passages

I.

I have been thinking a lot about what I might call this series for at least two months, and I think I’ve arrived at the word, “passages.” It is straightforward, direct, and uncomplicated, but also layered and interpretive.

I asked a Guatemalan girlfriend what word she used for cloudscapes and she said “paisaje del cielo,” which returned an immediate image of a passing sky, even though I recognize that’s not the actual translation. The thought of it was so warm and lovely: an open field clear of worries, flat on the back, bathed in fresh air, reading the messages the sky holds moment by moment.

It further provided reflection on the passages of our days, or how my favorite places are often tucked away in tiny, secret passages. Additionally, it conjures pastoral scenes, trespassing, ownership and its precise indecency. Passages of texts underscore how stories are threaded; even these passages bind this project to the writing around them.

Passages is the correct title.

II.

I’ve made a few significant adjustments to the process of the pieces. At the end of April, I started using nibs loaded with excess watercolor from my palette to draw in the straightest lines. When I clean my palette, I sop up all the unused color and brush it into a tiny jar. I use that combined “mucky” color to load nbs of dip pens. Armed with a drafting ruler and a little time, I run over my original hard edge drawings with the pen. This provides a crisp contrast to the organic nature of both the media and the subject matter.

I have also started to simplify my anchoring forms, e.g. houses, buildings, poles or land, to suggest their presence, but make them less important. Using these simplified forms, the paintings take on a dreamier, more storylike essence. Moreover, these simplified forms nod to folk or outsider art, which, in turn, reflects the way that I feel even if it’s not entirely true.

What is truth, anyway, other than a bunch of repeated stories calcified into memory?

The envelopes have been coordinated and color-coded to resonate with each Pagan season. As each of our modern seasons between solar events are halved in the Pagan tradition, I thought it would be correct to indicate our modern season by the color of the box, but indicate first or second by the color of the buttons.

For example, Yule comprises what I might call “first winter,” and Imbolc would be “second winter.” Second winter’s envelope is indicated by leading to first spring via the lower coordinating button. All the “firsts” will have homogenous button structure, and all “seconds” will be heterogeneous.

III.

The practice of a daily export has moved me in many unexpected ways. There’s really something to be said for the repetition, the accessibility, the thinking and writing; all of it has been really influential to building a life worth living.

The practice brings me out-of-doors with intention every day. It has instilled a rhythm in me, and it is no longer a chore but a pleasure to see what it offers. Using the sky as a constant removes the obstacle of subject: I always have something to observe. I don’t have to wait for inspiration because it is always there; all I have to do is show up for it.


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