Monday, July 15, 2013

Finding Flow

Along the Columbia - Original Art by Loretta West

Rivers have been a part of me for much of my life.  The only time I didn't live close to a river was when I also felt as if I was a fish out of water.  Living near a river, or water has not been intentional, but must be elemental for me. 

Recently, the rivers of my youth have been spilling over their banks, causing much damage to human habitation.  Rivers can bring hard changes.   One recent flooding victim, said:  this is all just stuff, not really important.  We can begin again.  Here is a link to read how the artists are managing after the flood and how you can help.

I read recently about something being studied after trauma, it's called "post traumatic growth".  I think that many of us need a shake up now and again to change and move forward.  Now there is a new name for it, who knew?  Here's a link to a heart warming story of a soldier whose experience created positive changes:

This also makes me think about how resilient all life is.  We need to believe in the processes of life, accept them, clean up if required and move on, just as the river does. 

This month, I received a package in the mail from The Netherlands.  I had signed up to share my art in a journal that is traveling the world.  Now that my pages are complete,  I will send the journal along to another person in Australia.  Also, in this way, the river of art, inspiration and good intentions will continue.  Eventually, over time, the journal will make it back to it's start in Pennsylvania, completed.  If you are interested in joining this Art River click on this facebook link:

As I was contemplating rivers, I thought I would use that as inspiration for the journal pages in mixed media shown above.  A long time ago, I heard a line on the radio, maybe in a song, can't recall, but it was "The current knows the River".  I wrote it down and tacked it over my desk.  I look at it often, especially when I am uncertain of my next step.  Trust the current, trust the river.  Keep moving, keep flowing as the river flows.

Another river came back into view recently; the Peace River, which I lived near as a young girl for a few short years.  My sister and her family still live along this beautiful northern river which is wide and swift.  On a recent visit, they arranged a trip by jet boat for us to take up another local river, The Smokey, a major tributary of the Peace river.  It was a fast and wild ride which took us about 35 miles from the town where they reside.  We stopped for a picnic on a sand bar and while the others looked around for fossils in rocks, I settled down for a nice painting session.  This jaunt was a real high light of our visit.  I even got to drive the boat for a while.  Not only was it fast but it had a smooth and slippery feeling, not unlike driving a vehicle through sloppy mud.

One of my favorite Zentangle Patterns is River.  I use it often as a first tangle in classes as it is so elemental to many people, is easy to draw and relaxing.  As I draw it I am reminded of how peaceful it is to just sit by a river and watch it flow on by.  Here is a tile I started on the plane this month using the new tangle by CZT, Cathy Staeven called Por Fin, link here:
I had done the middle on my travels and decided on River on the edges just this week. I love how you can just drop art for a few days and let it perculate until something else pops in your head.  
Just his morning I rode my bike on the wonderful Centennial Trail near my home in Spokane and stopped several times just to admire the Spokane River which has turned it's usual summer blue/green.  It is a living jewel traveling through our city.

This week, I was going through old notes which I make on paper or electronically. They are literally all over the place!  I wasn't looking for stuff about rivers, but came across some lines of a poem I wrote which fits with this blog post:

He wears his pain as closed fists
Against the world
For forty years, I have watched his resistance
Constantly threshing his way up stream
Yet unable to stop and unfold into this great
Watery world.

A Near midnight shot of the Peace River by my
Bro-In-Law, Lorne Mann, QC, Mayor and all round good guy!