I’ve toyed with the idea of increasing the color saturation in parts of this painting, particularly in the middle section. I may ultimately do that, if for no other reason than to push the growth-edge of my technical painting development. On the other hand, separate from my visual preferences for contrast and color, this painting – exactly as it is now – captures something about my experience. Maybe yours too? For me, the colorful, muted light of sunrise reflects both the joy of possibility (hope) and the tentative pause (fear) that often coexists as we begin a new day.
This winter has been more challenging for so many of us in different and similar ways. Personally, I can see the value in periods of relative isolation and dormancy, but I am also celebrating the change of seasons, balancing my wish to appreciate the present with my intentions to create and welcome the new. The metaphors are rich, but so too are the simple pleasures of being warmed by the sun and noticing the scent and feel of the sea breeze.
Wishing you all well and grateful for the connections here!
18×18, acrylic on cradled panel
The challenge now is to hold your flame high Without seeking to burn others It’s tempting, I know, to singe another on the way by Especially when you’ve clawed your way out of darkness And they have blocked your passage When you have been burned Near past the point of recognition You did not deserve that You did not ever deserve that But you are not the only one with scars And you must find within you the strength To be better than those who’ve hurt you Because you can and you are Not when you are set alight with vengeance But when you light the way for everyone If you want a new story You must allow for a new ending. In every hero’s journey ever told, There comes a time to re-know the enemy Because the enemy is who you become When you don’t use your light well When you can’t honor your history Without making it a weapon Know your anger and guard your wounds But do not succumb to hatred or bitterness Nor direct your rage inward No one is asking you to offer yourself as firewood And understand this: The way forward is now There is an opening now The darkness is lit with love © Amanda Reilly Sayer (November, 2020)
The alchemists have a saying: ‘Tertium non datur.’ The third is not given. That is, the transformation from one element to another, from waste matter into best gold is a mystery, not a formula. No one can predict what will form out of the tensions of opposites and effect a healing change between them. And so it is with the mind that moves from its prison to a free and vast plain without any movement at all. Something new has entered the process. We can only guess.– Jeanette Winterson
This painting has been on and off my easel since February. And although I wouldn’t call it gold, I can say that the process of making it had an alchemical quality. Put another way: I have no idea what I’m doing or why, but always have transformation foremost in my mind.
Like this boat – and many of you – I’m sitting and reflecting, waiting for the tide to change, readying myself for the part I’ll play.
How about you?
My friend Diana Peach, a talented and generous writer, offered me a gift the other day. The gift came in the form of an exchange about creativity that added a layer of color to the evolving picture of my creative journey, my purpose for making art. I wanted to share it with you all in case the conversation, along with my associated thoughts, has any relevance for you. Also, you may want to follow Diana’s blog and make her your friend too!
In response to Diana’s comment on my most recent blog post about painting, I offered this:
I don’t often know why I feel compelled to write about something in particular. My ‘muse’ often seems to have an agenda beyond my ego’s comprehension. Through painting (and writing too), I often see where I am limited and where there is greater capacity than I recognize (or realize). I’m always looking to connect with others who are thoughtful about the creative journey, which surpasses any particular work of art (painted, written, or otherwise). Sometimes I think I care more about how we create than what is created. But that may simply be a stage in my creative journey. I wonder about yours. How you came to allow yourself to access the stories that live in you. Whether it was effortful (or perhaps still is?) or more like breathing (effortful moments nestled in automaticity/flow).
“Sometimes I think I care more about how we create than what is created.” A lovely musing and one I can relate to. I never tire of learning about the creative impulse and process of other artists. It’s utterly mesmerizing. I still seek that fluid balance of effortless inspiration and effortful craft.
Until Diana quoted me back to myself, I’m not sure I fully appreciated the extent to which process has been more important to me than outcome. My attention to process was the reason I started this blog, but in the making of things I’d almost forgotten that.
I’m not the best painter or writer, nor do I expect myself to be. I am most interested in growth and evolution – my own and others’. I get better when I attend more fully to process, to understand where I am not allowing flow. I wonder how true that may be for others besides Diana and me.
We communicate imperfectly. We make offerings to each other without any certainty about how they will be received, without any sense of what we may get in return. Still, we try. We write. We paint. We share in whatever mediums and by whatever means we have. And I believe it is in the trying and sharing – the willingness to engage in common space – that we get closer to clarity. Sometimes we even get answers to questions we didn’t know we were asking!
By sharing, we allow ourselves the possibility of fresh air, which by definition is a kind of inspiration. In breath, the energy exchange with others, we may find a clearer path to creative flow in the midst of our effortful crafting. If any of this resonates, I’d love to hear from you!