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Lightning and Inspiration

I thought I had run dry as I sought inspiration for this week's blog. I wanted to write about Faith Ringgold and her retrospective exhibit at the New Museum but as I tried to think of something original to say I realized that better writers than I have already done well by her, and I can't add much. Nevertheless I urge you to go see Faith Ringgold: American People at the New Museum, 345 Bowery, before June 6. See for yourself.

I've been plugging away at my drawing but it's been a slog; a piece that's just not taking off. I kept making those little marks hoping that they would come together and surprise me but the drawing has no zing, it doesn't sing, it's just not working.

But I persisted and the Universe, the Muse, the Holy Spirit, even the New York Times came through! You could say lightning struck.

On the front page of the Arts section was this photograph of a synagogue in Venice. It looks just like the triumphal arches I love to draw, and, since it's Venice, I can add water, which I've been practicing at, and I can re-visit the color palette of blue and gold that I used in this piece, Water in the Desert.

It's now hanging in el Museo de Desierto, Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico--this is my First Museum Show and since it's in Mexico I can say that I exhibit internationally.

But enough bragging--here's what the NY Times story by Robin Pogrebin says about the synagogues of Venice.

"The temples were built on the top floor--according to Jewish law, synagogues should be the tallest structures of a given area--and had to be hidden because Jews were not allowed to pray openly."

How do you live when civil laws undermine your most sacred practices?

Reminds me of Saint Barbara, who refused to burn a sacrifice to the pagan gods even when threatened by her father with beheading. As you know, the moment she died he was struck by lightning. He died and she went to Heaven to be a saint. I've been thinking a lot about that moment and wondering--what if the lightning was actually enlightenment? What if Barbara's father suddenly said, "You know, Honey, maybe you have a point. Why don't we sit down and talk about it?"

What if we all could step back, take a breath and talk things over?

My mantra for now is these words;

Do not be daunted by

the enormity

of the world's griefs.

Do justly now.

Love mercy now.

Walk humbly now.

You are not obligated

to complete the task

but neither are you free


abandon it.

I'm starting this drawing the way I always do, by making a grid, setting the boundaries, creating guide lines, hoping for the best, acknowledging that it won't be perfect, promising myself that I'll keep going even when I get discouraged. I can't wait to open up the little jars of light blue, process cyan, yellow ocher and brilliant yellow.

You can't see it yet because it's just pencil that doesn't show up in my phone camera but I'll remember to take pictures as I go so you can monitor my progress.

May 05, 2022

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