For every change in my life, I have stood on a threshold, momentarily paused in my forward action. Birth is the first threshold, and death is the last. In between are a thousand moments of transition where I stepped from into a new stage, times when I left an old habit behind, or moved beyond old ways of understanding, experienced new gowth, or achievement.
I wanted to do a series of photos inspired by these threshold emotions. I knew I wanted some dreamlike effects, so I chose a lens that would be variably sharp and blurry (Lensbaby Sweet 80 on Olympus OMDEM 5 mio 4/3rds).
I also wasn’t up for any self-portraiture, so as I often do, I turned to my doll collection to see who wanted to stand in for me: a very old Apache woman with a dark, dried apple face stepped forward, as did my small carving of Dzonoqua, the Wild Woman of the Woods, my muse and mythic persona.
On a day when I was very tired, after a long drive home after Spring Break, I took dolls and camera out into the back yard. I had some ideas, but both the camera effects and the dolls themselves took over the shoot. Here’s what happened.
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.
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.
Cheshire Cat: Oh, by the way, if you’d really like to know, he went that way.
Sometimes I feel that I am nurturing a baby. I hold her close to my heart and I go about my life.
Sometimes I dream that I have forgotten my baby or I left her behind somewhere. I frantically search for her and usually find I left her behind at the home of a relative.
In my dream I berate myself, “How could I forget a child?”
A few weeks ago I reviewed all of my old sketchbooks going back to the 1970’s. I saw so many great sketches that remained an embryonic idea. It made me sad to see how many possibilities never came to fruition.
But ideas are everywhere. We mere humans cannot actualize the abundance of creativity that is available to us.
So I draw the woman with a baby, a floral skirt and colorful shawl. She nurtures her art the very best she can, and she also dances and she rejoices in life.
I hope you will join us for the March 7, 2016 Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal class, or tell someone you love about it.
NOTE: The next Color Your World two week class begins Jan 4, 2016. What makes this class different is the one-on-one daily interaction with an empathetic instructor and with a supportive community of fellow artists. Only $50.00. Click this button to learn more and to register:
If you would like to experience a free class, click here:
Dreaming in the New Year
During the holidays, it’s sometimes hard to even hear yourself think. These are joyous family times for most (though not all, I acknowledge). But eventually visitors leave or you travel home. You become aware in the northern hemisphere of the short days, the long nights, the rain or the snow. In the southern hemisphere, dog days of summer keep temperatures hovering around 100 degrees F.
Now is the time to find your own quiet place, go deep into a kind of dreaming trance and let some other spirit speak quietly to you. It’s true that this healing mental and spiritual drifting has an affinity for water. In the Mysterious Night Visiondrawing above, Cheryl has drawn a bubble bath. In my household, it’s the hot tub with a glass roof and the sound of the constant rain. I’ve been in warm climates this time of year, and there we are drawn to waterfalls and the warm sea.
Give yourself to those private moments, and then find a place to curl up and draw in your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal. If a white bird seems to flow out of curly pink hair–so be it. TheNight Vision Journalis never about “learning how to draw”; it is first and foremost a place to bring the images and colors behind your eyes to the black paper which is so much like the drawing board of a dream.
the dark buds of dreams
In the center
of every petal
is a letter,
and you imagine
if you could only remember
and string them all together
they would spell the answer.
It is a long night,
and not an easy one—-
you have so many branches,
and there are diversions—-
birds that come and go,
the black fox that lies down
to sleep beneath you,
the moon staring
with her bone-white eye.
Finally you have spent
all the energy you can
and you drag from the ground
the muddy skirt of your roots
and leap awake
with two or three syllables
like water in your mouth
and a sense
of loss—-a memory
not yet of a word,
certainly not yet the answer—-
only how it feels
when deep in the tree
all the locks click open,
and the fire surges through the wood,
and the blossoms blossom.
It is, in many ways, the opposite of ColorYourWorld. In the ColorYourWorld class, we are looking out at the world and making an artistic representation of it. When we have black paper, we have a dark blank slate. It is our interior darkness. It is the world of dream, of spontaneous creation. Here we may draw our deepest thoughts, our most ephemeral emotions, the world that lives behind our eyes. It is the well we go down to where we may draw up the water of our own personal Source Imagery.
In this dream, I am sitting with Mom at a cafe outside the Museum of Modern Art, although I have significantly and unconsciously labeled it “Musee.”
We see my dad, long since gone from this world, climbing the steps and entering the “Musee.”
That’s it, but this 2008 dream is still strong in me seven years later. You’ll notice (or maybe not) that I can’t draw. That matters not at all to me.
I am fascinated by the way the dreaming mind likes to rhyme. My parents were inseparable except by death, but even in death, dad enters the MOM-A. I think that speaks to their bond, which built the strong foundation of my life.
But the element that still engages me is the connection to me of Modern Art–and I have tried to live a life in art–and the cross meaning of “Musee,” or “muse,” that which inspires. In Greek mythology, there were nine Muses, and still today, each artist is said to have his or her own Muse or inner source of inspiration.
What I understand now about the dream is that my father’s spirit entered into the storehouse of modern art and became my Muse, an artistic spirit who still advises me. But I have to say these meanings only come to me now as I reflect on the dream so many years later.
THE DREAM MANDALA
I love the idea of drawing such elusive inner experiences inside a circle. It is a spiritual or ritual symbol representing the universe. Knowing that, my dream fills up the space of the universe for the page of the moment and reminds me to think expansively, to look not only inward but outward.