Gorilla House LIVE ART Battle: December 12, 2012

Another cold and blustery night…somewhere around -23 degrees.  Believe it or not, Max and I headed out to the off leash park and played several rounds of whizzo (frisbee) before his feet got cold and I felt the bite of the icy wind.  When we returned home, I went out to the studio and prepped my panel with the application of a layer of brown paper, crumpled, dunked into water and then applied with gloss medium. This would give me an interesting surface to work with and would dry nicely before the start of the battle.  Sometimes (like last week) I find two hours is just NOT enough time for my process…too many steps…so, the prep on the panel removes some anxiety.

Before I left, I cooked up a can of beans and served them on toast, along with a fried egg and sliced tomato.  There is nothing like a substantial supper-hour breakfast to make you feel energized.  I headed out into the wintry night with my panel and art supplies.  The Gorilla House and good friends were waiting.

The themes of the evening were 1. Yes and 2. Genius.  I chose to focus on the affirmation.  I have been processing/incubating a concept around Fibonacci and his ‘magical’ Rabbit sequence.  I have been conceptualizing about a series of rabbit paintings.  I’ve been drawing them…a bit of painting…but most of all, getting the content ready around this body of work.  YES!!!

Fibonacci’s Sequence and Rabbits!

The rabbit, itself, has been an image/symbol that’s come up for me a lot in life…and in dreams. I will try, at some point, to find a link to former blog posts on this subject (afterall, I’ve been writing since 2005…there has to be something here about my thing for rabbits) HERE. Rabbits find their way into a complex system of tunnels and can manage their way through these sorts of cave dwellings.  Wild rabbits (and my series will feature domesticated rabbits released into the wild) naturally change colour with the seasons.  At times, they seem to offer themselves as food for prey such as coyotes and the like.  Within them, there is the sense of surrender…also, the sense of YES.

I chose as an underpinning for this painting, the Sylvia Plath poem, The Rabbit Catcher.

It was a place of force—
The wind gagging my mouth with my own blown hair,
Tearing off my voice, and the sea
Blinding me with its lights, the lives of the dead
Unreeling in it, spreading like oil.

I tasted the malignity of the gorse,
Its black spikes,
The extreme unction of its yellow candle-flowers.
They had an efficiency, a great beauty,
And were extravagant, like torture.

There was only one place to get to.
Simmering, perfumed,
The paths narrowed into the hollow.
And the snares almost effaced themselves—
Zeros, shutting on nothing,

Set close, like birth pangs.
The absence of shrieks
Made a hole in the hot day, a vacancy.
The glassy light was a clear wall,
The thickets quiet.

I felt a still busyness, an intent.
I felt hands round a tea mug, dull, blunt,
Ringing the white china.
How they awaited him, those little deaths!
They waited like sweethearts. They excited him.

And we, too, had a relationship—
Tight wires between us,
Pegs too deep to uproot, and a mind like a ring
Sliding shut on some quick thing,
The constriction killing me also.

A powerful, but dark poem, students of English have analyzed this work and other poems by Sylvia Plath with great interest and curiosity over the years.  She was a wonder of a writer who looked carefully at the most ordinary moments in a woman’s day and her struggle to love and be loved.  Fundamentally, I was looking at the feminine ‘YES’ as I painted.

Thank you to Ann, for generously purchasing this painting at auction.  And it was great to have Rylan join us for the battle last night.  I’m including a photo of his work here.

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Rylan's Work: Charcoal on raw canvas.

Rylan’s Work: Charcoal on raw canvas.

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Lectio Divina: “The World Does Not Know You”

I Find Him Walking On Water…The Crowds Do Not Notice

 

Crossing the Water

by Sylvia Plath

Black lake, black boat, two black, cut-paper people.
Where do the black trees go that drink here?
Their shadows must cover Canada.

A little light is filtering from the water flowers.
Their leaves do not wish us to hurry:
They are round and flat and full of dark advice.

Cold worlds shake from the oar.
The spirit of blackness is in us, it is in the fishes.
A snag is lifting a valedictory, pale hand;

Stars open among the lilies.
Are you not blinded by such expressionless sirens?
This is the silence of astounded souls