Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Fantasies Soothe Me

I was ready to go to writing class, with nothing new to read. I still had several hours to come up with something this morning, yet was feeling ambivalent. I am not a writer, I am a painter and photographer. This mantra swirled in my head acting as a good defense for my resistance. Then as I sat staring at the blank computer screen, something shifted within me and feelings pushed up, demanding to be heard. I was surprised by what came out of me. Do you ever feel like your art, your writing or any other creative pursuit seems to be as if done by a stranger? That's how this poem/story that follows felt to me. Strangely familiar/yet unfamiliar.

My Fantasies Soothe Me

Butterfly wings, gnarled trees, wispy clouds
all circle around me as I float higher into the
atmosphere, far from earth I travel,
away from the despair that sucks me dry
the fears of life as we know it sink down
but I refuse to let it take me with it

I daydream about beauty and magic
and possibilities, choices,
how easy it is to let society pluck us
into its uneasy fingers,
sometimes a path chosen simply
because we know it, uncertain selves
seeking sanctuary, refuge
in known circles.

I want to fly higher, let my wings
beat rapidly into other spheres,
away, so far away from darkness
that threatens to let my dreams fizzle
into nothing
and then I shall once more
be ordinary.

I have been a turtle so much of
my life, staying in my dark armor
safe there, with my voice muffled,
only speaking to myself.

There have been moments
head comes out, quickly,
eyes darting around in nervous
energy, then retreating again,
for safety does not beckon
me into the outside.

I am a being who matters, who
wants to rise high to overcome
the despairing muck that inhales
me into its lungs, I am tired
of hiding, holding back my
life, my offerings

that is my fantasy where mystery reigns
for to see reality so black and white
does little to ease my soul so what
choice do I have but to tap deeper
into me, where positive vibrations
wiggle around, happy to be

talked to, to be considered
Denial, my mind says to me
have not you lived that word
for so many years and now
you delve into the fantasy that
used to protect you from chaos
of family long ago,

does society of the now so
frighten you that you disappear
from its clutches into fairies and
woodland creatures who offer
hope to your soul which is
so crying for relief.

Yes, it is a way to survive,
to believe, and I shall continue
to embrace my world for it is
so much more nurturing right now
I shall peek into treeholes looking
for creatures who hide there

I shall pull each petal apart
looking for magic lounging
in each bloom
Not hiding, just seeking
more meaning for me
Content, for now,
to explore my
imagination, whose
fantasies soothe me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

These Swans Bring Me Comfort

"Swan Mom and Babe"

With all the chaos in the world these days, it's nice to remember the simple comforts of nature. I found some photos I had taken several years back of a swan family. I watched Dad and Mom raise five little fuzz balls who ended up magnificant swan creatures in their own right. They were wonderful subjects to photograph and would wander close to shore, and I was able to document them quite intimately. Soon the children were as big as the parents, and I could not tell them apart. But alas, the children, as is the nature of the cycle, departed the preserve they were born in and who knows where they went. Sometimes I'll wander over to the preserve, scanning the waters for these heavenly creatures, but none are to be found. Perhaps someday the children, now adults, will come back and raise their own babies. The cycles of life. The moon rising, the sun setting, the seasons changing. Stability offers me comfort in these unsettling times we are in now. I found a photo of Mom Swan and one of her babes tonight while in my studio and felt drawn to paint it, and immediately I was transported back to that special time I had with the swan family. As I painted and the watercolors flowed in a dreamlike quality, I felt comforted by these beautiful birds, as they nestled in close to one another. And then something stirred within my, in the region of my soul. I remembered that sense of safety and nurturing that my own parents had given me, and though they are no longer with me, the memories of their love, and my nature photos, sustain me when life just seems a little out of control.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Earth Angels

"Earth Angel"
Digital Mixed Media

I sat there in a hard metal chair,
oblivious to the cool Autumn winds
whistling through my bones
as angel music warmed my heart and
sweet violins moved in harmony

Earth angels dressed in white
focused, oh so focused on
sheet music before them
enchanted me with their

Some with blue ribbons
adorning coiled hair
others with sunglasses
shading their eyes,
so different, each of them
yet so connected by
the music and

The leaves danced around
and the birds sang a chorus
sharing in the joy that
cascaded all around.

As the lingering daylight
caressed these cherubs,
Glittering wings sprouted
from behind them and
golden halos circled their
Ah yes, the heavens had
opened up and given us
a taste of its magic

Memories stirred up within me
like the leaves whirling around
and touched my soul as
thoughts of myself as a child

I had once been an earth angel
playing the piano,
touching the heavens above
my soul transported,
floating on clouds

My eyes teared up, perhaps
from the blistering winds but more
likely from childhood thoughts that
came to the surface, threatening
to unleash a floodwater onto
my face

Longing for what was, what
could have been
I choked on wistfulness
drowning in lost dreams.

I drifted back and forth
between the past and the
present, feeling pain,
release, then joy

Yes, for an hour or so I
was was one with these
tiny musicians, feeling the healing
vibrations of melodies drifting
in and out of my being, touching
a connection within me,
so deeply immersed.

Ave Maria resounded through
the air, a homage to the
spirits, past, present and future
and I felt one with the notes,
the music, the world.

Joy reverberated through me
for I was here now rejoicing
in this music, where young souls
were letting out their passion without
restraint, not holding back, dreams
in their hearts, not lost, but strong,
and for that, I was grateful

That these earth angels touched me today
and helped me find a piece of my soul
locked away until this moment
and now my wings are sprouting
and I hear the music within me,
getting louder
and know

It’s not too late to
be an Earth Angel.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

It's Nice to Have an Art Park!

Violin Student

Violin Student II

Violin Teacher

I went to the new Art Park in Palos Heights on Saturday. It will not officially open until June 2009 but yesterday on the small plot of land that will be devoted to the arts, several of my art league members gathered. We showed our artwork and had a silent auction with some of our pieces. We sampled wine and cheese from Coopers Hawk and listened to violin music played by Beverly Art Center students. Four girls and a boy, ranging in ages from perhaps 5 to 15, entranced me as they stood there, so focused by what they were doing, so in the zone. I smiled because I know that feeling and the generation gap between us seemed to melt as each musical note drifted past my ears. I was quite mesmorized by the music that floated through the air and lingered by the musicians for much of the afternoon. Later, the two teachers played music from Cats (Memory), Ave Maria and various other melodies, sending me to a very peaceful place. I asked the violin teachers if I could take a few photos with promises of sending them copies. They were pleased by that. I also inquired about violin lessons for myself. Though I play the piano, there is something about stringed instruments that is as if angels are playing them. All in all, a day of creative bliss surrounded by like minds. As the day ended, I shivered, realizing the temperature had really dropped. Yet, for a while, my heart had been so warmed by the creative energy around me I had scarcely noticed the autumn chill. I would love to have 364 more days just like this, just like today, or close to it. I am thankful for the creation of art parks and music teachers who know how important the arts are to our souls. And I am grateful to me for being able to appreciate and take it all in!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tapping into Uncharted Waters

"Chaos Churns Within"
Digital Painting

I was reading about surrealism today and afterwards, I started whirling and twirling with some paint tools on the computer and this maze of lines and colors emerged. Perhaps it represents the economic climate our world is in, perhaps it is my own inner turmoil seeking a resolution, perhaps it is my interpretation of how I might fulfill my surrealistic longings. Whatever the case, I had fun getting lost in my imaginary landscape and this vision emerged. A nice change from my art as I have known it. Will this become a common practice from now on? Only my unconscious knows......

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I Need a Break from Spiders!

"Creative Memories I Now Reflect On"
Digital Photograph

"Window Sill Arrangement"

When I'm stumped with what to paint, I'll look at some of my older creations and see if they will jump-start me. I did this window and flower image in Florida a while back, joining my fellow students in a joint project. Teacher painted this step-by-step, we followed step-by-step. Each person's work was different, yet of course there were similarities. I enjoyed this "group" way of painting and the collective energy made us all seem more connected! At this time in my life, I was also painting lots of alligators and lizards who resided around me. Painting this image was a welcome respite for me, yet as I look at it now I feel a sense of detachment. I admit that when I have completed a creative project, I usually feel a sense of letting go. But these more distant projects I have done. Did I really do this? Can I do something like this now at this stage of my life? Do I really need something to jump-start me or are the answers to me deep within?

The top image was a photograph I took recently while walking in my hometown, Frankfort. I liked the flowers against the brick wall and the shadows they cast. Sometimes I feel a sense of nostalgia for simpler times and lately my heart is going that way. I played with a photoshop filter to give the image a blurred effect, somewhat like blurry memories from one's past. I might paint the original photo and see how much my creative process has either changed or stayed the same. A future project.
One final note: In my mind, the top image has a more personal title, the bottom image a more realistic title. Maybe I am tapping into the deeper recesses of me and have changed over the years.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Spiders Weave their Spell on Me

Golden Orb Spider at Vegetable Garden

Golden Orb Spider on Library Window

Weaving a Creative Masterpiece

"The means to gain happiness is to throw out from oneself like a spider in all directions an adhesive web of love, and to catch in it all that comes."
Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

Like the quote above, I felt the spider's spell weaving its magic on me as I gazed at it the other day. Yes, Halloween is coming, bringing with it images of spiders, black cats and witches. And the book "Medicine Cards" by Jamie Sams and David Carson, delves into the Native American tradition of what the spider represents. They talk about how, on a symbolic level, there is the idea of becoming trapped in the web, helpless, stuck in life. We are caught in our illusions, fearing there is nothing more to life, leaving few alternatives and solutions. But all is not gloom and doom. Sams and Carson go on to say that the spider symbolizes the infinite possibilities of creation and is also the female energy of the creative force weaving in and out beautiful designs of life.

Perhaps on some deeper level, as I stared at him/her floating in its web, I felt this deeper knowing that resonated through me and, subsequently, did not feel repulsed, but rather drawn in. I wanted to get closer, to tap into the knowledge that danced on the white, milky threads before me. Using the camera as a tool, I gave the image backgrounds presented here a dreamy, floating feeling. Perhaps I already knew on some deep level what I was going to read in words and print the following day about the spider and felt compelled to capture the image in this way. (a bit of foreshadowing, maybe). An article on the internet about the golden orb spider also seems appropriate to add here. This particular creature is also referred to as a writing spider due to the occasional zigzag patterns built into its web. The 2nd photo above probably depicts this best. The creative connection is certainly interwoven, isn't it? How important to read the words of others to clarify, and affirm, and help us find our own voice in the process.

From the readings of others, I now have a better understanding of the spider and how it relates to me on my creative path. The spider shows its creative gifts of writing and weaving and is a great example of how we are all multi-faceted, with many talents to offer the world. And it is female energy of the creative force. Perhaps that is what this creature is trying to tell me here. Messages are everywhere, when we open our eyes and our hearts and the outcome fosters in us the female energy to create, as the spider says. And like the spider, who symbolizes the dark and light aspects of its being, so too shall I tap into all parts of me, and not hold back.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Embracing Fall

Butterfly beckons
spreading wings to welcome fall's
golden tapestry

The above image reminded me of Fall in its peaches and coppers and yellows and so I decided this would be a nice way to embrace the upcoming Season. The writing accompanying the photo is a Haiku, a short form of writing dedicated to nature. Though small in size, it can pack a powerful punch. As I can get wordy in my writings at times, I felt the Haiku would be a good exercise to rail me in a little. The first line is composed of 5 syllables, the second line has 7 syllables and the third line has 5 syllables. Thank you, beautiful butterfly, for staying so still and calm despite the chaos that surrounded you during a recent Butterfly Festival. I know there's a life lesson for me to be learned here and am grateful once again for nature's classroom.