What a week we've had here in the little old south of Aus; where the rain has continued to beat down with wind and storms and… well it's been a bit wild and wooly all up. I've had to put off a couple of small painting related things that need to be done outdoors, for fear of everything blowing away and spreading wet colours throughout the land. Good thing I love winter.
Alternatively, it's given me the impetus to complete some planning doodles, which are the focus of this entry. Each page is a collection of small symbols and shapes that fit a theme - point for determining the theme just from looking at each page!
I'm working on a massive job over the next few months, which is why I'm planning out some thoughts with doodles. I've mentioned before how much I use simple doodles as a quick way to get thoughts onto the page, only to develop them further later on. Having these simple lines and shapes laid out in front of me really helps to clarify random thoughts and feelings. The next step is translating them into some kind of conceptual representation of what will eventually be the final outcome.
Oh, but I threw in the doodle at the bottom of the page, because I don't think I've posted it before and I like it.
Anyway, I suppose the theme this week is something about finding a place for everything that has meaning. The pieces I'm working on have a couple of requirements: symbolic representation of themes (somewhat literally); and a mess of content piling onto each other. Take all the doodles on these pages, multiply them a few times, them mush them all together to create a relatively unrecognizable mess. Finally, add a few more layers of colour and shape to finish it all off.
Finding a place for everything can often be a bit daunting, but a lot of the time it's easier to let go and give in to the chaos. I think a lot of us try and control where things land and what happens next, only to be disappointed and disjointed when everything inevitably finds an unexpected route.
One thing I've always had to struggle with is being an outsider in a number of ways that I think many artists would share. Creating imagery is appealing to me because it allows me to make a reality that makes sense in my mind; especially when the usual world I'm presented with seems foreign and distant. It's like we exist in parallel, travelling alongside each other, but never melding on the same thread. We interact and converse, even trade and work together, but most of the time there's little to bridge the gap beyond the reflection of the light that makes the other side visible.
Occasionally there are ties between the tracks that hold it all together and align our trajectories. You could say that these are the relationships and events that matter along the way from our start to the ever-closer end.
Lately these links have been feeling weaker and fewer and farther between. It's like the filaments between us have been fraying, so there are decisions to be made. We spend a lot of time caring for these fragile tethers as we place them between one another, so it can be a difficult choice to let one loose when we know it's about to snap.
Thankfully though, it's not always a choice between a strong bond and a broken link. The great thing about these connections is that they're able to stay intact for a long time between maintenance. Sometimes they're pretty impervious and can withstand time in its entirety, but I suppose that's a rare extreme that should never be relied on. The down side is that no matter how often we maintain the knots on our side of the parallel, the other end needs attention as well.
This is where we find out about our place, as I tend to find that our perception of each end of a bridge needs continual adjustment. It brings balance and strengthens the part that spans each gap, because the tension would be unfeasible if one end were firmer than the other.
Focusing on control and maintenance will always strengthen these ends, but it takes great focus and effort if the other side rests on another plane. Controlling every twitch and shift can be exhausting and sap every moment of life until there's no room for anything else. At this point we become the sole maintenance workers of the links that tie us to the other side, as our own reality blurs out of focus from lack of attention.
If we're lucky, there will be some tethers that remain strong no matter how present they are in our consciousness. Often this is because of who sits at the other end, maintaining the connection from across the divide. They twang and pluck at the filament every once in a while and remind us that the bridge is strong and we're welcome across the gap at any time we like. It's these connections that are essential to life as we hurtle down the passageway of time, as they keep us in perfect parallel. So much so, that at times it can seem like the divide has magically disappeared and dimensions have fused.
Until another handful of threads go slack and we drift further away once more.
There are some of us who think we need to cast many threads across the divide, as their combined strength will keep us running parallel. Then there are the ones who know that they can use those same threads to strengthen the existing tethers; braiding them together to give limitless strength to the few. Balancing this is where we find our place on the spectrum, and hopefully have a chance to soak in our surroundings without concern over the other side.
Finding a place is about choosing whether to continually cast off for more bridges, or strengthen what we have to create space in between. I think a lot of us start out as the former, but as time goes on we end up on the latter, or at least leaning toward that end of the spectrum.
If you find yourself forgoing quantity for quality, you might just find your place and have to learn how to accept it. Only when we have the time and opportunity to survey our reality and appreciate its bounties can we grow beyond the social construct of tethering worlds together in the first place. This makes the importance of place one of the most important lessons to learn and a handy skill to master.
None of us are masters in any way, but knowing mastery is possible makes for a good place to start. Rather than being at the whim of the other side, we can hold fast for ourselves and accept whatever we find ourselves burdened with.
It's not always pretty and there's probably a lot more to concern oneself with when the maintenance of filaments ceases to take up time. Most of the others seem to be focused on tending to many different bridges, and always caught up in the pursuit of more. Finding your place with what you have can be a lonely endeavour that leaves you wanting, but acceptance is bliss and perhaps we can all strive for peace of mind.
At times acceptance can be simple and clear, with little distraction or confusion. Although, there are always times of great chaos and conflicting influences that crash head first into the precipice of our emotion. The trick is finding a way to let the chaos breathe, as it rants and raves for fear of being ignored, but ultimately becoming insignificant.
Accept the storm: you'll get wet either way.