Category Archives: Nature

Harvest of the Heart

“As you learn to live by heart, every choice you make will become another way of telling your story, calling your tribe, and liberating not only your heart but the hearts of others.” –  Martha Beck   http://ow.ly/OiQJA

I read these words by Martha Beck​ and see the sequence of choices that led to the creations of “Harvest of the Heart” – a body of work in encaustic monotypes that evokes the bounty of nature, ripeness and my childhood in the countryside in France.

It started with a pause, and stillness. I was on a creative retreat where nature was the heart of the experience, as a studio, a subject and co-teacher.  I paused because I did not quite know what to do, where to go, so I stopped for a moment.  Then I took a step, rather tentatively. I gazed down, spotted a feather and picked it up. I gaze up and see this small wild apple, still green at the end of a branch.

Apple K. Chaussabel

Apple
K. Chaussabel

I found my inspiration, or rather it found me!

I sat down on a big boulder below the tree, feather dipped in ink, my hand following the contour of this fruit, over and over.

Nature notes - apple

Nature notes – apple

 

I loved the ease, the gentleness of this find, of this encounter,  and I felt it also in my hand, in the contact between the feather and the paper. There was a certain tenderness. It was echoed by the presence of a statue, hands cupped, an orb resting in them.

Nature Notes & Statue K. Chaussabel

Nature Notes & Statue
K. Chaussabel

 

 

Holding K. Chaussabel

Holding
K. Chaussabel

In hand, and in my gesture,  I was following my heart, connecting to memories of my childhood spent in the countryside in my native France.  Those memories were more vivid at this point time as I had moved to Texas where the land was flat, arid and felt very foreign to me. Suburban life added another layer of challenge to the experience…  Here I was, on this retreat in the Eastern Townships in Québec, in a natural setting that brought all those feelings to the surface.  Ink and feather in hand I was retracing, and recalling my roots, steeped deep in nature.

It is a process that continued, grew, beyond time and place.  Back in the encaustic studio, “Harvest of the Heart”, emerged from pools of molten wax, spreading and sinking into paper – along with a touch of pen.

The making of a monotype K. Chaussabel

The making of a monotype – Harvest of the Heart series
K. Chaussabel

I grew up harvesting cherries from a cherry orchard, vegetables from my parents, grandparent’s gardens.  Abundance was shared. We gave and neighbors brought and shared what they grew, raised.  Our family also gleaned chestnuts,  foraged for wild blueberries, raspberries, mushrooms.  There was a bounty from nature, wild and cultivated that permeated my childhood.

This is the story woven into Harvest of the Heart.

Harvest of the Heart Diptych Encaustic, Paper K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart Diptych
Encaustic, Paper
K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart Fullness I, IV, II Encaustic, Paper K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart Fullness I, II, IV
Encaustic, Paper
K. Chaussabel

It is a story I get to share  this coming July for my debut at The Island Gallery.

There is a natural unfolding, an ease, just like the beginning of this journey, to showing  Harvest of the Heart for the first time, here on Bainbridge Island.  For I have found, for the first time, since leaving my native France, a place where my French country roots are alive, once again. It has been a long dormancy for sure! The taste of the local harvests offered by farms, food artisans, neighbors and friends, has awakened them!

I am deeply grateful for nature’s offerings as well as for those who share their bounty with me.

Harvest of the Heart Encaustic, Paper K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart
Encaustic, Paper
K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart Encaustic, Paper K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart
Encaustic, Paper
K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart Triptych Encaustic, paper, pen K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart
Triptych
Encaustic, paper, pen
K. Chaussabel

Opening night is July 10, 2015!

 

Framed and matted pieces are available through The Island Gallery

 Ste 120, 400 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 –

(206) 780-9500  – http://theislandgallery.net

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China

I just came back from a two weeks trip of a lifetime to China where I studied Qigong and visited numerous historical sites and temples. I am still processing all I saw and experienced….

One of the experiences that stands out for me right now, is walking up many many many steps to reach the top of Eimei Shan, a sacred Buddhist mountain.  Stepping up and up and up, through the forest, in the fog, I was keenly aware how magical and extraordinary an experience this was for me. I took a moment to celebrate  where I was and it was captured in this picture:

Pausing to express gratitude and Joy - Eimei Shan - K. Chaussabel

And these are my first creations since I came home.

Moved - Encaustic on paper- K.Chaussabel

Moved - detail - K. Chaussabel

Moved - detail - K. Chaussabel

Moved- detail - K. Chaussabel

“We are life’s music, so let us dance.”

Julia Cameron – Prayer to the Great Creator

Those bumps in the horizon

My recent road trip between Texas and Seattle, Washington rekindled my love for the wide open horizons of the west with its roads stretching into infinity, open skies and the occasional landmasses rising from the land.

Somewhere in Northeastern New Mexico - Photo Karen Chaussabel

I particularly like seeing the hills rising from this sea of infinity. And when you are driving from hours on end, it’s comforting to the eye and mind!

Those bumps in the horizon - Photo Karen Chaussabel

I have enjoyed following the movement of “bumps” in the landscape in my work.

Following the Thread - Mixed Media paper & silk

Vista II - Encaustic on wood

Mixed media on wood - ink, pastel, thread

Encaustic Monotype

New life emerging

The images that came after paying tribute to departing souls  seem to flow according to the natural order of decay and rebirth.

Nature’s inescapable cycle of emergence and growth is coming through! Spring energy is permeating my work.

Emerging Life

Life, in the form of an agave plant, is emerging. Taking hold. And its presence is being felt.  Getting a shower of qi/energy from nature. Getting a sense of renewal.

Shower of qi

New life