I haven't found the time to blog lately. However, this is my favorite season for personal reflection, introspection, and contemplation. So I decided to share my thoughts today rather than keep them private. It seems a fitting time of year to take stock and count my blessings. I guess I get a jump on Thanksgiving Day this way. As an artist I look at the works I've created both en plein air and in my studio. Have I continued to challenge myself? I consider subject matter, technique, size, paint application, and all the other aspects of painting. But deeper still lies a voice that I need to stay in tuned to which reminds me of why I paint, what motivates me to get to the easel with the brush in my hand and joy in my heart. I may listen to music to set the mood, or choose a sunny day for the perfect scenario of light and shadow, but deep inside I'm looking for the beauty or essence of an object that speaks for itself as much it speaks to me. Daily interruptions, unpleasant circumstances, losses, health issues, all affect me. I tend to think I will have a better time to work on paintings as these things slow down or subside in my life. Then I realize this is my life. I realize my work has still been accomplished between and around all the craziness of this past year. I count the paintings I have accomplished along with my many blessings especially having the love of my husband and children. One special project has been a commission of several smaller oil paintings about 9x8 inches which will eventually be part of an antique cabinet belonging to a good friend of mine in the Midwest. I look forward to seeing it all put together. In the meantime I know she has been patient waiting for the final works. As I was communicating my progress recently she sent me the most beautiful response. It is a poem by Mary Oliver called "Messenger" which speaks to my musings of late. I share it with you here:
"My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird-
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?
Let me keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is that we live forever.