Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fallen Giants And Heading Off Into The Wilderness

This giant fir tree decided to give up standing a couple of Friday's ago. A massive, ancient beast, it had been listing for a long time, speaking of its future collapse. With all the rain, several snow falls and the help of a little wind it made it's final descent and is now lying 3/4 of the way across the pond. A neighbour who heard the big bang (of the tree variety) has kindly offered to help when things dry up a little. This is life in the country. Trees grow, trees die. People get out their heavy equipment and chain saws. The ebb & flow of life. Doing the next thing that needs to be done. And when you stand next to a giant like this you get a sense of your place in the universe.

Besides stalking fallen giants (no slaying involved), I've been thinking about art, making art again and wrestling with that process. Why do I wrestle? How can I stop wrestling? These are questions that I'm chewing on. Over at Art It I found a Robert Motherwell quote that rings true for me: "I begin a painting with a series of mistakes." I get that. I paint that. Sometimes the mistakes evolve into keepers and sometimes they get another coat of gesso.

I am chasing down (read obsessed by) the idea of "authentic voice" and to this end I am reading "Creative Authenticity 16 Principles to Clarify and Deepen Your Artistic Vision" by Ian Roberts. There is a lot of great material in this tiny volume. Here is quote by Ken Wilber that Roberts finds holds true in his studio:" Following our path is in effect a kind of going off the path, through open country. There is a certain early stage when we are left to camp out in the wilderness, alone, with few supporting voices. " (That's me out in the wilderness with my friend the fallen tree, well maybe not the wilderness, strictly speaking.)

A little further along Roberts says: "so much of what we do while we paint is a reflection of our character and shows us, for better or worse, and if we choose to see, our true nature. Not taking time to lay in a strong and meaningful foundation may be something that manifests in other areas. Art can be a remarkable feedback mechanism for our life." So with awareness, our art is our mirror reflecting back what we "do", our habitual ways of approaching life. So not only do we develop our art form by spending time working in the studio but we have the opportunity to become acquainted with our true nature. Pretty good package deal wouldn't you say?


  1. A fabulous package deal. The threads of our "beingness" are woven in every aspect of our lives.

  2. Can you wrestle without clinging to wrestling? I think it's possible to do so, that those tussles are part of the natural unfolding, if we just learn to let them be.

  3. I'll take one package, please. Deliver to usual address. Hopefully Ego will not be home to claim it. ;-)

  4. This is so rich in metaphor! Finding our own authentic expression by being firmly rooted in the fertile soil of our "True Nature" and not constrained by our *idea* of what that should look like... Digging deep and yet "give up standing" on our false ideas and images of who we really are that cannot stand - and just surrender...returning to an innocent place of uncensored innocence... Thank you for painting this picture! :) Christine

  5. Leslie - "The threads of our "beingness" are woven in every aspect of our lives." What a wonderful way of expressing this. And my puzzle is how to release this "beingness" onto the canvas.

    Nathan - good question, "can you wrestle without clinging?" when I look at this I have to answer a resounding no. Rolled into the wrestling match is my wanting things to turn out a certain way and my belief that somehow this should be easy and flow smoothly. Thanks for helping me look a little deeper.

    108 - It's in the mail, it will not be released to the ego, if she happens to answer the door. And I know she can be given to forging signatures so UPS will be on strict orders when examining the X.

    MeANderi - As always you have dug deep to unearth the secrets buried in the dirt of my post that not even I could see. A true spiritual excavator!

  6. Probably because that's what I needed to see, and your composting :)was the vehicle... Heart Hugs,C

  7. Painting is finding the truth of relationship.

    It is the work which follows the intital recognition of harmony that challenges me. Building on that moment is letting go of the intitial concept and just allowing the picture to find itself.

    This is endlessly fascinating and frustrating process.

  8. wise words and yes, "an endlessly fascinating and frustrating process" Now if only i can remember to lean into the discomfort!