Thursday, December 20, 2012

Arctic Art, Winter Light

"Looking for the Ice", cyanotype print with mixed media.

Gray December days.  We're closing in on the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year - the very darkest of days in Greenland. Would I see the Aurora if I was still there, spinning through low slung stars overhead, the snow creaking with cold like old bones and the patchy sea ice signaling danger?

Thinking of the Arctic and how, whatever our measure of darkness this time of year, we are all waiting for the light. It unites us.  

"Galaxy - Part 2", cyanotype on paper.  Like the winter night sky.  Full of hope.

          In the meantime, I'm working and making art as if my life depended on it. 
Luminous/Adrift, Baffin Bay. Acrylic on paper.

Bones of Greenland, porcelain paperclay.

One of my favorite projects right now is the series of porcelain skeleton ships I've been sculpting. They'll be installed in a gallery from the ceiling, resting on... nothing.  Kayaks inspired by my own powerful Arctic water voyage but also by dying seas and rising tides and temperatures - hanging in delicate balance just as we are.
 Semi-frozen porcelain paperclay with ice crystals.  An uncanny resemblance to an icescape.  

"Ice Fishing: Catch and Release", original cyanotype print on paper.

In recent weeks I've mailed off a few dozen original cyanotype prints to my Kickstarter supporters (all the fans that helped get me to Greenland!) and been delighted by the rave reviews.  How do I say thank you?? It means so much to have someone jot me a message that exclaims, "I love the piece you sent. I can't wait to frame it!"  All the uncharted, undeclared hours of toiling alone in the studio suddenly seem worth it.  After all.

I'm also spending countless hours video editing right now, peering over the edge of the Arctic expedition and allowing myself to tumble down into its depths.  Feeling and remembering.  Slicing and dicing the clips to create something someone else would want to become absorbed in.   Hoping I can do it justice.  I have moments of thinking, "Well, there's no adrenaline here.  Only the slow subtle drama of the Ice.  Some humor and thought provoking dialogue. A lot of beauty shot with a mediocre camera.  I'm not a film maker."  Or am I?  

It must be enough. I understand that this intimate and quiet work about the Arctic is bringing me closer to that which is bigger and bolder.  I'm lining up shows for all of it, along with speaking venues about the Arctic, art and global warming.  I've been invited to present at Regenerate, a conference in New Mexico about the ways that art can fuel progressive change.  I feel as if I to have pockets full of answers - and instead I have fistfuls of questions.

Today is December 20th.  Soon I'll begin teaching a semester at New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe. In addition to engendering creativity in young hearts and minds, I long to be a light in the darkness.

A gathering of Solstice gifts.  And a return to my roots with some recently fired functional porcelain - the color of glaciers and December dawn.  ~Love and light to all.