Monday, April 8, 2013
Having returned from New Orleans, after almost a week of funeral preparations and then the ceremony to celebrate the life of my goddaughter Amanda, love is much on my mind and in my heart. I already know there is no sense in trying to decipher why one individual dies and yet other lives; this is the mystery behind the curtain. We don't get the answers until we leave the stage. But in the meantime, our losses remind us, by shaking us to the core: we are love manifest.
Looking at at the huge crowd inside the white clapboard church, the scene was much as I had imagined it. An overflowing crowd of all ages, colors, shapes, sizes, and sexes of humanity.
I tried for days to find the right word or phrase to describe Amanda. After much deliberation what came to me was the phrase "master builder". She didn't build with ordinary tools. There was no hammer, no drill, not even nails. She created her breathtaking structure with an open heart and a generous spirit. With those tools, Amanda formed a huge home, not built of wood but of people. Hearts. Lives. Stories. So many sharings. Such a banquet. These breathing lives well lived, this community, became the windows, doors, walls, ceilings, floors and of course, the foundation. One relationship at a time, knitted together through her existence. She built it and then, somehow satisfied with this masterful effort, her spirit moved on. Now, we are left to cherish what she she accomplished.
There are some who say that we are all given a certain amount of heartbeats. No less. No more. I ask you, what is it that you spend your heartbeats on? What makes you feel? Where are your passions? What do you love? How do you express affection? Are you caring? Is your heart open? Do you express love and concern with those who surround you? Are you generous with your time, your energies, your essence? This gift of life is our authentic wealth. Carefully consider when you withdrawal from your personal account of heartbeats. Make them count, for you, for others. I know I will be. I hope you will join me and make this world a place that glimmers. I will repeat: We are love, manifested. Isn't that amazing?
Become a master builder. Open your emotions wide and embrace life. Acknowledge your blessings and give gratitude for every single minute that you have on this bittersweet place. It is here that we are spending such great wealth and building castles that stretch into the sky, with one expression of empathy at a time.
Saturday, June 30, 2012
When Sarah Fimm asked me if I wanted to be involved in an awareness raising outdoor art installation at the Bearsville Theater for Seva, just outside of Woodstock, I went to work imagining the piece. I knew that they did work in various countries repairing eyesight. My own mother recently lost her vision. Although I couldn't replace her sight, maybe I could help fund the needed health care for others. After doing fourteen collages, all dealing with the dance between two people from a decidedly feminine perspective, I thought I knew exactly what I would sculpt. The sculpture would be related to the artwork that had been being produced since November of 2011.
Then I had a vivid dream and saw Ghost Dancer. As I woke, I heard the words resounding in my head "Make me". What I found out later that morning was that the sculpture would serve the Seva's Native American Community Health Program which has been working to reverse Type 2 diabetes within these communities.
Eighteen days from start to finish; it was a marathon run to make the deadline of June 18th. It started with drawings, of the armature, of the inner sctructure that would be laid on top of that, and the final layer, which would be seen. It had to be completely waterproofed. Despite being laid with plastic and my utmost care, the studio floor was littered in scraps of wood, chicken wire bits, small pellets of plaster, carving tools, twine and coffee cups. I learned quickly, turn on the light and don't walk through the studio barefoot!
The horse was found online. Amazingly it was exactly as in the dream! Every detail perfect, down to the pink of the bridle. He was laid into two separate bricks of cement to ensure that he didn't topple in a summer rain storm.
Today, June 30th, is the big debut at the Bearville Theater, where I will have the opportunity to share this intimate journey with a larger community.
Ghost Dancer represents the ecological challenges we now must honestly face. How do we each best serve our dear planet and ourselves? This outdoor sculptural installation reminds us that once the Native Americans lived within our localities in a natural context. Now the world is surrounded by overwhelming artificiality and plastic, which has replaced the indigenous way of life. Like the Ghost Dancer himself, we must ponder on where we go from here. Seva means service. It refers to selfless service altruistically offered on behalf of and for the betterment of community. What can we each do to better serve our beautiful mother Earth, who gives to fulfill our every need?
And me? I will spend the day sharing him and giving thanks for the skill set that allowed this seed to grow.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Richard Edelman's exhibition opening of his Liminal Portraits was last Saturday at the Davis Orton gallery in Hudson NY. It is a great show.
Imagine my surprise to discover that this first shot, "Lucinda #1" in the Liminal Series, the one that was made spontaneously during Ward Fleming's birthday party, and led to so many more, was published in both the New York Times Sunday edition and the Albany Times Union.
That's the beauty. One just never knows where something will lead, when those first few steps begin and you push into the screen, revealing yourself, in gentle play.
Monday, April 23, 2012
It's been so freeing, this wild ride.
This first in my collage series, titled "Flame" was the stepping off point. She gave birth to all that has followed. While she burns in the licking fire, devoured by passion, all she surrenders becomes transformed. Entering into the air, lifted by wild winds of change, these essences filter to the fertile ground. There they burrow under, rooting. The small sprouts reach for the light and spread their tender leaves.
This is what life is for us. Our emotions and interests bring us to a precipice. It is up to us to make the leap. Then caught in the warm embrace of the current, we fly. Higher than ever imagined. As Todd Rudgren said "This time I'm not coming down."
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Someone gave me a most generous present yesterday: over 100 tubes of amazing quality oil paint, a slew of brushes, pigments, solvents, trays, an easel a bunch of palette knives and a small three shelved table. Needless to say, all this required a studio organizational frenzy. Since it's my birthday week, it seemed perfectly in tune. I opened old cans of oil paint that I suspected may have dried out. The bad ones went in the garbage along with other sundry studio related trash. Between the brushes I had and the ones I was gifted, there is an amazing collection of tools. Add the oil paints to the ones in-house, and again, my cup truly runneth over. Besides canvas
At exactly this moment the radio started playing a song that I have been singing in my head for 24 hours. The name of it escapes me, but one of the lines is "...until we die...learning to live together. We have to get it together...it's getting better and better."
So thank you to the universe for ALL my blessings. Even the ones I didn't recognise as such at the time , seeing the blessing of the journey in retrospect.
Thank you to my friends far and wide.
Thank you for my gifts.
Thank you for my home.
Thank you for the wide world of nature. That includes Artemis, of course!
Thank you for my life and everything that it has and will encompass.
and of course, thank you for sharing this special time on this spinning blue orb with me.
The bagpipes are playing...time to go paint!
Monday, August 30, 2010
Soft undefined shadows
dance through the shoji screens.
As soft as vapor and just as fluid.
Constant movement in the summer wind.
I think of you
while on the other polarity of this oft visited place.
All 1's and 0's is what stands
While my heart echoes the strands
that remain embedded.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Last night I went to Woodstock, to dance and to celebrate the life of a musician, Betty MacDonald. She was an old friend to many and a new friend to some. I don't recall ever not knowing her. Her rich approach to life, and the many ways she gave back to community, touched many people, many of whom were among the folks stomping their feet to Marc Black and Company. It was a collective, musical outpouring of that sad reality: we are only here for a short time. All that I experienced during that short time of moving my feet to the beat was a reminder to love the life you are in, the body that you inhabit, and the people who are in it.
Grief is the oyster in the shell. The uncomfortable gem that rolls around inside our hearts when the web has yet another hole. In my own experience I have learned that it just becomes a part of who you will be. This sense of loss will become less sharp and mellow with time. But it will not leave. Rather, it will open you. The oyster offering its' prize.
Remember to love. Holy, passionate, all embracing love is the best of the human experience. With no exceptions, offer your hand in friendship to those who surround you. Be remembered one day for the goodness of your true essence.
And if you have a few moments, bring to your consciousness those who have moved beyond your scope of understanding. This is how we hold the web, by the remembrance of all we have held dear.