Friday, October 5, 2012

Invoking with Ink and Brush


A golden light glows in the October forest, and my energy - like honey - drips down
to the roots. September left me worn and worried and dreaming of routine and  
normalcy, but finding an ocean of intensity to navigate. My dear Mum went back 
into the hospital in early September for a second cancer related surgery. Being 
already weak from surgery in early June, the second surgery was risky. Her recovery
is slow and her spirits are low and its difficult to be far away, difficult to feel bowled 
over by the autumn color as I usually am. 



I've needed to be quiet, to find strategies to cope with anxiety, startling the 
first few weeks after Mum's surgery when the phone rang. I've needed to sink into 
roots, to invoke stories of guardian spirits and wise women and dreamers in the earth
with my brush. It occurs to me that if a collector who owns one of my minimilast 
landscpaes were to happen by, they might be shocked at the shift in my work. 
But my work has always been a deeply storied invocation to spirit, whether or not 
a gallery or collector sees it as such. Drawing these spirits into being right now is 
something I must do. 


They began showing up in my journal pages a few years ago, coming and going 
with a kind of seasonal flow. Today in the studio I began exploring them with 
a bit more of a commitment. With sepia and yellow ochre ink, pen and brush, 
I spent an afternoon in the root realm. Seeing them here and editing the photos 
helps to see what else is possible. 








Another image in the margins of my journal of late is ferns. I've been obsessively 
decorating the pages with fern patterns, speeding through my word entries to 
get to the drawings. A few days ago I played with fern patterns and bleeding, 
and will continue with this obsession as well. 







Leaves drift quietly to the earth, and a muskiness scents the breeze. On my walk 
to the studio this morning I felt a bit of the heaviness leaving me as the beauty 
of the changing forest moved me.  
















My sweet, dependable friend has found a new place to focus these days. He 
spends much of his time staring with such intensity to one spot in the garden. 
One morning I walked outside to greet him, but he did not move an inch as I 
approached. I like that he is so close by, so that when I wander out to the studio
steps and call his name, he's there in a flash to sit with me while I drink my tea. 




72 comments:

Nancy said...

Your roots women are warm and wise and haunting. The life and death patterns of your nature shots are stunning.
Thoughts for your mum, and for you.
Take care.

ArtPropelled said...

Even though you are anxious your blog provides solace once again. Your paintings and sketches of the woman cocooning in the roots of the tree remind me so much of a time when I was trying to cope with my mum's illness. Though I did not paint I wrote screeds. Looking back I have this image of myself cocooning for inner strength. I'm glad you have a sweet dependable friend to comfort you. Thinking of you xox

Hindustanka said...

The drawings are very interesting, but a little weird to me...but may be you really find some answer in your imagination and spirits will help you to overcome the difficulties. take care!

Gardener in the Distance said...

Seeing these images I think of amber, how it captured what fell into it, preserved it, made it glow, immortalised it, transfigured it.

Stille Linde said...

Oh I love this post. The last root woman you show here is me. The root people recall the buddha sitting under the tree as well, sinking deeper and deeper. Your work and your soul are deeply feeding and helping your mum in her own way, it's not otherwise possible. Love and warmth to you dear!!!

Charlotte said...

I wish you strength and fortitude. I think the peace that allows us a centre to cope with life's is so important and your forest seems the most ideal place for it.

I empathise with your worries for your mum. Although it is part of life, that we move into the place our parents hold open for us, it is a transition that is uneasy. My mum has been with us for 2 days, each visit I notice a little more drift away from me.

So take my best wishes across water and land and may they give the solace of fellowship.

A mermaid in the attic said...

I love these new paintings, Valerianna. And sending all my best for a speedy recovery for your dear mum.
xx

Barry said...

VA - we can at time carry such heavy burden - almost no energy for any spark of normalcy including our normal creativity. However, it seems such a powerful thing that you you have been able to express what you have been going through via a different form. I wish you strength and energy to endure and to emerge. Go well;. B

Marti said...

Calling forth wise women, root spirits, the ancient healing of ferns, your writing here Valerianna has touched me deeply. We do what we must when we need to understand, when we need to hold/help/our loved ones and we are separated by geography. Invoking creates a thread that goes both ways, protecting each, helping to reach that place of knowing as we stand and face what is... candle lit on a bit of moss to hold you and your Mum in my daily blessings.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful photo essay!!!

jude said...

good to see your new work. let it flow....

mairedodd said...

powerful work you are doing - they leave me contemplative... i can feel you through them...
i am glad you find the lifting in the woods - you belong there... i cannot imagine you in another setting...

Valerianna said...

Thank you, Nancy.... warm and wise and haunting.... that works with the season.

Valerianna said...

Hi Robyn - cocooning is a good word for it! I'm less anxious now - though I have moments - mostly depressed and sad as it all is in the mystery. I'm glad that solace prevails here, even through the intensity for me!

Valerianna said...

Hi Hindustanka - well, I've been called interesting AND weird, so I guess that fits. Thanks for the well wishes.

Valerianna said...

Gardener - oh, I love that you thought of amber... I wear it all the time, have both ancestral connections to it (family from Latvia) and also feel its good medicine for me being a forest woman myself. I hadn't made the connection myself, but, wow, now I see it... and even the color I'm so drawn to right now. Thanks for pointing that out!!

Valerianna said...

Hi Barbara - If I'd known I was painting you, I might have included a drum!! I saw the Buddha here, too... especially in the last two. Because I'm an intense empath, I've been deeply (at times TOO deeply) experiencing my Mum's intense feelings... so its been a challenge to do my own energy work for her. But I've been doing what I can and supporting my Dad, too. Thanks for your blessings.

Valerianna said...

Thank you, Charlotte... yes, the forest is good, and that yesterday we had sunshine, also, cause we've had a week of rain and that didn't help my emotional state! Thank you for your kind words.

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Christina... I'm hoping the same.

Valerianna said...

Hi Barry - yes, a powerful thing.. though maybe a bit vulnerable to share it fully because of the artworld's snobbery. In that world, I know these would be considered "lower" art that what I am known for. But it is authentic for me right now, important and that is that!

Valerianna said...

Lovely words, Marti, and much appreciation for including me and my Mum in your blessings today!!

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Gwen!! I've admited my skeletal leaf obsession in former posts here (and on FB) but now there's a whole TREE of them near the path to my studio... I sometimes can't get to the studio because of that darn tree!

Valerianna said...

Yes, Jude... it can't be otherwise right now, strong work or not.

Valerianna said...

Ahhh.... but I did once flourish on a craggy mountain at the edge of the sea... the sea is deeply in me, too!

AkasaWolfSong said...

Dear Valerianna...
Your art leaves me wanting more...perhaps it is the spirit in them that calls to my heart, nevertheless I feel the roots of the Ancient Mother call to me from them.
I will be remembering your Dearest Momma and You in my prayertime and will light a candle for you, praying for the Highest Good of all. I send Healing on the Gentle Winds to both of you...
In Cascading Love and Blessing,
Akasa

Valerianna said...

Hi Akasa, thanks so much for including us in your prayers. I'm heading back out to the studio to explore these drawings more. Yes, definitely the Ancient Mother calling from deep within the roots. Autumnal blessings to you!

susan christensen said...

Dear V - so sorry to learn of your mother's troubles, and hope that her health is restored. I, too, have been experiencing a heaviness of mood as much in my life seems to be adrift - my own mother, always my ROCK, has been going thru some changes being my biggest worry... and being so far away from her and Dad... I have been taking solace in the beauty of these autumn days and the fact that from pain comes growth. Thanks for your inspiring post, and hello to Pasha - love from sus and WW

Sharmon Davidson said...

These are beautiful and powerful invocations, indeed. Valerianna. art is always the strongest invocation, I think, because so much energy is put into it. As one who has spent much time there, I know there is much power in the root realm- power for comfort and healing, and transformation. I will be thinking of you and your mom... sending blessings to you.

Valerianna said...

Hi Susan - Definitely an added challenge, being so far away from parents in thier time of need! Good luck with finding an anchor for your life and goodness to your Mom. We (me and Pasha cat) sending blessings back to you...

Valerianna said...

Hi Sharmon, thanks for your thoughts. Yes, creating images can be a powerful invocation. Just spent the morning in the studio continuing with this. Thanks for the well wishes and blessings to you.

Sandra Dunn said...

Oh V - about your mum. I pray life and health and blessing. Strength to your father and much peace to you as well. Your wise women feel rooted, unmoved an solid. They are lovely and comforting! And it looks like all the beautiful leaves are reaching out to cover you.

May you feel all love and prayers of your friends near and far during these times. May it give you strength.

Love,
Sandra

Tammie Lee said...

first i hold you and your mum in my heart and send you both light.

your art is beautiful, deep and quiet, as though held in an embrace that is grounded. i love trees, so much and so do you.

also your photographs show the spirit of the season beautifully, thank you.

Valerianna said...

Thank you, Sandra. Its nice to feel well wishes from far and wide!

Valerianna said...

Hi Tammie. I've known you as a tree lover, from your beautiful photos of them! Thanks for the blessings.

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

My heart goes out to you in this time for you and your mother and your family.
Your work is so beautiful in this post
xxx
julie

Valerianna said...

Thank you, Julie.

Els said...

Beautiful drawings Valerianna! I hope they bring you some peace is the present dificult times with your mum
Wish you both all the best !

Lynn said...

Oh, Valerianna.
Thinking of you and your mum.
Your root-women are so calmly, deeply moving. And your ferns...I do have a thing for ferns and you've captured it.

Valerianna said...

Hi Els, thanks so much for the well wishes and glad you enjoyed the drawings.

Valerianna said...

Hi Lynn - glad we share the fern-love! I love drawing them, too. One continual line or playing with the spiraling... good fun.

Mo Crow said...

art... where else can we put all the joys, the sorrows, the fears, the wonders...?
thank you for sharing "your one wild and precious life" with us Valerianna

The Cranky Crone, she lives alone! said...

Beautiful, just beautiful sending you strength and warm thoughts Valerianna, I always look forward to your posts, they have a positive and grounding effective on me,especially today. Thank you.

steven said...

i love the ferns bleeding into the paper . . . they give me a sense of patterns deliquescing that i see mirrored in the gentle decay of leaves and plants at this time of year. steven

Valerianna said...

Hi Mo - yes... its a good place to express, and thanks.

Valerianna said...

Crankcy Crone - thanks for sending strength and warmth and pleased to provide some grounding and postivie energy today.

Valerianna said...

Hi Steven - I've been looking at all those decaying things and maybe they are informing the drawings. I'm sure smitten with witnessing the changing.

Virginia said...

Dear Val -

Your paintings touch a deep chord in me. I used to regularly speak to a group of ancestors "under the roots" when I meditated, and I've recently been trying to find my way back to them. Thank you for those familiar faces.

Wishes of health to your mum.

Valerianna said...

Hi Virginia - I've been more and more going to these Root Women when meditating, interesting that they are familiar to you as well. Hope you find them again in your meditations!

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

there is no time to waste

Valerianna said...

and yet being in this hardly doing dark state feels like I am NOT doing.

Valerianna said...

Then again I am just going....

stephanie said...

sending you warm earth under the roots.. sending badgers because they live there so happily.. and are so strong.. sending healing thoughts for your mom ♥ xoxo

Valerianna said...

Hi Stephanie - so nice to hear from you... and badgers, yes, I don't know them, really, cause they don't live around here, but I do remember that they like that root realm. Thanks for the healng thoughts, much appreciated.

Cottage Garden said...

Thank you dear Valerianna for your healing words of comfort to my recent post.

I do hope your mum is recovering from her surgery and feeling stronger by the day; the pain of worry that we sometimes carry is a heavy weight isn't it.

I'm so glad you are smelling the autumn moss again - with the assistance of dear Pasha of course.

Jeanne
x

Valerianna said...

Thank you, Jeanne - Heading to Florida to be with my family this weekend, Mom may not have a whole lot of time left, but she is feeling better and is home now.

dori said...

Very beautiful!! What a deep meditation. Fine brown colors. A good feeling for the mother is to love brown, my sister told me once. I wish you mum feeling better soon!

Barry said...

VA- there are times when the authentic needs to find expression. B

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Dori!

deemallon said...

sorry to hear about your mother.. . the images make total sense given what it is that is going on (and they captivate, all on their own!)

Caterina Giglio said...

thank you for sharing your process, it is wonderful to see how the image has evolved. I am knowing that being so rooted and grounded will keep you safe and able to withstand whatever the future holds. sending you loving healing energy... to you and your mum...

Sophie Munns said...

What a wondrous post Valerianna!
Inviting us to enter your precious place in the cosmos with this poetic and rich artwork....and the beautiful images of you home in the trees is special.
Such a beautifully poignant visual language for grappling with inevitables that we would all rather not need do.
We are reminded of our own times of high emotion and sorrow and our thoughts turn to offering you comfort as they remind us what is required of our journey!
Thinking of you and sending heart-filled blessings!
xo

layers said...

Your emotional connection to the earth and nature is very strong.. really comes through in your work and your words.

Beacee said...

Hope you and Pasha are ok. x

Lisbeth @ wabisabi-style.blogspot.com said...

Beautiful post, Valerianna! Your art is as beautiful as your place in the forest. Best wishes, Lisbeth

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Dee.... glad "they captivate"... that's a good word.

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Caterina, healing energy is well needed.

Valerianna said...

Hi Sophie, thanks for heart-filled blessings.. I'm soaking them in.

Valerianna said...

Glad that my connection translates... thanks.

Valerianna said...

Doing OK, Beacee, will update soon in new post.

Valerianna said...

Hi Lisbeth, thanks... yes, a beautiful place in the forest, just perfect for enfolding one in healing.

Sophie Munns said...

Have just touched down again Valerianna... this time I noticed those inky unfurling ferns and marvelled at their forms. Trust you are doing OK and finding time for your art-making. Lovely to hear form you today. Total Solar eclipse here in our part of the world was pretty special this morning!
Sending blessings!

Valerianna said...

Hi Sophie - yes, the eclipse!! It was on my radar, though of course we couldn't see it. I was just thinking I wanted to work more on those fern drawings... maybe start putting some in the Etsy shop as I really, really could use some more income!! Hope all is well with you, thanks for stopping by RavenWood again. :)