Today I had a permit to go shoot photos at one of the Pueblos—for a blog post no less. But the mountain had other ideas. It’s snowing out there—so much so that I’m snowed in. That means I get to PAINT! I love the way Spirit always gets her way. Clearly, I was supposed to be in the studio today. I’d love for you to be here with me, so let me see if I can create a sense of it for you.
The wind is fierce outside. It’s 20 degrees and snowing so hard I can’t see the Llano. But it is snug and glowing in the studio and I am so grateful for this strong, warm house that keeps us safe during these intense mountain storms. The wood heater my mom gave me for my 60th birthday is ablaze, I have a big mug of good coffee with honey and cream here at the easel, and the impulse to create is awakening inside me. The animals, as always, have all gathered. Kelee graciously agreed to forgo his walk (we did wood chores together instead—between squalls—so the bin is topped up) and he gave a big claws-up to the snow. He’s my very special snowman!
I’m supposed to drive to Taos tomorrow, and I really want to, but it may or may not be possible. I’ve learned not to stress about it. It will be what it will be, so I’ll enjoy this moment, this snow day, and see what tomorrow will bring.
We haven’t really talked about inspiration. It’s different for every one of us, I believe. My work comes from the land, from the Llano, specifically, and the horses. It’s been a pretty organic process that has finally resulted in these series I’ve been doing. I’m not sure where my art is headed, but I think it will be grounded in the power of this land for as long as I am here. I am of this place; we are joined so much so that it infuses every aspect of my being. I don’t see that changing, but the way I express it in my art likely will.
If you haven’t found what calls you yet and you’d like to, just pay close attention to what draws your eye or catches your interest, what makes your heart leap, what takes your breath away. This is Spirit speaking to you. Listen. Begin to involve yourself in whatever that is. See where it leads. Find how your soul wants to express this thing that moves you. Make your art—the art that is in you, and in only you. Do this by pleasing your eye—YOUR eye—no one else’s. Be true to what is in you.
And I get to do that today!
I’m going to start layering the background of the big horse painting. To please MY eye I put down many layers. I do this because I like the uneven textures it creates— a sort of plaster on top of plaster feeling. I’m going to mix one of my favorite creams using Titanium White and Yellow Oxide—just a little Oxide goes a long way. I’ll also put some of the Golden brand Super Loaded Matte Medium in the mix, but not much. I find the lighter colors need less than the dark.
The other reason I love all this layering is that back-painting the cream into the black, over and over, creates lots of “messy” edges that simply ring my chimes. And that’s what matters. That’s how we make art that is true to our inner artist selves, by finding what rings our personal chimes and then doing it.
Then there’s the alchemy it makes room for. Robert Motherwell said, “In the brush doing what it’s doing, it will stumble on what one couldn’t do by oneself.” Layering gives my brush a chance to make magic.
Listen to your artist’s heart and go find what makes miracles happen for you!
As another day of painting comes to a close, I’m grateful for the weather that put me, here, in the studio today. I can too often put other responsibilities above painting and, sometimes, when she’s just had enough, Spirit will step in and change my priorities for me. Thank you, Spirit, for the raging snow storm today; for bringing me back to me.