily Journal Page Challenge, then I worked on my Mz.Adventures altered book. Everything I did felt disjointed, awkward -- nothing seemed to flow. But this is part of the creative process, right? And if I'm not willing to throw down my "crayons" and walk away, then I am just gonna have to hang in there and mess around with anything and everything I can get my hands on. Something will eventually emerge from the mix.
Well, I shamefacedly admit that I haven't met my challenge for a week. I could blame the holiday weekend, a number of social events, my enrollment in a month-long Musical Theater workshop. But the truth is I just didn't feel like making the time. I even got behind on my Daily Journal Page Challenge. Part of me has been gnawing on myself for not sticking with my goal. The other sees it just for what it is -- a slacking off from doing something that I really like to do. There are a lot of expectations I put on myself around creating. Around being responsible. Around doing things "right." Man, there are too, too many voices. And the voices just make things muddy. I just didn't want to go "in there". But today I stepped over my inertia and I spent my 2 hours in the studio. I seemed to spin my wheels a lot today, but I caught up with my journal pages, and I did one spread in my Earth in Balance altered book. Earth may or may not be in balance; I guess that's true for me to. But I'm keepin' on truckin'.
2010 Daily Journal Page Challenge -- Day 94: Discovering
There is a certain feeling I get when I start to discover things about myself and/or a situation. It is often a most unsettling, even uncomfortable, place to be in. And I'm not necessarily talking a bout "bad" things -- even new things bring a change. After living on this planet for over five decades, one can get a little settled in one's thought patterns. You know what I'm saying? But if you live life with a perpetual question, you are always learning about life, about you. Believe me, I wish I wasn't so conscious most of the time. Part of me longs to live in unadulterated bliss, eating chocolates, shopping, spas...laughing, singing, creating. But that moment of illumination often throws me into a topsy-turvy place, where I'm not sure what's up or down. Or I feel like ants are crawling on me. Or I want to sleep for hours at a time. It may last a minute. It may go on for hours, days, weeks. But once I get through that moment there's a "click", and somehow my world has been changed again. And I always know it's for the better.
2010 Daily Journal Page Challenge -- Day 91: I Will Always Feel
How many times do we feel split between reality and our dreams? Every day for me. Everyday. And some days I am more painfully of aware of it than others. Looking at today's spread, although the feeling that I was drawing from was an emotional dilemma, where I am constantly feeling split between the form of things and my inner yearnings, this spread's "voice" actually springs from a much deeper level. As I looked at the completed piece, I noticed that I unintentionally used three coins and 4 oak leaves. In tarot, coins represent the suit of pentacles, which deal with matters concerning the material world. Oak leaves represent the suit of wands, which deal with one's growth, spirit, and creative possibilities. Drawing the 3 of Pentacles in a tarot deck shows that your industry, application, and talents are paying off -- I've laid the groundwork, now I can reap the benefits. Drawing the 4 of Wands means I am in the full flow of life -- calm, steady and harmonious -- and ready to express my creativity and innate talents. Although on the surface I feel split: off-balance/steady mourning/celebrating, hesitating/rocketing forward; it seems I am in a very strong place, the most perfect place to be my most creative and productive self.
This spread means that I have achieved three months of my Daily Journal Page Art Challenge (Year Two), where I create a page a day and post about on this blog. You can go to Flickr to see the completed Year One, or click here to see the current year's (2010) postings.
"Time Travel" is a new category in which I highlight art that I have created over the past 30 years (or longer!). Kind of like my own retrospective, just so I can see what I have done. In the past, I have tended to forget, ignore, belittle and/or minimize my creative endeavors. And forget techniques that I've used in the past. What better time than now to take the time to revisit and take an accounting of what I have accomplished? Perhaps it will lead me off on a different track, down another road, or send some sparks and energy into my present. The above spread I created in an altered book round robin, which I participated in probably around 2005 or 2006. My subject was dreams, and the book I chose was a Modern Library 1950 hardback edition of Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams. I cut up snippets of dreams from old diaries of mine, and each artist created one or two spreads based on that dream segment. I love this book and the art that was created in it, both by me and the other artists in the round robin. The dream segment I chose : "September 12, 2005. The white horse comes rushing into my dream, leaping over the snake I let it loose in the grass. I feel powerful and vulnerable at the same time. These are feelings I've felt for centuries." The Snake is actually in 3D, resting on top of the image, and moves when you open and close the pages.
I spent a total of 4 hours in the studio today -- I'd say this was a good day. My friend Sophie came for a session and we had a really good time together inspiring each other to creative heights. I worked on four items: the cover of my altered book, newly renamed Miz Adventures (formerly A Round-Heeled Woman); completed my Daily Journal Page Challenge entry; and created one spread each in my "To Do" journal, and my "Oriel Biz" journal. I felt a little bit fractured -- I bounced back and fourth between my projects -- and although I felt a bit uncomfortable, I know that this place of unrest can be a very strong place for creative possibilities. I kept one eye on Sophie's progress and making suggestions for possible directions. One of the things I became aware of today was the phenomena by which you can start a collage with one very strong image and by the end it seems to lose it's energy (for that collage) and is discarded. I often will think I have to hold onto that "prized" image, that I have to make it work. Not so, it seems. The image may call in other images and then its work is done, or it can be used in another collage. Sophie had a lot of feeling around this image of a woman with her arms outstretched. I suggested that she give it some depth and strength by mounting it on illustration board and cutting it out. She placed it on a canvas, which she had painted and it drew in a lot of beautiful images. But soon it was evident that it no longer belonged on the canvas. I didn't want Sophie to nix the image, and was quite adamant about that. But I surrendered my opinion and kept working on my projects. When I lifted my head, Sophie had started on another impromptu collage using this image and boy did it find itself a home.
Sophie's Image Dancing the Light Fandango in a New Home
I had an unexpected visitor to my studio today. Actually I knew she was coming -- it was my friend Jen. She came up to work on my cat Angelina. Afterwards I invited her to come do art with me in my studio. I set her up with a children's board book and gave her some ideas on doing a collage spread in it and she just buzzed along. I like how her spread has a very light, organic feel to it. She picked one image of a young girl. I asked her who this was to her -- she said "me, me waiting to bring out the garden in me...". Well, I think she did!
Studio Time Challenge -- Day 4: Earth in Balance Altered Book
While Jen was working on her spread, I picked up another partially altered book from years back) and started to work on it. This was a book by Al Gore -- Earth in Balance. I had never gotten any further than gluing most of the pages together, cutting out a niche and making a drawer out of an Altoids tin. I did the front cover, which shows John Muir, an Indian woman making an offering, and one of my red-haired "ladies" (yes, one of my alternate selves), peeking out through the branches. I am certain Muir felt the feminine in nature. He definitely felt its sacredness. I have already spent my prerequisite 2 hours studio time for today, but am going back for more!
Snake Charmer Oriel Pendant and Matching Itsy Bitsy (front of both pendants)
This week's pendant is taken from a photo of a dance I performed a number of years ago. I played a snake in a Don't Quit Your Day Job Dancers performance about "fractured" fairy tales. Snake-y, beautiful music with Doree Clark choreography that utilized some of my belly dance training. And of course I crawled all over the stage. I made an Itsy Bitsy that could be worn with the Snake Charmer, using bits of the ribbons used on the front and back.
Snake Charmer Oriel Pendant and Matching Itsy Bitsy (backs of both pendants)
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.