Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Our dream of home


All too often our dream of home
finds no echo in reality.
Where, then, will we spend our time?
Dreaming, or resenting, the life that might have been?
Or planting flowers of love,
to beautify the now?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Dance lightly in the tension


Though the immediate landscape looks a little bleak,
joy and color still hover there above it all.
To be totally present is to remain aware of both;
to dance lightly in the tension between despair and hope
and let the resulting music fill your soul.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Thoughts at nightfall


Night falls, 
and the crescent moon awakens,
Glittering soft above the rosy clouds.
Stop, breathe, and sift quietly 
through the remains of the day.
What will you do differently
Tomorrow?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Always something to work on

So here's the thing about painting: it teaches you a lot about yourself. Especially about your courage, and your risk-taking potential.

I know, I know -- it takes courage in the first place, to invest in canvas, an easel, paint, and brushes; to create a studio environment that works for you; to bring your work out into the world...

But I'm actually talking about the act of painting itself.  I have a very gentle teacher (sadly, I only attended two classes with him) who suggested I might need to work on my own, because every time he gave us an assignment I ended up in tears.  There's such a huge part of me that says "can't" that it's hard for the part of me that knows she can to actually come out and set her brush to canvas.

Some of my issues, of course, date back to my childhood.  The one I'm working on at the moment is a prohibition against repeating myself that dates back to second grade.  I had drawn something that worked -- a house, in a yard, with sky, and bushes, and a bird in the sky -- and, since it worked, I kept drawing it.  And my mom told me I had to stop drawing that and do something different.

I'm sure she was just worried that my eagerness to please was holding me back (it still does), but I wish she had waited until  _I_ got tired of doing the same thing over and over, and CHOSE to move on.  She was impatient, however, and so it's not surprising that she lost faith in my ability to get myself unstuck.

At any rate, I am now trying to give myself permission to explore a particular painting style -- by repeating myself, if necessary.  So this is the fourth in a series, although if you look back over my body of work you can see I've been coming close to this style for a while now.  The work consists of giving myself permission to repeat strokes, to use my favorite colors, and to explore familiar themes, in hopes that, given a comfortable and familiar context, I'll become bolder, more courageous.

The first image, called Evening Fire, was actually based (very loosely) on a painting I saw in Santa Fe.  I actually like mine better than the original, so that's okay.  The second was an attempt to recreate that effect in a horizontal frame, in colors that work with our new house.  With the third, I narrowed the aspect ratio, went back to the blues (they make me happier) but kept it horizontal.  And with the one above, I tried working in vertical again, but in a larger format, going strictly with what felt good. 

But then I made the mistake of comparing it to the first painting.  And it just didn't have the verve, the impact, the boldness of the first. Clearly there are elements in common, but... it feels timid to me. As if there's some invisible boundary I'm reluctant to cross, for fear of entering the bad taste zone... I don't seem to be getting bolder; instead, I've grown more careful.

Oh, goody.  Something else to work on!

Friday, July 24, 2015

No easy way


It's all about perspective: what looks like a destination
may just be an illusion, a dead end.
There is no easy way to walk to the other side:
at some point you'll still need to get out your oars and row.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Most radiant


Trusting in the refuge provided
by the shelter of your embrace, 
may each of us feel encouraged
to blossom to our fullest, 
most radiant of hues.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Step out, dive in


Up close, things may seem a bit rocky,
with a wide and unpredictable expanse to cross
before you reach that bright, inviting goal.
Trust that invitation, and respond.
Step out, dive in, don't be afraid, 
but keep a firm grip on your oars:
there might be some rough waters ahead.