78 and counting….a new year awaits us

The giant prayer wheel at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Singapore

December 31st and January 1 are not so different…just 24 little hours apart…unless you are the kind of person who likes to make new beginnings. I am one of those people. I am 78 and counting. I feel a sense of urgency about my days. I want substance and meaning, purpose and progress in the time I have left.

When I have a clear ending to one period of time and the immediate, clearly defined beginning to another – a clean slate – a white canvas – I see it as a challenge and an opportunity. I feel the need for some creative thinking concerning what will be different and new in the coming year. My desire is that the new time period should improve over the previous one. That should be easy in the year 2021, since 2020 sunk to a deep new low in my own personal experience…and I imagine you might agree. We have nowhere to go but forward and higher in our aspirations.

Now we must rise up, pull ourselves up and out of the doldrums and the muck. We must thrive and prosper.

Thirteenth century poet and spiritual guide Rumi says, “But listen to me; for one moment, quit being sad. Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you.”

He writes next:

“Last year, I admired wines. I am wandering inside the red world. Last year I gazed at the fire. This year I am a burnt kabob. Thirst drove me down to the water where I drank the moon’s reflection.

It’s the old rule that drunks have to argue and get into fights. The lover is just as bad. He falls into a hole. But down in that hole he finds something shining, worth more than any amount of money or power.

Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street. I took it as a sign to start singing, falling up into the bowl of the sky.

Hard to believe that an Afghan mystic from the thirteenth century can be so relevant today. I have taken these phrases from the book The Essential Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, and I have left some lines out to give you the abbreviated essence of what he is saying. I urge you to read more. Every subject you might imagine is covered in splendid stories and ancient rhymes.

You do not need a magnificent prayer wheel, such as the one pictured here, to send your hopes and requests out into the universe. Just sit down and meditate. An enormous collective wish from planet earth will reach the right places if we all hope for the same things. I am wishing for a better year with a better chance for peace, for love, for hope and for an end to the suffering of so many people. Expressing our gratitude for the blessings we do have is always a good place to start…

On January 6th, the Day of Epiphany, a particular favorite of mine, we all have a brand new chance to discover, in a brilliant flash of truth, what it is we would like to accomplish in our privileged days remaining. It is a day of manifestation and revelation. It has the potential for opening a door in your mind that will lead you on a journey of new beginnings.

Let us welcome 2021 with a resounding embrace and a promise to do great things. Listen to your heart and go where it takes you.

Jo Ann Brown-Scott

ART WEBSITES – www.artistjoannbrown-scott.com

Prints of my original art are available at https://fineartamerica.com/art/jo+ann+brown-scott

NOVEL – www.acanaryfliesthecanyon.com

NON-FICTION BOOKS – The Creative Epiphany, gifted minds, grand realizations

and Your Miraculous, Timeless Creativitythe care and feeding of your creative gifts

Books are available on Amazon and Kindle

INSTAGRAM – The Creative Epiphany

All of my previous blogs can be found in my Archives.

The Art Game – not for the faint of heart

 

 photo courtesy of larryvillephotos.blogspot.com

Who am I, standing in the midst of this thought-traffic?  – RUMI

The life of an artist is like being a one-armed paper hanger or a one-man band or someone who herds house cats. Anyone who still believes that an artist passes the days squirreled away in some romantic, sort of melancholy, splattered-up loft studio, sipping wine and adding a brush stroke here or a swipe there is sadly misinformed. Here in the 21st century, life has changed so dramatically that you would scarcely recognize it as being a quality life for the professional fine artist. It is rather chaotic, and requiring multi-tasking and laser focus. It can make you crazy.

With the evolution of the computer we artists have absorbed a relatively nano-second-ish,  lightening speed change in the way we do business. With digital imagery, social networking for marketing purposes, website maintenance, the need to write newsletters & blogs, keeping a database of clients on  spread-sheets, writing our own resumes, bios, mission statements, self-publishing brochures and invitations, then photographing and cataloging our work, cutting matts, framing our work, seeking gallery representation, shipping art and transporting it to and from shows, recording sales, bookkeeping and paying our quarterly taxes…..well you get the picture. A much smaller percentage of time is left in the day to relax and paint. In many ways it is easier to do all this than it has ever been – and in other ways it has become increasingly more and more complicated. The tasks have widened, deepened and intensified instead of narrowing and being more focused. Today’s artists can no longer afford to just paint; not that they ever could; and few to none are able to afford an art rep. And NOW! OMG there is mucho competition out there, and unless you can run with the wolves you will be trampled and forgotten. With all the ways to communicate now, an artist is constantly bombarded with the images of the others, the wolves winning the race. An artist can stay aware of everything else out in the marketplace and even make adjustments, if he/she is flexible within his particular genre, to what is more trendy and marketable if that is what he/she desires….  Or if he/she wants to stay totally off the beaten path, then at least he also knows what the beaten path is doing at the moment so he can travel against it. Never before has the world seen so much about what the rest of the world is up to. Ignorance is no longer an excuse for any single thing.

An artist has got to be clever. And very efficient. Organized. Charismatic, great with the public, charming, funny and able to speak well about what he does and why. Technologically savvy. A marketing genius. A true salesperson. Gone forever are the days when an artist got away with silent sulking, being disheveled and drooling, a cigarette hanging just off the lip, obtuse and inarticulate, not to mention solitary, antisocial and in need of personal grooming…. I can’t say these days that we are all polished up poster children for the perfectly put together artist in the 21st century, but we do generally look different now – almost like downtown city business people who are just dressed a little off. We are better now than ever, just still odder than most.

And that is how we like it. For god’s sake let us at least hang on to that, OK?

And so….this is how it happens….the fire is re-lit

?????????? The Year Long Canvas BEFORE…..and AFTER (see below)

In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest, where no one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art. – Rumi

I woke up this morning newly-brave.

Born again into risk taking and artistic experimentation.

After about a month of YLC in-action I am ready to make my next big move on the YEAR LONG CANVAS, unapologetically and without a dot of hesitation. Something has kicked in and recharged me, and if I had to guess what that was, I think I would say that it had to be a perfect storm of things.  My glorious weekend in the mountains, a poem I received from a wise blogging friend who lives in Israel and is enduring the agony of that conflict, a Harley ride in the Sunday rain, the full belly laughter that I experienced on the phone with a friend, grown children who still love me – all of which are life affirming and reinforce for me the constant wonder and gratitude for the days and nights I am living. I am filled to the brim with life, wanting to value every day.

To be so fortunate is a miracle to me. I agonize for my friend in Israel. I feel deeply for friends and family who are suffering. The flip side of that is my determination to live my own life to its best potential, as a thank-you prayer to the universe. A joyful offering. I too have suffered, been miserable, lost people I loved, been disappointed and hurt by people who are still alive. I don’t live in a bubble. But I am not one who can hold on to pain and keep wringing it out of my days and nights when I am given a chance to let it go. And I have let it all go. It is just good Karma to remind myself of that every once in a while and have a little celebration.

Today I will do some things to the YLC with a “what the hell” attitude – geez I can always paint another painting – who do I think l I am, giving such weighty importance to a mere canvas? What is the worst that can happen? I very seldom ruin a canvas….

I am tired of avoiding it.

Today I welcome it and will confront it with a smile and a song. I knew I would be back. Told you so.

If you do not like what you see, or you are bored with this entire project, leave now. Or hang in here and  see what happens. You can refresh your mind about what I am doing on the YLC in my Archives if need be. I can assure you that whatever brushstrokes are done today will be made from a stance of positivity, as a prayer of thanks.  Nothing done in the name of my art will be angry. Strong vibrant color is a sign of joy and healthy strength, powerful compositions are confident and life-affirming. Thick paint and high texture indicate the need to feel things deeply and experience passion.

Abstract art is perfect for prayers to the universe; the art Buddha smiles.

YLCJU14 and AFTER, copyright July 2014 Jo Ann Brown-Scott – not yet titled