Sap of Life Oil on linen 55 x 80 cm
Will be in QUIVER
A few days ago I was excitedly telling a friend about my recent painting Ouroboros I was explaining how I had combined two age-old symbols, the snake consuming itself [ie: ouroboros] and my much loved tree-of-life. I was, apparently, getting quite animated as I explained why I had combined the two symbols. I was in the throes of describing how the two symbols embodied the distances of the quantum and the cosmic, and how I had been inspired by reading about modern cosmology, when I glimpsed, out of the corner of my eye, one of my daughters. She was clearly sending me a non-verbal massage that I was being weird!
So, being a marvelous modern mother, I said to my daughter, 'Am I being weird?'. The reply was, 'Yes Mum, you are weird... but I Iove you.' So, I replied, 'Well, I think you're very lucky to have a weird Mum.' The response was, 'Yeeeeees Muuuuuum.' We all had a good laugh!
Well, I was probably getting a bit over animated. When I do this, my arms apparently make wild gestures and my body is pumped with energy. I suggest that these are signs of JOY!
So, I started to think about what makes me feel joy. Indeed, many things do...from a new pair of shoes, to my children, to receiving a reply to an email from an astrophysicist. Now this spectrum provides for a broad range of joyful moments! However, I am going to focus on those things, and moments, in my creative practice that bring me joy.
Me in my studio which I share with the hot water system and where I paint on paper.
Me in my studio [aka garage] where I paint my oil paintings
- Yes, getting a replies to emails from a variety of people, including astrophysicists, academics, philosphers etc, over the years has given me great joy. Why? I think it is the acknowledgement that my creative activity touches upon relevant and contemporary discussions, which cross multiple facets of thought and investigation. JOY!
- In some cases the email exchanges have continued, with a rich and regular injection of stimulation and feedback. JOY!
- My regular followers of this BLOG bring JOY! You know who you are.
- Reading about things I have thought about, but not realised were 'out there' in the world of debate and discovery, until I read about them. The synchronicity is exciting. A feeling of being connected to this kind of energy is very exciting. JOY!
- When I prepare a canvas I often splash paint and turps around ultimately leaving the canvas either upright or flat on the floor, to let the paint do its own thing. [See teh photo of me above] Upon returning to my studio [aka garage], with new eyes [so to speak] I am often blown away by the results of the combination of my manipulations and chance. I feel excitement well up in my heart...JOY! I then very keenly take up my brush to take the painting further.
- When I have been working up close to a painting for awhile, I will step back from it, to view it from a distance. Now, sometimes I am not happy with what I see, but many times, I see something I did not realise I was creating...beauty...well at least I think so. The feeling is a combination of surprise, gratitude, satisfaction and some fear...but also JOY
- Getting a phone call, email or letter to tell me I have been selected as a finalist in an art prize. I enter many art prizes and have become very 'hard skinned' about rejection! My middle name is 'persistence'. So, when I receive notification of acceptance...JOY! Yes, yes, yes. I have been known to jump up and down on the spot...yes my children think it's weird when an 'old person' does this.
A long time ago I won a senior section state-wide prize which celebrated Queen Elizabeth's silver jubilee. Here I am with Her Majesty and I think the DG of Education at Queensland's Government House. My painting is top left. It's 1977! Yes, lots of JOY and anxiety too! Whether you are an monarchist or not, meeting the Queen, as a teenager was pretty exciting.
- I did definitely jump up and down on the spot when I received the first copy of my book For Everyone: Words and Paintings. A package was delivered to my door...I wondered what it was...looked at the sender info and realised it was my book. One of my daughters was home at the time. She even jumped up and down on the spot! It was just so exciting to open the package and see my first book [so far only!]. Given that For Everyone is essentially about reconnecting to one's inner child, I think my response, and my daughter's, was entirely appropriate.
- I have held many solo exhibitions over the years, but each time, when the show is fnally hung and I see a body of my work in its entirety, I feel JOY tinged with satisfaction and some fear too!
A view of my last solo exhibition VORTEX 2011
- When someone buys a painting! JOY! Money means I can keep painting, so you can imagine the sheer joy... and relief...a purchase gives...not only to me, but to any artist. There is such satisfaction opening up one's bank account to see credits!
- Now this has been unexpected, but I have had a number of people, after buy one copy of For Everyone return to by 3, 5 and 10 more copies. JOY!
- One of these people is a family lawyer. She has bought a total of 16 copies, to give to family law type people, from mediators, to counsellors and I think even a Judge. She is keeping some to lend to clients. When I spoke to her recently she explained how she was using the book with her clients, helping them to understand themselves and their situations. Can I tell you....I felt so grateful, excited and JOYful, that someone had really 'got it' and that For Everyone was helping people. Check out Feeney Family Law where my book is mentioned on their BLOG.
- Now, this is probably really weird, but I get very excited when I am asked to speak about my work or aspects of it. Public speaking, to many people, is frought with feelings of fear and anxiety. But, for me it's excitement [well with a little bit of anxiety]! I have spoken at many forums over the years, but one of the most memorable was in July 2008 when I was asked to be the guest speaker at the Univeristy of Queensland's graduation ceremony for the Faculties of Arts, and Behavioural and Social Sciences. I chose the topic of 'Perspective' [regular readers of this BLOG will know why]. I was told I should speak for around 8 Minutes. The first few seconds, where I was a tad nervous, passed and I realised that the slight rustling in the audience had quietened to very still and attentive silence. As I tried to not notice my face reflected back to me in the huge screens dotted around the massive UQ Centre, I felt a welling of excitement and JOY. They were listening to me!
Count down to my next solo exhibition. It opens to the public in just over a week! Now that's exciting!
Please check out Carolyn McDowall's article in The Culture Concept. When I saw this article I felt JOY!
17 - 29 April Graydon Gallery, 29 Merthyr Rd, New Farm, Brisbane, Australia
Please check out a recent QUIVER post and my online gallery on my WEBSITE
Meeting Place Of The Mind Oil on linen 100 x 70 cm
Will be in QUIVER