Inspiration and Cognitive Fires.

I am inspired by trying to understand things that I don’t understand. The unknown inspires me. Confusion and displacement and new perspectives– new ways of thinking inspire me. 

Glimpse of another world

 I am inspired by everything  that demands that I slow down and face all that I don’t know. Nothing is more intriguing to me than trying to figure something out. And nothing produces more anxiety.  I guess challenge inspires me.

Painting is always facing the unknown. There are always so many questions. Every brushstroke, every scribble is kind of question. What will happen if I. . .

Quantum relationships

Then of course there is the inspiration I get from looking at the works of great painters and writers whose work is so masterful that it allows me to get swept away. Or a line by a great writer in a book that takes me right into the scene and in that imagined place, I find another place, a completely different place, where my own stories live.

And when I look at the work of other artists I feel invited into a world where new worlds are born. It becomes like a conversation somehow in the language of imagination, where one artist speaks and I am listening.

Art frames the world for us and opens doors in our minds that ignite cognitive fires.

Fairy worlds under our feet. Tread lightly
Fairy Worlds

If you would like to view more of my paintings click here

It all started with a 100 Day blog.

In 2010, I made myself a promise to create something every day for 100 days and post it online. I posted art, poetry, stories, thoughts, and dreams.  It was my 100 day blog. I was really new to the internet. I posted something every single day except when I couldn’t –and then I would start over at Day One. Eventually my hundred day blog became about 200 days of  posting art and writing and poetry. I got a lot done. I  made friends with a whole lot of like minded souls, all over the world, and we shared our personal journeys and our writing and our paintings

To be honest, I think it might have saved my life.  I had been cycling in and out of clinical depression for years and although I was continually making art and directing theatre I wasn’t really letting my paintings or my own performances get out in the world all that often.  It was liberating to be able to show my art to whoever found me randomly surfing the web. I ended up  making art friends in about 15 countries and was a bit of a miracle to be honest.

Junk Journal jpg 2

Anyway this adventure led me to not only connect with painters but also to finish writing a play and performing that play in the Fringe Festival in 2011, as a solo show-despite unbelievable -heart-stopping stage-fright. I had a wonderful director Sarah Rodgers who took my rambling script in hand and together we built the show.

Sally LIve Here2

So now it’s ten years later and though the Dogs of Depression continue to nip at my heels, I have consistently found ways to keep going even if my pants are torn in the process.  The goal is always to face my towering fears, come out the darkness and be seen in the light. I have accomplished quite a bit.I have directed a few pick of the Fringe Plays, and this past November 2018, I was in New York where a show I was privileged to direct starring the wonderful Beverley Elliott, won Best Musical in The United Solo Festival.  How great is that?  If you only knew how ten years ago this would have been impossible to imagine. So here’s to art and creativity and the willingness to face self-doubt and fear. Here’s to a willingness to be seen. PS. Thanks for reading if you made it to here.

If you would like to view more of my art and learn more about my process click here 

Painting and Writing and dreaming and stargazing

lunapicmorningstar

Even if we have a reliable method and a process that seems to work  there is still a lot of mystery in making art.

It’s a act of faith sometimes.

Somehow magic is involved and patience.

Sometimes a  story calls you to come and find it, but you can’t quite locate where it’s hiding.

I think an artist or a writer or any kind of maker has to be a bit of dreamer with a willingness to search imagination the way a stargazer searches the endless sky.

In a way we are looking for distant galaxies of meaning and metaphor–trusting that somewhere, beyond the dark matter of a half-baked plot,  there is a story that needs to be told or a painting that wants to be painted.

Astronomers know that beyond the glimmer of  a of a billion years lies astonishment.  And an artist must  be like an astronomer and trust that beyond the dark matter of self doubt that story will appear.

 

lunapic_136700294065435_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reminding myself of the light within.

The traveler driving down a lonely country road at night, is encouraged by the distant twinkling lights of her destination.

But it’s the headlights of her car that keep her from driving off the road.

In life we are drawn toward the bright light of desire and distant dreams.

But only the light we carry with us, will keep our wheels on the road and our footsteps on the path.

We have to keep that light burning.

Mountain-road

This is a re-post from last year but I needed to remind myself of this today.

ART AND COURAGE

If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage. —Cynthia Ozick

Fear and Courage
Fear and Courage

I do believe that writing is an act of courage.

Courage to keep going when life is in chaos–

courage to keep going when your are tired and drained and empty,

when you think you have been left behind,

when you think someone else is better than you.

when you think you have nothing to say.

when no one pays any attention

to what you have written.

It takes courage to write.

I believe this.

Over and over and over in my life,

my fear has stopped  me dead in my tracks.

And courage was nowhere to be found.

I didn’t understand that fear was necessary for courage to exist.

I didn’t realize courage and fear were inseparable companions.

So now I live my life,

knowing fear is always present

and always talking to me–

And somehow I have to keep going anyway and trust that I can.

Because courage is standing right there with fear-

waiting to be called on–waiting to  take the lead-

waiting to carry me across whatever dangerous territory–

whatever hidden enemies–

I think I am facing.

I need to remember this.

Now especially.

I have an opportunity to include an excerpt of my new play

in a festival of new work but fear is plaguing me.

It’s screaming at me.

It’s sneaking up on me.

Covert attacks.

Constantly.

Every little obstacle that I have to face or every tiny suggestion

that something needs work or should be cut–

is scaring me to the point that I am angry.

I wake up in the morning

with dread that I am not good enough–

That the play is not ready.

I find myself reacting angrily to things.

Or I am annoyed at the person who offered me

the opportunity at the wrong time.

I have to constantly remind myself,

That I am not actually in danger.

It’s just my fear  trying to protect me.

It’s just my fear,  wanting me to quit —

so that I don’t have to take a risk–

or feel the pain of possible failure.

And every demand of my life–

and there are many these days-

seems to suggest I don’t have  the time

or the stamina or the ability.

But  it is just my fear trying to stop me

from failing.

But I am not going to fail.

I can do this.

I can do it.

There is no conquering fear.

There is no need to conquer it.

Courage needs me to know this.

Ready or not here I come.Ready or Not

Days in the haunted room a poem

red fire

I find myself at times

living my life

as if I was trapped

in a haunted room–

spending all  my days and nights

all alone with

my hopeless longings

hanging like torn and tattered

curtains,

heavy with years.

Ghostly companions

whispering in the darkIMG_0196

And even when I

try to escape

I can’t get far–

without tripping on

all my unanswered questions

and unfulfilled dreams

piled in the corners,

like unpaid bills.

As if I owe myself

more agony

As if I fear getting behind

in my suffering.

As if only the frightening truth

will set me free.

I would love to renovate

so the the walls of that

room could come crashing down–

and all the old secrets would

crumble and blow away.

Or maybe it would be enough

just for the door to be

locked forever–

and left as a resting place

for other ghosts– not mine

who would keep company

with all that I had

finally left behind in that

old haunted room.
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Knowing and accepting- Creative Process Part One

Knowing and accepting

that we will be criticized-

that we will be judged,

rejected or even worse

ignored–

and choosing to

continue anyway-

is an essential skill

that we need to acquire-

that we can not do without-

in life and in art.

So is knowing and accepting

that sometimes the road is

long and hard-

and straight uphill-

all the way–

and that our chosen path

will take us through

mud and sludge and swamp-

and steep mountains

and dark forests.

And that for much

of the journey

we are absolutely

alone.

To be lost and afraid

and to ache

and nearly break–

is part of the journey.

There is no avoiding it.

When we are engaged

in the process of writing or painting–

where the product matters-

where it’s not just therapeutic–

or an exercise in self inquiry-

but where expectations of merit-

and quality play an important part–

we will at some point-

feel all of the awful.

fearful, jealous, disappointed,

rejected, despairing, angry emotions.

And we will be full of doubt.

We will from time to time

believe that we can not

keep going.

But there is the trick

to surviving all this misery.

It’s remembering that if

you are feeling these

things–you are on your path.

If you feeling all tis pain

you are doing it right.

You are staying on track.

If you opened your lap top today

and hate what your wrote yesterday–

and the day before–

You are in the process

of doing the work.

You are getting there-

you are slogging up the hill-

you are getting it done.

You are getting somewhere.

So when you are stuck with nothing to say-

remember that you are supposed to get stuck-

sometimes.

You are not going anywhere folks if–

from time to time

you don’t get stuck-

waylaid, distracted, completely lost.

You haven’t left the comfort zone if

you never want to rage and moan.

It is part of the creative process.

That is all it is.

You wanna quit but don’t.

You gotta go through this part.

On the other side of this

is your reward.

Coming soon. Part two,

After the solstice–the days begin to grow longer and hopefully brighter and brighter.

The little grey squirrel–
sitting on the scaffolding outside my window–
doesn’t seem to be bothered by the pouring rain.
I need to adopt a squirrel attitude,
I guess nature asks it’s creatures to accept things.
Squirrel and his family have been very busy in my attic
since the end of summer.
The roof has an opening that can’t be closed
until the house repairs are done.
I am trying to have a Beatrix Potter attitude
about my house guests. It’s difficult.
They can be very noisy when they start scratching in
the wee hours.

And I am trying to be accepting

of the difficulties I face.

I am still standing.

I just have to hold on and do my best.

The shocks and losses of recent years

have been like a storm that subsides but does not

end.

It may keep going like this.

It’s entirely possible.

It’s that part of the movie.

The hero is tied to the dock and the waves are coming in.

I expect a lot more grief to come.

More hardships to carry and more

losses to face–

more heartache.

I am not so much afraid of it–

as preparing for it.

I am trying to face the coming year

With as much courage, calm and continued belief

that there is always good amongst the bad

and gifts amongst the challenges–

and joy within the pain.

And I am ready for it.

I am expecting it.

I am expecting myself to keep going

to keep believing and to keep trying

to live in happiness and openness and faith.

Despite the hard stuff.

Trying anyway.

My word for the coming year–

Yes I choose a word to call up the magic that it brings–

Resiliance.

That is what I need.

It’s a good word.

Bright shiny tough.

Resiliance.

I do not like Christmas or birthdays or celebrations

anything that has to happen on a certin day–

I prefer to celebrate for no reason.

I prefer to celebrate–just because.

But the true message of the season

The coming of hope and light into the world

Makes me shine a little.

Merry Christmas

angel