This is what you see everywhere – along the roads and paths, in the old farm fields, and in our yard in places left undisturbed – purple New England aster and yellow goldenrod occasionally frosted through with white. The pollinators are making the most of these new fall colours. Too soon we’ll have the last blaze of red from the maples, woodbine, and sumac before winter sets in.
So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years-
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l’entre deux guerres-
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholy new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate – but there is no competition –
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.
The Four Quartets T.S. Eliot
Looking Back, 2015
acrylic on canvas, 20″x16″
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
The Four Quartets T.S. Eliot
I’ve been writing this post in my head for awhile, and by awhile I mean weeks. There is some sort of break between my head and my fingers when it comes to writing, or maybe it is easier to hit delete in my head (which actually explains the rather infrequent posts). However, the inspiration for the post, a painting, is finally finished which has given me a little boost in the I can get things done department.
I do dishes around here rather often ( so does my husband – not complaining dear !) and sometimes or maybe most of the time it feels like my effort would have more value elsewhere. But one particular day all the stainless steel pots and pans piled in the sink struck me as being rather artful. The cool light from the window was spilling over one half and the warm light from inside illuminated the other half. I stopped and took a picture. I ended up using this picture for an exercise in complementary colours I did in my slow attempt to start painting in acrylics. It was probably not a good choice for a beginner ; all hard lines and, reflections and shadows. I got rather frustrated on several occasions, but hey, not simple and frustrating can work sometimes too.
I’ve been thinking on what I value as an artistic experience, and my pots have inspired me to try and appreciate my everyday work as an important part of who I am as an artist. Strangely enough, a book I grabbed from the painting section at the library yielded this quote from the first page I flipped to:
When you wash dishes, be with the dishes only. … For the painter, mindfulness is a good exercise in concentration. – The Zen of Creative Painting
Was I being mindful when doing dishes and seeing a painting ? I don’t think so. In fact, I’m seldom thinking much about the dishes when doing them. I’m usually listening to music or watching the scenery out the window. Have I failed mindfulness ? It seems for me everything is turned around. When I ‘m painting I can’t be anything but mindful; I loose all sense of time and of having anything but form and colour in front of me. Painting is probably the closest I come to real meditation. Maybe art will lead me to mindfulness in life instead of mindfulness in life leading to art. Either way, I want to regard all of my daily experiences more highly.
On the other hand, you can read this (which appeared in my inbox not long after reading the aforementioned quote):
and get some more thoughts on mindfulness. It’s just that kind of day …
Time to paint !!!
Reflections on Value – a study in yellow and violet.
6 1/4” x 11” Acrylic on Illustration Board
Things have been a little off schedule lately. For Art Play Days two weeks ago I was distracted by my upcoming workshop at WomynSpirit festival (more on that later). I didn’t really accomplish much, but Andrea made great progress on a card she’d been working on. Here’s the finished project:
I might have to try out colour on some new doodle art of my own ! Lovely !
Coming home from the retreat, I promptly got sick, so I’ve spent the week being kind to my liver and hopefully I’ll be good to get back on track this Thursday. Hmmm maybe some felting ….
I stole that title from here. I think I can sum up the talk in a couple of phrases (but you should watch it anyway; good talk): nothing is original; not imitation, but transformation is flattery. I think I get much of my inspiration from nature, but I also love looking at all kinds of work from other artists. Not just felt artists, but all mediums. This past Thursday for Art Play Days, I was on my own, so I thought I’d try out an idea for adding surface texture to felt. I can’t remember where I saw this, and it is a simple technique. It just involves adding lightly felted balls cut in half to a layer just below the surface layer. Again, not having much time I added this to another little tea light bowl/holder. I wasn’t particularly found of how it turned out, but it’s a technique worth considering for future work. Experimenting without worrying about the final product is something I should do more of !
A few links for inspiration :
Finally, a bowl for my workshop done in under two hours !
I’m presenting a felting workshop for WomynSpirit Festival soon, so I thought I should probably do a sample and time it. This idea will have to be simplified as the handles took up too much time. I have to remember that it always takes longer to do a piece in a class setting. Tomorrow for Art Play Days, I’ll experiment on Andrea and see if she can finish in the required time. I love the creative energy of working in groups !