Betwixt and Between...Read Now
Again and again, I feel compelled to paint windows ... What do they mean?
As artists, we strive to get better and better at listening... call it inspiration, the creative voice.... it has been described in so many ways because it is bigger than words. I deeply believe that our truest and best work comes not from us but through us and it comes from the Source of all Creation.
Often we make art as an answer to a deep need we have to calm the turbulence inside. The act of creation can stir feelings that are buried so deep we don't even know they exist and it can be painful and chaotic. It can hold us in a trance, but it is powerful medicine and the process ends with our subconscious more ordered.
I recently found an echo in Sharyn McCrumb's essay, Keepers of the Legends, in which she discusses the theme of the power of borders between things. McCrumb points out that this "liminality... was part of a world view held by the ancestors of the mountain people for thousands of years... the border concept is central to their world view..." In The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter, Nora Bonesteel recalls that when she was a girl...
"a few of the old women claimed that Balm of Gilead ought to be harvested at dawn or at dusk, but these days she dispensed with that part of the ritual. Early mornings and evenings were colder than mid-day, and she was too old to brave a chill for the sake of rough magic. She understood the logic behind the stricture, though. There was a power in the borders of things: in the twilight hours that separated day from night; in rivers that divided lands; in the caves and wells that lay suspended between the earth and the underworld.... the mountains themselves were borders"
Deep loss or trauma forces us into this liminal state... this state of being betwixt and between. What was once a familiar world is just upside down, we are disoriented, and we are set apart until we find a way to integrate this upheaval and find a new order in our world. This can take years.
The most powerful creation happens when we access this liminal state. (And grief is not the only one way to get there.) We get a glimpse of what lies beyond the world we see and draw from that world the language that speaks to our truest selves.
The windows represent that border between what we see in here and now and the vast expanse beyond. We are spiritual beings in a physical world. Maybe these are windows to our truest selves.
Many of us have experienced profound loss since the pandemic hit. Loss of jobs, businesses, loved ones, and loss of the routine and social contact that are familiar and comforting. I hope you can find some inspiration in this state of being betwixt and between.
5/9/2020 07:01:14 pm
Thank you for sharing this. I totally agree with you.
5/9/2020 09:24:21 pm
I had an art teacher in high school that asked us the meaning of painting windows and doors! I remember my comment was that these two structures are not permanent and that we can see so many different things when we take the time to open them and look out (or in) for so many possibilities. What you see out the window may be something completely different from what I see! That’s the magic of using windows and doors when you create!
5/10/2020 11:33:54 am
Andy, you are so right that each of us finds our own meaning. That is one of the best things about art. It speaks to each of us in the way we need it to.
5/10/2020 11:32:01 am
Temple, sometimes you see what the symbols mean before I do! Love your new work!
5/10/2020 10:13:10 am
So thankful for you, your words and your work. All are beautiful! ❤️
5/10/2020 11:34:35 am
Thank you, Jason. I am thankful for you, too.
5/11/2020 07:36:49 am
As a former literature teacher, I am always fascinated by symbols, and as a present Sunday School teacher I am also intrigued by spirituality and anything that enhances our connection to the spiritual.
5/13/2020 05:02:58 pm
Your work and your words are always so striking to the heart. Your depth has been one of your amazing qualities that make you shine and your art so real, Thank you Cristy!
5/15/2020 07:51:25 am
Maggie, I am so glad our paths crossed. You, your life and your words have always been an inspiration!
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