When I painted a chair two years ago for the AIRdirondack Art Project in my community I couldn't begin to imagine where it would travel and this afternoon I learned that it will be raffled to support a wonderful cause - Community Links who provide support and services to individuals and families. I really am honoured. It's interesting as this announcement follows on the heels of trusting your intuition in the class I'm currently taking. The reason it connects for me is that when I first got involved in this project, my vision was to create community, both among the local artists and in general in our town. I trusted my intuition as I helped to begin this project which is in its third year and which has received amazing support from our local businesses as well as the artists and towns people and I just feel strongly that this project will continue to grow in a very positive way. Though I no longer coordinate it, I am happy to still feel connected to it. It certainly doesn't hurt that my heart lies in stillness and growing roots, that chairs have been and I feel will always be a major part of my life as an artist. Now I have to practice trusting myself even more as I know there are things to let go of and others to embrace. It's a constant journey, and though it has its challenges, I am grateful to be a part.
Loreena McKennitt's voice always is a balm to my soul so when we were asked to paint to music, closing our eyes, trusting ourselves, I knew for me it would be painting to her 'Samain Nights'. I loved the process of trusthing myself just to get colour on my canvas, to make marks, to consciously use my entire body. And when I opened my eyes, I was reminded of the small birds that flit through the trees outside my living room window and I felt happy. I have to say, though, that I prefer the end result of the beginning of the piece I spoke of yesterday but maybe it's because I prefer organic form, I love floating colour onto a canvas and letting it go where it needs to. And working in that method is definitely familiar to me as all of my paintings begin on the floor, though I don't tend to use a spray bottle to move the paint and instead use a house painting brush filled with water. I think I like the result of the method I posted yesterday even better than my usual method of working as it allows for the colour to remain more true to itself - it feels less 'manipulated'. I have plans this summer to purchase a large roll of raw canvas and to explore that more in our garage where I can work extremely large. It's the way I used to work and I find it interesting that I have been drawn to work in that way once again.
On most mornings, my daily ritual begins with a pot of green tea served in one of my handmade mugs (which have been made by potters across North America) and a lit candle in my studio as I turn on CBC Radio. Yesterday I awoke at 6.30am choosing to prepare bread dough wanting to utilize my body before beginning my abstract class and this morning I made a cup of matcha tea using my matcha tea bowl and bamboo whisk. I've decided to incorporate ritual into this process as I want to honour this time that I am taking to stretch my creative muscles. I've always enjoyed working on the floor so this canvas was a pleasure to prepare using the warm colours of the sun though I did have to remove my socks as I kept stepping into the paint that I was allowing to drip around the 24"x60" canvas, and occasionally onto the foam brush I was using to push and pull the colours. It's a cool day outside today but my studio feels so warm and compelling with these tones and the sun shining brightly through my window. It's interesting to note that my initial vision was a canvas that was more orange and pink (not a colour I ever use though I have decided to challenge myself) but it became saturated with red through this process. I think I'm going to like this intuitive form of painting.
This week has been filled with blessings beyond measure - the sun is shining brightly, my writing has been flowing smoothly, wonderful things are happening in my art community, there are two new 2x6 foot canvases in my studio, I'm beginning my abstract painting course next week, and I've also been inspired to create a new body of smalls titled 'heART blox' (I hope to share more about it on facebook soon - http://www.facebook.com/veronica.funk1. This morning I opened my email to an inspiring message by Robert Genn where he discusses the value of creating for creation's sake - that studies have proven that work created purely for 'sale' comes up again and again as inferior to the works created purely for pleasure. He quotes, "The misuse of extrinsic rewards, so common in business, impedes creativity, stifles personal satisfaction and turns play into work. After basic material needs are met, the quid pro quo of if/then rewards--if you do this, I'll give you that--saps the juice from the job." (Daniel Pink). I'm of two minds on this, as long as I can paint a commission utilizing artistic license then I believe my work still carries it's original freshness, and at the same time, nothing thrills me more than grasping those illusive ideas and running with them. I also realize that I need much time alone in order to be fully creative - I need to read, to walk outside, to allow my mind to wander and reflect in order to trust that base instinct in myself to be as creative as I am capable. I find that outside influence, too many people or obligations or too much technology, impinges upon my creative spirit. Those are the days that anxiety rules and I cannot listen to my soul. And listening to my heart is what I need to be true to myself and to my work.
I've been busily (and happily) working away on a couple of new projects (sneek peak of one above) and I've also had the good fortune of spending time with my nearest and dearest creative friends which fills me with abundance. Yesterday my lovely, lovely friend Kristen (if you click on her name you'll see my sweet family on the bottom left corner of the photos) stopped by with this beautiful desk. It is almost identical to the desk I had in my room growing up, it is where I sit to type this now. I love the past, love history and all the connections with it - it's as if the spirit of the previous owners are imbedded in this piece. I can imagine a young child grumpily doing homework (as I remember those times clearly myself), a woman writing a letter to a dear friend, and, if any of these owners were like me, it is where spring break was spent completing an entire art project - a graphite drawing, a pen & ink pointalism and then a separate pen & ink cross-hatching and finally an acrylic painting of a Ukrainian church replicated after a beautiful, almost ethereal watercolour by Mel Heath while we were studying master works and working in a variety of media. It was there I learned to focus, to invest myself and my time whole-heartedly into the creative work. **And also yesterday my guest post was published on Your Heart Makes a Difference - you can read it here.** So today I am again filled with joy and overflowing with gratitude.