Monday, June 27, 2016

Blessed Perception

Universal Color, 12 x 12", watercolor/pastel*
I listened to a fascinating Interfaith Voices program. The discussion was on near death experiences. The descriptions were compelling and appealing. The close proximity to death had the feel of a rich hyper-awareness. Later, reflecting on what I heard, I noticed that it was mostly about perception. Perhaps this was to make the case for an entity existing beyond the physical body. Certainly, the observations made while the brain was not functioning were extensive and accurate; also much more thorough than might be expected by a fully functioning, alert person. A woman spoke of her hearing and vision being so much more acute than usual. What I didn't hear about was judgment. Kind of funny for something we relate as being the "judgment day"! Perhaps we need to be more concerned with perception than judgment. Might this bring more peace to ourselves and the world?
Okay, now I am going to pivot to a sell: This is your invitation to take a day to revel in perception. A big part of my One Day Wonder Workshops involves consciously using our objective and subjective perceptions to create what we want to create. Interested? Here is the information:

One Day Wonder Workshop: Experimenting with Watercolor and Pastel
Saturday, July 23, 2016
10:30 am - 3 pm
MS Rezny Studio/Gallery
903 Manchester Street, Distillery District, Lexington, KY  40508
$75, this will include all the art materials. Just bring your own reference photos and or ideas
Limit 10 persons

To sign up, email: or

* I made this painting about a decade ago. There was a discovery of "the color of the universe" which was described as your grandmother's kitchen aqua. I made this painting inspired by the finding, but then the scientists realized their calculations had been off, and the universal color was actually beige. Ah, well... Surely when we are in our world beyond, we will see all the colors in the universe!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Accidental Inspiration

Mother, Mother Are You There? 7 x 5", mixed media 
I've been thinking about my recent affinity for combining musical and visual elements in creating. While on a walk, I struck upon the possible roots of  this inspiration. When I was about ten years old, my mother returned to college so that she could be certified to teach elementary school. Part of the curriculum included a cultural arts class that required attending performances (and I am just now flashing to students requesting programs to prove that they have attending concerts, etc.) For some reason, I was the kid who accompanied my mother. Though the way that I came to attend these performances was serendipitous, the experiences are burnished into my inner being. I have remembered and referenced the music and the images throughout my life. Mind you, I didn't immediately retain such information as the name of the opera or ballet, but rather images and fragments of music. In one of the performances, a young woman sings, "Mother, Mother, are you there?" She is a figure bathed in a cool blue light surrounded by darkness. I retained this single line for several decades before learning from my church's music director and font of knowledge, that it is from Gian-Carlo Menotti's The Medium. I purchase a recording and listening now, decades later, I can see why I was haunted by the music. My memory of that line is fairly accurate, no doubt because of this haunting quality and the recurring call.

Fire Forest, 9 x 12", mixed media
A second vivid experience involves another dark scene with a bright accent (do you suppose this is why I wound up with an Art History degree--I like being in darkened rooms with illuminated images?) The stage is almost completely black and there is a flaming red figure flitting across, left to right. You probably know that I was at a performance of The Firebird, but it was some time later, probably at another performance that I recognized what I saw as a child.

I imagine we also went to art exhibits and attended concerts to fulfill the requirements of my mother's course, but it is the events where strong visuals and haunting music were united that my imagination and memory become particularly engaged.  I love the richness and the feeling of being fully immersed in the experience. There is a Part II to this story and I'll save that for another day. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

In the Night Garden

In the Night Garden, 12 x 12", mixed media

I requested a digital audio recorder for my birthday this year, and I received it! The wish came to me as I have been creating small paintings illustrating how the seven (most famous, Western) modes connect with the seven chakras, or energy centers in the body. Last year I made a series of small paintings about these seven musical modes. They were part of my Recollection show last summer. At times during the exhibit's tenure, I would take my harp down to the MS Rezny Studio/Gallery and perform little impromptu mode renditions. Something clicked and I began to develop musical thoughts as I created new paintings.

This has opened new avenues for paintings as well. It works both ways. I think about music and paintings appear in my mind's eye. I was enchanted by the scene, In the Night Garden as we were returning to Pineapple Hill Inn Bed & Breakfast after a splendid dinner. It was a gentle night and the blue was so soft; the red umbrellas bright accents. The heron statuary stood guard over the burbling koi pond. I knew I wanted to make a painting and I wanted to make music, too.

I looked around for a support to make a painting; a painting more inspired by feeling than truthiness. Bending down to check on my prepared boards (watercolor paper affixed to 1/4" birch plywood) I spotted a board which had been "deckled" by our first dog, Carly. I think she liked the clay-based wallpaper paste that I use to attach the paper. Around two edges, there was a half-inch to inch gap in the paper.  I decided to experiment and brushed gesso on the bare board. Since working with children on an art project earlier this year, I have been keen on Cray-Pas Junior Artist Oil Pastels. I started coloring in my image with those, to use as a resist to layers of watercolor. I worked back and forth between the Cray-Pas and the watercolor, adding layers of watercolor as needed to bring a velvety darkness to the scene. I discovered that the watercolor and Cray-Pas would not sufficiently cover the gessoed areas, so the big guns were called in: I used Sennelier oil pastels generously, as it turned out, over the whole painting. I am a believer in using what is necessary to bring about what I envision. This worked.
After I finished the painting, I propped it up and started playing on the harp, letting the imagery inspire my music. There is a link to the music below if you would like to have a listen.


 In the Night Garden on SoundCloud