Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Walking Inside my Dream

"Mountain", watercolor, 2012

I wonder if there is anything quite as rewarding as feeling oneself deeply aligned 
with the work one does in the world. As the weeks roll gently and swiftly by, the
studio has become more and more a place of sanctuary and inspiration. Three 
groups have now gathered here, the young women, my blessing circle, and last 
weekend my Myth & Symbol class. I am now walking inside the dream of this space
held for so many years, and I am expanding into the possibilities of the work here. 



There are weeks when I am not yet able to spend much time making art, but I know 
this is the fallout from the continued work on promotional materials and web site 
and all that goes in to setting up shop. With the end of school just a few weeks off, 
I will have more time for painting. I catch a few hours here and there, enough to 
keep the cauldron brewing and to feel the stirrings of what might be next. One 
morning, stressed and in a dark mood, I entered the studio and felt myself instantly
lighten with the simple beauty of the space. 




My pinboard is filling up with work, and even with only short moments to give to my 
process, I am getting somewhere new with the distant views. I think growing up in 
a home filled with Chinese and Japanese paintings is important for the work I am 
doing now. I saw something in the way I painted the mountain in the top image in 
this post that reminded me of those paintings. Its a particular way of seeing and 
depicting volume and space with minimal detail. Its something to strive for again, 
I've been more obsessed with tree lines and mists than the distant hills, but this 
painting demands that I pay close attention to the mountains. (the color is really off 
in that image, I need to take work outside to shoot, I'll be back with that 
sometime soon!)


I continued with the book of spirals, inspired by the 
bleedthroughs as much as the spirals.  








The book is now full, but another one will probably start soon. 
Outside, trees that gave themselves to make room for the studio 
call to me to notice their rings and rays.  




I know I've shared this before on this blog, but its worth repeating. Before I had 
this camera, I didn't understand the flower paintins of Georgia O'Keefe the way I 
do now. I've always loved her work, but I never SAW flowers the way she did - 
until now. There is something wonderful in knowing a person's work for many 
years and then one day understanding it on a much deeper level. She must have 
had macro lenses in her eyes... really, she saw such fine detail, astounding. 


 
Living here at RavenWood, I am just as much engaged in the contemporary world 
as everyone else, though choices like heating with wood and living on the edge 
of the wild keep my toes in a faraway world. But there is an unmistakable mystery 
in the forest, and magic is everywhere, if one has eyes to see it. Maybe as O'Keefe 
had her macro lenses, I have lenses to see magic and mystery. One day, shortly 
after I moved here, I saw a stone man looking at me from the moss hill. He 
comes alive when the light is just right, and speaks to me in low whispers that 
tingle in my bones. This is my one hundredth blog post, and also a day when the 
light is perfect to share some magic with you....

58 comments:

Suz said...

oh I see him....and yes, I think you have magic eye lenses...
I love how you straddle two worlds
and hear whispers

henrietta (aka ani aka zani) said...

i wish i could touch the screen and feel the surfaces as you see them. your stone man probably is a forest keeper...sometimes at night he raises and touches the full moon a bring light to the spaces that dwell in shadow. i didn't actually understand GO's use of color until i went to abique n.m. and walked the stones she called home. i think you have to experience her work - it's more then visual. cheers

iNd!@nA said...

i could happily live in that studio space...

mairedodd said...

congratulations on the 100th post, v!
what a wonderful forest dweller to have nearby - he is quite something... your studio is one i could live in as well - you have created an incredibly welcoming, warm space...
as for georgia - i once read she said that if she painted flowers on a huge scale that their beauty could not be ignored... you do that with your spirals - your landscapes - you make the beauty of the forest evident...

stregata said...

The magic is there, everywhere and you are in tune to seeing it. Most people have just lost the ability to see what is around us...
Every time I see your studio space, I can feel its serenity.

joe madl said...

i remember living in just such a place...straddling the worlds...and my heart aches for it once again each time i read your posts. thank you for awakening that ache. it is time to open my heart's eyes and *see* once again!

Barry said...

VA-you are growing more and more into your studio or is that the other way around. Even having the sacred space to create feeds the soul so I understand how you feel. And as a bonus to be surrounded by the beauty and inspiration and gifts of nature. You life does seem full of goodness. Go well and enjoy the bliss. B

Juli said...

Your words and photographs are always so magical, I love hearing about your process and thoughts, so inspiring. Your book of spirals looks amazing, I love the bleedthroughs and think they fit really well.

http://www.dear-sweetlings.com

Kimberly Wachtel said...

You're settling in so nicely with the space and your new role as the keeper and holder of the new space. It makes me so happy for you to witness this. Great news about holding another workshop last weekend!

gz said...

It is truly a magical place.
The new studio is busy and peaceful at the same time too.

Tammie Lee said...

I see your rock man, he is wonderful!
how fine that that your studio has a spirit that uplifts and inspires, i am quite happy for you.

lovely to see your images of flowers and thoughts on life. lovely week to you~

Windsongs and Wordhoards said...

I love your Mist and Mountain paintings, this one is as evocative as ever... they look great as a series all grouped together on your studio wall, a beautiful body of work.
The studio has a lovely feeling to it in all your pictures, I'm so glad you're getting so much enjoyment out of it, a wonderful bright, creative space :)

Your Man of Stone gazes out very quietly but I also see a much fainter stone-child perhaps to the left of the picture. Last time I went out wandering over the back fields I saw face after Treeish face peering out from under great ivy brows or yawning moss filled maws as they awake for spring, trembling with slow stirring sap.
The Green Men are abroad I think, whether Moss Man or Bough Boy, stretching their roots!

Valerianna said...

- especially whispers from the Stone Man.

Valerianna said...

Someday I'll get to Georgia's land.... and I must keep a watch on full moon nights to see if the Stone Man touches the moon and directs any beams.

Valerianna said...

Me too! I pretty much did when it was first completed. But, alas, I do like the kitchen and the shower in the house..

Valerianna said...

thanks, Maire. And I have to agree with Georgia, but even when I saw her paintings in the flesh, I saw the art and design of them, but didn't see the flowery-ness of them until I began really SEEING the flowers. We see what we have eyes to see, I do believe.

Valerianna said...

Yes, definitely, magic is everywhere. I worry about the generations behind us, they are so obsessed with looking on small screens.. I've actually seen them walk into things while texting. YIKES!

Valerianna said...

Its hard to do when working so many hours I imagine! If I didn't live with the mosses lapping at my door, I think it would be hard for me, too right now, with being so busy. But I can sit in the living room and look out to the moss hill and the stone man a few feet out the back door. Its hard to ignore the dreaming forest when plunked right in its middle.

Valerianna said...

Life is full of goodness, but to be truthful, it helps to tell magic stories to keep me looking at all the blessings around me. I could all too easily sink into stress and anxiety right now.

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Juli - the book of spirals started quite unconsciously, but now I feel the urge to continue, and need to find a sketchbook - or make one - that has good paper but that also allows the bleeding. Its a lot to ask of a sketchbook!

Valerianna said...

Well not exactly a workshop last weekend, a mandatory field trip! Though we did do a whole day of environmental process and ritual. They loved it, and the work they made for today's critique was great. Now I have my first weekend in several off and looking forward to it!

Valerianna said...

Yes - its the same as life in this forest....

Valerianna said...

Hi Tammie - I'm curious what it will be like in there when the leaves come in and the ferns are unfurled in the clearing beyond. I'm looking forward to doing work outside the studio. I want to encourage more ferns and create patios and outside spaces. Oh SOO much to do!

Valerianna said...

I saw that other almost face in this photo, maybe something is beginning to emerge there! And I am forever seeing faces everywhere, and especially when I sit at my altar and look out into the forest - always quite a lot of faces peering back at me.

Raggle Taggle Gypsy Girl said...

Well done, it sounds like all your hardwork is coming together and is paying off......

susan christensen said...

'magic is everywhere, if one has eyes to see it'
So true, V - thank you for sharing your vision with us. xxoo, sus

Valerianna said...

Bit by bit... things fit into place. More to complete, before I can begin the most rewarding part - my OWN painting and teaching summer classes....

Valerianna said...

Keeps me noticing it, too, having a format in which to share it!

Nikiah said...

Greetings Valerianna,
I popped by today wondering if your beautiful studio would be finished and it is! it looks so inspiring tucked away in the forest, I wish I could come and take a class from you, such lucky students you have!
Thank you for sharing your world with us, it is so very deeply inspiring!
Nikiah

Valerianna said...

Hi Nikiah - thanks for popping by! YES, it is DONE! And I love it so. Still needing to finish up biz prep tasks before I can truly swim inside there for extended periods, but it is truly such an amazing gift. It would be cool if you weren't so very much on the other side of the continent here... oh well, dreaming of days when we know how to bi-locate or at least broom-fly for an evening class!

Geninne said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog V :-) Looks like we like very similar things (including feathers)! Your work and your studio are just beautiful ♥

Valerianna said...

Hi Geninne - glad you popped on over. Yes, we surely share the feather love... and the live version, the birds!

nancy neva gagliano said...

lovely space you have.
and i appreciate the painting of the "mountain". each individual, never the same.
the camera is magic, opening our eyes...like SEEing flowers the way georgia presented them to us. such an eye she had.
thanks. neva

Caterina Giglio said...

what a gorgeous space... and your work is stunning.. circles of life...

rivergardenstudio said...

I love that you are in alignment with your world, the way your art and your teaching and your walks are all connected. Just beautiful.
roxanne

Calico Hen said...

I feel the beauty and peace in your studio, and I look forward to reading more of your blog.

Velma said...

oh, yes, there's that stone man! getting back to the real self as spring does what it does so well, must invigorate...until you remember the promotional stuff and the ... take time to enjoy that old man and his friends. don't forget to give in to the woods, despite the black flies. (ours are out!)

Valerianna said...

Hi Nancy, yes, she DID have quite an eye... I've never thought of myself as painting mountains before - just trees and mists... but the mountains have found themselves a place because they are there, behind the mists...

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Caterina!

Valerianna said...

I wonder if there is really ever a separation?

Valerianna said...

Thanks for coming over... !

Valerianna said...

To "give in to the woods", like that idea... today, its give into the warm sunshine and rest. Luckily, I don't have to move far to give into the woods as I'm surrounded!

Michala Gyetvai (Kayla coo) said...

Hi Valerianna,
Your studio and work is an inspiration,this is a dream!
I am in awe of your life and surroundings.
M x

Valerianna said...

Hi Michala - what an enthusiastic comment!

And, just to let you know, a student I sent to your blog is really inspired as she had begun to work with sewing in her paintings, so tomorrow I'm bringing the sewing machine to school for her. ( hope she can figure it out, I have 2 and don't use either!!)

Mo Crow said...

thank you as always for sharing your studio and forest and the paintings that are coming through I love your spiral sketchbook, beautiful work and yes exploring the bleed through!!! why not make your next one out of all your favourite watercolour papers?

Valerianna said...

Oh, my pleasure to share... That's a thought about the watercolor paper. which I have thought, and will try someday... but I DID find a sketchbook that I've been holding onto forever, and it seems the best choice for a new book. And it might not be all spirals, but related, and I don't know if there will be a bleedthrough on this one.

Sandra Dunn said...

V- I don't know why my comment from a few days ago never made it on here. But,,, wish I could "steal" your man. ;)

jan b. said...

I felt that tingle up the spine when you spoke of the stone man's whispers to you. And it was greater still when I viewed the photo ... for there next to him I saw the nose, mouth, and chin of a feline companion. What gentle forest guardians you have watching over you!

Sophie Munns said...

Oozing inspiration Valerianna!
what a treat of a post. I'm sure you will have a wonderful summer... your studio is alive as if all the magic forces of your special part of the world are finding their way into that space as well. NO wonder you feel uplifted to walk in there. Tis beautiful!

Sophie Munns said...

ANd I adore your journal and the exciting bleedthroughs!

Valerianna said...

Strange things happen on blogger... my comments often fly away on one particular blog!

Valerianna said...

I sometimes see other faces on that stone, but none quite as clearly as the man.

Valerianna said...

Hi Sophie - I'm glad my enthusiasm is catchy! It really is a wonderful space, I'm grateful to the builder for such care in his craftsmanship, it makes a huge difference!!

Valerianna said...

Thanks!

stephanie dosen said...

Valerianna said...

^;^

Cottage Garden said...

Valeriana, your posts have such magic about them. I get lost in your world with just the mention of moss hill, and your spirals seem to be ever more alive and inspired ... I love the bleedthroughs.

What a studio! Just perfect. It has everything you could possibly want. I'm sure you will have a wonderful summer just concentrating on your art.

Jeanne
x

Valerianna said...

I'd love it if I COULD just spend the summer making art! But, I'm offering summer classes and retreats in the studio beginning in June. And the one other thing I could use in the studio is WATER! But at least for summer classes, a big, long hose will do fine and a outdoor sink!!