It’s a funny time of year, and particularly this year a time to celebrate and embrace extremes, it seems to me. All I can do is move forward with faith. One friend calls it being time compressed, and I think you might be feeling it also.

The great joy is welcoming our second grandchild into this world. How in step with this Imbolc, Candlemas time associated with St. Bridgid and the birth and milking of baby animals.

It’s symbolized for me by the returning and increasing light that is daily perceptible and cheering. At the same time, we’ve been tending to our beloved faithful Corgi who departs for the Happy Hunting Grounds. I have to use that term lightly because it is so heart wrenching. At the Lunar New Year 2006 he inspired me to begin “each day in the year of the fire dog”. It’s his style to leave at this year’s New Year.

Our darling Corgi

Our darling Corgi

The first postcard in the "each day in the year of the fire dog" series, the back ©Kathleen O'Brien

The first postcard in the “each day in the year of the fire dog” series, the back ©Kathleen O’Brien

The mantra I repeat to myself is to not pressure myself into behaving as usual, which means since the autumn I have not produced any art work, except one piece, my 2020 mandala that was crafted as the manifestation of a journaling retreat for the entire month of December. That process revealed what is obvious, that everything I do think or create needs to come from my practice of becoming a being of love.

2020 Journals and Mandala

2020 Journals and Mandala

The trust is that when I settle into the studio again my new direction will flow freely. To get to that place I have have made our usual January home makeover into a major one, as if we’re moving. It’s me who’s moving forward. Each room is being scrutinized and pruned of things overlooked, neglected. It seems that nothing can be born until the decks are cleared. While I feel that all of this is creative, it’s not showing up as art, and the way I’ve approached my art practice for over 50 years. Being a control freak the practice has become one of letting go, everything relates, is symbolic. It is all of necessity, responding to life and death.

The house cleaning is for us, yes, but also for our friend who will stay here while we take the long drive to Colorado to meet wee babe. It seems that he left in order to protect as a dog soldier over this babe. I foresee the time and space opening up upon our return later in February.

Meanwhile I maintain my discipline of the Art Next Level year planning challenge. My main goal is to discover a new direction. Then structure how I will share that with you through my open studios, exhibits and online events, like the Small Works series from last autumn. I’m tending to my ankle which when working again like it should, will help me literally move forward towards fulfillment.

KO'B holding "Sunwise Cardinals" and the poster for Small Works Event

KO’B holding “Sunwise Cardinals” and the poster for Small Works Event

So, this is a different sort of mid-season studio update. For those of you new to receiving these emails, this is the first one that originated from the writing rather than choosing the images that represent the events of the past season.

Friends at the Annual Autumn Open Studio

Friends at the Annual Autumn Open Studio

Does any of this resound with your experience? Please tell me how your year is beginning, and how you are responding to the increasing light, the receding darkness.

New Year, New Art exhibit at the Art Center of the Bluegrass is on view until February 21. Stop by and be inspired by the art of 44 regional artists.

KO'B with 4 small paintings at New Year, New Art exhibit at ACB

KO’B with 4 small paintings at New Year, New Art exhibit at Art Center of the Bluegrass

 

New Christmas Beads, stay tuned for new bead jewelry!

New Christmas Beads, stay tuned for new bead jewelry!

 

PS: I’m most likely to post new art on Instagram, I’d appreciate if you followed me there! https://www.instagram.com/kathleenobrienstudio/

KO'B holding "Blackbird Fly Into the Light of the Dark Black Night, for J. Lennon" an online sale before sending it to Montana

KO’B holding “Blackbird Fly Into the Light of the Dark Black Night, for J. Lennon” an online sale before sending it to Montana

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