Keirartworks's Blog

hmmm. hmmm? Observations, actions and connection points through art.


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#Water: Tears, tears

I’ve just read a paragraph in an alternative american news source I trust, in reference to an incident of ‘personal is political’ in Asheville, North Carolina:

The misogynist (woman-hating) viewpoint is currently embodied in this thing we’re all just hearing about for the first time, called Red Pill culture. Simply put, this is a social environment where men are encouraged to view women negatively, primarily as sex objects, who must be kept in their place.

Windsheild

I dug just a little deeper and I wish I hadn’t.  I feel so very very sad, and shamed, because this is the culture I’ve been taught to fear, and therefore perpetuate, in my life.

 

You don’t need to know more than this – Red Pill is a subculture that has gained momentum via the internet that offers support to men who’ve been raised to feel small no matter how big they are physically.  Because the social media site that maintains space for it wants members (it also allows photographs of live animals being ripped apart), Red Pill is a place that encourages small and brutal and mean.

If you are looking for something to read that proves we are not small, go here.

Windsheild2

 

Everyone on the planet now understands the social environment Eric Francis refers to.  Please resist the urge to dig deeper, since you will just get angry, and you’ve been angry about this before.  Anger just feeds the issue, and we all have more humanity than that.

windsheild4

I think about all the true things I haven’t said, because I knew it would hurt or enrage a man (or a woman) I was close to.  About all the actions and statements I’ve absorbed without comment or left unchallenged because I knew it would rock the foundations of someone I cared for  – powerful, brilliant people who were raised to feel small and inadequate.

I get that feeling, I’ve lived with that feeling, but I don’t accept it.  We are better than that, all of us.

Windsheild3

In english the word for ‘tear’ on my cheek is spelled the same way as ‘tear’ it off.

I’m going to sit with this for a while, in the context of Red Pill.


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A broadly curved road

I went subterranean twelve weeks ago, maybe more.  Came up again two days ago, I think.  I know this because I found myself gardening yesterday.

DomsLilly

This was a tunnel of a place I’ve been in, a way into and through the deep, long list entitled Impossible-but-Necessary.  In twelve weeks strong and beautiful people died, shockingly, suddenly, and those of us who grieve them turned inward then slowly forward; old and treasured things were broken then transformed phoenix-like amid the mourning, the loss.  Boundaries were breached, injuries dealt and received, some old trusts betrayed and also new ones established without question.  Concerts were rehearsed and played; family homes sold and contents dispersed, others burned and the tenants embraced by this rich community. Long overdue letters were written and sent; 50-year careers ended; a 20-year-old vehicle sold for parts; the streets in the city opened and excavated in the great replacement of metal with plastic…

BackyardLawn

As the boxes were packed and the old things released into landfill sites, recycling depots, re-store Judy Collins sang who knows where the time goes? to help the tears come.

As the goodbyes were said after the stories were told, as the weeping hugs were shared, Kodaly’s solo cello sonata raged and softened and spoke …

As the solos were played and the painting delivered; as the portfolio was presented and the university applications sent, Cohen sang ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering…

Through all the overnight insomnia on the studio couch Joni sang dream on, dream on...

Forsythia

As we turned forward into spring, and green and growth, david sereda sings, you’re beautiful.  Be You.  Coco Love Alcorn sings We gather ’round when we can, and we let ourselves be true…  Tyler Wagler sings …out the doorway, ‘way we go.  Where you lead, I will follow … Kati Gleiser plays Rachmaninoff and then sings our beauty back to us.

As the pipes thawed, so did we.

 


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Who designed this?

The Harness is off.  It’s over there on the floor.

Curious, to see this thing I’ve worn for 30+ years…  Who made it?  Why so tight?  Why the rough rope?  It’s ingenious, actually.  There’s a pull cord I see that will jab thumbtacks into my backside when I’m slowing down, and simultaneously tighten the collar around my neck…  added incentive to get through the last 10% of every project?

I recognize that this harness was designed by me, however unconsciously, from the inherited protestant ethic of Work as Suffering.  Life is work, therefore (inevitably) Life is Suffering.  Extrapolated:  If you don’t suffer, you’re not working hard enough.  This idea can take the joy right out of any task – even if it’s your highest calling.  It can in the extreme lead to the wearing of hair shirts, to self-flagellation, martyrdom/victimhood,  the false rationalization of the need to live like a starving artist …

up next.  Two paintings about how we choose to use our energy - to engage, or not.

up next. Two paintings about how we choose to use our energy – to engage, or not.

To be clear – I’ve had a super-productive, satisfying time since April, when I began work on the #Selfie project.  It’s been an experience full of engagement, surprise, transformation – rich with reward on every level.   I also met my harnessed self full-on several times, too, and recognized someone driven in a way that is not healthy.

With several new projects on the table now – each one full of promise, potential and fascination, I find myself wondering about this.  As I take the breath one takes before diving in, I wonder

Do I really need the thumbtacks?

Does it need to come to suffering and self-denial, this finishing?

Must it be a battle, every time?

 

resist underpainting

resist underpainting

At the very least I need to radically alter the design.  To find and use material that I like – softer, padded. No thumbtacks, no injectors full of anxiety, no neck collar.   Maybe it should be more like a well-crafted tool that will help me to pull a heavier load.

Or maybe the work isn’t heavy, and I don’t need a harness at all.

This is quite a thought.

dance step 2 resist underpainting.  The power is in the space between

dance step 2 resist underpainting. The power is in the space between

Maybe I just need to change my mind.

This is exciting.  So is 2014-2015.  So many neato, challenging collaborative and solo projects ahead.  So many Incredibles to work and play with.  Without suffering for any of it.

So, Honoured Protestant Ancestors.  What you lived and suffered in protest to is no longer life-threatening; the ethic no longer applies in any way that’s healthy and life-affirming.  Sleep in peace, with big smiles.  Grins, even.

 

“If you bring forth the genius within you it will free you. If you do not bring forth the genius within you, it will destroy you.”

– Jesus, gnostic Gospel of Thomas (which didn’t make it into the bible.  Too bad.)

 

 


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Wings

twenty extra minutes uphill, but it didn’t feel like it because of Dire Straits and Jake Coco.  In fact, my wings carried me up that hill in time with the music, and then I was soaring high high above everything where the horizon is curved, warm sun on my back.

base drawing for "selfie answer 1", which will graduate to its' next stage today.  Can't wait to dig in...

base drawing for “selfie answer 1”, which will graduate to its’ next stage today. Can’t wait to dig in…

My theory is this:  I’m invisible if I close my eyes when I’m working out.  In this way I have discreetly walked ten miles every week for the past month, flown up countless hills, memorized lyrics to twenty excellent songs, and arranged ten more for cello and voice.  I truly never thought I’d say this, but I do love my little green iPod with all my heart, just for making this such a rich journey.  And for being tiny.

love these guys so much, missed the boys this week past

Some of our Youth Orchestra kids on the week before March break. Great tribe to be part of.

I have no profound thoughts to offer, since I’m in transition from task to task today, but I’m aiming for objectivity this weekend after tomorrow’s supremely enriching Sistema Teacher workshop in Toronto.  When I’m done there my iPod and I shall drive and drive, and the parts of my brain that have become strapped in too tightly by all of this striving and slogging will loosen their ties, let down their hair and begin to dance again in the big expanse of Road Trip, where the horizon is curved.  Somewhere in the middle of this walkabout I will find Profound, and Articulate, and craft something here…

But for now I will leave you with a beautiful thing crafted by Annie Dillard.  I’ve been chewing on this ever since I read it two weeks ago.  She writes things that just keep coming back to you…..

A schedule defends from chaos and whim.  It is a net for catching days.  It is scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time…. It is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living

Happy first week of March 2014, everyone.

 


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River to lake to ocean

There’s a very deep drum beating underfoot.  It began last week –  I can always feel it now, steady & slow.

river otter

river otter

Snow is no longer constant,  the air smells different.  We’ve turned the corner in this deep winter.

otters

Old, tired things have been examined and released, new ones discovered and developed.   Deep practise continues, but is now more focused and specific.  Long term projects have good momentum, goals defined, dates chosen, plans and reasons why clear and set – including an awareness that whatever isn’t anchored well will be washed downstream in the spring floods….

OtterBrownturn

Which is the way of things, and as it should be.

River to Lake, Lake to Ocean.  I can hear whales singing.

OtterBrownstare


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Saturday morning, 4am

Yesterday was requiem day as I worked in the studio, which seemed fitting, somehow.  Every layer of grief and joy is expressed and exposed in them – the Mozart, the Brahms, the Faure, the Rutter.  Outside my windows there raged a storm that tore hydro lines and uprooted trees – for a while my phone and my internet was dead, and I was startled that this made such a difference:  me utterly alone with my grieving, raging, joyful, impossibly beautiful requiem (Mozart at that point).  Some deep internal things happened then that were very good indeed – thank you Bruce Telecom, Mozart, and the Storm.

falls2_October2013

My work continues to go well – barring another major dharmic intervention, two very large paintings will be finished by the end of Sunday Nov 3, which is also the day of an eclipse of the sun.  We will rehearse another requiem (the Popper, for 3 celli and piano), I will get some deep practise in, and the weekly routine will dance on.  For me, though,  there will be a rich, indescribable difference, thanks to the Storm, the Requiem and Bruce Telecom.  I’m humbled by it, actually, in an empowering sort of way.

a yellow christmas cactus that I raised from a wee thing.  Blooming like mad in my eastern window...

a yellow christmas cactus that I raised from a wee thing. Blooming like mad in my eastern window…

The tectonic plates beneath us are shifting.

Can you feel it?  There is an air change, a sea change, an internal change wherever you look, if you look for it.

How wonderful it is to be alive.