Portrait of an Artist

This piece is dedicated to artists, songwriters, poets, & all others who create from a deep place within their soul.  

For, I believe, creation is a sacred act performed in collaboration with the Divine force that inspires & co-creates with us.  

I hope you see yourself in this portrait.

 

I enter the passageway, regal yet humble, confident yet scared- bare feet purposefully connecting to the cool rock beneath them.  Moss cushions one footstep while jagged rocks poke savagely at the next.  No right or wrong… just being.

There is drumming but no drummer.  The heartbeat of the earth itself.  The heartbeat of this cavernous temple.

Long skirt, bare arms- warm there, cool here.  I continue to be pulled in deeper & deeper.  The drumbeat-heartbeat echoes in my ears, pounding in my brain until thoughts are blessedly mute.  There’s just the pounding rhythm.

Small torches give life to shadows that dance on the walls.  Spirits are here.  I am the priestess, the High Priestess, of this temple, standing in the power of connecting and belonging.  A larger light beckons from deeper within.  I walk up to the shallow copper bowl on its pedestal, coals glowing inside.  Such heat blows the hair back from my face, drying my lips & eyes.  I shut them both & raise my hands to either side of the bowl, moving them first closer to the heat then into the coolness before settling comfortably in the warm middle space.

I peer down into the embers, where more spirits dance.  Such power- an energy that dances in me, too.  What is the message?  “This cannot be rushed.  Demands & impatience have no place here.  Look & listen.”

I genuflect, hands before my face, palms pressed together in prayer position.  I touch them to my core- a place of right action, my heart- right emotion, my throat- right communication, between my eyes- right thought, and the crown of my head- right connection.  This sets the intention for sacred work to take place.

Drumbeat-heartbeat no longer a sound, now a feeling.

One knee senses the small pebbles beneath, grounding me to this place and time.  When ready, I rise and bow to the fire- giver of life, destroyer, and transformer.  I proceed to the dark recess where torch and ember cannot reach.

Wetness… bare feet slip on rocks and hands slide along slick walls.  I smell the dampness that blankets my skin and fills my nostrils.  I drink with every breath.

I notice the small pots on the stony ledge and pick one up.  It’s half full of russet paint, the color of dried blood.  I push my finger into the warm thickness then streak the bridge of my nose and under each eye.  I hold space for a still moment before I take that pot to the place where dark meets light and magic takes place.  I dip a crude brush into the paint then hover above the place on the wall where I want to put the image.  Wait.  Keep waiting as long as I’m thinking “I want.  I want.”  When “I want” becomes “thy will”, place the brush on the rock and let it move.  It will be what it will be.

Back- long and strong, around the haunches- muscular and determined, shoulders- curved and coiled for action, neck- supporting the regal head, and face- alive and knowing.  What else?  I wait for it to come.  If nothing comes, I stop for stopping is all I can do.  This is a collaborative piece that I can never own or dare to take credit for.  My body, like my brush, is a channel.

I stand in the silence… feeling the blood course through my veins and pound in my ears.  All the pounding- my heartbeat, the drumbeat, and the animal spirits stampeding on the wall.  I know this is all for now and I am at peace.  I return the bowl to its place on the dark shelf and I return to the light beyond the embers and the torchlight to the fiery radiance of the sun.

Sensory overload as macaws scream, monkeys screech, insects rub legs and wings, birds chirp, and the waterfall roars.  I cover my ears with my hands.  Too much to take in.  Too many objects… too many sounds… too many scents vying for attention, rushing me all at once.  I long to return to the cave, that place far removed yet more deeply connected to all that is.

This, too, is my world.  Men feeding elephants.  Women feeding babies.  I take from the cave and bring to the village as a gift.  I take from the village and bring to the cave as a gift.  All of life committed to being an offering.  An expression of gratitude for the light and the darkness, the noise and the silence… gratitude for all that is.

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A Blessing To Each Flower

For Summer Solstice, my friends and I are gathering to honor this special day & recommit ourselves to one another… unique blossoms that together form a garden of incredible beauty, grace, & strength.  I wrote this poem to remind us of what makes us thrive.

 

A Blessing To Each Flower

A seed secure in the soil asks not, “What shall I be?”

It’s unique beauty comes naturally, effortlessly.

Nourished and nurtured, it grows more fully into itself

And what it is IS what it is meant to be.

 

The birch envies not the willow

Nor does it strive to be anything other than Birch.

Daffodil degrades not the dandelion

Nor does it mock the maple.

 

For all have a place in Gaia’s garden.

All are loved & accepted unconditionally.

And while each has needs that differ from another

All radiantly bloom with this blessing….

 

May we each have the tender care we need,

May we each be given the space to grow,

May we see our own beauty,

And may we celebrate the uniqueness in every blossom.

Stretching Creatively

I guess it’s been almost 20 years since I tried writing a poem longer than a Haiku.  For some reason, the words never seem to flow as easily as images in my visual art so when the opportunity to take a one-evening workshop on creative writing came up, I seized it.  While I could easily slide into a groove, producing a body of artwork that is distinctly mine & similar in style, I like to stretch creatively– pushing the boundaries of my imagination & ability, growing as an artist.

The writing activity that inspired me the most was one called “If I were…”  The facilitator finished the phrase with words such as “a piece of furniture”, “a sound”, a color”, “an animal”, ” a food”, & “a place in nature”.  We numbered a piece of paper from 1-16 & finished the phrases as quickly as possible so our subconscious could override our active, logical, over-analyzing minds.  From words including “rocking chair”, “purr”, “lapis blue”, “lynx”, “chocolate fondue” & “a bed of moss under a tree”, I shaped nonsensical sentences then turned those sentences into a poem.  Here’s the result of that exercise…

The Odalisque

Lynx languidly reclines on her mossy bed beneath the firs.

Holding court, she coyly swirls figure eights

in the melted chocolate with her lustrous tail.

“Infinity”, she purrs, “Infinity.”

 

 

Dainty paws pluck from her plate

fears carefully considered then…

Dunked in decadent darkness & swallowed with satisfaction.

Demurely dabbing at puddles of chocolate caught in the corners of her smile,

“Fearless”, she purrs, “Fearless.”

 

 

Lynx stretches luxuriously in lapis-tinted twilight.

Harpsichord hammers out a haunting refrain

as rocking chair sways in time.

“Sing your song”, she purrs, “Sing your song.”

 

 

Her seductive Siren call lures me into the fondue.

Like amoeba evolving from primordial ooze,

I emerge from my chocolate baptism,

enveloped in warmth, reborn & reminded,

“Simply be”, I purr, “Simply be.”

Haiku Inspired Art- Part 4

As Winter makes a last futile attempt to delay the coming Spring, I sit with a hot cup of coffee & my art supplies, watching snow blanket the blooming crocuses & daffodils… being present… & being still.

Crocus Haiku

Rising early,

crocuses cheer.

Contagious optimism!!

Daffodil Haiku

Arms open wide-

twirling & swirling.

Daffodil dervish.

Snowy Feeder Haiku

March snowfall,

wet & heavy.

Spring gets one last nap.

Haiku Inspired Art- Part 3

I’m continuing to fill my Japanese-styled sketchbook with simple pen & ink drawings along with accompanying Haiku-inspired poems.  Nature continues to be my Muse, my source of endless inspiration.  The first picture is my dog, Freyja, a former puppy mill breeding dog, who was rescued last October & became my little girl last December.  She’s slowly learning that life can be full of fun & joy.  The second is a drawing of a few delicate leaves I found on a walk.  The third is a beautiful rock sculpture that was sitting at the edge of a stream by a cottage.  Enjoy.

Freyja smiles!

Cuddles, kisses, & love.

Who rescued whom?

Awed with Autumn.

Leaves leave me

wanting more.

Who?  When?  Why?  How?

Sentries of the stream.

The strong & silent type.

More Haiku-Inspired Work

These are three more images from the little golden sketchbook I wrote about in my last post.  Taking a subject & simplifying it with a few lines & adding a haiku-inspired poem keeps me focused on what I see as the subject’s pure essence.  The first drawing is a tree planted in the middle of a path.  While people ignore it as they walk around it, I imagine the tree eagerly waiting for someone to say, “Hi.”  The second drawing is one of my favorite nearby spots with an amazing view.  The third is my blind dog, Paco, who can safely explore the fenced-in area of the doggie park, while I watch him lovingly from my blanket stretched under a shady tree.

With arms outstretched,

Lonely tree

beckons this tree hugger.

As far as I see,

green on green.

No boundaries, no fences.

Finding his way back,

Paco’s nose & ears

replace dark eyes.

Haiki-Inspired Art

Japanese bookbinding is a beautiful technique & one that I enjoyed using to make this little golden sketchbook with the bright red thread.

The special little book that inspired a new way to express my creativity.

It took a few months but I finally decided to try something totally new… Haiku-inspired poetry & calligraphic line drawings.  It challenged me to keep the work simple, focusing on the essence of my subjects.  I enjoyed this project, stretching myself as an artist.

My dancing zinnias-

Every day

a garden party.

Spider plant’s job?

Easy gig.

Sit there & look pretty.

Poised on my finger,

Free from his cage,

Eddie considers his options.