Faith, Vulnerability, Art

Soul utterance: to speak through our vulnerability with strength.

—-Terry Tempest Williams

I receive the gift of strength from God. While it does take vulnerability to be an artist(publicly) it is so much more courageous to have faith because there is vulnerability in having faith; I am learning.

Recently with new eyes I revisited the heartbreaking and mysterious artist Vivian Maier—Silver print slideshows:  inherited shame, focus on people she excluded herself from—

—A phantom-ess, searching for her absent father in the lonely strangers whom she stole intimate images of. Shadowing youth and family as if to replace her own benighted childhood. The guilt she must have felt to deny herself life.

A lesson: shame and darkness have the power to strangle creativity and love, and ultimately connection and relationship. Who else is so lonely and reclusive and I won’t know until it is too late to show them what it means to be loved?

How would her photographs be different if she came from a place of joy and faith?

And if I know and want to be a loving friend. How do I convince the prisoners in Plato’s Cave the possibility of light and life outside of concealed prison cells?

I have learned, loving people is loving God. I am such a fledgling, such a beginner at loving people. Lately most of my free time has been studying this and trying to remember there is nothing left to complain about thanks be to God.

In the past I have made much art out of fear, shame or experiences I attempted to own through botched understanding, the understanding of a self-excluded person. I am learning to combat such a habit so I can Live. With new eyes: If I make art out of fear to ‘express’ I am giving fear power, and it is true that the things I focus on multiply. So I started really focusing on prayer an the Holy Spirit. Brave faithful prayer obliterates fear, and is generating an outlook on life that I find loving action would be more effective to express clearly than any other art because being an artist will always fall short of the truth; it is like science in that way. That is why most of my heroes right now are Saints and not artists or scientists, although there are many of which I also have been influenced by.

Being an artist lately = deep gratitude for beauty and truth I experience without spiritual blindness or confusion that used to keep me in the darkness. I don’t yet know how this fits in the ‘art world’ or if it even does, but I continue to practice it daily as I continue a clumsy but radical shift into walking in love, and coming out of myself.

Launching My Art Business

Lately, I have simultaneously built on my art business and teaching opportunities.

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(Joe’s Bike Palette)

So far most of my art sales have come through the channel of social media, so I have put some time into studying the online marketing a little bit more and am trying to organize and smooth out my own professional online presence. This is something I regret to say I have struggled and fought with because I tend to be too judgmental of my own work.  I’ve learned some things, and am hereby launching my Facebook page  to gather visibility and engage as my established Instagram morphs into a more professional exhibition of what I’m working towards.  So my website will continue to transform and become more business friendly. I do not want to accidentally inhibit my own success because of the ignorance of helpful tools.

I am also excited about developing my own art curriculum for summer classes! I have this great opportunity to expand upon my work tutoring college students in the arts. Whatever summer art classes I can think of!  My brainstorming is having a fireworks show.

 

Projects

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Gerry Low-Sabado, Monterey Chinese Fishing Village. Watercolor 18″ x 24′
  • My most recent completed portrait was a special one. Gerry is a Bay Area activist working peacefully to engage the public in awareness of prejudice and offer opportunities to connect with other groups. As a fifth generation descendent of the Chinese fishing community that was burned to the ground in Monterey in 1906, she has made many appearances throughout my time in college and in the museum world to courageously share her story of family, heritage, and local history. I grew very fond of her spunk and her friendliness. You can find more on this story here.   Gerry invites all who are interested in participating in her annual Walk of Remembrance  this Saturday, May 6 in Pacific Grove. I was delighted to have worked on this painting of her.
  • I have been working with acrylics more. I find that I am better free-handed with acrylic than watercolor. Watercolor I like to sketch first and then paint. Acrylic I don’t sketch first.
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Self Portrait Without Mirror Acrylic 11″ x 14″ 2017

 

  • In the process of completing one commission and beginning another.

 

  • The video vignette below represents a long term multimedia project which (the title) came to me in a dream a few years ago. Black Stars of Starlight Past is a kind of spirit-biography, dream epic, slivers of writing that can be found on my poetry page. An illustrated chapbook, I intend to have collected originals of the relevant art for exhibition. This video is my amateur cinematic ‘trailer’ 🙂

 

 

 

 

Please use the contact form below if you have any questions about art commissions or collaborations. 

Vultures Comics and Poems

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  1. I attempted and failed a realism drawing exercise that became a page of sequential life moment representations
  2. (see previous)
  3. book club insights
  4. It has become a new tradition to visit the local Costco on weekends just to watch people and observe America in amusement, horror, and disillusionment
  5. the tragic irony of young gulls killing themselves accidentally off of the roof of the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History where I worked. Just tragic.
  6. I left my museum job after two years.
  7. Began working with the college students of the autism spectrum population as an Academic Art Tutor in Monterey. I love this work so much! (August 2016)
  8. Married the man literally and figuratively of my dreams at Mission San Juan Bautista, a place dear to the history of our hearts. (October 8)
  9. I cried two times the morning the monster was elected. (November 2016)
  10. Limited social media intake, saved a bunch of time! Made major daily and yearly art goals and continued portrait painting and daily drawing or painting.
  11. (missing) obviously I can’t count, I never was into math
  12. Studying scriptures, reading novels, writing poetry early in the morning
  13. The Miracle Morning book inspired me to elaborate on my early mornings and the a general need to discipline stress management inspired me to throw some kicks and punches on a regular basis

 

After days of rain the vultures like to display their wings in the mornings in the trees outside the apartment and I admire their Dracula style. One time I watched one grooming itself and suddenly stun itself as it accidentally pulled out a feather, and watched it twirl slowly to the ground. And then I ran out to grab it for no reason really. Yes I happened to get lucky while taking pictures of them.

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Noticing My Hand

–Stacey Gentry – 11/14/16

 

A woman examines her mind

too close and falls along the seashore rocks. *

She wonders where the gentle swallows will

nest now without their red tile caves,

which for the past few days were pried

by crowbars screeching nails

up

creaking coffin lids

above her ceiling, sounds she could feel in

her cringing teeth while the roofers

went on singing with their own.

She smells fire **

and senses a hand she decided to accept

the assuming way a crows’

humble ration is buried

in weeds by the dull blade of a beak.

We think we use the tools we have been given.

 

Another woman nearby

her shell is thick, she sits and draws.

She draws a lady on the ground begging

a black bird

for its only treasure.

She is still

while she watches she can feel

her hair grow and, watch

she unravels the corkscrewed self,

Stretches it out with her mind like two hands

bracketing negative film to the light.

She is thinking of a woman who just,

died*** who first descended, into a

mind-less-ness, body-less -ness—-

unfamiliarity

her art could never name

until there was nothing left

but her soul. It seemed cruel

for one’s spirit to be abandoned by

its body and its mind and nothing

but vague clues in her leftover art.

As a woman

and an artist

this one knew the signs along the way

that sometimes get pushed away,

mistaken deception, illusions.

Now, an ultimatum for retrieval—-no,

desperately, creation—-while she still

thought she did not know, but you see

every night she did actually know.

We use the tools we have been given until

we realize, we create our own tools. She knew,

subconscious as a feather sprouting in a wing

so she drew, drew it out of her

until her shell would sing.

Ashes** fell on clean laundry back at home

where she dutifully prayed with her lover

No one would ever believe her,

how it coalesced, how she did resurrect her

willpower. Because, two out of three birds die when

they try to fly for the first time.

They must forget to bring their spirits

with them, this, the women, they saw.

Except two stopped at the tools and

one did see the ship she could build,

the ship that in the future would save her.

We use the tools we have been given to create

our own tools, to create something more.

A hand dives into the scenery from the future

like a dove and asks her to trust it, to take it,

this is her own hand.

 

*At Point Lobos a woman fell between the rocks who I helped up, I had been sitting from aways away watching her recognizing the internal contemplation that can be so distracting

** the Soberness Fire

*** Nancy Hauk, watercolorist, Pacific Grove

 

The Birthday Gift

For my 33rd birthday I want to give myself the permission to do what I always have known I am born to do which is write and make art—forever clarifying my own communication, art and writing the products—so I have to really practice bravery now. Its not all self promotion and I must really learn to take chances and wear my heart on my sleeve.

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Sleeping Beauty 1 – Santa Cruz June 2016

I was dead in the back of my tuck with old clothes piled on top of me, I saw from above, and then heard a voice telling me to look around the corner—there was a raging storm;  I went into an adobe building. A table like an altar was in a dark room, there was a cereal box packaging with a human heart in it. I pulled the heart out, which was in a flesh sack, and there was a straw in it. I drank it, and my arms felt as if they were being shocked in an electric outlet just from touching the heart. Another box appeared, it was an M shaped candelabra that seemed to move on its own evil vibration. Suddenly the rest of the room lit up and spirits with Hispanic or Indian faces and clothing rose like steam, soundlessly, and at first diaphanous, but they were very serious and all pointed behind me. I turned around to find a shelving in the pinkish adobe wall, with a different M shaped candelabra that felt to vibrate of a sort of holiness. I was relieved that those anonymous spirits helped out, I took the new candelabra and went back out into the storm. Eventually I found a cozy sunlit room with beautiful windows looking out onto a lovely scene, and Jewel was out there looking for me. 

This was a life changing dream I had about three years ago, in a different life. It was when I felt more connected to my dream wisdom and was experiencing wild de ja us and seeing interactions every single day that I had dreamed. I had this dream before I was divorced and before I chose to shed a terrible skin. I had that dream before I admitted to myself I am in love with Jewel and before I knew myself sober, before my Catholic conversion and before the acceptance of my insufficiencies and also my gifts, honestly.

 

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Sleeping Beauty 2 – Pacific Grove June 2016

 

Images I do accept within my days do stimulate my stories open, but I often get stuck in the doorway attempting to carry them out. It has bothered me to depend too much on visual images (the practice of vagueness is too related to passive aggressiveness), on using body as expression (damned if you do damned if you don’t/’male gaze’ & overdone feminisms etc), on writing privately (I cannot stand the thought of dying before connecting and being in the world); when the wholeness of my being requires my accurate translation of myself to the world and in relationships; the desire to write and speak well drive my inner explorations. Even though I have neglected writing (does previous decades of avid journaling count?..) except for gratitude or dreams (because I want to focus on what I want to create). Therefore I have been embarking on rousing parts of myself I had abandoned in order to build my new life almost three years ago  because they are the parts that have the right words; they are the parts that must be named and given something to do in writing and speaking or else hold me back into a kind of sleep forever.

 

*

 

 

 

 

Don’t Stop Imagining

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Self Portrait in the Carmel Mission Museum after Mass 6/12/16

imagining = believing = being

Every time the shadow sneaks up on me I am surprised that it cannot die. What size blind spot have I built for it to bask in such darkness?  For this I find it necessary to keep writing. And I began talking to video cameras in private so that I grow quicker and make It die faster—or rather use It to my advantage—-

There are spaces. Spaces that are structures, to keep me strong and grounded; there are spaces between those that allow me moments of bliss and living, windows to fly in and out of;  the decapitated rose swears on a stack of bricks and construction zones around it develop into its templed reality.

Don’t stop imagining

the day that you do

is the day that you die

— [ youth lagoon ’17’ ]
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Pedestal & a Rose – Canon 7D

 ‘pedestal & a rose’ digital image for sale – $5 here and then slide it onto your desktop

(I’m trying something scary and new and risky again watch out)

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Construction Zone @ Carmel Mission –  6/12/16
staceylimone@gmail.com