Heart space reflections
I am starting a big project with a friend and like and project it is a learning curve. It starts with an idea of a heart that has an aching missing part. This is the point where the idea of a missing part starts revolving in my head. What does a missing part look like and how can apart be missing from a heart? What would that look like? A heart is organic beating energy that sustains us. The image I keep coming back to is the nothing from the Never Ending Story. That darkness that eats up all in its path. The missing part feels like it is an emptiness where something has been lost or misplaced. So I continue along the path of what it looks like. The friend I’m working with mentioned the idea of a clockwork mechanism with a part missing. This didn’t feel right to me and hearts are feeling places within us and if that is true then it is a feeling that is missing. Representing a feeling is another idea that takes me deeper down the rabbit hole of endless possibilities. It seems that the missing pieces are a black emptiness that is almost corroding the heart and the only way to retrieve it is to bring it back to life.
That idea of growth and growing and loss is the focus here. Of course, there are small losses and big losses and many grey areas in between. Sometimes that piece is simply misplaced and forgotten along the way until the corrosion starts to spread and the ache grows and grows spreading a dark cold empty space inside. This is one of those faces of depression as we try to explain the feeling inside as things just don’t feel right.
My first thought was a star shaped blackness that is the emptiness of something missing. The star shape because it is a symbol of hope as the search for this missing thing is undertaken. That deep knowing that if something is missing, it can always be found. It is the willingness to begin the search and find what it is our heart desires to make us whole.
I have decided to create a small series of hearts that have a missing piece and see where this idea will lead me. I have been enjoying creating in sacred circle spaces lately but this idea needs a square or a rectangle. A circle feels complete in itself and in flow and gives a sense of freedom. A square feels a little bit like the heart is trapped or stuck and suites the idea of a missing piece. This is more about abstract idea play than I normally undertake but an opportunity to see where it leads. The concept of a missing piece invokes so many questions seeking answers. What is missing and from what part of the heart? What does the missing piece feel like and look like? Is it organic or mechanical? For me, it has to be organic. I have started to explore ideas in my inspiration gathering journal. These ideas are still evolving and as I go I will make new connections. That’s how inspiration works as one idea sparks the next possibility. For now, I want to see where the heart as a feeling space can lead and how I can explore this idea.
Some ideas to explore
star shaped black hole…like a crack
A spiderweb that is the memory threads holding the heart together
Roots twisting over an empty missing space in the heart and down into the earth
Explore using different media to create your heart such as collage and paint pens
Hearts scratched back into a light textured surface
A bandaids cross on the heart to indicate the missing piece
Add other symbols that link to the feeling – teardrops, stars, crosses etc…
Shift the position of the missing piece from one side to the other or to an edge.
Draw a smaller square inside your square to create a frame for your heart.
Let your heart sit inside the frame or overlap the edges.
Play with the shapes and images around the heart
Make the heart big to fill the shape or small within a larger background space
Use a pencil and pen in grey tones and add a small area of colour.
I wonder what you would draw…create…a series of hearts. What if you were to explore the idea of a missing piece in your heart? I wonder what side of your heart you would imagine that missing part. For me, it is always on the right and I’m not sure why. It’s not on an edge but I wonder what that would look like…on an edge and on the right?
Play with small drawings of hearts with missing parts. See what connections come to you. Draw a series of small squares on a piece of paper. A simple grid works beautifully. In each square draw a heart. Some may have missing pieces and some may be growing flowers and bright. Some may be corroded around the edges. See what ideas flow as you explore the beauty of heart energy.
The story of Josh
Of course, there is more to a picture book story and this first heart play was an easy way to find my way into the story and start to understand how Josh the cat was feeling. Big projects are made easier when you begin to look at the ideas as small pieces of a larger whole. To understand what a story is really all about we first need to know what is in our hearts. So a heart seemed like the best place to begin. The story of illustrating my first picture book is challenging and evolving as I find pieces of me in the story as I explore Josh’s world. I am learning to trust all the playful explorations along the way.