The Universe speaks to all of us, if we are open to listening. There are some funny attitudes about this. I saw that video with Bill Nye making fun of young white women thinking the Universe is speaking only to them with bizarre messages. Not everything that happens or appears has deep meaning or is a sign that means something. It's much more subtle than that. Martha Beck explains this concept in the Wayfinder book. The Universe spoke to her in Reptile once.
When this happens, it is your Right Brain that will understand the message. I think it's likely your Right Brain trying to tell your Left Brain a message using what it sees in front of you. And it's telling you what to do, but not in a grand sweeping fortune-telling way, but in a quiet, subtle, indirect way. And it's usually just delivering a small message or telling you what to do next (like, today). Read this blog post by Martha Beck for another explanation.
Back in early June, I spent an evening listening to late 70s music on the Kindle (via YouTube): Eagles, Journey, and Fleetwood Mac - their song "The Chain" had been drifting across my mind. I kept playing Fleetwood Mac songs - early ones, like Rhiannon, Sara. During my lunch hour at work, I watched a Fleetwood Mac documentary on YouTube that spent a lot of time talking about the early days with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. That week I kept looking for videos. The Midnight Special performance of Rhiannon is spectacular. A 2008 Stevie Nicks performance of Sara is the best version of that song. I kept looking up Stevie Nicks, and reading or watching interviews.
And I found my answer. Over and over Stevie Nicks says that she and Lindsey will be writing about each other and 'antagonizing' each other, always. Their relationship and breakup had such a profound effect on them, they won't ever get over it. They have both moved on, yet continue to write about it.
In this Rolling Stone article, Stevie says,"We write about each other, we have continually written about each other, and we'll probably keep writing about each other until we're dead. That's what we have always been to each other." After reading that article I went for a walk outside during lunch, and it sank in.
It's okay to make art about the thing that affected me most profoundly in my life.
It doesn't mean I haven't moved on. It doesn't mean I am still lamenting, or dealing with it. More like processing it into art.
For me, this issue is being raised a Girl (in my family in particular) and coming to terms with being a Woman. This is why I am drawn to use the Female Figure in my artwork.
After this happened I had a strong desire to get back into mixed media work - layering and building up the surface and playing. My Springtime theme began to take shape.
When I was home on my birthday in June, I asked myself: Why did I make big canvas paintings (the red and blue figure and the Angel) and then tear them up? What am I afraid of presenting? Was deciding my work needs to be small making Myself small? What can I do?
I can tape up big canvases to the wall and if they fall down, put them back up.
On my birthday, I scribbled down a lot of notes, stream of consciousness writing, letting it all flow onto the page:
Why do I tear down/destroy my BIG FIGURES?
- They're too big.
- How do I hang them?
- There's no room in our tiny apartment.
- How would I ship something that big?
- How do I hang something that big?
- Unstretched - it won't stay up and there's no way to gesso.
- Stretched - it costs $100 for just one set of stretcher bars!
- Does contemporary art have to be big?
- Just make them small and portable and easy.
- Smaller is easier.
- More manageable.
- More shippable.
- Not so much Trouble.
- Be quiet and small.
- Stay in your corner.
- Stay small.
- My art professors told me to work bigger when they couldn't think of anything else to say.
- Who are you to make Big Bold Splashy Female FEMINIST Art?
- How do you sell something that big?
- You'll have to be represented by a Gallery.
- You can't do this by yourself.
- Nobody cares what you have to say.
- Oh, you think you're so special?
- Sit down and shut up - you are worthless.
- You're just a Girl. Who cares. You are not a Boy.
- You'll never amount to anything.
- You never had any expectations other than to get married and have kids. Get a job. A woman's job. Those are your only choices.
- Stop playing around and wasting time. You have to do sensible things and be just as miserable as your parents. They weren't happy so you don't get to play and be happy. How dare you.
I told myself way too many times that something "Doesn't work." Rip it up. Start over.
I began to make notes on how big a life-sized figure should be. I wrote in my journal: Start putting things together and DO NOT worry over final size. Who cares?!
Almost two weeks later I finally taped up some canvas to the wall and gessoed it. I didn't write about the process, other than to just show when I gessoed and then stitched the canvas together, then drew in the figure. The canvas I gessoed wasn't big enough, so I tore the edges off another piece and stitched them together with the sewing machine.
I made four blog posts in the new category Idea Notebook. The first post explained the Idea Notebook concept. The second post gave the briefest explanation of working with the figure again. The third post showed some more images I was considering for the figure. And the fourth post involved the 'flora' of my Springtime concept.
But I didn't write about any of the above. I guess I just wasn't ready and needed the information to sit for a bit before I was prepared to put it out there. I made a lot of notes and lists, words like blooming, blossoming, greening, flowering and flourishing, before I decided to call this new series Warmth and Flora.
I got a bit distracted with the Inner Excavation project. I seem to be easily distracted these days and not tending to my blog as I should - as a Garden needs to be tended. Then I'm in the weeds! (Ha.) It was the Fourth of July holiday when I realized the canvas I prepared was too small and I stitched more onto it. And I have added some color and a few other things glued onto the canvas. It's going slowly. But it is going. And I have a lot more to say about it. More blog posts to follow.