Reflections

Time: by Jennifer

Highway 287, September 2, 2012

Highway 287, September 2, 2012

Time is the starting point for the painting I am currently working on.  I am looking back in history, thinking of the vast evolution of time, both geologic and human.  However, this long look at time has caused me to examine my own micro-relationship to time.  As a Westerner in the 21st century, I am often in an argument with time.  I either don't have enough time, or I am frustrated that the "future I envision" time has not arrived, or I am disappointed in the way I spent my time in the past.  It is really a humbling and slightly embarrassing moment to bring the microscope in to examine my relationship to time.   However, there is pay off in this akward exploration, freedom.  The most simple start to this path to freedom is posing the question:

"What would my life be like if I did not argue with time?"

It is a radical notion for someone like me, so trained in judging the past, present, and future and how it is not living up to my "standards & expectations".  It's as if I have my own Standard & Poors rating index for time.  Time rarely fits my "standards" because of the poverty in which I view time.  However, ever optimistic, even with my judging self, I indulge in imaging what a day in the life of not judging time might look like:

  • Waking up to realize how lucky I am to be in a warm, cozy bed lying next to the man I love.
  • Drinking hot tea and eating toast, which to my surprise, I truly still enjoy even though I have eaten the same breakfast almost every day for years. (boring, yes, I know)
  • Meeting whatever task at hand with an openess and curiousity.  It really doesn't matter if it is doing the dishes or going to the studio (even though being in the studio is my favorite use of time, and probably is the one place where I have a healthy relationship to time.)
  • Arriving early to events to greet time gracefully as the next convergence happens, rather than holding onto a past task thinking I must complete it in a certain way in order to meet the next task...late.
  • Looking and listening to the people and things I meet, the trees and sky, birds, cars, bikes, even cracks in the sidewalk as I move through my day.
  • Being open to surprises and unexpected turn of events, knowing that my relationship to time is maleable and surprises are the gift of being present to its unfolding...and this may or may not follow the laws of the clock.
  • Returning to my bed looking back on the day with appreciation and grace, ready for a full nights rest.

Sounds pretty good at 10:21 in the morning!  I'll see how I do today, removing myself from my abusive relationship to time...

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.

 

Recent work by Jennifer Davey

I have been exploring the ideas of interior space and moving from one psychological state to another. Painting is a process that allows me to visually meditate on this "travel." In my process of painting I continually add layers to create a sense of depth and space. This painting is not yet titled.