Thursday, July 01, 2010

Teachings in Small Packages

 I have been busy working on making many different kinds of animal sculptures for upcoming shows, but the one animal that I keep coming back to is the hummingbird.   Admittedly, I am fascinated by the real tiny birds, but I thought it was interesting that unlike other animals I create sculptures of, making one hummingbird is just not enough. 

I have read many interesting facts about hummingbirds as a way to create better, more life-like sculptures, but I realized I hadn't explored their spiritual natures.

As a spirit animal, I discovered that hummingbirds represent qualities such as openness, stamina, beauty, renewal and playfulness, among others. 

It is interesting to me how often my art does a better job of telling me where I am in my life than my own mind.  Some might argue that my art is really a reflection of my mind, but those who know me well, know that that is not always true for me.  My mind is often really good at getting in the way.  My art, when I am really connecting, is a reflection of my spirit. My art tells me where I am at the moment.  My mind often muddles that connection.  So, reviewing the fact that I have been nearly obsessed with creating hummingbirds and after reading about the spiritual qualities they represent, I suddenly have gained a deeper insight into where I am in my life. 

As I work on the painting of Etain, representing the notions of rebirth and renewal, I am not surprised to find a connection to the hummingbird.  The hummingbird, on cold nights, goes into a state called torpor, where its heart and breathing all but stop.  It is as close to dead as a thing could be.  Then, with the warming of the sun's rays, it miraculously comes alive once more. It is reborn and renewed to greet another day.  The goddess painting of Etain is dealing with this on a more personal level, for we all go through moments of renewal and rebirth throughout our lives.  I cannot begin to count the number of times I have experienced this myself.

But the hummingbird also represents the opening of the heart, allowing love and healing to enter.  This has been a hard issue for me.  The past carries many wounds, scars linger, and it can often feel more wise to keep one's heart kept hidden away.  It is the way I have learned to move around in the world.  I guard my independence fiercely, but the hummingbird is teaching me that to be open is the way to healing.  I believe that with all the work I have been doing with my art, this lesson is the one I have been avoiding for too long.

The hummingbird also teaches about play.  The hummingbird is actually a rather pugnacious bird.  I have watched them get into some very intense aerial battles around the feeder.  It is amazing to see them whirl and dive at each other.  They never harm each other; it is all just posturing and play.  In my great serious pursuit in making a living from my art, I sometimes forget about the importance of good serious play.   Hummingbirds spend 80% of their time perching.  I have mistaken glimpses of their speed and high energy as  model for living daily life.  Not even a hummingbird can flit around without rest.  In fact, it rests quite a bit. 

So, I am taking the lessons that my art is teaching me and I am taking a short break.  July 10th will be my first in a series of summer shows.  It will do me no good to stretch myself so thin that I have no energy to present my sculptures.  I am going to work on opening my heart to those who truly appreciate me for who I am, and thus allow healing to take place.  I will rest and practice the art of good healthy playing!

What might you learn from the tiny teacher, the hummingbird?

Happy Holiday to All!

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Sans Souci Studios said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and process, and those little hummingbird sculptures are wonderful! They have so much hummingbird 'tude!

Antony Galbraith said...

Thanks! I am glad you like the sculptures. It is always reassuring that other people can respond to my work as well.

It's funny how something just captures you and will not let you go. I finally decided I better look into my fascination (near obsession with hummingbirds) and I am glad I did. I learned so much.

Kristi Petersen Schoonover said...

tony, this truly inspired me today. I've been struggling to find a balance between my writing, the cleaning, and everything else that I rarely take breaks to just play. I have decided that, since I did a lot of very good work this weekend, I'm going to the beach for a few hours to read this afternoon. Thanks for reminding me that play is just as important as everything else. It just might be the thing that kicks your life into balance.

Antony Galbraith said...

I am so glad Kristi! It is hard issue for us creative types. When we find ourselves split into the many different people we need to be to navigate in the world (days jobs, family, home and other responsibilities, ) the pressure to keep creating is very strong. In the constant struggle to juggle all these spheres, we forget to take a break and engage a good, healthy dose of play. I often forget how much taking a break revitalizes me and really pumps up my creative energy.

Eye-Catching Video said...

Those hummingbirds are awesome!

Rock The Jukebox

Antony Galbraith said...

Thanks Rock!

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