Monday, 21 December 2009

Return of the Light

I felt devastated this last week following the events of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. I witnessed humanity facing its darkest hour in history, where billions of people begged for their lives or hope for any kind of future, and having their pleas fall on the deaf ears of many of our world's leaders. What heartened me though was that most of us listened, we really listened, and we heard. And I know we will do whatever it takes.

So this year more that ever I felt the need to celebrate the winter solstice. A few days earlier I brought in from the cold the cedar root that the beautiful man I share my life with unearthed from the beach for me as a house-warming gift. In the warmth the root opened up and took on its role as protector of hearth and home. In the late afternoon I hung lights, my little "soul catchers", stars, hearts, and a few of my favorite things.
I filled the room with candles in tapers, floating in a bowl, groupings here and there. As the sky darkened, we shared in the lighting of the candles and put on the tree lights to celebrate the return of the light.
My home is mostly windows and skylights and we were surrounded by light and repeating reflections. Instead of closing the blinds we left them open, letting the light shine for all to see and enjoy.
In ancient times, people celebrated this time of year to honour their belief that winter would pass and that the light would eventually return. For many people, that hope was all they had to get them through the darkest of days.

In these dark times let us all keep lighting candles of hope. Let us commit to doing whatever we can in our own lives and our communities, make our leaders listen to us, so that we can save this Earth and ALL of it's inhabitants, so that eventually the light will return.
Wishing you all a Happy Solstice ~

Monday, 7 December 2009

In Praise of Unfinished Projects

"Why can't you finish one thing before you start another?" was right up there with "Why can't you just pick one thing and do it right?" when I was growing up. I ignored both pieces of advice. Adults, well-meaning friends, teachers, all insisted that this was the only way to actually get anything accomplished. The result of which I'm sure only made me more determined to find my own way.

I have amazing focus when I want. When I find something that interests me I throw myself in the deep end, consumed for weeks, months or even years until I am completely saturated. I just have more than one obsession on the go at any given time – sort of like the books I read… Learning rather than completion matters more to me.

"Once you have understood that it's the work that counts, and not the reward, you'll be happy" a teacher wrote in my journal when I was ten. Considering that I disagreed with exams on principle, I can only imagine how I embraced this sacrilegious concept!

I LOVE Unfinished Projects! There, I've said it. I mean, how else can you get that sense of finishing a whole bunch of stuff in one go? Fifteen years ago I ran a "Sock of the Month Club" and knitted up one sock for every month of the year ahead as class samples. Every year or so I would complete the "other" sock and have a whole new pair! This winter I may just finish the very last one, a heavy mustard sock that will mark the end of an era. I can't remotely relate to the fact that I should have finished this 15 years ago. I'm just ecstatic at how great they are going to look with my new purple sweater… if I get them finished, that is…. And as for the red pair I started two years ago, wait till I wear them with the stunning red Roots boots my friend found for me at the thrift store last winter!

Whenever I have an art show coming up, I simply turn to my crate of Unfinished Projects and within a week I can have several new "finished" pieces without any of the "burning the candle at both ends" syndrome.

My recent West Coast Reflections series grew from a host of unfinished watercolours.

Then there are all those collages that would never have come into being if it were not for the unfinished wannabe's loitering around the studio.

One of my most important pieces of art has grown from an "unfinished project" of several years back, and has launched a whole new series earmarked for a groundbreaking solo show next summer.

So come on, join the revolution, DON'T finish that project – you'll be amazed at what happens if you dare!