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When art tells you its story…


Clarissa Pinkola Estes, prolific storyteller of fables and folklore and Jungian psychotherapist likes to say… that when we sleep, we don’t sleep as adults. No, we sleep as children and wake up as children (just before putting on our adult suits). But when it’s warm enough outside to pop out of bed, make a beautiful cup of coffee, fill up a jar of water and make my way to the outdoor silk painting studio…. well, let’s just say I’m a strategic warrior when it comes to hiding that adult suit.

Early this summer, I was frustrated with a set of illustrations for my next illustrated book (this one is for adults). The story is ready. The sections all set. The illustration technique… not so much. I seemed to be hemorrhaging money at the art store in an effort to learn the perfect technique. The illustrations were crisp and clear in my mind, but I couldn’t get it to paper. Summer was interrupted with a large family loss and I left this project (and all others) behind the past couple months.

Upon my return from an amazing trip to the desert, all I wanted was an outdoor studio to dip into and catch the heart of color every chance I could in the day. This urge wasn’t like ‘oh I think I need cinnamon toothpaste vs. spearmint, I’ll get some at the store tomorrow.’ Nope! It was more like, I’m skipping dinner and trolling around town to figure out a way to make a table tall enough to paint at. For some reason it had to be silk. I hadn’t painted silk for years. And when I did, I painted dancers — a gift for my mother who had taken up Tango, Salsa and Ballroom just before she was diagnosed with cancer. Now I’m certain you… my very intelligent audience have guessed what the family loss was. I had to paint silk… NOW!

Everything that would make this possible was in my garage except for a table. I decided I needed a Pepsi to think better (for how I’d make the table). I never drink Pepsi, it makes my teeth feel like a Brillo pad. Anyway, on the way to the store —this blew my mind—there was a beautiful table top (the exact size that fits my silk frame) for free. They even delivered! By the time I got back from the store it was in front of my house. The base was more of a challenge (the height). But I found a 60.00 outdoor bar table with a removable glass top and voila!

Okay, so yes… back to story time, dreaming and what happens next! I decided a practice run was in order. It had been so long. And since I have a gaggle of baby rabbits staring me from the backyard, the painting took on its own life.

I didn’t realize it was a story on the silk until today.

The very large rabbit jumping up to the moon has many houses in her womb (I promise I wasn’t trying rhyme) — and her mate is earthbound in the garden. His name is Buster. Her name is Gezabelle. He’s a bit worried she won’t come back with their houses—their life story that had been coming along just fine until she decided to try to be Neil Armstrong (R.I.P). Buster is a bit conservative when it comes to home security…

Painting this practice painting only affirmed how much I still love silk. It’s an amazing and very rewarding medium. A dream unravelling while still asleep—Dreaming while standing, the adult suit all crumpled into a ball in the closet.

And so it’s settled. The illustrated adult novel will be illustrated with silk paintings. The circles of answers and discoveries… they just keep on, keeping on. Sometimes I wonder if art is some other nation telling us its story — brain photosynthesis. And we go frolic there when we go to sleep. Maybe that other nation has huge recycle bins for adult suits!

I like it!



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