Friday, March 28, 2014

Rain, Anais Nin, art, & sex


I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger than reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn't impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.  ---Anais Nin



It is a rainy day, here in N.California.  Drought conditions make headlines these days.  Rain is predicted through the coming 10-day forecast, with the dire warning that while raining, it is not enough to cause a dent in the dry, dry, dry year.  We are still drying up.

I have a small fire whispering in the wood stove.  The front door is open so I can hear the doves and Orioles in the hedge.  On the stereo soft, meditation music.  Clouds hang gray, their edges overlap with the muted hills. The air is thick with moisture and orange blossom.  The is no rain at the moment, yet it is foretold in the occasional cool breeze singing in the wind chimes.


I used to appall my mother by reading Anais Nin and D.H.Lawrence.  There may not be an equivalent in post-modern literature to these artists.  If there are, they have not caught my interest.  At one time I dreamed that I might be the one to take things over the edge, but, thankfully, let that one go.


Recently Wayne and I ventured into the de Young Museum in San Francisco to see the Georgia O'Keefe exhibit, her landscapes and flowers from the Lake George years.  She was young, a prolific artist.  A woman.  Early in her marriage, painting what she experienced, she explored light, perspective, color, emotion.  Later, when she attended a show of her husband's photography featuring intimate nude images of her, she was furious.  She felt exploited.  He had not told her that they would be exhibited.

Anais Nin brought sexual intimacy out into the mainstream, insisted that sex is enjoyed by women.  Georgia O'Keefe did, too, and said that she didn't.  If you were hapless enough to say that you saw sex in her work, she told you that that, my friend, was what you brought to the picture.


A few more words from Anais Nin:  Loving loving loving as the artist can love, the poet in love with the world, with all ... senses, adoring all that is alive, courting the whole world with songs, dancing, poetry, music, a huge passion for life, a passion for all its faces, phases, contents, aspects for man, woman, child, the sun, nerves, pain, the perspiration of nervous agony..."

The creative process is sensual, bringing experience to life.  Recording the intimate relations we have with our environment, emotions, thoughts and feelings, expressing that which words may not touch with their clunky articulations.


Don't think for a moment that I know anything!  I am easily embarrassed by sexual innuendo while being excruciatingly curious.  I love erotic art and literature.  The creative process demands "rigorous honesty,"  demands that one leave no stone unturned.  The ego may rise to make its own unreasonable demands for recognition, "I am so great and unique and I do it this way, the only right way..."  


And the woman who plays
both earth and guitar
bears in her voice
the mourning
and the joy
of the most poignant moment.
Time and distance
fall away from the guitar.
We are a dream,
an unfinished
song.
The  untamed heart
rides back roads on horseback;
over and over again it dreams of the night, of silence,
over and over again it sings of the earth, of its guitar.

from Pablo Neruda's "Ode to the Guitar



Holding close to Mother Earth, blessing this day with Presence, Thank You Spirit.

xoxo
LPC

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tippy-toe into the Nikon D600 Realm


A new camera is nestled in the bottom of my maroon-with-turquoise trim shopping basket.  So beautiful and heavy and technologically way ahead of me, I am almost embarrassed to take it out, like, I don't really know what to do with it!  Oh.  What a lie!  I DO know what to do, and when I don't, I go ahead anyway.  Gradually my confidence will return, and grow.  My old D50 had little picture icons on the dials, this one has capital letters, which equates in my mind as Greek. 

The camera came with a thick manual and an instructional CD.  There are tutorials available, as well as classes.  I am playing with it, delighted with what happens, regardless.  

What I love the most about photographing my world is the meditative experience of quieting mind/body, being still, feeling molecules within myself and the object coming into alignment.  And, when I press the button, the "click" is fantastic! 


Many moons ago, as a college student, I took photography classes.  My first camera was a Nikon, 35mm.  Ya.  That's it.  I am sure there were different models, but I was unaware of them.  My own "real" camera was a new aspect of creative expression for me, an extension of my eye, a record of what fascinated me.  The darkroom was a chemistry lab, a dream land.  Images appeared in vats of liquid on floating paper.  The images literally floated on to the paper before my eyes.  Sometimes it was disappointing, as I would be so attached to what I hoped would appear, and it wouldn't form.  Once, there were scratches down the entire length of film, ruining my shots of a team of draft horses in harness.  I cried over that loss.


Art is like that, no?  Full of drama, hope, inspired ideas all of which call on our highest image of ourselves to bring them forward.  The process includes purpose/inspiration, gathering of information, skills in manipulating materials, determination and motivation to carry the idea to fruition and completion.  The process includes a dance of stepping aside, getting out of the way, embracing an unknown, allowing a divine expression to transpire, all the while maintaining the confidence required to choose medium, technique, tools, and to take the inherent risk of claiming expression.



Oh!  Exhilarating, no?

xoxo
LPC

Monday, February 17, 2014

Rain and Other Blessings


What inspires the upwelling of creative expression?  Often for me, it is Place.  Deep in the Redwood forest something happens, akin perhaps to my Welsh genes;  wildness stirs.


On the valley floor a fern forest responds to the wet sounds of rain.  The fronds unfurl, spread their green wings, bend under the symphony of drops falling from the canopy.  Giants support and are supported by a community of biodiversity, life cycles which have generated one another for endless centuries.  This particular grove has never been cut by humans.  It has been struck by lightening, burned, held it's breath in drought, careened in furious winds, had its roots bared from flood and covered with silt from the hills.  One senses that nothing is particularly easy here, yet the peace which permeates is not deceptive.  There is, what I call Spirit, alive here.


An ancient forest regenerates.  This baby may tower in the valley 1000 years from now.  Presently in the nursery, cradled in the belly of an ancestor, small yet tall and straight, learning the art of rain catching.  There's hope in the rotting, untold genius in having all its needs met in this present moment.


Red wood.  Slabs on the peat, straight grained, looks freshly cut.  Nothing is dated.  My eye, drawn by the stunning color, notices the complimentary green arching over wet red.

I am nourished here, in this forest.  Back at our cabin a book lies on my bed.  The Gift, Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, by Lewis Hyde.  I was compelled to purchase it a couple of weeks ago, after spending hours at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, immersed in the infinite creativity of David Hockney.  Why did my eye fall upon its simple cover, it being the last copy on the shelf?  Picked it up and in the same motion pulled out my coin purse.  I did not want the exhibition catalogue, as I was intrigued with merely being in the presence of this prolific, stream-of-consciousness body of work.  While the exhibit has rooms of portraits, I was drawn to the walls covered with huge drawings, paintings and digital images of Place.  I recognised a kindred spirit; One Who Stares.

Lewis Hyde has taken me on somewhat of a roller coaster ride, from tales of the Pacific Northwest; capitalism; a story of the Wise Hare, being a Future Buddha; an explanation of how AA works on gratitude as a true teaching; how Ford Motor Co. cribbed a cost-benefit analysis and sold thousands of dangerous Pinto cars and trucks whose fatal flaw would cost hundreds of human lives, and on page 84 asks, "How does a person go about deciding to give someone a kidney?"


The artist appeals to that part of our being... which is a gift and not an acquisition --- and, therefore, more permanently enduring.  Joseph Conrad.  

I do not pretend that I fathom where this book is taking me.  I do know that there is a force within me which stops me in my tracks when I look into the clear water moving through the Redwood grove, its surface dancing in concentric circles, flashing white light on the underside of ferns draped over the bank.


In the perfect system, sky is mirrored below. Somewhere in this sensory miracle a painting begins.



A Redwood gathers water from the sky and channels it down its truck.  It knows how to do this, bringing the water close to its body, directing to the soil and its own shallow root system the life-giving moisture, even during drought years when the coastal fog is the only source of mist.  Therein is the gift.

All of this knowledge, of which the human is aware of a fraction, is contained in the seed of the Queen of Trees.  Already here, it awaits the perfect moment to begin its journey which will span centuries.  The Redwood is a gift, a grove a treasure, the Spirit and inspiration of the forest is priceless.

I am grateful.

xoxo
LPC

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Where in The World have I been?


I have been painting.  No writing.  Some walking, visiting my river which flows smaller by the day from lack of rain.


My youngest is now fully fledged!  Now has his own nest, with a beautiful wife, and now little daughter, Helena; known as Lena! is our newest family member.


Helena Margo


Helena Margo's Mama, Gina with a young fan.  Wish all the hearts floating around them would show up on film!

******************************************

In the studio there is much goings-on, up to and including staring out the window.  My journal has fattened with Writing Practice, prayers and setting intention for 2014.  As evidenced by my sweet little blog, I have not been an active Writer.  Not worried about this, as by now I realize that there are times of action, like a wave which swells and crests, then settles into quiet.  The calm does not frighten me anymore.


Must admit that "not" writing has been fueled by guilt, sustained by a negative thought stream which kept insisting that I had/have nothing sustainable or significant about which to write.  ARGH!  Stop that, Girl.  So, I made a date w/my much neglected dentist.

I am here to attest that just one action step is worth a thousand words.  My mouth is happy, and I don't feel so silly about putting off something so obviously up-to-me.  Understand, I did not go willingly:  #2 Daughter made me do it, threatening me with all sorts of dire consequences (like that Dr. Graneth's staff was going to hunt me down).  Ok.  Ok.  I am sincerely glad I did, and am doing my regular and consistent dental care!

Yes.  It was a step towards getting back to what matters!


Here is "Lady Guadalupe of the Sunflowers" completed!  She hung in the Cloverdale Arts Alliance Gallery for a time.  She is home in the studio for now.  One intention for this year is to find a bigger studio space.  Yes, I am willing to share the right situation, rent, etc etc.  As you can see, there are giant panels (5' X 5') awaiting.


Making waves in Joy!  Still looking to my sweet dogs for joyous expression, impromptu fits of fun.


Last year an idea of a themed exhibit was born.  The exhibit does not have a date, or venue, but the idea is alive and well, "Water."  I am considering this as a sacred practice; photographing our Russian River, Pacific Ocean, puddles, dew drops, tears.  Painting the water, the sky, the swimming hole, bringing to consciousness the sweet spirit of life-giving water.

Then, there is Amos Lee.  You'd think I was 25 or something.  I have an unabashed crush on him.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcf3ixnNtkI


At edge of our North American Continent, on the California Coast, is a place called Sea Ranch.  We spent the week after Christmas there.  I wrote short paragraphs and took long walks.  Out of this seemingly sketchy practice came Renewal.  Renewal with its subsequent "action" steps.  I can do this.

Funny, how NOT doing what I love leads me astray.

My intentions for this 2014 are simple:  More!  More love.  More family.  More walking.  More work.  More reading.  More writing.  More painting.  More selling the paintings.  More submitting and publishing the writing.  More laughter.  More hugs.  More promoting the arts.  More walking and singing.  More walking with the dogs.  More walking joyfully upon this dear planet.


Starting right here:  Now!  What unbridled joy to have Grandbaby #7 napping on my bed!

Yes.  Life IS Good.  And, I DO love you!

xoxo
LPC

Friday, June 28, 2013

To Begin

This I know:  to begin again, one must stand in a clear way for something more fresh and authentic than before, right?  Right.

To begin again I see with new eyes.


To begin again I make a cup of coffee, open the window to catch the afternoon breeze.


To begin again I adjust my attitude to include that all day, every day, is a new day.  This is the message of Emerson The Labrador.  Every single day holds a possible trip to the Lake.  Yes it does.


Beginning, by its very nature, is a fresh start, regardless of the timing.  While the kitten has to wait for another 3 mos. before he can go outside, he is not thwarted, discouraged or even affected by a limitation beyond his scope of understanding.


Starting a fresh notebook on a clear, winter day in Sausolito, a writing prompt grows its own line.


My creative expression seems to begin with warm-ups.  Kind of like an easy yoga routine before giving a massage, get my synovial fluid flowing within my own joints before enrolling my clients in their new flexibility.  Sometimes writing, sometimes staring out the window at the morning emerge over the hill, sometimes three cups of morning coffee.

Good to know that the creativity does not go anywhere.  My attention may rest elsewhere, but the essential creative thought remains, quiet in its waiting.

Calling names like procrastination, avoiding, blah-blah is merely moving air.  Has nothing to do with the basic instinct of the creative.


Creative is spiritual practice.  Is noticing the environs within as well as the outer world.  Is interacting within both worlds.



A quote for today, from the Artist's Rule, by Christine Valters Paintner.

Come to the edge, He said.  They said:  we are afraid.
Come to the edge, He said.
They came.  He pushed them, and they flew. . .

                                                                                          Guillaume Apollinaire   

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Oh my, how time does fly!

Amazing!  How time does fly.


What all has gone on since Feb. 9, 2013?  So very much that there may be no catching up, which brings one to "acceptance" which is different than "liking" or "not liking!"  Acceptance has less opinion and more, well, more presence.

I see that already the ramble has begun.  I will make no attempt to catch-up, since it is all in the past, now, anyways  (I heard that Phew!).

Springtime has been long and drawn-out.  The rain stopped too early, and fire season was upon us until a couple of days ago, when it rained on our camping trip up the river, and here, too for that matter.  The fire season will be back in full swing within the week, as high temperatures and breezes whisk away the humidity.

In celebration, for lunch today I had 4th of July tomatoes in my salad.  Dark red and juicy, they are not at peak summer yummy, but I am not complaining.


We have a new family member.  His name is Panda.  Today was his first trip to the vet, and all was well until The Nurse took his temperature.  That was mean.  And rude.  And I could hear him complain all the way out at the front desk.



Yes.  My two Cutie Pies are making every day a good one, as usual.  That is why they are dogs.  
Dog = God  spelled the other way.  These faces do that to my day.



Yes.  More trips to the coast are in order.  A place of peace and contemplation where luscious energy infuses us.  Oh.  I could go there right this minute.


Yes:  Write.  Read.  Meditate.  Pray.  Write more.  Read more.  Yes.  More more more.

Love,
LPC










Saturday, February 9, 2013

Details

The sun is sliding down the blue blue sky, coastal mountains seem to be growing to meet it.  Soon, this bright day will move into chilly evening.  Just now I was thinking of returning to the garden, as I have more tomato cages to uproot and clean, but the temperature in the room dropped about 10 degrees.  I looked up to see that the sun is setting!


And, I don't think I'll go back out there!  Hehee!  Took 4 o'clock coffee out to the Tree Trimmer.  Took photos, and drank the coffee.


Back in the olden days, when I was a kid, we had 4 O'Clock Snack every day.  Visitors to our farm said that we had four meals a day.  "No we don't.  4 o'clock snack is a snack." was our stock reply.  Looking back I realize that that snack was probably 1200 calories, since it included milk, cream, pie or cake or cookies, warm and fresh from the oven.  Left-overs from the "snack" were the evening meals' dessert, maybe served with lemon sauce or whipped cream to spruce it up.

Omg.  Well, we were farm kids.  Recently my brother shared that he and Dad had a similar morning "snack" before they left the house for the milk-barn at 5:30 in the morning!  Dang.  Had I known, I might have gotten up earlier.  We, my brothers expecially, burned those calories.


Here are Lucy and Stripe helping with the gardening.  They are stealth-bug-catchers.  Stripe (the brown one) found a cut worm and dashed off with it so as to not have to share.  Lucy gave chase, but in the end, let Stripe have her fat worm.  I wish that they would go after gophers.  I need help in that area.



My friend, Rev. Joyce Duffala, has told me a number of times, "God is in the details."  Once again, she is right.


Every phase of gardening has its timely details.  Not unlike Life, hmmmm.  I procrastinate.  Not really wanting to go out and get dirty, or stickers in my delicate fingers, or bugs in my hair.  Every time though, those details draw me into the tasks, into the golden afternoon light.  Today was no different.  A bed for the greens is prepared.  Most of the tomato cages removed, cleaned and in a row.

I am plotting.  There has to be a way to thwart this colony of gophers which has moved into my sacred gardening area.  This is a detail that I am finding difficult.


Valentine's Day approaches.  This one will be Wayne and I's 31st anniversary.  That, is amazing.  I am not one to go on and on (hahaha!  guess that isn't true!), you know, all mushy & stuff.  I will say, though, we are doing well!  Growing well!


Yes.  I do love you.
xoxo
LPC
 
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