Paul North Waters linked elements in this painting to Delacroix’s, Liberty Leading the People:
“Reminds me of the French Revolution! There’s even the French flag (albeit colors reversed) in your painting!”
I consider my painting, “An Act of Independence!”
I Love Delacroix… I think we share strong emotions and freedom of expression. I have been tortured in my approach to this canvas, and surprised to see much gray tonality show up, but it’s balancing the brighter hues.
The composition has gone through so many changes since a dream I had months ago initiated this work. Breathing in angst.
Vic Vollrath wrote:
“Beautiful piece Nicole! Three words – life, order, chaos. One can see these three words in any order referenced by your painting. One can see order in what might at first appear to be chaos and within that order is life emerging. Or, as order disintegrates into chaos, life is extinguished. The viewpoint is dependent upon the optimism or pessimism of the individual.”
My thanks to both Friends for their interest and response to my work… it’s very much appreciated.
Doors inside out. The occupants never thought of them; instead they thought of boxes. The ones piled up too high behind the locker door made of corrugated metal, and heavy, and blue grey, with a cold past squeezing out from around it. This was really a solid gate, not a door.
Real doors were warm and wooden and painted red like the ones on the front of heritage homes. That’s the best color for a door because it shows off a Christmas wreath just right. It draws attention to its structure and co-ordinates well with a black wrought iron mailbox. The lawn is happy with a complimentary splash of color.
Birds find it cheerful, and the loud rumblings heard coming from behind it; the angry voices, the shouting seem even more violent when passing through the scarlet wound of the house. If the door were made of glass, one wonders if the occupants would be quieter and reflective. Who made a decision to inflame the door; and when was it so.
I was stirring the oatmeal this morning and christened the 50+ year old stainless steel Paul Revere pot, “The Red River Pot.” I chose this name because my Dad cooked Red River cereal for himself each morning in it. I suppose I could have co-termed it the “Campbell’s Soup Pot” in fairness to Mum and the many hundreds of tins of Campbell’s she heated in this sturdy vessel.
If I take 365 days a year and multiply them by 20 years I have eaten 7300 bowls of Campbell’s soups. I have not yet mentioned I was allergic to the great quantities of sodium laced into these soups. These caused me to experience, “soup rage.” I became unhinged after each serving but we all thought these out-rages were just part of me being Nicole and OD’ing on drama classes at school. It was when I terminated conventional and manufactured foods from my diet that the reason for my reactions became quite clear = allergic! to chemicals, additives, and preservatives.
When I cook oatmeal I take my time licking the wooden spoon after filling our bowls with the sticky, nutty, batter-like organic cereal. Blueberries, bananas, maple syrup, and cream: perfect!
Listening to CHQM-FM and a country singer, a neighbor of Johnny Cash, is singing a song of tribute to him. The singer says he loves crows; and Johnny Cash dressed like one! This made me laugh.
When I’m up late in here filling in this book I feel like I’ve kindled my special powers. I consider this time, “The Witching Hour:” my witching hour. It’s dark and raining. I’ve turned on the heat. A black figure reels down an inky Seawalk with a silver path from overhead lighting the walk under his feet. An orange umbrella appears like a gigantic flower moving in the black air.
Thanking my unconscious mind for these permissive ideas.
Eating lunch with a friend at 3:30 p.m. in Capers Courtyard on Fourth Avenue yesterday. Two pigeons strutted around the table and between our feet. I noticed they had black toenails at the end of their red toes and legs. This is very dramatic and beautiful. I feel I need coral red fingernails with jet black tips: very Zen!! Now here I think the next Fashion Movement will be a ‘Zen’ look. I could do one: Paper, water blue, soft jade green, moonlight, horizontal planes, 7″ x 7″ proportions, whispers. Nothingness, lightness, being (3 stages of birth)… I like my new concept.
What else comes from my Zen? Bowls, trees, discs, flow, chromium yellow and wine-stain red, high altitudes/attitudes, thinness, sticks, stones, smoothness, waving, layers, reduction, balance, harmony zones: The Zen Zone; how would that look? How would I combine the colors?
One stroke on a brass gong: a single strike against a brass gong!
Tastes like pepperment: Peppermint Zen.
Smells like cinnamon-sea air.
Feels like mountain (Whistler) wind.
The energy of a horse’s mane in the air as it gallops, the flames of a fire (fire flame), a bird wing fanned out (against) or into the wind.
I like these images.
My “imagineered” design style is a place where Zen and Clutter Meet.
The swell of the waves makes my thighs quiver and my lower body feels sensations taking in the movement of the sea. The Shangri-La thrusts above the headland.
A deep pink geranium sits pretty in the black cast iron urn near my feet silently dropping her petals as she too admires the whitecaps. A dainty sophisticate, the geranium has an oriental lily pad leaf anchoring an English flower and bud with small petals, fanning out a saturated hue against clouds swollen with shadows leaning along the sky in layers.
The icy wind is bending tree branches and whirring the stalks of shrubs into a frenzy. The Seawalkers keep their collars up and kleenex under their noses as they brace their steps for the next burst of cold air breaking over them. Long scarves twirl and leap outward in a scatter-brained dance.
The train tracks creak, dogs yip and howl.
My feet are cold, as is my tea, and yet it is mesmerizing to sit in the midst of it all. A lone gull is being blown blocks out of his way by the next forceful blow of the wind. He’s drawn across roof and tree tops and sent soaring away from the water toward the hard blue mountains.
A steady grumble makes its way through the leaky windows and the canvas awnings flap furiously against the current.
Without warning leaves are blown inside out revealing their naked light side. The logs sitting atop the giant granite boulders lining the walk thunk, thunk, in repetition. All is divine as blue sky and tips of sunlight foreshadow a heavenly day.
Now the sun comes out to spoil me warming my bare feet resting on the tile floor. The rays are blinding as they reflect off the water and the surface of the sea glitters in madcap fashion. Sunlight is pulled back and in ten breaths I see only a glare as the seagulls wail mournfully. The sun is back, in the completion of a sentence, playing hide and seek with me. I have to squint hard against it.
More people are out walking now. The path becomes a medley of color: mauve, red, blue, pink, white, gold, black, navy, tan: the colors of our clothing, our cars, and our floral arrangements.
The walk has emptied, my tea is drained, I leave the solarium in peace having read a few more pages from Louise Erdrich’s book, “The Blue Jay’s Dance.” A Birth Year. Exquisite, lyrical prose by a Best-Selling Author, Mother, Observer of Nature and Poet. These little vignettes are “unpredictable and unforgettable.” The mundane of everyday life is rendered marvelous!
Once back in the kitchen I look out and see the arbutus tree waving wildly in the wind. My concern is for the crow who built her nest in a strong fork of one of the branches. I can see vaguely through the blossoms that she’s home by a small glimpse of her shiny black feathers. The tree is caught up in a baby hurricane and I think of the bird mother having morning sickness in the dizzying gale. If the eggs aren’t scrambled by the time the wind ceases the birdlings will be born remembering this psychedelic drama in their incubation. All day I fret over whether the nest will weather the storm.
I had watched the nest being built and the crow had a mate helping to weave each thoughtfully chosen strand of material into a new home. Many trips were made carrying puffs of something white and fluffy. Normally the nest rests in utopia almost hidden by the thick and lavish white flowers and green leaves of the arbutus tree; a floral-lined loft. By sunset the scene turned calm, the five-hour power outage was repaired, and I had the kettle back on. I was extremely grateful for electricity, a safe nest, and all the energetic forces of Mother Nature purifying the air we breathe. The electric heat is back on, the fridge is cold again, and the food didn’t spoil. So what if the computer wouldn’t work, I got this written anyway… by hand and heart.
Susanna Ruebsaat, my Art Therapy teacher, reads a paragraph from “Wisdom of the Psyche,” by Ginette Paris who was one of her teachers at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California. Paris wrote this after recovering from a very serious head injury.
“Love of One’s Fate: Amor Fati; a love of one’s story.
I’m a participant in my own drama! A love of what is.
Even my messes are my own. I’m able to feel.”
A love of what is and a love of what is becoming.
Know the form in which one’s destiny unfolds.
This form of psychological creativity eventually leads to what the ancients call: Amor fati.
Dionysian attitude: A desire to know the specific form in which one’s destiny unfolds.
Loving Your Life: “How could it be other-wise.” (N.R. Rigets)
Susanna refers to my clay sculptures and mentions how my first was so rough and my second was so smooth. Yes, there is an amazing contrast (and contract) between the 2 female forms.
I respond with, “Life is rough and as I practice life it becomes smoother.”
Acceptance of what is and love of what it is becoming.
Zilli rifled through the pages of her journal looking over her writing. There were only six empty pages, and then she’d slip into a new one, with a cover decorated in dried and pressed flowers. This Spring flowers would embellish every outfit and accessory. Zilli kept an eye on the NYT fashion pages and felt gutsy knowing she would be wearing her jeans with a wardrobe of striped shirts this season. Full of confidence she chose to peruse a two year old entry from her journal written at a time when she wondered if she’d ever write for publication. Here’s how it went:
A stay-at-home Saturday last week; Zilli’s favorite. Sleep in, love up, afterglow (pink apple cheeks), oatmeal with fresh blueberries and strawberry applesauce, brush teeth, climb back onto bed beside Mac, admire the view, the birds, the white sail sailboats, start to read, fall asleep in the Saturday sunlight with some of the windows open to the sea breeze, wake up one and a half hours later, make lunch; big plate of fruit using one pear that tasted like liquor, a cara cara orange, grapefruit, cameo apple, and a mandarin orange…
Zilli and Mac ate sunflower seed butter on ancient grains bread made with spelt and kamut, lightly black salted, and served open face. The French music radio station played fifties jazz. Incongruous as it seems, Zilli started to knit the pink mohair pullover she’d seen displayed at the wool shop in her neighborhood. Four double-size cotton candy balls of wool, bamboo needles, and a printout of the pattern were tucked into a clear plastic bag with a black shoulder strap and a smile. The only reason Zilli knew how to knit was due to her maternal grandmother who the family called, “Chickie,” so Zilli and her younger brother did too. Chickie made heavy wool jackets with zippers up the front for each member of the family. The Canadiana-style patterns always included snowflakes, deer, or elk on either side of the zipper; each above a knit pocket, and below a full collar. The jackets became a trend; smart looking, warm and beautifully made. Quite the opposite of the relationship occurring between Zilli’s parents. The more the tension increased the more Chick knit, and knit, and the relationship still came unravelled.
The daylight dimmed and Zilli got up and washed all the dishes including the ones used the night before. Why, she wondered could she not keep up with cooking and cleaning the way other people do? This transitive thought did not stop her from making snacks for the movie at eight, her choice: “American Cousins.” She couldn’t remember it now but had written, “loved it,” at the time. She washed her face, made triphala tea, and sat down to write thinking maybe she should write for other people and stop writing for herself. Perhaps that’s waylaid thinking: Zilli wondered if that was the reason her blue pen got damaged and had to be returned to France for reconditioning. Very little had been written in her journal since she decided to stop whining in it. Zilli stopped writing down her dreams once she noticed them becoming repetitious. She was dreaming a lot but not taking a pad to bed to capture them.
It’s been suggested that a person write for 5 minutes as soon as they wake up. She would try that for a change. Change is what she felt she was about now. Finally the old habits of mind just don’t work any more; they were stalling her and she knew it. In order to gear up for progress in life a person has to think new, be fresh, open and eager to be the change they’ve made. “Be the change I’ve made!!” said Zilli to herself. She came across a directive in a small coiled book from 2002 telling her to write a story and it wouldn’t have to be a story about her. She gave this some serious thought. She would buy a book, any drama in print, and alter the cover. This would be her story: appropriated, altered on the outside, and just like any other on the inside.
Satisfied with herself she got out her handbag, daubed some glue on the front and stuck an old metal belt buckle to it. That would do until she went shopping in the morning for faux flowers to attach in a frame-like manner around the ornament. The keys to the Benz glinted against the white marble countertop, they knew Zilli would take them for a drive tomorrow.