Til the Morning Comes

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Once again, my muse showed up to be painted. I've done a number of paintings that feature my horse Scotty in various "incarnations." The first time I painted him was a very realistic portrait in pastel. Then came Healing Path, Winter Solstice, Change is Afoot, Return of the Warriors. And now, Til the Morning Comes. This is an experimental piece, done in acrylic on gessoed hardboard. I've used various techniques to create the texture in the painting - rags, palette knife, brushes - even my fingers.

The dictionary defines "muse" as:

  1. Greek Mythology. Any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science.
  2. muse
    1. A guiding spirit.
    2. A source of inspiration.
  3. muse A poet.
In my case, Scotty has been a source of inspiration and a guiding spirit in my life and art. An extremely emotional horse, his moods tend to mirror mine - sometimes with terrible results. If I'm nervous, he is nervous. If I'm impatient, he is impatient. But if I am calm and focused...well, you get the picture. As a young horse, Scotty suffered a life-changing injury which affected his nervous system. "The Healing Path" was painted as I tried to cope with his injury and turned to non-traditional medicine to help heal him. "Winter Solstice" was painted when he was healing, finally able to kick up his heels and run again. Next I painted "Return of the Warriors" as I was working on issues of trust and confidence. "Change is Afoot" reflected a shift in my thinking, and the turmoil that shift caused. In this latest painting, Scotty stands alone, striking out with his front leg. He is painted to look more like a mustang to suggest an ancient wisdom and strength welling up. For the first time, he is alone, facing whatever challenges come his way. The white crow appears as a marking on his back, facing the opposite direction. In a herd, horses will typically stand facing in opposite directions, creating a circle of observation. The white crow symbolizes awareness on a higher conscious level.
I will be entering this piece in the Women Artists of the West Members Show, which will be juried this year by Ann Templeton, and held in Rockport, Texas. I am also entering "White Crow Heralds the Dawn" and "Sunrise Dance."

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Finding My Equilibrium

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Sometimes life likes to throw you little surprises. Not that the birth of our newest granddaughter was a surprise – we’d been expecting her for quite a few months. But the surprising part is – I didn’t realize who much time and energy a newborn can take. And since little Kora lives with us with her mother and big brother, Kolby, the amount of energy and time has hit very close to home!

Its been a struggle, these past few months, to find the time to paint. But until Kora arrived on the scene a few weeks ago, I still had some semblance of a routine. Work at my day job until 5:00, home to take care of horses, throw some dinner together, read a bedtime story to Kolby, then down to my studio to paint for a couple of hours. 

All that has flown out the window. It’s a new ballgame, and I haven’t quite gotten the rules down. Even though I’ve snuck down to my studio a few times in the last few weeks, I find I have neither the creative energy or the stamina to work on a large piece. And so I’ve begun painting little 4x4’s. It is a way for me to still create, without the pressure of a big painting. A glass of wine, my favorite cd  playing, and maybe an hour to myself a few days a week.

I find it interesting that my painting has taken on a very childlike quality. Lately I’ve begun by painting on some colors and shapes with acrylic paint, then painting over in oils, just stream of consciousness painting, a stroke of color here, another there until something starts to take shape. A bird. A horse. A flower.

Right now it seems that’s all I can manage. And I’m struggling to be okay with that; to accept that I am exhausted. To give myself some slack. Those of you who know me well know how difficult that is for me.

What I cannot do is stop painting. So these little paintings are keeping my creative juices flowing, even if the flow is little more than a trickle some days.  I’m trying to find my equilibrium one tiny painting at a time.

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