The Arts



Spring Cleaning Inspires...


A best friend of mine is the genteel repository of her family's precious history and heirlooms.  Over the forty years we've been friends I've watched (and appreciated!) as generations of jewelry, silver, china, diaries and letters have been entrusted to her.  Of all the precious items passed her way my favorite is a collection of letters, written in the 1840's to her great grandfather.  They were from his family in England after he had immigrated to America.  In this day of cell phones and email it is humbling, and somewhat soothing to imagine the efforts once put into communicating with loved ones flung afar.  The handwriting is exquisite...flourishes galore.  The language is rich...poetic.  And then there's that red wax seal... But the light that makes this eye shine is the planning and execution of a simple letter.  Because postal rates were expensive a single sheet of paper was used.  That one piece of paper was folded in such a way as to have a block of space for the 'envelope'.  The rest of the sheet, front and back, was covered in writing.  After they covered the space writing in one direction they turned the sheet 90 degrees and wrote across the words they had just written.  The image above is one such letter.  On some letters they even turned the page again at a 45 degree angle and wrote some more. 

I love these letters, and pictures I took of them have been in my "Inspire" folder for a long time.  When cleaning out that same leather trunk in which I found the beads I came across some studies I had done for a planned, but not realized, series of paintings...a tribute to these letters and what they represent.  Just as I did with the beads I pulled the studies out, and now find myself revisiting past inspiration. 

There's a muse calling my name.  Spring has arrived, the easel sits on the newly cleaned and organized screen porch.  The time has come for a new series.  I have a feeling this one is going to be different from any past, and I'm excited to see what grows.  Stay tuned...the thumbnail at the top of the journal is the beginning.  I will post images as the work develops and use this space to hear what it is saying to me.  Come on along...the journey may be fun and interesting.  I'd love to hear what you have to say, too.




Easel.jpgI keep getting images of a collage...layers upon layers upon layers.  Dimensions within dimensions.  I slap that scrap of paper dug from the trunk onto a watercolor pad, then I circle the easel for a couple of days.  (That is literal in this little house with two doors leading to the back porch)  This is the trickiest time for me...the blankness on one hand, the fully formed image on the other.  And no clue how to get from here to there.  It actually gives me an ache...no, more like pressure, right behind and above my eyes.  Third eye pierce in efforts to cut the chatter.  I continue to walk and watch, walk and watch.  Circling, circling.  One day is too cold and rainy to work outside.  Walk and watch.  Oh, necklace sales...must work on jewelry for a day.  Circle and circle and circle.  And then an odd nudge comes my way via the cable guy.  He knocks out all communications for a full 24 hours.  What else could I do???



The Letter 1.jpgIt occurs to me that the only way to start is to start.  Funny.

I scrub and rub and splatter paint around making the paper canvas look old and worn and touched a million times.  I am looking for that foundation...that foundation of ancestors.  That foundation providing the courage to fly.

I stick three little Chinese bamboo paperclips to the corner.  I don't know why.  I just like them. 

The gilt bearing envelope is a natural.  The golden tie manifest as a simple letter of news and love from afar.






The blue is easy to land on as a next move...journeys, water crossings, deeps, shallows.  And here's the surprising, benign lesson.  Going with the flow doesn't mean that the trip is forever smooth...the river has rapids.  Always.  A Buddhist monk once told me that we will know we are on the right path when all flows into place.  A misunderstanding has had me wondering often if the rough patches are signs I am not in the flow...it made me nervous, jumpy, full of second guessing.  Now, I need to re-think that.  Good.