Bark for Peace!
musings & ramblings, mostly about dogs, from a three being, three species family

Bark for Peace!

Studies in Circles…

November 1st, 2010 . by lisa knaggs

sometimes by candlelight, often finger painting, mostly with the non-dominant hand
• on recycled canvas and recycled ranch-wood boxes •

Below are photos from the “featured artist reception” last Friday night at the Peace of Art Café in Del Norte, Colorado, and the explanation I wrote to accompany my paintings on the wall. Enjoy!

"The Circles of Life" acrylic & oil on recucled ranch-wood box

These expressions are the first painting I’ve done in over 10 years. While I painted pottery prolifically during my time in LA, the 1990’s, I moved back to my hometown of Austin, Texas in 1999 and promptly lost my mojo, and felt my freedom to create stymied to the point I gave up.  Even knowing this for the last three years, I remained in a quagmire of self-judgmental paralysis.  Thanks to prompts and encouragement from many, I finally employed a technique shared with me by a mother-daughter counseling team at a silent retreat.  Theirs was a writing exercise, of asking the question with the dominant hand, and answering it with the non-dominant hand, presumably to get under the surface to the unconscious truth.

KimAnna, Liza, & me

I had the theory, in theory, but had not been able to put it into praxis. Then, one dusk this August I returned from mushroom hunting along the Rio Grande and discovered there had been a power outage.  The sky was quickly darkening, so I lit candles.  No music, no water, no wood, not enough light to read. Well, I decided the only thing I could do was paint. So, I awkwardly picked-up a brush with my left hand and began to try and complete the simplest and most calming shape I knew, a circle, with my non-dominant hand.  It wasn’t easy.  It wasn’t good.  It wasn’t right.  I could hear that, feel that, see that, yet the concentration required to simply not splatter paint all over the place meant I wasn’t able to indulge my self-judgment without jeopardizing my home environment.

my art on the Peace of Art Café wall

And so, I began to paint simple circles in bright colors, and they made me happy!  Eventually I re-engaged my fingers and felt the oose of acrylic vibrancy as I meditated through cycles, seasons, questions, and sometimes even some revelations.  The more I put layers of paint on, the more I felt layers of my judgment peel off.  When you’re painting with your non-dominant hand, you are most definitely not in control.

me (in my G'ma's boots!), Clementine & her boyfriend Tonio- sooo sweet!

Clearly there are obvious influences here and my apologies go out to two of my favorite inspirations, Klee and Kandinsky, as well as SLV artist Joan Szuwalski.  I suppose imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I am fairly certain that there is nothing new under the sun.

with the fabulous Trujillo gals!

This has been my therapy, a way of re-awakening.  And I share these expressions, and this part of my story, in the spirit that one of my favorite theologians brilliantly articulates: “My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours.”  Frederick Beuchner, from his book  Telling Secrets.  If you are feeling bound in judgment and perfectionism, may you feel free to let go and re-find yourself in the great circle of life, creating and expressing as only you can do.  And we will find our stories intertwined, because they are.

Sadi, Tonio, kissing Clementine, & Stella

lisa knaggs
29 October 2010
with her trusty quadrupeds always underfoot: Clementine, SARK, Ronski, Cool Hand Luke, & the Forever FORD

next month's featured artists: Syana & Sadi

5 Responses to “Studies in Circles…”

  1. comment number 1 by: Sue Rostvold

    Love the circles and the colors Lisa! Very cool! You never cease to surprise me with your creativity. :)

    p.s. I’m also a fan of Klee and Kandinsky, but not familiar with Joan Szuwalski.

  2. comment number 2 by: Dolly E

    You also join Van Gogh in the Netherlands, Celts on Irish rocks & aboriginal art way away down under – your eyes reaching into the past and projecting into the future for generations to see my friend – so inspired to hear you’re inspired! So look forward to seeing you in 5 wks!

  3. comment number 3 by: Ginger

    Ah, the longer I look at The Circles of Life, the more I see in it… their is a depth that belies the apparent simplicity of the painting. Love the two-circles, and the circle with moons :) . And your story is inspiring. Miss you!!

  4. comment number 4 by: Sherri Trujillo

    You should have been there, it was awesome!!! Circles of life was very beautiful and meant something different to all of us who came to see them. I am often too judgemental of myself and do not have the courage to dothis as Lisa did. They were very calming, beautiful and serene.

  5. comment number 5 by: Deborah

    Beautiful work, Lisa! So glad you are reconnecting to your inner and outer artist!

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