Thursday, September 24, 2015

Watching a Series Evolve Into a Personal Journey

"Spirit Song" painted in 2012
I'm caught in the passion of a series that began after my visit to the desert southwest last spring. Every new painting provokes thoughts for the next pieces.  The series itself seems to draw in new ideas and materials and asks me to learn now, quickly, because we, the series and I, have some place we have to go and no time to waste.

My thought pattern in the series has reached out to include all native peoples and their beliefs, the stories and common elements that are found among very diverse people.  I have had an interest in coastal Native American art, and now the desert series is prompting me to weave that into my paintings, to think about how the spirits of one people could have traversed great distances to become the spirit stories of another population.  Paintings I've done in the past suddenly have new relevance to this present series.  The meaning of symbols I use have become clearer. This seems to be why weaving has suddenly become important.

I've always had an interest in weaving.  I have done collages that incorporate simple woven pieces with natural elements.  Recently I hosted a workshop led by Sheri Smith <> on weaving pine needles, beads and waxed linen thread into lovely medallions.   I created a simple piece and left the ends loose, added feathers I'd found on the roadway.

Pine needle medallion
The series is telling me that I have to bring this together, that I have to weave the stories of the peoples, the animals and the earth. I am being prompted to create more 3 dimensional pieces.  The almost frantic early pace of the series has abruptly slowed.  I'm pondering the meaning of the colors, shapes and symbols that have developed.  I've developed an interest in natural dyes and fibers. Notes, sketches and collage materials are scattered over my studio like flakes in an early snow.

Perhaps it is just as well that I will be traveling over the next couple of weeks and will be away from the studio.  I tell myself I will take some books and my sketch notebook and let the chaos of the studio subside even as the series is prompting me to take a canvas, beads, thread, pine needles, twine. "Spirit Song", in a frame on my studio wall, laughs and plays his music.