“The One” 20′ x 20′, acrylic on canvas, (c) Cat Charissage, 2020

Greetings to you, my friends, on this New Moon in May, 2020!

I’m feeling a shift in the air, in my world, in my psyche. After a week of non-stop rain, the sun is shining, and maybe I’ll believe Spring is here to stay. My city is opening up, slowly and carefully, after the Covid 19 shut-down. Personally, I’ll wait another week or two to see how it goes, but at least I can drop off the library books we’ve had sitting here in the house for 2 1/2 months. Inwardly, I feel a very strong shift: I’ve finished a painting, first time in months, I’ve cleared up a lot of clutter in my study, I’ve finished reading a pile of articles I’d saved because I’d really, really wanted to read them (then never gotten around to it!), and am ready to start another project. As many of you know, I’ve started writing on the book I’ve been wanting to do, and I’ve now enough notes and more than 25 pages or so —- not enough to feel confident that I really will finish it, but confident enough to think that finishing it is not just possible, but probable. I’ve decided to devote my moribund Instagram account to post my progress on the book, and will get that up and running in the next few days. Please join me over there for progress reports, short excerpts, and . . . . more paintings! My plan (remember that having plans does not mean they’ll be implemented as envisioned, but at least plans give God something to laugh about!) is to continue to post on or near the New Moon here on my blog, and about once a week or so over on Instagram. This is a big step for me: it’s setting up an accountability system to keep me writing, AND it’s doing so in a public way, on the social media which I am extremely ambivalent about (that is, the time-sucking abysses of FB and IG). Plus learning curve, which means even more time on social media. . . . Wish me well, please.

In addition, those of you who follow Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ blog on Facebook, know that she has been posting, since just before Easter, a series of missives from her journey up the mountain and her Holy Saturday vigil there. She has committed to 40 days’ writing of what she discovered in that vigil, and now, about 1/2 way through, she has encouraged us to prepare for a personal ceremony to take back our birthright of gifts of the Holy Spirit that we were born with. I have what she has suggested we gather, a few sprigs of a favorite plant (in my case, white sage), soil, water, and the summary of many (many!) writing exercises she’s offered in the last weeks. So, this ceremony will be a new beginning of sorts, as well.

In the last 10 weeks of staying at home, I’ve realized that though I sorely miss seeing my friends and having d&r’s with them (deep and real conversations) and zoom is NOT my new best friend, I actually feel physically better staying home. I must not underestimate the stress and toll on my body of running around. People have talked about how much free time they’ve had, and had challenges in using the time well. For me, I have felt as busy as ever, though not stressed in the busy-ness: never underestimate the time it takes to nurture family relationships in challenging historical times, and never underestimate the time it takes to care for a body in chronic pain (uh, that’s me!).

I don’t yet have a poem to accompany this painting, but the inspiration for the painting came from an experience of the oneness of all that is, a sense of the huge light and love that incorporates everything, and that invites us to be aware of it and to participate in it (or something like that —- those experiences are very hard to put into words). The painting is 20 in. by 20 in., and the circle is highly, highly texturized:

illustration of the texture, from “The One”

I started by writing my intention on the back of the blank canvas. Then, I intuitively painted the canvas with a mix of colors. Once I began to have an image of what I wanted to paint, I started with this:

Then I intensified the color:

And knew the center circle of wholeness needed to be much bigger:

And bigger:

I colored the blue to be more cerulian, sky-colored, and then added the double rainbow. Dr. Estes’ journey to the mountain started with her seeing a double rainbow, and rainbows have been very meaningful to me at crossroads times in my life. They’re beautiful and hopeful.

I knew the circle needed something but needed to think on that a lot. I remembered constructed images of what the sun might look like up close, with millions of nuclear explosions happening at once, one after another, a roiling, moving, almost alive ball of gasses transforming. But how to get that feeling? I used a thin layer of modeling paste, applying it in a spiral. After many layers of paint, yellow, gold, iridescent pearl, more yellow, glitter (love glitter!! Though it doesn’t show in the photos, the painting just sparkles!). More gold, moving outward, showing the ways forward, the ways that cross. . .

The One, acrylic on canvas, (c) Cat Charissage, 2020

Much love and many blessings to you,

Cat