"I see things differently..."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Taking down the garden…(or the garden takes me down!)

I came, I saw, I ….well, anyway…. here's a saw about a saw

Let me start by saying that I am amazed at the sequence of "truisms" that somehow guided my thoughts and actions from one misadventure to the next.

Today is our borrowed day of good weather in the middle of November.  So, of course, it occurs to me that I should take the garden down.  (I may not get another lucky break…)  After our recent basement flood and less-than-successful garage sale, our garage is not in good order.  So I search … "Where are my garden tools"?  I can't believe that I'm finding nothing; usually they are squirreled away in various locations.  Did we accidentally sell them off while retaining our legiitimate garage sale items?

I have some work to do!   A hefty row of (ahem) wildflowers with thick stems are more than my scissors are up to handling.  Besides which, I had fallen in a backyard pothole covered with wet leaves a week ago and landed on my dominant hand, so I am not up to all that cutting either.  (I inwardly congratulate myself for foresight in recognizing I could aggravate my healing muscles and tendons).   

Now, being an artist, I know that it is very advantageous to use the right tool for a job.  But also I know a lot about improvising creatively with an unusual choice for a tool.  So I start eyeing our saws.  For some odd reason, we have a variety of saws.  I spot a middle-sized one with a clean orange handle and think "That's the one for me!"  

So I proceed to saw down the "garden", loading up a wheelbarrow with giant weeds.  In the middle of my row, I remember that there are some fine branches hanging down from a nearby tree.  They are at eye-level, and I've been meaning to trim them before someone gets hurt.  I am quite certain these little twiggy branches will just cut off very easily.  But no!  They are tenacious, and I saw away at them.  When the first thin branch finally releases, I go a little too far with the saw and cut into the tip of my thumb.  Nothing deep, so I am tempted to keep working.  Although it is rather messy, and I decide to go in to clean it up.  I wash it off and apply some (seriously expired) antibiotic ointment (does anyone ever go through these tubes in time?) and bandage it.  

I believe that I am ready to go back out and finish the job.  But suddenly I remember that a few years back my cousin almost died from an infection he picked up in the garden.  The bacteria had entered through a a very small cut. And didn't I just talk with a friend who had the "flesh-eating virus" just about take her life a few months ago?   

At this point, I'm not keen on taking any chances, so I give it up. I listen to my inner wisdom which reminds me that sometimes the effort is not worth the cost.  I am only to happy to listen…. Clearly, my instruments of choice are the pen and paintbrush! 

I rest my case….

Monday, March 11, 2013


An artist friend of mine posted on Facebook today this question...
"What is visionary art? I see some artists claim that description, but it has my head scratching. Any ideas?"   The first reply posted came in the form of a wry question... "They have visions of being an artist"?  

Realizing that at times, I have described myself as a "visionary artist", I decided to post the following response:    
"I have used the term "visionary artist" to honor that the work is come from a greater vision beyond my own limited self…a way of celebrating the connection to a larger consciousness. This is what I understand "visionary" to mean, but it is certainly a word that could contain a rich variety of interpretations. I would love to hear how others see it". 
Well, just offer that out to the universe, and one might expect a response from the "larger consciousness"....complete with all the sense of humor that it can provide! 

A few hours later,  I was working in my art studio.  My giant converted dining room table is what I actually paint on.  It stands next to my easel which I keep, tightened by levers, in a flat position.  In a sort of reversal of purposes,  I use this real easal as tabletop... makes sense??   
I needed to reach for a painting tool on another stand, and, as I did so, leaned ever-so-lightly on my easel.  The entire easel collapsed forward into my frantic arms.  It had been loaded with paintings in progress, supplies, notes, slides….it was all there!  Even as I was desperately trying to catch the falling objects and stave off the rest of the cascade, I started seeing pieces that might help me in my current work project.  So I laughed as some answers to my creative searching, were literally tossed into my arms.  Some reckless visionary artist I am….yes, I accept all help….even when it comes in forms that I would not choose. 

So by my definition, being "visionary" appears to be all about staying open.... as life hands me my "material",  I may well find myself creating something entirely different than what I'd originally had in mind.  I may find myself laughing in holy horror at the directions that things have gone.  I may find myself throwing my hands up in the air, waiting for instructions on what I should do with the mess.  Or, most likely of all, I will find myself just proceeding onward, trusting that the direction will be given as I go along. 

Ultimately, I believe that claiming the name of "visionary artist" is about affirming and following through on a commitment to staying open, holding an awareness that all that happens in life is potential material----an offering to transform and bring to wholeness whatever is given to us for that purpose.