There are no shortcuts to any place worth going”
- Beverly Sills
Gallery - Etudes: A Daily Practice
Etudes are musical studies employed by musicians to achieve mastery of an instrument. Through a series of conversations with a trumpet player friend, I realized that etudes are also a form of meditation. The potential exists for the playing to center the player. This explains why a player with a career spanning thirty years would continue to play etudes. The daily practice is its own reward.
I was surprised to recognize etudes as one more example of how individual meditation practices unfold. Some people sit zazen and Om every day. Others are part of a prayer circle. Musicians practice their instruments. As an artist, I achieve my daily centering in the studio.
Which is how this series of works was initiated. These 48 studies sprang from a four-month commitment to making/working every day as spiritual practice.
Selecting the color palette, the tools, and the materials prior to beginning encouraged discernment on the impact of limitations. Daily fuel for the practice emerged as a co-mingling of spiritual belief with a visual language crafted over twenty years. I was astonished and humbled by the breadth and richness of the imagery.
And I experienced three revelations.
First, elements that had fallen into disuse over time re-asserted their meaning and became the perfect choice for a theme’s resolution. I guess this makes sense. When we master spoken language we don’t abandon a word just because we’ve been using it a long time. So there was a palpable rightness to revisiting my symbolic visual repertoire.
Then, references to music and poetry crisscrossed the visual plane, bouncing against the imagery and firing into my unconscious, setting off fresh connections and moments of illumination. Those quirky, profound, new connections are the best thing about making. There is so much great stuff to think about.
And, as the series evolved the visual surfaces simplified. I can only characterize this as a process of distillation. Are the last pieces of the series better or worse than those at the start? Or only different? That is probably a matter of personal opinion.
Because in the end, my real goal was to stay in present time. This disallows comparing one moment to another and hence, one piece to another. We are free to enjoy each of them on their own merits.
Each of the works pictured below is for sale.
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These mixed media pieces were created using cotton and silk over an industrial grade backing. Processes included screen-printing, devore (burnout), lamination of both paper and metal leaf, sanding, fusing and drawing/writing.
In addition to the fabrics, I also used vintage Bible pages, musical scores, re-purposed clothing, sand, paint, and hand stitching.