Yesterday, I didn't have much creative juice, and so, for a bit of inspiration, I decided to do a giveaway on my grief blog. A needle felted piece of choice!!! <--Look, a crazy scare headline complete with more exclamation points than one should use in a year! Anyway, I was courageous yesterday, which sort of is what art is about, I think. I shopped for my baby boy, which I have been terrified to do for 28 weeks. Some onesies is all, but it felt momentous.
Calm Meditating Mama, Watercolor, 01.29.10
Today I meet for the first time with my new OB, and I am anxious. Woke at 4:45 am and couldn't fall back asleep. Nothing too hysterical, but just anxious about my blood pressure, having to go back into the hospital for monitoring, getting put on bedrest, being diagnosed with anything...uneventful. I just want things calm and uneventful. So, I decided to do a meditating mama painting for myself for today. I have painted meditating mamas since my Lucy was in utero. I always begin these paintings with a meditation, sitting still, breathing deeply, clearing my mind. I did do one thing before I painted, which is do a bit of aura research. I am not a huge "believer" in aura, but I love color meanings in dream and whatnot. So, I found this for the meaning of green: "Green aura color signifies relaxed attitude and ability to heal. People with green auras emanate peace and it is very relaxing to be in the company of such people."
I do these paintings in one sitting as a kind of gesture drawing. Apparently, I always draw my belly a bit lopsided, which is interesting. These paintings are very intuitive for me. I rarely sit on a section of the drawing/painting for too long. Just quick movements, but so far, Thor is breach, sitting in my pelvis, so that my belly is lopsided is kind of...interesting. So, here I am. With a little watercolor rendition of me in the exact opposite state of what I am now. Alright, not exactly true, but painting what I want to be--calming and healing. I am going to stuff it in my book and hope for the best. And if it gets too dodgy in there, I will whip it out, hypnotize the new OB with the startling green, and run away. Always good to have a back up plan.
Feeling a bit spent, so I picked up my watercolor pencils to draw a picture for Bea. She wanted me to draw me, and this is what I want to do all the time. Hike up my shirt and hold my belly. She was painting, so I applied some water, then inked it. It is a doodling kind of day. My belly isn't that lopsided, and I haven't worn gigantic vegan boots since my second pair fell apart a few years ago, but you know, mostly like me. I have fatter legs. And sporting a much dorkier looking mullet than this one, which is saying quite a bit, eh?
I don't just love sumo wrestlers because they are fat and loved in Japan like me. I find the whole aesthetic of sumo wrestling beautiful and wonderful. I was boxing up my heART today, and found some old sumo stickers to close my homemade envelopes (thanks, Ines). I wrote out this little saying, and decided I wanted them to be a kind of valentine to the world. So, away I went messing with the picture, and playing. It is so fucking stupid. I know this. But it was a lot of fun to do.
Suck it up. Acrylic.01.25.10
Sorry for the crappy picture. I turned off the flash, but the overhead light made the right side overexposed. I haven't painted with acrylic in a long time, so I wanted to sort of get a feel of the paint. I just mixed up some color and painted a canvas. Not exactly art or anything, nothing real creative out of it. But it reminded me of this beautiful painting I saw a few years ago. It was very basic, cream-colored or something, and very small in the corner, it read, "don't cry." And I loved it. Of course, since my daughter died, that means so much more as an inconsolable crier. This is one of those things I used to say all the time. My mother used to joke that she was going to put it on my headstone when I died, "Suck up and deal." But now that I can't suck it up since my daughter died, I kind of thought it might be a bit, I don't, subversive. My daughter said, "Your name looks pretty, Mommy." Pointing to the 'suck it up'.
Thursday was cleaning up the sculpture a bit. Nothing much in the way of new art. Friday was a long, involved day for me, but I somehow managed to squeeze in the last of the ATC for the heART exchange.
I Heart Art Tattoo. Needle felted Artist Trading Card. 01.22.10
Ugh, the body. Reading this month's topic for Creative Everyday is one that inspires a kind of dread in me. I have written a bit about my body on my blog, but I haven't much explored it creatively in art. Taking a picture of my pregnant belly this weekend was a huge step. I can only say I used to believe in the human body, in its ability to birth children naturally, to self-regulate, that is until my daughter died in me at 38 weeks for no medical reason. Oh, I still believe in those ideals for other people, just not for me. Then I starved my body after Lucy died in an attempt to get to my pre-baby weight, and gained weight. I ran and got larger and larger. It seemed every time I tried to make a step towards healing with my body, I was pushed back into hatred. I was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease. Then I was pregnant again, and my body changed again. I feel the toll of three babies in three years on my bones, in my joints, in my rolls of fat...I can only say, when my body failed me on such a profound level, I began to see it disconnected from my soul. It was an enemy. Even when my husband touched me, I recoiled. I cried. I flew into a rage. This body doesn't belong to me. It belongs to a traitor.
I am 27 weeks pregnant with a little boy. I have tried to connect with this baby and this pregnancy, but I have confronted physical limitation after physical limitation. Last night, my midwife called to tell me that I have had a higher than normal protein reading, which means that I could be verging on a condition that could affect the baby. I just wanted to regale my body with the angriest lecture I have ever given. And now, here I am in my new studio, the January sun shining in through the window, and I decided to make some peace with my body. I did that by making a new meditating mama. Carving my body into a sculpture, molding it into calm and peace. I feel good, emotionally, physically...taking this process one step at a time.
This is a sort of before look at my studio space. I realize that I have no larger pictures of the room, without my nekkid daughter in them. *sigh*. So, you can see the corner of the existing bookcase, and our red couch, which has been removed. The large cubbie bookcase is out, as is another one which lined that wall.
After: This is where the red couch was and again, the corner of the bookcase, albeit the other corner. I am getting rid of most of my fiction and travel writing books. It was a hard decision to come to, but one that I think will ultimately be liberating.
Bins of arts and crafts stuff, and Beatrice's little orange table is behind my table. Everything is starting out organized and colorized and in its right place. We can talk next week.
Beatrice took this picture from her little pink arm chair, which now resides between the bookcase and my art table. I made sure there was a bit of space for her to relax, read and watch a movie while I work, since she often takes breaks here and there when she crafts. Jack the dog is making sure the backyard is secure from squirrels. Go dog Go.
I reorganized my little things drawers, and filled them with useful little things, rather than annoying clutter. What a joy. What I love most about this project is that I didn't buy anything, I merely rearranged my existing furniture and art studio, which was on the three-season front porch, which is really kind of two and a half seasons, since summer gets a bit too warm and winter a bit too cold with no heating or AC out there, so I end up not using much of the space and taking over the dining room.
It is interesting when you start pulling out scattered art gear from every corner of your house. You might find, for example, that you have five bottles of children's white paint, or four of orange. At least, I will not purchase paint for another few days.
So, this has been my project for the last two days, creating an art studio for my daughter and I. Maybe will I tag this as interior design, or mental health work. I am very pleased with the space and the accessibility of everything. I am already inspired to create more, and so is Beatrice, who notices her art gear and wants to use it. YAY!
'All of my Heart Belongs to You', heARTist Valentine Trading Card 2.5"x 3.5", needle felted on felt, 01.16.10
My first attempt at Mother Henna's heART swap trading cards. I'm not happy with either of them, mainly because I think the simply heart is too simple and the anatomical heart...I have no idea how to finish it. I need to research some traditional valentines and riff on that, I think, with wool, a needle and some irony.
Wednesday 01.13.10. Sadly, all I did yesterday was assemble a Spinach Lasagna from scratch for my dear babylost friend who just had a babe. I woke at 5am and began making fresh pasta. I really thought we would go back and do some more crafting, so I didn't actually photograph the lasagna, but that is about as creative as I got yesterday. Sam worked a 24 hour shift. I grew desperately tired at 2p and Beatrice took a nap strike. *sigh*
Fat Mama. Marker. Thursday 01.14.10
I have been painting and drawing myself this morning, trying to explore my body, exaggerating the curves, unexaggerating the unimportant ones. I tried watercolor, acrylic, and then marker. I am in a funk. Back to the needle felting. I feel much more comfortable in the tactile arts.
Shit, that jizo is awful. But I wanted to see how it would work on peg. I am terrible at painting these round pegs. I should have photographed them in my hand. They are quite small, and I am a bumbling mess. I am going to spend the rest of the day cleaning my home and cooking and laundry. My creative energy is kind of waning right now. I need felting ideas. Anatomical hearts might be in the mix tonight for Mama Henna's art swap...we'll see.
On the day I discovered I was a girl,
when my body had no landscape
stretching flat and far into the horizon
and I, unaware of my limitations,
stretched on and on
undefined by the confines
of mountains and valleys,
you touched the places that made us different.
My world was flat then.
My view was endless when
my mouth formed a perfect blossom which you opened.
you told me I was yours now.
and you pulled off each petal,
and carved statues to yourself in my mountains.
I know another needle felting. Boring. But I am into it right now. I also did a bunch of hearts and some other little stuff. Started a wall hanging for Beatrice's room which will be a whole group of bugs.
The one needs more cleaning up, but in general, digging felting as a Dia de los Muertos medium. Wondering how long it would take to make twenty of them for October....also, not sure if I want to make these pins anymore, or magnets. Which is more appealing? Calavera pins or magnets? How about sushi magnets?
My daughter's voice. The aching tightness of hope. Hatred of nude sex. Whispered prayers and answered curses. Impatience with your good fortune. Enemy nights tilting at guilt and resentments. Alienation amongst the alienated. Disappointment in small talk and in you.
In an effort to focus this week on the body, I began by rifting on my needle felted heart pin with an anatomically correct needle felted heart pin. It was challenging to say the least. I had my husband's medical textbooks out, trying to get the correct veins in the correct place. Whew.