“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it's having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it's our greatest measure of courage.” Bene Brown
We have all been in a state of quarantine or semi-quarantine for a long time now. Many of us are seeing layers to our personalities: as parts of ourselves normally swept under consciousness with ordinary distractions, are now revealed. We are acutely aware of a range of emotions and reactions to events. This is not always a pleasant or happy realization.
Likewise in the outer world, suddenly an underbelly of fear and hatred has been revealed. Here we all are; dealing with uncertainty about the future as the pandemic continues, painfully aware of the inequality that appears to be inherent in our society, and watching the political polarization which has seemed to emerge from these circumstances. As a result, many of us are consciously trying to witness the cultural viewpoints we were raised with, to peer beneath the surface and recognize patterns of behavior we have been blind to. Doing this work requires us to open ourselves, to stay in the present moment feel the feelings and open to vulnerability. The images I am posting today are from January 31, and the first week in February. They seem appropriate for this time because these paintings, like those I wrote about 2 blogs ago, all explore the idea that there are layers of perception. I'm thinking about imperfect vision, and about seeing through layers which obscure what we "think" we are seeing clearly. The images are about how we continually glimpse and then lose sight of what "is".
In this painting, the picture plane is suffused with facets of vibrant hues and marks vibrating across the surface. It has the feeling of a hot summer day , though it was completed in the first days of February. In it I was continuing the explorations of layers revealing/concealing what can be seen.
“Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset. Be vulnerable: quake and shake in your boots with it. the new goodness that is coming to you, in the form of people, situations, and things can only come to you when you are vulnerable, i.e. open.” Stephen Russell,
This piece with partially obscured layers is a reflection on impermanence and on our inability to see what "is" without distortion. Below this piece are the two detail images. The detail images allow you to look more closely through the many layers, at the patterns, textures, and edges. If you engage your perceptive abilities you will sense energy beneath the patterns and textures.
I like to use light as a material, but my medium is actually perception. I want you to sense yourself sensing - to see yourself seeing. James Turrell
This piece, below, developed over multiple sessions. This piece reads to me like a landscape that is viewed and obscured by a steamy or smeared window. I was trying to communicate my thoughts on how our vision is imperfect because we are unaware of the assumptions and misunderstandings we carry around. Whether I successfully communicated this is not something I can determine.
People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses. Bene Brown
The final image for this post is the most open of all of this week's images. It creates a dialogue between simple forms and intricate patterns. In some respects it resembles a lattice with some alive thing growing on it. Once again, there are layers, uncovering and hiding, exposed areas and obscured areas.
When we divorce ourselves from the past, and acknowledge that the future can not be known, we can only be present to what is happening right here, right now. Acknowledging all that is going on around and within us, I surrender to the stillness of meditation, resting in the center. From this still point we can plan and take action to approach our world in love. We can take action, not in opposition to others but with the intention of seeing past preconceived notions. Our work is one of healing, of inclusion, and of lifting all interconnected beings.