Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Perceptions

Winter Blues
Pirate's Creek, Lubec, Maine

 Icy Reflection
Pirate's Creek, Lubec, Maine

 Missing Mowry Beach, warm wind, and the sound of waves.

 Downtown, snowed-in.
Lubec, Maine

Buried in snow.

 Me, after shoveling many feet of drifted snow. (See photo above!)
What a winter!

 
Sea smoke on Johnson's Bay
Lubec, Maine

 Icebergs at Pirate's Creek
Lubec, Maine

 
 The Fieldguides, heating things up on a cold winter night at Crow Town Gallery.
Speaking of Crow Town Gallery, I am excited to be part of the artist collective this summer, along with Bonnie Beard, Sheryl Denbo, and Stephen Dinsmore.
Check back for more info and exhibit schedule.

 
 Bello and Bouli sneaking in some cuddle time on their crazy cat mama's lap and legs.
It's hard to get work done with two cute cuddle bugs in tow.
 
 Sharon, Katie, and Erika on the bench, my thesis drawings above.
Holly Garner-Jackson, at Woodwind Gallery and Framers in Machias, did an awesome job framing my work for the show!

 "Rising"
Ink on Arches Hot Press, 22" x 30", Shanna Wheelock, 2014

 "Source"
Ink on Arches Hot Press, 22" x 30" Shanna Wheelock, 2014

"Merge"
Ink on Arches Hot Press, 22" x 30", Shanna Wheelock, 2014

Ghost of me, with Dean Susan Wilder, 
at Heartwood College of Art MFA graduation ceremony.


I'm in the midst of one of my winter hibernations. The past few months picked-up intensity as I rounded out five years of graduate studies. As of last month, I am the official recipient of an MFA degree. Thesis work kept me secluded much of September through January, but the drawings were finished and the paper written. I suppose one would wonder why, after nearly five months of minimal human interaction, I would find yet another retreat from the outside world necessary.

I found the process of writing a thesis, though a somewhat sedentary procedure, to be taxing on my body, mind, and spirit. I have a new found respect for writers and the struggle to find just the right words to express an idea. While I have an amazing ability to focus on project-at-hand, I also have a mind that scatters in a zillion directions at once, hopping from idea to idea. It was a challenge to narrow all that I wanted to say into a concise paper without my typical rambling. When all was said and done, I felt that what truly inspired me and snagged my interest most was contained (and only hinted upon) to perhaps one-quarter of the entire dissertation. I likely will not be truly happy with my words until I take that one idea and expand upon it, giving it the full attention it deserves.

Coming off graduation and thrust into a series of intense winter storms of record-breaking proportions, I was relegated Queen Shoveler for about three weeks running. Having lived through forty-five Maine winters thus far, I can say that this was the most snow that I have ever been privy to. Back-to-back blizzards did not afford my mind much else to think about other than how to get the snow moved so that the car would not be forever stranded in the barn. The whole town was in a bit of a tizzy with broken plows and highly-drifted and impassable roads. Needless to say, as hearty a Mainer as I am, I am feeling ready for spring to emerge. Bring on the daffodils and daily beach walks. Please.

I am taking this week to "regroup". The phone is off and internet connection is minimal. I will not venture out unless absolutely necessary. It is not people that I run from, rather, it is me that I run to. I use this time for self-care and to re-focus my thoughts. In the height of spring, summer, and fall when production, vending, exhibiting, and running the shop is in full swing, time for such personal reflection is fleeting at best.

During one of these recent introspective moments, amongst glazing, shoveling, meditating, drawing, and kitty-snuggling, I thought about "Perceptions." Follow as best you can...stream of consciousness is at work here.

We all have a perception of who we are.

In a recent small-group discussion, it became clear to me that each one of us has a strong self-perception based on how we feel we are perceived by others. I concluded from this that our perception of ourselves is distorted. We build our personal perception on what we perceive others to perceive of us.

(Have I lost you yet?)

Basically, we believe what we are told over and over, irregardless of the truth.

Beyond that, we often have a false perception of what others truly perceive.

For instance, I have been told that, through the eyes of some, that I am a type A personality. They see me as someone who is always working, professionally-driven, on-the-go, plagued by anxiety of the deadline. I came to believe this to be true. I have come to realize, however, that this is NOT who I am. Yes, I work hard. Yes, I am focused. Yes, I get cranky now and again. However, it is not in line with the inner me, with what feels to be a natural, peaceful, relaxed way of being. Only a small handful of people perceive me as a Type A, (or I perceive them to!) yet, I allowed my perception of their perception to in part define me. There is no fault, as each person bases their perception on their own experience, whether it is in relation to the self or to others.

This makes me question all perceptions that I have, not only of my self, but of everyone.

When I hibernate, I feel total peace. The flow is simple, graceful, and relaxed. I begin to touch base with my true essence. I realize that I am not a type of personality, nor am I a potter, artist, or teacher.

I am, most simply, everything and nothing at once.

I am a conglomerate of all that exists, yet I am less than everything that people perceive me to be.

Each of us is a single great being, and each of us is a tiny cell in the universe. This universe is a tiny cell in a greater existence. We are both the creator, and the created.

We over-exaggerate our role and our importance on an individual level, yet on a greater level, we underestimate who and what we are.

Our distorted perception of ourselves is based on others distorted perceptions of us.

And none of it is real.


1 comment:

Trina Stephenson said...

Congratulations on your MFA. I know how hard you worked to get it! Enjoy the relatively tranquil time before the tourist season...