Creating every day

Stoneware hand built plates sitting in the sun to dry.

In order to relate to your environment and capture your innocent thoughts or visions, you need to listen, observe and stay centered. This capacity to linger in the unknown and see what happens is the passage to your creative self. -Gail McKeekin

It is so easy to get pulled into the everyday busyness of doing that we lose touch with our inner compass and consequently our ability to connect in full with the world around us. I have been busy preparing for the upcoming Holiday Open Studio at McCracken Pottery, where I have been renting my studio space. Daily meditation and my long walks out in this incredible mountain desert of New Mexico are what have been keeping me grounded amidst the flurry of activity.

As I have been creating pieces every day and am also participating in Art Every Day Month, I have been taking more photos of my work. However, I will not be posting them all on this blog but rather on my instagram account under #1000heartsart (this wonderful idea came from, Jennifer Lee of Artizen Art Coaching).

Beauty in imperfection

View of Santa Fe and Taos Mountains from the Sandias

You will learn to enjoy the process… and to surrender your need to control the result. You will discover the joy of practicing your creativity. The process, not the product, will become your focus. -Julia Cameron

After seeing this quote posted on facebook by Jeane, of High Road Artist, I started thinking how it would have been impossible for me to ever get any paintings or ceramics done if I had held onto my perfectionistic tendencies while working on my art. As a matter of fact, part of what stimulates my imagination and informs my art is the very imperfection of nature.

However, it is easy to lose sight of that and as Jeane posted on High Road Artists’ page on facebook, ¬†surrendering the need to control “goes against the grain of our product-driven culture”.

This need to make something perfect certainly played into my taking so long to coming around back to doing art. The very act of allowing myself to relax and let go of outcome is what has allowed me to make anything at all. After finally getting going I noticed that the first few paintings I made before I really started to let go and allow things to happen, were really about my flowing with the process and not forcing an outcome. After my first few “bad” paintings, really beautiful things started to happen. I have had the same experience when using other mediums; easily the first one or two attempts to do anything come out poorly or just ok. If I just ease up on any pressure I am putting on myself and give it second or third try, magical things usually start to happen.

This magic of art is in its imperfection or as the Japanese call it wabi-sabi. Art’s true beauty, as in nature, lies within its asymmetry and perceived flaws. Jeane talks about this more in her article, Centinela Traditional Arts, Part 2, where she discusses Irvin Trujillo’s view that imperfection is what gives art its soul.

Every time I start a piece and every time I finish one I have to remind myself to let go of my own expectations so that I can see what is truly there. I hope that in my relaxing and letting things flow, as I give shape to a piece of clay, or place my brush on the canvas, that I infuse the piece with soul and life by allowing it to be perfectly imperfect.

 

A Good Cup of Tea

hand built stoneware, 5"x3"

Amazing how good a cup of tea tastes in a handmade mug! This is my first completely finished ceramics piece since I have been playing in clay again and I have to say, as usual, seeing the finished piece come out of the kiln feels like magic.

I have been pondering why it feels so amazing to me to have my hands in the clay and why I keep coming back for more in spite of the many hours it often takes to finish even smaller pieces. I leave the studio wearing my clay covered jeans as if they were a badge of honor. I really can’t think of too many other instances where I don’t mind walking around with what could potentially be called dirt all over me. I often stay up at night playing with my i-pad looking up new images of pottery and wondering how I can take these ideas and make them my own. I then can’t wait til the next morning to be able to jump into my dusty jeans and run back to the studio to see if my new idea works. Needless to say, I always stay longer than I planned and on my drive home I am already thinking about what I will be doing next time I am there.

 

 

There is Always Time for Love

17/1000, 12"x12', acrylic on canvas, sold

One night I had a dream where two beautiful young owls were flying through a moonlit sky. Their wings luminesced as the light reflected off their feathers. As they floated and flited circling around, it was clear that they reflected pure love off each other.

The beauty of that dream was my ability to access that feeling of unconditional love directly within. The truth is that we all have the ability to provide this for ourselves but sometimes we have to open minds and hearts to this possibility and be willing to explore our own depths.

For cards of this painting go to Wild Iris Books in Gainesville, Florida. They will also be available at my Etsy store which will be arriving in early November.

Hearts of Clay

I remember the first time I ever played with clay. I must have been around six years old and can recall digging it up out of the back yard with my grandfather. The vein of clay running through the dark volcanic soil of Costa Rica looked and felt like this magical substance that could be transformed into whatever my imagination lead me to create. My father helped my sister and me fashion wonderful miniature fruits and fruit bowls with this special gift from the earth, creating a cornucopia of small tropical firgurines.

Ever since then, clay has captivated my imagination and my creativity always leads me back to this plastic and magical medium. After spending a few days of silence at Christ in the Desert, a monastery here in New Mexico, I had a chance to re-center and touch base with my core beliefs, values and passions. After driving back to civilization through thirteen miles of desolate desert on a very rocky dirt road (where I got a flat tire), one of the first things that I felt moved to do on my way home was to once again play in the clay. It has been a long time since I have allowed myself the luxury of spending hours shaping and coaxing the clay into a new and divinely inspired expression. That being said, I have enrolled in a class and will be renting studio space from Ben McCraken.

I am still preparing pieces for my first big firing so I do not have many completed ones to show. Here are a few in process.

New Mexico is Now Home

This is the amazing view I get to wake up to in the mornings. New Mexico truly is a gloriously beautiful place full of skies, light and color. I often gaze at these mountains and hear them calling. My husband and I have started hiking around them and even have begun to practice our ascent of these 10,000 foot peaks. As our Florida lungs have begun to acclimate since our arrival, we were able to make it over half of the way up to the crest last weekend. When we reached our stopping point, I took my hiking shoes off so that I could feel the loose gravel which we had been plodding over for the last odd hours between my toes. Something about being here among these mountains and high desert soil is making me long to place my fingers in the clay and play. I could not resist this call which is why I have started to work on pottery again and will be signing up for studio space soon. I have a few pieces partially completed and am looking forward to posting some of my new interpretations of the Heart soon. Thus 1000 Heart Paintings has now been transformed into 1000 Hearts Art.

Sing Your Song!

16/1000, 12"x12", acrylic on canvas, sold

This particular piece was inspired by a dream I had about a bird flying freely and peacefully through my mind’s eye. It was this beautiful rust red, roundish bird, who I watched fly gracefully, zigzagging between the trees. It was full of life, zest and song. It reminds me of what we can all do when we stop long enough to listen to what our heart is asking for. When we connect with the core of who we are, we can sing our own unique song!

A Heart Blooms With Love

15/1000, 18"x18", acrylic on canvas, sold

We all have a true calling, and when we listen to this, when we listen to what our hearts long to do, we bloom. When we are true to ourselves, when we live the life we are meant to live, our heart sings, and love is in everything that we do.

(Prints and cards available at Wild Iris Books.)

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