Seems like I write a new post whenever I’m pressed for time in my studio. Maybe it’s avoidance. Maybe it’s just that when I’m struggling or when I’m jumping up and down with joy because I got over my hump is exactly when I feel like sharing that struggle and that joy with you. I’m feelin’ scrappy. That’s it.
Soooo … I’m in the flow and I apologize for my weird sentences and non-grammar.
Today I reflect on the scraps and leftovers, the layers and stashed pieces of beauty that normally stay hidden in boxes until I’m in a creative flow and just need to see what I’ve got. When it’s all out on the studio tables — any flat surface that isn’t covered in ink — I can swim in the colors and textures and gorgeousness and it gets me going. I am simultaneously (well, almost) working on 9 or 10 different images. Some will make it into the upcoming printmakers’ showand others will make it to the “scrap pile” (I rarely throw away a print even if it’s un-good.) I’m experimenting with a short series of four bird nests and two other prints about birds. Plus two of my animal companions and one about home. Just home. Actually, they are all about home, come to think of it. A deep sense of home. Home empty. Home full. Home in a storm. Home when you have someone. Home when you love someone.
I want to share some of my studio scraps. And maybe a couple of prints that are bubbling up from the deep. Not quite done. Not quite ready for framing. Still experiments. Still works-in-progress. I’ll post again when I decide what’s going in the exhibit, PRESS HERE – – and give y’all some sneak peeks.
As a child, my favorite saint was St. Francis. I think one of the reasons I was so drawn to his story was his profound connection to all of creation: sun, moon, plants, rivers mountains, animals … somehow that way of living and being has always resonated with me. I continue to gain inspiration from Francis of Assisi. This is my own version of the Prayer of St. Francis:
Creator, make me a channel of peace,
Where there is hatred, let me plant love;
When I have hurt, let me seek pardon and
Where there is hurt inside me, let me find forgiveness;
Where there is doubt, let me believe;
When I feel despair, let me seek the light;
When the night seems too long, let me remember the morning
Where there is sadness, cultivate joy.
O Loving Creator,
help me open my heart to others before I ask for help;
seek to know the world around me before I expect to be understood;
love with my whole body, heart and spirit
and in doing so, know that I will be loved
help me remember that it is in giving that we receive
it is in forgiving that we are forgiven
and it is in letting go that I am connected forever
to all of Life.
I woke up this morning to a deep quiet outside my window. The window was open a few inches (I like sleeping with cold air on my face.) Most mornings, even as late as yesterday morning, I awake to the chatter of tiny songbirds in the lilacs just outside. This morning all was silent.
I looked up at the sky. Gray-blue. Little humps of snow covered the lilacs. Soft. Bare of leaves. And oh — the branches! The black brush stroke branches against a hundred shades of white snow! I knew my palette was going to change overnight. Just. Like. That. At least for one or two paintings. Black and white. Simple. Distilled to the essence of pattern. Calligraphic strokes against a pale plain sky.
I want to introduce a friend of mine, a sister artist and one of the artists represented by my contemporary fine art gallery, 1+1=1 Gallery.
Trudy Skari is seriously cool
Trudy works intuitively, quickly, and with her whole body, heart and spirit. Her ceramic sculptures seem to come from some other-world, a dream world, a world of childhood memories or a place in nature that lives inside her. Having studied psychology, philosophy, then depth psychology and world religions, Trudy is greatly influenced by mythology and Creation stories from around the world. Her other influences are Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung and the open prairies of Montana.
Like someone who does gestural life-drawings from a model moving through quick poses, Trudy uses scraps and bits of clay to sculpt an implication of a flower … or the essence of a rabbit, bear, fox or dog.
She constantly learns new ceramic techniques and experiments to push herself and her art beyond the obvious. I love her work! I love having it in our gallery and looking at it — deeply — every day.
Each time I look at Trudy’s sculpture of the goddess, “Pele´ Eats a Fish,” I see some other aspect of the feminine, some other level of meaning. Trudy told me she was thinking of titling the piece “On Her Day Off Pele´ Eats Sushi.” This makes me think of how we all have different aspects of ourselves co-existing inside of us: masculine and feminine; adult and child; light and dark; serious and funny; out-there and in-here …
Wouldn’t a god or goddess also have co-existing personality aspects? Wouldn’t Pele´– goddess of volcanoes and all things explosive, also have a softer side when she’s taking the day off? And wouldn’t a softness also have a bit of harsh-reality tossed in for balance? So … on her day off, maybe Pele´ wears curlers in her hair, cooks (the spatula) and dives deep into her ocean world to catch and eats fish. She even looks fish-like. And so beautiful in an earthy, watery way.
Trudy Skari, Artist Statement:
I find that the objects I make are sometimes part of an unspoken narrative. Rather, they reside under or beside the formulated word or thought. At times the piece goes dallying around in some poetic realm and finishes sentences I was not aware I had uttered. The realm of image is forged in a different light than the realm of word. Like the visible spectrum the imaginal realm has a range that is just outside of the awareness to human senses but wide open to human insight, consciousness and our desire for making meaning.
Animals so are present in our understanding of how we navigate the environment, they protect us from our rigidity and ground us in our mammalian firmament. They are however always other, even if we anthropomorphize them to aid in our understanding. My attempt is to create an animal-ness that functions on a level of knowing and not knowing at the same time. It all works best when a balance is found between the gesture and the intent.
Trudy is represented in Helena, Montana by 1+1=1 Gallery. Her ceramic sculptures will be available for viewing during regular business hours at the gallery located at 434 N. Last Chance Gulch. Please call 406.431.9931 for more information about Trudy’s work.
More of Trudy’s artwork available at 1+!=1 Gallery. If you are interested in any of her pieces, call or email [email protected]
On Labor Day, 2014 I began a new documentary-style photo essay in collaboration with Dr. Mark Ibsen who owns Urgent Care Plus in Helena, Montana. We are telling a story with photos of his patients, of Mark and of his staff. We aren’t sure what the story will be yet — that will come when we see what the photos are telling us. For now, I am going to be spending time at the clinic and with permission from the patients themselves, documenting their time with this passionate, compassionate healer.
Watch my blog and my Brown Bird Studio Facebook page for progress on the photo essay, and for announcements of an exhibit which we hope to have sometime in the next few months.
Hands can tell so many stories just by themselves. Like eyes, hands are expressions of our history, our struggles and triumphs, our pain, sorrow and celebrations. Hands instruct. They argue. They heal, comfort and can hurt. Here are a few images from this week, from the first batch of photos that really pulled at my heart. I am curious what you think and feel when you see these images.
Thank you for looking and appreciating. I look forward to some dialogue about this project as we continue.