more than one voice

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

exploring through art

the only reason i like to go to bed early - is because my dreams are just
so cool - she said with a yawn
I don’t know about you but I’ve found that I often use my art making to help me work through issues, to process different life experiences, to describe dreams and to explore spiritual understanding. The process doesn’t always give me an answer to questions, but I find the process deeply satisfying as an extension of my consciousness.  

I’ve made art about recurring dreams, exploring images of houses, which appear over and over again in my dreams. What do these houses symbolize? What do the hidden rooms mean?  Its wonderful stuff – to play with images that have appeared in my own night time head, filled with vagueness, teasing me with hints of significance. I love to translate these images into art works.

I’ve made art that has explored insights that I have gleamed from books exploring spiritual matters or images that have appeared when I mediate. The process of giving life to an intangible thought or idea, to see a concept in a new light is wonderful.

The possibilities for art making are endless, it is such an exciting place to explore, to adventure and discover your soul and life in this way.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

my past life

my future was planned a long time ago - pity i forgot what it was i planned to do

I’ve had many past lives, one of them was running a small business, producing and manufacturing little signs that I designed. I did this while my girls were small and it was great because I could work at home and was there for them in the afternoons.  But  I was always complaining to my husband that it wasn’t a 'real' job – that it was not intellectually simulating, that I wasn’t doing anything to save the world, that making silly little signs was not important. I began studying and got two degrees, and as market trends changed I didn’t bother to move with the times, because making stuff was not a real job.

I finally got a ‘real’ job, and to my horror discovered that all I wanted to do was make stuff again.  My husband just laughed at me and wisely said I told you so – in the nicest possible way.  You see I discovered that my funny little signs did make a difference to people.  I remember a young girl telling me that she gave one of my magnets to a friend who read the message on it everyday and that was what got her through a deep depression and suicidal thoughts.

What I think I am being to learn, to slowly understand, is that when you do what is in your heart, when you follow the little voice that says this is my purpose, that you can’t help but affect the world.  It doesn’t have to be what the ‘world’ considers a ‘real’ job, what matters is that you follow your passion. Slowly I’m beginning to accept what I believe my purpose is, to embrace the REAL me.

order ready for shipping to the UK

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

do you believe in UFOs?

how many dimensions do I live in, she wondered - hard to know - as some days  i seem to drift in and out of so many

I believe in UFOs – do you?

Ufos or (Un-finished Objects) do exist and I have collected masses of evidence over the years for there existence.  Mostly this evidence can be found in boxes and plastics bags shoved into the back of my craft cupboard. When I get a new idea I have to try it out, it becomes almost an obsession, I have to get the technique right, and I don’t rest until I’ve perfected it. Sometimes, during the process I lose interest and the project I’ve started never gets completed  - it becomes a UFO.

One theory that tries to explain this strange phenomenon looks at the orientation that women have to projects compared to how men engage with projects.

Women according to this theory are intrigued by how we do things, in other words we are process oriented. Men are intrigued by what they do and are more product oriented. Men tend to focus on the product, the end result in other words, they like a more tangible result.

Women are interested in the experience of creating – we like to understand the process, work with the process, figure it out, and get it right.  Our fascination with the process or the 'how' can be a problem - because we sometimes tend to forget the ‘what’ part and don’t finish what we started.  The process often finishes or is mastered before the product is completed.  Just as we are about to finish the project our attention shifts to the next new idea, the next process we want to try out.

Process compulsion, can become very strong and we need to develop self discipline to stay with the project to completion.  Being aware of this can make us more likely to finish what we started.  Imaging the finished product before we begin can also be helpful in getting to the conclusion, helping us to finish what we start.

Of course sometimes it is just about the process and I’m quiet happy not finishing something I started. This is especially true when I am using art as a healing modality, when I need to work through an issue or problem and my choice of ‘therapy’ is art.

And then I go down into my husband’s workshop and discover a few more UFOs flying around…..

UFOs spotted in Clare's studio

Monday, June 20, 2011

how my garden grows

these are really easy to paint - and are such fun to do
my husband says these are his favorite paintings
this is my sweet katie - playing in my studio

Thursday, June 16, 2011

remember silence

she had to remind herself to find silence in the noise

Lately, it seems that many people keeping blogs have expressed the need to take a break, step back from the busy world of internet connection and find more silence in order to focus more on their creative interior.

I know that I cannot function without lots of silence in my life – I need time when I can sit alone, be quiet and disappear inside the silence. But sometimes I forget that I need that silence, that without solitude I cannot hope to find the creative Clare. I disappears in the noise of living and constantly seeking. I become almost frantic to find the exact answer, the exact purpose of my life.

Rainer Marie Rilke talks about the magnificent solitude working upon us – shifting us as an anonymous influence. Robert Frost the poet says -
They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars – on stars where no human race is
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places

There have been times in my life where I have been able to live with more space, with solitude finding the moments between time; when I have been happy to have questions unanswered. During those times I have created enough stillness and silence to slow down the compulsion to constantly ask what my purpose in life is. I don’t know why it is important that I have a clearly defined answer, but it feels that if I don’t then maybe I might be missing out on something.

All the space that is there for quietness, contemplation, creativity and quiet observation is taken up, swallowed and forgotten. The idea that space may exist as an unknown necessity in my live is lost with the endless search for purpose.  I search endlessly for ideas to spark my creativity and yet I know that the most creative ideas I have always come from the silent moments.

I need to be comfortable not knowing exactly what my purpose is.  I must learn to embrace the space, the emptiness, the vast landscape of silence to allow enough room to see the mysteries and the questions that I ask - to find the true creative essence of my being. Somehow I have to let go of the searching, the seeking and to make peace with the unknown, the hidden, and find contentment in this precious space between moments.

Note to self - you need to sit more in your meditation chair!

Friday, June 10, 2011

slow reading

i hate to miss out on stuff - she said with a sigh - it makes me feel silly not to know everything

I love reading, I have bookcases filled with books, my bedside table has a tower of books sitting on it, so many books waiting for me to read. The problem is that lately I haven’t been reading as much as I used to read.  One of the reasons is that I sit at my computer too much, and because of the nature of how we scan and read information on the computer it has had a negative effect on my reading.

While surfing the internet – I came across an article entitled ‘slow reading’.  Slow reading is similar to the slow cooking movement, a movement that encourages people to slow down and take time preparing and enjoying food. The idea is that people should turn-off their computers and engage with the physical text as they intentional reduce their reading speed, taking time to contemplate, to savor the words and the text.  The reader, through slow and purposeful reflective reading uncovers the author’s creativity and through this process enriches their own creativity and thoughts, often finding new perspectives and insights.

I know from personal experience that some of my most profound insights have come from reading books.  I recently read Thomas Moore’s – Soul's Religion, a book that I knew from the first chapter was going to sit with me for a long time after finishing it. I read this book in a slow contemplative manner.  I sat with a small note book taking notes, and have referred back to the notes many times since.

I guess for me the challenge is one of sustained concentration, finding my way back to books, taking time to slow down, giving my attention to one thing at a time.  It’s not easy when you have the allure of so much information packaged in small bit sized chunks, it’s too easy to scan, to skim for facts, to swallow whole without chewing, and that’s not good for the digestion is it?

I will fly to the sun

you say he flew too high
he flew just far enough
he flew precisely to the point of
 (art dress inspired by the Soul's Religion - Thomas Moore)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

bits and pieces

she said with a twinkle in her eye - we take bits & pieces from each other - in a family and create something of beauty

Itsy Bitsy – sometimes unexpected, unplanned things are created and when they are finished, you stand back in amazement, not too sure how they came about but enormously pleased that they did. This is the story about one such creation.

Sitting under a large oak tree sipping tea with my girls and eating muffins we hatched our plan.  We had just seen a magnificent exhibition of art dolls, strange creatures, with exotic clothes, weird eyes and wild hair. Why not make our own art doll?

Back at home we throw all the supplies we could find onto my big bed, what a wonderful mess of lace, fabric, cotton and trimmings. Into an old hat we placed pieces of paper with body parts written on them.  We each had a turn to extract our body part, and then off we went secretly hiding our stash of provisions.

The house become very quiet, something special was underway. 

After a few hours all the body parts had been constructed, funny little components, with large uneven stitches and brightly coloured buttons. Trying not to guess the outcome, i sat down and sewed them all together.  Our art doll was revealed, we sat together on the big bed, there was a magic in the air, as we each took turns to hold our tiny creation and we were very pleased.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

inspiration - imagination

i paint objects as I think them, not as I see them - pablo picasso

Do you sometimes get stuck for inspiration? – You really feel like creating something, you have a story to tell but when you sit down there’s nothing there – blank, zero ideas, you find you don’t know where to start. 

I’ve found that when this happens i can invoke my imagination by relaxing, not panicking, taking a deep breath and sinking into quietness. If I remember that I have a vivid and powerful imagination and pay attention to it then I find ideas surfacing.  As a child I had wonderful imaginary games, with invisible playmates, - still do sometimes.  Paying attention to our imagination is a practice that we need to cultivate, to develop; it can help us summon up sensory experiences and emotional responses.

Our imagination is associated with our five senses – visual (sight), auditory (hearing), kinesthetic (how our bodies feel) gustatory (taste) and olfactory (smell).  Although we may favor one type of sense, when invoking our imagination we can learn to develop our other senses – helping us to give more substance to our experiences, enabling us to tell our stories with greater depth.

What sensations do I feel in my body, what would this experience sound like or what smells are associated with the story I want to tell.  All this information helps to build the experience; it gives an idea for the physical texture, the colours, and the emotions we want to explain.  I think it is important that as artists we collect this information, use it to build a repertoire of sensory data, we need to remember that art should speak to all our senses – that it is a representation of our imaginations and our reality. And then there is our sixth sense.... I have a sneaking suspicion that this is where it might all begin.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

finding time

without my art - i would have lost my heart a long time ago she said with a sigh

I’ve decided that on Wednesdays instead of going to gym after work, I will go home and exercise my creative muscles instead. Any excuse not to gym – but seriously creating, making art, having a dedicated time to play with my paints and brushes is vital to my health.  I will have to do a few extra minutes on the other days I go to gym – or else I may just feel guilty – no don’t think I will.

If I call myself an artist – it means that I have to create, I need to have art to show. I need to practice my craft, my art, I need to dedicate time to learning, to trying out new things and I need to constantly evolve and challenge myself. 

It’s a big responsibility calling myself that title – am I ready for the challenge?  It’s great to have a dream, some goal to work towards; the dream is a form of planning, it helps with goal setting, with direction. My dream is to feel comfortable with that title, to be able to say those words with strength and conviction – I’m getting there, just need a bit more time.