Sunday, November 18, 2018

Bloomington Holiday Market



The holiday season is fast approaching and one of the nicest things about it are the local art fairs.  The Bloomington area is blessed with an abundance of artists and fine craftspersons.   I'll be joining many of them at the Bloomington Holiday Market at the Showers Building [City Hall] next weekend.

Saturday, November 24  10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Robin Edmundson, Watercolors
Booth #21,  Showers Building, downstairs


Please stop in a say hello!   I'll have original watercolor paintings, prints and a few notecards.  

© Robin Edmundson, watercolor,  'Burning the bales, clearing the fencerows',
10 x 14 inches.   $375.     [Framed:  18 x 22 inches]

I'll be bringing this piece - it's one of my favorites.  If there's something specific that you'd like to see in person, let me know and I'll make sure it's there.



Sunday, November 11, 2018

Messy

I've been doing some art journaling this month in the style of Amanda Grace.  It's been a strangely addictive and satisfying process.

At the beginning I felt an equal amount of pull and resistance to the idea.   I had  a strong feeling that this was something that would be healing for me and an equally strong fear that I wouldn't do it right and that it would be ugly and reveal how ugly I am inside [which is why journaling is not something I do much in the first place]

I decided to yield to the pull, so I got some white and black gesso, some crackle paste and a set of  acrylic paints.  Everything else has come from my collection of materials for scrapbooking and altered books.

The first page was terrifying. I posted it on Amanda's facebook page just to have someone else witness that I'd at least tried... and bless them, they witnessed.

As I work on the pages, I find that I dive in with my fingers, testing to see if things are dry, smearing the gesso and color around, getting glue stick all over everything.   I don't like messy, sticky fingers, and I wash them a lot, but two minutes later I find I'm finger-painting yet again.   It's a bit like meditation, I suppose - the mind drifts, then you keep coming back to center.   I realized that 'messy' is the center I need to keep coming back to for now.

My intention for this journal is to explore my anger and though I find it very unattractive, Amanda suggested that I just explore it and leave the 'unattractive' label aside for now.   She gave me permission to go there, explore and express without judgment and I am taking her advice.

For now I do the messy work of getting to know the nuances of that part of myself and in doing so, I find that I am creating a refuge for myself.

It turns out that 'messy' can be very healing.   


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Transformation


Happy Halloween!   Halloween was set on the traditional date of the old Celtic celebration, Samhain [pronounced SOW-en].   It's the season of shadows and spirits and transformations of all kinds.

I've been reading Thich Nhat Hahn's book, You Are Here, in which he talks about exploring our shadow self, the darker, less socially acceptable parts of ourselves that we are quick to hide and slow to acknowledge.

His advice was elegant.   Allow yourself to witness the shadow parts of ourselves.  Just notice and witness.  There is no need to banish them, because they are an important part of who we are, and all things can be transformed.  He says,
'In Buddhist meditation, you do not turn yourself into a battlefield, with good fighting against evil.  Both sides belong to you, the good and the evil. Evil can be transformed into good and vice versa.' 
Transformed. You do not have to destroy part of yourself, you only need to find a way to transform it.  The energy is still there, but changes form.  Shape-shifting energy.  And as it changes shape, it can do different things. 

I am taking today to witness my shadow self and then identify those areas that can be transformed into something more useful.  For example, I have been witnessing in myself a lot of anger.  Instead of being upset with myself for harboring so much deep anger [nice people aren't supposed to be angry], I am simply noticing it.  All of it.  I asked myself what that anger can be transformed into that would serve me better and after considering it for a time, I realized that my anger is an excellent tool for reminding me where my boundaries are or ought to be. 

Today I will honor my anger and turn it into a tool for helping me establish and honor better boundaries - something that has traditionally been a weak area for me.  This way I can witness my shadow self without being ashamed and without becoming a battlefield.  I honor my anger and I honor my boundaries.  That feels really good.

Happy Halloween!   Blessed Samhain!


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Exhibit: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology




Happy Fall, Everyone!    If you're in the Terre Haute, Indiana area, you need to stop by and see this show hanging at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology from now until December 20.   The show is hanging in the main halls of Moench Hall 1st and 2nd floors. 

I am so pleased to have my work hanging with the work of these other artists.  They are intelligent, articulate and inspiring.   Well worth the trip!

Last week, we attended the artist reception at the show and it was a delight to meet the other artists and many of the faculty and students who came through.  I am pleased to have three new collectors from this show.

One of the most wonderful things about Rose-Hulman is the evident appreciation for art.  They have a spectacular art collection, including one of my favorite watercolorists - D. Omer Seaman - and the halls are always hung with interesting and varied works of art.


Seating is arranged all along the halls and students gather to chat and study during the day, where they have a beautiful view of the current art show.

My work is hanging in the 2nd floor atrium and the light shows the colors to best advantage.  If you get a chance to go, please let me know what you think of the show.  I'd love to hear.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Re-Entry



We had our retreat last weekend and It. Was. Spectacular. 

These women are incredible.  We had hours of conversation, insights, and laughter as we explored big ideas, journaled, played, walked and created.  Retreats like that are so useful because they take you out of your everyday habits, which lets you get out of your everyday thinking.  There is time to just sit, write, think, and consider things a different way.   There is time to rest and let the busy mind settle for a while.

We considered what our Best Lives would look like.  What needed to be released.  What needed to be added. What the next steps would be.  What kind of support we needed.  How to change our thinking.  It was magical.

And then we hugged each other good-bye, and headed back to our daily lives. 

Sometimes re-entry into daily life can be rough.

This is what my re-entry was like:  Clean up and pack all the boxes, food, table, etc. from the retreat in the cars in the rain.  Go home.  Realize how little sleep I got over the last week and how tired I was.  Alternate feeling joy at what we accomplished and guilt over the mistakes I made.   Realize that the Construction Fairies had not come while I was gone to finish the huge house remodel we're doing.  [Neither had the Dusting, Sweeping, Dish Washing or Laundry Fairies.]   Help with homework.  Fall down the stairs [just the last few, but ow.]  Realize that my brain was fried.   Feel like a totally terrible example of living my best life now.   Veg out on couch for 6 hours.  Stay up until midnight helping with more homework. 

Re-entry was not magical.

But in the spirit of dealing with the realities of my life with grace and compassion for myself, I decided not to beat myself up over the rough re-entry.   Transitions always begin with an ending and in this case, something wonderful ended and it would take time to adjust, to pick back up the rhythm of home, work, relationships.   That's normal.  It's OK that there was some turbulence on re-entry.  I'm back now.

The only way I can change my life is to live it.  If I'm going to live My Best Life Now, then I start today dealing with what's in front of me.  Release what no longer serves me.  Do things that do serve me.  I have a choice.







Sunday, October 7, 2018

Shameless

Winged Sumac, October

I was at a circle the other night and during the opening meditation, a couple of cell phones buzzed loudly.  I felt a flash of annoyance.  When the meditation was over, the hostess laughed and said how awesome it was that you could feel the vibrations through the floor. She asked whose they were, and no one spoke up.  She laughed and said, 'There's no shame here.  Those phones made the funnest sounds, didn't they!'

There's no shame here.  

That phrase echoed in my head for the rest of the night. 

A place with no shame.   

I had never considered such a thing before.  And that's when I realized that I carry shame with me Every. Where.  I. Go.  

Shame is something I learned early.  It was used as a weapon in many places in my life.  Somewhere along the line, I got really good at it.   I could shame myself better than anyone could shame me.  I knew every single tiny error that I made every single second of the day and I shamed myself for every single one.  I knew that if I admitted to myself where I screwed up and felt remorse for it, then I couldn't be surprised or manipulated by anyone else trying to use my mistakes against me.  

This strategy successfully allowed me to dissociate from certain types of controlling personalities in a way that prevented me from be victimized. 

However, it undermined my confidence in every area of my life.  In situations where the person was not shaming me, I doubled down my self-shaming efforts.  I could never enjoy any relationship, interaction, achievement or success, no matter how small, because I was so very aware of every error and I felt remorse for it.  Shame was my constant companion.  I took Shame everywhere.  

It's time for me to let that go.  I'm sending Shame to live in a beautiful house on a beach somewhere where she can spend her time criticizing the grains of sand for not being perfect, the beach water for being smelly, the weather for being unruly. When she takes her proper place as Conscience instead of Shame,  I may call her occasionally to check in about big things, but she is not coming with me everywhere anymore.   

I will spend more time enjoying my achievements.  With my new endeavors, I will celebrate every single baby step in the right direction and all of the fun field trips along the way.   I will love more fully in all my relationships and that will compensate well for the inevitable missteps that happen between people.   

And in time, I will be able to say, 'There's no shame here.'

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Chicory

© Robin Edmundson, 'Chicory 2', watercolor. 
5 x 7 inches, framed to 9 x 11 inches.  $95.

My friend, Eve, asked me if I'd tried painting chicory.  I hadn't. What a great reason to try.

Chicory is a roadside staple out here.  It grows in every dry boulevard and ditch and blooms a glorious blue from late June through September. 









© Robin Edmundson, 'Chicory 1', watercolor. 
7 x 5 inches, framed to 11 x 9 inches.  $95.


I used phthalo blue and dioxazine violet for the flowers.  Sap and Undersea greens with a bit of raw sienna for the greenery.

I'm loving that blue.










© Robin Edmundson, 'Chicory 3', watercolor. 
9 x 6 inches, framed to 15 x 12 inches.  $150.






Now that they're matted and framed and look all dressed up, I'm wondering what small florals should I try out next?
















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