Friday, November 13, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Work Around Your Abyss
There is a deep hole in your being, like an abyss. You will never succeed in filling that whole, because your needs are inexhaustible. You have to work around it so gradually the abyss closes.
Since the hole is so enormous and your anguish so deep, you will always be tempted to flee from it. There are two extremes to avoid: being being completely absorbed in your painand being so distracted by so many things that you stay far away from the wound you want to heal.
Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love
I have been silent for months. First my energy went, then my self-filtration, my desire for the future, my wit, my laughter, and then finally my hope in the goodness of people. Some painful events take time to reveal themselves and then even longer to heal.
When I was young, I was completely absorbed in the pains I felt, "hiding" in the closet and bellowing for someone to come and listen to me. I quickly learned that people have their own pains.. and most would rather not touch yours. So I have become an expert in distraction.
A few days ago, a friend said to imagine a light going to my deepest pain. Immediately, I can call it to me. (Distraction obviously doesn't make it go away.) It starts in my throat and ends in a pit in my chest. And when I am really moved by it, I feel a tingling sensation in my fingers. I've been thinking about it for days, although still distracting myself from bringing a light to it. I can only describe it as giving away my deepest being to those who abused it, did not want it, and threw it away ... at least for now.
Posted by Cori Lynn Berg at 6:17 AM
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie
Which we ascribe to heaven.
~William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well
This painting is my entry into the Mixed Media Monday weekly challenge. The theme this week is "altered people." I have used full body acrylics, fluid acrylics, paint marker, and molding paste this week.
I am currently taking Alisa Burke's "Graffiti Chic" online painting class. This is style is a real departure from my tight, geometric style and is taking me into a new territory. This style is so different for me I find myself with much less confidence, although the entire point is to be free, loose, and accept mistakes. You'd be surprised how difficult it can be to let go of the inner art critic!
I encourage everyone to check out Alisa's site. She is amazing. A formally trained artist and daughter of two potters, Alisa has lived the art life working in galleries. She stunned everyone when she began cutting up her own paintings to make handbags and other accessories (available on Etsy.)
Posted by Cori Lynn Berg at 11:51 AM
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. ~Albert Camus
For this painting, I had no plan other to paint what I feel and knowing I wanted to work with beautiful sea green color. I had intended on pairing it with brown as the other dominant color and there is an underlayer of that beneath but blues in the frame. After losing the job that was a daily stressful struggle yet that I loved dearly, I am now working mindless,"nothing" job. I feel my spirits slowly atrophying, not being able to use the skills that I have. When I came across this quote, I identified with the winter. Painting has been my invincibility during this time, what keeps me going and heads me in to each day, allowing me to keep up a good fight. I am wondering what is the "invincible summer" others have?
Posted by Cori Lynn Berg at 8:07 PM
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment. ~Henry David Thoreau
This is a different color scheme for me, using more neutrals and earth tones (although I did throw a hint of blue and green in.) Very difficult to create a depiction of the absence of something as the negation of sound can only be understood in reference to the presence of it. I work in a school for very young children and am surrounded by a wall of sound throughout the day as you can imagine. I enjoy coming home each day and spending an hour or so in complete silence as I paint and prepare for my daily blog. It revives the spirit!
Posted by Cori Lynn Berg at 9:30 AM
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Faith, to my mind, is a stiffening process, a sort of mental starch. ~E.M. Forster
As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit. ~Emmanuel
This painting has a story. It's for my friend James who has been out of work like so many other people for such a long time. After reading his expression of frustration the other day, the word faith was bouncing around in my heart and mind. I found the above words and was surprised by the opposing images they portrayed -- one is about fortitude while the other is about flexibility.
So I set out to paint. I wanted structure, holding on to the order of things even when everything feels disorderly. I was painting my little boxes meticulously when I accidentally knocked over my cup of water all over the painting! Everything started running together! Oh, I was mad! (And said a few words I can't repeat here.) At first I was tempted to throw the darn thing away but knew I wouldn't have time to start from scratch. So I worked with it. Yesterday and today. And now I'm quite pleased. It's different than I had expected -- more gradations of color, but isn't that more interesting?
Posted by Cori Lynn Berg at 7:25 PM
Monday, May 11, 2009
A true friend reaches for your hand and touches your heart. ~Author Unknown
This is my entry in the Mixed Media Monday "Helping Hand" challenge. Check out the site for other interesting work!
Don't forget my "Little Bird" painting giveaway this week. Each time you post a comment on my site is another chance for you to win!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them? ~Rose F. Kennedy
I'll be giving this away in a drawing next Sunday for all those who post on my site this week. Each time you post, you'll have another chance to win. (I'll also send a sweet little ACEO to anyone who mentions me on their own blog. Just email me the link.) And don't forget to check out my new Sacred Arts Studio on Art Fire for affordable original artwork! If your email is not available on your profile, please email me or leave it in your message. This is a thank you to all my new blogging friends who keep me painting each day through your kind words! Blessings to you and you and you!
Posted by Cori Lynn Berg at 2:45 PM
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man reassembles his fragmentary and grows with the calm of a tree. --Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Posted by Cori Lynn Berg at 8:48 PM
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
When I was in first grade, I attended a small Lutheran school in the mountains of Utah. The school was a second home to me, as my father was the pastor and my mother was the kindergarten teacher. At that time, the church was using every available space to house the classrooms. The second through sixth grades held classes in a converted barn on the property. The kindergarten class was in a small room toward the back of the church. The first grade classroom was in the fellowship hall with temporary walls that could be opened up on Sunday mornings for coffee hour.
Each year our religious curriculum, like most parochial schools, began with the story of creation and then moved in Adam and Eve's fall into sin. I remember that my teacher, Mrs. Stuart, gave our class a project that we would display in the classroom for cofee hour. Each of the fifteen or so children was to take a portion of the story to illustrate. One child drew a picture of the sun, moon, and stars. Another children drew a picture of the plants God created. Another child drew a picture of Adam naming the animals.
We all finished our drawings and went to the teacher's desk to hand them in. But when I turned mine in, I noticed the warm-hearted eyes of my beloved teacher change to concern and dismay. You see, I had been given the part of the story where Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. And I was the only child who had drawn Adam and Eve anatomically correct. Unaware of what caused the change in my teacher when I turned my picture in, I went back to my little desk and began my reading lesson.
At home later that evening, my mother asked me to come into the living room for a talk. That was always the sign of something serious. Mrs. Stuart had shown her the drawing and asked her to speak to me about it. In my first grad vocabulary, I told my mother how Adam and Eve had no clothes. They didn't wear leaves like the other kids drew until after they ate the forbidden fruit! I was just drawing the real story. My mother chuckled and said I was right but the question came up about whether the minister's daughter's drawing could be hup up for the entire congregation to see. And this, unfortunately, is where my memory fades for I have no recollection of whether my drawing was hung up with those of my classmates. My only memory is of the tears I cried over not understanding what was wrong.
When I reflect on thies event in my young life, I am struck with how my own experience of the Bible story mimics the story itself. I had no shame about the drawing, had no understanding of what might make it "bad" until someone told me about it. And the moment I was made aware, I felt deeply humiliated. I wanted to cover up and hide away. I was embarassed, just like Adam and Eve were at discovering their own nakedness when their eyes were opened.
Children experience "eye-opening" discoveries regarding their behavior daily. Egocentric toddlers have no comprehension that toys in the classroom belong to everyone, not just them. When another child takes their toy, they might react aggressively by pushing or even biting because they don't have verbal skills to handle the situation. And because it works! The other child drops the toy and suddenly they have it back. It is not until an adult comes that they feel confused and shameful about their behavior. They didn't intend to hurt someone. They only want their toy. Yet despite their intention, a wrong was committed.
Appropriate actions and wise decisions can taught. Although we must continue to work with children on explaining and bringing light to their choices, we are given an additional message to share with children --- that through grace, we all are forgiven and made new. We don't need to sit in a global belief that we are bad. We can try to do better next time.
There are more drawings to draw...
Posted by Cori Lynn Berg at 1:52 PM
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
When I was five or six, my mother took my sister and I to the indoor community pool to learn how to swim. Through the course of the summer, my class was in the shallow end, but, in order to pass to the next level, we each had to eventually jump off the diving board in the deep end. Not the diving board hovering a few feet above the water, but the skyscraper board that made people look so small when they stood on it. I was petrified, and froze standing up so high above the abyss. The teacher paddling below who was to catch me seemed unperturbed by the deep waters. After holding up the class for several minutes, another teacher on the board lightly pushed me off, without consent. As I crashed into the water, I felt the punishing slap against my whole body, gasped, and took a torrent into my lungs. When I was five or six, I thought I would die.
Sometimes life gives us a nudge from which we can learn and grow. Other times we're given a push. And sometimes you're downright kicked. All you can do is cough it out, sputter, and try to pick up the pieces. I never jumped off a high dive again. And that's just fine with me.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Man must feel the earth to know himself and recognize his values...God made life simple. It is man who complicates it." --Charles Lindbergh
I close my eyes and remember moments when I am at one with the world -- laying on my back in my childhood treehouse while sunlight dances through tree branches onto my face, eating a fresh strawberry from our homegrown patch, digging my hands in dirt to rid the soil of rocks and pebbles (soon it will be my flower bed!). The moments are so few and far between now living in a plastic world. I miss the time I spent outdoors as a child, doing nothing but frolicking around. Making mudpies or strange medicines out of leaves and tiny flowers in the yard. Swinging with my head way back so my hair touches the ground as it passes. Inspecting the ladybug that lands on my shoulder. Oh, and catching fireflies, delightful fireflies! Thank you, lovely Earth, for all you bring to me!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
If your life were a board game, which would it be? Trivial Pursuit, Pay Day, Sorry? I think mine would be Othello, flipping tokens back and forth. Sometimes it seems you have everything and in a moment it can be taken away. At others you have nothing and end up with everything. Today I've been thinking I'm at the beginning, at start, afraid to take a step. I don't want to play some of these games -- I'm certainly too old for Chutes and Ladders and don't really want Clue. And I don't want to play Operation with its harsh disciplinary buzzing. I want to play Candy Land -- just gathering cards and everybody wins but that just isn't reality. Maybe I'll make up my own game...
Posted by Cori Lynn Berg at 9:59 PM
I've been struggling with putting this painting on a larger canvas. As I wrote in my "Empty to Whole" post, this is for a friend of mine who is recovering from an alcohol addiction. I have questioned the strict boundary between the "empty space" and the "whole, alive" space. The visual does not seem to show them as the same person, the connection. As I began to think about this image this morning, I had a growing sense that the pit of our emptiness is what becomes the boundaries for our new life. And yes, at first, those boundaries do appear to be walls. That is natural when one has been hurt, rejected, scorned. But eventually one can unwrap the arms of protection and transform the walls into filters. Perhaps a series is in the making...
Monday, April 20, 2009
Finding one's voice after it's remained hidden for so long takes courage and manpower. Having gone so many years distracted by other people's realities and priorities, I've become desensitized to the still, small voice inside. Hunting for words and images in my mind is a laborious chore that can only be cracked by the scales and arpeggios of daily practice. Does everyone at times feel like an imposter to their own creativity?
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God sending a love letter to the world. -- Mother Teresa
What a wonderful sentiment! What love have I written today? Smiling at someone, acting out of patience, believing the best in someone's actions rather than the worst. What can I do to step outside my own desires and wants and into the good for someone else? It is getting harder and harder to maintain this core of service. Maintenance of the soul rarely is defined by serving fellow sisters and brothers. In order to take care of ourselves we are told to put ourselves first. How can we learn to do both?
Posted by Cori Lynn Berg at 3:05 PM
The inspiration for the painting came from a design element that popped out yesterday on my blog site as well as a T-shirt I have of a butterfly with a floral drawing overlay. It's a tedious little piece and I'm glad it's done! I enjoyed playing with the warm colors.
Posted by Cori Lynn Berg at 8:41 AM
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one. -- Stella Adler
It certainly has been an interesting journey the last few months with a job change, health issues, and more. I am so blessed to have an outlet -- not just a refuge -- but a place to transform negative thoughts and feelings into something positive and healthy. One of the major coping mechanisms I have been creating for myself is the use of the senses to handle stress and strong emotions. Taking time to smell my coffee, feel lotion on my fingers, and seeing the beauty of color! It is wonderful.
Posted by Cori Lynn Berg at 8:24 AM
Friday, April 17, 2009
a little egg lay on a leaf. My "Very Hungry Caterpillar" painting is complete in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the book's publishing. Thank you, Eric Carle, for giving children such wonderful pictures and words! This painting will go in the May Nibblefest contest on Ebay with a starting bid of only 99 cents. Details to come. A great little painting for a children's room.
See http://www.eric-carle.com/home.html for more about this wonderful artist!
Posted by Cori Lynn Berg at 7:53 PM
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Here is a painting I am doing for the Nibblefest contest on Ebay. It happens every month for a few weeks. Artists are given a theme and must post their pieces with a starting bid of 99 cents. Whoever gets the most interesting bids wins. This month the theme is "Favorite Children's Story." In honor of the 40th anniversary of Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," I'm working on this piece. Hope you enjoy seeing the work in progress!
Posted by Cori Lynn Berg at 7:36 AM