universal upgrade, part 2

wow, this has been a beautiful passage in my life and i had lost track of some time since the last upgrade. in the beginning of the year, i had the pleasure of being called to have my art represented in a newly opened gallery in Santa Barbara, the Jadenow gallery. interesting timing as i had put down the idea of making more sculpture and visual art for a time while coming to terms with what is necessary to make my music happen, to try out new muscles that usually lie dormant while sculpting, my mouth being covered by a mask. what great honor however to be asked to be a part of the opening and how much work there actually was to get everything ready to take down to the gallery. i had to re-sand and polish a couple of different stone sculptures to bring them up to gallery level, and to finish bases on a couple of others.

Jadenow Gallery

Jadenow Gallery

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there was much excitement and a video documentary was made of the last eight hours before the grand opening, with everything coming together at the last minute. it felt like a miracle that there was a grand opening, and even with the genie lift still being on the floor and a few boxes and chaos going on, we all managed to make it happen.

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i had some space to call my own by the end of the day.

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summary

summary

i had fun. afterwards we packed up a few things i had brought down, and i said goodbye to new friends and to my art! now some months have gone by, and last week i received a call from the gallery to tell me that two of my sculptures had been sold! very exciting news, and with it a fleeting sense of loss as i realized that, not having met the buyer, i most likely will never see these two again as they move on to their new lives and homes. it is good to know that my work will exhibit grace in a new place. goodbye, Poe! ….goodbye, Ancestor! …i love you!

Poe, Chlorite and Granite base

Poe, Chlorite and Granite base

Ancestor

i am in fact thrilled that all this occurred and it is my great pleasure to be able to have been well compensated and to have the funds from the sale of these two beauties feed back into more art and expression! thank you, Jadenow Gallery, art patrons, friends and thank you Universe! maybe it is time to return to the workshop…

stay tuned for more….

 

the artist on sex, the shadow and spirit

yes, I am choosing to write about a risky topic, in that it entails broaching the conversation of our most private and often unexplored topic, sex!  it gets our attention and regardless of our opinions, preferences and experiences will command a moment or more of attention when we see it in a topic.  it is natural, biological, and humans are captive to the impulse regardless of their personal conception and whether it involved sexuality or was a scientific experiment.  the biological sequence of becoming a life form involved an exchange of energy to initiate development.

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“untitled” collage 10″ x 10″ istara freedom

development from the infinite unknown, or spirit world into a life form took some sort of attraction and environmental arranging to occur.  thus the occurrence of matter!  any matter formed also creates a shadow.  shadows can be fun.  we can play with shadows, and become the master of our shadow.  we can turn in a certain way to the light and with our eye see the smallest shadow possible.  if we desire we may grow that shadow to immense proportions with the right angles of light, and make a large impression with our shadow.  some may call this a negative impression, and indeed it can be.  however there is another side besides the negative shadow, and it is the protective, powerful guardian side, that we can also depend on if we know how to work the light.  and now of course you know that I am speaking metaphorically as well as physically.

okay back to the sex, time to keep the attention going here, for real! –a quick review, how are all those things related–artists, sex, shadow, spirit?  oh yes, by nature of having a physical form, attention is drawn toward the impulse of exchange, and energetic exchange that creates more energy is a matter to consider, along with its shadow.  a psychological shadow also develops as a psyche forms when the matter begins to relate/exchange with other forms.  it all may seem very abstract but there is a basic exchange, a relationship.  in that sense spirit is drawn to that which is energetically embedded in our primal impulse, from that moment when energy surged into the cells that began to grow into us.  that universal occurrence of biological exchange makes us especially drawn to the idea of sex.  regardless of the opinion we have regarding sexuality, we will respond to the word or idea with some attention.  artists are the ones that visibly, consciously externalize the shadow–both physically and psychologically to the world, becoming a reflection for other lifeforms to relate to.  many artists have an ongoing representation of the shadow in their work.  it is an opportunity to have a reflection, and to share the reflection, as there are those that are conditioned to believe that the shadow is bad, or to be feared somehow, and want to minimize it to be more comfortable.

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“untitled” collage 10″ x 10″ istara freedom

we can benefit by being aware of the shadow–as a performance of personal power, or to provide a distraction, or open a conversation with the psyche as to ones fears and challenges.  I have found the dialogue can be very helpful, to assess where i am in relation to my shadow.  by looking at it, envisioning it, and playing with the shadow, we can communicate with the parts of our psyche that are pre-lingual, and deep in shadow.  it may well be an uncomfortable conversation at first, as our very powerful imaginations combined with deep elemental forces will detail any type of fear or fantasy we may have.  artists and creative types, scientists, are agents of this primal creative energy, and often explore aspects of shadow sexuality in their work.  the commercial viability of sexuality is part of our collective human shadow and is a consideration for many artists and the phenomenon we know as ‘selling out’.  because sexuality is viable, it will often dominate certain types of commercially successful art forms, especially in film and music.  as artists with integrity we can minimize the grotesque exploitation of sexuality for profit by looking at the shadow sides of ourselves and use the sexual energy to create work that honors the sexual impulse of all life as a more elemental occurrence.

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“O” collage, mixed media 2′ x 3′ istara freedom

as I am transitioning from the more quiet side of the visual arts to songwriting and singing, I am beginning to consider performance again and selling an image.  I get to play with the ideas of sexuality and how much of a sexy image I want to portray.  i consider the challenge it has been for me from time to time to present or ‘sell’ my  visual art, as it is open to interpretation and has the energy of self reflection.  it gives the viewer a mirror to go deep inside and that can be uncomfortable for those that want a pretty and conventional surface to relate to–or people will get distracted by my physical presence, and want to shift the focus to me. so now i get to play with selling my own image in the presentation of the songs if i choose.

perhaps you were expecting a more juicy expose on sex, shadow, spirit and the artist. i will admit, i have been curious to see just how much of a difference in the traffic to my site will be affected by including sex in the topic, and this is part of my research. maybe another day i will write a more ‘juicy’ piece to make up for it if my readers seem interested. let me know. thanks for the visit!

ON MYTHS ABOUT ARTISTS: explained from the 5th Dimension

Istara (595)

istara freedom –photo by Jamileh Dille

–A conversation between my expanded 5th dimensional brain and my here-self now:

 

one: artists are flaky

5D BRAIN:  …seen from the 5th dimension, artists tend to have many layers of complexity. on the extreme end there are people with diagnosed conditions–idiot savant, autistic and so on, that are accomplished or prolific artists that operate from parts of our immense brains that most 3rd and 4th dimensional humans never access. yet artists that function in your conventional societal structures also operate from these extra-dimensional, typically unused parts of human brains. this becomes challenging for those that live solely in three and four dimensions to understand.

Yin in Space

space quan, collage, 10″ x 10″ by istara freedom

ME:  our societal and structurally contrived world, for the most part, is confounded and confusing- it means nothing to me, yet well designed artifice can be pleasing and supportive to ideal human evolution. when i remember the sweetness, the nectar of the gods and how that juice is actually inside of me i breathe deeply, relaxing in the feeling that i am worthy of enjoying this moment, because Divine is inside of me. wow. god, whatever…divine nature, spirit, or ___________________. there IT is! and i am that I AM… i hear, ‘it’s okay to not know everything, and to just enjoy every breath’, or strive to, even if that means enduring some excruciating task, like paying bills or having dental work done or really getting into the nitty gritty of love with other beings and all That entails. i think i need a new tattoo just thinking about it. an enjoyable pain, just to temper the pain that I feel having to function in this society contrived to support greed and where money makes money is the motto, instead of time plus energy equals art and we are here to make art, all of us!

 

two: anyone can make art

5D BRAIN:  yes, anyone can. and we exist to create rich, satisfying lives, making the most of what we have: play more. play with wild abandon. respect the sacred. value safety of life more than a life of safety.

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eco art by Dylan Sturge

ME:  my son made this nature collage when he was six. he said ‘mommy, I made this art for you!’  and I love it!

 

three: is it art?

5D BRAIN:  in the 5th dimension, everything is art –accepting that is the first step. whether or not you view your world as art is up to you. this is the beauty of creation. how beautiful can you see? how creative can your perceptions become? can you perceive your life outside the framework of our contrived definition? how would our three and four dimensional worlds change if we could see everything we do creatively, empathically? once we see how everything is connected–each organism breathing creates another stroke or mark in the creation we all belong to.

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lightwave mandala, collage 10″ x 10″, by istara freedom

ME:  this is a definition of art from Dictionary.com:

art: the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

also–art etymology [Old English eart,  part of bēon  to be ] archaic  ( used with the pronoun  thou ) a singular form of the present tense (indicative mood) of be

–this is true, right!, to be is to art and to be of the earth is to be art, eart! -listen to the earth, have the ear tuned to the being of the earth and of the self to to the being of art.

 

four: artists are lazy and self-centered

5D BRAIN:  simply because artists tend to do things differently isn’t enough to qualify them as lazy. many artists work tirelessly at their art or craft. it can be intensely physical as in dance or quiet and heady, writing for instance. also many artists keep different schedules than the structured societies they live in, so it is easy to judge them as they may sleep at odd hours or have a fast from food or friends or display an obsession or fascination with a color or idea or movement for a time. it is easy to look from the outside and say, self-centered madness! -yet artists are truly service workers even if they appear to be self indulgent or self centered, as humanities soul development and evolution depend on those that bring beauty or whimsy or humor or magic and any unique perspectives on perception. artists and visionaries magnetize on many other subtle layers of existence and are vital to our communities.

hungry heart

hungry heart, collage 10″ x 10″, by istara freedom

ME:  if more people considered art and expression to be important just think how much more amazing this world could be. it is time for a renaissance! -of what only the living <being> organisms that we call artists are able to conjure up and share. and that is anyone willing to contribute to a larger collaborative vision. to really sink into the one universal energy that everything alive shares, that is the collective ability and freedom to create. to direct our creative impulses for the benefit of all, and to show that we truly value the artist in everyone, including ourselves. what do we want to create today?

 

five: art doesn’t make money

5D BRAIN:  money doesn’t exist in the fifth dimension. everything is light and attainment is by joyful focus on the concentration of many densities of light, and by agreement.

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space i reach 4, collage 10″ x 10″, by istara freedom

ME:  I am still trying to figure this out. I have made some money selling my art, my sculptures especially. I see some artists making money. I see people that make an art of making money. I see some business people making art that makes money because their art is a business. artists need money just like all other people. and there are other ways to benefit from making art provide in ways for your life than just monetary exchange, as in barters and for charitable or educational gain. if you are making art to make money then make it a business. or make a part of your art the part that makes some money, like I have done with tattooing and painting murals, and make the rest of it just to experience making art for the sake of art.

 

the large collages

New World

‘a new world’ -five feet tall

“what did you…?”
“how did you…?”
“why did you…?”
“you did that?”

I have heard comments such as these and more regarding my large collages. they are uniquely blended and expansive, with a complete saturation of wild imagery, color, and glitter, melded together with thick, clear, shiny resin. they sparkle in many ways beyond what is captured in the photos. they can provoke intense reactions – I have had people prostrate themselves and bow before these large colorful collages, oh my! now, some of the collages are being exhibited at the Jadenow Gallery in Santa Barbara and people are asking about making the art.

the first collages came from images that I collected during an exciting time when I lived in san Francisco, CA. i was going for it: i was in art school. i had headshots and an agent. i was in an experimental theatre company, called Ego Po. i was with a dance company, we did techno tribal dance. we entertained at night club events, raves and concerts, including lollapalooza. i performed interpretive dance for a friend’s monologues who later founded a theatre currently producing shows in san Francisco. busy, busy, busy. I saved anything that caught my eye visually.

eventually when I moved from the city and took some time off to help my sister with her business in Hawaii, I had a large collection of papers, photos, club flyers, events posters and other bits of memorabilia. I had to downsize, so I coalesced them into the first collages I made. i like to expand and carry out an expression to its fullest, so they grew large. other people added things to the collages, younger relatives I spent time caring for, a girlfriend, or added art made by other artist friends. there is an influence of theatre, dance, art films, raves, and ecstatic san Francisco psychedelia. that saturated time is reflected in the large red collages, as well as the soul archeology that I spoke of in my last blog.

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‘sacred’ eight feet tall

the story of the large blue collage is a little different. this piece was made in Seattle, after i moved back from Hawaii and lived on capital hill. the blue collage was created during a lonely time. seattle was so different for me, with the rain – the slick shiny and reflective surfaces, wet gear, shiny streets in the night lights, and a view of the Olympic mountains from the balcony that saved a part of my soul when i lived there. i had an astral connection to nature that was more intense than when i lived in san Francisco. I felt ungrounded often and very close to the other side. the blossoming of esoteric wisdom became visible and I made peace with the pronounced negative space we feel when suddenly we lose someone to death.

i chose the image of Marilyn Monroe for that expression in my collage, she is pictured on the lower left side, an image of her face, an ephemeral beauty full of light. then in the same place on the right side is the beautiful negative space, like a black rose, swirling with empty darkness and emotion. there is again the notion of universes in our heads, starry substances our cells. in the top center of it all resides the ‘queen of unity’ (from a card, artist unknown) – the balance of light and dark, the perfection of balance and the supreme mother. at the bottom is the bull, also sacred to the goddess, grounded and fierce.  the image is of the woman taking him by the horns, surrendering the bull and her own self to her power. it is an homage to the divine feminine, with the gentle message being:  all that is sacred is not lost. this message led to the title: ‘all stars are not created perfect’.

all stars are not created perfect

all stars are not created perfect

because these collages were so large, i eventually had to do something with them to make room for other art and life…also because they were so large, i had to find creative ways to frame them, as i couldn’t afford to have them professionally framed. the frames became further decorative extensions of the artwork.

 

navigating the waters of self expression

 

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“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity -

as an artist i like contrasts because they compel me to define where i am. there are hard contrasts and subtle contrasts. contrasts such as hot/cold hungry/full active/static– the difference between noon and midnight or the dry heat of the sun after a swim in a cool dark pond, the angular sharpness of man compared to the smoothness of the feminine which always carries delicate space. subtle contrasts are found in the hours of dawn and twilight, where relationships, things are softened, and in the comparison of day vs. day vs. day over a years length or in the many shades of water. contrasts show me edges, and edges inform perceptions of space. awareness of the edges within the subtle and around the obvious allows for a great range of comparison, (and a location in space:)). comparison is neutral unless we attach meaning or judgment to it. so i have to be me, to explore this idea and to acknowledge that i have to be somewhat self obsessed, i mean it in the kindest way. (flips hair here)…

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what is going on here?

who feels it knows it

who feels it knows it

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summary

all of the perceptions, judgments and comparison happen in my mind. i navigate the waters of the delicate dance of balance, lived inside a divided mind, with pinpoints of starlight that appear when defining the edges. there are universes to explore inside. the joy of seeing the ‘pinpoints of light’ is what creates inspiration. expression of a fleeting definition, as with stars, is already an idea long dead by the time i am seeing its light. yet it is new to me. i enjoy its form and elements of familiarity–it came through me, and surprise, where i marvel at the end result in physical form, since i left that part open to collaboration with the edges.

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i create expressions of art through defining my perceptions. i am also the archaeologist of my soul. using pinpoints of light, i dig up images, words, ideas and uncover shapes with my awareness of edges. i see them as i feel them, or sometimes the reverse. as i learn more about myself i learn more about the world. in the present past meets future and the result is a new archaeology. what i have uncovered is perceived, compared and defined – the past. it is becoming the future. once it has been defined it is the past again. ultimately this leads to a feeling of space for me, though defining things gives me the feeling of tension, of hardness–as in the opposite of space.

my voice is the truest expression of my original perceptions, definitions, and comparisons.  it is the direct descendant of thought and best expresses emotion. my expression is the voice of my soul. i wrote poetry before i explored other mediums and realized that all the expressions are my ‘voice’. now I am making music and the songs are my voice. with the collaboration of other musicians we are creating the sounds and feelings of the words and melodies.

and the rest comes soon, stay tuned…until then, a poem from my past:

InHabit Body Speak

It’s like Seasick this being doubtful
an anti-alieum uranium alien
is cold inhabit body and damp with sweat
has ancient wings and covered with dust dry
they shine brightly silking coil
of luminescent florescence
Shaking beauty wakes with wetness
She’s a shattered winner
Smooth sheened mirror that changes color
with it’s reflections of layers on heaps
gone slightly invisible a surface to Sun On
To LUST on the lusts Lustre is less than
nothing and more than everything
it’s all still there the layers the lizard
the loudness the shinedrenched soundfeel
close to the shadow’s edge
a circumference of warmth drawing near
and a smile’s ability to draw a crowding in
of flood fill skin Tone to Sing

 

universal upgrade, part 1

some time ago i made a commitment, to get some work done and really give my love of stone sculpture my full attention for a while. it seemed that would be the only way i could make enough progress in this tough and challenging medium. it is an art that takes time and physical energy and patience and the willingness to be dirty. the results occupy space and time in such a hard and formal way, even if the gesture is soft and lovely. to make this commitment, i had to let some other interests go. tattooing for one. so i may not get to have work on myself as often for a while, oh well, that is a sacrifice i choose for now. then i asked the universe to give me some support if this is the right choice for me, and got busy with my rocks and hand tools. i had started to speak of my journey with stone in my previous entries.

i’ve come back so many times to the love of the subtractive carving process and the way it feels very complete to me, being so physical, and sometimes so slow to see results, it takes me out of my mind. i hear the sound of the tool in rhythm with my mind’s eye and the physical ability i have to execute that visual relationship. now i’ve made a deeper commitment, followed through with some action, asked for support, made some progress. i’ve received support, encountered challenges and set myself up for a year or more likely a lifetime of sculpting with the tools and techniques and new material, but especially with the feeling that there is so much more to learn and say within the medium.

wow, so what exactly was the upgrade? things went so full circle and surprised me–i’ve  learned recently that people i respect in my community have been reading my words, here. okay, to step back a bit, where i left off, i was working on the ‘angelheart’ sculpture. what a stone–the detail, the polishing, it is like glass, very crystalline! i’m happy to say it is finished. renamed ‘Ananchel’ or angel of grace. Ananchel means divine grace, and she is here to offer us the experience of an open heart allowing the love of the divine to pour in. “she awaits to bathe us in a state of ecstasy, when every cell in our body sings praises”  and offers gratitude. “Ananchel provides the state of grace which allows the angels to fill us with love, inspiration, wisdom and rapture.” the color of the onyx really does vary from white, to a soft peachy color as shown in the photos, depending on the light.

   

what happened is that after i made the commitment and fumbled around with my motivation to put the energy into it, that i had the first upgrade; the pleasure of being commissioned to create a piece in stone for an indoor water fountain made of slate and built into the corner of a wall. i put the other pieces on hold, and went for it, finding the right stone and getting it approved, eventually having enough awareness of the project and the material i started carving. (this part took a while, looking at the rough rock in the shadowy corner, and trying to ‘see’ it in my minds eye) i loved working the stone, pyrophyllite. the consistency and color and smooth, tight grains. the idea of water and the shape of the fountain informed a feeling in me of where my eye and tools wanted to go together. also, there was a lovely patch of red on the top corner of the stone that the client really liked, however the red was pretty shallow and toward the front, so had to find my way around that brief red coloration and not overwork the area, a thought i dreaded. the following pictures are: the fountain, the sculpture, and the fountain with the sculpture.

  

i then encountered a problem with my growth. i made too much dust in my home studio environment (that was our garage and yard) and had to look around for a new place to work. i heard about Pratt in Seattle and looked into it for a studio rental. i rented the stone yard there to finish my piece and am so glad i did. it is a great place that has everything i need to continue my exploration of committment to stone sculpture, the tools, the air, the water, drill presses, the six inches of dust, etc. i have had the place to myself, except for a few random and changing artists and the department technicians which have been most supportive. this place allows me to keep busy and have more resources and and a good atmosphere to work in, as it is surrounded on two sides by a community park on the other side of which is a great local coffee place.

that is why you may not have seen or heard from me as much in a while. i’m encouraged to continue writing along with creating sculpture and visual art, and recently i contributed to a group show at artwalk in Issaquah, completed another five-day figure sculpture intensive and am getting ready to have a place in the local annual salmon days festival in one weeks time. events that are requiring me to finish pieces and consider how i want to represent myself and grow.

renaissance in stone

if ever there has been a time for a renaissance in stone, it is now. mother earth is changing, people are changing, and our entire world is responding. it is now i find myself reflecting ever more on the permanence of stone art. much of what we know about ancient human civilisations has come from stone art, masonry, petroglyphs, sculpture, and ancient writings carved in stone. the earth moves and changes and buries the pieces of our lives, whether slowly over great swaths of time, or in swift, fell swoops, as in the geological release of energies in the form of earthquakes, volcanos, and tsunamis. stone frequently survives and maintain its qualities and shapes, often over many thousands of years.

i believe there is great value in the appreciation and contemplation of stones, rocks, crystals and gems. in our rapidly changing technological world, i want to see more people have the opportunity to experience the appreciation of stone art. there are psychological and emotional benefits that come with having to slow down in time and in the thought experience. there are pure, hard, cool, smooth, subtle, vibrant and rugged natural qualities in a stone. these can be a soothing qualities to contemplate in our hectic, frantic, virtual, fast paced world. stone is actual reality, nothing virtual about it. the time has come for more art collectors and investors to choose to invest in the value of permanence, the value of art made from nature’s matter in its purest form.

i’m working on a new piece.  it is a compact piece of onyx. it is mostly white-ish with a translucent quality and the color deepens in places to a lovely pale peach. in the beginning, it looked similar to this, in size, general shape and color:

i purchased the pieces of onyx from another stone carver, who has an enviable collection of rocks and finished rock sculptures. i spent a good deal of the afternoon choosing from the different types of rocks and stones and shapes and sizes. this is my first time carving onyx. i was surprised it was so light in color, but when i saw how beautiful the light looked coming through the stone, i could not resist its calling. twice. i chose two pieces of onyx. 

i like to approach a chunk of stone that i am going to sculpt as if it is a conscious entity, with its own weight, particular shape and voice. i like to think it speaks to me, although it is rarely with words. the first piece of onyx that i felt drawn to carve had a more diamond or teardrop shape than that of the example above, and was slightly smaller. i saw, or heard, the angel right away. i was working on the stone one day for maybe an hour when my four-year old son came out and looked at me and the stone. ‘mommy’, he said, ‘you’re carving an angel’…and i felt very pleased, that he could see the angel too.

wings above the angel

after a short time of working and looking at the stone and getting a sense of where the angel was, (because i didn’t have a visual translation yet for my experience of the angel) i saw a heart, a valentine’s heart, not an anatomical heart, yet, 3D–perfect, right there in the side. i worked it just a little, and on both sides of the rock took off the loose, broken or dirty bits of stone. eventually the angels wings began to show followed by the appearance of the head and arms as well.

the first heart

i have been using several different chisels, two points, a rake, a small power tool, a large file, and a couple of paint brushes to sweep away stone pieces and dust, as pictured in the beginning. as i worked, another large heart began to emerge from the other side, along with another angelic figure wrapping the large heart. it now takes the working title, angelheart.

large heart and angel

 

i have shared my process thus far in the creation of a stone sculpture. it is a bit like falling in love. i will savor the time spent chiseling, defining, refining and polishing this piece from where it is now. in this relationship, the more work i put into it the more i get to know its form and beauty, until it is finished. there is already so much here, and yet it is really just the rough, a sketch of the finished expression. i intend to document the evolution of this work of art. i will check in with photos as the piece becomes more defined.

angelheart