Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Finding Myself

Buddha with Blossoms and haiku in red -
The printed image of the buddha was transfered into wax medium, then I added colored details to the blossoms and branches. The black with gold on top was added so the haiku could be etched. I also added the lotus below the buddha to try to tie in the red of the alter frame.

The Buddha with alter frame, below - the color is yellowed from indirect lighting.
I lost much of the detail in the painting with the alter in place so I am probably going to do another smaller version of the buddha in black and white with no color addition.

It's been a confusing week for me on a personal as well as professional level. I have been processing so many things I saw and learned at the encaustic conference last week plus I have been re-discovering my true artistic motivation and where I want to be as an art-maker and teacher. Sometimes, you can't always get what you want. In order for me to find comfort in all of this confusion, I have tried to remember basic Buddhist philosophy that has helped me in the past:

To simply be kinder to myself, as well as to others. To be compassionate, and to try to remember that if I think and live without attachment I will be happier with my present moment; here and now.

It sounds easy, but practicing and living this way is a lot harder than the words! I have been evaluating my art and questioning the level of my professionalism and how much I really know. Am I fit to be a teacher? Do I even know enough about anything to be teaching? It's the strangest self-doubt I have ever experienced and it has taken an effect on my painting desire and confidence.

A few days ago I tried to work on a project that I had planned before the conference. I had a photograph of my buddha from springtime and I wanted to incorporate the image transfer into medium with painted blossom details, then mount a piece of an antique wood alter onto the completed image transfer. My significant other (Terry) was with me when we found the antique frame and he thought it would be an interesting mixed media project for me.

Maybe it was too soon after the conference ... I had all my new encaustic paints along with accessories out on my painting table ... and I proceeded to make a horrible mess! The end result was I destroyed the painting and thought more about what was bothering me. I realized I was cluttering my art making with my mind, filled with self doubt. I talked to Terry and asked if he could write a haiku for the buddha project much like what we did when we created the Lotus Series several years ago. He proceeded to write:

"Moss covered Buddha
Blossoms cascading to earth
Nothing really dies"

The words brought me immediate comfort and peacefulness and this morning I was able to complete the project and move forward.


  1. Very interesting, Robin- the turmoil that had to be endured to create this beautiful piece. The frame is just perfect for it, and I love that the haiku is included at the top.

    You're not alone in having lapses in confidence... I'm sure most artists go through periods of self-doubt, I know I certainly do. Conferences/workshops can indeed be overwhelming... so much info in a short time. The trick is working through the let-down after coming home, and you seem to be on the right path!

  2. I appreciate you being so supportive, Deborah. I think I had to write this in my blog/journal so that I can move forward, something I was able to do the next day... time to post all about it. :)

  3. The butterfly works like hell to get out of that suffocating cocoon...but ah - the joy of being free and the beauty of it all