Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Path With Meaning

Inside the Chapel

Cross and Flowers

Light shining through chapel window

Stained Glass Window and Reflection

Statue and its Interesting Shadow

Daylily peeking from behind Metal Gate

Lately, I've been seeking images that connect to me on a deeper, more personal level. I was at Mayslake Peabody Estate the other day and found that chapels, buildings, statues and nature's floral displays all, in varying degrees, seemed to quench and revitalize my spirit. Though I don't go to church services per se, I still find religious icons and their symbolism a reassuring necessity, comfort for my evolving self. And when the light shines on them, making mysterious shadows, I do feel as if a higher power is standing next to me. I seemed to just float from one image to the next, and that trying so hard to get the right picture mood I sometimes get into was just not evident. Something else was guiding me. Doorways and rooms normally closed and sealed to the public were opened for me to view. Mystery and intrigue lurked around each corner, and my adventurous child self was awakened. Though the art fair that day fueled my creative imagination, I was glad that so much more was there inviting me in for a closer look. Shutting off my brain, feeling with my heart, and now here putting words down, all part of my process.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Evolving Self

Just finished above picture this morning. I call it "Evolving Self". I would call it a computer collage at this point. Three different face images I painted either in watercolor or acrylics were first merged together on the computer. And I was going to leave it at that. Then for some reason I felt a call from nature and decided to add a few flower images. I liked the twisted plant I took a photo of in a garden one day. I felt it as a connecting link relevant to the faces, which each are the same person, yet changing in growth. At the top right corner is a soft white plant (a photo) I took one day wandering in a religious convent area where nuns reside. I feel it has spiritual roots so thought I'd put it up by the crown chakra of the face I feel is in some torment to help ease its transformation. There is a lot of activity in this picture, maybe it's too chaotic. The twisty paint strokes (biomorphic in nature) serve to unite each image here. Relevant to me: Well, I feel I am embracing many many parts of me which causes me confusion, yet joy. And nature has always been my calm friend, I spend many days being soothed by it. So we shall see where this art piece goes. It's a collage, in my eyes, yes computer generated, but perhaps a start on my collage path. No, that's too limiting, how about on my path.

Friday, July 18, 2008

To Have Two Blogs or Not to Have

I've been wondering if having two blogs going is hampering or encouraging me. They are both quite similar, yet I'm feeling stimulated by having that "blog" freedom. Ah, well, for now I will keep them both. It's still too early in my blog life to even pose that question. I am so thankful that I've worked through some creative resistance just to get them up and running. Now, if I can just pick up the brush and start painting.........(Well, there's always the computer brush tools!)

The Computer - Its quirks and its magic

"Enlightened Bird"
Scanned Copy of Purchase Award Winner

Original bird painting - Watercolor and Pen and Ink
(Shown here is scanned copy)

Original painting scanned and color enhanced on Computer

I was thinking that as I'm still in the "ideas" stage of creativity, I am pulling out old paintings and playing around with them in photoshop. I wanted to post two pictures here, one before I tweeked the picture and the other after I pumped it up with computer color. (2nd and 3rd pictures represent this). Ultimately, I am determined, as I paint hands-on, to really brighten up the color in future creations so I don't have to tweek it, say on the computer. Relying on the computer can become a bit of a crutch, encourage laziness, sometimes take away from pureness of the art process. But, for me, right now, it seems necessary to get me moving out of my "limbo stage". Watercolor can be such a light medium, so transparent. Perhaps I'll use less water or try acrylics which seem to have more color impact. Good, the writings here are stimulating creative possibilities!
Anyway, I painted this little bird in watercolor and pen and ink and then scanned it into the computer during a computer art class. Somehow I hit a computer button, don't know which one and voila a reverse image of the bird appeared, almost skeleton-like in appearance. It won a purchase award and now hangs at the school. (Top picture shown above). I'm asked how I did it and honestly, I say I don't know. My fingers slipped on the computer keys, but I'd like to think that my creative spirit jumped in and took over. Yet, I was delighted with how intrigued the judges were. Soul Lesson -Sometimes when we let go of the how to's and the doing it rights of creativity, magic appears. I call this painting "Enlightened Bird", as it represents, to me, the purity of life, ultimately we want to be transparent and authentic enough to let our light shine through, dropping the shields that block us. Perhaps I'll write a poem about this piece, I feel it stirring within me. And I want to embrace more the magic and mystery of my creativity, so stay tuned.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Creative magic abounds all around

On days when I don't create art, rather than feeling frustrated, I need to remember how I can fill my well with images of what others have created, no matter what era they come from. I've always enjoyed life drawing and several of my art friends have recently shared their life drawing images. (Pastels, pencil sketches, even collage can be used to share an artistic vision). This has rejuvenated my own interest in doing life studies, especially of women. The above painting can be found at the Fine Arts Building, Michigan Avenue, top floor. It is a mural which has such a fantasy dream-like quality about it. As it took my breath away, I realized I too could do life studies but could add my own magical surrealism. It was so worth taking an old elevator, operated by a person (how nostalgic is that!) to see these creative treats. Perhaps they felt spiritual to me, these paintings, as they were on the top floor, so close to the heavens above. When one is not creating art, one can take in and be inspired by those creative pieces around us, and realize this is all part of the creative process. I need to remember this and not be so hard on myself when I am not taking action. Rather than feeling an outsider, I can see myself as a link in the artistic chain, keeping the flame alive for generations to come.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I ran away from myself, but I'm back

Well, I have to admit after feeling ecstasy for creating this blog and opening up more deeply of myself, I went into hibernation for several days. The creative process, and sharing of myself is such an up and down process and really does take courage, more than I thought. Though I've created many art pieces up to this point in my life, I feel like I am at a new beginning. I long for the days when my creativity flowed, when there were no barriers. But maybe that was just an illusion. My past artwork/photos are becoming distant memories and dreams of new pieces are just waiting at my fingertips. I suppose I am in hibernation stage again, with new ideas swirling in my head, yet I long to take action, to create with paint what I feel. Does it have to be perfect? My censor seems to think so. And yet, I also feel like running away, with my camera, to fill up my life with new images, new adventures. But maybe that is escaping from me. So I thought this Native American woman study that I did seems appropriate for my words here today, to sit with myself, not run away from my feelings. This watercolor painting, with pen and ink accents, is done from a statue I have in my art room. As I feel a kinship with the Southwest, she symbolizes that connection. I painted her quite recently. I feel she is sitting here with her gifts holding them, wanting to share them, yet not quite ready. Those little rocks or gems she has in her bowl reflect what is in my own heart and soul, perhaps still just dreams, holding them near me, not yet ready to let them spread their wings. I was going to share a painting I did of a woman's face showing some emotion, some pain. But then as the morning went on, I felt this particular painting spoke to me more. I want my work now to really convey a spiritual feeling, perhaps I'm trying too hard to pursue that. The woman in this painting is spiritual to me, really, and that is enough for the moment.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Acceptance of all of me

A week ago today I began this site and felt a sense of joy. I was coming out of my inner sanctity of self-imposed safety and sharing my voice. Then I had an emotional meltdown, with my feelings overtaking me to the point I could not continue on. My dark and light sides of me were doing battle. As the week has progressed, I have come to a new level of acceptance of who I am and welcome all of what emerges from within my depths. Pain into joy and joy into pain. All a cycle, all necessary.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I have another name

Marlotus O'Keefe is a name I chose for myself in writing class one day. I'll often sign my writings with this name. I'll break down the parts of the name. Marla is a 4 year old aspiring artist who paints glorious creations. (I watched her on a video). She reminded me how important it is to tap into my own inner child, to be playful and have fun. Lotus is, of course, one of my most favorite spiritual flowers. O'Keefe is taken from Georgia O'Keefe. I loved her free-spirited independent nature, her wonderful close-ups of flowers, thus her personal appeal to me. I find having another name besides my god-given one allows me more freedom to explore myself, to be playful and to expand myself.

I Matter

Multitude of alarm clocks
herald the dawn,
buzzing bees,
birds chirping,
building crescendo.

In silent homage,
I stretch my leaves to the heavens,
glistening dewdrops hang,
cleansing me, purifying me.
their tiny mirrors reflecting myself,
a cameo of red, orange, green.

Moving my roots
in cool, damp earth below,
I feel awake, alive,
numbness retreats.

Energy streams through me,
moving up my stem,
stimulating electric currents.
Every part of my being
joins in,
veins vibrating,
petals pulsating,
stamens strong and sure,
Pollen dancing, a pale dusting
of gold glitter.

Visitors come calling,
A spider weaves
a delicate design
of silky tapestry
in and out of my leaves.
I am proud that
I can help him, my
foundation a support.

A bee moves in and out
of my petals, randomly,
a staccato of sight and sound,
taking my pollen offering,
sharing this gift
with neighbors nearby.

An ant parade walks on my being,
a bridge for their travels,
tiny feet tickling,
I giggle in
glorious abandon.

A tiny child chortles in glee,
reaching down to pluck me.
I am placed in liquid
and stare through glass enclosure
at eyes all around.
They touch me, smell me,
talk to me,
seemingly enchanted,
endearing me to them.

For I am not just another flower
lost in a field of beautiful blooms,
I make an impact on
all God’s creatures.

I offer my gifts.
I offer my love.
I matter.

Marlotus O’Keefe

Awakening and unfolding

I feel like today is the first day of the rest of my life. Like the lotus blossom unfolding its petals to a higher connection in life, so too do I feel that way. Its tendrils linked to the earthy muck below it, yet knowing there is so much more out there to explore and aspire to. I suppose that is why the lotus blossom appeals to me so much. I took the top picture that accompanies Marlotus Muses at Garfield Park Conservatory last summer. I was in a sketching class, and chose this flower as my companion for much of the day. I love to take photos that call to me on a deeper level. I also feel that we are all one in this life, so enjoy giving human form and feelings to everything around me, which comes through in my writings.