Thursday, April 27, 2017

In the Flow 2

Early this morning on this late April day, our mayor domo stopped by, closed my gate,  and I officially got the water!!  A marker day each spring, I spent an hour clearing the lateral ditch all the way back to the old orchard of apple, apricot and pear trees, planted who knows when (our acequia madre, Acequia del Barranca de Jacona, is a “young” ditch, dating to 1846). The old orchard now really just a sanctuary for birds, fruit grown there by the  early landholders was shipped out through the fifties at least, though not every year, as late frost intervened sometimes. The acequias (irrigation ditches) endemic to Northern New Mexico, the system gradually expanded as the early Spanish settlers who had come here in the 1600s spread, farming land that could be flooded by the system, which tapped into the established flows of spring snowmelt and summer monsoons from the Sangre de Christo and other mountains nearby.
the lateral ditch to the back orchard

Digging and raking being an opportunity for metaphorizing, I began to connect this grounding and liberating yearly activity with recent paintings in the series “Offerings…”, in particular “In the Flow”, and “Surrender”.  Painting for me is an in-the-moment response, requiring shifting attention to to what’s happening (no real plan), and away from the plan one had. Water moves debris along the little ditches, debris to be caught and removed, just as life moves us along our path, shifting, running over in areas until the little dams are unblocked, carrying us on our way to an unknown destination. Simple tools are needed, to be adjusted according to our capacity. My old gas-powered Husqvarna had been downgraded by breakage, theft and respect for my own capabilities to a rechargeable Sawsall, all I need to clear the impediments to the flow along the little ditch - I just need to pay attention, and respond in the moment with appropriate tools.
   
In the Flow. 16x16 ac/board c MHornbuckle 2017
“In the Flow"earned its title late in its process, the submersion of the orb and the angle of the flowing paint suggesting moment of water downhill. Third or fourth in the series, it perfectly reflected what I was feeling about the shift in attitude that propelled me out of the doldrums of negativity in late December,  and back into the final chapter of my art-life. Enlarge the piece and you'll see the linear verticals from the original painting in the underpainting.The greens and pinks are so joyful and spring-like, renewal at its best!

“Surrender”, painted over a painting from 2008 called “Spring Meditation” (surprise!), I started by reserving via taping an interesting area as the orb to be the focal point. Only in removing the tape later in the process did I realize the area I had reserved resembled a face, a soft, but yet rigid ego-like form.  In my life-view, I see the ego as impediment to love, growth and understanding, a big dam in the river, and so work to diminish its power. Thankfully I don’t need that chainsaw as I once thought I did! “Surrender” is a wonderful reminder that I am not in charge!


abstract acrylic painting in blues, yellows, varied colors, by MHornbuckle, 2017
Surrender, 24x24" ac/board c MHornbuckle 2017
Happy Spring!
Marianne




Monday, April 10, 2017

Life after Life:In Gratitude

Surrender  24x24 Acrylic on Board 

"Artists live on magical thinking and cosmic intervention”, a phrase I coined several summers ago, is a fit expression of the way things have expressed themselves in my life. Though always considering myself and artist, this security-seeking young woman of 50’s suburban culture chose a conventional life after college, as if the script would automatically have a positive result - that was her model after all. Ten+ years later, with family responsibility and a difficult marriage, a serious stress-induced illness forced her out of her uneasy complacency and into serious contemplation about her life-purpose, beyond home-making, mothering, and attempted husband-pleasing. With deep unhappiness the fuel, the fear-evoking unknown path to this present lay ahead, so she summoned her courage and jumped into her tributary of the river of life.

Source   24x36 Acrylic on Board
Magical thinking implies it’s easy. but doesn’t mean there isn’t hard work involved - it’s probably better described as having faith that it’ll all turn out OK if I follow my dream, aka Joseph Campbell, and I’m going to have to take real personal responsibility and get seriously creative. Public response to my early semi-abstract watercolors had been very positive, and the art-sales climate in Texas was good. With the encouragement of my art-business related friends, I jumped into the void of joblessness, and launched my professional artist’s career, though I didn’t call my self an “artist” for another fifteen years. The great good fortune of early success made me believe I could make a living doing what I loved - it took many more years to manage the anxiety of the choice. Determination, patience and mantra repetition, and the simple joy of the art-path, helped with that.

Each painting of the “Offerings to the Gods” series uses a work of 8-10 years ago as a base (most created five or more years after I began to paint abstractly). Now I know how to finish them! In life, we build on everything that came before - our thoughts, emotions, experiences are a big pile we stand on, culling meaning (true or not) as we can - thus the approach I’ve taken with the titles pointing to my meaning for each piece.  Bill often said, “ The meaning comes after the work.”  I have been told my work, and the example of my”art-life” is inspirational.  I see many people around me giving back in meaningful and caring ways - this is my way.  Assigning meaning to everything, the bits of wisdom I have gained, the mysterious meditative beauty of the work I am creating, and authentic sharing with all who cross my path, are my gift to the cosmos for all the Source has given me in this life. 


An abstract painting by Marianne Hornbuckle - 13th in the Offerings to the Gods Series.
Universal Spirit (According to Me) - 30x40" Ac/Canvas
Having arrived now at the far end of the path, I think about the magical events, and cosmic intervention that supported my journey. I am grateful for a wonderful artist husband who never said no, don’t do that, and for being guided to the study of Eastern philosophies and religion, and for the major shift in my life view. Without the support of all my like-minded friends and my children, and my own willingness to tackle learning new skills for this new world, I couldn’t have done it.  The Source has nourished me incredibly - the paintings I am doing now are an artist’s attempt to share that inspiration and  beauty with others. I am grateful for the rewards of choosing a path less travelled. Thank you for sharing my journey.      

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