-Jon and Shalaunda Gray- friends and collectors
My summer thus far has included a lot of driving and quite a bit of time to myself to think and reflect. Although I haven't been able to do as much painting as I would have liked, I always remember a fellow artist and friend telling me that it was okay- like the mighty oak tree- to have dormant periods where we are nurtured, resting, and preparing for our next season of growth. I have felt that deeply this summer, as our world begins to open and we happily begin to see and hug each other again without fear.
Creativity has it's own mind, it's own epiphanies, it's own energetic structure. I have to follow the lead of my creativity, and when I join in fully, there are some purely magical moments. But just as there are magical moments, there are intensely challenging periods of time where I feel stuck, distracted, overwhelmed, or emotionally not available to enter into that sacred space of creating.
I've been all of those things the past couple of months, and yet, God has continued to send encouragement in the form of friends, old and new. All my traveling this summer has brought me into contact with people whose souls seem to connect with mine, even if only for a little while. "Soul" friends who have given me strength through phone calls, old high school friends I have had the blessing of seeing after 30 plus years, "mom" friends who will come out for coffee and laugh for an afternoon, relatives I love and new ones I hadn't met before, and complete strangers whose kindness truly touched me.
All have enriched my life , encouraged me, and given me new perspectives. I have so much gratitude- maybe it's turning 50 and realizing we are all doing this "life" thing together through thick and thin. Maybe it's being masked up for a year and getting to hug, laugh and smile together. Praying we can keep Covid at bay, as we look forward to seeing more and more friends as the year continues.
I suppose for and introvert/extrovert like me, I enjoy my private time and need a lot of it, but also am fueled by connection and engagement with others. The pandemic has proven to be a time of reflection and steady, solitary work, at the same time I am realizing how much I have missed communing with other souls, and how truly grateful I am for the opportunity.
One thing about being an artist is being surprised by how your own mind and spirit process your experience. It is not methodical or predictable, but it is somehow magical and I am looking forward to taking this new awareness into my next phase of work.
I hope to see you soon!