Thanksgiving Week Off
I’ve taken the full Thanksgiving week off. I am racing the cold in my studio in the barn. I am trying to finish the painting on my Self-Portrait with Trees so I can shut off the water in here, put antifreeze in the toilet for winter. With only wood heat in my studio, I am now using electric radiators to keep my paints and water from freezing.
I have today, tomorrow which is Thanksgiving, Friday, and Sunday. Saturday is completely taken up with a sweet Carole Sing and a workshop on making kimchi.
During this week, I am also learning a new program to help my own books and others’ get a higher ranking on Amazon. It’s impossible for me to learn this during a regular workweek. I have too much work to do, too many emails to respond to, details to attend to.
Baring Myself as an Artist and as a Writer Within GAB
I have been shy about showing the tree trunks that go with this piece, resistant to baring myself, risking ridicule perhaps? But, as I was gathering the right colors of housepaint for the birches, I started thinking how similar this is to baring our souls as we first write and then read our stories out loud to others within GAB.
I remember how much my voice shook as I read my first story when I took the Instructor Training. It shook less the second time and less still the third. But even by the last story, I was so hesitant and anxious about others hearing who I truly am.
And yet, as I was painting the birches, it came to me that, AS we let ourselves be vulnerable, as we reveal our imperfections, we are opening ourselves to others as simply being human. As such, we offer ourselves as just like everyone else: no one is perfect. I think this helps us feel that we are not alone.
So here I am, being vulnerable with you by showing you the progression of the tree trunks before they are finished. I only started photographing them as I began work on the birches. I’ll show here the earliest rendition on these and keep going so you can see how they've evolved.
I am not yet satisfied. After I painted the birches which I kept for last because of their complexity, I saw I need to go back and do more on the simpler trees. I will do that. But, as a practice in humility, in vulnerability, I wanted to push myself to bare these unfinished, imperfect trees.
The Beauty of GAB
GAB is a beautiful program. It allows us to be vulnerable as we speak who we are in all of our imperfections. And, as others listen to and hear us, as they respond with positive feedback, slowly we come to accept both ourselves and also others more deeply.
I am so grateful to have taken the dive into GAB as are countless others all over the world. I am grateful, too, for my abilities to speak not only through words but through my art.
The Tree Trunks for "Self-Portrait with Trees"
I included the above pic as a reminder of the whole piece. AFTER I have created the forest floor, touches of greenery, the sky, and her hair by "painting" with fabric on the canvas with my face, I will cut out the tree trunks and glue them on top. My face will then peer out through my beloved trees. The canvas is about seven feet square.