Who Am I

I recently accepted an offer to exhibit Hypnopompic Salutations along with some other selected works from my private collection of “doodles” at the Elizabeth Tabor Library, here in Marion Massachusetts.

 For many of these pieces, it was the first time they have ever seen daylight. There was a sense of vulnerability, I promised myself I would suspend all fears, observe, be with them, but only for a moment before I would lean in and step through, in trust.

      I walked around my home, one by one taking each time capsule of moments surrendered in translating bits and pieces of my imagination into physical form. I was about to set them free, allowing the corners of my inner imagination to take up residence in the imagination of others.

      The vuerability was present due to emotions felt when I moved here three years ago. It was apparent, the shift from my quaint little cliff face cottage perch that overlooked Cayuga Lake, Dorothy was not in Kansas anymore. Truth be told, I stuck out like a sore thumb here. Visually, I was unusual, energetically colorful and the word was out that ” the new mom in town”, the soon to be new Mrs. Moore, had missed their daughter’s first day of school because she was “working” at (That thing in the desert). Ohe Vey, shall we begin this fresh chapter with a more difficult preface?

Within all the lives I have lived, there has yet to be a dull moment or curious happenstance to navigate. My soul contract, must have been to keep things interesting at all cost or else this saucy spirit risks a slow decomposition into nothingness…

My therapist throughout the years have kindly encouraged me to “Write a Memior”. My last therapist once said, “ You know you dont have to pay me to be your friend, nothings wrong with you, your’e actually someone I wouldnt mind having a cocktail with.” In a letter I later recieved, she joked I had inspired her to quit her job and follow her dreams…At least I got a nice goodbye letter “Thank you for the inspiration! I am going to miss our time together and hearing all your amazing stories. You have so much to offer. Now we can grab that cocktail sometime? Please write that Memior!”

      The little precious, postcard perfect town I was now a resident of, was not impressed. There was a whispery curiosity among the well pressed mothers, whom I secretly admired for their impeccable momminess. They had it nailed down so well. It was something I could never conform to naturally- so like many things that are best kept out of my reach, I respected it from a distance...Much like one would respect a nest of white faced hornets.

       I could feel, while walking down the halls of my daughter’s elementary school that same resistance I felt in 6th grade when I had returned from a week long suspension because I got caught organizing a “Witch Cult.” A girl was taunting me one day and I told her I’d curse her if she didn’t stop. Well, she fell down the stairs a couple days later and broke both of her legs. She told her mom I cursed her, mom called the school and so went the witch hunt. In my defense, it was not a cult I had organised. I was attending a military school in Germany, which fostered many Catholic faith based after school programs. I was only, innocently, trying to hold space for my peers who had been excluded from these clubs and seemed to have deeper questions about faith, religion, nature and the order of the world...I may have used the school library to print pamphlets- There may have been some penticles..or two. I remember the principal saying to me in her office,” If you are capable of organising this many students in 6th grade, I am afraid of what you could do as an adult.”

I wish she knew I grew up to paint monkeys and be an event producer and director- hahaha


     My arrival had peeked some curiosity. I feared deep inside, the others visualized me in pleather bondage gear, savagely galloping across the playa, half naked, ready to take on the next orgy….

Which couldn’t have been farther from the truth…I was indeed building big art in the desert and was on the production team for TedxBlackRockCity.

      I didn’t fight it, news travels fast and I understand the innocence that a small town breeds. Let them think I was a wild woman, I am. But not in the ways they might conclude…

Before I left Ithaca, my best sister friend said, “I was on my way to living the real life version of our favorite movie “Practicle Magic”. “Don’t worry.” she said, “You’ll be the witch living by the sea and when the coast is clear and you are settled in, they will be begging for wine night and naked full moon gatherings on the island.”

The thought warms my heart…I can still feel that the need to explore the wild woman within is deeply wanted. And, there is still a bit too much carefulness and fear…” Whatever would one do, with so much freedom?”



    Throughout the last few weeks my work has been on display. I have had little girls run up to me and say, “ MRS. MOORE! I LOVE YOUR ART SO MUCH!” Then scurry away, cheeks flushed from excitement. At the gas station, at the post office, at school functions, strangers whom I have never met formally approached me to offer how the work made them”feel” and how they had no idea I was an artist. One by one, the connections over the weeks have filled that space of uncertainty that reflected the vulnerable pieces of me, instead with gratitude and courage to continue.

  

     Though I know I had nothing to prove to begin with, It took two and a half years to stop caring if I had made new friends or not. It took two and a half years to stop mourning the loss of my cliff face perch of solace, where my open door policy invited friends near and far to come stay. My fortress of safety, where my loves came to process and seek shelter, advice and comfort. It took two and a half years to stop asking “What was wrong with me? Why doesn't anyone feel safe enough to genuinely connect with me here?”

    It took only six months, my daughter’s broken leg, caring for a loved one contending substance abuse and two occurrences of anaphylactic shock to whip my “ why me?” into a solid, “ this is FOR me.”


  So, as it were, I have discovered that it was not all for not, The solitude was indeed a gift. Something I later realized I hadn’t yet experienced in my 34 years of exisiting. I have always been to wrapped up helping others, being the strong one, being present so others could feel safe, witnessed and loved. Something I had been asking for and didn’t know I needed.

Hypnopompic Salutations is a result of that solitude. It was the product of being gifted the time and space to focus inward and begin to know and understand what it meant to be in my own company.


    One day, I ran into Marion mom, whom I have always admired from afar for her gentle presence and deeply kind eyes. She worked at the library. Amidst our conversation, she mentioned that stayed with me was that so many people who seen the paintings had so many questions about who I am.

She went on to share, “ We have never, in the five years of having art exhibits, seen such an emotional response to someone’s work. They stop dead in their tracks, I get lost in the eyes of the animals just sitting across from them at the desk. They are simply captivating.”

  

    It meant a lot to connect with her. Her words meant even more because I know how awkward it may be to speak honest words from the heart. It’s hard to approach a stranger and tell them anything sentimental.

After the fact, I remembered flashes of a moment shared with another dear friend telling me about how to receive a compliment. “Take the love that is being offered and rub it in.” as she knuckled my heart, ”Yeah love, right there, it’s for you girl. Allow yourself to receive the love that is being offered to you. You are worth it.”


That is where I am, That is where I have been...It is the space that I am present in right in this very moment. I am navigating those questions and I am asking myself, the very thing you are-


                                                               Who

                                                                 Am

                                                                   I


Jungle Speaks and Macaw Beaks

It was nearly a year ago when I passed my sketchbook to my husbands grandmother Mary H Clark, affectionately called Annie by the grandchildren and a notable artist whom I had grown to admire while quietly nibbling up the bits of inspiration she unknowingly gifted me.

With shaking hands, I began to second guess if she would accept my outlandish ideas and surreal concepts…”HOoly Buckets, the feline Shiva like empress with 24 full breast was in there! What is she going to think of me?!”

As she took in each page, with her “OH GEE AMANDA, WOW WOW WOW’s.”  I began to relax into the surprise and relief of steady acceptance. My mother in law, patted my lap and responded with, “ We have been trying to encourage Amanda to take some time off of painting houses and event production to focus more on her art.”

That’s when Annie leaned in and stared me dead in my eye with a piercing sharpness and said, “ Amanda I could only wish to have the talent and imagination that you have. Any Tom Dick or Harry can paint a house, you should leave it to them to do that while you share your gift with the world and do what you love. Do you hear me? This is not a gift had to waste!”

While returning back to the book, her words sank into me deep, I could feel delicate tendrils of baby roots beginning to make their way into my core. I will always mark that moment, as the beginning of this creative adventure. I’ve held a deep reverence for taking heed of the words of my elders seriously and to listen. I also had a flash of potential future karmic force knocking me off a lader while continuing to paint if I didn’t listen.

It was a pivotal calling that has always been a apart of my secret dreams.  Creating and exploring the vast corners of imagination and boundaries has always been my own, more private golden nugget. Since I could get my hands on any sort of tool that allowed me to translate my thoughts onto a physical space, It has been my oldest constant and bringer of peace internally. Something I can not help but to always return to.

It was while on my second trip out to Burning Man, that I made the final decision to not return to my job painting houses and to do what I had to do to live a fully creative life, and make a living doing what I love. I knew it would take self a great deal of self disciplin and hard work and above all trust in the unknown.

The beginning proved tricky as I learned to navigate through the natural presence of battles between sudo emotions like self doubt and fear of failure. Learning to reprogram these ongoing narratives in my head was an adventure in and of itself. I have to give my husband credit for his patience. I am sure he had his moments of second guessing his suggestion of me taking this time to paint. Hahaha, I shouldn't laugh, it was brutal at times, my friends.

While I adjusted to “working from home” and becoming disciplined in my solitude, I have to say I stand steadfast at encouraging others to trust in their abilities and take the leap into that which makes you come alive. The lessons which I may dive into in the future, were plentiful and continue to be ongoing.

It was while on my honeymoon in Costa Rica that the inspiration for my first series, Hypnopompic Salutations began to develop. Together my husband and I took various tours into the jungle where we had intimate encounter after encounter with the wildlife. The animals seemed more at rest to engage, their spirit seemed more aware that change was coming. Within our moments of direct eye contact and sharing in one another's company, it was almost as if there were no boundaries between our ability to see deeply into each other. It felt as though they somehow felt sorry for us because we wouldn't see the world through their eyes….

To witness them in their natural habitat was a gift, to behold their freedom and ancient strength in their presence made me want to come to know them better and find ways to honor their existence and preserve their future. They were magic to me, the seers and keepers of a world since forgotten. What they could hear, see, feel and experience made my soul long to return to the times when we more peacefully and mindfully cohabitate in the wild.

On our last day near Corcovado, I stood on the balcony and looked out over the thriving landscape. I took a deep breath and said aloud, “ Okay, I am ready. If this is what I am meant to do, please give me a sign.” I closed my eyes and no sooner did I hear the calls of multiple Macaws. I opened my eyes to see 4 pairs following one another in flight hardly a stones throw away.

That was my sign, if ever there was one in my book.

When I returned home, I worked around the clock. I had a newfound determination that filled me with an excitement and gratitude. I woke up far earlier than necessary to develop a solid routine. Monday’s I would research business models, social media and marketing techniques. Tuesday I would study painting techniques and from Wednesday to Monday I would paint.

Finding the balance between family and work was an absolute non negotiable. When my daughter’s returned from school I would break away to have our time together until they naturally drifted into their own projects and agenda. My daughter’s and husband and family were tremendously supportive.

Even though I had a spare bedroom upstairs, I found I worked better in my kitchen which kept me connected with my family and not stored up and away in a room. As a person, I already have a natural inclination to reside inside of my head in thought, to the point where my daughter’s have learned that if they call for “MOM” and I do not answer they instead call out, “AMANDA” which brings me back pretty quick-like. haha The last thing I needed was to be stuck away behind walls…I wanted to remain available to my loved ones.

Four months later I was invited to live paint and show my series in the Unifier Festival Gallery in Tolland MA. I was so busy prepping for the event as Unifier’s Workshop Coordinator, I failed to remember to create my labels and price sheet for my paintings. The work was displayed as a part of a Northern Altar in the gallery. It was my first showing since 2016 at ZAZA’s CUCINA gallery in Ithaca NY. I was beating feet all over the grounds as the event’s workshop coordinator and completely spaced on my lable’s. However, that very mistake turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It evidently inspired another artist, whom I had admired for quite some time, to pull me aside later to gently scold me about not having my labels. This gentle scolding turned out to be the beginnings of a dear friendship and the beginnings of me finally taking dedicated action in embracing that which I have always wanted to do, be a full time artist.


Flash forward to this current moment. I’m reflecting on something my mother in law said to me one evening as we watched the sunset together.  She said, “ Remember how I suggested for you to just take a few years and see what you could do with your art? It hasn’t even been a year yet and look already where you are.” I can sit here and say, I’m not really anywhere yet, I’m just making the moves to head into the direction I want to go. In all honesty I’m just practicing changing my attitude. Instead i’m changing the narritive by inviting fear after fear I come up against to look me in the face for a moment and tell me what it’s business is, where did it come from and telling it to take a loong hike.  


You can have a life going through the motions while your other self longs to be elsewhere doing something more interesting and inspiring. Or you can take all of those crying babies, like fear, self doubts, excuses, rejections, I can’ts becauses and truly see them for what they are. When they start howling, suspend those suckers in a moment of recognition and lay them fast asleep once and for all. YOU deserve to experience all that makes you come ALIVE in this lifetime. YOU deserve to feel joy and gratitude from a job well done, a goal achieved, from doing anything that is meaningful to YOU. You must believe first however, that you are worthy.



More on this soon, the canvas is calling ;)