This was a commission for a friend. It eluded me for the best part of a year, but I finally cracked it (the painting, not an armadillo). I had a lot of fun experimenting with this, and I think I might paint this way again.
I wasn’t expecting to write today, but here we are.
I had a nightmare last night. I don’t want to go into details, but in it I had managed to get back into art school. My mum was so proud. Then I did something abhorrent, and my mum was disgusted at and ashamed of me. Why did I have to ruin my achievement by being such an awful person?
There are some things to unpack here. Firstly, I graduated from the Glasgow School of Art back in 2005. It was a difficult time. I had no relationships in my course, either with students or tutors. I spend most of my time hiding at my boyfriend’s flat instead of working. I was so scared of even being there I was unable to engage with anything. My projects were few and far between, and were all shit.
I really should have been kicked out after my first public art project. I wasn’t cut out higher education, never mind the course was on. But I made it to my fourth year when the department head stepped in and told me I should take a year out, and come back when my head was on straight.
In reterospect, I know she was right. However, I felt that she hated me and wanted me out. I was also scared of telling my parents that I had “failed”, and had no idea how I could afford to repeat a year. Instead, I stuck it out and produced a half-assed degree show, and a quarter-assed dissertation. I had a miserable time, and ended up with a third class Honours degree. The whole thing was dire. I couldn’t even face going to my graduation ceremony.
I have recurring dreams of being able to return. I hand back my degree parchment, my slate is wiped clean, and I get to try again. Sometimes I remain in Environmental Art, and sometimes I switch over to Communication Design so I can practice illustration. I’m yet to see how the courses work out.
My time at GSA is my biggest regret. It was an amazing opportunity that some artists would give their eye teeth to attend, and I squandered it. I came out with even less skills than I had when I went in, and it was all my own fault.
But if given the chance, would I return? That’s a good question.
And now to my mother. I feel sick to my stomach thinking about what I did in my nightmare, and how she looked at me afterwards. I wish I could speak to her, and talk this through. She would tell me it was just a silly dream, and that she was proud of me for who I am, and that she loved me. I don’t have that opportunity though, as she passed away a few years ago. I’m a grown-ass woman, and I am sitting here wishing that my mum was here to hug me and tell me that everything is okay. I just need to hear her voice.
I’m not sure what I was expecting from writing this. Maybe I am waiting for someone, anyone, to intervene in my life and make things better. In the mean time I am going to cry, and pray for a restful night.
We might be verging into TMI territory. Coyote came to me during one of my shamanic practitioner training weeks, and it was a wild week. Prior to working with Coyote I had considered myself asexual for years, but BAM! I suddenly had a sex drive. It was really frightening and fun at the same time. A few month later, my sex drive calmed down and now I enjoy a healthy amount of sex with my partners. Things also went wrong regularly that week, and I lost many things. Wild times.
I’ve been wanting to draw Coyote, and share this wee story for a while, but I was worried I would be judged for not being asexual when I was so, so sure that I was.
Based on my earlier piece “Spring Hare”, I created this using the lasso tool in Photoshop. I am really excited by this style; I get so uptight in making my drawings as lifelike as possible that creating becomes a chore, so making something less strict is a joy. In future, I think I will make a lasso version of all my work in future. It makes me smile. I am reminded of lino printing, something I don’t have the space to do at present.
I donned the cloak and antlers of Earth Deer Spirit. Alongside the Blackshuck, I began my journey.
It was dusk. The pinks bled into purples, then magentas. Pinpoints of light marking the constellations began to appear, and with them the luminous colours of the Starbirds. We were invited to traverse the skies with them.
Up we went, my edges merging with the night sky. The Milky Way sparkled below us, showing the Starbirds the way. The pale lights and sweet scents of the Upper World drew us in, where the Great Phoenix was burning bright in the topmost branches of the World Tree.
I had to move through the crowd gathered around Phoenix, being careful not to bump into children who were running around in delight. Falling from the azure sky were Her feathers, and the children were making a game of gathering as many feathers as possible. A feather danced into my hand.
I was called forward by Phoenix to hear her message.
I am a creature of all three realms. I am born in the Lower World; my nest of ashes is safe amongst the roots of the World Tree. I die in the Upper World; my burning a spectacle in the crown of the World Tree. My body rises, and my ashes fall, through the Middle World; my forms spiraling around the trunk of the World Tree.
My cycle is ending. My body has almost burnt up. My ashes are falling through your world, gathering ready for my rebirth.
My intention for this celebration was to mark Beltane, to connect with my spirit allies meaningfully, and to offer prayers on behalf of my community. It was a solitary event because of the Covid-19 lockdown. Due to health reasons it was delayed until Saturday 2nd May. Thankfully the weather was beautiful so I was able to celebrate outdoors in my garden.
I created a sacred space using sage to smudge my garden, before calling in the elements of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth at each quarter. I then called in my spirit allies and the local spirits using my bullroarer.
While drumming and moving slowly, I undertook a journey with the intention I journey to non-ordinary reality to speak with my spirit allies and ask them for their prayers.
When I returned I made a prayer rag for each prayer from fabric I have stored away.
I approached my prayer tree, a Japanese maple I designated as such during a ritual when I first moved home, and made an offering to him. I asked him to hold the prayers and carry them to the upper world.
The altar was made when I moved in, and is simple. A pair of red deer antlers I acquired while I was at art school, and a piece of slate that I bought for 50p from a kid who was chancing his luck in the local park.
The offerings were collected from my garden: a dandelion, a bluebell, and a rhododendron, along with a tealight.
Using a blend of incense made by a friend, and some sage, I mindfully cleansed each prayer rag and attached them to my prayer tree.
While drumming, I undertook a second journey with the intention I journey to non-ordinary reality to shepherd these prayers to where they need to go. I do not feel it is appropriate to share the events of this journey yet.
Upon my return home I sat in silence for a time, and to borrow from Dr. Seuss my heart grew three sizes as I contemplated what I had bore witness to.
To ground myself back into ordinary reality I spent some time creating affirmations and intentions which I burned. I waited for my incense to burn down before giving quiet thanks to all who attended in spirit, then I went to enjoy a late lunch with my partner.