Something Bigger

I could be so much more
Something so much bigger I could be –
Just give me the freedom of the sky, the love of the fields;
Let my hands touch the hills and my soul the rocky, cloudy mountain tops –
Just let me breathe, breathe so much more, so much higher air and so much deeper ground, just let me breathe out all the words I could not speak in the same eloquence;
Let me form my words in the palms of wooden hands, of oak trees and wise old pines, let my thoughts be sung by tiny birds in aromatic southern coniferes down by the shore.
Just let me be, just let me breathe;
Just don’t ask me to speak in the vague little chunks into which you enjoy to mince this ephemeral art; my vagueness isn’t yours and your ways to space and break and part your thoughts aren’t fit for the rhythm of my steps. Just let me walk and skip along the roads and paths and wooden stairs I find; and I’ll bring back tales much grander than I’d otherwise find, tales of giant feelings and butterfly trails of star-wept tears, wordless stories of most wonderous travels down the well of night, I’ll touch you to let you feel the endless ocean and the deep, most satisfying rumble running through your chest as you inhale a myriad of eons-old saline chrystals, opening your heart to a fraction of the horizon I know how to feel.

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The White and the Black (Capoeira and Sword)

I’m a capoeirista (though I took an almost two-month break in winter) and I’m getting more involved in show sword fighting recently. It’s interesting to me how I move differently through the two worlds. It brings out two different sides of me.

Capoeira, white clothes, barefoot – there is a lot of joking, music, a weird sort of openness. I don’t move with a lot of grace, I think, not like a lot of the female capoeiristas, I’m not as quick and lithe but more solid, grounded, with plain movements and a different kind of strength. Still, I feel rather feminine at times, maybe because of the light clothes and the sort of energy in that place. Energy rising and falling, a constant pulse, the mind just a sharp tool to carve out visible expression. On a good day, physical joy takes over, bubbly, the sorrows of the day forgotten, the body just bursting with excitement to move and experiment.

Sword fighting, dark clothes, shoes, leather gloves – the sound of metal on metal and  sometimes heavy footwork, occasional laughter, shouts, an inner focus on the weight in my hands. I’m not female, I’m not anything, just someone wielding a sword, black almost fading into the background behind the steel, the body supplying firm power to give shape to the mind’s will. It’s freeing, mind over matter. Yet, my movements are distinctly feminine, as the always upright movements with the arms doing most of the heavy work accentuate my build. There is a lot of fun and happiness, but more subtle, mostly inward, with a slight melancholic tinge at times, and being able to stay in focus leading to a very rewarding feeling of collected presence and inner strength, while a little part of the mind is dreaming of a different time and place.

Reducing Waste and Saving Money, Artist Edition

If you have followed my instagram lately, you know I’m playing with acrylic paint again. After trying more traditional painting, I’m now experimenting with pouring and liquid painting. This usually involves additional material like small containers for mixing liquid paint, stirring sticks, some kind of cover to protect the working surface, … which can add up to quite a lot of plastic and paper, unless you have space to keep an extra box of glass containers and all that jazz, and are very dedicated to thoroughly cleaning all materials right after a painting session.

As I’m not living zero-waste, there is enough single-use material at home that can be repurposed for painting and be used at least a few times before finally throwing it out. This way I don’t have to buy a lot of additional material for my creative hobby, while all this future waste is used as much as possible before trashing/recycling it.

A few items are

  • Plastic cups from yoghurts and desserts are stackable, can be cut to the needed height, and are washable. I use these for mixing paint for pouring and sometimes for making circles on paintings. (Before getting this idea, I started using up some old disposable cups lingering in a cupboard. They are wobbly and tend to break.)
  • Cheap chopsticks or small forks that come with convenience food or takeout are good for stirring, dipping, making lines, splashing …
  • Canvases often come wrapped in thin plastic sheets, which can be used to cover cups containing rests of paint (instead of clingfilm), be scrunched up and dabbed on paint to create effects, or serve as surface protection under smaller paintings.
  • I usually avoid plastic bags, but sometimes I buy too much or too big stuff to fit into my usual shopping bags, so a few manage to sneak in. They make great surface protection for small and medium artworks, still being small enough to be moved around together with the paining (I work on the floor most of the time, so I just drag them aside to let art dry out of the way); they are quite sturdy and can be reused and even cleaned it you want to – I just pull off the biggest blobs of paint after drying and call it a day.
  • Big plastic covers are good for big paintings or wild paint splashing. For some reason I had kept the thick plastic wrap a mattress came in and got it out for my first clumsy attempts with thinned paint.
  • Receipts for art supply orders are just paper and I don’t keep most of them (because I don’t do art for a living), so I sometimes use them to wipe my brushes/fingers or mix tiny bits of paint.
  • Old newspapers are good for covering bigger areas. I don’t buy a lot of newspapers, but sometimes they are used as wadding in packets (there is a constant influx of second-hand technology and the like in this apartment), so there’s usually a handful around.
  • Squeeze and spray bottles from cosmetics like shampoo samples or eco-friendly deodorant (which comes in fancy glass spray bottles here) are useful for dosing liquids. I have a spray bottle of water for art (and air plants) and I plan to put some floetrol into a small squeeze bottle later today because the original canister is really unwieldy for getting small amounts out of it.
  • (Old fabric from torn clothes/sheets can be cut into pieces and be used instead of paper towels, though they have to be replaced quite frequently when used to wipe away acrylics and aren’t washed immediately, so I prefer using them for cleaning the kitchen unless I have a lot of these rags at a given moment.)

The only plastic I bought specifically for my art is my palette (which I’ve had for quite a while and will last until I break it somehow), a pack of plastic shot glasses for really small amounts of paint, and some small stuff like eyedroppers and tiny bottles with fine openings.

 

Meet Me

My world is not your world
But I want you to meet me
In fields where I can breathe
On mountains where I am free

My paths are not your vision
But won’t you walk with me for just one day
Below trees whispering of old dreams
On silent dust, through drumming rain

My feet cross lands you’ll never know
But just once, follow the threads I lay
Across stones marking secret smiles
Back to hazy borderlands

Meet me there, in places you haven’t learned to realize
Two levels down, up the broken stairs, brush off the faded varnish

Unsee the walls, slip through the cracks, meet me some day.