Friday, March 14, 2008

Madonna of the Blues, Probably Finished

(Click on image to enlarge.)

In the beginning of January, I posted a photo of Madonna of the Blues. She's going to be part of my "Blues Chapel" exhibition. It was a "work in progress". Later in the month came "Part Two". She'd turned into a big appliqué and I was thinking about the next steps to take...whether to create a quilt or frame the work. The comments I received gave me much to think about. Pat suggested "silver" and used the word "icon". Rosalind mentioned a "gilded arch window". Both Dianne and Lynda suggested framing. I considered all of this...especially the idea of an "icon" in an architectural setting. When I happened across a liturgical fabric with a silver thread running through it, everything came together.

The fabric and two layers of unbleached muslin were pulled very tightly over stretcher bars and stapled. I started framing....creating the look of an arched window with a curtain...and then came all the stitching, lots and lots of it...and beads. I think she's done. Of course, the obsessive-compulsive tendencies in me see "blank" areas and wonder....should I add more?

The size is down 50" x 44". It weighs A LOT! To photograph it, I leaned it against the side of the house. My cat Shadow helped!

I really do thank everyone for their comments. They mean the world to me and have influenced my thinking and approaches greatly. I've used my blog to record my artistic journey, generally sharing only the positive. When I've complained or "ranted", I've generally regretted doing so. Yet, keeping anything "negative" to myself only presents a skewed view...and isn't totally honest. Life, even a creative life, isn't always wonderful. There are at least as many "downs" as there are "ups".

Yesterday, I reread Chapter Eight: Recovering a Sense of Strength in Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. (This should be a title on my profile...I'll have to add it...It's likely been the most influential reading I've ever experienced artistically.) Chapter Eight is about "time" and "acknowledging ones losses" and making positive changes. The whole book is very powerful reading....and, yes, I write "Morning Pages" at least five or six times a week.

Anyway, putting the above two paragraphs together, I've made a decision to share a few things...the "good and the bad"...honestly...acknowledging my pain and my joy...serious and silly.

Yesterday, I got a letter from Waterworks Visual Arts Center in Salisbury, North Carolina. Months ago I applied for an exhibition...The Blues Chapel...for their upcoming year. It's a fabulous setting. I was secretly very hopeful...building up my expectations. I'd received one letter stating I was still being considered....but no longer. They're not extending an invitation. I shouldn't be unhappy; I know all artists get rejection letters; I'm sad anyway.

Earlier in the week, however, I was accepted for a smaller display of "Blues Chapel" at the Discovery Center in Edgefield, South Carolina. There'll be a reception and everything. I should be so excited, but I'm letting one rejection spoil it. Silly, I know. Maybe by typing this out, I'll be able to "fix" my emotional state.

My emotional state has been raw all month. I learned that I'd been accepted for a six week residency only a few days after one of the worst in my life. That week, it felt like my life had gone bi-polar...and I was just along for the ride.

At the same time, I've been so excited about CYBER FYBER...all sorts of trades with fiber artists in 21 countries and 36 States in the USA. In truth, its been my escape. Tonight, when I go to bed, my younger son won't be here. The last time he slept under our roof would have been exactly four weeks ago. There was a fight; it was horrible; he left. Alex is seventeen.

On-line, I've been "pretending" everything is all rosy and wonderful. It isn't....and yet a lot of it is. Every "end" is a new "beginning". My Madonna of the Blues mourns with me as she sparkles in beauty. My installation, Decisions, reflects hours of heart-felt contemplation..every wrapped, rusted nail symbolizes both sacrifice and unity....bittersweet. I've been pouring myself into my art and into my CYBER FYBER project. I've been feeding on the energy and positive feedback.

Thus, I really owe each and every fiber artist who has left a comment recently and/or traded with me at CYBER FYBER a sincere "THANK YOU". Mere words cannot adequately express my gratitude.

To this end, I'm going to DO SOMETHING POSITIVE...TAKE ACTION...and cut up the older piece pictured below. By May, there will be another round of trading at CYBER FYBER for everyone who hasn't yet participated. Truly, doing something beautiful is the best way to metabolize pain into promise.


Sequana said...

I often wonder what people do when a crisis hits them, and they don't have their creativity to help them.

It's a lifesaver, isn't it?

Julie said...

Keep being positive and moving forward. I will promote your next trade through my blog. Sending you hugs :)

Jacquelines blog said...

oh Susan, I am sorry you feel a bit sad, don't let this rejection get to you, see what you allready accomplished so far. I'll hope that Alex realises what a great mum he has and hope he returns home soon. Seventeen is a difficult age...

Anonymous said...

Madonna of the Blues is lovely, and icon is the word that springs to my mind. It is easier to share only the positive, rather than the negative...but I think sharing both helps and makes us human (and it probable makes the reader feel better knowing that others have the same creative difficulties). It must of been disappointing about the exhibit...(but thrilling about the other one.) i was going to write something trite about one door closing and another opening, or everything happens for a reason - but truly somethings just stink!
and as for Alex - our kids are too young or me to be able to offer meaningful comfort - i can only try to imagine what you are going through- but I hope and trust it will all work out.
and thankyou for cyber fyber- its been a wonderful opportunity to participate in an event I never thought I could!

Doreen G said...

Big Aussie hugs Susan--you know how I feel and your strength will keep on growing through your art.

BLUE said...

the journey of being an artist is amazing ... always. thank you so much for sharing yours. it inspires in ways you might not even imagine. i, too, am really attuned to *process* in art. it all feeds on some level and becomes the art.


artisbliss said...

Wow, Susan, what a burden you're carrying. I feel for you in dealing with Alex. My two oldest sons are just about your sons' ages, so I know how difficult it can be to give them what they need at any given time, and sometimes it seems it isn't enough. I hope Alex will be able to return home soon and that your family can work toward whatever reconciliation is necessary. In the meantime, art is cheaper and more creative than therapy. Thanks for trusting your blogfriends enough to share this with us.

ANNA said...

Life is tough at the moment for several of us. My thoughts are with yuo right now Sue. May your God be with you!

Aussie Jo said...

In Primary school here we talk about and teach about resilience, being able to bounce back when we experience difficulties. I guess this is pretty much a normal part of life although sometimes it can seem that it is all too much. Perhaps artists put themselves on the line a bit more but I'm sure you will bounce back to create more of your beautiful, thought provoking work. I have two boys who are very trying, in the end all we can do is to be there for them.

Karen said...

Susan, I like how you finished the Madona of the Blues. It looks wonderful. As for the trouble with your son, have faith, time will mend the rift. Children can be so dramatic at times. My oldest put me through the ringer when she was in her late teens and now all is fine. Though I truly did dispare that it would never be ok. It just took some time and space. Keep the lines of communication open and let him know he is loved. Just hang in there, I know how hard this can be to get through.

Nikki said...

Susan, My own family has had me running so much I barely have had time to think. Know that you and your family are in my prayers. And I hope I have a chance to catch up with everything you have been doing soon. Now off to my own drama.

Dianne said...

Susan, your Madonna of the Blues looks fantastic framed!! I love it. Oh, and that beautiful piece at the bottom - you're going to cut it up - cheers to all the lucky recipients who will receive a piece of this!!!! I am sorry to hear about Alex.... 17 is such a "dramatic" age - everything always seems worse than what it really is. My fingers are crossed that he walks back through your door very soon!

Emmy said...

so sorry to here about you son it is so hard at this age hard for the children and the parents
I hope he wil be back soon
big hugs

Nikki said...

I finally managed to sneak a few minutes to properly read your last few posts. We already have such drama and passion in our house, even at age 8, I can't even imagine how hard 17 will be. My prayers are with both you and Alex.

I can see the sorrow in Madonna's eyes, and your post only adds to the feeling. I love how you have finished her. The fabric and framing is perfect.

And your keys and nails. The capture how hard life can be. I guess today, Good Friday, is the day to reflect on the hardship of life. Just make sure to turn the tears to joy on Sunday!

Leah/ Texas/ United States said...

what a GORGEOUS quilt! you are very talented. I'll add you to my prayers that you can have peace regarding your family situation.

Colorfuldayz said...

This post really touched me and I just wanted you to know that I will be keeping you and your son in my thoughts. Being a mom, I can't imagine anything more heart-wrenching than having an emotional seperation from your child.

Clevelandgirlie said...

Susan this is so gorgeous. Is this dyed? Ink painted? Batik? It's really unique and vibrant. Oh the thought of cutting this up scares me - are you going to cut this one up??????