The Synthesis of Memory

Junipers, the Steens Mountains, Oregon – watercolor by Cheryl Renee Long
Cliff Swallows, Canyonland, Utah,- watercolor by Cheryl Renee Long

Many artists notice that their best work emerges long after a visit or an experience.  Two paintings above are a synthesis of my memories. I did not use a photo reference, preferring instead to see what colors, what shapes emerged just from remembering. I did not use just one scene, Junipers is a composite. The landscape shows a repeating pattern of dotted  sagebrush, always a good element for a composition. I have many Juniper stories.  I remember the Pariah Canyon country; a juniper loaded with opalescent pale blue berries fluoresced in the starlight. I see junipers as sacred trees and possibly sentient in some way.

Cliff Swallows continue to be a persistent image for many years. We call these long term pictures in our minds Source Imagery.  I seem to have a thing for repeating dot patterns. I have seen these nests in Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and Washington. I am not sure why they hold such appeal for me. Cliff Swallows are free and beautiful birds. Their flight pattern is fascinating and they build nests from  permanent materials, and high on the cliffs, far from predators. I resonate with that.

A Return to the Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal

Welcome Back!

Cheryl and I took a year-long hiatus from the Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal art, blog, and classes, but now we’re back.

Starting Jan. 2, 2018, Cheryl will teach a two week class The Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal. It is a two week online course in drawing memories, dreams, and reflections on black paper using gel pens or Prismacolor pencils.

In love with vivid color, we pursue the soul’s uncensored purpose.

To get back in the groove, we are each returning to our black journals and sharpening up our Prismacolors.

Sandy got started this morning with a drawing that began with a dream and then went from there. She wrote a poem that “explains” each step of the drawing.

A Return to the Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal
“A Return to the Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal”
Derwent InkTense Pencils. Sandy Brown Jensen
A Return to the Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal

Now we return to teach and be taught

by The Mysterious Journal of Dreams.

Bright colors and a black field—

the gate between worlds swings wide.

As I drew the distant mountains,

I thought, ” A faraway friend.”

As I colored in the layered cliffs,

I thought, “Banded agate.”

As the petroglyphs emerged,

I thought, “Return to a seed, a star, a tree.”

A boat blew her sails into the wind,

And I said, “Now we’re on the water.”

The surf first, and then the wind,

and two swimmers, you and me,

The earth, the sky, the sea.

–Sandy Brown Jensen

Have YOU been dreaming or drawing or writing lately?

Rumi said,

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”

What has been drawing YOU? Let us know in the comment field–it’s above, just under the headline where it says “Leave a comment.”

We’d love to hear from everyone!

Receiving Love From All Over The World and Beyond

Receiving Love From All Over The World and Beyond
Colored Pencil Sketch: “Receiving Love From All Over The World and Beyond”

Post by Cheryl Renee Long

 
I float in a starry sky.
On my left is the sun.
On my right is the Milky Way.
I open my body, my mind and my heart to the healing love and blessings I receive from people all over the world.
I sense the colors of their:

prayers,

attunements,

reiki,

shamanic healing and

enfolding good thoughts

I consciously switch my energy to Receive.

 
 I am very good at transmitting, but the current cannot be complete without receiving, a less familiar skill.
I bask in the healing love of my friends, my family and possibly entities unknown to me.
I accept their kindness and allow my body to become whole and well. 

Will She Come To Me Now?

–Sandy Brown Jensen

(This poem is about my unusual muse, who is a ten foot tall hominid who survived the Ice Age and still roams the Pacific Northwest. She is not to be confused with Sasquatch of urban legend fame or Dzonoquah of the sacred Kwakwakawak tribal pantheon except that in Dreamtime, she is both of those. I am working on a book of poems called Giantess.)

Sandy_iPad_gazingGlobe

 

Will she come to me now when

the little creek of grief is nothing

but dark water in an old ditch

inching upward with the swell

of winter rain?

She is a creature

of the far North. All winter

She sleeps as the bears sleep.

She lets her dream body loose

to roam, held to her sleeping

bulk by the thinnest of silks.

When the winter nights

are tin cold and the stars

so far away that I may as well

have my head in a bucket

punched with holes, I look

for her between fir trees. I listen

for her in the gunshot snap

of a frozen limb. I try

to find her thread

and lead her to me here.

Giantess Two Trunks

Now the March thaw

is breaking up the rivers

the way, long after a death,

the heart begins to rise again.

I know she is traveling

toward me now, the long

southward beaches still roaring

with open mouths their storm

surge songs.

She is finding

cockles among the seaweed,

and her eyes, if you could see them,

have twin catchlights

like inverted crescent moons.

Alert Bay Dzono_and_Me

Nude with Blue Birds

Post by Cheryl Renee Long
My body is ghostly, hardly touching. The missing breast is both wounded and healing. What is left is my white skin and the stretch marks from nursing like a gift I get to keep, after all. The diagonal blue scar in all its ugliness still seems like a clock. It is mending and it is ticking.  My life is on hold for now, but it will need tending.
Cheryl_Nude with Blue Birds
Nude with Blue Birds by Cheryl Renee Long
Grief is like a filmy gray scarf, just brushing me lightly. The blue birds are actually black and wild, and they tend me as I rest. They offer me blue, and I think of the bluebird of happiness. They know I need blue, but I need their wildness too, like medicine.
I am resting, I am quiet. The clock ticks and wait for the day when I fly.

Healing Has Its Own Schedule

Post by Cheryl Renee Long:

Today is February 26, 2017. Thirteen days ago I had a mastectomy of the right breast. I am healing but it seems like a very long process. Some days I hurt enough to take pain medication, some days I think I can clean the entire house. Well I cannot, it doesn’t matter who is coming over to see me. The house has to wait.

Cheryl Ghostly scribble art
Healing Spirits
Sadness darts in and out of my consciousness. The clouds outside are wet and dark. Then I look closely at my blue glazed China pots, and spring is in full swing. All of the bulbs I planted last November are banging out of the ground. The early crocus are blooming yellow and purple. The incorrigible fruit trees are blooming. Pussy willows.
I go outdoors no matter what. My golden dog approves. My paints beckon me. Who cares if my body is shaky – I might get an interesting effect. Who knows?
It is just about spring and slowly day by day my creative life sort of reels me in. My cancer free future comes into focus, fades a bit, focuses again.
There is no way to hurry this natural healing process. “Healing has its own schedule,” says my mother.

Healing has its own schedule.

You Mustn’t Be Frightened

This is a full double page view of my art journal.
This is a full double page view of my art journal.
This is a closer view of the right hand page.
This is a closer view of the right hand page.
This is a closer view of the left hand page.
This is a closer view of the left hand page.

“You mustn’t be frightened

if a sadness rises in front of you,

larger than any you have ever seen;

if an anxiety – like light and cloud-shadows,

moves over your hands and everything you do.

You must realize that something is happening to you,

that life has not forgotten you,

that it holds you in the palm of its hand

and will not let you fall.”

–Rilke

This is from Sandy Brown Jensen’s current art journal. It is being featured this week on Tumblr’s Journal-Inspirations site.

Mermaid Feet


A recent Daily Create asked us to video “where our feet go.” I couldn’t face the cliched video-pointing-down-at-feet-walking, so I put on a bathing suit, grabbed my Go Pro and sank into my hot tub for both still and video photography.

I was surprised at how dreamy the resulting images were.

 

What Are You Thankful For?

As my Meditations on Gratitude online class with Laura Valenti continues, we are encouraged to look around us at everyday moments and objects as worthy a moment of gratitude.  I have been taking photographs around the property to celebrate this little corner of the world one quiet corner of June 2016.

arty dining room interior
I am very grateful to have married into this house 22 years ago. Here, I am outside shooting through the living room window with a close up on a grouping of masks and other sculptural objects. The window glass is reflecting the trees behind me.

I like this shot because it conveys the sense I always have of our house being like a longhouse, full of mythological beings, adrift with stories and dreams.

Bunny in the Window
When we were having our car breakdown and accidental extra nine days of vacation in Carmel earlier this year, Peter bought Bunny for me. I have become very attached to Bunny, and sometimes she sits in the living room window and waits for me to come home.

Cheshire Cat: Oh, by the way, if you’d really like to know, he went that way.

Alice: Who did?

Cheshire Cat: The White Rabbit.

Alice: He did?

Cheshire Cat: He did what?

Alice: Went that way.

Cheshire Cat: Who did?

Alice: The White Rabbit.

Cheshire Cat: What rabbit?

Alice: But didn’t you just say – I mean – Oh, dear.

Cheshire Cat: Can you stand on your head?

Alice: Oh!

Perdita, a Doll
Perdita in the Window. My sister Cheryl gave me Perdita for my birthday, made by a Mexican doll-maker. My photography teacher said she looks like a visionary or seer, and I agree.
House_External
This is the exterior of our house, guarded by a Native American Sisiutl or double-headed sea serpent, which is the Guardian of the House of the Sky People, painted on there by Peter one fine day. 
Living Room Go Pro Fish Eye
Using my Go Pro, I shot from the outside of our living room looking in, accentuating the fish eye quality. I like this picture because it is odd and yet sees right through the house.
Outside looking in
I love this photograph of our house from the living room window straight through the airy spaces to the garden.
totem pole intheFennel
Peter’s totem poles out in the garden are starting to settle into their places ever more deeply, here disappearing into the fennel.

What is around you in your everyday world that YOU are thankful for?

Canvas of the Soul

Drawing of Childhood Home
This little drawing was done first in the Paper 53 app then moved to Bazaart to add the image in the upper left and the text.

In today’s Daily Create, we were asked to draw our childhood home. I have done this drawing many times over the years, and I notice it has gotten less and less specific as time wears away at the bright stones of memory, polishing them down to their glowing centers.

Now it is mountains, trees, tracks, river, house.

I grew up on the Wenatchee River in the foothills of the Enchantments. The image of me upper left is from an underwater shoot a couple of days ago and seems to me a face full of memory.

Even a rudimentary sketch like this seems beautiful to me, and I stare at it falling into a reverie of a time both long ago and yet still a room I can walk into that is as close as breathing.

The Mysterious Night Journal for me used to be gel pens or Prismacolor on black paper, but as I work in my art journal and so often disappear into the many rooms of memory, I see it is the canvas of the soul.

Your Art Journal is the canvas of your soul.


 

 

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