How lucky I am that I have the opportunity to listen to Sera Beak talk tonight in my little town of Charleston, SC. I am fortunate to have been included in the impressive list of artists for the exhibition RealEyes, which will be having an opening reception right before Sera speaks. This is all happening at 103 Logan Street in Charleston starting at 5:30pm. The combination of these artworks, the mingling of Charlestonians, and experiencing the conversation with this “spiritual cowgirl” is adding up to an enlightening evening. As she says in her book…
“You are not here to play it safe. You are here to start fires.” – The Red Book
Here is her description of her talk tonight. I believe there are still tickets available. GoHERE to register. This is all sponsored by the INCREDIBLESophia Institute.
Soul Fire: A Talk and Conversation with Sera Beak about the Feminine Divine
“The loss of soul connection, loss of connection to our femininity, may be the real cause of our anguished condition”
- Marion Woodman
Most of us our only acquainted with the upper half of the Universe, our masculine Spirit, and this planet is suffering as a result. It’s time to go downtown with out divinity and get up close and personal with the Universe’s other half (and some might even say “better half” depending on what’s going on in their lives), our feminine Soul. Our divine feminine Soul holds our true purpose, that which will unleash our creativity, jump start our red hearts, set our eyelashes on fire and help us be of greater service. Our soul is extraordinarily essential to recognize, embrace, and share for our entire planet’s evolution, but reacquainting ourselves with our Soul is not always an easy process. In this fiery, humorous and intimate talk, Sera shares invigorating research from her forthcoming book, Redvolution: Unleashing the Red Hot and Holy Feminine, and her personal story of learning how to voice her Soul and walk her divine feminine talk.
I wanted to take a moment to share a book that Laura and I are currently reading. It is written by the internationally know choreographer Twyla Tharp titled The Collaborative Habit; Life Lessons For Working Together. Laura and I both have her previous book titled The Creative Habit which we agreed to go back and revisit at a later date. For now, we are delighted to have found this book because it speaks directly the importance of the work we have done and will do in this collaborative blog. Not only is she to be admired as a pioneer for women in the arts (all of whom we owe thanks for paving the road for us today- I will be touching on more women artists this year in my posts), but also for how she articulates the process of an artist’s life.
So far, I have only read up to page 13, but already I have many dog eared pages and underlined sentences (I am sure you do too Laura). Here is one quote to give you all a sense of what the book is about:
“…more and more of us are realizing that the brilliant CEO, the politician who keeps his own counsel, and the lone hero are yesterday’s role models. The media may still love them, but our new heroes are men and women who know how to gather allies, build teams, and work together toward shared goals. Name an enterprise, and you will find levels of collaboration that were unthinkable just a few years ago. The real success stories of our time are about joint efforts: sports teams, political campaigns, businesses, causes.” -pg. 7
If anyone else is reading this book at the moment, drop us a line about what you think of it. We will do the same as we dive into her book further. Happy reading!
Since much of our focus is on the creative process and collaboration I thought I would share how this takes place in the classroom. Yesterday I was blown away by what my students (friends) brought in to share for the “Fearless Sketchjournaling” class I am teaching at the Mystic Arts Center. As you know my believe as an educator is that everyone has something unique to share, individual to their experiences. If we are open we have the ability to stretch ourselves to widen our perspective and grow beyond what we presently know. This could be artists we had never heard of like John Haberie or Sandra Allen, quotes, places to visit, museums, galleries and the list goes on. Trying to create a forum for this in my classes I invited my students (friends) to bring in things they came across during the week that have inspired them. Here are a some of the great resources they shared. I can feel new books coming to the bookshelf…
http://www.robertgenn.com/A letter was shared from the twice-weekly letters this artist writes. It was inspiring enough for me to subscribe myself.
*I will be sure to share more resources as they come about and would love to know any inspiration you found this week and continue “collaborating.”
Cheery Smiles, Laura
“Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviors, keep your behaviors positive because your behaviors become your habits, keep your habits positive because your habits become your values, keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” ~Mohatma Gandi
This ReVision was created as a reflection of when our art practices are challenged by finances, outside pressures, and inner critics. I am reading A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward An Undivided Life by Parker J. Palmer and came across this quote:
“Jack pines…are not lumber trees (and they) won’t win many beauty contest either. But to me this valiant old tree, solitary on its own rocky point, is as beautiful as a living thing can be…In the calligraphy of its shape against the sky is written strength of character and perseverance, survival of wind, drought, cold, heat, disease…In its silence it speaks of …wholeness…an integrity that comes from being what you are.” -Douglas Wood
Also, notice how the image in the center of the heart came from your painting in our collaborative book?
Laura ReVison 2, 6-19-09
Your Vision post of the bread and soup reminded me of the warmth and comfort of a handmade quilt on a chilly day. The time we spend sharing the seemingly ordinary things are often the most extraordinary. As I was working I thought about crazy quilt patterns and the random, fragmentation of life.
I was listening to a podcast put out by “To The Best of Our Knowledge” by Public Radio International and thought of you. It is titled “Sense of Place” http://www.wpr.org/book/090524A.cfm Terry Tempest Williams is one of my favorite authors who writes about her sense of place and is interviewed on the show. I enjoyed her writing in the book Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place and how she used the metaphor of the birds and rhythms of the earth as a reflection of her personal despair and joy. This seems to relate to our work together since we have been creating with the metaphor of birds. There is also an interesting discussion about the art of walking. I want to start walking, much like what you do at the Bluff. You had asked in our collaborative book about what birds I see in my neighborhood, guessing that I see egrets. On a walk around the pond on my street I caught this egret (and a heron) with my camera.
Walking appeals to me because it offers the opportunity to teach myself to be in the present moment (rather than my past or future), understand the land’s history, and experience a sense of peace and quiet (which is rare in a house with two young boys!).
Tell me about your walks and post a picture of something that has inspired you to enjoy the present moment.
I am sending out our book tomorrow. I was going to post a picture of it, but I would like you to post a picture when you get it and tell me about your response to it. The page I created is dedicated to wishes and hopes.
I have thought a lot about our collaborative work in the last few days. Questions emerged from this thought regarding what this new format means to us as artists. How can we go deeper into our own understanding of the work? I have resolved, it will come from our continuous reflection of the work and the moments of introspection in between our exchange.
Being somewhat lax in the writing department has given me an opportunity to ask myself why I have been. As you know, I am not usually at a loss for words. I have no problem spending hours on the phone with you talking about our work, so why the hesitation? My first inclination was to simply blame it on the lack of time, or the fact I struggle with writing. Only when I went deeper was I able to identify my fear of the unknown audience. I became gravely aware of my ego, which does a good job of comparing myself to others. What I should have been doing is appreciating the wonderful things that propel our work and make it stimulating and unique. I believe the candid, authentic thought we share, combined with observation, practice, inquiry and our dedication to the process of creating are at the root of our work. Now that I am conscious of this, I can do my best to push my inner critics aside.
I have learned without the time to reflect (and this goes for all areas of my life) my thoughts scatter in the wind like the dandelion seeds on my lawn, forever dispersed. Writing forces me to clarify my thoughts and really say what I mean. It is not that I don’t do this normally, it is just that making my thoughts public holds me accountable in a different way than the easy going conversation we share. Who am I writing for anyway? The conclusion I have come to is, I am writing for the same reason we work on our collaboration and why we feel the need to create. It is to go deeper, to stretch and reach places within ourselves we may not have known otherwise. Writing for this blog is also a place to share our wonderful friendship and document our evolution as artists, writers and thinkers. There will always be people who won’t appreciate our perspective, our art or both and we need to remember those opinions are not why we create. I am going to take responsibility for my own happiness, just like you mentioned in your last entry. Sending you cheery thoughts for a spectacular long weekend! …L
I am sitting down after a good day in the studio with some tea and cookies. Yum… In reading about the gallery show you saw, I flipped back to the beginning of Daniel Pink’s book. He says:
“Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, Meaning. These six senses increasingly will guide our lives and shape our world….The high-concept, high-touch abilities that now matter most are fundamentally human attributes. After all, back on the savannah, our cave-person ancestors weren’t taking SATs or plugging numbers into spreadsheets. They were telling stories, demonstrating empathy, and designing innovations. These abilities have always comprised part of what it means to be human. But after a few generations in the information Age, thse muscles have atrophied.” (Pink 67)
Whenever I feel lost in all the information and situation that surrounds me I try to zoom out, just like Pink does here, and put everything into a wide-lens perspective of time. I think the elderly are invisible in our society, just as that artist addressed, and I dread heading there in the future. I think women and children can to often be invisible too. This goes back to my post about listening. Now, in this Conceptual Age we are entering, listening to a variety of voices is the most important thing we can do to get moving into the future. In my research for my current series of work (thanks for all the positive feedback on that in your earlier post) I came across an interview with Deborah Meier by Mike Seymour (in the book Educating For Humanity). They said that children to “liberate the gifts of mind and the hearts of kids…requires families and teachers to listen carefully so that children know they have been heard…They know they and their ideas are being treated with respect”. (Seymour 77)
This blog is continuing our story and how we are making “meaning” in the world through our own way of creating with stories and materials that we whip up into art. I like that we are able to put our voices out in the world without filters or rules. I wonder how the internet is going to change who is being heard, who listens, and who speaks. In ten years I wonder how our world will change with so many voices “out there”.
I really enjoyed reading how you connected your lemons with your life experiences. Let’s share some pictures about what we are doing in our studios. I will post mine tomorrow because i forgot my camera. In the meantime here is a picture of what winter looks like here. I am off to drink my tea and eat my cookies…. Tina
Daniel Pink has moved me as well. I feel a new sense of optimism and excitement about the future thinking about what he calls, “The Conceptual Age”. The quote you cited, reminded me of Brain Andreas’s Story People and the quote you have by him in your home. (Can you remind me of it?) I just visited the Story People website to try to find it, and was enlivened by the “about us” section. It stated, “We believe (fiercely) in the power of stories, not because they’re our stories, but because it is valuable & right to protect the precious connections between people.” The work that they create through this company has always resonated me for it’s whimsy, lightheartedness, color and ability to make connections to the everyday.
You spoke about my work in terms of storytelling. It is funny because I had never really thought of my work as being about stories. Your comment put a new spin on the way I think about it. It made me ponder the stories held in each moment. As you know I have always been interested in how people relate to one another, and what can be learned from “the conversation,” yet I wondered how this was actually translating into my recent work. I have realized there is always a story, even if it isn’t obvious at first. For example, I recently painted some lemons and wondered about the content being too “fluffy,” and whether it was “real art.” I had been thinking about the “meaning” behind the lemons and grappling with my “intentions.” My initial attraction was their bright color against the cold backdrop of the New England winter, along with the fact I had been squeezing them for days to make a homeopathic tea for my dear, sick husband. While painting, I thought about being on the cruise over Christmas and how the staff on the ship would always bring my father-in-law, wedges of limes, instead of lemons for his scotch. This made me laugh, so I made a card for him with the lemon on it, reading, “not a lime” on the inside. This small series also reminded me of my friend Sue. She had recently gone to Italy and brought me back a lovely lemon wine cork from her trip. I realized I had some wrapping paper with a map of Italy left over from a gift Brett had given me so I collaged one of the lemon paintings with this paper along with some other items. Your comment made me realize the connections I was making trough story, however fragmented it may seem. I didn’t see how these things connected until I stepped back from it. All of these things came back to my ongoing inquiry of moments and the time we share together. Our time is fragmented and scattered, much like this new work could be perceived. Creating it helped me reflect and make connections. I realized how it is up to each of us to pause and reflect in order to create meaning from this world. We make connections through our stories and without sharing them, they are lost. This personal search for meaning that Daniel Pink refers to has helped validate my work. I feel less alone somehow, which is why I think having you to share this conversation with me has meant so much. Our dialog has enlivened my life and brought a richness and depth that I treasure.
One of the reasons I love your work, and believe it is so strong is due to the content of the visual story you are telling. Your series of boxes allows the viewer to think about their own connection to the words on the outside of each box. All of the imagery on the inside allows one to bond in a very intentional way, while addressing some of the larger issues of our culture. You do this without bombarding us with facts and figures and in turn, give us a point of entry that is accessible and not oversaturated. This is one of the many things that resonates with me when I view your work. I cannot help but think about your inquiry and view on the “no child left behind act,” which your work addresses, yet is subtle and poignant. Daniel Pink stated, “When facts become so widely available and instantly accessible, each one becomes less valuable. What begins to matter more is the ability to place these facts in context and to deliver them with emotional impact.” (p.103) Your work does this so well! Do you think your work has always been about storytelling?
Creative exercise: mini-saga~yes! About Goddard~could be enlightening! Let’s talk some more soon.
Daniel Pink has moved me to think of the future very differently. I have a lot to say about the beginning of the book, but let me just write my thoughts about Story for a minute. This quote reminded me of our separate art practices, but also when our art has come together in collaboration like the past two years: (this quote starts by him explaining how people are searching for personal meaning) “What these efforts reveal is a hunger for what stories can provide-context enriched by emotion, a deeper understanding of how we fit in a why that matters. The Conceptual Age can remind us what has always been true but rarely been acted upon-that we must listen to each others stories and that we are each the authors of our own lives” Pg. 115
I thought of you because a big piece of your art practice is about stories and relationships. What do you think about what he says here and how it relates to what you do in your studio?
I also like his ‘portfolio’ sections with added information on how people are currently engaging in what he is discussing. How great would that be to record a StoryCorps session together! We will have to do that next time we go to NYC. I also liked the idea of writing a ‘mini-saga’ (in 50 words or less). Do you want to do that about our Goddard experience or something like that? It would be a great creative writing exercise.
I also thought it was great when he said “Listening, after all, is an act of love”. This gets at the whole “story” idea he is talking about. You do not have stories if no one listens. Listening takes time. As I move about my week I am going to be more aware about when I listen and when I do not. Today, I was not a good listener with my very long To-Do list and two busy kids nipping at my heels to play. I will be better tomorrow. I will listen and love more tomorrow.