Beginning Again

The year of 2012 and now the first almost five months in 2013 have not found me being a regular blogger. I’m shocked really. But when you hear what I’ve experienced, you’ll appreciate why I didn’t want to write it all down.

A year ago right now, two people dear to me died. Those losses staggered me.  Then as summer unfolded it became clear that new money wasn’t flowing as quickly as I thought it would, my landlady didn’t want to put up with diminished payments, and when September arrived, I fell in the SeaTac airport on the way back from a myth symposium in CA and ruined my knee. It took weeks and weeks to heal. I limped around at my new part time job working at an art gallery, got laid off pretty quickly because of faltering sales, then was hired back on around Christmas time. The need to downsize and move became imperative, a deer ran into my car, totaling it, just when I needed it most for moving and carrying my art to the destination for a studio tour. Borrowing cars from friends and family for an entire month was nerve wracking, especially when my left foot was in agony. I broke my toe late one dark and rainy night by jamming it into a book filled box lying in a spot where it wouldn’t normally have been. The rains came and they came and they came adding to the general malaise of my disoriented state. For three weeks, I had no telephone, Ethernet or cable and I can tell you I felt realllllly sorry for myself.

But I don’t want you to. A brief “oh wow,” is all I need because despite the travail, I am lucky beyond measure. I have my wits still and good health for which I am grateful.  I’m surrounded by supportive friends and family and a sense of connection with the invisible mystery that carries my life forward.

AND

During that crazy time in Oct/Nov 2012, I continued to paint, inspired by the course called DEEP with Connie Hozvicka. Read my October post if you want to be reminded of that class. And as my own life was falling in shards around me, so was Connie’s and also a number of the other students. So in the fifth week of a six weeks course, we stopped. It was so perfect. I couldn’t have continued with the last assignments and the one I did finish may be the most important image of my painting career.

I want to share a little of that with you. Our last assignment was titled “ Just This.” I wasn’t even sure what it meant but I liked it. It chimed deeply within me. Just this. Just this. Now that, now this, and then this again. Oh yeah, JUST THIS. I am all of this…whatever this is. Connie’s directions were to use a large vertical sheet of paper and begin painting our feet. How are they right now? Move up to the head with the same question, then fill in the middle. Curious yes? But I loved it.

Here’s how I began.  I knew I’d start by “finger” painting but because I wanted to use acrylic, not tempera, I pulled on latex gloves, got my palette knife and a big sponge and plunged in. I knew I had to start with black – my head thought I was going to lay down black for the feet area, white for the head and red for the middle. That’s not what happened. Black was needed for both feet and head and the center demanded both red and white and yellow – I was making big sweeping motions for the center and suddenly realized I was drawing the infinity symbol, which also reminded me of butterfly wings.

#1 wk2 (150x292) (150x292) (2) (150x292)

What you see on the bottom is an expression of what I felt when I asked my feet to reveal their status to me. Shaking and quaking with no firm foundation.  I used the palette knife to carve zigs and zags and before I could say Jack Rabbit I could see fish shapes taking form and the suggestion of other critters. I began to darken in around them to reveal them a little bit more. Then I am reminded of the earthquakes which were happening just north of where I live. They seemed relevant and I had to paint the planet splitting in  two. A crack between worlds is opening up beneath me, my feet spanning the two sides.

#2wk2 (504x1024)

 I am the bridge between everything.

Aren’t we all?

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About Deborah

Deborah Jane Milton, Ph.D. is an artist, mentor, and eco-psychologist, mother of four and grandmother of eight.
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17 Responses to Beginning Again

  1. Karen johnson says:

    While I didn’t have to cope with many of your challenges, I did break my kneecap in December and was housebound for about 10 weeks. I,too, am incredibly blessed with supportive friends, neighbors, colleagues and family and I still have my health, mind, work and wonderful surroundings. My connection to you is through Ann Falby who either knows you or someone you know. I am not an artist, but really enjoy seeing what you create.

    Thanks for this,

    Karen Johnson

    Like

    • Deborah says:

      A delight to meet you here, Karen. thanks for writing something. i remember your friend Ann and would love to come back to New Hampshire which is where I met her when I was teaching an Ecstatic Wisdom Posture workshop. And believe it or not, we are truly all artists because we’re human. We’re just taught not to
      believe that of ourselves. I find creative expression of any kind is good medicine…
      And do you ever wonder about our knees? Mine was the left knee and then the left toe two months later. That grabbed my curiosity but I never came up with an insight!

      Like

      • Karen johnson says:

        I wonder a lot about that. I’m turning 70 next week and am very healthy and flexible -do yoga for the last 12 years – BUT, 2 years ago I broke my right ankle (compound fracture) and then the left kneecap, both in my home for no obvious reasons!! This time it certainly had something to do with slowing down. Angeles Arriens says nature moves at moderate to slow!! My artistic endeavors come out mostly in the way I create and sustain relationships. Once someone said to me ” you means having kids is like a 20 year art project.” Yes, yes.

        Like

      • Deborah says:

        Oh my goodness, Karen, I love Arriens comment about nature moving slowly AND the fact that raising kids is a 20 year art project. Yes indeed. More soon, I hope.

        Like

  2. Deborah …I know your life is full and connected so beautifully to nature. i appreciate you joie de vie and your stories on living and painting…It is my hope that one day soon we meet..and yes we are the bridge between all…

    Like

    • Deborah says:

      ditto, ditto, ditto…i think we are destined to meet, Jo. We have too much to share not to AND I love being a witness to your process of opening a business that’s full of color and variety and beauty just like you!

      Like

  3. pjsixft says:

    Magnificent insight as always …my mentor and friend! Xxoo

    Like

  4. miran541 says:

    You challenged my thinking — thanks!

    Like

  5. paula says:

    Just this. It’s a life saver isn’t it? Your paintings hold all of the hard fought wisdom you have gained. Your work is the manifestation of your spirit. I am proud of you Deborah and glad to be your friend.

    Like

    • Deborah says:

      Thank you Paula. Expressing ourselves creatively, in what ever form, brings so much release and relief. I am grateful we get to share that process sometimes.

      Like

  6. Wow Deborah- I’m sorry to hear about all of your challenges and travails. You seem to be negotiating it all with aplomb. And grace. I’ve been living through a version of this myself–on the heels of the fantastic myth symposium… A bridge is a wonderful metaphor for being in between and for that which links. Nice to read you again. catherine

    Like

    • Deborah says:

      Thank you, Catherine. Interesting about that myth symposium, isn’t it. The timing of the swift changes following it. I’m loving reading your Odyssey posts and am so happy to have begun a JCF Roundtable with Jeff L. We got it started last week. You can even find us on FB. Is Joshua Tree there as well?

      Like

  7. Lynna G says:

    Life sometimes is really a struggle– despite all the people constantly claiming that life wasn’t meant to be a struggle. You certainly have faced these difficulties with strength grace and courage and honesty and love. I heart the DEEP painting and the openness and energy that is always right there in your creative work. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Like

    • Deborah says:

      Thank you so much, Lynna, and it is I who am inspired by YOU. I can imagine how full your life is with service right now and know that your creative muse is filling with ideas every moment of every day and holding them safe until the time is right for release. I’m trusting that about myself as well. Just needed to “write” it outloud, I guess…

      Like

  8. david says:

    It looks to me as if synchronicity abounds….the tearing apart of your previous life and the putting together of the new: the foot and knee injuries, even to your dog and now this great painting is established first by the feet and the legs on an opening earth/globe that mirrors the one above the legs…both in the process of forming something….different. (New legs to stand on.) Such energy! Patterned chaos! Dripping with delicious anticipation. It’s often difficult to be in the process but you have held the tension admirably. Thank you for sharing HOPE. Your Admiring Friend, Shannon

    Like

    • Deborah says:

      thank you thank you. You always inspire me to keep going, Shannon, and I hope to post the next installment of the Just This story by mid week at the latest. It’s good to be coming back outward…and interesting that you notice the feet and the legs and even my Omi girl’s woundedness ( It’s been 7 weeks now but she’s almost healed.) …VERY INTERESTING…mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

      Like

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