December Header

We are well into December now but I still want to talk about this month's header.

December Header Full

This piece has been with me since summer. Measuring only 9x12 and on a muted gray-blue Strathmore paper, it's one of those pieces that is simple and understated and easy to overlook, especially amongst my larger papers with more complex designs. It's a stone pattern that I then took a stylus to to make the river-like images. I vaguely remember making it ~ at the end of a day of marbling, tired, in no mood to "think," randomly grabbing paint with no set direction or particular effect in mind. What I do remember is that when I pulled it from the bath, it immediately spoke to me. I found it so very appealing and was thrilled to end the day on it.

Just because something is simple doesn't mean it can't evoke. I can look at this piece for great lengths of time and get lost in it. I set it down and walk away from it, catch a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye later in the day and feel the need to pick it up again ~ only to discover something new in it, yet again, that stirs my soul.

Perhaps because I wasn't raised on plastic toys, video games, or even movies, and there was the expectation that, alone or with my friends, we were to entertain ourselves, I have always been drawn to the subtle, the simple, the unadorned. It's easy for me to find awe and wonder in the everyday, to find great pleasure in what is there in the background, to find contentment in the macro photography of my eye. As a child, we made up games using only what was available to us ~ our imagination and our little bodies full of energy. Leaves from the huge cottonwood in our backyard, dirt from my dad's garden, bugs that came and went with the seasons, old blankets that were turned into forts, my parents' stack of 45s that we played on their ancient record player and danced our heads off to, a tennis ball that could be used in so many ways in so many games, our used bikes that took us around the block over and over again. I remember a childhood where a bored moment could be changed just by looking up or looking down.

Which could explain why, when Emmett and I hiked down to Mabel Bay Beach on Bruny Island in Tasmania, we believed we had won the lottery. We were the only people there. The high tide had just begun to recede and the beach was shimmering. What was left behind was the ocean's own marbled creations.



Mable Beach, Bruny Island, Tasmania



All this magical art right there for us to behold. No ticket to purchase, no bright lights or loud music to announce it, no fancy marketing blitz to tell me I'm hip and cool and "in the know," no Facebook "like" to replace the actual experience with the actual experience, no Photoshop to smooth out the "imperfections," no need even for an audience. Just raw nature. Basic. Dynamic. Without conditions and without apology.

And completely evocative to the core.