Sunday, January 18, 2009
The end of November was looming and my work was getting close to finish. One morning while I listened to NPR I decided to start one of the scrolls with drawings of swimmers moving through water. A couple of days later as I hung it on the wall to see what else it needed I found myself thinking that it was the only scroll with the subject of water in it. I realized it was time for me to get back to the ocean. The work was finished.
A dear friend of mine, also an artist, said to me once "That every artist's stroke was a revelation" and I believe she was right.
It was time to pack up the studio, say my good-byes to my great colleagues "The other Wurleybird fellows", as well as Board members and wonderful Director of the fellowship, then just wait for my husband to come pick me up, and start our trek down Baja in order to get home before the holidays.
Through this time, I was able to become closer to the earth, learn to appreciate the mountains, overcome fears and get to know my inner self better. A real gift.
The work continued to evolve in the subsequent weeks. There were many other mediums calling me: weaving, pottery, everything related to the earth. Taos is definitively a place with magnetism and the sense of being rooted is very strong. But I kept my focus and drawing, writing, and printing became my medium as I developed "The Femenine Series".
I had a memorable experience on my mother's birthday, when I decided to write her a letter on my journal. She passed away 19 years ago. As I wrote to her I started to tear , then to weep and eventually to sob. It was incredible particularly since I had not been able to cry for ten years. This event opened a flood of thoughts and words coming through my whole body where I was writing so fast and for so long that I could not believe it myself. I filled several 5 foot pieces of the japanese paper with this stream of consciousness. I did not try to organize the thoughts, I just kept writing.
This writing became the background for many of the 16 japanese scrolls I was about to assemble.
After three weeks of exploration and getting a chance to meet some local artists I decided it was time to get focused. I normally do some journaling and document my experiences, as I did this time too.
During one of my visits to artist studios I met an artist that also did a bit of writing and used the words, as I do in her work. We struck a great conversation and she taught me a printing technique used by the artist Paul Klee, but totally new to me.
With my new found knowledge I went to work. This particular type of printing works best on thin paper. There are many options of japanese paper that would be suitable but I tried the one my artist friend recommended. My journal was filled with revelations of my time living alone, cooking for one person, having total command of my time, and getting a chance to delve more into my other self. Yes, the one that sometimes in our daily life we don't have a chance to tap into.
In the past I have taken some in-roads into the exploration of the femenine and created work using photographs of women. Usually good friends that allow me to photograph them. But in this case, not having that source and really thinking in a more elemental way I decided to take a leap of faith and create drawings.
The first few weeks, I spent driving, walking, reading and visiting artist studios, museums and getting to find my bearings. The beauty of the environment was arresting. Big sky, huge mountains, incredible canyons and open space. I found that great respect is given to the the land itself. Respect to "Mother Earth".
Taos is located very much at the base of the Mountains of the Sangre de Cristo and the Taos ski valley mountain. For someone like me not used to stepping outside my house and have a huge mountain looming over me, was a bit ominous.
Locals believe that the Mountain accepts you or rejects you.
But as the weeks went by and after a couple of hikes into the mountains, I realized how green and alive they were. They were not threatening, in fact they were more like guardian angels looking over us.
After taking the ferry from La Paz to Pichilingue, spending a few fays in Hermosillo, Sonora with family and driving a few more days I arrived in Taos, NM for what would be a very meaningful period of my life. I was granted to opportunity of an artist residency with the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation from October 7th to December 16th. After the initial greetings and meeting the other "Wurleybird fellows" as we were later called, I settled in my what would be my home/studio for the following two and a half months.