Bits of zen flotsam & jetsam from the daily practice of a zen fool with shards of modern Buddhist art from my studio. Sometimes cranky, sometimes inspiring, mostly entertaining.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I have been fortunate enough to have lots of delicious time for just lolly gagging around the house, reading, eating, contemplating. Along with a wonderful constitutional homeopathic remedy and some amazing food prepared by Everyoneisvegan this quiet time has been exactly what I needed.
Last night enough space opened up around me that I started thinking about my art again. Three encounters got me thinking about "authentic voice", something which is both important and elusive to me in my art, at least from my vantage point. A lot of the time I feel like I miss the mark due to frustration and impatience. I aim to orient myself toward this north star of authentic voice in the coming new year. I will be looking for a felt sense of something emerging as I create, something that comes through me, but isn't this little me, something connected to a greater presence. I will know it when I meet it. Sound weird and crazy? That's okay, as long as it doesn't sound like one of those mind soaked personal artistic statements.
The first encounter (does this sound like an artist's version of "A Christmas Carol" ?(ew, cheesy, chewy unintended pun left in for your guffaws and tomato throwing pleasure) was with some words from blogger friend Leslie Avon Miller over at Textures, Shapes & Colors. I find her art fresh and original and her explorations filled with passion and light hearted energy . She covers so many artistic miles in her exploration of new (to me) artistic geography. Sometimes I wonder how she has time for it all. Passion will do that for a person, I think. But what really intrigues me is how freely she explores the artistic scales of her own voice.
My second inspiration and call to the authentic self was some writing by Nathan over at Dangerous Harvest; words carved with a sharp scalpel out of blood and bone, boiling with unanesthetized authentic voice. Deep uncauterized trenches of experience laid open for examination; truly an authentic, dangerous harvest, one that etched itself deeply into the crevices of my skin. I was reminded how much I learn when someone is courageous enough to speak their truth.
And as I rambled over the landscape of screen and printed page in my pyjamas I turned to the pages of "Branches of Light", Banyen Books' catalogue and settled on descriptions of some Mary Oliver books of poems, new and old. Again, what jumped out was the deeply authentic voice that carries her across the hills and meadows of her experience, her unique vistas unfurled with such delicious quirkiness. This is truly authentic voice.
So 2011 will find me diving, digging, trekking, climbing, waiting, watching, sniffing for signs of authentic voice. Road maps, secret decoders, notes in bottles, hidden clues all gratefully accepted on my search. Watch for me. I will be wearing a Sherlock Holmes hat and carrying a large magnifying glass. The glass will be filled to the brim with magic elixir and I promise to share a sip if I meet you on the road.
Buddhism & Art...if I had to pick two words that give an overview of what I get up to in this world those would be my choices. Buddhism is the ground upon which I rest all else. I like to think it brings me some sanity. It helps me think in some logical way about what I am doing and look at it as deeply as possible. What did I just do? Why ? What's that all about? ...To try and look at my life without sliding over things or fooling myself...To be present for life, not rejecting or preferring one experience over another. Buddhist practice makes my life full and rich, sometimes filled with joy and sometimes with a deep experience of the suffering present in this world.
After all those words does it seem odd to say that it is the simplicity of Zen that appeals to me? This inclination to simplicity pulls me to try and integrate my practice and work, to paint Buddhas, to observe my process as I work.
I am drawn to mixed media, integrating script and words with images and colour.