Sunday, September 28, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Painting upon silk fabric was a vehicle that assisted me to be fearless about finding ways to correct mistakes. The completed "corrected" designs were always among the more dynamic ones. I have accepted and adapted to many changes in life, some more easily than others. My life has been a series of several different lifetimes that overlap and merge together to flow into the totality of who I am..a woman passionate about life...an artist, a mother, a Nana, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a seeker of knowledge...a human being that continues to change and be transformed, releasing some things, embracing others and re-affirming involvements that I had left for awhile.
Some segments of life require us to utilize many of our skills to accomplish the opportunities and challenges that are presented to us. Life is a creative process during which we can become so mesmerized by what we are focused upon that we are unable to extract ourselves from the object of our intent. We can then become addicted to the manifestations of our creations, whether they are an expression of an art form, relationships or behaviors.
When we leave something that causes us to feel drained, irritable or unfulfilled it frees up our energy for something better to come into our lives. At other times, change barrels down upon us, leaving us stunned and wounded. It is painful to be forced into leaving something that we felt was perfect for us or that we had worked hard to attain. Even these situations will some day, perhaps some day many years into the future, reveal gifts and/or wisdom that we could only receive by letting go. There are cataclysmic changes, brought on by trauma that changes our lives forever and that causes us to grieve for the past...and even then...we heal when we let go of wishing that the past was stll the present and are able to accept the change of moving into the future.
Monday, September 22, 2008
The mandala with the fish that I recently featured in the "Harvest Moon" post prompted me to include the photo of this hand painted silk kimono that I designed and created upon silk crepe de chine several years ago. Koi fish are a classic motif for silk kimonos but, for this garment, I wanted to combine the fish with unexpected design elements to create the juxtaposition of classic with contemporary themes. My fabric design inspirations come from many places. In this case, the golden lines that run diagonally across the fabric began formulating in my mind after I saw some advertisements that featured computer components and time release photographs of lights on cars as they drove through the night on busy city streets.
My foray into wearable art began 22 years ago when I moved to Florida for five years. it reflects the manifestation of the seed of a dream I had planted in my consciousness ten years before it grew into fruition. The journey from Iowa to Florida was born from listening to my inner voice. In 1976 I purchased a publication that featured an article on silk painting. The kimonos shown in the photographs made me feel like a small child yearning for a beautiful new doll in a toy shop window. I was transfixed by the content of this article and told myself that I was going to do that form of art some day.
Nine years passed. Thanksgiving morning in 1984 I was awakened from a dream by a message repeatedly telling me to move to Florida. After six months of contemplating this directive and finally deciding that moving there would somehow jump start my art career to a new level, I sold as much of my belongings as possible, packed up the car and drove with my son, and daughter, then ages 8 and 5, to take up residence in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
Within a few weeks I came across a tiny ad in the miscellaneous section of the "Help Wanted" newspaper ads asking for someone skilled in sewing on silk who could do occasional fashion illustrations. I was experienced in both of these areas. The next day I drove a half hour to be interviewed for the position and was immediately hired. By fall, the owner of the shop, Wanda Baxter of http://www.silks.com/ , offered me her studio to explore silk painting techniques and to see if I had an affinity for it. From the moment I put dye on my brush and swept it across an expanse of two yards of silk crepe de chine stretched upon a frame, I began a love affair with painting upon silk with fiber reactive dyes. It literally took my breath away and lifted my spirit into another level of consciousness. I cannot even begin to describe the sense of ecstasy I felt while engrossed in creating with this medium. Exquisite might come close. My work relationship with Wanda continued for 15 years, continuing on a long distance basis when I returned to the Midwest in 1989, where my experience as a silk fabrications designer provided me with the opportunity to work with several prominent Omaha, Nebraska interior designers. The skill I had acquired in Florida truly did fulfill my intent for moving there by elevating my art career to a new level.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I include this art with this post because today is the 7th birthday of the granddaughter portrayed on the right. Her wisdom, sweetness and generosity of spirit sometimes overwhelm me. Among the presents that she received today were three play make-up kits, each given to her by different individuals. Rather than comment that the gifts were duplicate ones, she responded with thrilled appreciation as she opened each one and then, later, gifted two of them to two of her cousins.
One beautiful autumn afternoon five years ago, when she was staying with me, and the day was unfolding with complications, she took my hand and indicated that she wanted to go outside. We walked, hand in hand, and she led me to an area under a tree, where the sunlight flickered through the branches. She said she wanted us to lay on the ground, which was blanketed by crisp autumn leaves. We lay on the leaves, breathed in their scent and watched streams of leaves blow past us in dips and whirls. The sky, viewed through the tree branches, was a patchwork collage of intense blue. I will never forget the magic of that afternoon and the wisdom of a two year old child leading me to ground myself upon the earth.
My grandchildren are part of my Heart Song. I love being "Nana", as they refer to me. I have been privileged to be present at all of their births and to assist in joyfully welcoming them to their life on this planet. Part of my appreciation of them is that they reflect to me a time when I was more innocent, when I was a young mother and fervently believed that I would be married to my husband my entire life. The advent of their presence in my life reaffirmed to me a deeper awareness of love and the possibility of it.
Like most children, my grandchildren believe in all things magical. They delight in the wonder of fireflies blinking through the sky on a warm summers night. They are mesmerized by the delicate beauty of rainbow hued soap bubbles that float gently from bubble wands, like opalescent pearls. They find wonder in nature. They appreciate the simple pleasures of a good book, a funny movie, laughing, creating art with crayons and paper, hugs and the loving presence of their families and good friends.
Have you forgotten the innocence of the child within you or do you embrace it with warmth and joy? Do you still believe in magic? Have you forgotten how to embrace life and find beauty and wonder in every moment? Set you intent, chart your course and wish upon a star, magic does happen...but you have to believe.
Friday, September 19, 2008
The months progressed and we formed a bond with each other, forged from trust and openness. We laughed and cried together. The group became more than a vehicle for them to write their stories. It became a support group of women who had traveled through successes and disappointments. All of them had struggled through the challenges of living on low incomes. They had known the joys and pains of falling in, and out, of love. They were mothers and grandmothers. Some had experienced the sorrow of the death of a child. One was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and was reaching out from her heart to remember her stories before she forgot them. Another was legally blind. Some were divorced and some were widows. Together, we created new memories from the re-creation of their previous memories. I am honored to have known them and to have had the gift of being allowed to see into the richness of their lives.
During this time I was able to see, first hand, how important it is for people to tell their stories and to record them. Our stories are legacies that provide credibility to our existence. Our stories honor our experiences, both positive and challenging, and assist us to remember the beauty of the passage of time in which we live on this planet. Our stories can lead us to retrieving memories of love, joy and tenderness we have tucked away into our hearts and have then forgotten where we left them. Our stories sometimes help us to acknowledge memories of sadness that lurk in our consciousness, evolving into disproportionate shame and anger. When we face these memories as words written upon paper and then read them aloud to others in a nurturing environment, they can sometimes be absolved and released. Our stories, recorded from the notes of our Soul Song, are part of the most significant legacy we leave for our families. They illustrate to them, and generations to come, the depth and complexity of who we, and they, are as individuals.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The recent full moon was the "Harvest Moon", as well as a Pisces moon, and although I didn't know it when I created this mandala, on Saturday the astrological energies of mercury and the Sun merged, creating an auspicious moment that added transmutation to the gifts of this moon.
The creation of the art was intuitive, and yet it reflects the serendipitous message of transmutation. The snake, a symbol of transmutation, symbolized by the golden spiral, sheds its old skin to reveal a new one. When we shed our old skins, and welcome new ways of being into our consciousness, we are able to harvest gifts that we had previously been unable to receive.
We refrain from fully expressing the beauty of what we have to offer the world because we are afraid. Afraid of of being hurt; Afraid of being rejected; Afraid of not being good enough; Afraid of being judged by others. We refrain from fully expressing ourselves because we have allowed our vulnerabilities to become more significant than our strengths. Pisces, represented by the fish, reminds us that balancing the ability to be vulnerable enough to share ourselves with others, while at the same time, setting healthy boundaries, allows us to swim deeper into the bounty of life.
Staying centered in the expansive protection of spirit, represented by the central motif of the cluster of seven dodecahedron's, allows us to remain in the flow of life. With spirit as our guide, we can release ownership of trying to control our lives and of being directed by the complex navigation whispered to us by our egos. We harvest love when we give love and when we allow ourselves to be loved, whether it is given or received in the form of relationships, financial abundance, creative expression or appreciation for our lives and the world in which we live.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Last night while driving home, a myriad of fireworks were shooting up into the sky in front of me. They were part of a ceremony that paid tribute to the victims of 9/11. When I walked into the house I looked at the face of the clock. The digital numbers indicated that it was 9:11. Throughout the day I had been thinking about the events of 9/11 and how they had impacted upon everyone in the United States and, also, around the world. These events prompted me to let this mandala create itself through me. I did not reach a stopping point until 4:00am. Today when I looked at it I knew that there was nothing more to add. It's message had been spoken.
To me, there is heaviness about it, as well as hopefulness ...the silver and gold butterfly, representing the spirits of the individuals who passed over as rising upward but, also, hovering over us as guardians. The eye is watchful, but aware. The segmented pieces of the radiating bands indicate how everything has changed since then but, created from the color blue, they indicate the potential for positive creative change: the opening for more of us to talk our talk and walk our walk.
I think that most of us made decisions at that time, regarding what changes we wanted to make in our lives, and set intents that were born of the shock, fear, sense of mortality and/or sense of loss that radiated through us after that day. We banded closer together in support and comfort. We expressed a deeper appreciation for those we love. We re-connected or deepened our associations with spiritual expression. We sought healing: from each other; from a Higher Power; from a release of what was lacking in our lives.
We were all changed forever by this day. Our cells were rearranged. Our energy was shifted. The intents that we made then to make positive changes for ourselves, our families, our communities and for the world should remain as freshly imprinted within our hearts and souls as they were when they initially took form within our minds. The impact of the actions of 9/11 were magnanimous and each of us, in tribute of those who left this planet as a result of that day, have the opportunity to collectively make magnanimous and powerful positive changes. One person can make a difference. The notes of your Soul Song are yearning to be expressed.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Creating mandalas is a powerful way to see a visual representation of what changes you have recently experienced, what you are presently feeling, or even about to experience. They can be a way to honor a specific occasion, such as a birthday, wedding, or the passing of someone or something significant from your life. The beauty of creating this form of art is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. A mandala can be as abstract or as structured as you feel compelled to construct it. It can be colorful or completely black and white. Each one that you create will be different because you are different every moment that you exist.
I started a mandala the other day while I focused upon the intent of "letting go" and was strongly guided to create it with a predominance of red. At the time I wondered why this was such prevelant urging. I put the mandala aside and then attended the Hawaiian ancestral workshop I discussed in my last post. Yesterday, I began working on the mandala again and immediately recognized the influence of Pele and her ability to assist in the letting go process...burning through your inhibitions to bestow renewed passion for life...assisting you to dance to the rhythms of your Soul Song. You can read more about Pele Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pele_(mythology) and here: http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess-myths/hawaiian-goddess-pele.htm
As I added the colors of red, orange and metallic gold to this mandala, I could feel Pele's warmth around me. The star points are embellished to make them appear to reach outward like flames. Continual movement and renewed energy is indicated by the golden spiral in the center. The presence of spirit is symbolized by the series of eight sacred geometry shapes of the dodecahedron that also somewhat resemble faceted pieces of lava rock. Basalt, or lava rock, has the spiritual healing properties of helping you to feel grounded during times of change and of dissipating anger, transforming it into positive modifications.
flickering in the dark…
the return of fire
a new beginning.
- Kate Jobe 9/10/08
Monday, September 8, 2008
This weekend I attended a workshop that focused upon the Hawaiian perception of our ancestors and how we are connected to them. I will give you the link to this, along with information on the facilitator, in a later post. It is a powerful feeling to really grasp the magnanimity of the infinite mass of ancestral wisdom and strength that stands behind us, reaching out toward us in love and sharing their gifts through us. Two months ago, I created the mandala shown above that reflects this connection and also reflects the words of the poem below that I was inspired to write after I came home from the workshop. Ironically, I remembered the mandala after I had written the poem and was struck by how it truly was a pictorial of the words. Synchronicity.
and the moon beams
cycles of life
shining through the stars
of our bones …
revealing ancestral bridges
paved In love
that applauds us.
gifts of light.
we are the substance
of our ancestors
ever after…are us.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Are you perplexed as to why I would include figurative drawings in a blog that is supposed to be focused upon artful healing? I have always felt that the human body was beautiful. It is a study in perfection. Every part of it has a purpose that works together, when cared for, in harmony with the rest of it. When you view the body as you would a landscape, recreating the map of its curves and slopes, you are viewing its true essence. Creating this series of drawings of nude models was a personal healing experience.
When I began going to the classes, which are held at the Hot Shops in Omaha, NE, I cancelled my enrollment in a meditation class that I loved and had been going to for many years but met on the same night. The weekly Life Drawing classes became a series of mindful meditations for me that was a profound and transforming experience for me. You can check out the Hot Shops, its galleries and artists, the Life Drawing class, and all of its other classes here: http://www.hotshopsartcenter.com/classes/index.html
I became so engrossed in the work I was creating that sometimes, after the model had finished the timed pose, and I had stepped back from whatever I was drawing, I would wonder how I had created it. While drawing, I observed the model with an intuitive vision and saw their bodies in the format of colors and shapes and negative space. When the session stopped I dissolved my connection to the work I was creating and was able to objectively see how the design components had come together. It was exciting to me to view what had been created by me in a short period of time and to consider how rapidly I could do something when I focused my attention upon it so completely. I was not trying to create something of beauty, but was allowing beauty to create itself. Odd as it may sound, it was actually humbling to feel and see this occurring during each session.
Observing the models I was drawing, many of whom did not have perfect bodies by fashion magazine standards, pose with ease and pride in front of a room full of artists, allowed me to re-consider my inhibitions about my own body. Regardless of whatever changes I wanted to make for my body, I could love it and appreciate it in the process. Beauty is what we project outwardly from within us. We are able to view beauty when we make it our intent to see it...and that becomes an artful expression that is healing, both for ourselves, and for those with whom we interact.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
To create this as visual art I was drawn to the inspiration I have received from another piece of music. Since January of this year, I have been mesmerized by the music from the sound track of “Whale Rider”, composed by Lisa Gerrard . Each time I listen to it, I am not only visited by dreams of majestic whales, leading me to knowledge of changes that I need to make in my life, but also of horses. These horses run on land, as well as swim in water, taking me to the very depths of the ocean floor. The content of the dreams they have brought to me are both ethereal and powerful. You can listen to the opening music of this sound track here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rTQm2vvhuM
From time to time, I will be writing more about the symbolism of whales and horses and how they have created an impact upon my life. If you are in the Omaha area between now and September 18, stop in at Heller Art Images in Rockbrook Village to see this room screen, as well as all of the other fabulous pieces of art that are on display at the gallery.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
With that being said...what is your perception...is art just visual..an object of beauty..or can it truly heal? Any artistic image that you display in your personal space has an energy that either elevates your energy in a positive way or creates a negative or displeasing emotion within you. This reaction occurs not only by your response to the subject matter of the item, but also by the combination of the colors and symbols used in it. Everything that forms its composition also creates its overall energy that will. in turn, impact upon your overall energy.
Our brains, like the memory chips in computers, store massive amounts of information related to the symbolism of everything. Each of has, at some time, no doubt said the phrase, "I don't know why, but that touched me very deeply." We truly may not be consciously aware of why we respond to something, but our brains do and they transmit this information to all the cells of our bodies.
Art that is healing creates a sense of awareness regarding yourself. It may create a more expanded awareness of the world around you, or a recognition of a palpable shift in your energy or in one of your belief systems. It may, in some way, validate the truth of who you are on a very deep level. The shift may be perceived by you as subtle or profound. The shift may occur in an unexplainable manner that becomes noticeable after having viewed a particular piece of art many times over a span of several weeks or months.