Art is Life is Art: Summer Garden

Phlox“My Garden is my favorite teacher.”

~Betsy Cañas Garmon

I was looking through quote sites to find a quote to go along with this poem I wrote a couple of weeks ago and I found my own quote.  Sometimes we need to hear our own voice reminding us of what we already know.  Tending to the garden is tending to my soul.  I’ve been focused on creating books, but I always return to my little bit of earth for lessons and breath.

 

Summer Garden

Thursday 10 July

 

Time disappears into droning bees gorging on phlox

A red shouldered hawk kee-aahs claiming territory on a current in the cloudless blue sky

One dry sunflower leaf crunches against its towering stalk

dryleaf

 

And always the cardinals chirp and the mockingbirds fuss

The hose gurgles in my hand as I pray resurrection prayers over a droopy basil plant

and water my soul with the sounds of summer

echinacea

Be in your life,

Betsy

 

Behind the Pages: On being an Empty Page Ninja

Untitled

 

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.”

Jack Kerouac

 

Monday, September 17, 2012

In my ever-evolving journaling practice, I am discovering the power of the Empty page.  I  like to differentiate between a blank page and an empty page.

 

A blank page, can be daunting.  A blank page is demanding; it uses obnoxious tones or bellows.  Quite frankly, it can be a bit of a bully.  And bullies require push back and fighting skills.  Which some days, I just don’t have…
Untitled

 {origami paper, acrylic paint, 2×2 postal pix, watercolor, graphite, Sharpie pen fine}

But an empty page says, “Hey there, your mind looks full.  Why don’t you put those words and ideas over here.  In this box.  On this pretty paper.”

Untitled

{tissue paper, acrylic paint, graphite, 4×4 postal pix}

and, “Look at all that brilliance; this corner has been waiting for just that very thought.”  An empty page is a good friend who knows exactly what you need.

In my practice, I set aside a day, every 7 to 10 days, to create empty pages.  Safe places to tuck words, images and ephemera.  Empty pages, by my definition, are pages that are started.  Pages with soft edges that don’t screech with blankness, but instead with a calm voice, point the way to expression and life.

I like to create more pages than I think I’ll need, so that I don’t worry about space or rationing.  For me, that’s about 6 – 10 double page spreads in one session.  And then, I put away most of the supplies.  The magazine pages and the paints, tuck away and I settle into a quieter method.  At hand, I keep a pen, a glue stick, a sharpie, something that writes in white and my ever-present watercolors.  With prepped “empty pages” in my bag, I’m free to carry only a glue stick and a pen or two. 

[If I’m traveling, I’ll add Inktense pencils and a water brush.]   In that simple place and pace, I’m able to put my energy into capturing rather than creating from scratch.

Untitled

{paper tape, magazine cutout, 2×2 postal pix, Inktense pencil}

 Once I’ve made a handful of pages, I even free myself from writing things down in order.  I just find the empty space that matches what I have to say…or glue, or sketch.

One of the things I talk about extensively in workshop is the fact that my journals are not art journals.  The pages aren’t planned with emphasis on the final product.  They are a vital part of how I process life.  They are part of my spiritual practice and they ultimately inform my art, as I don’t differentiate between the two.  I write lists, draw, glue things down and capture thoughts.  In the pages and with a camera, I am in my life and listening to the Holy Spirit.
Let Go

{paper tape, white Jelly Roll pen, ink pad, tissue paper, acrylic paint, magazine cut out, stamps, graphite}

Empty pages create space and safety which ultimately allow me to be victorious over the Blank Page Bully.  Empty pages make my practice more contemplative and less like a battle.  Well, maybe still a battle, but one where I’m a ninja not a stormtrooper.  Here’s to climbing over fears, worries and stalls, one empty page at a time.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:33-04:00September 17th, 2012|Art in the Crevices, Behind the Pages, Journals|8 Comments