Spring here in the Southern California village of Woodland Hills has been a time of variable temperatures — both high and low; signs of rebirth abound. Budding and blossoming plants beckon. It has also been a time of personal rebirth with my art. My deep and curious love affair with the Snowy Owl has produced six new paintings and two new multi-media pieces. It seems the owls have gifted me a new set of wings and our limitless sky beckons. Snowy Owls are in the midst of baby boom – being called an avalanche or an irruption – it’s the second banner year for this magnificent and symbolic creature.
“For a second year in a row, a mass migration of snowy owls from Canada is occurring, and that’s highly unusual. It’s called an irruption and it’s thought to be related to boom and bust cycles of arctic lemmings, the small rodents that snowy owls love to eat.” Listen to the full interview on here&Now.
My work with the Snowy Owl was submitted as part of my portfolio for a recent California artist fellowship application packet. [Who will be the lucky recipients is yet to be decided in July; please keep your fingers and hearts crossed for me.] Obviously, the beauty of applying for such opportunities is that it shakes things up, necessitating a rethinking of my own ideas about Art, art making, and my goals for connecting to a broader, more diverse audience.
Art as storytelling
For me, art at its core is Storytelling. It is an expression of timeless Spirit translated into contemporary symbols; this Spirit connects us to our ancient roots. Influenced by nature, Spirit and whimsy, I am drawn to natural materials, animals, dreams/visions, and use them to build sacred spaces and images. Perception and environment are inseparable collaborators in my art; I listen to discern which stories want to come forth – a place, a time, an inspired yearning, a message. My art practice involves integrating the audience/community into the creative process by inviting them into a meditative interior space. Whether it is a still image or sculptural environment, spoken word or movement piece, I strive to capture the viewers’ attention and connect them to a deeper intuitive place. This way, my art can serve as an antidote to the travails of contemporary urban life, providing healing, expressing a higher energy field and reinforcing life’s greater meaning beyond physical appearance. When I succeed, my storytelling bridges the unlimited world of mystery with human beings – asking each of us to be witness, participant and maker of the moment.
My goal is to take my sacred, experiential pieces to a broader Los Angeles audience. Part of my plan is to establish the Center for Fearless Creative Freedom at my home studio. One proposed class is “Drawing On All You Know” for both children and adults; it is designed to reconnect participants to intuitive and sacred creative impulses. Using guided meditation, improvisational and guided movement, Qi Gong, Yoga, Tai Chi and Tarot, we will ‘draw out’ the muse, moving us out of our over-exercised intellects into our under-accessed intuitive bodies. From this invigorated space, we will build 3-dimensional environments and create 2-dimensional works using our bodies and materials to tell our stories of possibility, energy and life force. This shamanic reclaiming of our innate wisdom is meant to serve as an antidote to the stresses of daily life and its focus on technology, information overload and materialistic values. I will seek to share these stories we build, however temporary, in public spaces in the hopes of slowing us down enough to appreciate the very making of the moment.
My center intends to provide additional space for all sorts of storytelling, in cooperation with several other artists and spaces. LA’s urban landscape is one of 24-7 communications; high-tech-high-stakes deals; Hollywood allure; multicultural/multiethnic arts, spiritual traditions, foods and languages. Yet beyond all these apparent differences, there is a deeper, safer space I inhabit along with fellow storytellers. It is out of this space that we have learned to create.
Global to local – building villages of creativity
Another reason I want to create more space for local art-making is to support village community life. With the overload of our contemporary lives, I find that community members often do not want to climb into a car and go over the canyon to Santa Monica or over the hill to West LA, Hollywood or downtown. They want to be here in our neighborhoods, rubbing elbows with local talent and celebrating our collective creative lives. I fully embrace my place here with other artists, owning my own spirituality and creativity, intending to inspire others to express their stories – fearlessly and passionately.
Along with Snowy Owl, my plumage too changes in spring. I am seeking opportunities that appreciate my colorful, creative ways of looking at a situation and then improving it. Owls indicate certainty, wisdom, perceptiveness and deep knowing – this messenger keeps appearing, nourishing my yearning to be wild, creative and free. I invite all to share this with me.