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ART journal

. . . with my creative meanderings

Flying High with Skilled Expression

When I fly low over the Canadian prairies, I am often enamoured by the beautiful patchwork-like fields created by farmers. The various patterns and contrasting colours stretch out for miles -- much like grandma's quilt seems to for a young child on a chilly day. Each square tells a story on its own, but stitched together, reads like a novel. 

None of those fields' handiwork (or the quilts) happen by accident or poor planning. The farmers begin thinking well in advance...looking at the Almanac, considering the market, the quotas, the time available. And grandmothers cut up old shirts from the past, gather other new materials, then finally, lean into their years of sewing skills and they recollect memories. This is what brings their process and handiwork to life. The wise worker also keeps in mind that hurry could end in disaster, so the most successful settle into a measured routine.

As with any business or project, if well-organized, runs best (smoothly and apparently naturally). An event that is pulled off "without a hitch" appears relaxed and easy but was orchestrated. The Bible's wisdom says “Man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps.” So I am reminded to look to the dancer and the hours of pain and labour and repetition put in for that three-minute spectacular, gripping performance. This is the kind of dedication and skilled practise demanded for every piece of my poetry and art. 

I have noticed that the more thoroughly an artist learns the elements and principles of art, the more free the artistic expression and an ability to fly further up and further in*…and to do so subconsciously rather than self-consciously. As an example, I include here, van Gogh’s "The Bedroom, 1888" where he clearly started by applying one-point perspective. Once things were in place, he expressively morphed his colours, lines, and textures to imbue his life experience into the piece. I would call it a beautiful exemplification.

Large and in charge: I work towards making sure both my knowledge is adequate and that my feelings are handily on my sleeve so the piece might not appear laboured and be truly spontaneous, rather than contrived. I warn myself though, that micromanaging will produce substandard work...this can happen when I am emotionally shrivelled or mentally frayed. Don't get me wrong, I can be emotionally upset when I make, I just need to be clearly focused and willing to work until "it works" -- sometimes it happens quickly and other times, not.

I also included a photo I call "Alighting" to show how the process can work with photography. I wanted the composition to be strong and dynamic. So I paid attention to the negative space not being distracting then waited patiently, hoping the gull would eventually co-operate and do what I saw in my mind. Snap. (Well, several snaps...and I caught it.) Just a touch of contrast was needed to achieve the effect I was aiming for. Thank you, Mr. Seagull, for your major role!

I am often uplifted by Francis A. Schaeffer's** quote about being reminded that I am " whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.” And with that, I hope your day is full of awareness of the delightful patterns in life, the beauty of planning, and the exhilaration of adding layers of spontaneity to produce a piece of life that may become something for posterity, or joy, or sharing, or all three.

Until I write again,

I wish you peace beyond circumstance,


P.S. You can visit my updated website to find a few other photos I have available!

*See Narnia

**Philosopher and theologian 1912-84

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Jul 08
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

What deep and true thoughts to explain your beautiful, artistic pieces!

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