Spiral Gently (July 11, 2018) by Hayden Michelle

The other day I was awaiting news regarding a submission of artwork as part of a healing arts initiative by a local hospital network, one which I have been grateful to be included in previously.  I worked for weeks on new artwork to propose, and was even ahead of schedule in dropping it off to the location for jurying.  Anxious to hear if the work was accepted, I checked my email repeatedly (lol) for updates, as well as returned to reread the call for entry, realizing that it was actually the previous day in which notification was due.  

Hmmm.... not the best sign.  It took several moments for me to realize that in my focused efforts to get the work completed, framed, and dropped off before I had to leave town, that I completely forgot to submit my online paperwork (10 days previous).  UGH.  To say I was frustrated by this oversight would be an understatement, and I realized, yet again, that there was nothing else to do but breathe.  I took the dog out on the land and walked in the hot sun and bits of shade, seeking some outlet for this pent-up energy.  Still, feelings of disappointment and irritation remained, and I felt the pull of wanting to berate myself for this error.  I had ample opportunity to choose gentleness, instead, keeping perspective that this certainly was not life-impacting in any serious sort of way, and that I can reserve that energy for times when it will be needed.  I was aware of the tendency to self-criticize, and how long it has taken to not go to that place immediately (or at all).  

This is such a lifelong lesson that I also work on repeatedly with my children... that we can connect to our humanness and meet it compassionately-- and that this action not only makes us feel better, it makes it easier to extend to others when they need it.  I am not the best teacher, lol, this being a deeply entrenched habit, but I am coming along.  I did laugh at the small positives I could tell myself... that I was not dropping it off after speeding up there (hoping not to get behind a tractor) moments before the doors closed, that I created intentional work steeped in the energy of healing and calming, and that I will never repeat this mistake again, as once is quite enough.  Not exactly the outcome I was hoping for, but 'twas the best I could do...

"Renewal", (detail)

Working on the first piece was an experience in patience, stillness, and focus.  Although similar to the process of painting the small daily circles, this required much more prolonged attention to detail and scope.   I found it to be initially mesmerizing, and eventually, to be missing the freedom of the abstract nature of my circles.  The layers of paint in many hues and shades were different than colors I usually choose, and revitalized the cherry blossoms that bloomed briefly in our garden, photographed in a soaking rain and fog.  I smiled as I realized that I could not keep the abstract forms of my daily circles from ending up in the lines and shapes of this larger sphere.   Curious it is, how one form of expression follows into another...

"Renewal", (24 x 24 inches), watercolor

"Renewal", (24 x 24 inches), watercolor

The second piece involved layering encaustic over one of our redbuds, and then carving into the many layers of wax that shrouded the photographic image.  This was a nice change of work, and there was much enjoyment in returning to my love of carving into imagery.  It always reminds me of woodcuts, which I adore, with their line-within-line, all part of the whole.  

"Return of Hope", (detail)


Pigment was then applied over the entire surface, bringing out the serenity and beauty of the delicate buds that grace the branches every spring.  It was good to see some of my encaustic work in (almost) only 2 dimensions... allowing my eyes to sink into the composition in a different way.  The colors in this remind me of the wallpaper on my mother's walls where we grew up, and of the redbud she planted in direct view of the kitchen sink (smart woman!) as soon as she moved into the new house solo with all of us kids,  Sweet connections...

"Renewal of Hope", (24 x 24 inches, framed)

Thank you for following along this faux pax experience with me.  There is always an unexpected easing up in the telling.  I wish extra gentleness to all of you where you most need it...