BLOOM

BLOOM, verb

1. produce flowers; be in flower.

2. come into or be in full beauty or health; flourish.

3. become radiant and glowing.


What does it mean to bloom?  To come into full beauty? What is beauty after all?  The flower has no regard for judgment; the flower bursts forth from seed and stem, unselfconscious.  The flower grows freely and with abandon.

“Paint freely and with abandon,” these are the words I spoke to myself as I planned and painted this collection, urging myself to grow each painting as a flower grows from the seed.  These paintings are my commentary on beauty, exploring the juxtaposition between elusive perfection and deep complexity.

In these paintings the stray marks, ink lines buried beneath layers of paint, messy bits, shapes that emerge from behind the composition, the places where you can see beneath the surface – these convey a truth: that beauty exists in the complex tapestry of our lives.

Paint freely and with abandon.

Bloom.

 

 

 

100 Days of Seeds of Light

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I'm doing #the100dayproject again this year! 

This time around I chose #100daysofseedsoflight - for 100 days I will be making tiny seed paintings - they’re 6x8 and they’ll be in watercolor or acrylic or both.  And alongside these little paintings I’ll be writing about light. For me, that means writing about goodness, gratitude, perspective, belief and wonder - subjects near and dear to my heart, and central to the way I see the world. ✨

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As always, I started with a rough idea of where I'm going, but the project evolves and takes on a life of its own.  Today is Day 36, and it's already both exactly and nothing like I thought it would be.

If you're interested, you can follow along at #100daysofseedsoflight, and I'm also posting them over here.  And you can see my last two projects #100daysofibelieve and #100daysofinvitingwonder.  

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Even the subject matter is repetitive

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I have spent a good bit of time thinking about how it is that I paint the same shapes, the same forms, the same compositions over and over and over and over and over again.  (See previous post, which I had frankly forgotten about before I went to post this tonight.)  I don’t do it on purpose - it’s not as though I sit down and plan 20 paintings with the same composition - but the shapes keep finding me.  

Repetition is a theme in my life - I practically wear a uniform (jeans, white or black t-shirt, red shoes), I have eaten the same breakfast every morning for years (2 eggs over a bed of spinach - occasionally I throw in arugula for a thrill), I sit in the same spot at the table, I could go on.  Parameters work for me.  I’m not easily bored, and knowing how certain things will be frees up space in my brain for my curiosity about everything else.  When it comes to painting, then, I guess it’s no surprise that I paint a repetitive story.  I’ve come to understand that addressing a composition over and over again helps me to make sense of things, it helps me to understand what I’m painting and what I’m thinking, it helps me to see. I think of it like tumbling rocks - the way the ocean smooths the stones as they go round and round through the surf.

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My friend Christine pointed out the repetitive compositions during a studio visit this summer.  It’s not that I didn’t know this before she said it, but hearing her say it helped me to see it with fresh eyes.  It used to bother me a little - was it boring? - but I have come to appreciate and embrace the repetition, and to recognize that this is the way I understand the world.  This is the way I tell the story.

Reoccurring Shapes

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I've been painting these circles lately, over and over.  And I was all set to type that this shape started appearing in my work last summer, when I realized that is entirely not true.

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The shape goes way back.  

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Way way way back...

This form began to appear in my work years and years ago, and it has been reoccurring ever since.  How is it possible that it has taken me so long to see?

Abstracted orb, peony, ranunculus, the beach stones, the little nubbins on the milk glass vase in my studio.

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I've been finding myself making lots of notes in the studio lately - visual notes, scribbled notes, typed notes - and this blog seemed like a good place to collect some of them.  It's nice to be able to see what I'm thinking about outside of my little flash drive, and I've long since moved past the lack of ongoing continuity in this space, the gaps in posting, the cringe-worthy older posts that I can hardly stand to look at and never do.  What goes around comes around, you know?

 

 

Day 15/100 Days of Inviting Wonder

Day 15/100

Stop and smell the flowers, Part 2.

I went to the post office this morning, to renew my passport, right after I finished renewing my driver’s license at the MVA.  It’s 10am and it seems like I’m due a medal, or a nap.

There is the sweetest little post office down the hill from my house, with the friendliest people and the shortest wait times – it’s straight out of another era.  I had a package to mail, and my passport to renew, and as I stood at the counter chatting with Larke, I was aware of the loveliest scent floating about.  Aware, and yet not aware at all, until I had been standing there for what must have been fifteen minutes and I finally noticed the jar of daffodils at the far end of the counter!  Of course I stopped to smell them!  I stuffed my face right into the blossoms and took a deep inhale (or three), and suggested that everyone else in the post office do the same.  And as I made my way back to my car – Package mailed!  Passport sent off for renewal! – I thought about how we are, so many of us, sleepwalking through this life.

Here I am, two weeks into 100 days of inviting wonder, and extolling the virtues of stopping to smell the flowers, and it took me a full fifteen minutes of standing at the post office counter next to a jar of daffodils before I noticed them!  Imagine how many people will walk in and out of that post office today and not notice the flowers at all!?

If I have learned anything about wonder in these first two weeks, it is that wonder is elusive – and it’s not.  The truth is that wonder seems elusive because it’s intangible, but wonder is all around us all the time – even at the post office.  It is our job, if we care about finding it, about experiencing it, to create the circumstances that allow ourselves to perceive wonder – and that, it turns out, is what I’m doing here, these 100 days.  Creating an opening; cultivating a mindset; developing a way of being in the world that enables me to experience wonder when it presents itself.  Which it does, all of the time, whether or not I am awake to see it.  I’m waking to wonder, not inviting it – wonder is already right here.

Day 9/100 Days of Inviting Wonder

Day 9/100

Make a playlist.  

Curate a collection of artists and songs that surprise and delight.  Include unexpected combinations; choose something you've never heard before alongside an old favorite; include a deep track from a favorite album.  Instrumentals and acapellas.  Rock music and musical theater.  Throw in something that makes you laugh, and something that makes you sing along at the top of your lungs.  Play it loud and play it often, and then make another.

I ought to do this once a month, but I nearly never do.  

Here's mine from today, if you're interested.

Day 7/100 Days of Inviting Wonder

Day 7/100 #100daysofinvitingwonder

Wonder: A feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar.

Wonder: A surprising event or situation.

Wonder: A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.

Wonder: Desire or be curious to know something.

Wonder: Feel admiration and amazement; marvel.

Wonder: A cause of astonishment or admiration. 

Wonder: The quality of exciting amazed admiration. 

Wonder: Rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one's experience. 

My wonder is all of this and more.  My wonder, the wonder that i'm inviting these 100 days, is noun and verb, known and unknown, an idea and a state of being, a way of looking at the world, a mindset, a lightbulb, a moment, a habit and a happy accident. 

How do you cultivate a way of being that is both tangible and entirely not?