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
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.


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?


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