|16"x16" cold wax, ash, milk paint powder|
This morning the landscape is hugged by a deep, white fog. The trees and barn that usually greet me have slipped into shadowy outlines as if I have grown thick cataracts on my eyes overnight. A curtain of white has been drawn softly across the distant view. I hear the Skeena Queen's passage traced by her fog horn receding through the thick air at methodical intervals.
My mind is like this fog much of the time, thick with thoughts and opinions. The filter of belief through which I peer often allows me to only see the shadowy outline of people, of situations, of things. I know this to be true for several reasons. Sometimes I bump into something in the fog of self that pierces me in a way that wakes me up. Suffering is like that, it wakes you up. Brushing off my hurt, I see how the self protective fog I've pulled around me has prevented from seeing things as they are.
Retreats can be fog melters. There can often be a brightness, a clarity to everything after a period of prolonged practice. The sitting, the slowing down, somehow melts the fog, a de-fogging solution for the window of the heart/mind. There can be a brilliance and beauty to the simplest object, a sharpness to sounds and a wider net of acceptance cast over everything. And then as the days pass I slip back into the fog like the Skeena Queen, methodically sounding the old horn.
|20"x20" cold wax, ash, dirt, milk paint powder|
And sometimes for reasons unknown, the veil can lift. I know you too, have seen this fogless landscape. I might be standing at the sink washing dishes or working in the garden and the view out becomes brilliant. Maybe I am gobsmacked by the brilliant fierceness of a tiny hummingbird or the spiny armour of a pill bug. Maybe an insight into some difficult situation pops into view. The prevailing fog lifts for a minute or an hour and I see fog free.
On the art front I spent a decidedly fog-free afternoon with Jeane from ART IT and her special guest Rebecca Crowell on Wednesday's ustream broadcast from the shed. I have been exploring a little jar of cold wax that I've had for ages to my sheer delight, mixing it with wood ash and plaster of paris and some white milk paint powder. Cold wax doesn't mix with acrylic paint or watery things so I have been rustling up whatever things I can find and having so much fun!
I am also looking forward to exploring some natural pigments and perhaps finding a less toxic version of cold wax. Leslie Avon Miller in this post reminded me of the toxic nature of many art materials including the acrylics I use all the time and though the look of cold wax calls to me, the smell tells the tail of toxic mineral spirits. I am so careful in my home about cleaning products and paint and food and gardening and yet I am drowning in toxic art materials. Another example of fog.
Wishing you a happy fog-free weekend.