My first encounter with Leigh McCloskey and Michael Bennett resulted in a creative avalanche. Leigh is an artist, author, actor and visual philosopher. Michael is a clinical psychologist who is on faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, co-founder of Aeolian Center, and in private practice. Together they have discovered and now share ways art, healing and psychological development are connected. Since this has been a lifelong interest for me as well, I have been energized and grateful for their approach and education in this area. I can admit it now that I designed the two wine charts while at one of their presentations. This weekend I also suffered an attack of inspiration brought on by these two amazing people.
The first time I was in Leigh’s library in his Malibu home I was speechless (for a little while) and in awe (still am). After the September 11, 2001 attack Leigh responded by getting on his knees and painting his floor. He kept going and painted his walls, books, ceiling, couch and chairs. What he did was paint a profound symbolic story of the human experience. His willingness to be obedient to the creative inspiration, as well as his bold colors have been an inspiration to me, both in painting and in cross stitch.
Here is Leigh and Michael. And yes I am getting ready to jump on his couch cushions. I couldn’t help myself as it seemed like a moral imperative and it was fun!
My oil painting teacher from many years ago was a wise man who taught me many things including that when I don’t like a painting I made to throw rocks at it (which I did a few times but mostly I put it in time out and hope it reforms itself). My painting Yoda always told me, “Ugly colors make pretty paintings.” Seeing Leigh’s colors gave me the courage to say in my mind, “Yoda I defy you (just for a few minutes) while I pick out all these beautiful colors for my cross stitches.”
I took these cross stitches, still in progress to be released for summer, back to their birthplace for a visit, to the “painted cave” as it is now called. They also visited the Malibu beach to have their photo taken and found themselves on the edge of an early morning filming set. Maybe the top half of this cross stitch will become a movie star.
On another note, how are the Olympics and cross stitch related? They aren’t. But here is a recent conversation about them.
Frony (not paying attention but wanting to be part of the conversation anyway): “What do you call that?”
Husband (patiently stating the obvious for the zillionth to time to compensate for someone else’s inattention): “Ski jumping.”
Annoying historian: I call that tempting fate.“
Husband: “It does look dangerous.”
Frony: “Everything in the Olympics is dangerous. Cross stitching is a much safer bet.”
Annoying historian: “Not the way Frony does it. You are safer walking through the Korean demilitarized zone than walking through Frony’s work area with all the needles sticking up in the carpet.”
Happy colorful stitching and watch for needles!