Monday, May 19, 2008

A Life Uncommon...

... A post in which I dither endlessly about seemingly unrelated things.

For Mother's Day my son gave me Jimmy Carter's new book, A Remarkable Mother. I've not finished it completely yet, but already Lillian Carter is joining the very small ranks of my heroes. (Her son is also one of the few on it, as is Rosalyn Carter.)

I was listening to music yesterday, as I frequently am, and my iPod was on the shuffle setting, so I didn't have a clue what would come up. But, as I was thinking of the book I was reading, and about some life challenges I am facing in various arenas of my life, Jewel's lovely melodic voice suddenly filled my house with her song "A Life Uncommon," which I'd not heard in awhile. I had to go hit replay several times. I think I will make it my new anthem! (I occasionally choose songs to add to the Soundtrack of My Life - and they can range from Barenaked Ladies' "Who Needs Sleep" to Bonnie Raitt's "I Will Not be Broken" to Martin Sexton's "Diner.")

Anyway, here are some of the marvelous word's from Jewel's song:
Lend your voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery
And you shall live a life uncommon...
We are tired, we are weary, but we aren't worn out
set down your chains, ‘til only faith remains...
There are plenty of people who pray for peace
But if praying were enough it would have come to be
Let your words enslave no one and the heavens will hush themselves
To hear our voices ring out clear
with sounds of freedom...
And lend our voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend our strength to that which we wish to be free from
Fill our lives with love and bravery
And we shall lead a life uncommon

Moving on, or am I?
A few days ago, I felt the very strong urge to 'put paint on canvas.' NOT, mind you, to 'go paint that landscape' or 'paint a picture of...', just to put paint on canvas, in a very literal sense. So I grabbed a random CD, which turned out to be Tchaikovsky, turned it on, squeezed fresh paint on the palette, and started. I finished the painting that is pictured above this morning, after four somewhat lengthy sessions at the easel. One of those sessions was in the middle of the night - I lay awake thinking about the painting and just had to go work on it. This painting is like nothing else I've ever painted. It is a true abstract - there is no subject matter, unless it is color or Tchaikovsky, whom I continued to listen to each time I painted. Though it may look like it, I did not just randomly throw paint on this canvas; each brushstroke, each color placement was carefully and thoughtfully applied. I actually like this painting very much - although I have never been a person who really 'got' abstract painting. For the first time, I think I really did Get It, while doing this work! It is about release; it is a tangible expression of something that cannot be expressed in any other way - like classical music.
I did once do a small abstract tapestry. It was shortly after we moved to this house, and I was trying to sort out a garden someone else had planted. I was also listening to Yo Yo Ma's "Soul of the Tango" CD as the current Soundtrack of my Life. So I called it "Tango Garden." It is small; about 7x9". I had thought about calling my new abstract painting (if I call it anything at all) "Tea in Tchaikovsky's Garden" but then I realized that would be somewhat redundant, wouldn't it be? Must all my abstracts be about music and gardens? Maybe so - Klee's work was often about music, and about gardens! And he is on my short hero list too! See how I worked all this in to relate?
And I believe it does relate... just not sure exactly how right now. But I do have to say, I did paint the new abstract painting with more conviction than perhaps anything else I have ever painted. And, looking at the Tango tapestry after I'd completed the painting, I was amazed to see how similar they are, though the tapestry is a bit more structured. I think they are both expressive of some part of me. Now, isn't that just amazing? Well, it is to me, at any rate.


Carol said...

Kathy, I love your painting. I am also one that does not "get" abstract most of the time, yet there are times it all makes sense. There is something about music and expression that puts one right into that zone, where nothing else exists but you and what you are doing. The painting is alive, filled with movement and color and light...beautiful. As for your abstracts being "about music and gardens", why not? They are yours, that is where your muse, thoughts, whatever is going.
Feel the same about the Carter family, Miss Lillian was quite the woman. She did not need woman liberation to tell her how to do it did she. I think Jimmy has a unique way of looking at the worlds issues that I do wish more would take notice of.
And as for Jewel, wonderful sensitive words. I especially am taken with, "But if praying were enough it would have come to be" Something I wrestle with...Thoughtful post, thank you for sharing it.

ringa dal said...

I found your blog through Tommye and Meabh. I am taking part in the ATA distance learning experience with Pat Williams. I am enjoying reading your blog. My daughter (4 yo) enjoys looking at your photographs of your work.

I too don't usually like abstract paintings, but the colors and softness of your Tchaichovsky painting speaks to me. (Harry Met Sally..."It speaks to you and that pleases me.")

Anyway, thanks for sharing your work. If you are at all interested, I have started a blog. Encouraged by the women in my fiber arts group, I decided to take the plunge. If you are interested it is:

Thanks again for your interesting site.