A Little Time Away.

Well, I thought it would only be a little time away. As it turns out, my computer (the desktop PC with all of my really important stuff on it and an actual keyboard as opposed to a tiny digital one) won’t access this website for posts. I can read my own blog and other people’s as well. But, creating an entry from that computer? Impossible.

I attribute it to the fact that the PC is about sixteen years old and has a Windows XP platform. Sadly, Microsoft no longer updates XP.

Also, my Toshiba crashed, yet again, months ago. There really is no hope for it this time.

So, I write to you now from a tiny little temperamental tablet. We’ll see where things go from here. Hopefully, before too long, I will be able to purchase some kind of reliable computer. Until that time, you can expect short boring posts. For that, I apologize.

STARVING ARTIST

 

Yes, I am an Artist.

 I have been inclined to create since I was very young. I grew up in a home where I was surrounded by creativity and the wonderful smell of turpentine and paint. Two of my four older brothers were artistic and the other two were more inclined to music. My two older sisters were both artistic. One obtained a degree to be an interior decorator and the other produced wonderful pieces of Art in high school (I am from a large family. There are eight of us siblings). My little sister, who is only 14 months younger than I, would draw the most adorable cartoon-like pictures in high school. As for me, I was into everything from crayons to clay and pencils.

I think I drew my first serious picture when I was about three. It was in crayon. It was of a horse and had those square hooves that kids always draw onto horses before they really see what they look like. The sky, however, covered the expanse of the page where the ground ended. It was not the small band of blue that lots of kids put into their crayon pictures, at the top, to represent the sky. I remember my teacher commenting on the way that I colored in the sky. I think I was nine at this time.

From there, things progressed. I learned to oil paint at about 13. My mother, who was an incredible artist, taught me and at 16 I produced a night-time, moonlit seascape that was so realistic, even I was surprised.

When I started college, my aspirations leaned more toward nutrition, since I had successfully lost over 70 pounds and kept it off. But, when I found Psychology, all of that changed. While I was taking, and passing each Psychology class with flying colors, I was working in a work-study program at the 2-year college I was attending. During this time, I would draw in class to help myself study. The act of drawing was therapeutic and relaxing and it helped me remember, as strange as it sounds.

My Art was noticed by many people, including the woman who was my boss and ran the bookstore where I worked for my work-study program. She asked me to draw a few pictures of what the bookstore might look like after some proposed improvements. I was paid for my work, a thing unheard of since I sold a unicorn bust to my Art teacher in high school (I was 14 at the time of the sale of that clay figure). She suggested that I change my major because I was wasting my talent.

A couple of years later, I did. By that time, I had moved and was attending a different 2-year college in Show Low, Arizona. The town is small, in comparison to the towns and cities that I had lived in for the first part of my life. Soon, many people knew me by name and people were recognizing my Art. I was fairly bursting with creativity and gratitude.

I began to sell my Art, paintings and drawings, and could now call myself a professional artist.

But, during all of this, I discovered why Artists frequently call themselves ‘starving Artists’.

In this world, which has continued to grow smaller right before my eyes from the time I was younger until now, there are so many truly talented people. So many of the Artists in this world have started out with money or have been able to attend schools of Art. So many live in places where they are near an Art community or where there are galleries and they can afford to display their Art (it isn’t free to hang your art at a gallery). And, then there are those who don’t come from a place of financial ease or from an Art school or who are not able to present their Art to the public through a gallery forum. I have found that those less fortunate people make up the majority of the people who are Artists (notice I did not say ‘those who call themselves Artists’).

These who have not been noticed, who do not have the money to attend a specialized Art school or who do not have the financial means to display their Art to the public still create their works, tucked into a corner of the kitchen or the garage or basement. We continue to paint or draw or assemble small parts of our souls in a form that everyone can see. We still give form to our dreamstates in whatever way suits us because we can do nothing other.

When I create, it is like therapy. I am able to say things, out loud, in the form of a work of Art, that I am not able to give voice to in any other way. I am giving my deepest thoughts a shape. I am creating a window into my soul, each canvas or paper a pane through which any person may look to see what goes on beneath the surface. It is a sublime, raging current of spirit that anyone can view.

I am often asked, “What is this? What does it mean?”

And I answer that my Art is what you see. It means whatever you want it to mean. I don’t define it to people because I want to hear what people see in my work. I learn from what others say. I learn what type of a frame of reference each person uses and take great pleasure in peeking into their soul, by way of their spoken word about what I have created. It is as if our dreams meet on the canvas of my painting.

When I paint or draw, I don’t do it to sell. I do it because, as a friend of mine once said, ‘I can’t NOT do it’. I paint or draw because it feeds my soul; it calms me and takes me to another place. I meditate while I am creating, as strange as that may seem, and commune with my Spirit Guides and the Goddess and God and my Muse. I hear the voices in the wind. I have one foot in my dreams and one foot in the waking world and I bring that dreaming part of my consciousness to life with color or with shadow and highlight.

I do not consider myself to be a ‘starving’ Artist, even though I do not often sell Art and could not pay my bills with the income from it. As contradictory as that sounds, it is true. You might wonder how I can see myself as anything but a ‘starving’ Artist, since I do not make a living at what I do the most and what I most love to do. I will tell you, in case you have not figured it out yet.

 

It is because, in my soul, I do not have an emptiness. There is no hole that I need to fill with….something…anything. I have this thing called Art that I use, that is a state of being in which I sometimes live. It makes me whole within myself. Creating Art, even if it is never seen by the world, makes me rich with color and image. It gives me a chance to speak without speaking and to sing without singing, to dance on the ether. Because of my Art and the ability to communicate with it, to paint my dreams and thoughts, I am complete. I do not hunger for an outlet or a venue in which to present myself to the world because even if the world does not see these pieces of my soul, I have still spoken and have fed that part of myself that must create.

 

I am not starving.

 

The Goddess Speaks

The Goddess Speaks. 

This year has been full of challenges and epiphanies. There have been lessons that needed to be learned and there have been many times when all there was in the world was silence, it seemed. But, through all of that, and sometimes because of all of that, I have evolved just a little bit more.

             No, it was not painless. And I can tell you that some of the lessons were things that I did not look forward to getting into. But, they had to be experienced in order for me to grow.

             For this year’s Samhain ritual, I was High Priestess and my husband was High Priest. From the day this was announced, nearly six months beforehand, I was nervous, apprehensive and just plain queasy at times. But, once it was announced, there was no way I was backing out.

            During those six months, a topic was brought to my attention. That is the topic of ‘ego’. We all have one. It is only a question of whether it is big or small; of whether it gets in the way or not. Mine is bigger than I thought it was and was getting in the way. After all, if I didn’t have an ego, I would not feel such apprehension and would not be nervous. For this nervousness is born of a fear of ‘doing it wrong’ in front of a group of people and being ridiculed for it, is it not? Growing up, I had been teased about a great many things and the emotional results of the past were difficult to overcome. This turned out to be one of the most difficult things that I have ever had to do.

            The day came and we went to the ritual site. We set up our altars; one for the photos and belongings of those who have passed on. This one we called the “Ancestor Altar” We set up another one to be our main altar.

We began and as the ritual progressed, I realized that I was having a great deal of trouble remembering what it was that I was supposed to say. I had written everything down and I could recall some things, such as the first half of a paragraph of the Circle Cast. But, I was walking the Circle and my mind would just go blank. So, I was silently scolding myself, making it worse and applying way too much pressure to myself.

            When the time came, my High Priest read the Charge of the Dark God, a version that he wrote himself. It was beautiful and powerful. We were both convinced that the God would speak through him because of how his version of the Charge came through; as a spontaneous train of thought, earlier that day. But, that did not happen.        

            I began to read the Charge of the Dark Goddess. And, as was par for that ritual, I screwed up and had to begin the second paragraph again. My tongue was way ahead of the thought processes and things were just not coming out correctly. The group seemed to accept this and there were no secret giggles.

                       I began again, slower this time. I read the words that I had typed and some that I had changed for the occasion of Samhain. As I went on, I could feel Her. I could feel that unmistakable buzzing in my feet, coming up my legs. But, as I finished the Charge, that was all I could feel…Until I put the paper I had been reading from back onto the altar and I began to speak.

I slowly became so full of what I can only describe as love and purpose. My words and my actions were directed. It was not me doing these things, exactly. It was me as the vessel and I was allowing this incredible power and love to come through me. All of my worries about ‘doing it wrong’ disappeared and became …nothing. I did not have confidence because my will was so far in the back ground of my consciousness that I couldn’t even feel it. I acted on instinct, sort of, and when it came time to farewell the Goddess, I did so. But, I can’t remember what it was that I said except that it had something to do with love. I began to shake with the fullness of the power of the Goddess and the Earth I was standing on.

            When the circle was open and all were grounding, my High Priest helped me down to the ground, where I sat for the next fifteen or twenty minutes, letting the excess energy flow out of me. Several people came to talk to me and to each other. My High Priest covered me with his cloak so I would not catch a chill. I was thanked and told each person that I could not take the credit. It had not been me that gave the gifts of such pure love and beauty. Sitting there on the cold, moist grass, I spoke to nearly everyone who had been in our ritual circle.

            But, you know something?           

            Not one person said anything to me about forgetting the words. I don’t even think they noticed. All I came away with was as incredible sense of well-being and the knowledge that I had been given a great honor. The Goddess acted through me. I can not take credit for much of any thing that happened after I read the Charge of the Dark Goddess and that is perfectly okay.

            I can tell you this; I will never forget any of what I felt or the lesson that I learned. 

COPYRIGHT JOBETH SEXTON 2012-2013