Thursday, June 30, 2011

why labyrinths are needful things

Yesterday, Dirk and I walked Glenclyffe Loop which surrounds the Garrison Institute along the Hudson River. Tom started work at the local Recreation Center as a Specialist Counselor which shares the same space as the Institute. After three weeks of graduation, birthday(s) and visiting relatives, a space for contemplation was not only a welcome relief, but much needed. Along Marcia's Mile of the Loop, we passed the building and grounds of the Institute which was surrounded by a terra cotta tile-topped concrete wall and an inviting gate with a sign about a labyrinth being open to the public. We went in and saw the labyrinth, but two people were walking it. Having another agenda in mind, we continued on with our walk on the Loop. The walk was lovely with views out over the Hudson and fulfilled my need for some exercise and time in Nature.

This morning, after letting Tom drive to work, I left the van parked in the lot and walked down Marcia's Mile again with a different agenda in mind from yesterday's: a contemplative stroll through the labyrinth. I left my jacket, tea and shoes at a bench near the opening. I felt barefoot would be best to take in the feel of earth beneath my feet, keeping mindful of every step.

When one enters a labyrinth it can be with intention or none, a problem or worry-free, needy or full of gratitude. The labyrinth doesn't ask anything of you except to be present. And even then, it doesn't matter so much. Then perhaps it isn't a matter of being present so much as simply Being As You Are in that moment. Each circuit is like a dance going from near center to the furthest rim, folding in on itself, long before the center is ever reached. The labyrinth becomes a container for one's contemplation. Sounds may enter, but they don't hold much meaning. Other beings, human or otherwise, may enter, but one's own space is still intact.

One important piece of baggage to leave at the labyrinth's opening is Expectation. Whether going in full or empty, it's better to simply experience the path.

Did anything magical occur when I came out again? Nothing huge. I did feel a wonderful sense of well-being and a desire to continue my day in a centered and conscious manner. I made plans in my head to create a labyrinth of my own, but I suspect the journey to a labyrinth is just as important as walking one. I might still make one though.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

divesting the self of unwanted projects

Let's not discuss the project I finally abandoned. It wasn't huge, but it was an impediment to getting anything else done. In fact, I was so eager to toss the unfinished work, the materials went along with it into the dumpster so that I would never entertain the thought of engaging in anything similar again. Fantastically liberating! I've spun up enough S's and Z's to play with Kathryn Alexander's Swoopy Skirt. Well a good start at it at least. It's likely I'll be spinning for this project as I go.
Removing a creative block also had me at the easel starting this painting. The surface of this paper has been partially coated in Mod Podge. An experiment of sorts. So far I'm not seeing anything spectacular going on just yet. In retrospect, I probably could have put more texture into the Mod Podge and then could have played with adding and subtracting the tempera for some interesting results. There is always another time to try that.
And just to show I'm not completely wasting my time, Frida has finally got the company of some Starry Night sort of images 'neath her. After planning the Frida image so meticulously with photos and grid transference sketching, I've decided the rest of these risers need to be free and easy. I was getting awfully cramped up trying to paint on the stairs. It's why it took me so long to get to painting another riser.

That, m'dears, is the Creative Poop after getting rid of some creative poop. Do not toss lightly your creations, but do toss if they are getting in the way of moving on to more fulfilling projects.

Monday, June 06, 2011

hey! don't bug me!

I'm having an idea. Because I loved how the Mod Podge felt on a finished piece, found here, I decided to try the Mod before starting the painting. What I like most is the feeling of solidity painting the paper with Mod Podge gave to that finished piece. I thought maybe applying the glue would give the painting some texture as well as strength.

I applied the Mod Podge to the upper half of the taped-together paper (24" x36" 80lb press), letting some of that texture spill over the seam. I want to see how the paint reacts on both the Mod Podged surface and the plain ol' paper.

I've been having visions of painting hands in yellows, ocher, reds, browns. Some with hearts in the palms. Others with stars. Yet others empty. Just hands with arms the trail like roads. The painting is likely to change as it comes into form, but that's what I've been envisioning for some time.