4″ x 4″
” Art is the sustenance that feeds the soul through the winds of change.”
Life and art are all about change. Sometimes you go with the flow. Sometimes the flow knocks you in the head and threatens to draw you under. Other times you drift along with the breeze. Whatever way it comes, you can be sure life will change one way or another. And when it does, art changes with it.
This has been a year of big change for me. Some sweet, some bittersweet, some downright sad. And with it, my art has changed too. It would seem that a year of turbulence would reflect the same in the art. That is not what happened for me. As life went up and down, my art became more about peaceful beauty, nature and growing things. The more stress and darkness happened, the more lightness and harmony showed up in my work.
This time last year was rocking along nicely with a new home, notification of a soon to be published article, a group of artists coming together to form a new nonprofit, and finding a wonderful little church of artists. It seemed that life was sweet. Then the painful hit. Both of my parents passed away within a week of eachother. Along with their passing came the inevitable dirty family laundry. Life is so much simpler when I can ignore family drama. Ignoring was not an option this year.
As the roller coaster of change steamed along so did art. Art is the sustenance that feeds the soul through the winds of change. So it was with me. My art became about the places I found emotional release. The garden was one. My dear friend, Charleen Herrick, gave me the seeds for a butterfly/hummingbird/songbird garden. In the garden, I found peace and so did my art.
Mountain Stream Close up
A close up shot of water tumbling over the rocks of a mountain stream.
Last year I didn’t plant a butterfly garden because I had just moved in to a new home. This year, thanks to a wonderful friend who gave me the seeds, I did plant one. The rewards are worth the time and effort. The realtor who sold me the house gave me a patio swing as welcoming gift. Now I can sit out in the evenings on the swing and watch the butterfly show. Hummingbirds and goldfinches are all over too but I’m not quick enough with my camera to catch them yet. Working on catching them with paintbrush instead. I hope you will be as refreshed as I have been watching the beautiful butterflies.
Some of the photos in the slideshow are from previous butterfly gardens. The old are mixed in with the new as seasons come and go.
People like to tease us in Tennessee for shutting everything down for winter storms but we have enough sense not to drive on a solid sheet of ice no matter how hard we get teased. Shutting everything down affords the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of a world of ice crystals. We save gas not driving on ice and we spend time enjoying the magnificent sight of a landscape of glistening diamonds. It won’t last long so we must enjoy it while we can. The temperature will be back up this week end and the wonderful, magical crystal and diamond world will be gone.
Christmas tree 2014
Paper Plate Christmas tree
Paper Plate snowflake
Christmas Light bulbs
Creating is a response to the gift of life. Rosalind Pinsent (from The Painter’s Keys)
There are all kinds of comments and opinions on Christmas trees that crop up every year about this time. Creativity is one example. A Christmas tree is a statement of creativity. That creativity comes in many forms. Some like to have a color-coordinated tree. Others are all about the lights. You name it and people have a creative expression with their trees. My tree is all about eclectic creativity. This year added some new examples.
I have never had a color coordinated or designer tree. I have an “artsy” tree. My tree has some childhood ornaments that I love, like the angel that got chewed on by the cat. One year I made a few elaborate ornaments. My first tree in my first apartment was done on a shoestring budget and decorated with cheap ribbon. I loved that ribbon tree! This year four very special little girls decorated my tree and added their own creativity to the mix.
Looking at my tree this year has made me want to celebrate creativity. This year adds a paper plate cut out Christmas tree and paper plate cut out snowflake, a light bulb with ribbon hanger, and two yard-ornament egrets brought in from the garage to become Christmas tree ornaments instead. The paper plate cut out Christmas tree hangs alongside a hand-tied bow from the ribbon tree. The light bulb ornament and paper plate snowflake are hung with some of the ribbon from that first tree. The egrets have a grouping of other items beneath them that I am not sure of the meaning of but love it. Each ornament is unique and special in its own way.
Christmas time is a time of being thankful for giving and receiving gifts. Creativity is a wonderful gift to be thankful for. A Christmas tree is evidence of that gift.
“Create we must, and respond to this dark hour.” Makoto Fujimura
The artistic process for many can be a compulsion, striving to express an idea, a thought, a feeling bubbling up from deep inside. The expression is often not consciously mulled over before erupting into reality. How much time is spent reflecting on the purpose of the churning creative urge before releasing the explosion? What if this flow of artistic need is consciously directed in such a way as to nourish the human heart?
Even in the midst of the direst of poverty, the soul seeks beauty. Anne Ciccoline of Creator, Created, Create and leader of Creative Communion, describes her trip to Nairobi where she was taken to Kibera, the largest urban slum in Africa. Anne was captivated at the sight of a mud hut with an entrance adorned with strips of fabric and a tin can planter with a green vine growing up the side of the hut. Anne says, “…no matter how primitive or impoverished our shelter, we strive to make it beautiful.” Beauty lightens darkness as nothing else can.
The human heart longs for beauty. Our darkest hours are brightened by the simplest of beautiful sights. When there is nothing else, there is still beauty. Artists have a gift. Are we seeking to use it in a way that demonstrates gratitude for the gift? What better expression of gratitude could there be than for artists to bring the longed for beauty to the hearts of others? Creating art to nourish the soul is a noble purpose, a goal worth pursuing. And that is a beautiful thing.
Mako Fujimura talks about his painting, “Golden Sea”