Wednesday, September 10, 2008


This painting is inspired by the prompt at Illustration Friday this week; Clutter. I'm always a little late with their prompts, because it's kind of hard to squeeze the illustrations into my day with the kids. For instance, this painting took one naptime to paint the background, one naptime to draw in the shapes, one naptime to paint and color, and one more naptime to photograph.

Ahh. Such is the life of a creative type, stay at home mom of toddlers. I used Golden Acrylics, Acryla Gouache and Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens. Oh, and I used Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils for the under sketch. I kind of like the way they melted a bit when the gouache went on top. I like the ghosty shapes.

That's the housekeeping bit.

But what's the point of this clutter idea? I don't know if you recognize her, but this is Flying Girl. She's having a little trouble getting off the ground. And it is possible that this pile of clutter is about to topple over and bury her.

Oh no, Flying Girl! What will she do? Tune in next time at the same flying time, same flying channel... no, not really. See Flying Girl is inside of us, she is us. She is our searcher's nature. She is our ability to rise above, to wonder at the possibilities of life, to be free and to reach our potential.

And also note that this pile of clutter rising so far above her head? Well, it's not really there. It's all ghosts and shadows. It's the past. It's the things that happened once, the things that we used to have and love, the things that used to define us but do no longer... and yet we still carry, weighing us down. Our baggage, if you will. If you notice, there is actual baggage at the bottom of the pile.

If we let it, that baggage can bear us down into the depths. But if we release it, there is all this space available to us in which we can fly.

I would also like to note that the things on that pile that I drew? They are mostly the things that I had to leave behind when I moved. These are what I had to let go, although I am still holding on. Hmph. Apparently, it isn't just about releasing and purging "stuff." It's also about releasing our hold on them. And our ideas about stuff. And our ideas about what they mean. And who we are. And who we were. And all those stories we have told ourselves about ourselves.

What kind of clutter do you need to release in order to fly?

PS I don't really know why I put those plants on that pile (I did leave many behind) and why they are green when nothing else is. Or why she is standing on a flower. Maybe it means there are still some things in our past that keep growing and hold us aloft.


Christy said...

What a beautiful art! The flying girl hovering above the beautiful potted flower really resonates with me.It is a beautiful visual analogy on one of life's truths.

Anonymous said...

The question about clutter nearly causes me pain. There is so much...but I don't know when I can even venture to sort all the clutter out.

Shelly Lowenkopf said...

I love the concept of the naptime point of view, which is to say the amount of work that can be done within a naptime. We are influenced by points of view even when unaware.

Your post nudges me to think--always a danger--more about the effects of time on work. And time as a POV. Much debt to you.

Rowena said...

Wow, Shelly, thanks. I never thought of time as a POV either. I've been unaware, too. I mean I knew I had to struggle with naptime constraints, just didn't know it was a pov.

Thank you Christy for your lovely words. I try to write and paint my own truths, sometimes they end up being true for others, too.

And Mapelba, this is an issue that I think a lot of us are dealing with nowadays. Maybe it's the materialistic bent of our society, and the influenced of zen thinking and the idea of simple living that are in conflict here. We get so attached to stuff, let alone to the ideas that clutter our heads.

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