Myth and Wonder - The Visionary Art of Helena Domenic
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On Being a Diva
A Letter to My Middle School Self
Kehinde Wiley, Barack Obama, Art History, Race, and Gender
Keep on Smiling Through the Pain
A New Year, a New Beginning

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My Blog

On Being a Diva



They see me rollin,' they hatin'.


A number of years ago, I heard from a friend that someone we both knew was going around referring to me as a “Diva.” Now at the time, this really got under my skin, especially since the friend in question refused to tell me who the source was. By the way – I have since learned that if someone brings you information and they are not willing to reveal the source, it is not real information, it is GOSSIP and should be ignored. However, Wise Helena had not kicked in that day, and it was Nervous and Low Self Esteem Helena who heard those words.

A Letter to My Middle School Self

Dear Middle School Helena,

I’m going to just get this out of the way right now. Middle School is awful. Everyone (nearly everyone) is hitting puberty and hormones are shooting out all over this school in ways that are probably best left not thought about. I’m Future Amazing Helena, and I am here to tell you a few things I wish someone had told you then.

You are incredibly bright and talented. You are special and gifted; even if you mother keeps telling you that you don’t belong in a gifted program.

Kehinde Wiley, Barack Obama, Art History, Race, and Gender

I was very excited to learn that two young, African American painters had been chosen to paint the official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively.  I have followed the work of Wiley in particular over the past 15 years or so, and was very excited that the Obamas had specifically chosen these two artists for their National Portrait Gallery representations.

You can see and read about the portraits in this New York Times articlehere
 
I always tell my students that interpreting art is a deeply personal thing, so perhaps I should not have been surprised to read online that there were a number of people who did not feel as I did.

Keep on Smiling Through the Pain

Today's ear worm happens to be a hit song from back in the seventies.... it is reminding me that even when everything looks bad, we need to remain positive. The song was written by someone with the unfortunate name of Wet Willie:

Well you say you got the blues, 
Got holes in both of your shoes, 
Feelin' alone and confused, 
You got to keep on smilin', keep on smilin' 

....Keep on smilin' through the rain, laughin' at the pain 
Rollin with the changes til the sun comes out again 

A New Year, a New Beginning

I have been downright awful about blogging in pretty much every area where I have tried to maintain a blog, and so I begin this blog post by saying I promise to put something here every day, even if it is just a random hello or a little sketch or even some dumb thing. I know that writing begets writing, so I intend to make writing happen for me with starting to write.

I spent much of 2017 feeling sad about a number of things, politics perhaps first and foremost among them. The racial divide in our country seems to be wider than ever, however at the same time, we are talking about it more than in the past.

H is for Hecate

As many of you are aware, the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel holds an annual Festival of Hecate ritual. I have been a bit behind this week with school keeping me much too busy (see previous post), so I have for you something I wrote that was inspired by one year's Hecate ritual. In this writing, Hecate tells the story of the abduction of Persephone from her point of view. I hope you enjoy it!

I was in my cave, contemplating the depth and darkness of it all when I heard the Maiden’s screams. By the time I emerged from within, the ground had already swallowed the Kore up, Hades taking Her down into His dark realm.

Musings on Education and Why April is the Cruelest Month

April 25, 2015
 
APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
 
From “The Wasteland” by T. S. Eliot
 
We count the cycle of the year in so many ways, and for myself and my colleagues in higher education, April truly can be the cruelest month. We find ourselves hurtling towards the end of the school year, with graduation looming for our seniors and finals and final grades for everyone.

Becoming Fire

For the past four months I have been studying Shamanism with Caroline Kenner in the Washington, DC area. Each month, we explore a different area, and this last class was all about fire. Sometimes I am lucky enough to receive some kind of artistic or poetic inspiration, and this past class, I was very happy to receive this poem about fire.


The outburst of light,
Pouring out
Outpouring as from an exploding star
Expanding expanding expanding
Becoming the Universe;
the brightest flame of them all.
It consumes the star

Art and Ritual in Art Creation

I was recently asked, along with a group of other artists, by Renee Phillips of Manhattan Arts, to describe what kinds of rituals do I use when sitting down to create, if I used anything to set the mood, any special music, and so forth. The array of answers was fascinating as artists shared what rituals they use, if any, ranging from artists who just plunge in and begin working to others who need meditation and other tools to begin.
 
For me, the art making process itself is ritual. The studio is my sacred space, where I am free to create and follow where my inspiration leads.

A New Poem About Water

Many Crossings

I dream now of waters of life
The waters that gave birth to me and mine
Manannan Mac Llyr I feel you striding across the North Atlantic
And in the south, I feel Olokun and Yemoja swimming through warmer waters
And all somehow reaching this continent
This foreign land where my distant ancestors
All come together and mingle in my blood
My blood like water
Water flowing through my heart
Blood flowing through my veins
Taking on endless shapes and forms
Waving on beneath the seas, the rivers, the little creeks