I didn't take notes

Traveling for a month dislodges old habits. I didn't bookmark articles to read later. I didn't create rough drafts of journal posts. I didn't balance my checkbook (with the disastrous result of forgetting to pay our mortgage). I didn't wake up with a to-do list. I didn't work in the garden. I didn't exercise. I didn't draw.

I did take pictures. A paltry record of abundant input.

And I wonder when some of these images will start to show up in my work.

And I found new (to me) artists to explore.

Mosaic from St. Peter's cathedral in Rome.

Images and ideas travelled through my mind with a flutter of recognition:

Trees planted too close stretch skyward and are turned to pulp.

Trees bent with the wind have deep roots.

We visited a churchyard where the 16th century cathedral was blown down by the wind. The bell tower remained reminding everyone how tenuous life can be.

Spires point to infinity.

Antennas reach to capture waves.

Sculptures of saints often have pillows of stone.

Time is both vertical and horizontal.

Does any of it make sense?

I am not ready

I woke up this morning with a clear message from my dreams. (imagine the voice in my ears)

I am not ready.

Fractured focus has taken me down pathways of neglect. In preparation for leaving my studio for a long vacation I flit from one must do to the next without breath between. The end of the day feels like it used to when I was working 12 hour days. And now I realize that they feel that way because I am working 12 hour days.

Research, practice, confusion and debris play little games with my timepieces. Do I go down the rabbit hole of new ideas or focus on this little tendril not yet tamed? Multi-tasking dilutes wholeness. I swoon next to the whirlpool of too much. Am I in the deep end just treading water?

So, yes, I'm not ready. Not ready to focus with intent. Not ready to leave my nest of toys. Not ready to commit to one direction with my art. Just not ready.

Nevertheless, the plane tickets are bought, housing reserved, itineraries roughed in. I can't tie this sewing machine to my back (though I certainly will have some lap work to do in the carry on bags). Traveling will bring new perspective if I let the list grow short. Or not. It could be a way of adding to the pile.

Breathless and anxious. These are both signals for overload. No turning back now.

I am ready.


Minds are maps of experiences. Inspirations abound. I may need to upgrade my storage space.

The muscular structure of this fig branch needs one of those overtures with heroic drums as a background tune.

I'm working on a piece that I have temporarily named Inspirations. I may call it something else once it is finished. Right now I am trying to find a different way of mounting it. I love these fringe-y edges but can't figure out how to preserve them yet.

Thank you Piet, Pablo, William, Paul, Vasily, Theodore, Alexander, the bees, trees, birds and my grandchildren

Sometimes I feel like the band is calling for last dance and I am pleading with them to turn the clock back.

Editing is good for the soul

For about 5 months I have been working on a piece I have been calling Silent Witnesses - Birds. It was inspired by the birds that hang out on the beach watching humans romp. I wanted to use them as a metaphor for all the wildlife out there being affected by human proliferation. I spent hours drawing the composition, stitching the textural background and harboring a desire to make it a strong statement. 

This work in progress shot shows the structure of the composition — I've added the no entry symbol with Photoshop. It's represents how I feel about the whole thing. 

And it failed. Miserably. 

The only piece I liked about this composition was this little bird tied up with thread.

So last week I cut it up with the faith that if I cut the damn thing up I might find the answer to what went wrong. Was it too literal? Too centered? Too boring? Too black and white? 

Yes it was. 

So now I have about eight pieces of textured fabric with scraps of meaning left. They'll be jumping off points for new thoughts, relieving me of the burden of seeing the piece day after day taunting me to resolve it. Resolve it I did. And it was a good day.

influences in the ether

The final resting sequence in yoga yesterday brought unsolicited thoughts that were inspirational. But then I forgot to write them down and they disappeared like swallows. Dang, I lost them again. It was something about catching details in the maelstrom. Luring the unknown into the known.

Dreams do that too. They inspire, excite, titillate and awe and then tease, vanish and echo in waking moments. Like trying to grasp a fish in a river—slippery little devils. I want to capture and release them into my art.

I'm reading a book by Brian Doyle called Mink. In it he uses quotes from William Blake poems in a way that brings the mundane into the spiritual. One that has stuck with me since I read it: Everything has its own vortex.

Memory breathes the air of influences. Those little signposts that we log into our catalog of thoughts can often link in disconcerting ways. That flower rising up early this Spring? my mother's death. That song on the radio? an embarrassing adolescent moment. That image of the cat in the hat tipping his striped hat? The joy of rhyme and rhythm.

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. Oh how we rhyme with so little time. 

Work in progress on Colony of Influences, Paula Kovarik