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This thing called hope

Sometimes we artists run up against a plateau in our art work, just as we do in life. Nothing seems to happen. All we can do is wait patiently and hope. Where is that fresh, new idea and when will it come to me?

Emily Dickinson said,

"'Hope'" is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all

One of the things I've noticed over time is that whenever I'm in my studio, I'm really happy. Even if I don't have a plan for a painting, I get out a piece of paper and just start playing around with pencils, charcoal, gesso, ink, whatever. Before long, I've got some half-way decent lines or marks which potentially lead to a new piece. The feeling of an unexpected figure emerging out of nowhere is always a unique, exciting experience. It doesn't always work out every time, but it gets the juices flowing and begins to feel creative. Sketching from my imagination is wonderfully spontaneous and fanciful. It's my favorite way to work and it's always fun to see what happens.

Hope is common to all of us. Our wishes, desires and goals may be necessary to keep us sane. It feels essential for us artists. For me, hope is like a strange summer breeze that seems to come and go softly, drifting like dancing butterflies from flower to flower. I want to stay in the present moment. I want to pay attention to the now. Of course, it's more fun to let myself hope and float on dreams, but in the end it only makes me lazy and restless. I often get frustrated with hoping and look for ways to disappear. I go for a walk in the park and talk to squirrels, which actually sometimes is oddly helpful. Yes, it's hard to to go back to the studio and face that white sheet of paper, but that's when I need to remind myself how happy my studio makes me feel. That's when I know it's time to roll up my sleeves and go to work. I may not have an idea for a painting so I can just get busy and clean up my studio. I'll do something in that lovely little space. At least then, the magic journey has begun.

Until we meet again,


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