Friday, October 8, 2010

Harvest- seeds and stitches and some painting

Its been enriching, these past few weeks-harvest time it is indeed! 

Sun, rain, cloud, wind, and all at once some days, with incredible shadows and a sun bringing every warm shade of yellow and white. The weather has been to die for, like all these leaves and fruits falling happily in their colored glory. I have been both a river of creativity and absolutely stuck in the mud at times too. 

The work is coming fast now though, after what seems a very long and pregnant pause of artistic activity. 

Within these five years, there has been trailer loads of good experience. I mean good in the sense that I have grown up and grown much closer to the quality of life I would like to be living. Little art though, but for what I have shared with M. Its her that has got me started on these hats. I made one for Madeleine on the plane back from the States this year. It had to be warm/wool and functional( not fall off when climbing trees) for kindergarten. Some simple criteria you might think but not always easy to find the right hat. I bought this great yarn in Asheville NC. It is a soft natural yarn with a rainbow effect that is in keeping with the colors of the forest. She loves it! Now I have made three more!!!! and practice does make perfect! These are becoming more and more beautiful and I am experimenting with different wools and ribbons now too.
Below is Maddy in the first hat- I love this picture. Busy she is, and all about her business of watering some sunflower seeds she planted a few days ago.

My father gave her a sunflower Sunday  last. He had bought it that morning at the Farmer's market. Completely enraptured he is at times with color and flowers. Madeleine was sad to be leaving his house and the play she was so enjoying with her cousins. The sunflower brightened tearful eyes, and she popped in her car seat without protest. I was relieved and it was late, too late in the day really, for us to finish our day gracefully. There seems a cut off point with little ones where they have played so much and for so long in a day, they just don't have another ounce of energy left for brushing teeth or listening to reason, especially about why one should brush teeth every night.

On route home, Madeleine pulled every petal from her flower. When we reached the house I turned around and shockingly saw what was left of this golden gift strewn about the back seat. I was aghast, and did I mention, I too have my cut off point; ) 
Having inherited my Dad's love of a beautiful flower, I was heart broken, and in that moment it felt like a very reprimandable act. How could you do such a thing, Grandad's gift, what a mess, how disrespectful- all words I may have used regretably. Madeleine was crying then, and I was close to it. But then I asked, Why ? 
And then the unexpected .........She told me, she wanted to see if Jordan, her good friend really loved her. She wanted to test it, by picking each petal, in 'he loves me, he loves me not' order. Oh.................I think I said.

She then went on to say, "Mommy look how beautiful the back seat looks and the floor too". I did look though reluctantly as I processed these thoughts, to see the yellow dashes of brightness about my car, each one having been imbued with the true love of a five year old girl for her dear friend. She was right, it was beautiful, and that sunflower had now gone above and beyond its duty to make seeds and attract bees. In its end I imagined its little life force delighting in this ritual, rather then on life support in a vase on my window sill. I still asked her to pick up the petals, and she then quite of her own will, suggested that she plant the seeds in the garden and then next year there will be lots of sunflowers for me to gaze at. I wondered which of us had learned something?

When Madeleine came five and a half years ago, the great gifter and teacher arrived too. Like a little buddha she is, no wonder I stopped making art, I had plenty to contend with as I learned this art of living through motherhood. I did have more on my plate other than that too of course. 
These mornings when she wakes up, she smiles over at me anticipating a warm morning cuddle in the womb of my bed. I hug her close beneath feather and wool and am glad of another opportunity to honor this gift of us. The fears of undoing good work and dishonoring such a gift are always set aside in that smile and that ever patient heart she has for this woman growing up. 

Those same fears raise themselves in my art, I had forgotten the sounds of those voices, each with its own presence. I may not have really listened or tried to understand why before , whilst doing something I love so much I would in the same breath critisize the very work. I mean beyond good quality control, but with that impatient part of me that judges my work as quick as a flash, the same part that sees destruction in a depetaled sunflower, has no patience for the process only the result which must be a resounding success or don't bother. Oh dear, what a kettle of fish or is it a can of worms that is. Still I am sure good grounds for discovering more of what I have to offer here. For now I am listening bravely to these voices as I embark on this path to do what I love and Love what I do. I have no idea where this path will lead but someone seems to have left the crumbs for me to follow or is it seeds? 

Stitches a little crown in the making and a 'bowl of delicious red apples'

Other than Hats, I am painting and making crowns!!!!!!!! Oh what joy it is to do these crowns. I have finished one and the other just needs its ribbons. I will have these for sale next week I imagine, and will begin Christmas ones then. Me and Madeleine love these. This one is a true gold glory crown, one for an autumn birthday or any kind of imaginative play or dress up. I imagined this one for a boy, but Madeleine thinks it would suit a girl too. And Yes Yes, what about those apples. When I went to take a picture of the process of making this crown that apple fruit bowl started to edge its way into the frame, I have others where you can hardly see the crown at all, just the most delicious red apples. In fact when I put this on the table Madeleine said to me with the widest eyes, "Is that a bowl of delicious red apples", "Yes it certainly is", I said. I might want to draw apple trees now or the inside of an apple.
But first a Forest in a Painting!

I made a little card like this painting for Madeleine's birthday last year. P.J., my boyfriend, is that a good way to introduce your boyfriend to your blog?... I shall find out. He loved it so much and asked me many times if I would make a larger one. 
Now come to think of it, his voice is one so far from anything to do with those fears I have just spoken about. In fact his voice comes somewhere around the opposite pole on my compass of encouragement. His support has been an immense part of my diving back into art.
He is living in the Gaia community in West Asheville NC where I started this. It was a perfect place to begin this, in the heart of the mountains, on the edge of Asheville, on a porch in the summer and in good company. 
I think its one of three, and this picture below is a detail. I have just sent  these off today to printers, to see how this will work as a print. I love this direction.

These strange trees, seeds and fruits come from last winters pursuits at drawing late in the evening. I happen to have some books here on anatomy and physiology. I was falling head over heals with the shapes of cells in the body, all kinds I was discovering, blood, bone and brain. The shapes were incredible and seemed like ready made drawings. I was drawing then and painting them, and then one day they became trees, just like these. 

The little girl here is inspired by Madeleine, she asked to be in this. Its such a meditation painting like this, time consuming but I love it. There is this combination happening here now between sewing, crocheting and painting that really appeals to my nature, to have a choice about what I want to work on each day. There are a couple more things in the works still, including an Autumn forest a little like this one.  

I am enjoying this and it feels so rich right now. This season, this life, these big hands of mine, doing what they were made for. I am tired at the end of each day and crawl under my covers at night with a lot of satisfaction and mostly with something resembling a smile. 

Thank you dear reader.