Saturday, August 16, 2008

Where Sacred Art Exists

Leah of Creative Everyday wrote this beautiful post about the nature of the sacred, and I was inspired. I looked over at Dragonfly Reflections to see about this project she is doing, and I had to say that I would try, too. 100 days of Sacred Art sounds fabulous. Here I painted a picture inspired by walking through the garden to stumble upon my cat... who was just sitting there in the middle of the path, being a cat. There's no one who can be in the moment quite like a cat, particularly if napping is involved.

Later that night I sat down and, with nothing but a vague idea, opened my journal. I started with a circular shape (I think circles are pretty sacred, don't you?) and then sketched in the shape of the cat with Faber Castell Pitt artist pens. Then I took out my Golden paints and colored everything in umber, leaving a white outline for the cat. I then painted in the green fern (I had to get a fern from the garden to reference. That fern is now in a vase by my bed with some flowers) and I added the ochre and yellow acccents and the brown shadows. It felt sacred to me while I was painting. It felt as if it was a painting about "spirit." Whatever that is.

Which brings me to my main question. What is Sacred Art in Everyday? Does it mean I should meditate everyday? I probably should. Does it mean I have to paint a saint/goddess/mandala/cat picture everyday? I think it might be nice, but everyday is not realistic for me right now. Does it mean stopping and appreciating the whole foods that nourish my body and feed my kids? Do chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs count? Does it mean I have to be serious and forgo humor for the deep and meaningful? I hope not. Does it mean that everything in my life should feed into or come out of epiphanies? Isn't that expecting too much and doesn't that take away from the zen aspect of just being?

Do I count writing my novel, when my novel is a genre/science fiction story, not a treatise on spirituality and art? Although now that I think about it, there is a prominent theme exploring Gaia theory and the spirit of a planet. I have a sneaking suspicion that it does count towards this challenge, though I am more likely to discount it. Why would I do that? Especially when you take into account that the task of writing my novel is me honoring my own soul and my dreams, and sitting down to the work is me listening to my higher self, instead of my lower, chicken-shit self. Hmm.

Where is the boundary here? I can see where sitting in the screened doorway with my kids, watching the rain fall in the garden is a sacred act... but is it art? Is the photo I take in the moment art? Is it creative? I can see that making a dinosaur scene on the kids' plates w chicken nuggets is creative, but is it sacred? Where does fun lie in creativity? In the sacred?
And when it comes down to it, how does this Sacred Art stuff fit into my Be Brave project, which I am always thinking about, but rarely consciously acting upon. How does it fit into raising my kids and sweeping the cheerios and going to the museum to see dinosaurs, like we are doing today?

After considering the way my life works, I do not think I am going to be able to manage 100 Days of creativity. Just the mechanics of it make things difficult. I can't paint, take photos of the art, upload photos and post every single day before that day is over. I often don't do my creative work until the kids are in bed for the night and then there is no daylight left for photos and I might be too fried to write.

But I think I am going to take this on as a meditation on WHERE Sacred Art exists in my life. As I look back at my questions about what it is, I am seeing that it all fits. All of it. I think my goal here is to keep focusing on the creative and the sacred, when ever it appears. It is also to create work that feeds my spirituality and soul.


Anonymous said...

Don't commit yourself to 100 days of anything if it gets in the way of yourself. Sometimes these sorts of things motivate me and sometimes they make reek of failure.

Genre fiction doesn't get the respect it should. It counts. It is your dream. It is from you.

And last--there are a thousand and more ways to be creative. Don't limit yourself.

Anonymous said...

For me, it's about noticing the sacred around me and acting on it. It may be a painting one day, a quilted wall-hanging another, a surprise gift for someone I don't know the next. Is that art? Maybe not for everyone, but it is for me - it's just about making a record of the sacred moments in my life, then using those little pieces of sacred to fuel me through the not-so-pretty moments. I agree with mapelba, though, don't make a commitment that gets in your way. Just do what you love and love what you do - every day.

Thanks for this post, I'll admit that I was feeling a little overwhelmed about my project too, I appreciate your perspective.

Anonymous said...

P.S. I DEFINITELY think dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets are sacred, not to mention the way you get your kids to eat spinach (dinosaur food - priceless!!).

Kate Lord Brown said...

Oh I love this! I thought I was the only one who painted with ketchup to get their kids to eat greens! Good luck to you. I think everyday miracles are all around us - and a sense of the sacred need only involve mindfulness and a sense of being in the moment - really noticing the beauty of a field of poppies, clear water running over your hand (don't get me started!) It's not hard, or scary but magnificent - what an adventure, the sacred is in all of us and around all of us. Look forward to your updates!

Anonymous said...

When you stop distinguishing the sacred from the profane, the holy from the ordinary, then you'll know. Then you'll know.

Unknown said...

I agree, you can create your own energy and beauty, or take from others, or see what God has put around you...somewhere, somehow things are being created, enjoyed, lives being lived, I think we enjoy these moments every day, and I think, at least for a milisecond, we understand that we are witnessing sacred art...even if it's just the way our bodies rise and fall when we breathe.

beautiful painting

Christy said...

Everything is sacred, everything is art. Have a great week Rowena!I love your cat in the circle painting. For me, it signifies the art of being still or being-ness which connects us to all that is. :)

Rowena said...

Thank you all for your advice. I think I am coming to realize that it is not the result of the project, not the list of Be Brave actions or sacred drawings numbered 1 to 100, or writing a 50k word novel in a month or keeping track every day of three things that have made me happy, or taking at least a photo a day... all projects I have taken on in the last two years. No, it is not those projects, it is the life you live while taking those projects on. It is the journey, not the destination that matters.

jena strong said...

That has got to be the loveliest plate of food I've ever seen... through the eyes of what's sacred and ordinary.

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