Patti Edmon Altered Attic: Sing from the Heart

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sing from the Heart

Earlier in the summer, I found my self in a creative slump, a flat, static stretch; feeling OK, but not great, a little down but no major depression. I’ve spent the past three years spent learning mixed media techniques and processes; I realized that now it’s time to move to the next level. Do more than arranging elements in a pleasing design on a page, or canvas.
I need to find the source of the muse and, at the same time, understand the forces that subvert creativity. Like fear. Fear is a byproduct of most journeys; who, after all, isn’t afraid of face-planting at some point. My problem is that it often takes hold before I get a good footing on the path.
I’d been producing work that I really liked, so naturally fear arrived like a beautiful, fair-weather friend. I found myself doubting - will you really stay, even if I turn out to be a lot less perfect than I’d led you to believe? Will you abandon me just as I get my hopes up?
It’s no secret that growth involves risk, but after a few weeks of numb uncertainty I felt ready for an intentional exploration of the terra-not-so-firma, deep down where the knotted quagmire of roots simmer with meaning; the source, the forces that fuel the yearning, conscious need to create, to connect with the process of making art in an intentional design. Paint from the heart according to my good friend, artist 
Debbie Westerfield.  
Art and Fear*, the author(s) says: “Naïve passion (the time I spent in joyful experimentation), which promotes work done in ignorance of obstacles, becomes – with courage – informed passion, which promotes work done in full acceptance of those obstacles.” I take that to mean that I’m at the courage part.
Anyone who has lived with that holding back sensation knows that sooner or later it is easier to deal with the risk than put up with the angst and unbearable weight of keeping all the doors shut. I want to collage anger, paint memory, grief and joy. So what if a few stray bags pop open along with way.
Coincidentally, or not, I’m reading Patti Digh’s
Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful and Live Intentionally. I’d be willing to bet that, like me, more people than not have read a stack of books about self-actualization, living authentically. I’ve gleaned useful information from them all, though it seems a bit silly to look for one’s self in a book. In reality, there are times when we need guides and Life is a Verb is one of the best I’ve come across. Life is a Verb is loaded with fabulous mixed media art images, which is what attracted me in the first place, her stories, collection of kick-butt quotes and free-writing prompts are producing more than I’d anticipated. If you haven’t heard about it, or already read it, I’d highly recommend it, whether you’re in a slump or not.
While scanning this collage, which I thankfully managed to complete (I admire the mother who can work with the kids at home during summer?!) I realized that it is infused with more meaning than I’d given myself credit for: the bird house heart, hands cradling eggs, bird flying in with a heart in tow…. cryptic still, but enough metaphor to make sense to me. And, that is why I make art, after all, for me. At this point anyway.


Ragamuffin Gal said...

I love what you've said and I hope you never stop taking that risk! If the piece at the top of this post is any indication of that risk then I would say you are off to a very good start! I will be here watching and cheering you on gal! Never stop ~ it is Life!
XO Katie

Poetic Artist said...

Hi You are not alone, Fear it is a terrible thing. It keeps us down and we just have to let go of it.
Fear is just lies, and we just have to step on it and go on.
Your art is wonderful and you go ahead and take that next step.
Thanks for that book info. I will have to go to BN and see if they have it.
Thanks for sharing and You are in KY where there are so many wonderful artist.. I am in AL..I do not think there are too many of us here. LOL>

Anonymous said...

i love this piece -- the colors, the texture, the bird and all of the meaning behind it all. i also really enjoyed reading your words as well. oftentimes i find myself so mesmerized by the visuals that i don't give as much focus to the words accompanying the photos. today i did the opposite and i'm glad i read through all that you had to share. i do believe we all feel that way at times and it's only when we recognize that we're feeling that way we're able to come out on the other side, bigger and better (or at least stronger). that's how i feel at least. i haven't read that book but will be looking into it. i find myself reading too much lemony snicket and harry potter -- it is summer, after all, and i have a six year old climbing me at all hours of the day. :)

Karin Bartimole said...

I admires your dedication to self and your artistic explorations that just keep going deeper and deeper Patti. It's funny - I often end up *seeing* more in my artwork after I've scanned it and gotten it into my computer, too - perhaps that bit of distance gives us a better observers eye. Anyway, wonderful work and insights, Karin

GlamVintageSouL said...

cryptic but enough to make sense to me

Kelly said...

So total feeling you. Same here with the down in the dumps.Been going on awhile and I had hoped Summer would erase it, but no such luck. Thanks for the book info. While see if Bn here has it.
Good luck with the artistic exploring.

3rdEyeMuse said...

I love the colors of this piece and adore the top left corner of it especially so ... I also enjoy the way you string your words together ... you express your thoughts in a way that sits well inside my head.

wishing you continued courage & much joy in the process, too.

Susan Tuttle said...

growth does involve risk -- you are right:)

you can do it!!



Debrina said...

Hi Patti - I love this artistic self exploration. I find my art pulls out new meaning deep from my subconscious. During the process of creating, I am totally absorbed in the making: colour choices, texture, medium, composition, that my conscious mind doesn't get much of a say in things (as all of the above are done by "feel" or using the subconscious mind). Finally, when I finish the piece and stand back and appraise it, I begin to read its deeper meaning.

I think what you have produced in this particular collage (which is also extremely beautiful) is a nice reflection of that deeper, subconscious mind. I totally get what you've produced esp. from a mother's point of view.

Beverley Baird said...

A great exploration of fears and creativity. Loved your collage!

La Dolce Vita said...

I love your piece and understand your feelings, we have all been there. all I can say is for me I always make are for me and to make sense for me and if it speaks to others then, yea!

Retro Cafe' Art Gallery said...

This collage is GORGEOUS!!!!

Kerin said...

Great post! Love everything about it. Your piece is beautiful and has a very definite presence that really comes through.

Our old friend Fear is just another indication that we are growing and experiencing new things so why should we give him more than a passing nod. ;)

Panz said...

I love this delightful image, it was the one that spoke to me the most as I nimbled over you blog. thank you for sharing it.


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