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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Horse Barn in Morning

Horse barn in morning, painting, acrylic on canvas.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dance 'Round Him, You'll Glitter Like Gold....

"Dance 'Round Him, You'll Glitter Like Gold" -Rumi

When I was very little, frequently my daydreams would include a big old house with many rooms to explore, and each room would have a box inside of it, a magic box waiting to be opened....

In the midst of all the farm work that you see me doing on my blog posts, I do have a quiet side that I don't share very often, and that is my artistic side. I have decided to try and devote more time to this side of myself and am starting by sharing some of my art.

This blog post is about art. It is not about politics or the divisiveness of religions, it is about art and love and beauty.

The pictures below are of a specific grouping that I made for Art on the Farm 2008.

First, I was very (and continue to be) impressed with the God/love poetry of Rumi. I made two 'dream boxes' that are pictured below. The first one, is handwritten in French and is an original composition of mine.

It reads (translated):

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,

but the beholder is not allowed to own beauty,

touch beauty, feel beauty.

Beauty mocks us and then disappears, leaving us jealous of its abilities.

Beauty generates the ugly and gains them as it's loyal followers.

I hand wrote the translation in French and then overlayed it on a black painted wooden box, and the front and sides are hand tinted with pastels and acrylic. There are fingerprints, on purpose... a trace of one's personality, more important than beauty.

On the front panel is a page from an old book. At the time I was making the boxes, I did not choose the pages for content, but for their sepia tone. It was not until the whole project came together that I realized the cohesiveness and the oddity of how each piece of my project complemented the other. The front panel begins with, "...are all invisible to him...."

I then created an aged ribbon of sepia and hand wrote, in French,

"I love you, but I don't know why"

on the entire length of the ribbon.

Love, without thought. Another Rumi-esque quality.

The second, and most important, box

was painted black and layered with elements of time. An ancient clock key, a fortune I had picked up off the sidewalk that reads, "A man without aim is like a clock without hands, as useless if it turns or if it stands", a page from a scientific magnetic observation chart that I had found in the attic of this old farmhouse and my favorite quote about time,

"Time flies, suns rise and shadows fall, let it pass by, love reigns forever overall.

On the front panel of this second dream box the sepia book panel reads, "Physical beauty is a noble thing when it is seen in perfectness; but the manner in which the moderns pursue their ideal prevents their ever really seeing what they are always seeking; for, requiring that all forms...." I honestly didn't read the words on these panels until after the project was complete. I chose them solely for their color. Amazing, huh?

When you open this second box you are met with your own reflection staring back at you from a piece of shattered leaded glass mirror that is wrapped (so as not to cut). As you stare into the mirror inside the box, there are words on the mirror. As you read the words, you see your reflection looking back at you. The words on the mirror are from Rumi. They read,

"The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you,
not knowing how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along."
Of course, when I tried to photograph it, it lost some of it's effect due to my reflection having to include a camera. But, I think you can get the idea..
At that moment, you realize you are reading about looking for your love while you are looking at your own reflection, and you shut the box!

My display for the show included many fragments of mirrors, all with Rumi poems and quotes on them, sparkling and reflecting the light from the white prayer candles.

The white candle is a prayer candle.

Pure white, for the pureness of God's love.

C'est tout. (:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Got A Goat (or, Thank You Charlie Brown)

When I was just ready to turn 39 I was doing the dishes one day and I looked down at my leg and I could've sworn I saw the dreaded 'varicose vein'. In actuality, it was just a blue vein that I saw through my skin. But, I was so terrified (I'll let you in on a secret that my Toledo Hungarian side of the family *which boasts upwards of 20 children per woman* is no stranger to varicose veins). Anyhow, I was so terrified, I vowed right then and there to do whatever it took to make whatever it was disappear. I read up on it and took Bilberry and extra Vitamin C and then I read that exercise helped. So I took up running. Well, running took me up (it was addictive, fun, stress reducing and healthy). My 'varicose vein' disappeared and I ran right through 40, 41 and 42.

Around 41 I started realizing that I was living 'mid life'. Aha, so THIS is what everyone is referring to...'Mid Life Crisis'. Halfway between. Not quite young, but not ready to be old. Strange. A very strange place to live.

Some people, I've noticed, deal with this 'in between' age by getting plastic surgery. I've never been a fan plastic surgery. The whole 'plastic' part gets me first, but then I also happen to actually like what God gave me, big nose and all. And I immediately agreed with what Robert Redford had to say about wrinkles, the first time I read it, “Look, I know I don’t look the way I used to. Everyone in Tinseltown is getting pinched, lifted and pulled. It’s becoming a sick obsession. They lose some of their soul when they go under the knife.” The part about losing some of their soul, yeah, I can agree with that. Some people have affairs or get divorced or paint their walls sixteen different colors. New car, old car, trip to Europe; Every middle age crisis has it's own antidote.

So, instead of plastic surgery or a new car or a trip, what did I go out and do? I GOT A GOAT.

I didn't get a collagen lip boost, I GOT A GOAT.

I didn't go to Italy. I GOT A GOAT.

I didn't buy a Lexus. I GOT A GOAT.

But wait! Not just one, I GOT TWO GOATS! Yes, that's right. TWO. ha.

Like Charlie Brown on Halloween. Can't you hear me? I GOT A ROCK. No, I GOT A GOAT!

Dear sweet Charlie Brown. Your rocks were beautiful because they were different. Just as I am proud of my silly stinky sweet brown little goats. Different, but perfect.

So, if you are feeling a little bit of 'neither here nor there' in your system...don't fret...don't worry about fitting in. Do what is right for you and be proud of it. For me, it was a goat (or two).

I GOT A GOAT (and no varicose veins, yet.)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

August Eve

Blissful dry cool air is blowing in from the west tonight after weeks, WEEKS of hot humid weather and incessant days and nights of having the world outside shut off with the humming and droning of the air conditioner. So thankful to hear the birds, the crickets, the wind, the echos of distant dog barks and mooing cows. We scrubbed and cleaned house all morning and now it feels so good to rest. Big stacks of books await my eyes if they don't threaten to play hide and seek with my eyelids.

To all who read here: I have acquired a scanner, finally, and will now be able to share works of art instead of just photographs! Coming soon (as soon as I get it all figured out) (:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Bird Flying Over You

(a shadow dream in words)

I am the bird flying over you
My wings my bones
My shadow
Not to darken your way
But to follow you with love

I am the bird flying over you
Angel of the elders
Opening the meeting place door
Soft as golden velvet

I am the bird flying over you

~All words copyright of Amy Lesser 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Jack of All Trades, Zucchini and The Arts

Isn't it so true, that at the beginning of the summer, when the three months lay ahead of us like unopened oysters perhaps containing that one special pearl, that we feel so fresh and exuberant in a child-like way? And, isn't it true that by this time of the summer we have, as adults, accepted that the pearl may not be in the oyster and, well, the oyster may not even be there?

Each summer turns out differently than I expect. Each leaves such strong bittersweet memories. I have to say that I have bitten off quite a few more tasks this trip around the sun than I did last year. This year, I began to be afraid that I was becoming a 'jack of all trades and a master of none." A personal insult to myself, which I pondered deeply. First, I know that it is good to do one thing well, rather than many things poorly. However, I am the sort of person who functions best (and most creatively) under duress and pressure and schedule, under multiple jobs. So, while this old cliche may hold true for others, it does not hold true for me. Jack of one trade? Nope. That is not me. I like who I am and I like juggling all the beautiful things I am trying to learn while I am here. What have I been juggling this summer?

Here's a short synopsis:

Feeding one Nubian goat and 4 mixed breed sheep (my little ruminants) morning and night and then milking said goat. (Penny, Charlotte, Eustace and S'more from left to right with Amelia in the back. )
Filtering milk, making cheese, gathering eggs, washing eggs, waiting on customers, cooking breakfast, cooking lunch, cooking supper, doing dishes by hand, making stacks of supplies and notes for each art project and each creative idea that comes into my mind, helping cats give birth to kittens, mowing lawn, taking children to piano lessons, swimming with children, teaching children to swim, keeping children safe, gathering big magical maple branches to decorate with, baking homemade granola, feeding wild birds, laughing, reading, writing, singing, playing my fiddle, driving long distances and home again, missing home, missing those who have gone on before me, running on the cool dirt road and saying hello to my friends the chipmunk and the trees, gathering herbs,
making medicine, making pickles,
making jam, eating juicy blackberries, swatting mosquitoes, climbing the hayloft in the dusk and throwing hay down while the setting sun beams in, crying over how quickly children grow up, praying, lighting the night candle,
cleaning, dreaming of baking bread,
consoling, helping, Twittering, making wonderful new friends, throwing impromptu tea parties, telling my children I love them, smelling the sweet smell of corn pollinating in the field, hunting for lost kittens and wishing for more time to do all these, and more, over again.

Today, in the name of family, I went with my husband and our children to his 'favorite' pastime, an old steam engine show. Oh good Lord it was hot and miserable for a girl (for two girls). Hot steam tractors in the August heat, ash raining down, fried food and hot sun beating down. Sitting on a hot bleacher in the middle afternoon sun I suddenly burst out laughing in hysterical laughter. It was all just too silly...Amanda and I sitting there in our calico skirts. One of the 'old-timers' sitting next to me looked over and laughed with me. I said to him, "he said there'd be girl things...girl things!" and I continued laughing. They laughed too. I kid you not, we drove through Hell, Michigan on the way home (and no air conditioning in our car, mind you!). Um, I was sooooooooooo glad to be water, cool vegetables, not Hell. I don't think tractor/steam engine shows are my thing.

Tomorrow is more garden scavenging (amongst the weeds which have proliferated in the equatorial rains we have had) for pickling cukes, zucchini (I think August 8th is sneak-some-zucchini-on-your-neighbor's-porch day, if I'm not mistaken) and eggplant. But, more importantly, MOST IMPORTANTLY after today's tractor show...I have realized how very very important the Arts are in my life and how I am going to give the art in my life front-and-center for the next few months.

Do any of you realize how bland and ugly this world would be without music, dance, art, and the written word. I never realized, before today, how very utterly important it is to support the Arts and to encourage new artists to continue creating. It is the balm for our troubles, the soothe on our cuts, the ahhh at the end of the long day. For every loud muffler, hot shadeless park or miserable work day, there should be an equal love song, cool shaded nook with book and inspiring painting waiting for our senses. Join me in supporting the Arts, they are so very important! They are the balance for our world, and it is tipping. If you know of an aspiring painter, song writer, musician or writer, support them with your words and a little bit of your time, would you? The world will be a better place for it.