Live Auction Artwork – The Dance
This year artist Maggie Lochtenberg came to us with an idea for our Who’s Your Sally wall that came to her during a meditation across the globe. Well, once she explained her concept to us, we were hooked, and we think you’ll be inspired too once you see the installation at White Light White Night on Saturday. Maggie took her inspiration one step further and created an incredible partner piece that will be available as part of our Live Auction on Saturday. Take a peek inside her process for creating this beautiful artwork that could go home with you. Without further ado, let us present….The Dance by Maggie Eileen Lochtenberg and presented by XeroSolar.
About The Artwork
The Dance is a visual love letter, a self portrait, and a tribute to the spirit of the Crane. I began the painting a couple months ago, but the seed of inspiration was planted when I was a young child, and has been gestating mysteriously ever since:
When I was 5 or 6 years old I learned to make origami cranes with my mom and siblings. We were assigned the role of making a few dozen each, to be hung inside our local church, as part of a celebration of parish teenagers taking the Catholic sacrament of Confirmation. The soft sponge of my mind learned the origami formula quickly and I exceeded my quota. The installation was beautiful- the white birds floating in space, speckled with colored light from the stained glass windows.
My childhood passed in the playful chaos of Life’s cycles, and I mostly forgot about my little origami friends, until years later I needed them, and the paper cranes quietly followed me to the jungle.
Two years ago I found myself in a painful crosscurrent of crises, so I spent some time soul-searching in South America. I practiced meditation at a Vipassana center for two months in Brazil, then headed West to work with an indigenous medicine woman of the Peruvian Amazon. I had to face several physical and spiritual challenges, simultaneously healing cysts in my womb and cysts in my psyche, blocks to my authenticity & creativity. I found myself doing ‘inner marriage counseling’ in near-isolation for 4 weeks, living in a tiny hut, on a strict and bland diet, with minimal amenities, and without any books or art supplies.
My packing mistakes were reconciled by a generous woman on my way to the village who had brought an ‘extra’ book with her: The Artist’s Way. And on the cover of this incredible guide by Julia Cameron: a painting of cranes flying through the sky. She also gifted me a small stack of blank paper. I had no drawing pencils with me, but discovered a mysterious needle and spool of thread in a pocket of my backpack.
It had been some 10 years since I had made a paper crane. But it’s amazing what you can recall when alone in the jungle. I found the memory in my fingers, not my mind. Soon I had paper cranes dangling all around my little hut. I tied several to the inside of my mosquito net, and when I had a sizable flock, I moved on to the mango trees.
Folding the birds into form became a meditation for me, and I hung them all over the little village. The local children joyfully swarmed me for the paper white birds which bounced along the air beside them as they ran, arms outstretched, holding the thread. And everywhere I walked or stopped to read, the cranes greeted me, dancing in the breeze, speckled with stained-glass light from the forest canopy. For the first time in a long time, I felt connected. It was as if the spirit of the Crane was protecting me, as well as guiding me back to myself, to my creativity.
When my month in the jungle was finished, everything had changed inside. I learned to pay attention to the forces of nature, the masculine and feminine dance within me. To listen to my body, and to find my authentic voice and creative process. I felt I had taken my own sacrament of Confirmation. Perhaps not born to forever be a Catholic, I knew I was born to forever be an artist.
Rewinding once more; I recall another book from my past that bore cranes on the front cover… A Tom Robbins novel came to me serendipitously while I was working at a local restaurant in high school. (A stranger delivered it unexpectedly, proclaiming that I had to read it.) A plot point put a hitchhiking female protagonist en route to a ranch during the mating season of a crane species, to witness their spectacular courtship dance. The book was wild and weird and in hindsight, extremely influential to me. (I ended up having a quote from it tattooed on both sides of my head- a nod to the dance between the right & left hemispheres of the brain)
Now, with my hair grown out and head tattoos hidden, I find myself in awe of Life’s unfoldment and the small and natural miracles all around me. One of those little miracles is the connection I feel with my fiancé Nikolai. Our relationship is a medicinal dance. Both of us trying to balance our hemispheres, work on our inner marriages, and play and learn together about harmony and intimacy.
But the intimacy isn’t just about us. It’s an intimacy with Life itself, with all of creation. With the lilies in our garden, with the animals and people and spirits all around us. It’s such a beautiful mystery. I’m so grateful to share it with him, and with every being on my path. The painting of The Dance isn’t only a love letter to Nikolai. It’s a love letter to Nature, to life’s magic, and a thank you note for my passing part in it.
And joyful as it is, to be in romance, to feel connected, to paint my gratitude… tears get mixed into the pigment. Tears because all the love and beauty is continuously changing, always passing. And in moments of stillness I realize how often I forget that. How often I take it all for granted. I paint to remember. To praise Life and it to grieve it, simultaneously.
‘Grief is praise, because it is the natural way Love honors what it misses’ – Martin Prechtel
For a full list of this and all of our Live Auction items visit our event website here.
Special Thanks to Xero Solar for sponsoring the production of this artwork.