One of my mentors and teachers, the late Angeles Arrien, cultural anthropologist, educator of indigenous cultures and spirit weaver, had the gift of gently nudging her students from places of fear to the embodiment of being visionaries. I fondly remember her rubbing her delicate hands together, and in an ever so coy manner, shrugging her shoulders up and down; and, as if she were magically becoming an elf, would say in a sing-song voice, “Don’t move the way fear wants you to, instead begin a foolish project. Noah did.”
She was referring, of course, to the story of Noah and the Ark, in which a flood is on the horizon, and Noah receives a vision to build a vessel.
Angeles’s statement is one of the most visual and auditory memories I have of her. Over the years, I have referred to it in cheering myself and others on with creative endeavors. But, what does being a fool really mean?
A fool can be one lacking in common powers of reason and understanding, but can also be fearless in revealing emotion and helping people laugh at absurdity and hypocrisy.
For me, I have felt the most foolish in life when experiencing the sensation of being a misfit and not belonging. This is usually the feel of a deep divide of not belonging to the self. And when I am separated from self, I am thrown into fear. Feeling a deep inner sense of belonging is a lifelong practice for me.
Noah was a visionary. He saw the future forward. He belonged to himself enough to move beyond fear: fear of overwhelm of outer stimuli of an approaching flood. Noah's ark can be viewed as a metaphor for the collection of humanity where difference is embraced. as well as a vessel holding and brewing our creative ideas into focus.
In the tarot deck, the fool represents new beginnings, stepping off the edge, and having faith in the unknown, belonging to the entire universe—the ultimate risk taker. What might actually appear foolish could be just what we need to step into the abyss and unknown.
I am currently completing a body of work in the studio for an upcoming solo exhibit opening March 8, 2019.
"Anchoring the Light " at Friesen Gallery in Ketchum, Idaho, and imagining the connective links of what is done and what can be carried forward as I dream and vision my next foolish project I can nurture into being in 2019.
What is going to be your foolish project as you move your vision forward this year?
Calendar of Events
Abstract Expressionist Painting
February 2 - 3 Mantecón Studio, Santa Fe, NM (Full - Waiting list)
"Anchoring the Light " at Friesen Gallery, Ketchum, Idaho
Solo show, opening March 8, 2019
Paint Big and More- Anything Goes May 2 - 5 Mantecón Studio, Santa Fe, NM
Why Color is Important May 18 Mantecón Studio, Santa Fe, NM - one day workshop
Painting Your Inner Wisdom: A Shamanic Journey June 6 - 7 Mantecón Studio, Santa FE, NM
with Lauren Mantecón & Robin Cunningham
Big/Small/Big: Abstract Painting June 24 - 28 Cullowhee, North Carolina
The Space Between Painting and Intuition September 26 - 28 Mantecón Studio, Santa Fe, NM with Lauren Mantecón & Stacy Phillips
The Alchemy of Mixed Media October 12 - 13 Weehawken Art Center in Ridgeway, Colorado
Advanced Studio Art Practices November 7 - 9 Mantecón Studio, Santa Fe plus three half-hour checkin Skype sessions over six months.
Ongoing Wednesday Open Studio Mantecón Studio, Santa Fe, NM 1:30- 4:30 pm
Virtual Studio Mentorships Buy a series of personalized sessions catered to your own individuals goals. This could be setting up accountability schedule, critique of work, writing statements, researching ways to get your work out into the world.