Come Back As A Flower

Come Back As A Flower
Mixed Media Self-Portrait (Sculpted clay mask, fabric & digital illustration)

Over and Over #11/30 Art That Heals

When is art work done?  The "Dancing Clouds" paintings are taking on a life of their own.  I'm tweeking some of the first ones that I painted.  I've found my grove and am now going with the flow.  Need to expand my creativity next week and create examples for upcoming fall classes, i.e. the elements of art and principles of design in a visual journal, and mixed media functional stuff (placemats, floor cloths, and who knows what!).  One of the joys of teaching (other than summer vacation) is making stuff you wouldn't normally do.  My Yat Randolph would say, "Those who learn, teach."  The more you paint or do anything the better you become.  That's a difficult concept for children to understand when it comes to learning about art. As I create, I'm constantly thinking about teaching strategies that can help students think and solve problems.  Other than the lack of manners, that's my observation on what's wrong with our schools. 

We Fall Down #10/30 Art That Heals

It's the getting up again that's significant in my life, not how many times I fall or get knocked down.  The process of painting clouds is helping me to see clearly.  Problems always provide opportunities.  Mama would say that "God never closes a door unless He opens a window."  So true.  However, it's up to me to make the choice to open the window and crawl through.  I'm exploring color, value, shapes.  Trying new ways to capture light.  But, mostly I'm having fun!  I'm enjoying every precious moment of my summer break.

My Awakening #8/30 Art That Heals

"Dancing Clouds Day 08"
Healing takes time and patience.  Coming out of toxic painful situations aren't healed in an instant.  It's a slow evolution on a road less traveled.  Our culture demands instant satisfaction, quick results but the circumstances of our lives just don't work that way.  It has been one full week since I finished up the school year teaching art to 525 different K-8 children each week plus adult pottery students.  I am so thankful for summer break and the opportunity to just sit and paint for the simple joy it brings.  My hands are missing clay, and I hear earthenware relief tiles calling my name!

What Will You Create Today? #7/30 Art That Heals

Art is about life and life is about creating.  I was reminded of this yesterday, when Kim Benson, blessed me with a video clip by Makoto Fujimura.  He posed the question, "What will you create today?" as he gave the graduation address at Biola University.  That question stuck with me and resonated deep in my being. It's part of my conscientiousness in creating "Dancing Clouds" as a way to heal my brokenness and fear.

So, what do I want to make today?  My heart's desire is to create happiness, to love and be loved, to strive for serenity and peace of mind, to live in the moment.  I want to make the world a better place, not by changing another person but by changing myself.  Thank you Kim for your blessing.  We reap what we sow in life, even if it's a late crop.

As I continue with my cloud studies as an exercise in oil painting, I'll pay attention to the bigger picture, the process by which art can heal!
Stage #2 Underpainting | Oil on Linen

Today, I'm painting on a stretched linen canvas.  What a joy to paint on linen.  Oil on linen has the feel of porcelain.  I love it.  I had forgotten how smooth the oil paint flows on a linen canvas.  However, you have to paint in thin layers of colors and wait for each one to dry.  This is good because it makes you stretch out you pleasure and enjoyment.  I didn't undercoat this canvas with colored gesso.  The first layer was applied last Thursday, and the second this morning.  I painted around the edges like I do with acrylics but it's really problematic when using oils.  After I did it, I remembered Mr. Saltzman's lessons.

Let It Rise! #6/30 Art That Heals

It's another glorious day!  I full of songs of thanksgiving, praises and glory for the  miracle of healing God is purposing in my life.  My pockets are full of colors, clay and creativity.  Hallelujah!

Nick of Time #5/30 Art That Heals

Painting "Dancing Clouds" is becoming more than an exercise in observation and concentration.  There are no people, plants, or animals in my landscapes or skies.  The paintings are void of anything except sky and clouds.  Why? I ask myself.

Because I'm painting my feelings of pain and heartache and the isolation I feel living in Wilson.  I was born here at Mercy Hospital but I've never felt like I belong.  It's difficult to feel like a stranger in your homeland.  But, I  do.  I've lived in a lot of places all over North Carolina, always searching for a place to belong.  My "Circle Dance" has brought me back to my own beginnings. 

Painting "Dancing Clouds" is teaching me to leave all of that behind.  To open up my heart.  I can't change my yesterdays, but by living in the moment, I can change my tomorrows.  Life is choice driven, as my BFF like to say.  I choose to be happy,  full of JOY and creativity.  I choose to find joy in simple things, like watching, drawing and painting clouds as they dance by and squishing clay through my fingers.

Being an artist is a fearful prospect because it means taking the road less traveled.  But, it's the road that I was born to travel.  So, last night and early this morning I'm painting multiple oil paintings in layers of colors.  They are wet and need to dry out before I apply the next layer of color.  In many ways, oil painting is like working with clay.

When I Don't Know What To Do #4/30 Art That Heals

"#6 Dancing Clouds Day 04"
Sometimes, I don't know what to do, what to say or where to go.  It's in these moments I feel the closest to God.  That perfect Peace that comes from the Holy Spirit, when I surrender all to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  God's Grace saves me.  The circumstances and injustices of everyday life are painful and disappointing but God's plan for my life is perfect.  Yes, I have scars but I'm not defeated.  Yes, I've had setbacks.  I've fallen down on my own, and been knocked down by the mean-spiritedness of insecurity more times than I can count.  But, I'm still here.  Still able to see beauty in the midst of pain.  I'm walking out the perseverance required to be an artist. 

I'm so thankful for God's mercy.  Painting clouds is turning into a pray of thanksgiving.  Moments spend in creative expression and deep concentration.

Without The One You Love Day #3/30 Art That Heals

Heartache, rejection and disappointment are part of our shared human experience.  The circumstances of life can crush, stomp and beat you down.  It's been many days when I hurt all over, from head to toe, and felt like my circumstances were walking on me with Stiletto heels.  The isolation of not being with the one you love amplifies the pain.  But, God's grace saves me.

"#5 Dancing Clouds Day 03"
One of the tools of healing is painting from life, especially using oil paints.  The process focuses us to be in the moment.  Sitting on my porch watching the sunrise and clouds in the sky requires my full attention.  It's an exercise in observation and concentration.  Every time I blink or look down to paint, the clouds dance by as if on que.  The clouds are never the same throughout the day.

With each painting and every sunrise, I feel the stresses of life draining away.  I'm humbled and thankful for each of these precious moments in time.

I though ahead and painted my canvas with pink Gesso today.  My paint colors are Ultramarine Blue, Cad Red Deep, Cerulean Blue, Sap Green and White.

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing! Day #2/30 Art That Heals

""#3 Dancing Clouds Day 02"
Oil on Canvas Panel

Welcome Summer!  I've got the smell of oil paints on my hands and in my studio.  It's the first time this studio has experienced this smell.  It's been a long time for me, and I've missed it.  Oil painting is like an old friend who has been gone way too long.  I'm glad she's back, and this time I plan to keep and cherish oil painting in my everyday life experiences.

Painting clouds as I see them dance by in the sky is not an easy task.  Every time I look down to paint, I miss something that's now gone.  It smells like the woods are on fire somewhere down east, and the clouds are smoky.  Tying to paint clouds and smoke as they are dancing pass me -- now, that's a challenge.  But, I plan to keep at it.  This is my art therapy, and with all that I've been through, the process should not be easy.  I need to work out all the demons of rejection, heartache and people being mean to me.  Life isn't fair but God's justice is divine.

So, I'll reteach myself to see and to paint.  I'll heal my brokenness and my scars will make me stronger.  Another Penland Experience is about a month away.  By the time I get there I should be "Rolling in the Deep" part of creativity.  Oh, I'm so happy and full of JOY!  Summer vacation ROCKS!

At Last! Day #1/30 Art That Heals

Today is the first day of my summer vacation after teaching art to K-8 children.  This academic year was bruising.  But, yesterday is gone forever.  Today, in these first moments of freedom, I'm painting oil paintings as a way to heal my wounded spirit.

I started my art making life as a painter and now I'm back to my beginnings.  Oh, what a journey!  So, today begins 30 days of healing art painting cloud studies, which I'm calling "Clouds Dancing."

My pottery studio is a wreck from pulling stuff out to teach adult pottery classes and unloading personal belongings that I took to SallieB.  Life Lesson Learned:  "Don't take so much of my stuff to another teaching job because it's too much trouble to move it back."  So, I pulled out my oil paintings.  I'm rusty from the long absence, but practice makes perfect.  I'm not ever going to stop painting again, no matter what obstacles come my way.  I'm an A-R-T-I-S-T!  A colorist, according to Mr. Saltzman.  I'm born that, get over loosing the love of your life for the second time.  Sometimes love hurts, cause life ain't fair!  But it's time to check out of the Blues Room at the "Heartbreak Hotel!"
"#1 Clouds Dancing Over Blue Ridge"