The inspiration for this series came from a recent time when I was challenged to confront old emotional patterns.
I found myself in the grip of a palpable fear; almost unable to face the situation that was scaring me. There was a degree of self-assurance and personal power that I needed but didn't have immediately at hand. I was astonished to realize that the situation called for courage in ways I had never contemplated before.
It required a lot of deep breathing and hours of looking within to overcome old responses. It seemed hard to grasp cause and effect. There were times when the way forward was very unclear, and I doubted that I could move past my difficulties. I would get glimpses of understanding, and then they would seem to disappear.
Ultimately, I was able to come away feeling stronger. But the process caused me to observe myself as never before, which took me into a new area of art development. How could I translate what I had been through into a format I could share? I began to wonder about Courage as a progression of concepts, and if I could translate the components into images.
What emotional tools were necessary for personal bravery? How was I able to use what I discovered about my past to help myself in the current moment? I pondered how Courage could help me grow and the root instances where it is nurtured and developed.
I started with the idea of emotional support. What was necessary to bring myself to a place where I felt strong? Where did my center feel most solid? What brought me solace and a strong sense of self? I had some ideas about what I wanted to say, but how could I convey them with images alone? This is always where my talisman work takes me, to queries about how to represent our inner journeys with visual symbols.
I worked on conceptual drawings for several months, allowing myself different ways to express what I was feeling. As I did so, the ideas became stronger, more developed and refined. A pattern of imagery was emerging, and I let myself run with the ideas.
Eventually, I came up with more than two dozen variations on the theme of Courage, and these will form the basis for work to come in 2020.
As always though, my intent and the reality of time doesn't always match up. This winter season of 2019, I was able to complete six pieces in the first part of the series. I hope they resonate with you.
When working with emotional responses to the modern world, I try to honor my deepest intuition, my sense of who I am on the most personal level. Challenging times can make me question my most basic beliefs, yet they also provide me an opportunity to be strong. I can remember my core Self, and express my own unique vision of the world. I can rise to any occasion, and call on hidden strengths.
It is this depth of experience that helps create an inner Guide. It is different for all of us, borne of individual human spirit and nurtured by our disparate life events, yet we have this in common, a sense of who we are in the world.
We each have this knowledge, a brilliant light inside our souls. Sometimes the glow is brilliant and steady, as clear to us as a star in the night sky. At other times, depending on the depth of the waves or the height of the mountain we must scale, it may seem as if our intuitive understanding of our own essence gets lost.
The right direction may not be evident, or our energy and willpower may be at a low ebb, but no matter the conditions, our Guide is always there, its four corners of illumination pointing the way. The large star in the sky of each side of this carving is meant to remind us that we have the strength to cross stormy oceans or traverse high mountain ranges, while our inner light shines on with our core beliefs.