Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Will I ever clean my house again if I am a practicing artist?

When I found myself becoming nocturnal in the Spring of this year, I knew something was going on. I was waking up all owl eyed and quietly making breakfast for Madeleine as I recalled blissfully the midnight hour, the color, the line, the feeling in my fingers as they connected with paper so confidently and happily. There was a  feeling in my heart as something started to emerge that was completely different from what I had made before, and I loved it.

The Winter before this, Madeleine grew up some more. Of course she is always growing, but perhaps there was more to it, a sense of independence she had found in the way she was playing. I had realized too she was happy to see me making and crafting, it seemed I was doing something so very natural to her and completely acceptable. She had found contentedness in her own play and creation, and we began to work along side each other.
The intention of each thing I made then, was that it for our home, for her or a Christmas present. This naturally excited her and she happily awaited the result in what felt like such a harmonious time.

 It crossed my mind then that maybe I could really think about making art again. That I could have the space to do it, and that Madeleine was old enough now for me to have some time to focus, and that she might understand that.

That thought twinkled about a bit under those icy winter skies with Sirius flashing on the evening horizon, inspiring me as it does. I attempted to make a kind of studio in my spare room then. But no matter how hard I tried, I kept throwing the clean laundry exactly in that spot. Every time I went to make something there I found a mountain to climb first. At least it was a clean one.

I did continue on though little by little. One day my yearning for large sheets of crisp white watercolor paper and some new jars of my favorite colored inks was just too much for me. I got on Cork Art Supplies online and ordered. Did I hug the postman when he came knocking? Well not quite, but I may have been a little overly enthusiastic about it.

This is one of the first paintings I began in the Spring. I have called it Winter Bright, it is 56cm x 76cm.
This mighty tree sits in real time at Ashley park // near Nenagh in Co.Tipperary. Its a wonderful place, it was old estate and now a B&B. I did my EFT // here over a series of residential weekends.

 I sat on the roots of this tree in four seasons, each as brilliant as the last. Three of which were training weekends and once a return trip just to go and see.
It was in the winter before last though sitting there, that I had such a wonderful set of thoughts about trees. You will see, if you follow along with me here, that there are trees, trees and more trees in my work. This is the first of many more to come.

This painting is those thoughts. A winters day, a delicate white sun shining through bare branches and upon rotting leaves that sparkled with due, above a welcoming ground resting for winter's reprieve. As I looked about at these limbs, the inky shadows of the branches and all the fallen leaves, I felt such a peace about change and the impermanence of everything, of beginnings and endings. I felt maybe for the first time in my life that even in the sadness of letting go there was beauty, like this tree and these leaves. That thought made me feel very alive and bright. I was having such a zen moment, but had no idea at that time.

A tree like this one reminds me of years passing and even lifetimes, unlike flowers which remind me of days. It feels far more human for me to measure life by trees, seasons and flowers rather than calenders and ages. A forest seems the ideal place to learn about most things and to wait in one has been a great practice of mine. Wait for an answer, wait for a breeze that just carries you.

I enjoyed very much working on this and only finished it recently, it seemed so appropriate to make marks about this tree somewhere, and here they are.
It is a bare tree, but the light underneath promises new growth and new life, and an ever changing light.

Here is my first post, How exciting. I intend soon to make prints of my work and have an etsy shop  to sell them on soon. The originals will all be for sale too. I am also making crowns and embroidering them, because  Madeleine and I decided in America this past summer that " everyone deserves a crown". There will also be other imaginative play toys and felted items. My daughter attends a Steiner School, where there is great emphasis on play and imagination and nature. You will find in my other work how deeply influenced I have been by these fundamentals of childhood development. And how Madeleine has helped to shape my life and my art today.

Thanks dear reader, I am beginning right HERE. I will not put laundry here, but I cannot promise that the rest of the house will stay in good order as we undertake to make and create and inspire and give a lot.


  1. Elizabeth, many thanks for sharing your words and thoughts and art. The tree is as complex and energetic and lovely as is life itself. I look forward to your next post! Hugs to you and Madeleine.

  2. it is lovely to hear from you and I am very happy you are back to art. oddly, years ago when I was trying to find my way back to an art practice, I started observing and photographing trees. Winter trees.

  3. That's beautiful Liz, I've seen the drawing in your house and have been admiring it since I first saw it. It is wonderful to hear, that you are taking up art again and I'm looking forward to see and read some more! Trees are so very important, they are the first thing I place, when I am designing a garden or landscape before I even think about anything else. Like you said, trees are life and an ancient woodland is buzzing of knowledge, age and magic. Something we have to treasure, look after and care for.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts! x Jenny

  4. Dear Liz,

    What beautiful writing and beautiful painting. Great blog. Ask Maddie if she happens to find my face to send it on. It is an original artwork.

    Love and light


  5. elizabeth & the trees- teachers of the art of bending without breaking : ) x

  6. I am delighted you have found the physical and emotional space to create. I love your tree. I would love to be drawing life models but they are not available to me so it has been suggested i draw trees and i am to be surrounded by them in my new home. Thanx for the inspiration and the blog. Love Avxx

  7. It somehow reminds me of Lord of the Rings... Sorry Liz, I should have kept in touch. I will! Look forward for some mail.

  8. Oh what wonderful comments. This is so encouraging, Thank you!!!!
    Now I am doing my bills and may even hoover a little: ) xx

  9. Liz, you are an inspiration to us all, you always have been, ever since your first poem at such a young and tender age. This tree, your tree of many trees is profoundly exceptional to me - the tree hugger. Thank you Liz and thank you Madeline for your natural and beautiful insight you give to your mother. Our love to you both forever and always, Judy & Jordan xxx :-)

  10. that is so beautiful painting and your piece you wrote is amazing,i love trees the empower me i rooted my own tree and i am now strong like the tree trunk and my branches are blooming.
    i can tell yours are also god luck with your art.

  11. Tusa.

    The light underneath you promises new growth and new life, and an ever changing light.


  12. Lizzie this is so inspiring and beautiful on so many levels. I've always wondered when your art would demand to come through again. What a huge step, no? I am cheering for you madly from this, the other side of the pond!

    Blessings you dear and lovely woman!

    XOXO Gina

  13. Elizabeth,
    Such beautiful words and beautiful art. Thank you.

  14. Glad you making again,I think it is a wonderful and necessary thing that with age becomes more so ( grandmothers knitting constantly we will be) Read great book called The Craftsman by Richard Sennet who analyses this need.
    I bought lorry loads of material but between sleep and painting i admit to sleeping! hope like you , this will change and I too can open my own etsy account.Viva the craftswomen.

  15. Lovely lovely Tor, Thanks me dear. I imagine one day quite before we are grannies, we will cross oceans and get working together.
    tonnes of love
    xx E

  16. Thank you so much for all of these comments, so inspiring and encouraging. I am working on the next Blog now, and on having some things to put on Etsy.
    Feeling so inspired and trying to be patient about finding the time to do all I want to do. We are off a birthday party today, and enjoying this wonderful Autumn day xxxxxxxx

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