Thursday, April 29, 2010

Following the Moon

                                                                            Dreamboat #1, Drozda 2002
                                                                                                                36x36 inches
                                                                                                            Acrylic on panel

It's the Full Phase of the current moon cycle ... a fine time, each month/moon to reflect and review. Take the three day full phase, to realize that you are half way around the circle for this moon.

I'm investing in something very new this cycle: Blog Triage. I wanted to be able to look over my shoulder throughout the year ahead and see that I took a step toward learning something new and stretchy as part of my Art Life. It's been so fine. My little sweetpea brain is being challenged (hugely) and I love that... but the additional gift is the friendships with the group of  artists participating; a nurturing, stimulating bonus. Thank you Alyson and Cynthia.

How do you follow your dream of being the artist that you know yourself to be? It's a timeless question. One we come to ask in our own way... in our own time. I've reached a certain point in my life where I'm asking the question anew. I made a decision to consciously open a new door. Stepping through I began to look out ahead, to the decade before me, and ask, "What Next? What Now? What Matters?

Since 1989, after returning from an 18 week solitary retreat on a little island off the coast of North Carolina, I've engaged in reading time in a gentler cyclical pattern by following the moon. With the turning of the cycles and the seasons life takes on a gentle kinder rhythm.

The idea of becoming more intimate with the way time moves appeals to me.

While living on the island I invested my days in writing, painting and wandering. I moved easily from working in the studio to meandering through the marshes. In the early morning light I often followed deer tracks. Their soft hoof marks creating a  narrow path through the high grasses...their path stopping at the tideline. All my life I've followed deer paths. Something mysterious resonates when I see those heart shaped impressions in the earth. Yet here, at water's edge, these imprints seemed more if these harmless creatures had strolled through the silence of the night marsh under the moonlight to come here to gaze out to sea.

In the Lakota tradition Deer represents Gentle Medicine. Deer is a totem for healing in my Art Life.
What powers and strengths assist you to be whole and centered in your Art Life?

Recovering from any type of trauma/drama requires a deep and gentle care.
There is no way to push the the healing river. Floating, rather than swimming against the current, brings repair with lasting results. Eventually it becomes possible to climb aboard a craft of our own making. I like to travel in a metaphoric mandorla boat. I have discovered that it is actually wiser, for me, to spend a good amount of time floating gently down the stream. I practice allowing my Art Life vehicle to rest in the moment as it prepares to lead me merrily to the opening of the path that lies ahead.

Did I Dream This? Drozda 2003
20x24 inches
Acrylic/found wood

A workshop presenter broke apart the lyrics for the popular Row Row Row Your Boat song. She pointed out that there are three rows and four merrilys. That is clearly the instruction to row gently down the stream. How about we stop struggling against nature. It's an exhausting up stream fight against the current.

I prefer the merrily down the stream approach... whenever possible.

~Sing the Day...merrily.


  1. You have a contemplative thoughtful approach to creating your art and it shows in your work- which is unique and personal.

  2. Donna Iona, Thank you for illustrating your words with the beauty of your paintings. The two fit together so effortlessly.

  3. I think that your paintings are so intimate that they, in themselves, are healing.

  4. Wow! Love your work Iona! Coming to your blog is like going to meditate. It is so peaceful here. Thank you!

  5. Thanks so much Donna and Karen.

    Mrs. Mosley it's good to see you're back from your soon.

    Lynn I so appreciate your way with words...thanks.'re so sweet...and I love to visit you because you're so jazzed!!

  6. Iona I did leave a reply for you on my blog - however since I am here just want to say thankyou again for your words. I am becoming such a fan of your art work it has such heart and a beautiful freedom and innocence to it. A wonderful spontaniety - I just love both the works on this post thank you for sharing -

  7. Iona,

    I so love this question: How do you follow your dream of being the artist that you know yourself to be? Throughout our class, I've been contemplating this ? & wondering, trying to sense an answer that resonates deep within me--in other words, an answer that takes me further down the stream of life, hopefully gently though sometimes, jerkily--but always further. Grazie mille for the gentleness of your writing:)

  8. Oh, I have just found you and your blog today... your words and your questions have filled me with thoughts of my own journey as an artist. I love that you watch the moon, and your last words, "sing the day..."

  9. Hi D,
    It's interesting how "coincidences" or messages pop up just when we need them. My morning reading was about being patient with ourselves and the process of life~~that all things are divinely timed. Allowing oneself to surrender all stuggles and any need to control or force things to happen. Through this day I've thought of my reading and tried to be gentle and allow myself be in the day. I sit, reading your blog at the winding down of the day and the message is brought home to me once more. Muchas Gracias :)

  10. This comment is from one of my fellow Blog Triage "patients"...I'm hand delivering it because it fits with the next post so well...Thanks Lynn

    Hi Iona,

    You need to know how much I enjoy your blog -- a pesky Foxfire browser glitch on my end seems to be preventing me from leaving a comment.

    The phrase "to rest in the moment" resonated with me in your most recent post.

    Yesterday morning, for a time, the most useful thing I could do was to sit on the sidelines while others who knew what needed to be done in preparation for an art event did their their thing. For me to jump in, to be active, to be "helpful", would have been no help at all. Thus I had the pleasure of soaking up some sunshine and watching clouds as they danced across the sky. What a lovely interlude. Too rare these days.

    Your post also put me in mind of salmon, and how essential the fight upstream must be at times. But, salmon begin their life's journey gently (one assumes) traveling downstream. Ahh, but see -- now you have me thinking about cycles more fully... after their determined return home, the spent salmon gently float downstream once again. The great spiral turns on itself once again.

    Such a nice way to start the morning, the week, the month -- visiting your blog, slowing down just long enough to contemplate a bit.

    ~ Lynn

  11. What a wonderful post. Your writing and the associated paintings have really spoken to me. Thanks!

  12. What a wonderful post and artwork!! Just what I needed to read and to see today. To give myself permission to wait for my muse, rather than force it. Thank you for sharing.

  13. this post...your art...your words is filled with gentle light. thank you for shining on all of us!

  14. I found this post filled with verbal signposts directing toward allowing life to happen without the pushing and shoving to create our own agenda.

    I find myself very happy to have found your blog today.

    Thank you.

  15. Your art is beautiful and full of meaning. The found wood upon which you paint yourself floating upon the river is symbolic in itself, for had it been just canvas I think the meaning would have been different.

    Thank you for sharing,

  16. Iona - I love your dream boat picture and post. I have featured you in my latest blog post scheduled to post on Dec 23. I hope you don't mind, I copied this image to go with the post and linked back to you. Your work always inspires me, you have such a unique gift.... Love Kadira


Thanks for stopping '-)