Monday, January 25, 2010

Encaustic Demo Day

Saturday I spent the day at my friend Kaye's studio with another friend, Melinda giving a demo on encaustic painting.  Now I have another technique to add to my choices in creating!  We had a total of 7 artists from our Women's Assemblage/Bezalel Gathering to share in this event.  We scattered all around the studio with our materials and Melinda instructed us on several ways to use this medium.  There is a lot of equipment needed and she shared her supplies so we could at least experiment.  I painted a small watercolor and applied clear wax over top for a wonderfully quiet and soft muting of the colors. See photo above.

We learned about supports, xerox transfers, applying color encaustic with varying tools, collaging natural fibers, leaves, and clipart among other things.  We kept busy all day except for a wonderful Middle Eastern lunch which we all delighted in.  We were all energized and didn't want to leave.  What a great time to spend in community which gives new and fresh ideas for my own work.

Today I was in my own studio again and am trying to finish three pieces I've been working on for a few days. I've also been gathering input and ideas for another series I hope to begin soon relating to my continued meditations on taking time to notice the day.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What is SELAH time?

It occurred to me as I re-read my last post that perhaps I should expand it with some explanation of the Hebrew word, Selah.  Used 71 times in the Psalms, it is a musical term; "an intended pause, suspension to the music."   The Psalm that I referenced when I studied the word is 46:10-11 calling for stillness to know who God is. That word has called me to suspend some of my "hurriedness".  So far this year, I've paused my TV viewing, kept my computer off for one day a week, taken fewer 30 min trips into town and spent more time in my studio and scripture study.  I find those actions give me a more relaxed and thoughtful mindset.  I've returned to my studio, trying to work steadily and be content with whatever happens in the day and when I feel it is time,  I stop for the day. 

I believe these decisions are directly related to some of the reading I've been doing mentioned in my last blog.  A few excerpts from some of those authors follow for your meditation:

Tozer:  "what a man is must be shown to be more important than what he does."

Wiersbe:  An explorer was penetrating a difficult area of the jungle and wanted to keep going, but his native bearers would not move.  "We have been going too fast", they explained, "and we must wait here for our souls to catch up with our bodies."

Barbara Brown Taylor:  While contemplating what her "work" was to be, she was impressed by God that it is "Anything that pleases you.".  It meant the ball was back in her court and she still had to decide among many things how she would make a living.  "I could be a priest or a circus worker.  God really did not care.  But whatever I decided to do for a living was not what I did but how I did it that mattered."

That's enough for today.  Perhaps this will give you food for thought for the week.  Actually, now on this Saturday, I'm taking time to go with my husband to a movie and practicing releasing my "to do" list for the weekend.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

SELAH time

The end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 gave me some much needed reflection time.  In my words, it is SELAH time; a time to step out of the traffic and evaluate where I've been going the last decade and where I hope to be headed in the future.  I've pulled all my books off the shelf that refer to contemplative topics;  God is Not in a Hurry (Warren Wiersebe); Thomas Merton: a book of hours; Contemplative Prayer (Merton); The Wisdom of the Desert, (Merton); The Way of the Heart (Henri Nouwen); Encounters with Merton (Nouwen); Out of Solitude (Nouwen); The Root of the Righteous (A.W. Tozer). 

What sobers me is that I've read these before and realize I've still let the frenzy of my everyday schedule push out the sense of quiet and meditation.  When that happens I find my energy sapped and my art-making strained and sometimes boring. That's the reason I'm re-reading these pages.  Alongside these "old" friends, I've found a new one; an Altar in the World (Barbara Brown Taylor).  This writing speaks to discovering how one can have pause and find solace and God's presence in simple practices such as walking, working, hanging clothes on the clothesline (not that I do THAT anymore), and making eye contact with the cashier at the store.  In Barbara's words; we learn that no physical act is too earthbound or too humble to become a path to the divine.  In the words of Thomas Merton, I hope to re-discover the Dawn, Day, Dusk and Dark of every day instead of days and hours melting together into one lump sum of activity.  And, in paraphrasing Tozer's words, will I allow the inner life to override the  outer life in order for my heart to find its true compass once again?

I hope you'll join me as I continue this journey to find what SELAH time means to me at this season of my life.  I wonder what it will bring to my art-making; my relationships; my writing?  I'll keep you posted!  In the meantime, a Very Happy New Year to all and may you find TwentyTen to be an anointed year filled with surprises you can't even predict.