reflection

Heat by Jennifer

Jennifer Davey,   Heat , 2011, oil, burned paper, chalk and pencil on panel,  48 x 48 in.    Private collection

Jennifer Davey,  Heat, 2011, oil, burned paper, chalk and pencil on panel,  48 x 48 in.    Private collection

Heat.  It is a quality that is surely very present in the minds and hearts of the residents of Northern Colorado over the last week.  Fire, with both its destructive and life giving qualities, is an element that can evoke both great comfort and great fear.  Over the last week, watching the High Park Fire grow, despite the definite fear it has provoked in us all, I have witnessed the strength and beauty of people coming together in a time of crisis.  This collective care for one another is the glue that allows us to mature, to flourish, and to grow into human beings who care for one another and for our homes, both metaphorical and physical, individually and collectively.  The gift of a crisis is remembering what really matters.  Things come and go.  Structures come and go.  People come and go.  So it begs the question, what is constant, ever-lasting?  This week, I have remembered the numinous quality of helping another.  My acts have been very small relative to the courageous fire-fighters and people on the front lines working to contain the fire.  However, these small acts have profoundly impacted me.  Thoroughly enjoying and being present to an unexpected dinner with friends evacuated from the fire, celebrating news of another friend's home surviving the fire, showing kindness to those that come through the store.  These acts do not win boldness or recognition awards.  But I have found that this simple shift toward gentle kindness in small daily acts has provided an internal stability that I have greatly appreciated.  It is a good reminder in times when the outer world feels tumultuous and unpredictable, that the internal world of care and connection provides a stable home for love to flourish. I ran across something I had written in my journal in 2008 and it seemed timely:

"I realize that tension, sometimes more extreme tension of opposites is what keeps things energized and alive.  Without that tension, there is nothing.  And holding your center between two opposites is where success, love, and a rich life flourish.  The desire to discard the negative or the obstacle is a false desire leading to failure.  Honoring and integrating the obstacle brings life."

...and hopefully rain.

 

by Jennifer Davey

What do you recommend as advice for a person who wants to increase/explore their artistic skills?

The first thing I would suggest is to think about what sounds really fun, exciting, or new, and then think about how you can experiment with that. Can you take a class? Look up something on-line or at the library, call an expert and take them to coffee. Push yourself to try something new. The other thing that really helped me a few years back, was using the Artist's Way and really committing to completing the 12 weeks of exercises in the book. This made a huge difference to me when I was trying to figure out how to be an artist after I had left teaching to pursue art. And finally, make sure your definition of art is big enough to include all sorts of inspiring things you may want to explore. Art is about transformation and living more fully.