Entries from October 21st, 2015

Submerged Path

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wet Prairie Grass

5′ x 6′

On my last two visits to Payne’s Prairie, the path was submerged, and I couldn’t walk as planned.

Sometimes the way forward, however attractive, is temporarily blocked.

This painting may or may not be done. I like it, but it’s flooded with information. I can’t decide if it’s passable or not.

Perhaps I’ll give it space and return. Perhaps then I can paint in a way that clears the path.

But then again, perhaps the painting is finished: Messy, complicated, and temporarily unpassable.

Like it or not, sometimes life is, too.

The Nightmare

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Nightmare

I woke in the middle of the night sobbing and angry, with no memory of the dream that created my distress. This morning, I picked up my pen and watercolors while I sat drinking coffee and coming into the day.

Sometimes where there are no words, images illuminate.

When we overlook the personal, therapeutic, and spiritual opportunities of creative expression, we may also miss parts of ourselves that cannot otherwise be known.

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Pond 3

I woke at 4am today and painted two ponds before my 8:30am yoga class at the beloved Searchlight Yoga. I didn’t use a source photo for these paintings, but I referenced my memory of a man-made pond at a retreat center in Micanopy, FL.

Traditionally, ponds have mystical, meditative connotations, yet man-made ponds strike me as a little too perfect–not entirely trustworthy. Perhaps the same is true of self-reflection. While important, self-reflection has its limits. I can easily over-simplify or distort what I see. Often, I see what I want to see, not what is really there. And besides, can I really know what is there, when the nature of life is transience?

Direct experience–of my body in yoga, of my hand on a brush thick with paint–is something knowable, at least in the moment, and through direct experience, I become more alive. In my current work, I’m trying to bypass my intellect and self-analysis.  This is meditation. I work quickly and spontaneously, with great feeling and little technical knowledge.

These ponds are places of not knowing. Life is full of such places. On the yoga mat and at the easel, I overhear myself thinking, “I don’t know.” Yet I keep showing up and entering these places, and where terror might be, often there is  joy.


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