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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Salmon Dreams

My mind keeps wandering. I started this painting meaning to paint a salmon underneath a sky map for a gallery show. I was thinking about navigation, intuition and the salmon's life: how it begins that life in a small stream, swims out to the ocean to live for several years and then returns through a rigorous journey to the very place of its origin. It travels so far from home and yet it somehow finds its way back to that exact spot, many years and a lifetime later. It is a wonderful mystery and one I like to think of as I explore my own origins and how I've wandered so far from "home" and yet how I know that place like nothing else. Well, instead of a fish and its internal guidance system I ended up with this wistful child and her salmon. She is listening to the heart of the universe - trying to absorb its immense mystery and beauty. Above all, she loves that salmon. She IS that salmon. And she loves the watersheds, the rivers, the ocean it has called home.

Many years ago I went fishing from a chartered boat off the waters of the Washington coast. My friend Susan from the east coast was thrilled to catch her first salmon, a big, honkin' silver, that she proudly displayed for the camera. She had just recieved an art residency in Montana and was moving away from Portland so I did this woodcut (15"x 21") in her honor showing us hot tubbing, Mt. Hood in the background, the rain, the happiness, the being in love with life. I wrote about Susan here and in her defense I must say that she is pretty and looks nothing like a Robert Crumb character. Anyway, since I had posted some early work of prints I thought I would continue here and show early work opposed to mature work for whatever that is worth.

I have a friend who I encourage to paint. He is advanced in all he does and yet he has been reluctant to jump in on this challenge although he has expressed the wish to get started. I told him last night that he might as well go ahead and start painting, that if he was waiting to acquire the mastery needed to love everything that came from his hand that he would be waiting forever. No matter how long you practice you are always reaching fore something beyond your grasp. That's how it is with all the artists who have shared their thoughts with me. So dont wait for perfection. Just start. Always try to learn more and improve. My guidance system tells me that is the way to go; to do it. Listen quietly to your heart, accept your imperfections, and begin the journey that will take you home.

9 comments:

DJ said...

absolutely wonderful! I grew up near the ocean, and several of my family members were commercial fishermen before they all decided to change and grow cranberries. This brings back great memories...

Joy said...

I love your salmon painting, and it's relationship to the heart of the universe, interesting effect on the wooden boards too, is that collage?
The woodcut is brilliant what a lovely way to mark a great adventure.

Tracie Lyn Huskamp said...

judy... i find your words reminding me of old artworks or designs i occasionally drag out of the closet or my portfolio .

at the time, i felt satisfied that each piece was perfect and complete. but when i look at them now, i see all the things i would change.

i know i have matured, and although these pieces might never be shown to another living soul. they have caused me to grow, have more confidence, take bigger risks, and improve my skills.

i am a better artist for having worked with, through, in, out and around my past endeavors. i have gained knowledge, strength, a deeper understanding, and a greater passion.

what's the old saying... "each journey begins with a single step"...
xo

DAWN said...

I think that is some of the best advice that you gave your friend. I really hope he takes it to heart along with others who read it. Bravo.

kelly rae said...

i love the painting the story of Home that goes with it.

Loretta said...

Oh.my. the last paragraph - i felt as if you were speaking directly to me...it's always just beyond my grasp.

And now I know that's okay.

katie said...

the girl holding the salmon deeply touches my heart as do your words about creating art. i went back in your posts and read about your friend Susan - what an amazing story.

Alexandra G said...

Thank you for this! I can relate to your friend. With me sometimes I am so afraid of doing something badly & never improving that I hold back altogether, and I know thats silly! Of course one improves anything with time and practice so I shall take this wonderful post to heart! And I love the new painting too!

Pam Aries said...

Wow! What a great post! I love the girl and her salmon! It is so different! Sometimes I think of life as swimming upstream. No matter what the hurdles...we have to make it! Thank yuo!