When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry
For the first time, I joined the summer faculty of the Grunewald Guild to teach an 1-week course titled "Visual Poetry: Mixed Media + Encaustic." The course was a process-oriented class where for 5 days 9 participants + I explored the wonders of encaustic + allowed some of our favorite poets to rouse our creative flow.
The Grunewald Guild is a special place. For over 30 years the Guild has made space for art, community + growth to happen. It was an honor to receive the invitation to join the staff + share in it's legacy-- which is is deep + wide.
As a city girl who has grown accustomed to steady movement, it was a challenge to embrace a slower pace. It took a couple of days to settle into the rhythm + creative flow. I was determined to lean in though, + not lean out. By Tuesday evening, my heart began to grieve our Saturday departure. The Guild had made its way into my heart.
I not only got my hand covered with warm wax + paper, but I also made my way to the Pottery Studio to throw on the potter's wheel for the first it in my life. I loved it! I loved the attention it required, physicality of the process, + the feeling of the clay between my hands.
One of the major highlights of the experience is that I got to share it with my partner, Cleve. It was a privilege to receive the gift of Grunewald Guild with him + even savor some moments in the beautiful emerald city- Seattle.
It was a week of steady exhales + long deep inhales.
It was week of getting lost in the creative process + fully living into my gifts of teaching.
It was also a week of rich connection that I look forward to experiencing again at the Guild + at other art tables I will teach at in the future.
Click HERE to learn more about the history + work of the Grunewald Guild.
The Guild will provide a list of their Summer 2019 courses later this year.
For two months, lululemon Houston Heights Local featured some of my art in their store. We then hosted a closing Pop Up Art Show at the shop to introduce my new works + create space for connection--with both my art + the community.
I'm tremendously grateful for the opportunity for my art to breathe + be engaged in spaces that people occupy daily. I consider it part of my studio practice. It encourages me to learn of local businesses who desire to support local artists + "think outside the gallery" with regards to making art accessible to people. I find it not only beneficial for the artists but also for the community.
We hunger for bread + thirst for water; we also hunger to encounter beauty + thirst to witness creativity in the world around us. It fills my heart with delight to see the work of artists on walls of city buildings, buses, local coffee shops, stores + numerous other public spaces as I move around the world. I love it! The art slows me down, + invites me to pay attention to the world around me. They remind me of the creative potential of humanity at times when our capability to destroy is loud + disheartening.
Here are a few glimpses of what this looked like for me in partnership with lululemon HTX Heights Local:
On view are selected pieces from the following body of work currently in process in the studio:
Black|Blue Collection – This series of paintings explores concepts of creation + many aspects of the human condition, as well as the color language of black + ultramarine blue.
Broom Paintings – Inspired by the works of Edward Clark + other Black American artists who lived, worked + embraced abstraction in Paris after World War II. This is a series of works—created by the strokes of a broom— that is part of my preparation for my upcoming residency this fall as Visiting Artist at The American Church in Paris, France.
The Weathered Heart Collection – This series explores the resiliency of the human heart as is negotiates various seasons in the cycle of life.
Still Life Abstract Collection - I often find beauty + life in the art that happens on objects in my studio (paper towel, canvas drop cloth, paint palette, paper, etc.) as I am fully engaged in the creative process.
Each piece is unique. Each piece holds the energy of the process.
The works in this collection are created from the remnants of + fragments from larger paintings from my Black|Blue Series, Weathered Heart Collection + Intuitive Collages.
Click HERE to view + purchase selected works from this collection.
lululemon focuses on the body--how we care for it, move it, clothe it. Again, I'm grateful that they made space for my body of work, that they support local artists/creatives, + that they are willing to collaborate in ways that inspire care for the whole self.
Currently my work is on view + available for purchase at Throughgood Coffee in the Houston Heights + CrwnHTX in East Downtown Houston.
Photography by Zach McKenzie + Lanecia Rouse Tinsley
Words by Lanecia Rouse Tinsley. Edited by Ciona D. Rouse.
Honestly, that was his long-winded way of saying history matters. (Gotta love him.)
And it does.
As a people, we are story and narrative all the way down to our core. The histories we are born into, the experiences we have + the people we encounter in various ways along the way-- inform the person we are + who we will become.
History fascinates me. There is a deep curiosity within me to know as much as I can about the various "stories" lived in this world, both past + present. I think that is why I enjoy travel so much. Each trip offers me the privilege of reading other pages of this crazy beautiful world, + somehow feel more apart of its rhythm-- its heartbeat.
Over the next couple of months, I will be preparing for a dream project that includes an opportunity to live + make for a few weeks in a place that is not my home. The project demands that I "lean into" the history of other Black American artists who lived + worked in countries that were not their homes, specifically between 1945-1965. This was a time in history following WWII, when hundreds of Black American artists left a more racially oppressive US environment to pursue their artistic careers outside of this country.
I’ve chosen 4 artists to live with over the next 4 months--all from various artistic disciplines. I will study the life, work + writings of one artist each month; focusing on how their time as an artist in a country that was not their home impacted their creative imaginations + work.
The first artist I'll study is Edward Clark, American abstract expressionist painter.
Ed Clark is absolutely brilliant + so much of his story set my inner muse a blaze.
I even brought a broom to create new large + small abstract paintings that will be featured at my solo pop up. By the way, that show will be at lululemon HTX Heights Local (713 Heights Blvd., Houston) on Thursday, May 31 (6:30-8:30pm).
I will be sharing what I learn from the artists + my studio practice on my Instagram + Insta Stories. I invite you to follow along.
Here is a short documentary interview with Edward Clark, which spurred my desire to study his work. Enjoy.
I hit the ground running into 2018. Finally at a real moment where I can breathe, I reflect on the beautiful layers of these January + February days. I have so much to celebrate + tell you about; where do I even begin?
At "Transfigured", of course! In early February, I held my first pop-up art show in partnership with Holy Family HTX. I was both the featured artist + curator. Just typing these words feels surreal.
When I first began my professional art journey in 2014, this never even played in my imagination. It is truly a dream I never even realized I was dreaming, and it all came true!
My first highlight of the show was getting to experience it with Ciona, my sister. Visiting from Nashville, she got to see my studio for the first time + see my art work in person! Her poem, "Do the Crazy Thing," has been my studio mantra from the start, so it just felt right + a gift to have her here for one of the biggest moments thus far in my career.
Another major highlight: standing in the space and finally getting to see all 9 of the paintings from the "Paraments" series on view. For a year I built this body of abstract work for the weekly public liturgy of Holy Family HTX. For a year, I wrestled with how to invite the community to live into liturgical rhythms through color, textures, graffito, and meditated marks, to experience the Christian story through these aspects of art. For a year, I studied and delved more into the intellectual history of color and how to let it best speak in this work. And there they all were--a year of work & liturgy on canvases in this one wonderful space.
Each piece reflects upon the eight liturgical seasons of the Christian Church and the sacrament of Baptism and has deliberate color choices. I also borrowed from the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi in this work, specifically its aesthetic emphasis on subtlety and the beauty of imperfection, impermanence, and “the aged.” I approached each 6ft x 6ft canvas individually even though I knew they represented a whole story together.
But I won't give you all the details of my process right now because another highlight (drumroll, please): we're creating a piece of art to tell the story of these pieces very soon. A book! I'm elated to be able to share this work with more of you in this way. Watch this space . . . more details on the book to come.
I'll leave you with a final and special highlight of the night, which was sharing it with the the artists in the HFHTX Artist Collective. I invited each artist to create work that explores one of the liturgical seasons, specifically through a contemporary lens. Their work, thought-provoking + profoundly beautiful, interacted with the "Paraments" series so perfectly and added to the contemplative nature of the show. I am honored + grateful to share in this moment with each of them.
Check out some of their art:
As you can see, 2018 set an enormously high bar so far. I'm humbled + also confident it will continue to surprise + delight me.
Thanks to everyone who came out to engage our art.
Special thanks to Holy Family HTX for partnering with me to make space for art to happen + to speak in spaces where all can hear.
Click the names below to learn more about the creative journeys + work of the artists who contributed to "Transfigured"
Words + Photography by Lanecia A. Rouse Tinsley. Edited by Ciona D. Rouse.
Artist Pablo Picasso is quoted often as saying, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." It's so true. Ask any child if he or a she is an artist, and more often than not they boldly proclaim, "YES!" without a second of hesitation.
At the end of 2016 when Holy Family HTX commissioned me to create 9 liturgical year 6' x 6' paintings, I began research and planning for the work. One of the many things I wrote included, "For the Christmas painting, invite a child to join you in the process--the theme demands it."
So come early fall, I honored this inner nudging and waited for a child before starting the piece.
That's where one of my young friends comes in! He joined his mother during a private workshop I hosted in the studio and was absolutely taken . . . When I told him that one canvas was especially for Christmas, I saw starlight twinkle in his eyes. That's when I knew it was time to begin this painting. So I handed him a brush, and his art became the first to mark the canvas.
"Ok, buddy, I want you to paint the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Christmas and Jesus coming into the world." I said.
He joyfully painted a heart and wrote his name next to it. I couldn't wait to join him and be inspired by his work. I knew then it was the right decision to co-create this painting with him and other little artist friends. Over the process of a couple of months, I invited two other children to add their painting, drawings and general artistry upon the canvas and join me in the process.
Here are my takeaways for our time together co-creating this piece:
1. Do not fear. Take risks, be vulnerable and true to yourself. Trust your first response to the materials before you and the space you have to work with. Remember there are really no mistakes in art.
2. Have FUN, don't overthink the process. It's ok to loose control.
3. The way the children moved the brush and marked the canvas inspired me to move differently, as well. A few of their brush strokes seem to have found their way into my making vocabulary. While working on my current painting for Epiphany, I notice myself using some of the some of the brushstrokes and mark making techniques the child artists intuitively did with freedom, confidence and ease,
I'm grateful for the markings, letters, brushstrokes, and joyful creative energy of Cobe, Owen and Hazel who all confidently added to the work throughout different stages of the process. I have a feeling that will not be my last collaborative painting with little artist hands.
"Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children."
Written by Lanecia Rouse Tinsley.
Edited by Ciona Rouse.
Photographs by Lanecia Rouse Tinsley + Brittney H.
Lanecia A. Rouse Tinsley