styrofoam, clay, stone and ashes

I am on the flip side of a few dark murky weeks.  Vivid light beams bright inside as my soul takes some refueling deep breaths and stretches its arms wide.  Skip rather than slog.  Grin rather than grimace.  PHEW!

One would think that having gotten settled into my NEW studio I would be FULL of light and skipping incessantly.  Alas.  Not.  Quite.  A combination of Styrofoam, clay, stone and ashes have kicked my butt and pummeled my heart along with some dark sticky monsters from the family closet - but those I will explore later - via my art.

Meanwhile, styrofoam and clay are not a regular medium for this gal who LOVES the smell of wood chips and sawdust.  BUT – they are a good choice for the current commission SO despite the brand new impressive HEAVY DUTY hoist and I-beam system in my NEW studio begging to lift a heavy load - I found myself staring at these two blocks of Styrofoam -more intimidating somehow for me than a 2000 pound log. Seriously.

Luckily Jake was an enthusiastic assistant for the first few cuts:

Somehow there is a dog in there.  But.  Where?!

Progress seemed slow.  While I am overflowing with inspiration and near-to-bursting with ideas for creative pursuits in my NEW space – the commission was frankly - in the way. Blocked in the inspiration department for this particular project I found extra distraction and resistance because of another looming project.  Life stuff was taking up much of my heart along with my time.  I can’t go into all of it without sounding like a full multi-episode Oprah show but I will mention the other project:  My mom asked me to create a design for Dad’s gravestone.  The shock and intensity of his diagnoses and death last year along with my father’s wishes to be cremated and buried in the Nebraska town where he was born resulted in a family decision to postpone the funeral until this summer.  So I spent all of Memorial Day in my studio drawing embellishments for my parent’s memorial stone.   Hummingbirds for dad and roses for mom – my parent’s memorial marker was an emotionally weighty task.

Last week was the anniversary of Father’s death.  The “replay” button in my mind has been stuck playing difficult passages from those last weeks with him – as if it had just happened.  Grief can be like that.  I believe the lack of ritual and closure intensified feelings not-yet expressed.  I spent the anniversary of his death (June 2) with mom.  We went to lunch and spent the afternoon together.  That evening I was at the Museum of the Rockies hosting an event for which last year I was a featured artist.  Last year the fanfare evening honoring myself and other artists took place the day after my father died.  I went directly from viewing his body at the funeral home to the museum for the exquisite event– what a blur.  Being back at the museum on the anniversary of his death for the same event intensified the emotion and memories although this time I enjoyed promoting other artists rather than being the subject myself.

My moodiness seems on par with Momma Nature this spring.  Impressively dramatic and “switchy” with her spring wardrobe, Mother Nature buried us in snow over Memorial weekend and continues the drama with booming thunderstorms, popping hail storms, drizzly rain and bits of sunshine.  I don't mind her moodiness but would prefer less drama on my part.  Darn it – I’ve been a bit of a wreck. BUT I find solace in the children and in venturing outdoors (ok – maybe the hailstorm that nailed me yesterday while mountain biking wasn’t exactly comforting but something about being chilled to the bone and humbled by nature can lighten the emotional load).  I recently broke through the creative block with the dog sculpture (photos to come).  The memorial stone will be etched tomorrow and placed this week.  I will pack tonight, scoop Mom up along with Dad's ashes and take off in their o'l Lincoln Continental Town Car to begin the journey to my father's birthplace in Nebraska.  The graveside funeral is Friday.