December

at the end of this year

there are new beginnings

we look forward …

We’ve had sunshine today, and rain, and thunder – and now the sun is out again. Reminding me that all things change, seasons pass, years too.

December is my my birth month – I always loved it as a child. It’s the month that held my birthday, the end of school for the year, the start of the long summer holiday, and Christmas. I remember hearing Santa’s reindeer on the roof once when I was about seven. I was absolutely sure of it. Now I think it could have been the Deer Mother and her kin.

Now this Sagittarian is thinking about the coming year – pulling back on the bow – wondering where to direct my attention – patient and strong enough to wait and hold – until I’m ready to release the arrow.

Grace

This is Grace – a beloved dog who lived with her family for fourteen years.

This painting of her is my absolute best painting yet – and I’m proud of it but a little nervous too.

That internal critic sneaks in with “hmm – well this is good – but can you do it again …? What if this is it…?” If only that voice could be silenced.

The only option is to keep working, keep trusting myself. And finding gorgeous creatures like Grace to motivate me and make me fall in love with the process of bringing their image into being on canvas.

painting

A work in progress – nearly finished.

A few thoughts on painting …

I’m finding that I’m becoming more able to look at a rough shape in the early stage and “see” the thing I’m wanting to paint.

I’m working from a photo – I can see that, all the details, but I have to be able to see it in a different way – it’s as if I have to take the image inside and then project it back out onto the canvas.

And in that process things change a little – colours, composition.

It becomes real in my mind’s eye first – and then I need to create that on the canvas. That’s the challenge, the frustration – finding how to bring that inner vision into reality.

And another discovery – when I’m painting for someone else (as with this) it doesn’t feel right to share until they’ve seen it first. So I’m only comfortable sharing very early stages or oblique views – it’s as if – once I’ve started – it doesn’t really belong to me.

November

IMG_1223

ready to release and renew

there is beauty in the most humble

even the dandelion longs to sing

This time of year is full of spirit, talk of the thin veil, acknowledging ancestors.

Here in the Southern Hemisphere, we are well into spring, and I’m focusing on renewal and finding beauty.

Blossoms are everywhere, scenting the air, delicate pale pink petals on my small apple tree. The weeds are doing their best to compete, bright yellow dandelion flowers shouting from the emerald grass.

This is such an intense time, saturated colour, and the startling speed of new growth.

The flax flowers are almost opening, and when they do, tui will circle the house, then land and feed.

And I’ve been reflecting on how I can release my work into the world. This year has had such a focus on the visual. I’ve been gifting paintings to my friends. My own little efforts to bring beauty into the world. My little blossoms in the wind …

shadow fire

a year ago today I said farewell
to my street child, my gypsy girl
my wild, fierce heart, my black queen

but in fact – she was never mine
she was always her own true self
a role model of feisty independence

she chose the best of times to cross over
and three weeks later she returned
to briefly burn

blue flame
shadow fire
spirit lightning

she stained my hands
indigo, alizarin, umber
she pushed my heart past fear and into passion
took me to the edge of obscured potential
of an essential choice

I felt the surge and flux
the rising breath
and leapt

©clairegriffin2018

October

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rain falls

each drop, a gift from sky to land

rests gently on the earth

 

A few thoughts…

This morning began with rain, the gentle rain that collects and settles on leaves.

The photos for this calendar were all taken last year. I took another photo this morning that was almost identical – a year apart in time, but connected by rain and light.

There’s little more to say, except that, in these strange times, remembering the gifts the earth gives us could help us remember the gifts we can give each other and ourselves – gentleness, kindness, patience, encouragement.

 

At first I thought that was all I had to say. I felt an emptiness. I could feel myself casting around for the right words… there are no “right words”. There is only whatever you feel the need to say. There is only the saying of whatever it is you are feeling.

I feel the same rage that rises in so many women around the world. Frustration with the inequalities in our societies, with the sense of entitlement that so many express. There’s a part of me that wants to join in the cries of “burn it down!”. I don’t want to feel helpless, I don’t want to feel afraid. I’m drawn to myths of Medusa and Kali and the Morrigan. And yet I feel the witch-wound stirring in my blood, and I wonder if I can be courageous.

All I know is that I have welcomed the crone into my body and soul … and she speaks now, the wise woman, the healer, the mystic.

There’s a part of me that needs to step back, and breathe. Standing barefoot on the cool wet ground this morning, I felt calm and quiet, connected to the rain and the light.

And now – the sun has is out. I bask in her warmth and the wet ground is drying. And there were words, after all.