During Valentines’ month we see hearts everywhere, a shape recognized as the symbol* for love. The heart has taken on added associations this year as it is linked to support for frontline workers as well as a reminder to be kind to others and to not take our pandemic frustrations out on innocent people.
Reflecting on this (Robert Davidson) quote again, I think “the knife edge” between the past and future is where true creativity lives. Some think creativity is only painting, drawing, dancing or making music, but I think it is really also about living.
As many of my students have told me, their lives seem richer because they are seeing better and seeing more. It’s helpful to remember that we don’t teach reading and writing to produce only poets and writers, but rather to improve thinking. Betty Edwards in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.
This painting is loosely based on a view of the Comox Valley, perhaps from Cumberland or somewhere in the Beaufort Mountains. It describes the place in a mountainbike ride or a hike you enjoy after having done the hard work of getting there. Here you may have a snack, sketch, take a couple deep breaths or take a nap. You may be with others sharing light conversation or a meaningful moment.
This December I had my dream experience of spending two days, mostly alone, at our National Gallery in Ottawa. I have been asked several times what my favourite piece was but I don’t really have an answer. Actually I think what I enjoyed most was the process of looking.
Sketches aren’t about making a perfect picture, it’s the act of looking that is important. By completely stopping to look and draw (a flower, a tree, person, building..) you start to notice things you didn’t before.
Over the years I’ve had a few dreams about fire. Sometimes I see the licking flames in sharp detail and other times something is burning more in the distance. A couple times there was a more scary explosion or almost explosion (usually when I’m mad about something – ha). I’ve also connected dreaming about fire to major transition points in my life, such as moving or when I started dating my husband!
Fire in a controlled sense denotes security. It is always needing to be fed or stoked and invites interaction – it is alive. Every year when my family goes to Tofino we enjoy fires on the beach – sometimes playing music as well.
Daydreaming is a way of making connections in our life, finding meaning and coming up with new ideas. People value busyness and the resulting rewards of a productive life but I believe that time to just let our minds completely wander is underrated.
One thing I’ve learned about being an artist is that no one else will tell you that you must create. An artist needs to have their own belief in what they have been most equipped to do. This takes an incredible amount of courage and also: self-love. And not in a pumped up ego kind of way, but in a way that you truly believe that you are a worthy person and it is right to trust your inner voice.