My vision board looks at me everyday as I eat dinner or work at my laptop.  It contains a multitude of images and even a key on a string.  It’s about travel – to Africa to see giraffes run, and to watch a matriarch-led herd of elephants cross the savannah. The mountains of Peru and Canada are pictured, beckoning always. There’s a whale shark hoping I’ll catch a ride hanging on her dorsal fin.

Then there are the photographs and newspaper clippings about relationships. How to fall asleep by matching your breathing to your mate’s. How to stay in love even in the rough times. A man and woman, hiking poles in hand, stand on the Inca trail, Machu Picchu in the background. Rumi is there, helping me remember there is calm in a life lived in gratitude. A new friend that I met in Colorado last summer wrote those words on a hand-made card.  Another image shows a woman laughing delightedly, helping me know what joy looks like. Georgia O’Keeffe looks past me to her left…perhaps lonely for her desert. Diego Velazquez’ intriguing painting, Las Meninas, wants to keep some of its secrets a little longer, as I search for clues to solving all its mysteries.

At the top is a woman of a certain age painting. Vigorously. The canvas is very large, and she stands next to it, holding the top with her left hand as her right hand moves so fast it blurs.  She is fully engaged; in her moment; creating. A tiny yellow sticky note is attached to the corner of this image, asking, “Where do you find yourself most alive?”

Where? Or is it when? How? Doing what? Questions we all answer in different ways.  My where, when and how often involve creating. It often involves a circle of friends, a creative community – whether it is my art journaling group, a workshop I’m taking on a calligraphic technique, or a WiVLA program, those circles of creative women challenge me, raise my spirits, and energize me.

But then there are the solitary times, quiet ones at home surrounded by my journals, magazine images, paint bottles, brushes, scissors, matte medium.  There is focus on the page I’m making, the trying of different images and media, the satisfaction of image, color, design, and writing coming together, helping me feel very much alive – making new things, solving problems.

Have you noticed the dichotomy of feeling most alive and being lost in the moment simultaneously? It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

Cori Austin

"An ekphrastic poem is like a jolt of electricity surging through a work of art."
- Patricia Smith, ARTLines2

GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!