wings

On trust and not doing it all

On trust, welcoming the unexpected and NOT doing it all...

Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper

Where does time go? Where does it hide?... I've been trying to keep up with the roller coaster that the beginning of this New Year feels like, doing my best to meet deadlines, to keep doing all the things I have patiently and passionately built last year: first, making art, making art, making art, taking classes, experimenting, reading, learning.

Writing this blog and documenting my creative journey, taking and editing pictures, hopping from one language to the other, solving technical problems, running my little shop that allows my art to carry joy and inspiration into the homes of others around the world, connecting with other creatives on social media, helping each other and sharing daily discoveries, meeting deadlines for art show commitments, magazines and book submissions, so that my creative dreams don't stay small and hidden in the nest of my studio...

This has been a lot of work, this is a lot of work. Good work, real work, work as in answering your soul's calling and making it come to life. Work done with joy, dedication and hope.

Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper
Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper

And yet, right now all this needs to make room for something new.

I told you earlier that I was going back to school this year, to learn a new job (because, believe it or not, all this creative work does not, for now, put bread on the table - well ok, a few crumbs). Just before Xmas I decided to leave the youth and cultural center where I had started my internship a few weeks before. Spending my days stuck at the front desk was not what I had expected and I just had to move on, trusting I would find some other place where I could truly learn and feel useful.

Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper
Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper

My heart's whispers, which I had been ignoring for way too long, led me to a nursing home. I'm so glad they did. I just spent my first full week there and feel such gratitude for all I have learnt already, all the little miracles I have witnessed and sometimes been part of, the humbling sense of being truly useful, the gift of standing at the side of people who are so much further on their life journey than me, but now depend on others to keep walking their paths.

So for now, I need to accept the fact that I simply can NOT do it all. At the end of the day, I come back home with my head and my heart full, but exhausted and longing for my bed as soon as the kids are in theirs. Plus I have essays to write and homework to do! This means that a good part of my creative work must be put on hold for a whole year. Those of you who are faithful followers of my art page on facebook might have noticed it's been very quiet lately. And I am far from the 2 weekly blog posts I used to write before. I can't paint every day anymore.

You belong, Life Book 2014, page 1, warm up exercise, © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper
You belong, Life Book 2014, page 1, warm up exercise, © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper

But I trust it will be OK, it will turn out just as it is supposed to. I trust this journey I'm on, even though I don't have a clue where I'll stand in a year's time. I know that being an artist is at the heart of my life's calling, that I am not leaving this part of me behind at all, but that it is going to unfold in new and unexpected ways for a while.

Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper
Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper

And I am taking the Life Book 2014 e-course, with weekly prompts and art lessons to keep creating all year long. It's going to remind me to keep creating in a stress-free way, even if I only have one small session a week. In the first lesson, the first week of January, we chose our "word of the year". Mine turned out to be Trust. It has already helped me a lot and I know it will be an everyday source of inpiration and serenity.

Until next time, and until I find a moment to work on last week's and this week's Life Book assignments, here are the first two pages of this year-long journal I have started.

Have a beautiful week everyone!

You belong, Life Book 2014, page 1, warm up exercise, © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper
You belong, Life Book 2014, page 1, warm up exercise, © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper
Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper
Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper

Trust your wings and Rise...

Trust your wings and Rise...

There's nothing like a bit of Disney magic... Tonight I watched a little bit of Dumbo with the kids. I hadn't watched it in years and fell in love with this scene at the end where the chubby, clumsy little elephant loses his (fake) magical feather that was supposed to give him the power to fly.

He panicks and falls and falls and falls but at the last second, cheered on by his little friend the mouse, he finally finds the strength and faith to trust his own wings, and gracefully rises. He becomes who he was always meant to be.

Rise, mixed media painting on canvas, 2013 Laly Mille
Rise, mixed media painting on canvas, 2013 Laly Mille

Well, that's what this little painting is all about: trust your wings, take off and rise higher than you ever thought you could... (+ an elephant's weight of gratitude to all the little mice... LOVE you guys).

(this painting is dedicated to Yves, his family and all who loved him. Peace and Hope)

"Vulnerabilis" a new winged key assemblage

"Vulnerabilis" a new winged key assemblage

This is my latest "winged key" assemblage. This one is called "vulnerabilis" and speaks of how sometimes we get hurt, betrayed, abused, but we feel we have to soldier through it all and keep going anyway. So we lock up our heart and soul like fragile butterflies. "Safely", behind glass, standing still, maybe visible, but untouchable. Too vulnerable.

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

We protect ourselves, we pretend. We cringe if someone comes too close. We recoil. We put up signs that say "handle with care" or even better, don't touch me at all. Don't break the glass. Love, friendship, a helping hand, empathy, intimacy? Entering the danger zone. And we get used to it, living behind the glass, seeing life through the glass. We make it home.

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage, detail by Laly Mille

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage, detail by Laly Mille

And yet, being vulnerable, truly vulnerable, is something different. It doesn't mean we're too fragile for life. It means mustering up the strength to let ourselves be seen, heard and touched again. Owning our story, daring to let this butterfly spread its wings, alive. Vulnerability doesn't mean weakness, it means courage.

But when we're so used to our pretty cage, our self-inflicted imprisonment, it's not easy to open it and take flight. Yet it's not sealed forever, somehow we know there is a way out, we hold the key. And maybe, if we let ourselves dare to trust again, someone will gently help us unlock it from outside. And we'll feel the wind again.

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage, detail by Laly Mille

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage, detail by Laly Mille

The "winged keys" are an assemblage series. I add a new one from time to time. You can see the other pieces HERE.

Wishing you a good flight today...

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

Imperfect

Imperfect

Imperfect: Mixed media assemblage on wood and plaster

Here is another little winged key! (read more about this assemblage series here!) This tiny one had been lying around my ephemerae drawer with its mismatched wings for quite a while, waiting for a suitable frame or container, waiting for other objects to "adopt" it, waiting for a "perfect fit"...

But, not surprisingly, something much more interesting than "perfect" was waiting around the corner! As I was clearing my garage/studio for the winter last night, I found this old wooden meter that I had completely forgotten about. And there it was...

Imperfect, mixed media, assemblage sur plâtre et cadre en bois © 2012 Laly Mille
Imperfect, mixed media, assemblage sur plâtre et cadre en bois © 2012 Laly Mille

I have named this piece "Imperfect": it is made of bits and pieces, just as any life is, and speaks of uniqueness. It whispers that we do not have to "measure" everything about ourselves, our lives, our bodies, our jobs... It is about daring to fly away from "standards" and acknowledging our own unique, beautiful, precious, imperfect self.

Little winged mysteries...

Little winged mysteries...

hypothesisW1.jpg

It's been a while since I didn't post any addition to my "winged keys" assemblage series. Here is the latest one, "Hypothesis", and a little flashback to all the previous ones (links are included if you feel like reading their various stories).

What I love most about the art of assemblage, is that something is born out of chaos and randomness. Bits and pieces of this and that, found objects and discarded materials suddenly seem drawn to one another in a very unpredictable way, until something emerges that somehow makes sense. I don't really think about the "meaning" of a piece while creating it, but once I take a step back from the almost finished artwork, thoughts and words come to mind which make it complete. And in the same way, if life sometimes seem full of chaos and randomness, maybe by trusting our intuition we can put it all together in a way that works for us, our very own "hypothesis"...

Art, if necessary by Laly Mille
Art, if necessary by Laly Mille

"Art, if necessary" was the first of the series (although I didn't know at the time that I would be making several others). It has the basic elements that have been consistent through the series : a plaster "container", a vintage key, wings, white and natural tones.

Other
Other

"Other" was the second one in the series, this time with the wings of a bird (a vintage print) and a cage as the container.

Life, still
Life, still

"Life, still" was first inspired by this beautiful prune-tree branch that I found in my garden. It speaks of fragility and the passing of time, and of the way art can keep some precious things alive that would otherwise be forgotten...

Within the lovely chaos of my drawers, I still have many keys, wings and orphaned objects awaiting their turn. I might be sharing them here soon...

Other

Other

Other: mixed media assemblage

Other © 2012 Laly Mille 26 x 20 x 20 cm - 10,2" x 8" x 8" Mixed media assemblage, wire, plaster, paper

Sometimes we can feel different, inadequate, labeled as "other" and trapped in a cage that is too small for our wings. But we'll manage to escape and take flight towards our dreams!

This piece is part of the "winged keys" series. This key belonged to my grandparents and has a lovely aged and rusty look.

Working with plaster and wire is so much fun! I recommend these two books (one is in french and the other in english):

- Fil de fer, un brin de poésie

 by Claire Rougerie

- Plaster studio

by Stephanie Lee & Judy Wise (including how to make a similar plaster cage!)

Art, if necessary: a winged key assemblage

Art, if necessary: a winged key assemblage

Inspired by entomology boxes, this piece is part of a "winged keys" series. To me it speaks of mystery, holding the key to our dreams, as elusive as they may sometimes seem to us. The dice at the bottom evokes chance, coincidences and good luck, and how we must make the most of them to soar...

Art, if necessary : mixed media assemblage on plaster by Laly Mille
Art, if necessary : mixed media assemblage on plaster by Laly Mille

© 2012 Laly Mille

10" x 12,5" x 2" / 26 x 32 x 5 cm

Mixed media assemblage on plaster, wire and paper