arms heavy with flowers
you reach for the earth and greet the sky
This time of year – The trees are waking – stretching, rolling their shoulders. Their arms are laden with flowers, gifts to the warming air and the bees. Gifts given freely, part of the exchange between earth and sky.
waking slowly, you smile
and colour bursts across the hillsides,
fat, furry bees investigate your sleeves
The clocks went forward on the weekend here in NZ and now we live with the illusion that it takes longer for the darkness of night to settle over the land. Of course night and day come and go as they’ve always done – it’s just that we’ve adjusted our schedules to look at it differently.
And the land – she had started to wake – with trees opening their bright green hands, and blossoms everywhere – except now we’ve just had a dreaded cold snap.
I fear Spring is shivering in the rain and I wish I could wrap her in my arms and keep her warm.
awaken, unfold, arise,
bathe in sunlight and transform it,
green energy ebbs and flows in your veins
September – the start of Spring – so happy now the days are lengthening and we’re beginning to see more of the sun.
I have days when I wish I could be like a tree and live on sunlight and rain.
A couple of favourite pieces from the last few months.
A portrait Based on a reference photo of Georgia O’Keeffe (by Philippe Halsman). I know I’m not alone in finding her an inspiration.
And a portrait based on a photo of Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth in the film, Elizabeth, the Golden Age.
(using acrylic paint)
And these two drawings from the evening class I’ve just started going to.
(using charcoal to sketch, and Conté à Paris colour crayons – these materials are a whole new experience!)
there is beauty in your ravaged body
and shelter still between your naked arms
not barren, only sleeping
not alone, the night birds are watching
Ah – another late post.
It wasn’t until I re-read this that I realised just how dark my words can be. What was written at the start of this year as a metaphor for winter, seemed to be speaking to some deep psychological state. And perhaps there’s a truth in that.
August came, and I slipped into the darkness that sometimes settles over me at the end of winter. The days are so short and the light is gloomy. Motivation dissipates, and all I want to do is to snuggle under a blanket and keep warm.
I’ve kept up with my artwork through the weekly classes I’m going to after work. But I haven’t put in much effort on the weekends. I was having a tidy up a few weeks ago and rediscovered my stash of wool – so knitting has become my weekend activity. I think that’s because I can do it while snuggled under the blanket mentioned above.
Anyway – today – I’m wondering if I’m starting to turn a corner. The weather is still awful, cold, rain, even thunder and sleet today! But I stood at my new easel and finished the drawing I’d started in class last Tuesday. Its good to be looking forward.
a little of madness, a little of wisdom
spin the compass in the midst of winter
a wild circling, a dance that keeps your heart awake
July – midwinter – sitting on one of the turning points of the year and feeling both the pull to go out into the dark, the cold, and the desire to keep warm and safe.
And realising that sitting in between these points achieves nothing.
There are choices to be made, risks to be taken.
Sometimes we need to use a tool to give us direction, and sometimes we need to be prepared to feel a little vulnerable, a little reckless.
It all keeps the blood pumping rich and hot, even if our breath and fingertips are freezing.
deepen your shadows,
rich histories beckon as we go into the dark,
slow mysteries in the undergrowth,
bright eyes watching
June – the start of winter.
Time to reflect and remember- to open our inner selves to the dark while we shelter and keep our bodies warm.
Time to notice the life that continues all around us, though it might slow and withdraw into the shadows.
Time to check the mirror for our own reflection, to notice our own bright eyes looking back.
release the lost ones
shelter those come home
clear a path, light a candle, set the table, close the door
The start of winter, days are shorter, nights becoming long and dark. This is a time to release the past, the people and places we’ve moved on from, or those who have left us. It’s a time to hold close the special ones who enter the circle of light that shines from our doorway out into the darkness. It’s a time to keep warm, to feed the soul, to rest.
bright jewels fall
from your fingers, paint the ground
in colours from a royal palette – amber, ruby, amethyst
Its taken a long time for autumn to start making her self felt, but the last few weeks have had a chilly nip in the air, and the daylight hours are getting shorter.
Many of our New Zealand trees are evergreen, and our winters are often more richly green than in the summer. But we have many exotic trees as well, and the contrast makes their fallen leaves and bare branches even more special.
January to February 2019
I’ve been working through a portrait painting series of workshops called “Take Thirty” by Misty Mawn. This is available from her website http://www.mistymawnart.com/ .
These are my efforts from the first nine workshops. There are a couple here I really love as they are, and many that would be worth starting over again. Proportions, angles, shapes, relationships that are not right. But just to show that we all have to start somewhere, and we all have days when things just don’t work out that well – I’ve decided on “full disclosure”. So here they are – all nine so far.
What I’m finding is that I am beginning to work more quickly, less obsessing over getting every detail perfect, and more able to tune in to a more intuitive process. I say that – but I’m still aware of being quite analytical, constantly making comparisons, choices, decisions. But sometimes this process seems to slip just below the surface, so I can feel it happening, but there is equally that emphasis on the word “feel”.
Perhaps its more about the power of practising something enough that you begin to draw from that in a way that feels more natural, more personal, because its based on your own experience and knowledge of what’s worked previously.
I’ve discovered that now my creative practice has shifted into this visual form, I’m writing much less. Its as if my brain isn’t comfortable working on words and images at the same time. And yet, there is a time when I want to be able to merge the two.
I’m about to start the eighteenth portrait – so I’ll be sharing that soon.