I wasn't very good about pulling out my camera at Art & Soul. I had it with me when Claudine, Karen, and Sas went out to dinner. I remember thinking I should ask the Sweet Basil waitress to take our photo, but promptly forgot. It must have been the Asian Pumpkin Curry. That restaurant is to die for. If you're local to or visiting Portland you must go. Do it for me please. yum. Anyway, back to Art & Soul. It went by so fast. I was lucky enough to room with Karen and Claudine, which allowed us to catch up on life, art and dreams of the future. We all yearn for more time in the studio which we will definitely do in 2008. I believe it is true, that if you are giving of yourself by teaching, that there is little left to give to your own art. It's not just a time factor, but one of balance. Of course, what you teach is stuff you know well, things you have been doing for years, work that you are known for. When that is your focus, it is hard to turn the tables and reach deep down inside to find what is new inside you. Hard to hear the small, still voice that beacons you to new discoveries, new meaning. It is the unknown and you must have the time to walk gingerly into the unknown. You cannot treat it like a fast food restaurant - "Two quarter pounders of inspiration to go please. And can you supersize that?" New self discoveries require preparing the soil, planting the seeds, and a long period of dormancy and germination before there is even the hint of new growth breaking ground, much less the blooming of a flower.
Time at an event like Art & Soul feels to me like watering or fertilizing a flower that already exists. Nourishment, care. Tending. What I, and everyone else who was lucky enough to attend must now do is go home, into their studio and plant the seeds we gathered at Art & Soul. Plan and prepare for the garden to guarantee its bloom next spring, summer and beyond.
I'm all about sign and symbols. I take their appearance seriously when they enter my life. I came home to this lovely piece by Mavis Leahy, who has been following my art for a long time - before blogging even. Mavis read about my son and mother and the things my family has been going through lately. This piece she made for me "she flies with her own wings" flew into my soul right when I needed it. (Thank you, Mavis) My mom came home from the hospital the day I left for Portland and is now in the rehab unit of their continuing care facility, eager to go back upstairs to her home. We're not sure if that will happen and my sister, dad and I have a conference with the social worker today. When I saw my mom yesterday, she noticed my new nina necklace right off the bat. She's always had an eye for jewelry, clothing and shoes, my mom. Do you see the connection between these two works of art? Both were handmade with love and attention to detail. Both contain those tiny porcelain dolls. I used to be a dollmaker, crafting little people, inventing personas and lives.
Last night I happened upon a house for sale, 30 miles north of here, in the country, overlooking Sugarloaf mountain. It's 200 years old, renovated, yellow stucco. The serendipity of finding this house (when we are not even looking) was enhanced by 2 other signs. It's down the street from a dear friend who I see very little of and, get this, the outbuilding, the one advertised as a possible studio, was a midwifery/birthing house in the 19th century. If that's not a sign, I do not know what is. Me with 6 children. Art = birth. Yet, and here is the sad part, we're not ready to move. Kelly is only in 8th grade and to separate her from the only home and neighborhood she has ever known would devastate her. Yes, I know she would overcome it, but Buddy is not yet ready to do that to her, or to move. It would also add another 40 minutes to my drive over to see my parents. So most likely, it is not meant to be a part of my life at this point. So I must look for the other reason why this entered my life, the other sign and symbols that it holds for me.
Any so-called material thing that you want is merely a symbol: you want it not for itself, but because it will content your spirit for the moment. ~ Mark Twain