Sunday, February 13, 2011


Hallelujah for LOVE. Hallelujah for TRYING new things on, STRETCHING CREATIVELY, and BEING inspired by other ARTISTS! I have fallen in LOVE with KATHERINE DUNN—red-pigtailed woman, dancing, drawing, painting, loving animals. KATHERINE DUNN, caretaker of aging donkeys, friend of sheep, keeper of cats. KATHERINE DUNN, dweller of Apifera Farms!

I instantly fell in love with KATHERINE DUNN of Apifera Farms when I opened the cover of her 2010 book, Creative Illustration Workshop and saw the crudely drawn map she had made of her home in Yamhill, Oregon, on the inside cover.  In a few brief sienna strokes, ARTIST DUNN had rendered her hen house, the bird and rodent cemetery, the field of bees and lavender, goat escape route and more.  How wondrous to see her BEINGNESS contained by and connected to a SENSE of PLACE!

Like the gravitational pull of the EARTH to the SUN, I turned page after page of Creative Illustration Workshop, studying each painting of her colorful birds, cats, plants, and people. In doing so, I came to SEE MYSELF and MY ART more clearly. While she and I both LOVE and paint the natural world intensely and viscerally, her work SPEAKS in a dramatic simplicity I adore.

As readers of my blog, Coffee with Hallelujah, know, I use multiple layers of watercolor pencil and micron pens when birthing images expressing my PILGRIMAGE and connection to the GREAT MYSTERY. As an illuminator of a sacred text might work, I hunch over my work for hours creating my images in exacting detail. ARTIST DUNN’s art, unlike mine, is loose and bold. Black lines bleed and smear. Cut pieces of patterned paper are affixed to sky to indicate stars or a random border. Her work is spontaneous yet practiced. I am in LOVE.

One evening during the winter holidays, my Chiboogamoo (Happy Valentine’s Day dear love of my romantic and household heart!) and I had gone to our MEME STUDIO at Sycamore Gallery Place to work on our collaborative Darwin related pieces, and all I could think about was KATHERINE DUNN of Apifera Farms.  So! I opened a page of her book, like one might open to a random page of the BIBLE, centered my HEART and turning my VISION inward, I stared with my physical eyes at one of her images of a woman (page 35 if you have a copy of Creative Illustration Workshop). I asked myself, “How can I use my worldview and perception to create in “her language” free-er and looser lines?”

Oh PILGRIMS! I had so much fun! I went for the “jugular” (Natalie Goldberg’s instructive words in Writing Down the Bones regarding free writing practice). I used a black watercolor pencil making big heavy black lines to depict facial features. Then I scrawled blocks of red, orange, and yellow! I employed fat watercolor crayons. Finally, it was time for water! Intensity!—intense color bubbled up from the paper! I liked the way the black smeared into the red, and I pulled it in on the nose, cheeks and under the eyes for shading.

How JOYOUS and FUN to loosen up into another artists’ universe while maintaining my own INNER VISION! The images posted on today’s Valentine blog resulted from three consecutive days of using this “heavy handed” technique! How odd to SEE MYSELF in these images…and to see something NEW! Thank you MUSE KATHERINE DUNN.

This third image here was a source of generative LAUGHTER for me! Why the “circular orb” in the middle of my chest, I queried. Then slowly remembering the movie I had watched the previous night with my Chiboogamoo, I beginning laughing deeply: Ha Ha Ho Ho Ho! We had watched the second movie about the superhero, Iron Man. In this sequel, the main character, Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.), is dying because the “circular orb” located in the center of his chest that makes him “Iron Man,” is poisoning him to death. He must find a substitute to the element palladium contained in the orb to empower himself or die. Then the AMAZING part of the movie occurs! 

Suddenly, after much suffering and ready to bear farewell to the world, Iron Man has an epiphany! He discovers that he has the RESOURCES WITHIN HIMSELF to create a new element that will replace the old poisoning one! Hallelujah!

Hallelujah! In addition to painting in a looser free-er style of KATHERINE DUNN, I reaffirmed something all of us know! That WE HAVE ALL WE NEED, RIGHT NOW. “The power” is within oneself! I had embedded this powerful message to myself in my third KATHERINE DUNN inspired drawing! Pilgrims! We have the answers within ourselves (like Iron Man)—and without (when we listen to our MUSES like KATHERINE DUNN).

Be sure to “take in” what you want to become. Be sure to delight in the integration of the inner and outer self! That’s it with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me how you are integrating your inner and outer worlds! Who is your MUSE? Who do you LOVE? What INNER RESOURCE are you calling upon?

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