Posts for Tag : Art in Lockdown

Spring – The March Hare

This painting started as one thing and became something completely different.

It was inspired by seeing a hare and spring springing in the garden with the first snowdrops and an incredible blood orange snow moon at the beginning of the week. The idea of life’s potential about to burst forth, almost vibrating with energy yet still contained by winter’s chill.

This painting emerged over 5 intense days. It wasn’t planned. Or rather I had a plan and it went in a completely different direction.

It is loosely divided into the four elements –

Earth, the hare and dandelion clocks.

Fire, the sun and eye.

Water, the sea and fish and

Air, the dragonfly and seeds.

I allowed myself to stay in not knowing where I was going and enjoy exploring acrylic on board.

Some symbolism –

The Hare – rebirth, resurrection, dawn, fertility, spring, immortality. A hare or maybe the white rabbit of the magician?

The Dragonfly – wisdom, light, transformation, adaptability. Connecting with our own courage, bringing more joy into our lives. A pollinator.

The Fish and Sea – flow, fertility, swimming your own course despite the currents. Environmental awareness.

The Teardrop or Raindrop – My grief for how we treat nature, desiring to do more to help. Renewal, cleansing, healing.

The Webs – The interconnectedness of all things. The importance of insects and pollinators. Creation. The spider spinning magic, connected to the number 8, the sign of infinity. Beginnings and endings being interconnected. Life and death.

The Moon – Tides, time, seasons. The feminine.

The Dandelion Clocks and Seeds – hope, new beginnings, abundance. Wishes and the magic of life. Wishing to plant more trees this spring to allow the magic of nature to flourish.

Toadstools – altered states of consciousness, seeing beyond the mundane.

The Eye – seeing the truth, seeing beyond illusion, the eye of god, being alive. The great mystery of life! There is a trinity here too with a creature of the air, earth and sea, each with an eye, yet the smallest one, the dragonfly has a human eye. We need to take responsibility for what we are doing! I remember as a child that when we went out on a Sunday in my dads car the windscreen would be covered in insects. Now that never happens. With no insects we have no life on Earth.

Not too much symbolism in this painting then! I didn’t realise I had painted so much in until writing this blog. I definitely had fun painting it. At one point I had painted a horse, deer, badger, highland cow, cat and a random fried egg in the scene, but they all got painted out.

Spring – The March Hare, Acrylic on Board, 50 x 60 cm

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

Tao Te Ching – Fifteen

The ancient masters were subtle, mysterious, profound, responsive.

The depth of their knowledge is unfathomable.

Because it is unfathomable,

All we can do is describe their appearance.

Watchfull like men crossing a winter stream.

Alert, like men aware of danger

Courteous, like visiting guests.

Yielding, like ice about to melt.

Simple, like uncarved blocks of wood.

Hollow, like caves.

Opaque, like muddy pools.

Who can wait quietly while the mud settles?

Who can remain still until the moment of action?

Observers of the Tao do not seek fulfilment.

Not seeking fulfilment, they are not swayed by desire for change.

LAO TSU

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‘Who can wait quietly while the mud settles. Who can remain still until the moment of action?’ Lao Tsu

Find poise. Poise before action. Calm before the event. Preparation to move forward with ease by coming from the still point. Wait quietly in this time of Covid.

Good idea!

Patience. One step at a time: keep planning the mural. It doesn’t have to be that ideas are formed today, this is a process. A challenging one.

Thumbnails of birds, quietly and quickly drawing by the kitchen door. Committing not to invent lines but to simply observe and move on, looking for the essence of form. Looking for bird characters to imprint on my mind, potential candidates for the wall. Seeking fluency. Woodpeckers, robins, a blackbird, sparrows, tits. Then the crows arrived.

It’s surprisingly tiring to draw like this.

Later a quick stream of consciousness sketch. Ten minutes. Allowing the pencil to flow without thinking about where it’s going. No need for completion or good drawing. Shapes becoming form. Owls appeared.

Later I got muddied. Felt overwhelmed again by the wall. ‘I can’t do it! I don’t know what to do that will look good! I’ll mess it up!’

I walked and spoke to a friend. She laughed out loud, hooting with mirth when I said I didn’t think I was capable. Thank you Woody, it helped!

I returned refreshed, thinking ‘just keep drawing birds.’ Birds for Valentine’s day. A lovely task for the day. Tweet, tweet, twit t’whoo!

Bird cartoons started to appear. Fluency allowing fluidity.

Evening, an idea for a 3d element: planters at wheelchair level, with birds (or other characters) painted underneath. Flowers, becoming hair or plumage. Small sensory gardens. Something for the children to observe growing throughout the year and hopefully be able to engage with. A detail in a bigger picture.

A quick scruffy maquette made with a toilet roll and a couple of scraps of card. It took all day to hatch an idea to develop for the children. I love that the birds brought flowers on Valentines day and true to the verse, the snow began to melt.

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Having fun now…

Tao Te Ching – Thirteen

Accept disgrace willingly.

Accept misfortune as the human condition.

What do you mean by “Accept disgrace willingly”?

Accept being unimportant.

Do not be concerned with loss or gain.

This is called “accepting disgrace willingly.”

What do you mean by “Accept misfortune as the human condition”?

Misfortune comes from having a body.

Without a body, how could there be misfortune?

Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things.

Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.

LAO TSU

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Stop: head on books, knees up, hands on rib cage, let go. surrender, allow. Let things give for a bit. It’s called Constructive Rest.

My Alexander Technique table. Maisie just in from the snow, letting go.

‘Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.’ Lao Tsu

Care is needed: our beautiful planet is in crisis, the way we are going is unsustainable. Time to choose another way: allow oneself to stop, to be unimportant, to care.

A call for action!

“If we stop doing the wrong thing, the right thing does itself” FM Alexander.

It sounds easy, but we are all so identified with our habits, the past, in our sense of self, our needs and aspirations, we forget to question appropriateness.

I hear people say ‘when things return to normal.’ Normal is heading for disaster! Disgraceful destruction and selfishness!

The world has slowed down a bit. That has to be good for the planet, surely? Maybe the virus will help us see that everything is everyone’s problem.

‘Care for all things.’ Lao Tsu, The Book of the Way.

What can I give?

Not, what can I get!

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Alexander Technique audio here.

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

Tao Te Ching – Eleven

Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;

It is the centre hold that makes it useful.

Shape clay into a vessel;

It is the space within that makes it useful.

Cut doors and windows for a room;

It is the holes that make it useful.

Therefore profit comes from what is there;

Usefulness from what is not there.

LAO TSU

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The words of the Tao opened a flowing morning. The spokes of the wheel, creative ideas. Keep returning to centre. Let go when done. Allow the door of the day to open and take shape.

Two drawings for my Horses and Tree of Life Calendar. I made a beautiful sample for 2021 but never produced it. With Covid it didn’t feel right to send calendars around the world! Now redesigning.

I wonder if it will get over the door this year or will it become something else? I hope to plant trees though my art.

The sample calendar I gave to my neighbour. He phoned on Hogmanay asking if I had a calendar, superstitious to go into the new year without one. I gave him my sample and asked him to plant trees. He told me in the past he hates trees. With luck, my only 2021 calendar might do good.

Strengthening intentions – finding ways to plant trees in places where they are not there!

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Seasoned Hands by Kirsten Harris
Exploring and idea of four seasons through trees.
Tree Lovers by Kirsten Harris
I love the lips! The idea of lips and the breath of life that trees give.
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