Art Journal Girl

Art Journal Girl

Once upon a time . . .

I learned not to judge by appearance.  God looketh on the heart and so should I.  This includes the heart of a matter.  Sometimes guidance comes in reprehensible-looking packages, so I’ve learned that even when I don’t like a particular word or expression, if my eyes can stomach the content (despite a flaw or two), then I can learn some really great lessons.

Such was the case yesterday.  Below find a quote from one Mandy Jordan, a fellow art-journalist.  (I have edited slightly.  The quote has not lost its meaning.)

“the thing about journaling is that it is supposed to be personal.  if you find yourself comparing your journal pages to others’, if you worry that you’re using material you “shouldn’t” or whatever, stop.  I might even suggest you not join a group like this or otherwise make your journal open to public scrutiny if it makes you feel like you’re trying to fit in or compete or whatever.  I used to read books on journaling techniques and take workshops and subscribe to magazines until I realized that as inspiring as it was, it was ultimately a muse-killer.  I had to walk way from all that and go back to basics, to not [caring] what my journal looked like and if I was “doing it right” before I could find my voice again.  I hope this does not offend. I just hear myself in your questions.”

After reading this I wondered if I would have the strength to quit my online art groups.  I loved what I was seeing from others.  And I got such good ideas for art exploration and imitation that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

I want to spend my creative time wisely.  It’s challenging to post my latest work, but it also feels good for me–in a helpful and enjoyable way.  It would be easy (though a bit of a wrench) to quit, but if it weren’t for the group I wouldn’t be doing any artwork at all.  The challenge to be true to myself but also make art worth looking at is a challenge I can cope with.  I don’t have to post everything.  I think I’ll stick it out for now and see how I learn to deal with situations that are tickly or sticky or tough.

Spend wisely and know when to walk away.

Forest at twilightI want to share a poem by one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver.

 

 

 

 

 

You Are Standing at the Edge of the Woods
By Mary Oliver

You are standing at the edge of the woods
at twilight
when something begins
to sing, like a waterfall

pouring down
through the leaves.  It is
the thrush.
And you are just

sinking down into your thoughts,
taking in
the sweetness of it—those chords,
those pursed twirls—when you hear

out of the same twilight
the wildest red outcry. It pitches itself
forward, it flails and scabs
all the surrounding space with such authority

you can’t tell
whether it is crying out on the
scarp of victory, with its hooked foot
dabbed into some creature that now
with snapped spine
lies on the earth—or whether
it is such a struck body itself, saying
goodbye.

The thrush
is silent then, or perhaps
has flown away.
The dark grows darker.

The moon,
in its shining white blouse,
rises.
And whatever that wild cry was

it will always remain a mystery
you have to go home now and live with,
sometimes with the ease of music, and sometimes in silence,
for the rest of your life.

 

******************

I once had the experience of hearing a “wildest red outcry”, but I think of it as a blackest blue outcry.  I was standing on the back porch in the middle of the night (which means I’d already gone to bed and got up later to let the dog out) when I heard the incredible, awful sound come out of the dark.  I’m sure it was the sound of death.  I hope it was one animal killing another because that is the most humane event I can think of to accompany the noise.  And I felt peaceful enough to sleep the rest of the night.  I don’t remember it with dread, just awe or something like reverence–music and silence.

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The pine tree before Maggie broke off its lower branches chasing the squirrell.

It’s gone for the moment, but it always comes back.

I took this picture about two months ago.  When I went out in the morning there was all this hoar frost all over.  It’s the coolest frost I’ve ever seen.

Close-up of empty bird feeder (just before I re-filled it) covered with hoar frost.

Close-up of empty bird feeder (just before I re-filled it) covered with hoar frost.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Sue, wearing green.

Sue, wearing green.

You know what?  Most of my shirts are green.  I’m not Irish nor a fan of the holiday, but it’s OK to like green shirts, isn’t it?

 

Off topic–I’m looking at the photo archives and seeing a lot of my artwork (most of the photos are posted on my FaceBook page already) and I’m thinking, “I should be doing art . . .”

Sigh.

I should be writing too.  It has not been a good week for getting much done. 

But I really should do some art.  It’s a great way to deal with grief.  In the past, I’ve done a couple of pieces for friends who have lost dogs.  Maybe I should do one for myself.

Maybe I just will.