#Selfie 18: Spiral in; Spiral out

4:30am in the studio is like hanging out with a special old friend I’ve not seen for a long time.  We both like gentle light, strong hot coffee.  We share a deep enjoyment of the act of listening to the day as it begins.  I feel my face wake up, muscle by muscle, and take it’s vertical, day-time shape, As my trusted friend and witness, 4:30am is content to hold the space for this to happen.

This is a huge canvas that has served as the 'catcher of drips' on my studio wall for the past six years.  On the left are the drips from 5 years worth of painting.  On the right, from the past five months.  River Cafe drips, #Selfie drips, art class drips....
This is a huge canvas that has served as the ‘catcher of drips’ on my studio wall for the past six years. On the left are the drips from 5 years worth of painting. On the right, from the past five months. River Cafe drips, #Selfie drips, art class drips….

Because of personal circumstances I lived in this studio for ten months, including the three it took to paint ten #Selfie paintings, write the blog, rehearse the show, and perform / launch the idea on June 20.  On June 22 I moved all of my stored stuff – beds, dressers, books, bookshelves, pots, pans, chairs, clothing – and all the memories they contained into a house.  Out of my chrysalis, into a house.  A shock.

If you’ve ever seen a butterfly emerge you’ll know that their wings are tiny when they climb out of their old tiny tiny space.  It’s impossible for them to fly at this stage – they need air, and time to breathe their wings into being. They need to stay still.  (For reference – try this)

falls2_October2013

I’ve been deeply divided on the stillness issue since my move.  Not comfortable with it, since there are things to be done, structures to build, schedules to draw and cats to herd.  Book to write, applications, meetings, proposals, paintings, practise…. and now also dishes, laundry, lawn, garden, stairs, appliances.  I’ve been clumsy, this past month, with all of it.

Artichoke_flower

In honour of the creative process I’d like to suggest here that each of us is in one stage of metamorphosis at any given time – egg; caterpillar; chrysalis; butterfly – perhaps even several at a time, through overlapping projects, or new; developing; changing; long-term relationships.   Two things of note – a) one stage is not better than another; this is a circular, perpetual cycle – i.e., yes you get wings at some point, but then you’re an egg again after that….  b) it’s better if you acknowledge and think about which stage you’re at in any given project, scenario, or in relationship with the world.

It’s never ever easy to change, if the change is real.  In fact, change is deeply uncomfortable, clumsy and awkward, especially if you resist.  And oh, but we do, don’t we.

at my house.
at my house.  waiting while my wings grow big.

Thank The Maker, then, for making Change the only constant in our lives.  Without these shocks that send us deep deep into our internal, uncomfortable places, the dark dark shadows that make our small selves whimper with fear – without this we would be without humility, without compassion, unsoftened by love and forgiveness.  Calloused and hardened, encased in self-judgement, self-righteousness, criticism that closes its’ ears to learning.  Our beautiful, winged souls would wither, and eventually die.

It’s true – I have always wanted to fly.  So I will do my best to understand and dissolve this resistance I feel, and love what comes.

#Selfie 17: new moon

It’s been a week since the morning after #Selfie’s opening at Gallery de Boer.  That was such a profoundly good time, rich with love and excellence, risk and joy.  We all of us had about an inch of air beneath our feet as we walked through the space and played together on the roof afterwards.  That felt so good I’ve barely touched the ground since.  Thank you thank you to the 150 and more people who agreed to meet in that space & do marvelous things.  To Ron de Boer, Sarah, Jean and everyone at the gallery who jumped on the #Selfie train and rode it, screaming around corners to the station.  Deep deep gratitude especially to my incredibles who held centre:  david sereda, Coco Love Alcorn, Larry Jensen and Kristan Anderson.  That was fine fine work.

playing in photoshop- me layered & floating between two shots of the same painting.
playing in photoshop- me layered & floating between two shots of the same painting.  I’m frowning because I’m not awake yet- this is about 6am…

#Selfie work continues.  I am compiling the oceans of material I’ve collected from social media, written response pieces, research and documentation of my own process into a book, which is coming along nicely.  We hope to have this published and available by the third week of July – write to me here if you’d like a copy or two.  I’ll keep everyone informed about how that project is progressing.  I’d also like to put a couple of new pieces in before the show comes down on August 1 – they are whispering in the back of my mind, and would like to be manifest.  We’ll see how that goes.

An 'out take' from the last #Selfie shoot before the show.
An ‘out take’ from the last #Selfie shoot before the show.

Much has occurred between last friday and today – a noon-hour concert with david sereda in a church with wonderful resonance, a gathering of friends to move me from country to town, a reclaiming of things I’ve not seen for ten months, a sort and file.  I’ve been especially challenged by the process of coming back to normal sleep patterns – by 19th June I’d become accustomed to a 3-hour sleep then work then sleep then work out routine, like some subterranean sleep cycle experiment.  Mostly back now, but that was interesting.  It got the work done, though, and perhaps more importantly it put me in a place where I was open to imagery and resonance beyond what was immediately obvious.  Love that edge.

Me loving the edge.
Me loving the edge.

Cello is calling me to practise this morning – I have two solo gigs this weekend, and need to build that stamina back.  Wonderful.
Life is incredibly, marvelously rich.

more coming, too.

#Selfie 16: Demons and veils

Ground for 'Black" - one of two exploring negative and positive imagery
Ground for ‘Black” – one of two exploring negative and positive imagery

As I think I mentioned, each one of these paintings has had it’s own ‘arc’ from concept to completion, which I’m only partly in control of.  This one in particular has been a journey I wasn’t expecting.

I wanted to put the 'positive' image on the black ground, and the inverse one on white...  Here's the drawing
I wanted to put the ‘positive’ image on the black ground, and the inverse one on white… Here’s the drawing

While I drew this I was actively wondering what the empty space at the top of the square was for.  Not planned, but intuitively deliberate, if that makes sense.  Then in the middle of the night this happened…

And now the painting is about being wrapped in cobwebs.... ikes.
And now the painting is about being wrapped in cobwebs…. ikes.

Cobwebs are not my intention, nor an indication of how I feel.

Done.
Done.

Now it’s about veils, and the Self behind the face.

…just one of fourteen journeys….