...the kind of change and transformation that you can feel occuring deep below the surface of your skin, muscle and bones. The kind that is like a wind which can steer the vessel that you move in in strange and unexpected ways. You know that you are being set on a course...
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I get up very early in the morning...before the Sun rises. I typically will go and sit outside for a few moment and take in those glorious moments before the dawn starts to shine her light. This mornng as I was sitting outside holding my cup of coffee, I was watching the play of light and shadow and remembering the dream that had come in the night. This particular dream came on the back of another dream that I had received two days prior. I have been "calling" for a dream. I did not expect to wake from that first dream gasping for air and desparately looking around trying to determine which reality was the one that I found myself in. It was a "shock" dream. One in which you have no choice but to acknowledge or "wake-up" to the message that the dream is trying to convey. I am usually very skilled at dream interpretation, especially my own, however, this one left me shaken and unsure of aspects of its meaning.
If you have been following these posts then you may remember the one in which I shared the story of the painting The Creation of the Firmaments. The dream that came the other night had some of these elements...a completely white building perched on the end of a vast and expansive sea. The arrival of a great whale...except this time the whale arrived transported in the arms of a massive and swirling storm. I am still unravelling the message that were sent in that night vision. The dream that came last night provided a clue or a further unravelling of the first one's meaning.
So...back to me sitting with my coffee, watching the veil between night and day shift and looking up at the night sky. As I was sitting there wandering in my thoughts and the waking of the world, it happened - a shooting star went streaking across the sky. In my life story, shooting stars have historically signalled that a large shift and/or transformation has begun. One night, a long time ago, as I laid on a pile of wooden boards in a small rural village in New Mexico, it was a shooting star that was the final determining moment that precipitated my move to that land of sky and sand. So, this morning, I watched as that streak of stardust tore acrcoss the sky. I have felt its coming for some time now - its arrival confirmation for what I could feel but struggle to have words for. What I still struggle to have words for. What I do know is that I am changing. Of course we are all always changing, for how could we not be, but I am talking about the kind of change and transformation that you can feel occuring deep below the surface of your skin, muscle and bones. The kind that is like a wind which can steer the vessel that you move in in strange and unexpected ways. You know that you are being set on a course. For me, this always simultaneously occurs with a feeling of uncomfortable restlessness.
My most recent painting, The Becoming of Persephone also speaks to this feeling.
This was not how I originally envisioned this painting. In some way, shape or form, all of the paintings are autobiographical - how could they not be. It is not unusual for the paintings to take on a life and/or will of their own, but this one snuck up on me. I am typically working on more than one painting at a time. This number can range from 2 or 3 up to about 9 or 10. At some point while I am working on all of them one will jump to the forefront and let me know that it is ready to be completed (at least in regards to my role in the process). If you would have told me that when I originally began this painting I would later title it, The Becoming of Persephone, I would have been extremely doubtful for I never envisioned it/her becoming what she did or having the feel that she does. This is not one of my facorite paintings. On the day that I completed her, I found myself choosing colors that I would not typically combine in order to convey the feeling of unease or uncomfortableness that I was experiencing as I watched her morph from the original inception that I had for her.
There are certain paintings that have marked a transition or a moment when my painting style shifts or changes, or when I am in the process of incorporating some new aspect of working with the paint, brushes, my soul and the images. This is one of those. She is what I think of as a transitory painting; a painting "in-between" larger movements of my life. What will follow...well...I do not yet know. I do understand that it is about rhythms and cycles that are at play. I do know that in order for her to return in the spring she must let the previous season sleep, become the compost that will nourish the new growth of the following season.
What will I do now? I will go after the riddle. I will spend time researching the images that swim through the dreams, I will research Persephone in all of her various forms throughout time. I will look for the clues that have been left for me to follow. What else will I do...keep painting and keep dreaming...
In Love, Gratitude & Art,
Perhaps I should sculpt chocolate nudes...
OK. I lied. I made a post/announcement that I would not be doing the scheduled blog post today. As I stepped away from the computer and walked through the house and returned to my thoughts - the ones that have been turning over and returning for the last couple of weeks I rethought my previous statement.
If this blog is what I say it is - a journey into artistic process and the life and art of one woman - then writing about these thoughts and the artistic shift that I can feel is in process, perhaps writing about it is just what I needed to do. I feel certain that there are other artists out there...and other human beings who do not call themselves artist (a point of thought that I also think about often)...who know exactly what I am talking about. Those periods of time when you can feel something shifting on an internal level but where it is going, where it will lead is unclear. I dreamt of snakes last night for the first time in a long time - I know when this happens that there is a change coming - a shedding of the skin so to speak.
So what does this "feeling of change" look like in my world? It kind of looks like the photos of my library above. Typically my sleep schedule will change and I will find myself waking in the early hours of the morning, like at 2 or 3 am. I then began prowlling through the house with a cup of coffee in my hand and my thoughts roam and settle, roam and settle. I often get much done during these wee early hours in the morning. I also love the sensation of walking through my home with a few small lights on and watching the light shift and change as the sun rises.
I am fairly certain that the 2 main creative projects that I have committed myself to in the last months have led me to exactly where I am currently at. NAKED: The Art of Exposure and Vision Shift are projects whose inherent nature were intended to reveal and transform my experience of myself and the world around me. So...I suppose I should have expected a shift in artistic direction to arise. The unsettling feeling is that of not knowing exactly where it is leading. But then do we ever really know where life is leading? We can move through our daily life with set intentions and goals, but I believe that part of living life artistically also means watching were the flow of life is changing and being open to what you had previously not seen. I spoke with an artist friend of mine the other day. She too mentioned experiencing a similar feeling. When she said that she thought she might be going crazy I laughed and thought - well, we are both in good company then.
This morning I was doing the early morning task of responding to emails, messages and social media scheduling and I was drawn to an article that anothet artist had posted on facebook. The article was from the NY Times and was titled Is the Age of the Artistic Recluse Over? This is one of those topics that have been milling over in the melting pot of my brain. The vast majority of pantings that I have sold over the last years have happened as a result of social media. It is an interesting time to be an artist. Unless you are in the big leagues and/or are dealing in the world of galleries, in many ways social media is a necessary vehicle for getting your work out into the world. Although in many ways I would be content to do what I do and not have it be public - that does not pay the bills and I also believe that sharing your work with the world at large is part of the definition of being an artist. So I am both grateful for social media and I also find myself feeling ambivalent about it. As much as it can be a useful tool it can also be a sucking vortex of time. I also do not want to live a life in which a social media persona becomes my identity. Who someone is on social media can be a very far distance away from who they are in person. Not to mention that spending any time watching or waiting for LIKES and SHARES begins to feel like a strange way of determining any sort of value for your work, time or effort.
So...where does this leave me?
Well...walking around the house at 2 or 3am...at times contemplating becoming a sculptor of fine chocolates and then laughing because knowing me I would begin to sculpt chocolate nudes - but that is a whole additional topic for another time! Other contemplations include my beliefs that the way I, or any of us, lives our lives is a fine art onto itself. Sometimes I wonder if I could disappear from social media and still accomplish what I believe is my purpose. But in this moment in particular I am curious. I want a conversation with other artists. I am curious regarding who amongst us is also feeling a shift of undetermined origins? I want to ask you my fellow travellers how you really feel about social media?
So today's blog post is a bit of insight into the ramblings of my mind and soul. It is also an invitation for my fellow artist (and any other human being who does not think of themself as an artist) to comment, leave a message and let me know how you feel about feeling or knowing that a shift in your work is in process but not yet realized. Are you wondering around your homes at 3am too?
Perhaps by the next blog post I will be back to the regularly scheduled programming...but I have my doubts.
In gratitude, love and art,
I believe that if we can find our own voice in the world, our own creativity and unique sound, our song, we can metaphorically and literally sing ourselves into existence.
I am awake. It is hours before the Sun will rise and wash over the landscape; bathing what is now unseen in light and making the unseen visable.
There are nights that as I lay sleeping the dreams wash over me and I am awake in other worlds or perhaps I am awake in other layers of the world within which my sleeping body lies. At these times the unseen is also made visible. I am a dreamer...in many, many ways. There are certain dreams that come in the arms of sleep, dreams that carry a message and leave such an imprint upon the eye of my soul that they are impossible to forget. Within the multitude of these dreams there are a handful which always begin with the Moon. She is always full and she is always dancing above the vast expanse of the Ocean. For as many of the Moon dreams that I have received, there are an equivelent amount of paintings that move through me and find there way into the world. The dream that whispered of the image below began over 15 years ago. Periodically the dream has returned, or rather the dream has continued over the course of the last ten years. Each time it returns it begins with the opalescent Moon; heavy, full and hanging over an unending expanse of Ocean.
Dream of the Animals from the Sky (2002)
In the dream, it is night and I am looking out a window which is very high above the ground. The Moon is full and bright and hanging above a vast expanse of water. When I look down I see that the expanse of water reaches to the foundation of the building. From my viewpoint high above there is no shoreline that is visible. There is only water as far as my eye can see. There is a brief moment when my thinking mind kicks in and I wonder if the building that I am in is rising from the Ocean herself.
I turn from the window to look inside the room in which I am standing. I am in a small bathroom and my young son is witg me. Although I understand that the room I am in is a bathroom, I also understand that it is something else. It resembles a long hallway and leaves me with a strange and surreal feeling that I am somehow within a tunnel. Everything in the bathroom is white in color. Everything in the bathroom is pristinely clean and emminates with the same opulesence as the Moon.
I turn to once again look out the window and accutely focus my eyes upon the water searching for some understanding or a clue as to why we are here. A shadow begins to surface upon the waters. The shadow rises and a dolphin breaks upon the slow rolling waves. Once it has broken through the water it turns and looks directly at me. I know that it has come for me. I tell my son to look out the window. When he looks out the window, he tells me that he can not see anything. I look out the window again and see that the dolphin has come up on the land which has mysteriously appeared around the building that I am in and it is underneath the window that I am looking out of. We make eye contact and the cetacean turns and reenters the water.
A few moments later I hear the sound of wind it is a whistling sound which is progressively getting louder and stronger. Within a few moments, a large white whale falls from the heavens and into the water. There is a great splurging of water which is displaced and set in motion. In the splash and displaced water that results from the whale’s arrival, I begin to see a multitude of shapes and shadows surfacing from the depths. The water is filled with a multitude of creatures. As I look at the creatures, I realize that some of them are from times that we consider to be pre-history. At first I think that all of the creatures are from times past; and then I realize that there are also present day animals and animals that I have never seen or heard of before. Somehow I understand that they are the creatures and beings that are still to come and they have not yet been seen on our present day earth. Some of the creatures begin to surface and walk upon the land. As I am watching them walk upon the earth I realize that they are entering the building that I am in. They ascend the internal structure of the building and find me and my son in the white bathroom. One by one, they singularly parade by us, each one pausing to ensure that eye contact has been made as it passes by and exits through the window back into the primordial waters from which it came.
The final creature, which is similar in shape to that of monkey and is entirely white in color, jumps onto the sink near where I am standing and waits for me to look at it. We lock eyes and I see my own eyes reflected in the creature’s face. I then realize that we are standing in front of a mirror and the reflection shows that we share the same eyes. In as much as we are different, we are the same. We are reflections and images of one another. The actions of one will affect the world of the other. The creature moves toward the window, takes one last look and then is gone. I watch as the water enfolds and engulfs the creatures of my dream and returns them to the place of their origins. The Moon's lights begins to fade and I am washed in darkness and sleep.
A couple of years passed after this dream occurence before I would once again awake in the dream world to find myself in the depths of the ocean. This time I was a whale. I was swimming with a pod and I was singing there song. Each sound reverberating through the depths of the water.
In 1991 an all white male humpback whale was photographed passing Australia's most eaterly point. At the time of the sighting this whale was the only documented all white humpback to have been recorded in the world. The Australian Aboriginal community named the whale Migaloo, the word that they use to describe a "white fella". Migaloo is suspected to be an an albino whale, but without definitive evidence for the moment he is known as a “hypo-pigmented” humpback. Humpback whales are an endangered species. Migaloo is part of the east Australian humpback population, suspected to number around 15-17,000 individuals in 2012. This population was likely around 30,000 before commercial whaling began, but was possibly as low as 104 individuals after commercial whaling on humpbacks ceased in the 1960s.
Humpback whales grow to be about 12-15 metres long, weighing 25-40 tons. The females are slightly larger than males, as with all baleen whales. The four-chambered heart of the average humpback whale weighs about 195 kg about as much as three average adult human beings. (Really think about that for a moment.) Humpbacks travel in large, loose groups. Most associations between humpbacks are temporary, lasting at most a few days. The exception is the strong and lasting bond between mother and calves. Up until September 2011 Migaloo was thought to be the only all white Humpback Whale in the world. Then amazing footage emerged of a 100% all white baby humpback calf.
The humpback whale is a baleen whale that sings amazing love songs. Humpback whales are renowned for their ability to produce songs of remarkable beauty, complexity, and duration. But despite decades of research, scientists still aren't sure why these whales engage in such elaborate acoustic displays.
To hear the song of the humpback whale you may click on the Download File button below.
Coastal shamanic cultures rely on whales for a variety of reasons. Different tribal cultures believe that sound holds the world together and that the whales are the record keepers and their songs are the record of Mother Earth. They are the caretkaers of the stories. Many indigenous peoples believe that Creation was sung into existence.
I believe that If we can find our own voice in the world, our own creativity and unique sound, our song, we can metaphorically and literally sing ourselves into existence.
In Gratitude, Love & Art,
If you are interested in learning more about Migaloo the white humpback whale I invite you to check out the following website - http://migaloo.com.au/
Heather J Geoffrey