Le Guin is speaking right to me with this quote. I've been pondering the responsibility I have as an artist.
I mean, we want to go into the studio thinking LET THE WILD RUMPUS BEGIN and not worry about what we're saying with our work and why. But if we want to tell a story - a story that connects with other humans, expands or explains their experiences, delights or sobers or thrills or saddens - then we've got to do it right. Which brings us 'round to being present with the process. Following the muse. Exploring the dark (and light) corners. Making sense (or nonsense) with the constant thrum underneath of the knowledge that it is sacred.
This piece lingered in the studio. I didn't know at first what it wanted, what it was saying or why I felt drawn to paint it. I know now. It ultimately whispered gently to me, a soft voice among all of the loud ruckus of the other characters on the walls.
The question becomes, what is it whispering to you?
One of the crows (Natasha, we believe) spent a few late afternoons on the birdbath near the tiny memorial site, watery-eyed and listless. We know that crows do mourn, and we thought perhaps she was (and hoped she was not ill). We sat with her when we could, softly talking and making our own (awkward) crow sounds.
I suppose we have created a fairytale around these two city crows. We watch them, make up stories about what they're doing or thinking, add a wonderland of levity and light to their little lives. We illustrate with our words, appreciate with our eyes and connect with our hearts. Anthropomorphism at its best.
What we really want to know is - what stories do they conjure about us?
Congratulations, Molly and Dotty! Wonder Mike and Lilly drew your names out of a bag of treats - you're the winners of the June Reader Giveaway! Watch your mailboxes for a little original art coming your way. And thanks SO MUCH for participating!
About the art: the AI bot loves the Queen of Hearts. It has a way of making her quite frightening and imposing, if you give it enough words. Beginning with a soft pencil grid and adding a rough sketch, I placed a wash of thinned oil paint on the background. Then working from the face outward and gradually deepening the darks, making sure to keep blending the colors enough to mute them into this rather renaissance color palette. Ending with the hair, which was created with very thin paint and a round brush lightly held near the long end, dragged and rotated simultaneously to create a dreadlock/coil effect. She's beastly, and I kind of adore her.
The Alices are restless.
They want to be released into the world, so here we are, tumbling down the rabbit hole into a story of multitudinous meanings and a heaping helping of malarkey. The combination is quite irresistible.
Congratulations to Dotty, Robyn and Niki! Your comments about transformation landed you in the winner's circle, where Wonder Mike and Lilly insisted you all win an original piece of art. Hooray! Send you mailing address to the shipping hounds at email@example.com and your treasures will be on the way. Thank you so much for your participation!
There is a new Reader Giveaway each month this year...stay tuned for June's giveaway - coming soon!
I have always been dazzled by transformation.
Whether it was rearranging the living room furniture as a kid (which my mother, for some reason, never minded), painting a wall, cutting off (or growing out) my hair, even simply pulling weeds to make a patch of the garden look better - something about transformation makes my eyes light up. I understand Marie Kondo's desire to tidy. Except I see it as magic. Perhaps it is the hope that accompanies visible change. If I can change this small thing, maybe I can also influence that big thing to be different. And by different, I mean better. Safer. Happier. Rut-less.
And, well, if you want to go all out, you can always change your name. :)
It's time for the May Reader Giveaway! Leave a comment below describing a moment of transformation (or the hope of one to come) in your life. One (or more) lucky reader (s) will be drawn at random by the giveaway team of Wonder Mike and Lilly to receive a small piece of original art. Hooray!
Coming soon! A Song for the Hunted, a new collaborative on-line show with the amazing mosaic artist, Helaine Abramson. Details and sneak peeks coming in June. Get ready to get WILD!