paint

YELLOW = picking up wherever you stopped

Justpickup[Have been yellow/manifesting energy in clearing-out the studio a little - which so far has primarily meant making up some collage fodder stash supplements for a few folks who asked and otherwise looking through art journals and sketchbooks in both complete and in-progress forms.]

eta:  today I brought back a post called from chaos to cosmos just because the title was on point.

I have a particular DIY sketchbook that I sometimes carry around like a studio-to-house/home life transitional object.  Four or five times now it's gone MIA for a couple months at a time because it gets stacked in with other books either up here or somewhere in the dining room wall of book shelves. I posted about a spread I filled shortly after the last time I reconnected with it.

NumberfivecoverI really love everything about this book from the large size to the feel of the recycled cloth-bound covers of an old Time-Life book (Elves & Fairies).  And the paper I selected - Stillman & Birn in various weights and finishes also intermingling bright white and ivory colored folios.  And I'm also enjoying the face About a quarter of the pages have flaps or partial gatefolds.

***

Prior to insurrection I'd begun clearing-out more pragmatically here in the studio.  This is a standard January activity that never happened last year because I preferred to lead the collage challenge while also challenging myself with the daily prompts.  Then the pandemic insured I didn't have to concern myself with what visitors 'might think' if the sink looked like it was part of a creative omnivore's laboratory

So far this hasn't meant much of note beyond unclogging the sink drain and finishing up with anti-bac everything afterwards.  Otherwise I'm 'clearing-up' more in the memory and psychic sense of infusing more/fresh yellow vitality into dark crevices.  Also taking a wander through sketchbooks in both complete and in-progress forms.  Plus Moleskine based art journals.  I mention them right at this particular juncture because at least four people who now read here regularly as part of the Dive have a Moly hoard they don't think they are talented - or otherwise know - enough - to actually use.  but you should!  Then they'd look like the stack below rather than an unused testament to hesitancy!! 

Molysinsunlight***

  The level of ongoing reliable focus I need to pick up exactly where I left off before the siege has not yet returned. This isn't about shifted or disconnecting motivation but more about examining what's whole and stable enough to be built-upon in a more mindfully sustainable way.  I've also found I need more time outside - bundled up and dreaming of the next growing season, providence willing.

My sense of mental-mind is still somewhat jumbled and amorphous so I'm going to go with the inspiration of emergent solar/yellow energy currents.  Today there's no actual sunlight.  The pics were taken yesterday.  Below is a show of the 7:35 a.m. light in the room.  It falls on my work desk.  By close of studio business day the desk will be clear and ready for various creative impulses I feel brewing.  Since I work in many books at once it's ideal to have the desk clear enough to leave a variety of projects to dry overnight.  This makes a great next-morning review space especially with the natural light falling over the pages.

DeskthisamThe other day as I was watching the live feed of the mob swarming inside the only response I seemed able to have relates to making many multiple copies of the woman walking past an open arch way.  I don't know why.  But I'll be ready once I do.

BettercolorofbackingchoiceHave found my choice of a commercial backing for Primary Nest.  I learned the hard way that this series of Holding Cloths are best served to have very plain tightly woven backings.  I've been stitching each day - sometimes more than others.  It's an intentional piece of work so if I feel my heart shutting down or aching in response to my thoughts I set it aside and do something that more directly addresses my emotions of the moment.

Even though I've woken up two mornings in a row thinking of troubleshoots and inroads related to fictionland - once I'm actually up here in the studio I'm inclined to put most of my creative energy to focus on more tactile and visual aspects of creative capability.  I need a visually immediate sense of personal accomplishment rather than two well-pruned paragraphs to show for a whole lot of time thinking and staring into space.  But as the dust in my soul begins to settle from last week's [not unexpected.  and somehow all the more horrifying to bear remote witness to how it was as it happened] melee - I find my need for joy-inducing creativity to be heat/solar seeking at an instinct level.  So I'm picking up where I left off within a study of largely paint based color relationship/pattern deconstruction exploration. 

5innercoverI altered the original faux marble inner covers with collaged image-grid page out of Amy Butler's fabulous Bloom compendium.  If you've ever purchased or been gifted a collage packet from me you've had at least a few page sections included.  For this endeavor - and knowing in advance how I planned to work in the book - I focused on colors and images that held very strong appeal for me.   Personalized with paint swatches and the impulse to trace a magnolia bloom to keep the lotus bud company.

MagnoliatracingTo get going I riffed on some of the colors and imagery that made my eye the happiest while also sticking to the theme.  Everything is pretty paint driven with colored pencil and pitt pen additions - with the exception of the smeared oil pastels making up the petal colors in the riffed flower vase.  Ink brush pen over the smears.  Now I know that works ...

Vaseriff

Almondbranchriff

JudeinspiredOnce I 'broke the silence' I moved to an inner section of the book to work on pattern deconstruction on a page spread that included a flap.  The limited color palette was an enjoyable/soothing mix for me visually.  Also of note is that the batik fragment serving as inspiration was originally from a long panel jude sent - wow.  Right after T came home from college for the first summer 'away' from home or his Italian parents' homes.  Putting another part of the globe at 17 into comparative balance, it's pretty hard to consider the Valley to be legit away-away but, yeah. 

Once he was back for the summer I immediately turned the panel into a pair of curtains for his western facing bedroom windows.  They were exactly long enough with the addition of an unobtrusive commercial batik used to form the curtain rod casings.  When the sun began to lower his entire bedroom was illuminated by the batik's colors as well as the setting sun's light.  He kept a sphere-shaped prism given to him at his birth by my mother positioned just off center to catch the maximum amount of sun-time.  The curtains were kept just open enough to maximize the prismatic addition to the visual display.

Here in this house the retrofitted curtains hung in an eastern window - with rod casements running in the other/short direction of the two panels - in the upstairs bathroom.  They caught each sunny morning's light for the better part of seven years until the gifted fabric shredded free of the tight commercial weave.  The paper thin remnants are relics used for very special purposes most usually involving because used as auspicious gift-wrapping in the ultimate spirit of jude-ness.

Pinkandyellowopenflapjust all different mark making tools and spontaneous life-tracking memorabilia inclusion by way of sparkly pink mesh flowers cut from a stashed-up bouquet finishing wrap.  This final inclusion worked out quite well with a layer of pre-applied soft gel medium. I collaged the flower separately and put them under a book with a layer of wax paper to blot-up some of the extra gel.  Any additional gel ooze I buffed-off with a soft threadbare pillow-case remnant. 

Yellowpink3Right now I'm yellow-pushing myself to complete a spread in this same book I stopped working on when I made an unfortunate smear that "ruined' the perfect color and element spacing.  Something always ruins the perfect whatever but sometimes I practice longer avoidance in getting to the fix than is warranted.  It's more than a little ridiculous but since I juggle so many idea-catching volumes at once I usually solve other problems while something else is incubating.  

In this case I deconstructed the color palette and design elements of a chocolate bar wrapper.  When the unfinished page spread has been 'healed' of that condition I'll share where I was - an unflinching close up of the offending unmindful smear - and where-ever I wind up. 

Cottonfabricbackingaudition


orangeness in art journals plus thoughts

This is actually a fairly yellow post in terms of how the words are put together as well as what they express.  [and then heart - uh - muscled into the middle of everything, too.] The journal pages hold orange-ness and distinctly orange qualities of expression.

***Please note.  i spent part of yesterday afternoon bringing back all the collage challenge posts including the numerous prep-posts I published during last December. ***

OrangejustshowupThe centerfold of my first attempt to cut and layer page edges in this kind of way.  I was working with a book that offered a full year's self-guided relatively deep dive into art journaling.  I won't mention the book title because I know this particular process - specifically it's lack of addressing mental health/emotional backup support context - is legit upsetting to a few of my friends who are art therapists. I also know how I felt myself when somebody approached the exercises here in a way that caused disruption to the mainframe for about a minute and a half's worth of teachable-ness that one hopes will be effective - or at least of some marginal use for two people just starting out on the life path of reaching out from a soulful place laced with vision clarity and then seeing what happens. 

subtext:  I'm the seasoned one, here.  so I guess my first line of business each and every month is to figure out what that means as the days unfold.

OrangeLustTulipmania
[another page in my informal botanical art journal.  first I used watercolor ground without reading about it or watching any videoes.  I just put a ton on all around the pasted down tulips.  A strand of hair got caught in it and I just cut off the part beyond the page, etc. Only in retrospect do I realize I could/should have sanded the rippling over-abundance of grounding material and at some point pressed flat[ter] under books.  At the time I wrecked a pitt pen and moved on.  We'd seen the movie Tulip Mania the night before and had a long discussion about the general historical event afterwards.  J was surprised I knew some stuff and delivered info with such enthusiastic verve.  I said to him, 'it's about flowers, isn't it ???']

One thing I learned very beautifully from last year's spontaneously decided-upon collage challenge is that amazing things can happen when someone is willing and ready to trust someone else enough to come into a place of much deeper trust with themselves.  I learned that from the group, from the amount of challenges and lessons I juggled behind the scenes, and here on the verge of the House of Self/solar center, I will also say I learned a tremendous amount from my previously established inner resources.  The most important thing I learned was that what I'd already established at an internal level was far less disparate and meager than I imagined in my conscious mind's skew of who I was. 

suicide prevention/risk assessment work needs to have a strong heart connection but the heart center itself must be protected simply to keep it beating and beaming strongly in the rest of life.  That means what I knew of myself as a leader comes from the sacral belly and Ajna territory.  I did not have the luxury (and this is exactly the most organic way to put it) of leading from my heart within my larger work.  It would have been trampled to shreds within - knowing myself as I do - less than a month.

So I found out about the specific creative/healing magic that comes from a purely heart-centered place when I started prepping for the collage challenge in December.  Part of that was various energetic/intentional magic kind of work here in the studio.  I opened a channel.  And because I came from a heart centered place - and purely a heart place - everything that came back to me was from the heart as well. 

the biggest learning:  when you aren't focused on the most broken and abandoned parts of the population, and you offer something that is purely enjoyable and fun within a built-in but intimately sized community - 95% of the heart you will be shown flowing back to you is likely to be WOW so heart-full and loving. 

this is what we all have within us at all times - the Power of Heart.  That's one of the two secondary things the collage challenge taught me.  The subtext, of course, is that combined heart energy is immeasurably powerful.  It can connect disembodied space into a bona fide community.  This is an invaluable thing to start thinking about more tangibly as another season of lockdown living gets underway.

Orangehorsesass[This is from a dedicated art journal I kept during my second Saturn return.  I was really irritated with my husband that day - who was returning right along with me.]

I think it all boils down to what's patently obvious from the onset.  People need to be able trust themselves as well as the leader.  If they can't do both they must at least have one of the trust factors firmly grounded.  After grounding comes focus.  Being willing to give that to yourself and how you're feeling/reacting before it becomes a part of the mainframe's focus.

I've always felt able to trust myself in relation to personal growth/creative exploration work.  I learned to trust my leadership abilities when a person who, by any measure, was a world class leader-oriented teacher told me I had excellent instincts and unique skills worth developing. 

Orangeravens Right now I feel that way very very strongly about the two young gentlemen doing all the heavy lifting so absolutely all I have to do is show up and maintain faith the magic will make itself for and with whoever shows up with me.

I want both R and M to move forward in learning what that means to them.  So in the coming YELLOW House of Self month I'll combine art journal pages with stuff I've learned about leadership, healing energy, and what I've learned that applies to me not quite as specifically as I've chosen to imagine in the past.  My intention is inspire an inner look at your own solar expression because we all need our inner sun's light to shine on and on and on right now.

because we are ALL leaders - if only of ourselves and what directional course we set at any given point of our day/night.

 


eviction work completed

Sacralgridcomplete

Early morning solstice medicine making here in the studio.

The first two layers of sentences really warped the card stock substrateI put it under a pile of books until this morning.,  I painted the diagonal layers quickly because I woke knowing exactly what words to use.  I didn't realize that until I was up here in the studio and started moving all over the space in the cosmic guidance system lane. 

PaintuseupAbove is how and where I worked. Used up leftover paint on the palette to scrape a base coat onto one of the four remaining unfilled page spreads in my informal botanical art journal.  For the most part it's been an overcast solstice morning so far.  But every once in awhile the sun peaks through the grey scrim.  It's about 25 degrees warmer than it was yesterday.   Life's good for those reasons and a good many others. 

Assembledgridframe

One of the things I really like about this particular ghost writing technique is the way the finished results strongly suggest you were working with some kind of monoprint rather than toxic soul-brain runoff.  The visual transformation, coupled with the eye-hand-heart coordination of doing the release work as well as more left-brain process steps such as tearing and arranging the strips, will ground and resound throughout the sacral center.  Breathe deeply from that place.  If it's hard to get a sense of the energetics make a two inch space between the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand.  Center that space about two inches below your naval.  Push your sense of breath-capacity to that specific space through a combination of your fingers touching your skin and your inner mind's eye sense of your spine and the energetic column that runs along it.

***

breathe deeply.  When you exhale feel the space your release work has created.  Imagine water in one of its most gentle and nourishing forms:  a fine warm mist. Visualize the mist hydrating and re-energizing your sacral center.  Hold yourself dear for what you've accomplished and cannot yet imagine as a result.  Bless yourself for all the corners of your life and its ongoing landscape that you've created with your hands and imaginative impulse.  Promise yourself you'll build a stronger more sustainable home for your inner muse.  Keep your word.

***
Orangeninepatch
Used acrylic ink for the orange and a metallic craft paint for the dark coral.  By then I knew I was going to fill the squares with light attractants.

Used this one for five squares and something gold/violet with star sequins for the inner crosspoints.  The stickles gel stuff is pretty outtasight if you like this kind of thing but it takes forever to dry by air.  Conversely it dries up rather quickly once you break the initial bottle seal.  Plan to work big and use it up all at once or soon thereafter.

MoondustAm devoting the fourth week of my personal chakra exploration work to synchroncity and its impact on co-creative and collaborative sacral energy exchange. 

J and I plan to continue drawing night past this month's chakra work.  We also plan to make more of our meals as a collaborative venture.   Plus J got the permanent job offer right on schedule and has accepted. This is lighting up all the points on our combined energy column but most especially the root.  It's allowing emotional waters to settle as well.  Just as I'm writing these last setnences the sun emerged more concretely.    We have shake rattle and roll plans for the lunch hour ...


Mid-Point Flow

CitrinsaluteRealized I needed a Dive check-in post so my personal life/work/review will have to wait.   Earlier today I reconnected with the hand-worked citrine point above.  It used to be double-pointed but at some correlating life-point it shattered and I don't remember how.   Have spent the past two days immersed in rediscovering how my creative flow patterns might be reconfigured following so much emotional release.   This has involved not just my studio time but developing greater flow in the house as well.  Smudging and rearranging things.  Clearing space and raising the octave levels with the coming solstice in mind.

SacralpagelitTook all these pics in the room's last fifteen minutes of direct sunlight.  One thing I noticed during the turbulent shadow phase of this experience is how much grounding value I gained from mixing up my creative approach to any given project on my work desk. 

have been greatly and great/fully influenced by grace's fabric collages.  today I made the first tentative step to go the other way - to do something I've forbidden myself time and again.  I will easily put fabric to paper but NEVER paper to fabric.  I don't know why I simply know it's forbidden. 

so today:

Paperonclothit is glued down and the fabric square is further glued down and since then there has been more paper glued around and so forth.  I will show more in the pretty soon range.  Am giving myself time every day just to stand there at the work deck and fiddle with different arrangements in this particular art journal.  The fact that I'd previously stenciled-in page spreads for the chakras seemed perfectly dovetailed towards getting myself re-involved with this particular project.  It's largely collaged based but not exclusively.

In this dwindling 'short' eclipse portal window I've been flowing in many ways beyond the studio but I notice this is where I made my basic daily choices and set my intentions in alignment with how things might well move forward.

LetitgopageMuch of an emotional/sacral backlog nature was released during the first 7-9 days of this month's process.  Several people noticed it and reached out for confirmation and affirmation in the loveliest ways.  I've felt both those things from myself - somehow managing to reconfigure a few pieces of personal mystery here and there. 

Asungoddessthe more uncomfortable the cosmic birth canal became the more I felt myself willing energy to and from the third/solar chakra.  Sometime I had to time-out myself just to get a handle of the ingrained instinct and impulse combined.   Otherwise I just wanted to ground from the lunacy about & beyond, hit my various week-end goals and then move into this new week focused on the principles of flow and intuition.  The latter feels pretty worn out from various ways it wove itself through the first two weeks.   So I've been picking up where I left off very many years ago in the practice  of daily stone work of a sacred nature.

OrangestoneshellAnd to that end I went around earlier today and looked for orange-ish stones.  Looking in mixed micro-collections in tea-cups and many different glass or ceramic bowls and larger shells, mostly abalone.  Here in the studio and through the house.  Some are quite old friends.  I thought I'd lost the Thompsonite with its mesmerizing orange eyes.  Also have been yearning for the shell and rough chip of carnelian as well as the polished oval.  Two red jasper chips - a shamanic mentor felt this to be essential for creating sheltered landing strips when actively journeying or meditating on a collective scale.

this stuff comes back to me - so much of it set aside as an excess of accumulating far more intellectualized experience and sense of self when I felt best served to pursue the opposite.  So my stones are scattered everywhere around and part of the ongoing connection to maintaining and rebuilding my red tap root/life force is to retrieve them for contemplating and beyond one energy center at a time.

WorkingtableI broke down my fictionland querent/tarot reading into different groupings of how I felt the cards' energies had been showing themselves in the rest of my life.  At the solstice I usually switch over to reading with The Greenwood Tarot.   It's a very different vibe but one that matches well with my need to connect more at a ground/roots/ancient level than something that's cosmic and future-tense driven.  That's what I need from my solar return forward.  The deck itself will undoubtedly enjoy the rest.

also I don't need any more readings for fictionland.  maybe ever at least for this book.  I've broken the full arc of the storyline down in several formats now - thanks in part to what I gained from doing the readings as intently as I have up to this point.  What this means energetically is that I'll relocate where I do the readings and can thus expand my renewed interest in stone/crystal based energy work up here in the studio.

***

Orangepensfind something orange to write with.

banish as much sacral toxicity as you can one sentence at a time.

it's amazing how the scope and context of stuff that floats loose on its own or we seek to round up because it's time to do no less shifts once the details emerge in such an inherently mood-elevating cheerful color.  Shred the results so there's nothing left but random symbols in the uplifting color.   Glue the strips down in a grid shape.   Now even your discarded emotional detritus finds a useful purpose within forming a containment system.  Fill the resulting sections with images you'd like to hold in this energy center as well as that which you know it already contains of a positive and illuminated nature.  Or just cut shapes from orange-based scraps on hand and glue them into an organized focal re-vision. Give yourself a chance to admire how different this personal check-in looks than however it would have appeared if we'd done this exercise on day two or three.

What creative/primal cave-like wisdom exists for you that didn't exist in the opening bars of this exploration?  How can you expand upon what you're learning about yourself and your own unique conduit of flow with creative inspiration?

Think about the most beautiful orange flower that you know - the one that holds the most light and vibrant orange-ray energy in your experiences and also within your heart and soul.  Make something that speaks of their magic & meaning to you.

Today I'm bringing back a post called Sympathetic Evolution.

Californiapoppieshillside


reeling in and gentling down

WhitewatershrineWhite Water Shrine.  Created during the first year of the International Bead Journaling Project.  What a time that was!

Back in the aughts I participated in the first year of a very exciting project.  It was one of those things where you grow so much creatively that you really do feel forever changed.  In my case I also felt in much closer synch with who I was and what I wanted to say with my needleworking skills and shiny-stuff Corvid tendencies.

Can't remember what month this was but I do recall it was a doozy in the emotional upheaval department.  Being of Water and Fire - my emotions either expend themselves in their natural element or evaporate in their own heat.  It's the first expending part of the equation that's difficult.  On like - day two of the second chakra - I'd had enough of myself emotionally.  But it's ultimately good.  Everything that's expended leaves clear space.

***

Last night J and I had our second drawing night. 

Contourdrawings

He who can actually draw is working exclusively with Celtic border and medallion designs.  It's something he's always wanted to do and a thing he told me about on our very first date.  I'm working in a very informal botanical art journal.  At the very end of the first drawing night I realized I wanted to make tiny sepia colored ditsy flowers around the blind contour drawings of trisomic stocks and euphorbia  flowers.  There are also ill-placed patches of leftover gilding flakes that 'had to go SOMEwhere' before the adhesive dried and they wound up wasted.  The upside is that they're pretty in a holographic kind of way especially in natural light. 

CompassionbloompagesI used up leftover paint making this desert in bloom quit a while ago.  During the first drawing night I outlined stuff with a fine tip india ink art pen.  I will say more about this book because interest has already been expressed.  There are people participating who can't draw but would like to record their botanical experiences in a visual way.  Am somewhat confident and twice as hopeful that I'll be able to inspire you.

SweetfernAlso worked further on this spread.  Had the We'moon datebook calendar cut-out and a special friend's handwriting sample in place - added the drippy stencils a couple days ago just to get some orange on the board.  Added everything blue last night.

***

This week  - my spontaneous/whether i like it or not sacral clearing-out process has been beyond intense.  Partway through the weekend I decided I couldn't continue with my novel because the strategy of saving emotionally challenging material as I have was kicking my ass too brutally to continue.  I ran this all by J who (I'm presuming ...) knew/hoped I'd go through a few evolutions of emo-excess and then settle down.  It was a really uncomfortable day and a half.  

Then I recalled a solid quarter of my draft that's been cooling its heels for two months.  Opened the files and started reading.  A couple days in I felt solid enough that told I J it didn't seem as impossible as it had when I was crying all the time. 

and i understand the section header i felt so inclined not to have somebody steal.  that's probably the book's actual title, is why.    all progress and validation of a sort...

RedsquareworkA sympathetic working in progress on my coffee table altar space.  My interest in using the red corduroy relates to the black tracings of negative infiltration.  This was a big improvement over my sense of bullet-riddled/swiss cheese non-existence of the energy center.  Through the few weeks I've been doing this, I've also been meditating with visualizations of adding Light-fueld red energy to infuse the points that feel missing. 

next I'll post the orange/turquoise attachment weaving sampler in detail.

AttachCU


fulfilling my RED intentions .1

RedscrapingI chose to do my informal sketching in an equally informal botanical sketchbook. Decided I'd scrape pure red acrylic gouache as a simple background and work with a graphic arts pen I keep on my coffee table work space at all times. Simple and back to basics.  Used the scraping opportunity to start out skimpy with the red areas/paint load and then let the vast array of empty space gradually build into something more solid.  I created an ongoing spontaneous meditation on the red square/root chakra work I've been doing all month as I sketched. 

ArchangelicarootI knew I wanted to sketch an Archangelica angelica root but instead of sketching it three times I worked from three separate reference images.  Lysdexia was making longer term concentration quite challenging.  You can see a vestige of it in the fact that I got the botanical name of my favorite plant inverted. 

Dongguiroot While sketching dried Dang Gui I recalled an amazing Chinese herb shop that used to be on Harvard Street in Allston.  And finally I drew a close up of tiny hairlike A. archangelica rootlets because they are so much fun to create with marks of many kinds.

Angelicarootspread

Tinyrootlets

Then I celebrated roots in a different way.  It was something I'd been meaning to make time for throughout this month and then once my body began foretelling today's torrential rain I just let myself curtail plans & ambition and instead reconnect with an old friend:

Wildroots  I adore this book equally for the information it contains and the marvelously sensitive pencil drawing of innumerable root systems.  Sat here on the dreaming couch and dropped all the down into my own sense of rootedness.  Memories of sharing this book and actively building community through book sharing more generally.  With each flip of the page I felt infused with the energy of so many herbal root systems holding so many personal and dreaming memories.  Time very well spent.

AngelicarootFor the A. angelica root example I decided to include some of the text to show a snippet of the author's voice and level of information provided.  It can be tricky to find a copy but well worth putting on a someday/quest list as well as searching down through inter-library loan. The pencil drawings are exquisite throughout.

DaylilyrootsDaylily. He really gives the root systems room to breathe on the page and I love that about the layout.

SpikenardrootSpikenard.  I love the tracery skeleton like shape suggestive of a human heart...

Every single page is a journey in drawing sensitivity as well as technical skill and a killer plant geek's eye.

SunnycoyotesquareThere's a part two for this topic involving glimpses of what I discovered when I went on a dedicated & specific search for ORANGE and discovered some additional significant RED instead.


a state of relative peace & beauty

[eta:  every Thanksgiving season I seem to linger over deep appreciation for my grandmother Pearl's lasting and largely positive influence.  Today I'm bringing back a post about one of her small crib quilts.]

MoonunretouchedA lucky blur of a totally inadvertent sky capture through my dining room window at 12:30 a.m. this morning. The swelling moon is beyond the scrim of clouds on the left.  Also love the uplit burst of illumination caused by massive floodlights at the barn across the road.  Foxes are afoot.  In some kind of migration to locate "better" birthing dens where there's less human proximity.  This is the best guess of a friend who knows foxes the way I know their larger cousins the yotes.  During this time of year the latter recede into deeper woods and other reclusive stalking grounds.  The foxes quite promptly expand their summer territories accordingly. 

As soon as I saw the image above on my phone i started picking paint colors for both acrylics and watercolors.  Am making a point to have fun in my current sketchbook at least three times a week so this will be a good working inspiration on many fronts.

ThreepartoutcomeA few days back I had the brain storm to limit the scope of my card readings to something simple and standard:  where do I need to go next creatively?  Previously I meant that but asked the wrong and far more expansive question:  how do I synthesize everything cogently? The cards I pulled routinely included a sizeable number of major arcana that were clearly related to everything-everything.  It was overwhelming to try to translate that back into a response to the answer I meant to be asking.

duh.

Above:  I follow the practice of pulling three cards for the outcome position if the first two are minor cards.  Below:  The reading had just one major after months of anywhere from 4 to 7.

PriestessbotswanaMy streak of 'always' having this card brought to my attention continues.  In this context it's confirmation of something I felt it was important to expand despite the tweaking of contraction it will mean in other places. 

***

Next Thursday heralds the official beginning of second chakra deep dive contemplation.  That means our color based explorations will relate to the color ORANGE.

The second/sacral chakra corresponds to the element of water.   Common human relational associations include:  

Change     Movement     Flow

Sensation     Pleasure     Emotion

Need     Desire   Sexuality

The Shadow

Guilt     Duality

The sacral center's chief operating force is the attraction of opposites

***

WELL.  Since we've all been forced to live in Opposite World for far too long to keep our sense of foundational support vibrant and fully functioning-----what oh what are we to make of the utter mishmash going on collectively as well as more privately in the arenas suggested by the categories listed above? 

We are going to make Orange-ness of course!!  In a couple days I'll begin posting with prompts you customize by choosing a small selection of the most personally relevant categories.  What you make will be amplified by however you choose to answer the question I asked.  There's a broad scope of DEEP water involved with the organically fluid nature of our sacral center.  Much of what we may encounter there - especially in today's world of degrading the sacred and elemental natures of our individual and collective humanity - may prove far from pretty.  But one of the rudimentary powers of ORANGE is that it's a very powerful mood elevator. 

***  

I am not personally done with RED in that I wanted to complete and share my Red Root endeavor.  I just haven't felt very rooted at all.  So I may wind up sharing a sketch - possibly done in oil pastel - rather than the paint and collage rendering I have in my mind's eye.  Because I do want to get at least as far as manifesting a sense of my personal survival root in a relatively glowing and love-infused form. 

we'll see.

Note: This particular 'blank space' sensation may be easier to re-imagine as time goes on for ever so many reasons.  If you wanted to do that exercise but haven't been able to get it going try a very basic simple lined sketch or three. 

Further Note:  If you're new to sketching or simply don't do it very often mainly because you think you "aren't good enough" at it -- try to successfully encourage yourself to make three sketches of the same idea or reference material in one go. 

Readingover[selfie and writing snippets created during this morning's wee hours]

I look so much like my mother in this picture it's ridiculous.  Additionaly I'm pretty sure this is what I look like most of the time up here in the studio.  Maybe also plenty of other places even/especially when somebody's trying to talk to me about something else.  

  All of which suggests  writing's going well.  Am currently working on a lot of interstitial connective tissue sort of segments.  It's more technical on some levels as well as a lot more challenging in others.  I suck on the inside of my bottom lip a lot when I'm thinking.  Did somebody mention thinking?

[note.  end of second line should read that SHE'LL go off about. Pride IN rather than from in the third graph etc.]

ThatsfairCarter's parents were raised together.  Their mothers were best friends boomers who thought if you put kids where you could visually keep track of them you could otherwise 'safely' overlook them in favor of your own socialization needs.  Hence Vic taught her to read when she was four then encouraged her to keep it a secret until she was meant to begin learning in first grade.  And so forth.  When Jessie was 7 her parents died in a car crash and she was adopted by Vic's parents.  They were both told they were now brother and sister.  This became a problematic household edict once they were in their mid and later teens respectively. 

Hence Carter.  And now a few decades later, beginning to learn what it might mean to become a couple together during a very different season of their life.

The heart to heart above takes place on a road trip just prior to the official start of Northeast's hunkering season in very early March.  In part the trip is designed to meet Carter's new guy who's both quite similar and very different from him. 

Below Jessie gets to know her soon-to-be son in law (none of them realize this yet) by learning a bit more about what it means when he says he's not a morning person.  [there's a context for the Fallujah remark.  He's the one that 'mentioned' the topic - to himself.]

Ididntmentionfallujah

***

One of my most vehemently entitled to 'call it like I see it' email trolls gets really bent out of shape whenever I post these snippets.   Don't I realize my idea of "writing" is strictly draft quality work?  And such dross that I mistake for "work" often contains typos and grammatical errors?

Um.

Yeah.

I could?  But why bother.

***

hope all the other uber-weary stateside peeps who read here are having themselves a bit of a kickback holiday weekend despite the low-key disembodied nature of many families'  time this year.  I feel plenty of gratitude for plenty of things.  And have more than enough of everything I love as well as what I need. 

Plus the best possible good fortune:  to have my adult son right here for this particular holiday and those in the foreseeable future.  We are so much MOST grateful for his return to good health.  Although a lot rests on his ability to stay healthy and the six month check-up to see if that's happening. 

even within that caveat.  living with him well enough to make jokes, climb the stairs to the studio so that we might spend more time just the two of us (and the cat of course) talking together.  Having him well enough that I feel at liberty to mother-harass him into picking out a new winter jacket and some decent winter socks, asking him more complicated questions about his various political takes and concerns and of course the all important maternal let's-get-some-of-these-empty-juice-bottles-off-the-floor kind of thing.

that's A LOT at a time like this ...


collage & paint in visual journals

Visitingandsketchbook11920

Whatisaliciacomplete Awhile back I expressed my sense of disconnect to collaging.  It seemed too much like what my brain was trying to do the rest of the time  in the endless task of making some type of personal sense out of the world around me.  Both activities create narrative from disparate form(s) and that part of my brain got exhausted for a relatively long bit of time. 

I know I posted about this page after it took me forever to glue down What Is Alicia and the red flower on grey scraps.  Can't locate it right now though.  But it's taken me since whenever that was to gather an answer to the right scraps to answer that question.

CovidsptradIt took a long time to complete this narrative as well.  now it speaks well of the ragged beauty to be found despite the menace to ongoing equilibrium.  Bright emerald green is the color of healing physically and returning to a more organic form or other rendering of our individual life force. I'll add orange paint pen strokes to the blank spaces in the paint scraped background.

ReleasethehealingAdded the collage elements above the day of that weird Four Seasons press conference. In the flower essence realm - daisies offer us help in synthesizing overwhelming amounts of information from disparate sources.  I feel like that ability broke in me some time over the past week and I'll use the rest of whatever collage emerges to piece together something more sustainable and simply wired.

Dowhatsright

ThingscelestesspirtCeleste was a very special cat who was part of our family for 23 years.  Over the past weekend J, T, and I buried her ashes in a special memorial plot we created back in the spring.  We took our time finding the right moment and garden space.  I feel a lot more confident and less overprotective now that the space is fenced.  I still miss her intensely from time to time but the ongoing sorrowful yearning part of the missing has dissipated. 

Shemightseethis

Thingsshemightsee2

Whatimightshowher

Shemightseepage*

Today I'm bringing back this post about a favorite sketchbook from '19.  I thought it was '18.  That's how long this year feels.  It's kind of freaking me out that the collage challenge was only 10 and a half months ago.  How can that be true?  Time's the thing that's changed the most it often seems to me ...


Red/Square

SquarebeginningYesterday I began my sympathetic chakra journal.  Will be working in an 11 x 14 art journal with watercolor paper.  The book will be dedicated solely for this purpose.  I'm looking on it as an ongoing mindfulness practice rather than something to get done and then on to the next thing. That said part of my personal mindfulness leveling-up for this project relates to keeping my ideas from mushrooming beyond reasonable proportions given its long term nature.

*

I cut a 8.75 square of lightly textured scrapbook paper.  I find it's easier to paint on because the texture provides tooth that's not so much similar to a priming layer as it's texture, period.  Paper without protection/sealant is going to be a roll of the dice. Scrapbook paper can take a lot of abuse and it's a substrate well worth considering if you're new to art supplies.

The shiny heart has been trimmed smooth and somewhat buffed. I like that it's a bit dinged though.  It's here to represent a very core first chakra relationship to a human quality that's been dragged through the mud for the past four and a half years:  LOYALTY

Have been thinking a lot since this opportunity came my way about how damaged I perceive our collective and singular root chakra to be because of a deranged person driving us over one cliff after another. The more I thought  about that the more I thought about how important it is to reclaim a collective energy center from the very dark shadow side of itself. 

Loyalty expressed as love.  Love expressed with loyal understanding that there's a commitment implicit in that word.  The more I thought about it the more I wanted to commit to the premise of loving loyalty to the Whole.  But first I wanted to express another core self-world relationship emblematic of this energy center:  BOUNDARIES

SquarewstencilI wanted to connote boundaries in a way that felt luminous rather than reactive or representations of stuff I'm inclined to exclude entirely from my own energy center.  It's a big ask but I feel the least I can do is create a sympathetic marker of my intention.

color junkies - note how the red changes to a deeper apple-red kind of color when it's right next to the pink/madder colors on the metal stencil's taped edges.

StenciledsquareThe addition of flourescdent red paint skews the original red  towards wine/brick territory.  Because I started with a very clean bright red the deepening remains clear rather than muddy.  Really liked the way I was able to introduce a sense of imbalanced making-do with the stencil plate overlap to suggest seismic shifts within established order.  Thought to turn the stencil over so the excess paint could be smeared to suggest further ruptures in balance and energetic integrity.  Love the surprise result: some of the excess paint turned parts of the geometric grid into flowers. 

RedsquareungluedI'll add an additional collage component that I've managed to misplace in a room full of paper.  I might add some secondary collage elements if I can find or draw some appropriately scaled Crocosmia and/or Red Echinacea flowers.  Sometime before the lunar cycle ends I'll have a posting about red flowers and their healing/illumination correspondences on my main blog.  For now I'm keeping this initial venture into the very first project simple and graphic enough to use as a meditative aid.  If it works well I might consider making something specifically for that purpose on a wood panel.

***

another first chakra sphere of influence encompasses family, tribal affiliations & traditions, and ancestral wisdom.  To that end I present a few of the original Old Nanas.  As I've said many times they called themselves The Ladies.  I collaged grace's name within her own tribe over my memories because I realized The Ladies had been Old Nanas in deed and intent where I was concerned. 

the occasion for so many smiles and cake was either my 10th or 11th birthday. Pearl's holding the cake with me. 

Oldnanasgiven the above it's a no brainer to bring back the pre-collage challenge post in which I broke down an Old Nana kit I prepared for grace.


old ideas forming a new shape

Hermituprightcommercially printed cotton fabric glue-stick collage mock-up of The Hermit card from an unnamed oracle deck of my own device.  Tarot-centric but only as a jump-off in terms of symbology and its placement throughout the deck . 5 x 5 recycled cookie packaging substrate.  circa 1999.

 One of my long-term ultra slow creative endeavors involves collaging a full deck of tarot card prototypes with quilter's cotton prints.  If I can get that managed I've envisioned painting myself a one of a kind deck - thinking I'd use the prototypes as reference for creating and completing the deck.  I mentally committed to this in the late 90's a/k/a a time when today's calender numbers felt waaaaay in the future.  All the same I've always kept the cards readily to hand as if I might re-commence engaging with the process at any moment. 

About five years ago I unearthed an unrecognized and uncharacteristically small notebook in which I'd written (undated) about the specific types of wisdom I'd gotten old enough to appreciate as a matter of ongoing progress and process -- the tricky business of having more confidence expressing myself in relationship to both painting and successfully creating a viable tarot deck to use for my own readings.  Am now planning to start working-out the concepts as rough graphic mock-ups in my current favorite sketchbook.  Maybe collect and collage a few relevant color stories and also a small glossary of relevant glyphs and similar stripped-down symbols to fit the themes of the cards.

turn something chronically loose and fancy free into something actively structured and officially recognized as a Thing I'm doing with intention to complete it in whatever way providence wills.

Kingofearth Earth Alpha (king)

For the earth cards I'll be embedding the original five pointed star from the traditional assignation of pentacles.

***

In recent times I've been spending 3-5 hours most work week days in fictionland.   Really like what's happening with both the novel's particular story arc and also the way it's had such a positive settling and grounding impact on my daily ebb and flow. 

When I'm out in the garden I tend to think more about non-fiction writing endeavors and goals.  More specifically I think about my planned organization (and far more to the point - congruent elucidation) of subjects related to areas of long term interest.  It's frustrating me how long it's taking that seed of intention to germinate effectively.  Feel like I need to give this level of planning enough form so I understand why I'm drawn to continuing. 

~*~grace's influence.  know why before proceeding. it might change what you bring along with you and also what you choose to leave behind.~*~

Over the past five evenings I've spent something like 1.5-2 hours a night reviewing individual segments of accumulated daily writing sessions.  Bringing both the text and its story-serving context to a stronger voice so as to get this draft beyond the skeletal stage one paragraph at a time.  It is as tedious as it is engaging.   It's also somewhat unnatural or at least well past contrarian (whenever I'm not actively engrossed in writing or thinking about writing, anyway ...) to prize and consistently foster an ability to disconnect from reality simply so one might develop A Story and then persuade others to engross themselves in something that doesn't exist right along with you.  Avoiding distraction - especially those caused by some place/somebody/something real - so that I can commune instead with one or more imaginary people during any given block in time.  I like to keep in mind that's what I'm doing in the final pragmatic analysis.  It keeps me real and consistently demystifies the process as well.

In any event all the imaginary people live in real places so I suppose there's that tenuous connection between hemispheres of cognition.

Bigmedenchantthe deck's first of two sacred pairings bond male and female energies traditionally called the Magician and the High Priestess.  I re-named those archetypes Big Medicine and Enchantment respectively.

Bigmedicine I began making these cards after much encouragement from some UK friends who felt I had the chops to do it even though I did not.  Chose at once to work with a square because I very much liked the idea of geometric grounding/containing the experience of creating and reading these cards.  It also gives my reading interpretation a little more room to grow on both its vertical and horizontal axes.

EnchantmentI've not designed a lot of cards or otherwise come close to justifying how long it's taking me to get immersion-level engaged.  But I do have an excellent reason.  At a certain point I grasped I'd have to start learning to paint one slow step at a time or I'd have no idea how to succeed once I was ready to paint these cards and then tried to learn how.  Learning  to simply handle paint of various kinds is proving to be far more compelling than creating cards to match the vibe and feel of what I started so long ago.  Especially since I set them aside, as one would, after the ongoing burning passion phase of tarot involvement seemed to have left the building.  Until it came back rather suddenly and without preamble.  That occurred maybe 3 months before the collage challenge and Liz sharing ongoing additions to her splendid Texas Tarot project.

It interests me - how things once central to our sense of creative engagement can recede and yet rather than compartmentalizing it off to the side a person could let that medium and methodology stay relevant enough in their ongoing life to return to slow moving projects at other points in time.  Creatively this often brings a level of subliminal cohesion and mapping ability into play at the design level even/especially when an idea is very fresh.  

FertilityAs for the other sacred archetypal pairing within the Major Arcana  - The Empress could only be distilled as Fertility.

VolitionAnd the Emperor as Volition. 

Most of the prototypes I've created are major arcana.  I also created all the aces, an alpha/king and the minor card that dismayed me the most at that point in my life.  At the time the 9 of swords (arrowheads in this deck) showed up so much that I stopped reading for myself and spent that same amount of time and level of effort in routing-out my seemingly endless inner cascades of fear & anxiety.  One thing that helped a lot was articulating how the card felt to me any time I saw it there on the reading cloth.  And then translating that to a prototype:

Acoyotes9ofarrowheadsIn recent times I've been re-considering these cards and the others I created so long ago.  Never actually put them away or otherwise 'cancelled' them.  They've always sat on the long artist's altar in the studio.  One day when I was walking past them I glanced in their direction and asked myself a question:

what if tarot cards are like flower essences in that those that interest you the most - the essences you feel you really need - are those you need to learn from in order to express slow but clear understanding that what you feel beyond words also has the capacity to express itself in spoken and written language? 

It would seem that, for me, "needing to learn from the most" relates quite tangibly to my ongoing creative lessons that all seem to boil down to learning how to complete things to my own satisfaction level.  In the past I've always believed if I put something aside I would pick it up again when I had the chops to complete my original idea in some form.  In this case I don't need to successfully paint a deck of cards that I actually use or share with others.  But I do think I owe it to myself to finish collaging the proto-deck and sketch-level paintings.

Have also been journaling of late about my seeming disconnect to collage more generally.  This led to an awareness that this unwelcome development first bloomed right around the time my style and construction objectives became some other previously unknown thing the more my rational mind imploded many times a day.  For all the same reasons so many other peoples' minds have been similarly imploding plus my kid being so ill.  The point is that the shifts in style are actually perfect for digging into the nuts and bolts of creating more collaged tarot card mock-ups.  Not to mention getting my desk set up for more  sketch and paint exploration. 

I seem to be coming back around to where I'd originally hoped to be by the end of February in terms of how I'm using studio space as well as my time within it.   Maximizing my creative output is the most reliable way I know to keep an effective counter-balance to the mayhem and escalating sense that all of life is becoming one harsh dividing line after the next. 

JusticeJustice