I have no idea if the French Consulate will approve my long-stay visa, apart from an inkling that the rendezvous was positive. In a reckless sort of way, I’ve been preparing to leave anyway. At least for three months. If my application pleases the administration I’m off for a year, with the option to renew. Holy shit! there’s a mountain of ends to tie off.
Being a visual artist is heart-poundingly beautiful. I spend my days soaking up images then pouring my passion onto canvas, computers and sketchbooks. I get to run around in the forest, chase clouds down the coast and occasionally throw my clothes to the wind. But there are some drawbacks. Stuff. The walls are disappearing behind mountains of artwork. Fortunately my housemates are tolerant.
I was dreaming up possibilities for art shows when there was a loud knock at the door. I assumed it was another parcel for New Housemate but the floppy plastic envelope looked oddly familiar. It was only a week since my interview in Sydney and I expected to wait two months. Was this a quick refusal or the long-awaited ticket to Europe? I opened it up… and I haven’t stopped smiling!
PS I really do need to move my paintings. Stay tuned.
There’s a summer happening here, in realtime. Greece can wait. The UV is burning and the capital is empty. Everyone has fled the work ethic and dived into coastal holiday mode. I’ve had my share of joyous outpourings and returned to pluck at my canvas. Ah the music is sweet! But first I dropped into a moment of intense solitude, meeting New Year’s Eve with a sober stare and a promise of hanging out another time. I needed to think. Then I dropped into depression. I needed to process. On the third day I rose from these dreamless depths with curiosity. The world still existed post Donald Trump. It was bright and somewhat magical. Politics excepted.
I’m feeling under-pashed she said with a smile on her lips. I wanted to use that phase! The perfect opener to a can of worms. My friend traced the dusty ground with her bare toes and looked me directly in the eyes. You can, she said, you know a crush is never inappropriate.
Of course you’ll find a home, rustled the seed pods outside my window. What do you need but peace over your head? The dark bird pecked artfully and uttered a startled cry. Use your wings, my love, that’s what they are for. Then she dropped a seed. Peace is only in the mind. The air was still for a moment. Grab hold of the present, sang the red-winged parrot! It’s in your heart. Dewdrops swayed to the song of the rough-grained bark. One small beetle rustled wet leaves. A spider spun. I caught my breath. The time has come.
She was almost full
stalking the bush
casting long shadows
into the darkest recesses
of my mind
and lay down on the litter
of warm damp life
the forest floor
soft against my back
your voice wandered
like my thoughts
to the sea
your hands still
like the air
your breath taking me
to another time
These are details from a painting that is about to be transformed into something else. A sign of impermanence. An offering of optimism.
i send you flowers
place them carefully
on the gravestones
of each innocent child
toss them to the winds
so petals fall
on the dispossessed
creatures great and small
i send these flowers to you
The present moment is calling. I haven’t finished with my Travels into the Heart retrospective but… I have been waiting to paint. The itch has been out of control for weeks and last night I had to scratch it. While I have been away an old office block has been transformed into a vibrant art hub. Oh it does make the heart sing! Music, murals, scrummy food and beautiful friends. But this is Canberra and nothing lasts. In a matter of moments this space will be a dust-rising pile of debris. So, I painted and recorded the beautiful works of fellow artists.
Photos: © Jeni McMillan
Find harmony in storms, waves in a full teapot, footsteps beneath the ocean and voices in the vacuum of a star-filled void. Breathe in stillness of the morning air. Awaken the inner child with the mindfulness of the old. Sense the silence in the afternoon light. Soak in the silken sun. Find solitude on the mountain. Share my stolen moments. Live the tumultuous peace that is the beginning of completion. Create. It is no paradox. It is all we can do.
If love is an art, I surrender my preconception, begin at the beginning and open my heart. So many colours, shades, hues opaque and transparent. Light tremors in tentative beginnings. Longings, caresses on unconfined canvas. Full-bodied brushstrokes and playful minds meeting. Passionate and artful, always forgiving. Testing, exploring, cradling perfection. Inception, completion. Breathe and let go.
Digital Painting: Jeni McMillan
King courts Queen. God greets Goddess. Creator finds Creator.
‘Fine Balance’, oil on canvas by Jeni McMillan