It took two days to complete. Two days of breathing deeply and allowing the muse to guide me.(In case you’re wondering, I’m referring to the finished journal page above.)
It’s hard. The letting go of expectations, of the need to ‘make pretty things’ and just be present within the process, allowing what wants to be revealed to appear in its own way.
It’s hard. But it’s worth it when it happens.
Not necessarily because the finished piece is ‘beautiful’ by artistic standards. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t.
The ‘worth it’ comes in the sense of peace and calm that envelopes and holds me in tender arms of gratitude and grace.
Gratitude because in the process of unfolding I release the goal of ‘making art’ to my heart’s yearning to allow the art within me to become me. In its revealing nature, I discover hidden (to me) pockets of creativity, desire, whimsy, curiosity, wonder…
Grace because while immersed in the process I feel myself carried gently along a colourful stream of creative energy that feels singular to me yet is deeply connected to the collective consciousness of all of life.
And, because when I am flowing with the stream, worrisome thoughts of self-criticism, judgement, negativity, ‘the future’, ‘why am I doing this?’ effortlessly float away, setting me free to simply Be. Here. Now.
It is divine.
This place where I allow without pushing, accept without resisting, embrace without holding on, become without doing.
And then I smile.
Because I really, really want to explain this piece which is quite different in many ways than my normal work…
Because… out of the flow, my critical mind looks at the piece and says… Hmmm… you know you could have taken the stems off the dried flowers before you glued them in. Oh. And do you think the bottom half is cohesive with the top? They’re such different styles. And, seriously Louise, what is this piece all about?
I am a ‘meaning-maker’. If you’ve hung around my blog long enough, you know that I love to dive into the inner self and shine a light on its secrets, mystery and beauty. It is as natural to me as breathing.
When I made ‘the decision’ to include the dried flowers in the page I was a bit surprised but, as I was in the flow, I let it happen.
Plus, I have a stash of dried flowers from summers’ past and now felt like a good time to use some. The photo has been sitting on the edge of my studio table for months. Seriously months. It was on a card I’d bought a couple of years ago, unearthed when I was cleaning up my studio one day. I don’t often use other peoples photos in my work but this one has intrigued me for so long I decided to use it along with some of my dried flowers. It’s a blend of a very different look and feel for me as well as part ‘Oh. This is my style too’ (I paint botanicals a lot into my pages) — It felt wonderful to step outside my comfort zone and play fearlessly.
As I kept working on the page, I could also feel my ‘thinking’ mind’s questioning of what on earth was I doing?
Time and time again throughout the two days of working on this journal page, I had to bring myself back into the flow by repeating quietly to myself…
Breathe… Be. Here. Now. Breathe… Be. Here. Now.
The quote appeared once I was finished. Somewhere deep within me, is a sense of the threads of time appearing like pearls in a necklace. Polished by time and the sea and the tide flowing in and out and over and into an oyster’s shell, that little speck of dirt grating against its body transforms into something of beauty.
Like the dried flowers. Perhaps they were once part of a posy the woman held in her hands as she sat waiting for her lover to appear in the night…
And so… when I was done and closed my eyes and held my hands upon the page, its essence appeared in the words written on the lefthand side.
.”Like flowers preserved behind glass, her story wove strands of beauty throughout time.”