Sunday, October 11, 2009

Inspiration has arrived

When I started this blog I intended it to be a place for me to sort out my feelings on my creativity or, lack thereof, which seemed to be more the case these days. I whined a bit in my first post and the 2nd post was all about the weather. Can you spell "avoidance?" And then I just got busy and left it at that. Then last weekend I went with two of my friends to Albuquerque to see the Balloon Fiesta and we planned a day in Santa Fe. Let me say first how much I love this area. Anytime I get in the car and head west out of OKC on I-40 I just let go of the stress and anxiety. I think I finally figured out that because New Mexico is sparsely populated and there are no huge cities or concrete canyons the energy is different and the pace is slower and relaxed. And because there are fewer buildings and less concrete your enveloped in nature in a way that just soothes the troubled soul. At least it does it for me.

Then you throw in the art community in Santa Fe and it takes the experience to new heights. This is my 4th trip to Santa and the 2nd in October. The fall in the high desert is gorgeous and it was in full fall color. This day there was not a cloud in the sky and it was an intense blue. It made a beautiful background when juxtaposed against the various adobe buildings or the vibrant flowers and leaves. I was instantly inspired by the photographs I was taking. Every where I turned I saw potential paintings. We didn't spend too much time in the square, we headed over to Canyon Road. This long and winding road is world renowned for its galleries that house every thinkable kind of painting and sculpture. I think I heard there were around 50 galleries but don't quote me on that.

There were 3 galleries in particular that stood out for us. The first, whose name I'm going to have to find again, was totally fun because of the curators. One had graduated high school in OKC. They were fun, funny and informative and giving an artist's opening that night they invited us to. I think in this gallery I was more inspired by the sculpture and there were some outstanding pieces. What I noticed was that most of these galleries represent several artists and are watched over by a curator whose job it is to protect and sell the art. The 2nd gallery that stood out for us, however, was owned and operated by 3 artists themselves. They were all there working on pieces and could not have been nicer and more welcoming. Their art was totally different from each other. One woman painted whimsical and autobiographical images on hollow core doors. The 2nd woman was a "fine arts" painter of portraits and nature scenes, and the young man was a photographer who enhanced his photographs with oils.

The last gallery though made the biggest impression and we almost didn't go in. We were standing at the street trying to decide what to do when when a smiling security guard invited us to "come on in" to Chaulk Farm Gallery. The gallery itself was stunning in its arrangement and decor and the paintings were unlike any I am used to seeing. All were of the 'fine art' persuasion but just completely unusual. We were standing in one of the rooms admiring a rather large painting when the curator came in and started giving us the back story on the artist and the symbolism behind the painting. It moved us all to tear. Well, it moved Carla and I to tears. Phyllis is taking an anti-depressant and couldn't generate the tears, though she was just as moved. The artist was Michael Whelan and I have to say I never thought I'd be so moved by a painter that does whimsical and sci-fi art. Apparently, he is a famous illustrator that has done book cover art for people like Stephen King.

And then there was the balloon fiesta which is so overwhelmingly magical and full of whimsy and bright colors. When we weren't taking photos of the balloons Phyllis was taking photos of cute babies and children for a photo book on "Balloon Babies" she wants to create and I was busy taking photos of cool and funky shoes for paintings. I think I probably took about 500 photos and I have plenty of material to work from to paint as long as I want to.

In my reflection on the process of creativity I realize that often it is about time. When you have a day job that consumes you and any kind of a social life sometimes the art takes a back seat. Because creating takes time and energy. You have to plan on focusing that time and energy in a different direction. Timing is also part of the issue with the process of desire and motivation. I had been working pretty hard for a couple of years painting canvases and doing physically demanding redecorating projects on top of the day job. I have come to understand that I needed the rest both mentally and physically. Though it felt, at times, that my "Muse" had departed the building for good or that maybe being an "artist" had just been a phase, I decided to just wait it out. I had a feeling, on that other hand, that if I just allowed myself a bit of a vacation with no judgment the desire would return.

Our long weekend in the high desert was just the antidote I needed. We booked a room on Priceline and we were delighted with our Hilton. It had just finished a renovation and was gorgeous. One afternoon we lay by the pool and it was so quiet. The air was a tiny bit cool but the sun was warm on my face and I slept. When I awoke it felt like it does when I've just had a massage. I felt like a big puddle that needed to be scraped off the ground and I mean that in the best possible way. I ate well, I slept well, I enjoyed the company of great friends and my eyes feasted on great beauty every where I turned. The timing was right, the environment was perfect and the ground and been plowed and allowed to rest.

I also have to say that I had taken a few other steps in the area of my rejuvenation that was part of that getting the ground ready. I have found a new massage therapist that does energy healing work and a dream interpreter that I've started working with. I think even the little work I've done with them has started moving my energy in a more positive direction. I definitely want to give credit where it is due. And just this past week I found an amazing meditation group that I believe is only going to enhance what I've got going on. The mediation that we did this past Thursday has helped me hold on to the feelings generated in Santa Fe.

In fact, a very nice young man told me on Friday, that he thought I glowed when I smiled! And I had to smile to myself. I realize that the culmination of the last couple of months have truly been healing and now.... I must go paint!

P.S. the creativity isn't just about the painting. Recently, I've been inspired to cook and I'm also inspired to write things like this blog and our book club blog. I've always had several ideas for books and now I may just work that in as well. The one thing I will try to be aware of is to pace the energy a bit better and to remain vigilant with the things that heal and nurture me. Truth is life on this planet is hectic and stressful and its up to me to keep things in balance and perspective.

Stay tuned.... and we'll see how that goes!

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