Hear my silent prayer
“Heed my quiet call
When the dark and blue surround you
Step into my sigh
Look inside the light
You will know that I have found you”
Dreamcatcher lyrics by Secret Garden.
Days ago I imagined I was in a garden. Usually I like wild places but I definitely yearned for a garden of stillness and contemplation. I let the day dream unfold and take me to a cave, a cave garden, in which to meditate. Walking back with the shopping, my thoughts were adrift in powder blue, and I was surrounded by cave drawings of sea creatures, birds and flowers. Peaceful, it reminded me of a painting of Radha and Krishna in the Grove as can be seen here.
I need to find a garden.
The opalite light breaks into brightness. It has been glorious for days, but somehow too bright, too blazing. Its starkness has made me want to turn away and hide. I’ve felt inspired to draw and made this sketch that I’ve called “Woman Shunning the Light”.
I have now added the picture to my ‘altered book’.
She has the face that so often crops up in my pictures. It isn’t my face but the face of an unknown, mystrey woman that looks similar to the Buddha’s head in this photo taken in Ayutthaya in Thailand. She has appeared in my “Woman with Candle” painting, taking light from a dying sun to carry with her into the night. (I have altered the colours of the painting in photoshop to make it bluer – you can see the original on my website paintings page here.) It has an Edvard Munch/Van Gogh inspired sky.
I stumbled upon a passage by Bill Plotkin from his book ‘Soulcraft’ which makes me think about the light and the dark:
People who live excessively upperworld lives take a transcendental view of everything. They tend to see light, love, unity and peace everywhere. They are attracted to the Course in Miracles or aspire to, “enlightenment,” via an ungrounded approach to Buddhism….
…People who live excessively underworld lives see the world darkly. They tend to see hidden meaning, mystery, and the undoing of things everywhere. They gravitate toward the occult and the paradoxical. They want to penetrate to the center of everything and understand it all by standing under….
A holistic approach to spirituality interweaves the ascent and the descent, rendering balance to the experience of both the upperworld and the underworld.
You can read more of the passage here.
And now for some autumn fire! Its been a yellow day, a golden yellow day! Its in the beautiful autumn light. Last night I took out an old painting of a dancer that just hadn’t worked. I gave it some fresh paint and now it has new light life, fire, just like the last flush of autumn warmth we’re having before the onset of late autumn and winter darkness. I even hear Great Tits singing as though it is Spring! Everything can seem a bit topsy turvy.
Here is my gold, yellow painting I’m calling “Autumn Fire”. It gives some brightness after the rather sombre colours of my Chelon fish. :)
Here is Chelon labrosus, my thick lipped grey mullet painting.
Thick lipped, migratory, prising off mussels on its benthic trawl….washed in with waves, harbour close…
I had a sudden surge of creativity yesterday evening. I’d been meaning to get down to doing this painting for a while and decided that I really wanted to paint in oils. When I searched my oil paint bag, I realised I was out of white paint. I just couldn’t wait to buy some so out came the acrylics and I slapped them on a canvas mixing the paint with a bit of builders’ scrim. It was most satisfying, but I know the result is a bit of a mess.
The other night I couldn’t sleep. I lay in bed, thoughts tumbling through my mind…and then the song, “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen, started up in my head. I began to sing the words and before I could think properly, I crawled out of bed and fetched my guitar, blew the dust off it and began to play. Or tried to. A friend taught me how to play it, so I can play it but not very well. That night it didn’t really matter, it was just good to be singing and switching off my work head.
Today I’ve had the day off and decided to make something related to a phrase in the Suzanne song. The phrase I particularly like is:
“there are heroes in the seaweed,
there are children in the morning,
they are leaning out for love and they will lean that way forever,
while Suzanne holds the mirror…”
I found a piece of sanded scaffolding board that I had since my “Blue Goddess” painted board and got to work. The result is far removed from children and seaweed, instead I’ve painted birds! I’d like to have painted heroes in seaweed but couldn’t quite manage it. The result isn’t great but it’s a start to getting back into creating after months of learning and working (which has been enjoyable but different.)
I shall talk about birds soon, perhaps next time, I can see a theme there….
The Leonard Cohen lyrics are great and can be found here.
I received my Amharic translation yesterday, I felt so pleased, it was as good as I’d hoped. The words translate as “Blue Female God”. I know that this art piece isn’t similar to the ancient Ethiopian Orthodox art that I like so much, but it gives my work a connection of a sort. (I was going to visit Ethiopia a few years ago with my boyfriend, but our passports went missing while applying for visas so we never made it. I’d still love to go…..one day…)
Anyway, here’s a photo of the script and my finished “Blue Goddess”. I have another piece of scaffolding board ready to sand down and work on. I think that I may keep to a similar theme.
The “goddess” theme has returned again. I’ve been working on a “Blue Goddess” which is painted in acrylics on a piece of wood. I visited the Brighton & Hove Wood Recycling Project hoping to find a good piece of driftwood. I liked the idea of the wood having ‘come from the sea’, it makes me think of shipwrecks, figureheads etc. I really enjoyed rummaging through their wood collection and found a suitable driftwood piece, but it was a bit expensive for my initial experiment. I finally decided on a cheap piece of scaffolding board, liking the fact that it was cracked and had knots. Back home I sanded this down ready to paint.
I kept having an image in my mind of a face that I can only trace to Chagall’s paintings or rather, the women in his paintings. I’ve been inspired by other things too: Fayum Mummy portraits — because they’re ancient and painted on wood panels; icons; blue buddhas; blue ‘durgas’ and lots of other blue things. The wooden statue featured in the book “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd also came to mind, as it was bestowed with sanctity.
My Blue Goddess is not yet complete. I want to inscribe it at the bottom with the words “Blue Goddess” written in Amharic. I have no real reason for choosing Amharic other than I like the script and Ethiopian religious art. I’m hoping to hear back from someone with a written translation. If you can help with it let me know!
This is what it looks like so far – with a manipulated digital version on the right!
A new painting finished yesterday. It’s done in acrylics, about 4 ft x 4 ft. I’m not sure about the blue birds, I might have to change their colour. I’m also planning to redo the painting in blues and greens.
Perhaps I should call this blog “Flounderings of an untrained artist”. Anyway, I’ve progressed a bit with my painting. My boyfriend said the angels looked smokey so I’m calling it “Smokey Angels”.
The angel on the right needs a bit more definition. It’s a start.
I have got out a new canvas to begin a painting at last. I keep getting images in my mind and don’t want to hold back any longer. I did want to try new techniques, styles or improve my work somehow but it seems that the best way to progress is just to DO even if the result is not how I’d like. So I’ve been sorting through bags of cord, candlewick and leaves that I collected and pressed in the autumn and listening to Michael Nyman’s “Prospero’s Books” music while arranging them on the canvas, working on the floor as usual.
It seems like my theme will be similar to my painting “Siren” with underwater figures (underwater ‘angels’), weedlike threads and a moon image. I haven’t finished with this sort of theme yet, it keeps recurring and I feel that it’s where I’m at at the moment. I’m curious about why I put the moon in so many of my pictures; it seems to feature in many of the artworks I’ve seen on blogs and elsewhere. Mine will be an underwater moon in this painting.
Continuing with water, I’ve decided to change my blog name; I like the title image and its associations.