“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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