Wednesday, May 2, 2012

An Artist's Heart

"You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours.
When you truly possess all you have been and done,
which may take some time, you are fierce with reality."   Florida Scott Maxwell

Reader, come close.  Like many of you, I have always felt I had the heart of an artist.  Even though as a young girl I dreamed of being a famous tennis player.  Chris Everett was my inspiration.  This heart's dream lived in a place in time called the 70's, maybe you recall those times; The war in Vietnam ending, the Gas Shortage, Disco, the Shah of Iran is angrily deposed, then a hostage crisis unfolds....Somehow our experiences then, and place-holders we dream are forced to take on a different form....eventually to resurface later in our lives.

Earning a BFA in painting from the Pacific Northwest College of Art launched me out into the real world.  Making art proved challenging, risky, and scary.  Life is busy at full speed, building a life with my family, my husband and two boys.  Isn't it true our most challenging creative endeavor is child-rearing? (hmmm, another subject to explore).  Carving time away to hone the creative process was meager.  Even as I set aside this dream in my heart, in spite of messes and detours, I always returned to making art.  (Tennis is another conversation - another Blog)

Reader, come close, here is where the widening spin, the pace, the stretching of realities collides with a naked, knife edged instance.  The facade of life gets taller, and larger and more rigid like skyscrapers in a landscape - each holding a dream - a possibility - a locked inspiration - standing at the ready.  Dreams continue, the search for the divine, a language of expression, losing, finding, losing my artist's voice in the world.
And so, in a few instances, September 11, 2001 changed everything.  A sleepy morning rousing children and making breakfast finds me transfixed by the images on the television.  Somewhere deep in my body, I felt the reverberation of the crumbling buildings on the screen.

Reader, what did you do then?  Did you go forward with your day?  Like me;  pack lunches, carefully turn the radio down, turn the TV off. Did you find lost shoes and fill backpacks and fumble off to school?  Numbed and stunned, I returned to the house......In reaction I grab my camera.  I may be without words, experiencing an unspeakable pain, the horror replays over and again, but I am not without action. Delicately, in the manner of a scientist about to load a slide of molecules under a microscope, I began to record portraits of interior spaces in my home.  This photographic "journaling" was an instinctual act to find comfort through the process of making art.  It was my way of bringing order to chaos, choosing life over death.

And So Reader, eventually the dreams we forced into place-holders emerge in a different form.  Unexpectedly our desires resurface later in our lives.  That dream about "doing" art as a young woman was still alive beneath the rubble.

Oddly, I am back to the beginning of my story.  Heart of an artist.  Dreams of a young girl.  We are who we are in crisis, and in the quiet.

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