Saturday, December 26, 2009

Stepping Inside the Painting

Solstice Prayer, encaustic, 11" x 14"

I encountered these two quotations after creating the piece above and both speak to my artistic process for this encaustic specifically:

"When you start a painting, it is somewhat outside you. At the conclusion, you seem to move inside the painting."
- Fernando Botero

(I created this piece the day before my December 4th art show. I was very much outside of the piece, uncertain of my purpose or direction. Then the roots arrived and I climbed into the painting to explore. And the flower suddenly grew and the moon glowed and the bird landed on a branch. And then boom! (or bloom!) I tasted the title in my mouth.)

"A color vibration is sensed not only through vision, but in many other ways. Every color vibration has an impact on all physical systems and organs in the body, which respond to these frequencies." - Charles Klotsche

(These hues of blue and orange are new to me. I may have used them separately, but not together. And at first I wasn't sure I liked them as partners on the canvas. But I felt a vibration inside me, maybe a fluttering in the bird's wing and in my belly that said, "Yes, we are different, but we absolutely belong together.")

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Roots Roots Everywhere

New Beginning, encaustic, 9" x 12"

I've been fixated on roots lately. My latest encaustics depict flowers or trees with roots. I even created a figure of myself with roots emerging from the base of me.

In my massage practice, I often guide people through a little meditation at the end of my sessions in which my clients imagine their feet as the roots of a tree, placed firmly in the earth. I remind my clients that even when the wind blows us about, we stay safe and secure with our feet in the earth, our roots grounding us. I realized tonight after giving a Reiki session that when I give this meditation, I am telling my story of love, loss, and strength.

Roots have become a symbol of strength for me. My version of strength. I like the fact that roots are malleable -- that they grow and move, yet remain strong. I've been searching for how to go on in life without the boulder strength my dad exuded with every gesture, breath and word. I had been playing with images of rocks and stones in my art, thinking that those hard structures would be my grounding force for strength. Like my dad, I thought I would let the river water smooth me, as he smoothed during his months with cancer, when he became like the river itself, always glistening with water at the edges of his eyes. But still that abiding river rock, his presence strong.

But then I realized that I am not my father (seems an easy thing to realize, but grief creates tear gas for the psyche). I realized that I am not a boulder of strength like my dad. I dig deep like roots. I am wet and messy. I become tangled easily. When I hit an obstacle, I don't crush it, I wrap myself around it, almost as an embrace. I am fibrous and may lose parts of myself and regrow them again.

I like to imagine my father as a stone in the earth that I encounter as I follow my rooted path to water and nutrients. I like to imagine finding him there among the rich detritus and wrapping one of my tendrils around him, holding him firmly as he becomes my anchor for the next big storm.