Oh Tuesday, sweet Tuesday. As a creative with a necessary part-time office gig that I feel interrupts my flow, you know, it felt very much like a Monday. The weekend had been so delightful & productive, I was not ready to say good-bye to it. Waking up was rough. I awoke with this overwhelming feeling like this week just might kick my butt if I did't get my mind right.
Refusing to let it get the best of me, however, I pulled up two photos I took while photographing my work at a friend's studio on Monday. Both photos were right on time. One was of a orange buck that had printed on it the words "Let's Do This." The other was of words from the Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals book. I posted a photo of the prayer on my Instagram yesterday with the hope that the day would be a little less cluttered than the day before, that it would be life-giving & creatively productive... wildly productive even.
Well it turned out to be a pretty good day. There were one or two bumps in the road, but nonetheless it was a good day... especially in the studio.
I organized a bit, worked on a new painting, & was able to be still long enough to allow for the birth a new body of work I will be pouring into over the next couple of months. I'm finally combining all of the mediums that fuel me (photography, painting, writing & encaustic wax) to tell the story of how I learned to walk in the dark & that it is indeed possible to live... like really live & enjoy the heck out of life... even with pain.
Last night I started the process by adding more layers to a few woodblocks that had been sitting around my studio for the past few months. These blocks will be the resting place for photographs & lines from journal entries I've written over the past 2 years that shared part of my life's story--
from the point we found out I was pregnant
to when I went into premature labor at 22-weeks,
from when I held my daughter as she died upon my chest,
& all the days since a new normal for me began.
I may use my own script for a couple of pieces, but my plan is for most of the lettering to come from old discarded hymnals I acquired a little less than 2 years. We shall see.
Though I'm a bit anxious & even fearful, I'm willing to trust the unfolding.
I made my way back to the studio this week.
It's hard to believe it had been a little over a month since I last sat at my table to create work. Over the past month my studio has been classrooms at Southwestern University, coffee shops, city streets & my home. Basically if there was a huge amount of natural light flooding an area... I was there to write, reflect, photograph & make plans for the coming months.
My actual studio, though definitely a treasured space where my creativity has found a home, does not have windows. Over the past few weeks I've needed windows & spaces illuminated by a light beyond my control. To be honest that need is still there right beside the need for my creativity to rest... to be home.
It has also been battle within to get my art making groove back since teaching as an artist-in-residence at the Texas Youth Academy (TYA) for two-weeks in July. The rhythm of life there was so radically different than my everyday. Also, the night before leaving TYA I learned of Sandra Bland's story which caused all of the pain, grief & even anger that had subsided a bit during my time of theological & creative reflection, came rushing back as I began to re-engage the media, social media and conversations with people who had not been away at camp for two-weeks. Needless to say, it truly has been a struggle to settle back into life and make my way back to a space with no windows to create.
But, the itch to make art & get some stories out became intolerable & I had to make my way back to Studio 12 at Hardy & Nance Studios to get at it. I warmed up the encaustic wax, positioned one of my favorite photographs on an abstract acrylic background I had worked on weeks ago & got my carving tools in place.
Looking forward to art making over the next couple of weeks to prepare work for a couple of shows & event coming up this fall. A bit nervous, but more than that ready and thankful this is what my life's work consists of. So fully confident or not, it is time to get back at it.
All it takes is one step, right?
so here we go...
Lanecia A. Rouse