January is coming to a close and with it my mindful writing posts for 2019. I have not focused too much writing about my visual art mainly because I feel (the operative word here) that I’m in a slump sorts. It is the black vortex that all artists face, sometimes after a particularly productive period and sometimes not. It is the most difficult aspect (for me) to deal with: an uninspired, I don’t know what I want to paint, unchallenging and utterly bored/boring bump in the road. During these drought-like periods, painting often feels like a chore and production does not stop altogether, however the output or finished piece is not exciting to the artist. Pablo Picasso famously stated:
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
And so we do work and plow through these lulls which can last for weeks/months and sometimes for years. Every artist in every genre who is truly a creator, explorer and seeking to grow her/his artistry must work their way through the dull-as-a-dishwasher cycles to breakthroughs. For a fledgling artist this can feel like a first crushing heartbreak and that feeling of “oh no–not again” for the veteran creator. It’s not something you ever imagine could happen when you first fall in love with your vision/passion, and you never want, expect or prepare to end. But end it does bringing with the angst–necessary change for greater creative growth and a deeper more nuanced love. Inspiration is another archetype that walks along side us often at her own quirky pace. She must also find you hungry and willing to surrender to her fire.
The painting below seems to have evolved on its own. I don’t know where it came from, but I’m guessing my fiery muse had something to do with it.
until my brush sneaks past me
lost in the paint
after Ongoing by Jenny Xie
So what…the heartaches and headaches she collected like paper cuts over the years? Her early twenties—the twin beds of naiveté and wanderlust lay between book covers, on movie screens and in ballads along with all the angst of tragic heroism. Mood swings hitched-hiked in her Volkswagen Beetle over potholed backroads and the Parkway bound for revolutions on salty ferris wheels tottering on piers along the Jersey shore. Still, there was hope. Inside poems and under the canopy of trees. Work championed her thirties and forties until the prefixes of peri- and meno- attached themselves to the huge pause that followed many false starts and ambivalences. Books no longer satisfied and workmanship dulled into duty. Paint brushes and solvents hued the corners of her fifties and sixties. Self-Doubt trashed canvasses and shrink-wrapped perspective and poetry offering proposals of a loveless marriage or spinsterhood—what difference anyway? Until composition and compassion, juxtaposition and abstraction and other -itions emerged. New frames started to replace stale views of filtered servitude. With charcoal under her fingertips, she labored hard for beyond the so-whats and the for-whats, graying ever-so-lightly lightly into just this.
almost forsythia a little rain a little snow
imagine simmering pots of fragrant words
cabbage and beans
a garden celebration
of rustic stars
letting go letting g letting lettin lett let
The garden is glorious. More so as
early clouds pearl the earthy color.
Hummingbirds, butterflies and all sorts
of winged and waddling critters
are hard at work on the Sage, Snapdragon and Angelica
that gently ripple and titter in conversation.
Such a poppy of delight! I do my best to savor
what we shared in the garden, and it helps to remember
that your hands and fairy blue eyes
also loved to caress the Calendula, Cleome, Rue
and sweet September mornings
such as this.
cold hard rain
time to let go of what
I only dream is mine
the comfort of tea
pets and scarves
a poem day
I warm my cup before
steeping the tea
Yesterday around dusk, two women bundled against the damp and cold showed up and knocked at my door. It was Super Bowl Sunday, and I wasn’t expecting anyone especially as daylight dwindled. They introduced themselves and explained that they were looking for a very small lost dog missing for eight days. They thought that she might be hiding or hurt on the adjoining nursery property. These two women volunteer for a rescue kennel that is probably only half a mile from here but through dense woodland. I do hear the dogs bark from that distance on quiet summer days. It would not be too unusual for a dog to escape and run in our direction. However in this case, the dog is only fifteen pounds and the snow is still about 12″ high. We also have a nine foot deer fence around the twenty acres of nursery fields and forest. It is highly unlikely but possible that a very small dog could actually burrow under the wire fence through the existing foxholes. My heart went out to these two women who probably had so many other things to do that day but spent the whole time looking for a mongrel that they just brought up from the south to find an adopted home. “Please could I help look for this dog?” But of course, how could I say no? So off we went with flashlights in hand on hard-pack snow with hope in our hearts. They were actually in touch with a psychic who helps locate lost animals. She very accurately described details about the land here without seeing it in-person. This also gave us hope. After about forty-five minutes or so and dark descending – we gave up. There was no sight or sound of the dog. We sadly said goodbye, and I went up into my room to cry. Suffering and/or lost animals breaks my empathetic heart. I wondered why I was called into this search knowing this land and nature here so well and ahead of time that the search under these circumstances would inevitably only lead to deep disappointment and sorrow. Once again, I asked the Universe for some clarity and healing.
I wish I could report a happy ending, and that we all returned home to watch the Super Bowl with peace and popcorn. But it was not to be despite the two women returning with three more people to try once again even more exhaustively in the dark backlit by a cloudy waxing moon on snow. We spent close to another hour attempting to locate this animal. But without any sound coming from the dog, it was impossible. They were all cold and had been searching from the morning. Then I began to understand! The dog was lost and most likely passed through heaven’s gate, but still here were these heroic individuals (angels in human form) who give more than just their time to helping heal animals otherwise abandoned, hurt or neglected. How powerful is their energy and love? It (their love and devotion) asks nothing more in return but grace. Likewise all the people who work for domestic abuse, hospice, recovery etc. What would we do without our everyday heroes who despite working with the consistent pain of loss and abuse stick it out to help others including our four-legged and winged friends.
The Universe answered my questions – the dog brought us all together to share in an act of hope and love. In the end – there is only love.
To all the people who take on life’s hard work – in the words of a beloved friend: I am forever grateful.
looking for tracks on fresh snow we yield to the waxing moon
ag ~ 2015