Friday, February 08, 2013

Fun-a-Day Week 4a

Aaaand I'm all caught up. Evidence below, and this time I bothered to crop a bit to see if that makes bigger visuals for you (What do you think, James?)

Past couple days, I've been feeling philosophical. I did the bottom two after a friend called this morning with some heavy medical news. Together they form a little prayer.

The open hand is ready for what is handed to it. Took the heart directly from #27 in the Loteria deck: el corazon! Guess what that thing in a jar is?

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Fun-a-Day Week 3b

This two-a-day thing is working out. A couple more days of this and I'll be all caught up. It's been a lot of focus to keep this thing going, but the reverse is also true. Keeping this thing going is helping me focus on my intention for the year: to get to know myself well enough to be truly fond of her. So I suppose it makes sense that I am finding myself fonder and fonder of my day's work as the month has progressed. I'm so glad I'm doing this.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Fun-a-Day Week 3a

OK, slowly catching up. Through last night:
Lost at the bottom of the cards: 'Play your hand."

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Fun-a-Day week 2b

Well, I'm behind of course, but here are a few new things in the series:

It's interesting to see how the pieces are sort of evolving over the course of the month. I like this inkl&watercolor thing. One reason I'm behind is I attempted to add 4x4 box canvas acrylics to the works, and it threw me for a loop. Totally different rhythm, painting in acrylics. Rather than choke on finishing one piece before starting another, I decided to let the canvas be an unfinished thing & move on.

I'm still behind by about 5 pieces, dear dear, but I hope to get to another one in between bouts of iron cheffing the fridge.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fun-A-Day Week 2a

So, here's the next 3 4x4 Pieces of Me:

My tattoo, which is called "she emanates"; a thing I do to wake up my head (and its contents); and one of my shadowy subpersonalities.

I find I am combing through iconic images from past sketchbooks to find Things I Live By or things that are a part of me. Apropos of the Symbolic Modeling work I've been doing lately, I'm finding that the images that stick with me do so because they are part of the inner metaphorical landscape I use to orient me to my life. As I go through this Fun-A-Day project, I realize how the innocent doodles and follwing-my-nose art that I've done is an expression of what's going on in that inner landscape. This may occur as a big No Duh to most artists, but I haven't had a very intimate relationship to my creativity for awhile, so I am just catching on to How Art Works.

Anyway, some very pleasant a-ha's occuring to me as a result of this project. I'd share some here, but I suspect they have the snoozefest quality of excitedly sharing long rambling only-personally-significant dreams, and so you shall be spared. (I attempted to scribble something here about the relationship between windy days and a metaphorical heavy cast-iron rolling caddy for storing the extra metal cord that inhabits my spine, but I see your eyes are already glazing, so I scratched it.)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fun-a-Day Week One

The Artclash Collective encourages Fun-A-Day projects nationwide the first month of the year; I signed up locally last year, and flaked/failed immediately. This year, my local branch got started on the 15th of the month, which gave me enough time to orient to 2013, so that it was possible for me to really sink my teeth in to the project.

Consequently, I am up & running. I decided on a 4x4" piece of me a day -- working mostly with symbols for stuff, and some phrases. The first three days, this was my output:

Then, this happened:

I may include a glossary, if I find I want to say something about each panel. Or I may just blog about them here. They are mostly on bristol board, using gouache. watercolor, and pen-and-ink; there is one monotype here so far, and may be others. I have a 4x4 woodblock and 9 4x4 mini canvasses, so there may be various other formats. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

A ceremony, on the occasion of the New Year

I welcomed the coming year with my best friend tonight. I've been feeling the pull toward something transcendent and ceremonial as the new year approached and spread its dewey wings. It's a tender time, before the year's wings get tucked back in and it's back to business as usual. Now's the chance to set a tone for the next dozen months, I thought, and Deez thought it was a fine idea, so I studied on what sort of ceremony.

I reached for my most recent source for acknowledging mileposts and passages, the ex-Catholic priest and poet and philosopher John O'Donohue. I spent a lot of the days leading up to New Years listening to and quoting him, scribing out blessings to people and hearing his playful oration. (I have a book of blessings he has written, called To Bless the Space Between Us.) One of the things he proposed was an exercise: write down 7 thoughts you have been living in, operating from, letting run the show. Look at them, remember them. Then write down 7 thoughts that you haven't been able to even flirt with (that's how he put it, so you see what I mean by playful) because you have been in such a deep relationship with the first 7. And imagine what life would be like if you let those thoughts, the flirty ones, come by a little more often.

That sort of thing was the right idea, but writing down 7, then writing down 7 more, AND pondering them -- well, as befits an Irishman who was a Catholic priest, that felt playful and punitive at the same time. A bit severe.

Conversely, Deez and I have been imbued with gentler thinking lately. We've most recently taken our life themes from a book by Cheri Huber called Sweet Zen, which is all about having loving compassion for our whole beautiful messy selves - and the idea here is that within each of us are a bunch of selves, or sub-personalities, that we acquired over the years and that now show up and "run the show" according to their own individual motivations. I have a weeper who uses tears to slow the world down, a fat buddha who exudes contentment, a tongue lashing viper who gives people who displease me what's coming to them, etc. You get the picture. So loving all those little buggers. The little kid who finds simple solace in sweets, TV, and harder cloth mother stuff; the smug cultural vanguard; the shy little kneesock pigtailed girl who doesn't want to get in trouble; the vindictive little snot; the class clown begging to get on stage; you know, everybody. "Awww, bless 'em." That's the idea. (And when I happen upon it, the smug cultural vanguard's best friend, smug pious bastard shows up.)

So, we like the idea of thoughts that were running the show and thoughts we'd like to invite to show up more often. But to make it nicer to ourselves, we hit upon writing down one thought we'd like to invite to vacate the driver's seat, and one flirty thought we'd like to take to dinner and dancing. And I liked the idea of finding those and writing them down here in my warm apartment, then bundling up with extra scarves gloves hats and jackets, incense, a lighter, flashlights, our ceremonial papers, and something to help pass the time -- then descending to the beach under the night sky to hear the surf and scout for meteors  and burn our little thoughts and wish them good luck in their new roles.

Deez was all for it. So we thought awhile, and wrote some things down, and used the two little flashlights I got for Christmas to pick our way down the local's path to the State Beach. We found that the tide was low, the surf was booming, the stars were shimmering in the clear night before moonrise, and the beach was covered in driftwood. Huge clumps of kindling fodder here, a few stately tree trunk logs there, and an impressive knobby tangle of water-softened roots over here..... A little ways down the beach, before the row of houses started, was a driftwood shelter -- a sturdy lean-to perfect for impromptu ceremonies on a chilly night. Thanks, beach-goers.

We approached loudly, so as not to startle anyone who might be sleeping there, and, finding it empty, made it our home for the next couple hours. I lit the incense (Nag Champa with the Sai Baba seal!), we arranged ourselves, and I made a little pit in the sand. Experimentally, I laid in a short string of dried seaweed, and tried to set it on fire, but it wasn't thirsty for a starter-flame, and though we decided that might be stinky anyway, we left the string in there.

We described our sets of thoughts to each other. I'll tell you mine. I opened the driver door and invited out: The Automatic 'No' and The Obligated 'Yes.' The Automatic No responds to every invitation with 'Mmm, nahhh.' It has excuses. It's cold out I won't know anyone I don't feel like keeping a smile plastered on my face gee that's a far drive....but it does not confine its reasoning to invitations. It also responds that way to things I think of -- that I want to do! So when I let Automatic No do the driving, I don't take a long luxurious bath, I don't go to improv, I don't go to my old windswept Pacific neighborhood and enjoy a brisk walk along the bluffs, I don't get out of dodge....gee thanks Automatic No! Nervy bugger! And then! We have Obligated Yes! Smug Pious Bastard has Obligated Yes' ear, so when I am invited to, or have ideas for, Things I Should Do (and know in my heart of hearts I am not up for just now), Obligated Yes grabs the wheel and puts me in the position of making flaking out stand in for taking care of myself.

If only they conferred with me a little more often.

So then the thought I'm giving my class ring to is The Considered Response. This classy lady, when she happens upon an invitation or possible course of action, turns to me, and, like a gracious date, says "Ahh, an interesting proposal. What do you think, Bonnie, What would you like to do?" And then I can check it out with my gut, and let Automatic No or Obligated Yes weigh in (the adorable little sprites), thank them for their input, and respond with my real answer.

So once we had described our demotions and promotions to each other, we had to figure out how to set fire to them in a breeze with my mini lighter. To be extra ceremonial about it, we tried catching a flame by holding the papers up to the incense cherry, and when that yielded mere dark spots, we tried re-flaming the incense with the lighter, and when the breeze blew it out, we relented and straight up used the lighter on the papers and put them into the pit. Pleasantly, the seaweed provided realistic campfire crackling noises, and when papers turned to ash we talked awhile about relevant Big Life Stuff till the incense went out.

And then we thanked the shelter and emerged under the dome of twinkling lights, the North Star shining brightest at the very top of the dome. We watched for meteors and swore we saw a few, and made all the wishes that occurred to us without waiting for a shooting star for each one. Our ceremony, our rules! But some things are sacred. I'm not telling you my wishes.