Venturing into the studio this morning, I was hunting brushes; specifically a set I thought I had seen while burrowing for paint the other day. If one had patience and infinite humor about everything, the puzzle which is the studio could possibly seem amusing. I moved the Christmas tree into the only quadrant of open floor, then rolled a set of drawers into its space, then rearranged objects only slightly smaller to, at last, scoot myself into a spot from which my hands could reach bookshelves and the counter where I KNEW the pastels had once rested.
The brushes were where I expected to find them, so I declared the morning a success. Oh, but there was so much more to come and, in the way of pulling on a sweater against a draft, I was immediately warmed by the not forgotten but unremembered - and vastly useful - material I encountered.
Being human, I have moments during which I fail to count ALL my blessings. I grow amnesiac about the wealth of reference volumes in our books-in-almost-every-room world. Starting in the early 70s, I built a collection of Dover Pictorial Archive titles - copyright-free illustrations collated into volumes by category, such as "Borders, Frames and Decorative Motifs from the 1862 Derriey Typographic Catalog" or "Victorian Fashion." I have used them in my work, in my volunteer newsletter editing, in projects for fun. Several years ago, I was one of a group of artists asked to donate a copy of a favorite, art-inspiring book for a fund-raising drawing. My offerings were from Dover's clip-art series.
All this studio exploration is in preparation for being half of a team, scheduled to do a demonstration on journal pages. I have been revisiting experts (real experts) who give examples and advice on their methods, as it has been a while since I produced any work that fits this description. And on the Dover shelves I found copyable words and buildings, borders and animals, faces and hands and automobiles to include as collage elements on the pages. I realized I had truly lost track of the breadth of subjects in my possession.
The unearthing of each new title added to my sense of uncalculated abundance. While I have been known to do a mental scan of supplies and see the gaps rather than the plenty, there was no way I could escape admitting it today: I am rich in resources.
It is a day of jubilee when we can look at all that surrounds us and see with new eyes. While I knew that useful bits would appear as I foraged, I was unprepared for the gratitude I felt for stumbling into my own life and discovering that, not only was the cupboard not bare, it was brimming. I felt wise that I had built such a useful collection, getting value from it many times over in the past yet having an enhanced awareness of its meaning today. I felt glad that a veil of forgetfulness had kept these treasures from consciousness, so that I also had the pleasure of happy surprise. In addition to the Pictorial Archive library, I found vintage ledgers sent to me by my sister, a keen-eyed antique picker, and a collection of Victorian scrap which had been a friend's gift.
There was a day, during some especially lean times, when I found $20 in a seldom-used purse and felt we had won the lottery; I knew it symbolized the prosperity which surrounds us. If I gave all my moments the attention they deserve, I would likely find that I always have the numbers lined up for a Bingo prize. Today I had the sense that another length of the curtain had been drawn back, a reminder that what I, what we, seek is there, within reach. Waiting for good times turns our gaze in the wrong direction. Yes, things can always get better - and they do - yet right now is clamoring for our attention. My own Oz, a magical place where dreams manifest, hiding behind the Christmas tree, and all I had to do was look.