A recurring infatuation – in my art, life and soulwork – is how different approaches, experiences and often paradoxical perspectives come together to create who we are and how we see possibility in the moment. Realism and fantasy. Dream and waking. Science/body and spirit. Or, in the literal sense of this simple page, a loose brush study on an old photo. The point, perhaps, is to trigger a moment of imagination and possibility – a thread into something either so mysteriously familiar, or so different from what is usually expected that the response is a pause with a sort of, huh... and curiosity is sparked.

This isn’t about what anyone else might interpret or project from my work necessarily. I hardly expect anyone to look at this page, for instance, and conclude all that runs through my contemplation in the making and retrospective of it. Instead, I’m speaking of the relationship between creative process energy and my self {body, breath, mind, soul} as conduit, vessel, substrate… that special something that happens between the moment of intention-setting and the finished thing at the end of the experience. The aroma that rises from the simmer.

The mystery of amalgamation and spontaneous connection lights me up. Absorption and release. The creative process is a living tension, a dance of sensation and intuition, combined with personal meaning and integration… and its savory goodness is available to anyone that comes to their own intentional practice. We are attuned to a center of truth unique to the course of our own experience, reflection, perception and anticipation. This truth matters to our quality of life.

While to some this may sound dangerously like a self-centered endeavor, I have found in my own experience that it is actually a dichotomous surrender for those who simply must make art as a means of expressing their voice. Often the discovery is not at all pleasing to the artist; other times it is eerily synchronous – and both can be deeply humbling to confront. The creative process is always at risk of misinterpretation and ego-tricks indeed – as are all pursuits of self-discovery, transformation and preservation – and yet somewhere in that risk lies the possibility of honest and fresh growth, rippling outward, subtly or boldly, to impact all of the artist’s relations.

I like to think sometimes that I have a handle on it working through me, a solid interpretation of what’s going on. But the truth is that it happens in spite of my mental antics, more often than not – and as hindsight grows with time, both my curiosity and understanding of a page or artwork deepen and widen so much that I can’t claim to “get it” entirely in any moment – only what is pertinent to that season of my life as I look back upon it and how it informs that which has come after it.

The transformation of perspective, once unleashed in creative practice, is a continuous stream as long as we don’t dam it off. That’s good enough to keep me coming back for more.

Owls are spirits of the inbetween, creatrixes of transformation, with both a mighty stillness and swift response to impulse and environment. I continue to explore fresh marks on old pages, and whispers of freedom and trust in precision-less movement and smaller pockets of time. It still often looks like wings and color splotches – and if I’m stretching my self well, it gets a little uncomfortable.

When my father was visiting recently, he flipped to this page and told me that these trees are some of the oldest on earth. I hadn’t realized that, but somehow it didn’t surprise me.

“It is as if there are external equivalents for truths which I already in some mysterious way know. In order to catch these equivalents, I have to stay “turned on” all the time, to keep my receptivity to what is around me totally open. Preconception is fatal to this process. Vulnerability is implicit in it; pain, inevitable.” ~ Anne Truitt

 

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