Monday, July 27, 2009

What's Underneath

Undercurrent, encaustic w/coffee grounds, 10" x 12"

In college I had a writing professor, who, knowing my self-consciousness about my quietude, said to me, "Courtney, still water runs deep. That's how you are." It was such a gift for her to re-frame something that I used to agonize over. (I even created a performance art piece about my being quiet, which ended up becoming a "coming out" of sorts for my quietude. In a way, during the performance, I was the loudest I had ever been, and it was quite the breakthrough).

So this piece honors the depths of me, the undercurrent of my life, the things that I hold deep inside and show the world when I feel safe and sure.

What do you hold in your own personal undercurrent? What depths do you hold within you? And when do you feel you are able to show these depths--these gifts to the world? What symbols represent what runs deep with in you? When do you feel free to reveal what's underneath?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Art Show Loveliness

Last Saturday (July18) my friend Patricia Catherine and I had an art show together in her home studio. It was a lovely affair with colorful art, refreshing refreshments (it was a hot day!), and may lovely discussions and connections were had.

In addition to the general merriment of the event, I said goodbye to two pieces: Just Barely Emerging and Manifestation in addition to several cards and prints. Ah, there they go out into the world....

Patricia's studio is beautifully lit (skylights above and windows surrounding) and each time I see her space I drool just a bit more, hoping that someday I will have a studio space that I can keep arty (and messy).

Thank you, Patricia, for collaborating with me and for sharing your creative space with all who attended! (And once again, thank you Walaka, for your expert help with set-up, clean-up, and overall art show management guy duties.)

Here are some colorful pictures from the event (click pics for larger views):

My wall of encaustic paintings.

Patricia's home with her oils and pastels in the background.

Patricia talks with art viewers (her incredible studio is in the background).

My friend Nedra and I discuss my piece On a Wire.

* * * *
My next show: Friday, August 14, 2009 at Makeda Coffee for the Phinney/Greenwood Art Walk. Stay tuned for more details...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Some Writerly Goodies

Writing Goddess, mixed media collage, 8" x 10"

Some writerly opportunities have blown my way recently and I want to share them with those of you creative types who also dabble in writing as well as visual art.

As I began compiling this list, I realized how lucky I am to know these women. Boy do I have some talented friends!

My friend Corbin Lewars is facilitating a workshop this fall called "Get Your Stories off Your Computer and Into Print" (Tuesdays, 6-8:00 pm October 6th-November 3rd in Ballard/Seattle). For more information about her workshop, visit Corbin's website here. And for some witty, authentic stories about motherhood, visit her Reality Mom blog here.

My friend Kristen Bergsman will be teaching a FREE class at St. Edward State Park in Kenmore on August 19th. "Sticks, Stones & Animal Bones: Creative Nature Journaling" is open to adults and kids (ages 8+). The class size is limited to 16 people, and registration just opened. Class and registration info are available here. For more information about Kristen, visit her Laughing Crow Curriculum website here.

My friend Tatyana Mishel is a writer and life coach, who has a website and blog that will knock your socks off and make you want to take positive action in your life. Visit Write Now for a taste of Tatyana's no-nonsense, compassionate, and motivating approach.

My friend and grad school classmate Antionette Brim is publishing her first book of poetry, Psalm of the Sunflower. I am so delighted for her! Check out her website here, and learn more about her new book!

My friend Kara Jones over at 1,000 Face of Mother Henna Blog has a cool video up now on how to make a 16-page mini-book. Check out Kara's blog and websites for all of her creative prompts, inspirations, and healing activities.

My friend Clea Danaan has a new book out called Voices of the Earth: The Pathway to Green Spirituality. Check it out here on her website. You can also check out her thoughtful, earthy Intuitive Gardening blog.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Art Show and Open Studio THIS Saturday!

This very Saturday, July 18, my friend Patricia and I will be having an art show in her home studio in the Wedgwood neighborhood of Seattle. She will be opening her home from 1-4pm and we'll be showing our latest original art -- as well as selling prints and cards of our work.

To see more information about the event, including Patricia's address, click the image above!

(BTW, This show coincides with the popular Wedgwood Art Festival, and Pat's home studio is just a few blocks away from the hub-bub of activity on 35th Street -- music, vendors, art, and more!)

If you're able to make it, consider dropping by. I'd love to see you!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Alone Yet Connected

Together But Separate, mixed media collage, 4" x 5"

Tonight I was working on some logo ideas for my friend's new website. As I was collaging away upstairs, I had this strong feeling of connection to my partner who was one (or two) floors down involved in his own creative activities.

And then I began to realize how often he and I make room for creative energy in our home--and how, together, we go about our writing and arting and reading separately. Together but separate. We may meet on the middle floor to share or ask questions (mine is always, what does my art piece actually mean?) or check in, but we feel connected in our separate activities.

[For those of you who might appreciate some technological geekiness, we sometimes even use iChat to check with one another, so we talk to each other on the computer screen and set a time to "meet up" live.]

I feel content but inspired. Alone yet connected. Free and yet always somehow tethered to my partner's heart, knowing he is accepting of my artistic messes and creative bursts at 10:00 at night and my seeming inability to end one project before starting the next. And he knows that I forgive him for being able to fall asleep in two seconds after a night of creating when I am wide awake with swirls of ideas.

My artistic process requires a great deal of aloneness, yet I love to feel that I can connect or collaborate if I wish. Having a three-floor townhouse helps cultivate separateness for sure, but I also think that we've created permeable boundaries--boundaries that we constantly shift as we change the way we wish to create.

Tonight I am appreciative. And I thank you, W, for your understanding--no, championing--my creative process every day.

Try this:

Think about how you create. Alone? With others around? With distraction? What do you like about your creative environment and about those who may share space with you? What might you like to change about your creative circumstances, if anything? What do you appreciate about the way you create and how do you acknowledge this appreciation to yourself and to those who share space with you?

Monday, July 06, 2009

Nature's Fireworks

Nature's Fireworks, mixed media, 5" x 5"

This weekend some friends and I headed to the mountains for Independence Day. In lieu of Seattle fireworks displays, we opted for nature's wonders and sparks. I brought a few art supplies with me and sat in the sun by the American River, soaking in the sound of rushing water, and created a few little pieces.

Butterfly Birth, mixed media, 5" x 5"

Nature provides quite the display of color and sound and surprises. And with the hordes of ants, the starry sky, the wildflowers, the river's frigid splashes, campfire sparks, chipmunk squeaks, and the fleeting elk we spotted, I'd say I had quite the exciting Fourth of July.

Girl-Bird Mimicry, mixed media, 5" x 5"

And in the process, I let my body and mind relax, as I embraced time away from technology and the usual creature comforts of home. There's nothing like a morning splash-bath or head-dunk in 40-degree river water to wake the senses and make me feel ALIVE!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Solid Like a Buddha, Free Like a Bird

Waiting for Now, encaustic, 9" x 12"

"Your personal symbols may already lurk in your artwork. Observe the images that show up frequently. Ask yourself, 'Which of these things stand for other things?' What animals are you drawn to? What stories do you want to tell over and over? Your symbols may be there on the canvas right now, but maybe you haven't noticed them or identified what they are there to say. Choose one, and listen to it. Ask yourself what story fragment is being told by that apple or those wings, then see if you can follow a similar thread of meaning through your other artworks and in your dreams."

- Suzanne Simanaitis, "Personal Symbols Found & Made," Kaleidoscope: Ideas and Projects to Spark Your Creativity

Buddhas and birds. Wings and feathers. Leaves and branches. Scribbles and doodles. Words and letters. Chakras. Blooms.

I just did a mental scan of my art and these symbols came to the forefront of my mind. The most significant seem to be Buddhas and birds. I am drawn to them so strongly. When I flip through my collage materials and encounter these bronze statues and feathered friends, I get a feeling in my body, as if something in the center of my belly begins to buzz.

I am asking myself Simanaitis' questions about the meaning of these symbols. What do birds and Buddhas have to tell me? Why are they such frequent visitors? In the above piece I turn the Buddha into a winged creature. So not only do I use these symbols individually and together, but I also fuse them, merge them, marry them. I want my Buddhas to fly. Interesting that I find Buddhas so grounding and bird just the opposite. Perhaps I am trying to manifest a integration of opposites in my very own self: a combination of groundedness and sacredness like the Buddha with the freedom, lightness, and release of a bird. It's the balance of yin and yang. The symbols are like trees: rooted in the earth, but flexible and free in the branches and leaves.

What are your symbols? What images are you drawn to again and again? Take a little time to ask yourself, as I just did, what these images might mean to you? See where this investigation takes you. Perhaps you will revisit an ideal or philosophy you hold dear or you'll surprise yourself with a totally new insight.