Guten morgen. What a difference a few extra hours of sleep make. I think I actually got nine last night. It was a little broken up, and I remember having to will myself back to sleep once, but in the end I think I got enough to energize me a bit today.
Yesterday I accomplished nothing I’d set out to do, no wait, except the dishes. I did those… and made a good dinner: seasoned chicken quarters, sweet potatoes, normal potatoes, onion, garlic, carrots, and cabbage, all tossed whole and scrubbed into the roaster for a couple hours. Other than that, nada. That leaves emails and snailmails still to answer and a frame still to papier-mache.
The nice thing is, I think I might have the energy for that today.
My latest painting is of a woman’s face peering into a window from the dark night outside. The painting part is done, and I’ve made the framework of the window out of cardboard. All that remains is to papier-mache it and then paint it to look old and weatherworn. Ever since I began incorporating the frame into the painting, I’ve felt as if my work is complete, somehow. It’s all one mixed-up media piece–the mutt of the art world–and it finally satisfies me. Making the frames gives me freedom regarding size and shape and I can add elements to the frame that echo or support those in the painting. Everything’s deepened and broadened.
I was encouraged awhile back when I’d spent the morning thinking that what I’m doing is indigenous art, even though I am also a mutt, a typical American with heritage reaching back to several cultures, with no real sense of rootedness. America has a strong culture too, but it’s like a bright new shiny penny compared to the rest of the world. I need the Underworld to draw from. Archetypes and shadows and pre-religion spirit and earth interrelation.
Anyway, the encouragement came from Martin Prechtel when he wrote about us all having an indigenous soul (I would quote the line directly but I loaned the book to my son) and how it’s vital that we stay in touch with it. C.G. Jung has taught me that as well, and so many others. I teach myself as I tap into my own indigenous soul, or rather, it teaches me.
When I think about this, and at odd unbidden moments, excitement and purpose will flood me for my work. It’s as if I swoop up above the room I’m in and the role I play to where I can see the bigger picture, where all the floaters and fat crawling lightworms and macular wrinkles are cleared from my eyes. My heart is like a butterfly in those moments, not the heavy stone it feels like so much of the time.
My next painting needs to incorporate a butterfly but I have no idea what that’s going to mean yet. Not having a clear image to spring from makes it hard to finish this current painting. The blank space between is hard. Transitions are hard. I’m in a transition now. What did I just read about that? Oh yeah, from Jean Shinoda Bolen in Crossing To Avalon:
The idea of passing through a gateway or doorway is reflected in the psychological word liminality, which is derived from the Latin word limen, meaning “threshold.” Jungian analyst and author Murray Stein describes midlife transitions as periods of liminality, which I think aptly describes those times in our lives when we are in an “inbetween” zone, a state in which we are neither who we used to be, not who we are becoming. It’s like standing in a doorway, or being in a passageway, or even in a long dark tunnel, between two phases of our lives.
[Holy shit, two things: I didn’t even realize I’d only just finished Caitlin Kiernan’s book Threshold and’d had that vibrant dream not long ago about being one of the InBetween. The woman in my painting represents that idea as well, as her coloring makes her look like one of the Dead, even though she’s alive.]
Our souls-higher selves-whatever are always talking to us. I wish I was better at remembering this because then I’d always have a butterfly heart. Which reminds me of a drawing I did a year or two or three ago.
The sun is coming up… I think I’ll get dressed. xo