There is a quietness in the early morning hours.....when it is dark and still..... that is fertile ground for random thought and inspiration. Most around me are sleeping and I'm alone in the quietude with the ability to follow whatever thread my mind chooses.
This morning, I'm remembering, with gratitude, the wonderful experiences of being back in school (later than most) to earn a Master's Degree. Yes, gaining the 'paper' that endorsed my endeavors was important for all the usual reasons: career advancement, financial, etc,... but all of that paled significantly by comparison to my own internal quest. This was MY time...my time to see what I was all about as an artist.....my time to learn from the best and require of myself MY own personal best......and to see where it would/could take me. And, though this was 15+ years ago, the experience then still resounds in me as one of the most profound of my life......so much more than a mere crack of an opening door.....more like an explosion into a new and different world for me.
So, lately... I've been seeking images in the early morning hours......and posting them on my Facebook page. Enjoying the rich resources available online. This has been a personal thing for me......a time of finding inspirational imagery....and placing it on my page.....a little thing I do before going to work in my clay studio.
Perhaps without realizing it at the time, these postings have become a 'visual' of what makes me tick.....of the very core of me......of what 'gives me wings'.....of what I find beautiful in this world and of what brings me the kind of joy that makes life worth living for me.
And this morning I'm drawing a wider vision of how many seemingly fragmented images really are all so very related. In my Master's program, one of the most challenging assignments I had was to select a favorite piece of music.....one that really 'spoke to me' for whatever reasons, then I was to inquire of myself how.... and in what way it related to my style of artwork. Hmmmm, who'd ever have thought to draw such a comparison? And what I learned in this exercise revealed the multiplicity of ways that all surrounding each of us plays into what and who we are.....how we perceive and process things taken in by the 5 senses.
So...the music I chose was instrumental....it had a certain lyrical rhythm....a grace.... that was soothing to my ear, my mind and my heart..... but at the same time it was exciting. And it had contrast.....slow in places, faster in others. Though there were no words, it told an auditory story of the desert southwest landscape.....its austere beauty and its many moods.
My artwork? Visual rhythm, not static....loving contrast. Working with clay, which becomes HARD and immovable through firing, I strive in my sculptural work to make it look fluid and full of visual rhythm. The fact that I chose to specialize in the Raku firing process also reflects this aesthetic....for the serendipitous nature of the process is full of visual rhythm created through the element of fire. I am drawn to that which I find graceful and strive to incorporate that quality into my work. I make the things I do because I'm inspired to do it, but beyond that......it is my highest desire that my work actually ministers 'grace' to all who view it... that it is soothing to the spirit and soul.....that it serves to bless.
I think of Georgia O'Keeffe....much of her work was alive with visual rhythm such as this one.
Alfred Stieglitz....practically obsessed by the grace and rhythm he saw in her hands.....strong hands, but graceful (contrast again!).
The same found in ballet...appreciation of the grace....the visual rhythm..... found in movement of the human body....seemingly effortless to the eye, but in great contrast to the years of training and the physical strength and control necessary to make it appear so....
More imagery of rhythm,......grace.....things I find beautiful......