i recently chanced upon this inspirational photo of these lovely sticks by an artist named ginette lapalme.
we had some sticks and driftwood hanging around our backyard, just waiting to become art materials… and i’d been thinking on it for a few days. i’m also reading a book on the shamanic tradition of holding council, which involves a talking piece – usually a stick. i’ve been dreaming about finding and embellishing a talking stick for my family and also for my work with clients. then blamo! – this picture finds me. the internet is so cool like that – providing serendipitous encounters and answers. anyway, the fire was lit under me, so i showed N the photo to share the fire, and we gathered up our things: sticks, acrylics, brushes, palette, water jar, rag.
perhaps sticks we had won’t necessarily become future talking sticks, but i set out without that intention – just wanting to enjoy art for art’s sake and the fun of painting whimsical stripes and such on a natural canvas. while i worked on a big stick, N had so much fun with the smaller ones.
she talked all the while about how she’d never done this before, and how she loves all of the new art ideas i come up with for us to do — how sweet to hear! (incidentally, she told me i am the best artist in alaska… which was flattering and all, but we’ve never even been there. ) it was a playful art-making session.
when working with natural materials, i like to (and this may get too woo-woo for some of you, but bear with me) have a dialog with the stick, rock, shell, etc. about what it would like to become. i feel like nature’s form really can dictate the lines, shapes, and colors, if we mindfully engage with it, observe, listen, and trust our instincts about the artistic choice we are making. i did this as i worked on painting my sticks, and i introduced this concept to N as we painted. children are such absolute naturals when it comes to creating such a dialog, storyline, conversation – they are not self-conscious and are so genuinely connected to nature, so it comes easily. as adults, we have often lost that ability, and work to reclaim it.
besides having tons of fun together, the visual results were magical.
the most magical aftermath of all…