Wonder Round (July 8-14, 2018) / by Hayden Michelle

I would like to shout out to an artist friend who kindly referred to my daily circle paintings as, "Rounds of Wonder"... I have struggled with how to title these weekly recaps, as many that read this blog do not necessarily follow me on FB and see these circles posted daily.  I appreciate the reflective wording, and how the order of them can be switched and still make sense.  These circles do present something for me to wonder about every single day, often not until the image is made.  I suppose it is a bit like the cart before the horse, as to which comes first... as certainly, unconscious thought/feelings emerge through the art, and vice versa.  Regardless, I am grateful to have a more fitting title.  This is just another way in which I have been enriched by the reaching out and sharing that has evolved... thank you all!

("Today marks two years since my mother left this world. It seems like yesterday, and I miss her every single day. She is remembered by all who loved her and all those she touched with her life of giving and compassion. I am grateful that her spirit will always be a strong presence in my life.")


("Awake since 4a, despite going to sleep at midnight, I finally decided to get out of bed and empty my mind into my planner, hoping to create more clear space for the day(s) ahead. It is hard to believe that the summer is at its halfway point, with much left to do on the proverbial to-do list! How do we manage to balance the daily tasks of living, caring for those we love, and ourselves? As I compiled an extensive inventory of nonnegotiable needs, I realized I best put in more hammock time, walks outside amongst the fireflies in the evenings with our boys, making art together, and certainly, more laughter with family and friends. What are your favorite things to balance the demands and hard work in your life?")


("As I completed an extremely labor-intensive sculpture at midnight on Sunday, I was able to turn my attention Monday morning to one barely begun, which needs to be shipped before I leave town on Friday. This summer has not allowed for the full immersion in art-making that I have been craving, so the last few weeks have fed me, despite being exhausting. I have reflected much on what keeps us driving away at the things we set out to do, need to do, wish to do... It feels rather mysterious, and I have deep respect for the process, no matter where it is applied. We can all honor the force in ourselves that makes us continue to dig deep...")


("The sky not yet filled with anything but the slightest beginnings of brightening sky, I grabbed the flashlight as I headed out on this earlier than usual morning walk. The first thing I noticed were the loud crunching sounds coming from my feet walking through the stiff dry grass, something I do not notice when the sun is already rising over the hills. The birds had not yet received the signal to welcome in the day with their lovely chorus, and my ears tuned in to the chirping of crickets and tree frogs. I remembered then to breathe... to listen to the sound of my lungs filling with the gift of oxygen, and felt grateful to be in such quiet solitude (with our silent dog) for these brief moments. It left me pondering how much our other senses are magnified when one is absent, and how it is important to create space in our minds that is free from distraction and information, resting in the darkness of mind. What things do we connect with when that space is entered?")


("As soon as this form started taking shape, I heard my mother utter these words in my mind, vividly recalling how she would look me directly in the eye and proclaim, “This is nonsense!”, whenever she started drawing made-up “critters’, as she would call them. She reflected a mix of slight embarrassment and apology for having made something off the beaten path, yet it was clear that it delighted another more free side of herself to do so. It is good to remember her in simple moments like this, and to be able to conjure up the many drawings she did over decades for all of her children and grandchildren for birthdays and special occasions, always blaming the late hour in which they were created for the most zany ones (which were, of course, always our favorites)... With gratitude for her example, I send this encouragement out to all of you to let loose and play today.")


("This morning as I went to dip my brush into fresh paint pans, it occurred to me that it would be interesting to paint only from my enamel pan that holds remnants of color from over-saturated brushes. Using this palette was both limiting and expansive, as many of the dabs of paint run into adjacent ones, creating blends I would not have found (or wanted) in my straight pans. How like life this short exercise is— to use what we have in front of us, encompassing all forms of our well-being, and to make the best of it. This is timely, as I leave my family nest here this morning for 6 days that span connections with beloved family, friends, and some care for my body. I am grateful to have the love of all that I will briefly leave as well as join. Perhaps we can find beauty alongside the muddied in what is left on our palette...")


("As I set up a paint spot in the corner of my sister’s kitchen where bits of early morning light were shining in (seen in opening photo), I found my German grandmother’s old noodle cutting board nearby to prop on top of an old can, and sat in the wicker chair that belonged to my grandparents on the Irish side of the family. How fitting to be surrounded by bits of my history... photographs, antiques of my mama’s, pieces my sister has collected over the years in many jaunts with my mother and other sister, in a historic house in an old part of Indianapolis, the city where I grew up. This house is filled with a depth of art and craftsmanship that is a thing of the past, and I am soaking up the details in the woodwork, tiles, ceiling angles, cubbies, built-ins, and windows. I love old houses for this attention to detail and simple beauty, all providing texture and color and form that delights me. I am happy to join my other sister, sis-in-laws, and nieces today to celebrate the upcoming wedding of my nephew and his fiancé, feeling gratitude for all connections as our generations continue to grow.")