Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Flying Girl Opens Her Heart, or Rose

Flying Girl Opens Her Heart, or Rose. 9/22/08
Golden Fluid Acrylics and Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens.

Oh the struggles I had. Sitting down with an empty brain. Exhaustion. A blooming headache. Yet, I soldiered on. Took out my bag of paints, opened up my journal and flipped through it, hoping to find some vision within the thoughts on the page. Luckily, I had written out a poem posted by Lizabeth on motherhoodrevolution. The poem is by Hafiz, a Sufi master. Now I know nothing about Sufism, but the poem spoke to me, and it helped me to speak.

It Felt Love

Did the rose
Ever open its heart

And give to this world
All its

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its

We all remain



Fear is such a difficult thing in art. In life, really. It is so easy to be overwhelmed by fear, to hide from it, to let it win. It's easy to live in discouragement and negativity and self destructive mantras like, "I can't." That one is my personal favorite.

It is interesting to see how the deepest truths in the universe manifest themselves in multiple levels, many layers, from the smallest pinch to the largest life experience. The fractals of a rose can be seen in the growth of a galaxy or the whizzing pattern of atoms. The growth of a rose is nurtured by the warmth of the sun, the way the growth of a child is nurtured by the warmth of a parent giving him direction, the way the growth of a painting is nurtured by an artist's faith in her own process.

Because this painting did not start out in a happy place.

Which is odd, because I started it with a happy color. Pink.

In fact, the original painting was only done in pink and white... or to be more precise, various tints of Titan Buff and Cadmium Red Medium. And gosh it was pink overload. Cotton candy, baby girl ruffled pinafore gag me with a spoon pink. Okay, to be fair it wasn't that bad, but it didn't touch me. How to fix? Trust the process.

I "felt" gold, so I added it to the rose and the aura of the flying girl. Still, there was no edge to the painting. So I added the brown, which served me well before when I was struggling with pink. Still it bored me. Here you can see the result of last night's painting.
Sigh. It just felt off to me, but I was too tired and could see no opening into the picture. I considered posting it as is, as a discussion on how everything does not have to be wonderful, every piece does not have to be a winner, every move does not have to be perfect. I thought it would be a contribution to the discussion... but this morning, I couldn't leave it be. I thought the girl should be darker, not pink, so I searched out my brown paint, but unable to find the one I wanted and not really looking forward to cracking open the mess of paints, brushes, palettes, water, etc I realized I didn't have to. I could turn to my other supplies, my favorite Faber Castell Pitt Artist pens and I could draw. Yes I could draw a fine line and try out the brown, instead of fussing with paint. And I could test out the shade instead of just painting it in dark brown.

So I made my outline, and then realized I didn't have to go straight to brown, I could smudge it with tan... so I did, enjoying the rusty shade that came out. And then I realized I could smudge up the brashness of the gold rose... so I did. Now I love the look of the gold. It also reproduces better. And by darkening the rose and girl, halo didn't look so jarring and the skies didn't look so pink.

Phew! Saved again by taking the risk and not being afraid that it wouldn't turn out. And how well I know that fear, how many years I have struggled with it. To tell the truth, I am painting all of these Flying Girls in my journal, a small book, a private book. I am still afraid to paint large, still afraid to paint on canvas, still afraid to set it up and make it public. Afraid to commit to the professional statement of "I am an ARTIST." In all caps. Not artist in her journal or amongst her friends. A real one. An artist out there in the big bad world.

Yeah, I'm posting it, but we all have our comfort zones. This doesn't bother me, it's just like another journal to me, but to make art for public consumption? For people to buy?


Hey. I didn't know this post was going here. Dang it.

You realize don't you that I have been thinking of opening up an etsy shop and putting all my little flying girls up there for sale, don't you? You realize don't you that all of your encouragement is helping me get my courage (hey, why have I never made the connection that "encourage" comes from "courage?") up to make that big step? I hope you realize that seeing myself through your comments and posts is helping me...oh!



Robynsart said...

I adore your flying girl series. And I believe that women in any walk of life can relate to each and every one. Your descriptions of your process is amazing.

Harneloot said...

Beautiful creations from a beautiful person....and if I have a RM original hanging in my living room, then surely its but a small step from there to the shop you dream of, yes? Visitors to my home have been publicly consuming your art for years now...why deprive the masses of such a joy?

Its wonderful to hear your voice and thoughts and passion after so may years Rowena....

Christy said...

The poem and your inspiring painting reminded me of this quote:

Come to the edge.We might fall.Come to the edge.It's too high!COME TO THE EDGE!And they cameand he pushed and they flew...

-Christopher Logue

debra said...

your flying girl and hand series are wonderful. and your children are entirely adorable! i plan to come back often to read your inspiring posts.
thank you so much for your kind and encouraging comment.

Karen Mowrey said...

Somehow if you wanted it to look this way it might not have. The layers were all done for a reason, they all contribute to the beauty of the final piece...and the final piece is spectacular! You may read as much into that as you want!!!

Anonymous said...

Funny you should write about fear. As I tell people about my upcoming show, I'm usually flustered and have a hard time talking about it. I explain that I'm nervous or, indeed, terrified.

Some people look baffled. "Why?" they ask.

Other people people nod knowingly. "I know what you mean--but you'll be fine," they say.

Oh the fear!

And I saw by the way what you said on the freelance writer blog, and I appreciate your thought and your support. Fellow writers/artists like you keep me going.

Anonymous said...

The other day I was reading about how people back in agrarian times saw the world though both mythos and logos, [the mythical being how we connect back to the orgins, to our roots if you will, all the ways we give our lives meaning, connecting our daily lives to the sacred; Logos being rational thought, problem solving, distinctions between this and that etc.] both were equally valued and relevent, interdependent in fact. And then with the industrilization of the West, as our understanding of science deepened and we increasingly modernized our lives, we began to lose sight of the importance of myth and neglect the mythical (psychoanalysis arose from this need according to the writer).
Anyway, the reason I mention this is because I thought of Flying Girl as I was reading this, of that instant connection, whatever it is that pulls me toward Flying Girl like some gravitational force, saying, "Yes, this is it!" in ways I can't (or haven't been able to) say in words. It's of the mythical, reminding me of what I was born knowing as a human being connected to generation upon gerneration of restless struggle and search for meaning...
What I'm trying to say is that the world NEEDS MORE of Flying Girl, and I'll be looking forward to seeing what you do with Her...

Rowena said...

Wow. Folks. Wow.

I am not responding to these comments as much as I would like. In part this is because I am kind of overwhelmed by your kindness, and your deep considerations.

You get it. That's all.

And it's kind of scary when people see you trying for your dreams, and they say YES.

So, please understand I am not silent to your comments because I am not listening, I am. Or because I don't think they are worthwhile, they are amazing. It's because I am still dealing with what it is I am doing and with how everyone is responding. (Plus I have these kids running around making it difficult to concentrate as much as I would like on responding to your very important words.)

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