On being an artist

22 Sep

Today is a lovely day to be in the studio. Some days are hard- nothing is flowing, questions of color and form are asked but not answered. Self-doubt and fear are easy companions. But not today. Today is dark out, rain and damp, but bright and joyful in spirit inside. I always light candles and burn incense when I work, and Pandora (radio) today; Brunch Café. George Ezra singing ‘Budapest’.

I met with a fellow artist this past week, and we lamented the crazy, alone, truly struggling with our work days and celebrated the bright sunny everything-is-working days. Both glad that we do not get depressed easily. Nice to know we are not alone in our work or in our practice.

It is nice to know that I belong to the sacred sisterhood and brotherhood of artists, writers, poets; The Creatives- that are leaving their beds, headed to their desks and easels, facing a day of creativity. Bringing something into the world, something new, something as yet unnamed. Bringing to life this image/idea they feel, rarely seeing it fully formed. Relying on talent, perseverance, trust and plain hard work. We do this for the love and necessity of bringing forth something new. Not for a boss, or a guaranteed paycheck, or status – but simply for the need to express whatever it is as it moves within us.

Not the hard work of the corporate world, or the hard work of day laborers, but the hard work of birthing. No mastermind group, strategic planning team or other such midwives sit waiting with me in these quiet hours. It’s me and my process. It unfolds with me, and often in spite of me. Decades of just showing up, have formed themselves into a practice, a discipline of sitting and just doing the work in front of me.

Don’t misunderstand, I am certainly not alone in this birthing. Besides the much sought after and unreliable Muse, I have my Crazymakers, who attend the bringing forth of my creative child. Boredom, self-doubt, irritation, excitement, interruption, anger, financial worry, incredible joy, intense pleasure, pride – often fall over each other in the sheer hope of getting my attention. The Discipline of Showing Up has had the benefit of informing these clowns that I am the master of my attention – all these feelings still show up, but they kind of sit quietly off to the side of me as I work and discuss things amongst themselves. Their bickering and murmuring is nicely covered up by Brunch Cafe today.

I’m not whining. I wouldn’t choose any other way of life, although I denied myself the right of being an artist for many years, for many truly stupid but hard to overcome limitations. Our society doesn’t approve much of artists. We are barely tolerated when we live out of our studios or cars, venerated when we are ‘successful’ and worthy of being seen. Kids are still discouraged from being an ‘artist’. I get it. But maybe the ‘Civilians’ as one of my friends calls her non-artist friends, are the ones who don’t get it. Maybe they don’t get the inner pressure that builds, the ideas that form, the visions that just don’t go away, demanding expression. They don’t get the years spent refining this internal and external dialogue that happens between you -and whatever that ‘other’ is. They don’t understand the crack high of an idea that comes out, thru you, that you as the proud parent get to see walk out into the big wide world with a life of its own bringing joy or understanding to a hurting world.

Of course these feelings aren’t just limited to artists. Entrepreneurs feel this, as does anyone that creates first and foremost for the love of the acts of pure creation and expression.  Yes, if you’re good and persistent and ready for it, the money will come. And the fame. But these are ego territory and can quickly cause the Muse to fly and the Crazymakers to flee.

The Artist’s Dance is to keep the Muse and the humility provided by the Crazymakers alive and well. Not the loudest voices in your head certainly, but they do provide a mastermind of sorts. The Muse provides inspiration and profound guidance, while the Crazies keep me grounded and well in touch with my humanity; the suffering and the joys of others. Balance. I try my best to be the master of my mind, making decisions based on all the guidance and terror dished up by the voices. (ok, no, I do not actually hear voices, that would freak me out.)

You know what I mean. I give this feeling a chance to be expressed and instead of going crazy from the irrationality of it, I stay with it and trust that the most basic act of all humanity, creativity, will take care of itself. I just give it space and time to be. So I sit alone, and yet profoundly not alone today, connected to all artists past and present, doing what we have always done- struggling to manifest the reality we see into shape and form. A noble calling. You have to be awfully brave to be an artist in this world today. Truly being in this world but not of it. Be true to yourself today. Let something move you. You are in good company. You can’t see us when we are struggling in the studio, but we are here. We got your back.

For my latest work- see my Tumblr

or my Instagram

Tree and Stone

8 Sep

Tree and Stone

For I have a message I would repeat to you,

a word of tree and a whisper of stone

the sighing of the heavens to the earth…

From the The Baal Cycle, 13th century BC.

We are separated from the land, and from our own nature. This is a choice. The truth is deep, unfathomable belonging. The truth is that we are the ancient, conscious, intelligent expressions of all- that- is. We belong. We are part of all creation. We are the song of humanity.

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The Green Man

6 Sep

The Green Man

Maeve’s Brooch

2 Sep

Maeve's Brooch

 

A Millstatt Face

1 Sep

Millsatt Face Day 9.  A Millstatt Face. Millstatt Abbey  is a former monastery in Millstatt, Austria. In this City of Mil, we find that  ancient Celtic beliefs were overlayed with Christian beliefs in 1070 AD, when the Benedictines took over. The city itself is named after the Celtic creation god, Mil, as it translates literally, ‘City of Mil.’ Well then. Locals believe that an ancient place of worship existed here as least as far back as Charlemagne, if not before. The town’s name certainly  implies that this holy place has pagan beginnings.  In a beautiful carving, typically stylized Celtic faces peer out from above the massive entryway. The scene over the door  shows

‘the sun, moon and stars watching Millstatt Monastery being given into the hands of Christ by its founder and are struck dumb (literally, they have no mouths) by this pious act.  Could this be an unconscious reference to the silencing of the ancient pagan beliefs?’  says Historic Impressions.

Now whether or not you’re pagan isn’t the point. Or at least not my point. I’m wondering if the face peering from behind the crescent moon has a right to speak? Is he not allowed a voice just because he comes from a different perspective? And I wonder about the many, many artists who have effectively allowed themselves to be silenced, not from fear of persecution, but by our modern day fears of self-doubt, insecurity and general unwillingness to accept and believe in our true worth. WHICH IS PRICELESS. So is it fair that we silence ourselves- or anyone, for that matter, because our opinions don’t reflect the status quo? Because we ‘don’t believe in ourselves’ anymore?’ Because we’re afraid to speak our truth?

We live in a time of incredible freedom – we pride ourselves on this very freedom. We say we value ‘mavericks’, ‘individuals’. Well? Standing up for what you believe and expressing it takes great courage, mastery and discipline. So does being an artist. Mavericks. Deviants. Bohemians. ARTISTS. Celebrate that creativity, use your freedom of expression. Be courageous. The world need artists, just as it always has needed court jesters. Truth needs to be expressed, one way or the other. Don’t be silenced by fear. Let your heart open and express your truth.

 

 

The Hobies

31 Aug

The Hobie

And here they are… Day 8. The Hobies. A mushroom, actually. My grandparents were always out Hobie hunting. I don’t ever remember seeing a mushroom- I think they just enjoyed the day off alone rambling around the countryside together. A happy relationship with your partner as you both grow older together is a precious gift, one that requires nurturing in order to encourage a second bloom late in life. The blooms are exquisite, the color magnificent and the aroma heavenly.  So my grandma said.

The Magic Door

30 Aug

The Magic Door

Day 7. The Magic Door. I always wanted to wander across a hidden door in a tree. I knew that I would open the door- that was never the question. The question of what was inside never really bothered me either, I just knew it would be somewhere better than school, or homework, or sleepless nights – whatever darkened my days. Years later, after being married, raising children, saying goodbye to loved ones, growing older – I stand a pretty good chance of actually finding such a door. Before, it was all about me. Now,  I have gifts to give, stories to tell, songs to sing.  I will be far better company for whomever lives here. I might even get invited to tea.

The Key

29 Aug

The Key watermark

The key. Everyone is looking for this key. Do you know who holds it? Whose hands it has always been entrusted to? The artists. The writers, the poets. The creative. Across the centuries creators have held the key to the imagination. And the key to the imagination is the key to everything. Writers imagine whole worlds. Poets catch verse out of thin air. Artists shut their eyes and see an apple in their mind. Spots, colors, size, wormholes; every part of that specific imaginary apple. And if you can do that, conjure up an apple in your mind, imagine what type of world you could create- if you put your mind to it. It all starts with you. Internally. In your imagination. So let your vision flow forth, into our vision starved world and begin the most human and divine experiment possible. Creation. It’s what you came for.

The Finch

27 Aug

The Finch

Ok. Day 5. The Finch. Bright cheery happy little birds. All over the garden this time of year. ‘bless…

The Artist’s Little Helper

26 Aug

The Crow

A rare glimpse into the secret undertakings over at Triskele Moon Studios. Leanne is preparing for a big show tonight at The Starline Gallery. So my drawing for today, Day 4, is in honor of the trusty little minions that help us do what we do. Those clever little helpers- seen and unseen- that guide our hands to just the right gemstone, the perfect word, or the snappiest color. Never resting, always waiting on our call for help and guidance. Of course they can be angels. Yet in the work space of a master jeweler? I somehow think a crow to be much more appropriate. What’s his name Leanne?

The Milky Way

25 Aug

The Milky Way

The Milky Way. A sight that has vanished from most of our skies, but was an ever present source of awe, wonder and inspiration for our ancestors. We exist in a world full of magic, just as they did. The joy of a child’s smile, a lover’s glance, a job well done, and the marvel that is life itself – these and infinite other causes for gratitude have stayed the same across the millennia. In order to see this incredible celestial light show, we have to be surrounded by the utter darkness of night. And so it goes for us too, the darkest conditions often reveal our most extraordinary light.

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