Thursday, July 15, 2010

Listening to Art

Kathy Hastings spoke tonight at Kindlingsfest here on Orcas Island. Her artwork is hanging on the walls where we meet for sessions. They all have something in common; a vertical and horizontal line intersecting off center, like a cross.

I have been pondering them for two days now. I found the similarities, liked the colors, and also found them somewhat strange. There was no yearning to own one or hang it on my wall. The price tag seemed high, until I heard her story and how they came about. Now the price tag seems cheap. I want to pawn something to buy one. I'd love to hang all of them on my wall, now that I've listened to them and seen them through a paradigm shift - her heart.

She kayaks with her camera into the Seattle harbor where the working boats are anchored. Most of the time they are getting repaired/refitted. Her kayak is a speck along side these rough textured hulls.

One mark she loves to find on a ship is its Plimsoll Line or waterline.

For this particular series she took over 200 photographs, looking specifically for horizontal and perpendicular lines that intersected/crossed. When she was finished, she realized they reflected her time of processing the grief from her husband's death.

She titles the photo/encaustics:
the Sorrow the Comfort
the End the Beginning
the Finite the Infinite
the Burden the Release
the Death the Life 
the Journey the Destination 
the Fear the Peace 
the Forsaken the Found 
the Making the Maker 
the Me the You 
the Tangible the Intangible 
the Questions the Answer 
the Changing the Changeless 
the Worn the Restored 
the Divided the Whole 

Another series were photos of a copper bowl outside on a bench. Twelve months of photos. The bowl never moved. She moved. Each reflected life and a new way of seeing a new chapter, a fresh insight, or one more healing day. All of them had something seasonal reflected in the water, except one. It was dry and empty. My heart ached at the progression and I found myself empathic with her loss - through photos of a copper bowl.

She talked about wanting to know the name of the blank in between one song on a CD and another. A friend told her it was called "Digital Black". Living without her husband feels like this space at times. The song they sang together, she now has to learn to sing alone.

Her voice rang out and strummed my heart. It is still throbbing with wonder.

Here is her website.


Anonymous said...

the story behind the art
is also art

Anonymous said...

It reminds me of that old song/poem-- "The Touch of the Master's Hand." We can't always appreciate something until we know the story, where it came from, what it's capable of.

Maureen said...

Hastings' Bowl series is wonderful, I think. And her Crossings encaustics I could look at all day. They're gorgeous. How lucky you are to see all of these together.

There are some lovely photos in her Waterlines series as well, as are the Conch series of images.

M.L. Gallagher said...

How amazing -- and how wonderful you could hear her story art and feel it in your heart and share it so graciously with us!

and I'm so glad to be able to comment on your blog again!!!! :)

katdish said...

Just went to her website after reading about her here. I think her work is exceptional, but moreso now that I know a little of her story. Thanks for posting this.

Julie Evans said...

Wow... just wow.

Anonymous said...

OMG. Digital black. This kayaking woman sounds amazing, and her artwork too. I love the copper bowl progression, and the emotion that is drawn out from it. Where does she come up with this?

I have wondered at times why I get emotional feelings for objects-- like I feel sorry for songs that haven't been played in while from my ipod. "Oh, poor Joni Mitchell! She must think I forgot about her." Mabye that's similar? Symbolizes something else in life? Or just crazy.

Thanks, Kathleen, for sharing your life with us.

Joyce Wycoff said...

Thanks Kathleen for the introduction to Kathy Hastings ... she is remarkable!

Sandra Heska King said...

Oh, I need to settle in and lose myself in this art.

Kathleen Overby said...

She is an amazing woman, and lives close enough that I picture her in my garden. :) Thanks for enjoying her, my friends.