Last light at the end of a long day. That is what this particular blog feels like. I have spent the day wondering just what I wanted to say here at the end. The experience of writing twice monthly for the grant about my work, my thoughts and my process has been very valuable to me as an artist. Without the requirements to write it, I would not have. But because the opportunity and framework to create in this particular way were provided by Creative Pinellas as a part of the grant, I have a written record of what this last year has been internally and externally. Like painting, it was freeing and frustrating, euphoric and exhausting, placing another tool in my tool box, like my brushes and canvas.
I slept on it, thinking I would finish it in the morning. I dreamt in the early hours. In the dream I discovered on my hand, in the flesh between my thumb and my first finger, the body of a baby raven laying just under the skin as if had just hatched there still-born. I could see it in every detail and I was completely fascinated, wondering how it had come to be there and what I should do. My husband Danny was also in the dream. I asked him to help me cut the skin so we could gently slid the bird from beneath. I took a knife and made a cut. As the tiny raven emerged, a cocoon was revealed and a blue butterfly, wings all wet perched on my hand. It began moving it wings to dry them and they became bigger and bigger. The blue was intoxicating. I suddenly said “Danny take a picture” as he fumbled for his phone he accidentally crushed the butterfly. I too, felt suddenly crushed, overwhelmed and sad, because I understood that my wanting to capture the image of the butterfly had led to its death. And I woke up.
First light and first thoughts - Art is in the Artist. All forms, simply a means to communicate. Painting allows me layers and layers with which I am able to sort through and express my feelings. I must admit, as a very private person, the experience always makes me feel vulnerable. Yet I understand that is what is most honest about the experience. I have often remarked being an artist is like standing on a table naked and asking people what they think.
Last light makes way for first light. One journey ends another begins.
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YaeL Kelley lives and works at her studio in the Artist Enclave of historic Kenwood in St. Petersburg, Florida. Petersburg, Florida.