Saturday, August 10, 2013

Finding the Heartbeat in Art

This has been a hard year in weather for us. We have had what seems like continuous battering rains and flooding most of our Spring and Summer. In the process we have lost our gardens and many opportunities to go to art shows. But, what I miss the most is my ability to spend as much time out in nature as I normally would. 

I am a mountain girl. Spending time in the woods and near our lakes and waterfalls comforts my heart like nothing else. This is where I find my balance and my inspiration. 
Without my frequent excursions into nature, I have found myself taking my easel to my porch in order to find my peace.
Last weekend we were invited to a Drum Retreat, with John being asked to provide Native Flute music and Udu drum to the morning meditation. It was a beautiful way to begin our morning, with the sun floating in through the stained glass window.
While originally thinking that we would only stay through the meditation, we found that we stayed most of the day. We sat in on some of the drum workshops and performances and had lunch with our friend Glen (a djembe maker) and his wife Nicole.
We had the wonderful opportunity to see Alisa Caldwell teach West African dance, who left us feeling re-energized.

Coming home in the afternoon for a brief respite, I contemplated whether to return to the retreat for the evening drum circle. My body was beyond exhausted and in pain, but the urge to paint near the lakeside while the others drummed won out on the decision. 
I was curious if being among so many people in such an active event would be too much of a distraction for me to paint. Only one way to find out I thought, as I scurried through the house to gather my paints, easel, and paint on. I found a large sheet of wood and we were off to the drum circle.
I found a little spot on the edge of the circle to set up the easel. There as lots of chatter amongst the drummers while I set up my palette. Soon they were drumming, and even sooner I was painting. I no longer heard their voices nor noticed them moving around. I was at once in tune with the heartbeat of the drum and found my brush moving rhythmically moving to the sound.
I painted what I heard. I painted what I felt. I painted the music.

It took two days for my body to recover from what I have made it endure that day, but the benefit that my spirit received was well worth the expenditure.
"Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together"  Anais Nin

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