pastels, canon digital rebel xt
As I was preparing a space to create today, I had Natalie Merchant (The Gulf of Araby) playing loud in my loft. I found myself swept away by her music. I danced in circles with my arms open wide. Round and round with a pastel resting between my fingers. It felt like a ceremony anointing me before diving into my pastels. You know that feeling. Your belly is burning, your heart is swelling and you feel as if you could fly.
It brought me back to a time when I had my first true release of creative abandon. I was in design school and the semester was about to end. Our final project for our drawing class was a self portrait. It was due the following day and I hadn't even started. Well, in truth I had started again and again and they all ended up crumpled up in the waste basket. There was a party down by the beach with other design students. It was well deserved. We had been working our arse's off and were in great need of letting loose. At one point, we sat in a circle, drinking and divulging wild stories of our times living in other cities, single and dating. All of their projects were done, so I felt a sense of anxiousness, unable to completely relax into the moment. While telling some of my stories, I had a clear vision of a drawing. I hopped up from the circle. I had to leave in that instant to go home and begin creating. They all understood and sent me off with their glasses raised.
When I arrived home, my husband and his best friend that was visiting were sitting on our couch reminiscing about their times in Canada together (they're both Canadian). I rushed up to our loft with a quick hello. I tore out a huge piece of pastel paper, turned on the music so loud that no one could hear me speak. I sketched an abstract self portrait of my time in Berkeley and San Francisco. The voice behind this was that my soul feels so rooted there...despite where I am now. One half of my body was a Redwood tree and the other half was my arm melting into the Golden Gate Bridge, which dipped into an enormous coffee mug that was wedged between a rocky cliff. It sounds outrageous but it turned out brilliant. I was dancing and drawing, dancing and drawing and my husband and his friend were absorbing my creative energies. It was wild. A complete psychedelic trip. Colors and shapes were dancing in my head. Such a natural high.
The following day, when I brought it to class and showed my teacher, she hugged me with tears in her eyes. She was a true blue bohemian and she felt the vibe. She got it. She ended up using it as an example for her future classes. Explaining to her students that self portraits could also represent pieces of your "self".
Abandon like this doesn't happen for me every day. But when it happens, it takes my breath away. I felt a glimpse of this today and I am craving more.
Do you know this feeling I speak of?