Surrender to the Mystery

Great blue heron takes off

So often I just let it flow

April 16

I open the slider curtains being careful not to step on Pele. I spend a minute looking around to see what has her attention, but nothing catches my eye. I move on with my morning routine and while at the kitchen sink preparing to make coffee, I look out at the brook. 

He watches me as I watch him

Something unusual catches my eye. Tall and skinny with long legs, it takes a few seconds for my brain to register. A great blue heron is standing on the huge boulder in the middle of the brook! He is very aware of me. He must have been watching when I opened the slider curtains. I’m surprised he didn’t fly off.

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 I quickly grab my camera, but the height won’t work out nor is there a clear shot through the screen. I use manual focus and press the shutter button a couple times anyway. I move over to the slider, but the deck railing blocks the view.

The only alternative is to stand on a stool (an iffy attempt for me). Will he still be there? He’s definitely watching as I hoist myself up on the stool, but he doesn’t fly away, and I focus the camera and get more photos. We watch each other. I wait for him to move … and wait.

Leo comes to the door and Pele is just on the inside. They are face to face. I take a quick photo looking down on them. Leo rattles the screen to come in. The blue heron watches. He finally hops off the rock to land in the water. 

Leo wants to visit Pele. I love her reflections in the glass.

I gingerly get off the stool, shoo Pele out of the way and let Leo in. I slip out the door in bare feet. The thermometer reads 38 degrees. I carefully cross the deck hoping to get a closer, clearer view of the big bird, but this is too close for the heron and he spreads his wings and flies up the brook. There are too many trees to get any photos. I hurry back inside. Brrr, it’s cold!

In reading “The Artist’s Way Every Day” by Julia Cameron, I was really taken by her comment, “Surrender to the mystery of the creative journey.” Yes! Yes! This is exactly what I do without realizing it – when I’m not caught up in trying to “get it right,” ha-ha.

Creativity, for me, is a mystic journey whether it’s painting or poetry. I seldom know where it’s really going or how it will come out – until it’s done. I love the surprise.

Today’s work in the studio had me adding touches to the sky. Then I moved down the page and began working the horizon. I dab and daub and rub and feather. I make a few sharper lines, blend colors allowing the mystery and the discovery to be revealed. 

Progress on "Martha's Sunset," pastel on BF Rives print paper

It’s quite the challenge when working from more than one photograph. I use one photo for the main scene but choose various sections from the other photo(s). Often there is … what I call busy-ness … that clutters a scene and I’ll leave that out. Other times I’ll add extra bushes or rocks depending how I want to shape the composition.

What’s interesting, too, is if someone is familiar with the scene, it’s still recognizable even with the changes I make. They’d have to look really hard to know what’s different.

Earlier I lined framed paintings on the couch. (I need to find wall space – some will be off to a show.) Of course, I have my favorites, and I notice the progression in my style and technique.

Yeah, if I look hard, I can always find something I should have done, but I can’t dwell on that. I laugh at myself thinking if I did that particular scene over … Yep, there’s always room to improve … and even ones I may not fully like in the end have an opportunity to, perhaps, return to and finish someday and make totally beautiful.

I’m amazed at what I’ve accomplished. I am so happy! There is just something about having pastel in my hand and my hand moving to create and enhance the scene. Or holding a pen to page or fingers on a keyboard to write. The creativity flows and the heart and soul are filled with joy.

Let creativity fire your soul and fill your heart with joy! 



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