Monthly Archives: May 2015

small art 5.29.15

   

I had never used Molotow markers before now (I know, where have I been?!). I combined colours together while they were still wet (how cool is that?!) and then finally couldn’t resist washing it all together by running a Koi water brush over the whole thing to blend.

   

The bottom picture shows the back side of the page. My Rhodia sketchbook stood up fairly well to the abuse. 🙂

Now to figure out what to do with this “background”.

Update: what I did with the background

  

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contrasts


I know that sometimes, when I post stuff, it almost sounds like I know what I’m talking about. I don’t (not really). The more I know, the less I know I know.

I reread stuff and realize that I sound like a pompous ass (sometimes I am, but mostly not-this I know). I cringe and wonder whether I should share when things bubble up and ask to be written down. I’m an extroverted introvert, so sharing is difficult sometimes. I don’t really like small talk but I can be good at it. I know how to draw people out but struggle to keep from withdrawing myself, of letting people in.

So today I was thinking about how, when life is complicated, my natural inclination is to simplify it where ever I can. This leads to less than optimal choices, sometimes, but there is only so much time and me to go around.

In that vein, my lunch today was leftover pizza and Lynda Barry’s book, Syllabus. It is brilliant and encourages exploration. I haven’t made any visual art in a while and just reading the material is causing a niggling remembrance… an urge that needles me until I grab something to doodle with.

I like books that make me think, that make me stretch and reach beyond what I am comfortable with, whether it’s a concept introduced within the context of a story (of a novel, say) or whether it’s in the form of a workbook of sorts (as is the case with Barry’s book). I have shelves of books that do these kinds of things. One can’t help but grow if one is continually reaching out to be challenged by them.

Sometimes I challenge too, with my writing or my artwork. I think the nature of creating is, as Lynda says in Syllabus, is the act of “being present and seeing what’s there” and “something inside one person takes external form – contained by a poem, story, picture, melody, play, etc – and through a certain kind of engagement, is transferred to the inside of someone else. Art as a transit system for images”.

I propose that it is a transit system for a kind of symbiosis of emotional experience.

I’ve come to find that as individuals, though in part we share much, our uniqueness makes it difficult to really walk a mile in another pair of shoes. We only have our own point of reference through which to see the world, no matter HOW empathetic we believe we are. We relate whatever is happening through our own emotional sensors and more than likely misinterpret how someone else is experiencing life because we stream it through the container of our own experience.

I think we are pattern-makers; we correlate things in order to gain better understanding of self and other (which also keeps most of us -thankfully- from engaging in our more base and violent tendencies).

Even though I may seek understanding and similitude, there doesn’t exist a person who can identically be me (or you, or… whatever – you get the picture).

Truth is, I don’t want to be like anyone else. What I want is to be more me. The journey of discovery has been a long one and it obviously (isn’t it obvious?) is an enduring one because no matter where we are along it, there is always another layer of self to peel away.

Stay curious, my friends… and brave.

small everything 5.24.15

        

A friend recently shared with me a beautiful and poignant piece. It was about his first encounter with the place he has come to call home.

I think there is breathtaking beauty in this world, all edges of it. Sometimes one of them speaks to us on a level only our soul understands, so we feel compelled to stay.

When I was young I used to fear becoming so entrenched in the familiar (the places I inhabited and the people who shared them with me), that I worried I would be unable to extricate myself from its grasp. I remember reading Les Filles de Caleb and wondering how all at once small and large the world must have felt back then. I felt anchored to place because of my family but after my father died, so did my sense of belonging to place. I have not felt at home anywhere in the world, even as each place felt more like home after I’d left it behind in search of a new one which I hoped I would once again, yet struggled to, be at peace in.

For decades now, the world has shrunk immensely, even for the common folk. Travel is more accessible and should travel still be out of reach, we can witness things on the other side of the globe with a few clicks or taps (in real time, even) wherever there is wifi and an internet connection (which is to say pretty much everywhere).

This morning I was contemplating the world (again). I was thinking of Revelations and the Horsemen of the Apocalypse (and of course ruminating on biblical legend and myth, and wondering how much of it was folk/fairytale equivalent and how much of it might be historical – and, judging by the context, whether determining which it was would matter and/or whether any of it was still relevant for our present day world).

I was thinking how some events smacked of being right out of apocalyptic scripture, groups of people wreaking destruction, not spreading but rather being the essence of pestilence, like a virus.

I was thinking how foolhardy it is to follow the words of the old prophets so closely that the message is missed, that perhaps Revelations is not about something external -an actual apocalypse- but rather something akin to the Dark Night of the Soul during which we must face our own symbolic death, cross Hades and get to the other side in order to become self-realized and in touch with our divine selves.

This flesh and blood show holds such great potential, great possibility, and yet in ignorance and misunderstanding of the sacred and profane it is poorly appreciated, the magnificence encapsulated within each of the moments, each of the inhabitants (animated or inanimate) remaining unseen. We fail to bear witness because we are searching for something else, something that we continuously overlook because we fail to comprehend it even as it is right there in plain sight. I have overlooked it, too, for so very long; certainly I would have in my youth. I did not have the eyes to see (and I still don’t in moments when I am beside myself and out of sync); I was too filled with pride and ego and fear and prejudice, not seeing what was but interpreting it in relation to my expectations of what it was meant to be.

Some days I move down deeper into my body and feel who I was at different times of my life. It’s a hard thing to explain, really, but I go through my memories and physically feel the joys and the anxieties that I felt during other stages of my life. The certitudes. The fears. The joys. The disappointments. So many feelings. I have become an emotional psychopomp to my previous selves. There are so many of me. I still feel them all, acutely, even as I try to pull them into the light.

When I was reading the Vedas all those years ago, I would often be mystified at how there could be so many emanations of a single godhead. Now, perhaps, I have a deeper insight into what this might represent. If the gods were made in our image (as opposed to the often-sited opposite), then this would contextually make a lot of sense.

While I respect many people, and bear witness to their right and entitlement to embody whomever they are, there are few that I admire or wish to emulate. On some days I wouldn’t even wish to emulate myself (though it is difficult to get away from ourselves, isn’t it?).

And people, this is now my mind veers. I am shown a physical landscape and I delve into the landscape of the soul.