I was not going to add this to the blog, but in the spirit of documenting all of my creative endeavours, it might as well be shared!
I thought I’d have a go at composing a tune for my extremely, talented, musical Dad, to celebrate his 8th decade on this Earth.
It is the first time I have tried writing music.
It is a simple wee ditty.
Many thanks to my talented, multi-dimensional artist, friend, Hannah Boaden, who used her magic software, to type set it for me!
Some folk think it has a nautical feel ……. played well it does have a carefree tone.
Certainly fits with my recent experiments.
Moving ‘as Water’ through Life.
He seemed to like it.
Then I thought it might be fun to make a short video, using my best photos from May 2021 to accompany it.
Hopefully they can distract from my clumsy attempt at playing it!
Though I quite like the ‘child practising in the back room’ feel to it. It is honest somehow.
It does sound much better when he plays it on his baby grand.
His score has all the slurs and other notations hand-inked on too.
Wish I had copied that before I gave it to him.
This new old-piano was rescued from the dump this week and had a bit of a bumpy ride, from the forgotten container to here. As you can hear it has not even been tuned yet!
Our old old-piano now sits in the garden.
It has come to the end of its musical usefulness.
Lots and lots of ideas for what to create with it.
I will share a post here later ……. if it comes to anything beyond fire wood!
Here it comes again.
Over and over, all is thrown up, stark against the Sky.
On landing, reassembled in a new and curious shape.
Spread out thin across the constant, living, Ground.
Before I get a chance to catch my breath
It comes again.
These seismic shifts create a chaos and confusion that can only be allowed for,
Such is its Might and Power.
There is no rider. No helmsman. No pilot. No driver.
All sense of knowing as fragile as the new leaves that burst out all around.
Only fierce Love to hold on to in turbulent Times like these.
Kat Robertson. April 2021.
(video created by scattering mustard seed on the skin of a drum and banging it. Audio only what resulted when the video was slowed down.)
A creative attempt to summarize/record my, month-long, participation in this remarkable project.
My original, published, ‘cool’ captions and inspiring ‘Earth quotes’ became lost to the ether when I chose to delete my Facebook account…..which is just as well….as with hindsight it seems I was not really listening…..some of my posts where only text and gone forever now ….but this is all the visual work I shared with the group….cobbled together, chronologically, and with new meaning.
It all began with Nuts.
Those prefectly designed, well travelled, nuggets of both nutrition and potential.
(Reminded now, also. in hindsight, of an Egyptian Nut.
Daughter of vital breath and heat, a star-covered naked woman, bowed over the Earth,
With her head in the West and her feet in the East. A bridge between the Earth and the Sky.)
I wondered how this ‘tree’ would grow from there…..
The endangered red squirrel became my constant companion on this journey.
And, as always here, the Wind.
Winter Hawthorn showed me her sharp, protective, thorns…..
The Beech hedge whispered ‘Sssssh…..ssssh’……
Mole spoke to me of staying buzy, but remaining underground, unseen…..
Mosses demonstrated how to cling on and thrive, on only cold, ungiving, stone……
But I was not really listening …….
And worms writhed in the compost heap of my mind, giving birth to strange new, artifical, creatures….
I have a well-weathered head.
Colonized now by Nature.
Worn away by Time.
Still able, though, to see those ‘Spots of Light’ and bask in their Radiance.
Celebrate their Beauty.
That is, until I see when I venture out, again and again, our trashing of everything Sacred …
And I am returned to Grieving.
Yet, I was reminded, in that Darkness, there is always Light.
You only have to find new ways of Seeing.
It is Imbolc.
A time of Rebirth. Of Future. A Time of New Beginnings and Returning Light.
Humble Snowdrops blaze a fanfare.
Spring is on its way.
The soil gives way to green, urgent, spears of New Life, pushing up toward the Sun.
Even, inside our winter home, the houseplants put on a show of wondrous, exotic, blooms.
Out walking I was shown something weird, almost alien, something that I had never encountered before.
Earth spoke to me again of all the unseen wonders that she holds.
That Living can only ever be learning.
I cracked open my first rotten egg in a long, long time.
The smell was of Sulphur.
I learned that Humans create more Sulphur now than is released by all the Earth’s volcanos put together.
So Humans smell, to the Earth, of Sulphur too.
A smell associated with Decay.
And the breaking open of her Crust.
Then we were invited to dig deep and find our authentic Howl.
Always a tough one.
It turned out my Howl is, and has always been, my felt Impotence in affecting any real Change
Through what I am able to do, through my own unique gifts.
Earth told me it was OK to share, again, some work I have already done.
For it is Work that has not lost Value through Age.
Just as I have not lost Value.
Work created when I first began to Give the Earth a Voice online.
(Though, at that time, I thought I was Alone in doing so.)
Sharing this Work, reminded me that I have been Standing here a long, long Time already.
And brought home how committed I am to doing it still.
Rarely witnessed and, in the main, uncelebrated.
As undeserving of applause as a weed in a lawn.
A rock, the moss or a twisted tree.
A sea squirt.
Or a hooded crow.
This is not a show.
A creature of magik and alchemy.
Who no longer needs to shout out “I am here!”
Because, in the course of this experiment, the only One who really matters told me that:
She Loves me,
that She is Sorry,
that She Forgives me
and is Grateful for all that I do.
And when I heard that back….
I just Let Go.
I AM HOME
and that is where you’ll always find me.
Kat Robertson. Standing As Earth. Imbolc 2021
I am staring at this screen.
How to condense the Experience?
The above barely scratches the surface.
Now only recorded in pages and pages and pages and pages and pages
of messy, scrawled notes, avid, crazed, chanelled, journalling …processing …..too much to edit.
And this trail of shared artworks.
I have deleted my Facebook account.
Deleted all social media accounts.
I am too much to edit.
It was Earth that called me to withdraw from all that fight to be seen.
The fight to feel heard.
While I celebrate all who are able to continue this work of being visible online.
Who have those skills.
I have become exhausted from trying to find new ways to say such a simple thing.
There simply are no words left in my limited vocabulary.
I can tell you how I felt when I first saw the online invitation.
YES! YES! What a brilliantly simple idea!
Let’s ALL Stand AS Earth.
Earth, my true Nature, guides me now to simply write of the WEATHER during this month long experiment #standingasearth on Facebook.
The Weather of Standing As Earth
It began with a, freezing, Siberian Wind that howled from the East.
Screaming over vast, populated, landmasses,
Carrying all that stale air,
To meet the ocean
All the way from China, it came hurtling through, at tree-breaking ,wave-hurling, speed,
Onward over the Atlantic, toward the East Coast of the Americas.
It was hard, sometimes, to Breathe.
The Land became hard too, as iron.
It’s Life Blood frozen.
Impermanent diamonds grew in the Mud.
And the Trees grew hair of Ice.
Until the very Dryness turned it all to Dust.
Dust that came Alive, like dervishes, like dancers,
Rising, with the gusting wind, up from the Ground.
Gritty in my eyes.
Making me Cry.
And then it Snowed.
And all became Still and Silent.
And all became Clear and Sharply defined.
Blueish and Breathtaking.
The Light alone, a sensory orgasm.
And then, it all, inevitably,
The winds have never stopped blowing.
They are blowing still.
They have just swung around a bit and radically changed direction.
I found I had been blown off course.
I found myself, full circle, called back into the Mystery.
I found I was, already, HOME.
Kat Robertson. Standing As Earth. Imbolc 2021
My last post on Facebook, after realising I felt I had shared way too much, and deleting my account, was this.
It hangs on the wall of my ‘artden’.
And, while not my own words, says all I really have left to say of any worth.
My continued prayer is only that more of us will find this Truth and try their very best to LIVE BY IT.
And each find their own ,unique, Balance.
(N.B. I have only just realised that when a person deletes their Facebook account, they disappear, also, from all groups. As if they had never been there at all. I experience a deep sadness about that, as I fell in Love, with new brothers and sisters, and Earth, over and over again, during this month of participation …….. despite not joining in on Zoom! Now guided just to rest in the Knowing that we are, all connected, through the Forest floor. )
The need to ground, to centre, wild weather and a distinct lack of clear direction have drawn my attention back to mandalas recently.
These are very retro!
I know there is a button on new programmes that just ‘makes these’ now, but I love my ‘dinosaur’ software, the non symmetrical, imperfections and the pain-staking process of ‘making’ them.
I love the ‘bringing to wholeness of many parts’, circular, meditation of making them and the surprises at the end!
How some just work and others don’t, but you cannot know until you try. The vast choice of directions at any one point, in light, filter, position of image, scale……like a giant crossword with no correct answers, only possibilites.
How I can erase wrong moves and go back, but also, often, go too far and have to start again.
How working with natural images focuses me. It becomes an act of honoring the subject.
How they create stories, and wonder sometimes, as they reflect forms.
How mirroring often gives birth to new, magical ‘faces’ and characters/butterflies/insects, all gazing out at me. All echoing the beautiful, imperfect, symmetry in all all Life……..
(What I do not love is, that in ‘following my bliss’, I find myself sat at the computer all day!!)
I have been keen, for a while now, to push them a bit further.
They had become a bit boring to make. Too easy.
I wanted to complicate matters!
To experiment with layers/change of focus/filters, and, most importantly for me, numbers.
I have strong feelings with regard to numbers.
I embue certain numbers with meaning.
Some with real power.
I have always used 6 as this echoes the Sacred Geometry of the ‘Flower of Life’.
I have now been on an intense journey of learning through 8 (eurgh) and layering 6’s and 7’s (jolt!).
I have even ‘cracked’ the 9 direction mandala!
It is so difficult to pick just one or two to share that I made this short video to give you an idea….this is the experience of ‘mandalaizing’!
The weather around the ‘box-house’ is wild.
I burrow in.
Looking in this screen to look out.
Looking in myself for calm.
Filling the circle.
Reflecting on forms.
Finding calm in the eye of a storm.
Focusing on Source.
I think I have arrived at ‘my’ new way of making mandalas.
A process that echoes the intention and that deepens the mandala.
One of my very favorites of the last few days is one of the Scots Pine mandalas.
I have been reading up on Fenrir (the giant wolf of Norse fame) and the leash that holds him.
I could clearly ‘see’ a wolf-form in this mandala, so worked with this theme in mind, for a few hours, to create these, one-off, mandalas.
I call them ‘Gjallarhorn’ and ‘Roar of Fenrir’……
Letting go of any plans and ideas.
Just playing in the Gaia Hut with what springs to hand.
Letting my intuition take me where it will.
Sometimes I surprise myself!
I recorded this video of me playing with these slate ‘heads’, then halved the speed of it and extracted the audio of the stones ‘ringing’ as they they were hit/bumped together.
I then took that audio to the Audacity app and sampled that to create a rythmic soundtrack for the video.
The ‘singing’ was created in layers on top of that.
Intuitivley. As it came through the ether.
Another kookie offering to the world ……
The Starling Tree
What is this noisy kind of alchemy?
Turned my head to see
Against the sky.
Watching as bird became tree.
As tree became bird.
Becoming One, all held by the Light.
Kat Robertson September 2020
UPDATE 29th October: Spent many days ‘mandalizing’ recently and made this mandala of the starling tree. It belongs here!
It all started with the invitation from fellow artist and member of ArtMap Argyll, Lizzie Rose, to join her in the village of Ardfern, for this event.
This was a perfect, first, trial of the travelling gallery/studio on wheels. Only 6 miles of country road between our house and hers.
The whole 10 days was quite an adrenaline rush for this quiet, simple living, hill dweller! I am only just landing over a week after it finished!
I already shared a cheeky wee video of us arriving at hers, but here I will share more of those 10 days and of all I learned from working with this Hut, that I affectionately call the ‘Gaia Hut’.
It really was a joy to share space with another artist and her lovely family.
A joy too to be more in the centre of things, in our local village, and meet so many new, curious, people.
To experience the Hut working.
Perhaps I will start there, with these words copied from my FB profile. Words inspired by watching this wonderful video , titled ‘Guardians….not Gardeners’, featuring Mary Reynolds.
“Loved this so much I am weeping Especially this part in her introduction.
“The real truth of these goddesses is that they were wild, they were ambiguous, they were not gentle. They were as mad as a brush in the way that any good wild woman is. They are angry, very highly sexual. There is nothing hidden in them them, only truth. The truth of what true Nature is when it is allowed to be. We have actually lost Nature.” Mary Reynolds.
I am no goddess, but in this last week of public exposure, I often felt ‘mad as a brush’ as I clumsily explained ‘Gaia’, standing barefoot, or described how I garden with ‘weeds’, my deep love of them, how we have to sit in Nature, really look, really listen and learn the lessons from it.
How we need to become stiller to hear that.
When I explained the role/how I use my home-made smudge sticks. Showed others what I see in the branches, got excited about the beauty of the collected wasp-spit paper, babbling re-compost the importance of soil, of ‘shit’, my new love of ‘brown’. Talked of how we need to learn new ways with what grows now in abundance, the bracken, the rushes, demonstrated my rush cordage making. Talked of indigenous understandings and ancient myths.
How ALL my art comes from this place of honoring, playing and being curious.
How I am, slowly, phasing out big works and framing, the buying of factory produced pigments and materials, in favour of home-made pigments and recycled backings.
How my work now focuses on, slowly, using up all the hoarded materials of the years.
Also how I am moving away too, from the retangle ‘cage’ of conditioning. How my art is becoming all ‘small and original’.
How I have ‘reconnected with my inner child at 51 and am determined to never let go of her.’
How my own creativity is becoming a multi-media, travelling, song.
A loving response to the environment I find myself in.
How WE ARE NATURE.
One lady described my ‘wilder’ illustrations, with horns and talons, as ‘gruesome’. We had a good chat about that
Others eyes twinkled at my ‘battiness’, but I could feel were rejecting my message. Not listening really.
Many loved the physical trailer, but barely looked at my expressions. Too small, not impressive. Ridiculous even.
My favorite visitors were always the children……as without exception they all got it. Instantly.
I am deeply grateful to all those that purchased pieces from me and made this whole event a ‘success’. To experience that the Gaia-Hut can be ‘viable’ has helped my confidence enormously. (It also has helped our family dynamics in this econmically driven world!), but it is the MESSAGE of the Hut that means most to me.
I can only pray that some felt it…..I am exhausted now from standing in my truth under such public scrutiny for 10 whole, continuous, days. Shattered. Unsure, even now, whether I should share these words, but this video come in Divine Timing, and this lady’s eloquence encourages me to do so.
Perhaps I can learn from her how to refine my schpeel….or perhaps my wild, ambigous, slightly angry and sensual approach to creative expression is just enough…..?
Perhaps we can all become humble gods and goddesses, loving guardians of this land???”
I think perhaps these words hold most of the experience for me!
This little hut has been a long time in the dreaming.
I also, significantly, learned that ‘Gaianism‘ is becoming ‘a thing’ these days. Something I had been unaware of.
Definition of Gaia by Merriam-Webster
: the hypothesis that the living and nonliving components of earth function as a single system in such a way that the living component regulates and maintains conditions (such as the temperature of the ocean or composition of the atmosphere) so as to be suitable for life
also: this system regarded as a single organism
(More words copied from my FB profile.)
“Gaia.”What is Gaia?”
So many people asked this during my wee exhibition with the Gaia Hut. All I could really say is that I understood it on a deep level from the first time I heard this expression, this word. I explained in simple terms and pointed them in the direction of James Lovelock’s work. His marvellous, remarkable, life changing, Gaia theory.
Randomly I wondered, as I ‘spread the word’, if I was a ‘Gaianist’. If there was such a thing as ‘Gaianism’. I googled it and blow me….there is now! Not really one for ‘ists’ and ‘isms’.
I do find I resonate with nearly all contained here though.
I wonder what James Lovelock makes of this new branch of ‘his’ tree??
I do not see him as a ‘guru’, certainly not a spiritual leader, ….but I am deeply appreciative of his brilliance as a great thinker, scientist and author. And for giving us this glorious word to discuss the WHOLE of it. “
Perhaps this is enough words?
All that is left is to share a few videos of the event, the second and third cobbled together from all the photos I took, and to thank again all who came and enjoyed.
To thank, also, all who bought my #100daystreetales and other experimental, Gaia-inspired, artworks.
Please look out for the Gaia Hut in the lay-bys, camping and beauty spots around Argyll next year.
You would always be most welcome to come in for a chat and a cuppa!
Hope you enjoyed those!
(The music for the last one was one of my kookie music experiments. On my own, in my box room, playing with myself and Audacity app. It just happened to fit perfectly. So Grateful. )
I have been so buzy. Getting the Gaia Hut finished and then there was the epic first journey over to Ardfren village (approx. 6 miles of country road) to take part in #ArtMapArgyll open studio event.
A local artist freind had invited me to come and join her in her beautiful garden. It really is the perfect ‘first trip’ for the hut and could not imagine a more perfect place to be. Surrounded by flowers, butterflies and bumble bees….
More pictures of the build and goings on at the event to follow……
Prompted by the invitation to contribute some music to a project, and divinely ‘poked’ by feeling the need to revisit the, (actually NOT all so happy), lyrics of Bob Marley’s ‘One Love. One Heart’.
In these ‘pandemic’ days ‘getting together’ is becoming increasingly difficult and nothing, as yet, seems clear.
I found myself wondering what his song would sound like in a MINOR key?
That, in turn, ‘jumped’ me back to India and the, often melancholy, Indian scale.
I once studied classical bansuri (flute, taught in a similar way to voice) in Benares, for a short while, (over 30 years ago!), so have the very, very basics….
My guru, of then, would be appalled at this. Like martial arts, each tone/stroke/phrase, in the classical traditions, must be practised for many, many years, before such experimentation can even begin!!
I also attended a wonderful raaga learning afternoon, more recently with our very own, local, genuine, raaga STAR, Rajeswar. Pretty sure he would be appalled too!
Anyhoo… in the end….in the spirit of One Love…..this is what ‘arose’, in a few hours of playing around with Audacity app and an old keyboard.
A Jamaican inspired, Hindu-raag-style melody, sung by a middle-aged, Anglo-Finn, in a box room in Scotland!
ONE EARTH. ONE LOVE
(video is of a kind of ‘altar’, of collected, treasured, inspitational, ‘forms’ I stare at a lot when I am working: on my windowsill. Yes, there are dead insects…..and a real spider’s web there at the moment!
Also some of Frances Drewery’s, (local friend and very talented artist’s), work….that I kind of collect …placed among them….)
Sa- ni sa re / pa- ga re sa re sa ga- re- sa-
(One Love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright)
ga ma ni sa’ ga’ re’ sa’ / ga’ re’ sa’ da sa’ da ma-
(Hear the children crying, hear the children crying)
Da- ma pa ga re ga sa ga- re- sa-/
Da- ma pa ga re ga sa ga – re- sa-
(let’s get together and feel alright)
ni sa ni ma ni sa (optional variants)
Ma- pa ga- ni da ma
(let them all pass their dirty remarks)
ma da ma- pa ga ma pa ga pa ga-
(there is one question that I’d really like to ask)
ma pa ga- sa’ ni da ma
(Is there a place for the hopeless sinner..)
ga re ma ni sa’ ma pa ga sa ma ga- re- sa-.
(Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?)
(repeat One love section…fade out with ni sa varients)
All in the link!
“What happens when an online sister requests of the world that her freinds connect with each other and create Joy Spirals as her birthday wish. Asks for them to do something, anything!
In this instance, one plays violin, sent the clip to another, who then paints in mud while listening! Never having met before, yet all connecting in the moment. Such fun!! Let us all create Joy Spirals!”