Birds.

quick journal page 8/31/2014
quick journal page 8/31/2014

Disclaimer:  I don’t personally know any birds and I am not a bird expert.  The following is all my perceptions and opinions about birds.

I like birds and here’s why.  Birds just wanna be birds.  They don’t appear to be concerned about being the best bird they can be or about what other birds think about them.  They don’t overthink things.  They work to get out of the shell and eat and learn to fly.  They build a nest, find a mate, and start a family.  They don’t try to figure out who they are or what other’s want them to be.     They don’t struggle with their personal appearance or their age or whether they are expressing themselves the right way.   They are just….birds.  It’s a simple life.

In a humble attempt to pay homage to the bird and perhaps to live a little by their example, I have decided to do a journal page a day during the month of September.  They’ll have to be quick because we are starting up school and I’ve committed to doing a workshop soon.  So…I won’t be able to overthink or perfect or obsess about whether it’s good or not.  I’ll just create and let it flow and see what happens.  I’m going to post it no matter how bad I think it is or whether I feel that it is “finished”.

Time to fly!

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Weekend Reading.

What I’m reading this weekend:

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Two new friends, both artists, gave me this book at an Artists’ Retreat last October.  I had just met them at the retreat, but as often happens in magical settings like that, we immediately jumped into some pretty heavy conversation about being artists and creating…what else?  They are brothers, one a visual artist and the other an actor in New York.

I’ve picked up the book many times since then.  I’ve read the first chapter and skipped around reading bits here and bits there.  It’s moved from my bedside table to my studio and back again- and again.  I don’t know exactly why I resisted reading it.  I believe it was probably fear.  Funny enough, since fear is actually in the title.  I’m coming to believe that the reading of the book scared me because it might mean that I would change…in what way, I don’t know.  That I might become more serious about my art and take it to a different level or try and fail.

I don’t like being afraid.  I don’t like failing.

But, this is my year of no fear.  And I have already changed.  I’ve stepped out and started writing this blog and my world is still spinning.  I’ve joined an art journaling group.  I’ve failed and I’ve learned.  Fear doesn’t seem to do as well in the face of confrontation.  Fear likes us to stay the same, resist change, and live with our fear.  Not any more.

I think I’m ready to sit down and read this book.  All of it.  Highlight in it, make notes in it and really read it. And change…for the better.

Thank you Christopher and Daniel.

 

I wonder.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 6.56.00 PMThis is a companion piece, of sorts, to yesterday’s post, Things I Learned…

Today, I’ve been wondering why…

Please don’t judge by what you read.  I will disclose that I’m not a great housekeeper.  There always seems to be something  more interesting to do, but I do strive to maintain a level of hygiene that encourages basic good health.

Not sure if there are ten, but here goes.

  1. I wonder if the guy at the grocery store is a jerk, or merely unobservant, when he commented to his wife, “Who would buy this cheap, crappy toilet paper?”, right after I put said toilet paper in my cart.
  2. I wonder  if I was being judgmental at the thrift store when I saw a guy grab a whole armful of free bread from the “help yourself” cart in front of the food bank entrance.  Oh yea, did I mention that he went out to the parking lot and climbed into a two-seater 2014 Jaguar? Maybe he really did need that bread more than any one else there.
  3. I wonder if being excited because there was a package of Naan (my son’s favorite bread) in the above referenced cart means I am making progress on living a simpler life.  It seems to be such a small thing to be excited about, but it just about made my day.
  4. I wonder how in the world did I fill the canister on my vacuum cleaner while cleaning my bedroom?  The whole canister?  I have three dogs – that must be it.  I’m positive I vacuumed in there just last week.
  5. I wonder how I used to spend so much at the grocery store.  I spend about a third of what I used to and we’re doing just fine.
  6. I wonder if I could do an art journal page a day and publicly commit to post my efforts each day (even if I didn’t like them or think they were any good).  Just wondering; not an actual commitment!
  7. I wonder what my old dog is thinking when she sits in front of a wall and barks her big ole whooping Basset bark – going on 10 whole minutes now – I’m watching the clock as I type. (see #3 from yesterday’s post)
  8. I wonder how the sink can still be full of dirty dishes when I just started the dishwasher and we weren’t even here most of the day. (see #4 from yesterday’s post)
  9. I wonder how long I can ignore the glitter spilled all over my studio desk and magically spreading, as glitter tends to do, all over the rest of the house. (see #1 from yesterday’s post & #4 above)
  10. I wonder how long I can justify sitting here trying to think up #10 before I need to get up and actually do something that needs doing.

Here’s to you having a day full of wonderment also!

 

 

10 Things I Learned This Week (so far).

  1. Although a friend of mine claims sparkly glitter makes everything better, that is not the case when you spill a whole bottle on your studio desk.  Oh, did I mention that the canvas on the desk did not include glitter in the design plan?
  2. No matter how many times you curse at, and press the button on the remote control, it won’t work if it’s the wrong remote.
  3. Even if you dearly love your old dog, her dementia can make it difficult to live with her sometimes.
  4. The dishes are NEVER done.
  5. Other people don’t necessarily give a care about your schedule or plans.
  6. The laundry is NEVER done.
  7. Sometimes people you love try to make you feel better and it just pisses you off more and then you end up trying to make them feel better and your mood just gets worse.
  8. When you run the air conditioner because you’re 50-something and sweating like crazy, it makes your electric bill so high that you sweat like crazy.
  9. Even when you proof what you are writing a zillion times because your high school English teacher was a proofreader for the N.Y. Times before she came to torture you in Senior English (deep breathe/run-on sentence), you will still make mistakes and obsessively edit your blog until you vow never to write again.
  10. There is no such thing as a bad day…life is still better now than it has ever been before…and it will be better after a good night’s sleep (a bit of wisdom courtesy of my Mom).

Who I Am!

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Today is this posting day for the art journaling group that I recently joined:

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Our prompt this week:  “Who are you?  If you had one page to show the world who you are what would you put on it?  Use anything except an actual photo of yourself to make a self portrait.”

Easy enough.  Life drawing isn’t really my thing anymore, but I can do collage all day long (I wish I could all day long)!  I started with a stack of magazines and my stash and soon had a nice little pile of things I do.

Problem #1.  What someone does all day isn’t who they are.  Doing and being are not necessarily the same thing, right?  The activities make up a part of who you are, but they are just that:  a combination of stuff you have to do and a bit of want to do.

Problem #2. How do I actually do this thing?  What if I don’t show everything.  What if how I depict myself is erroneous – my conception is somehow different from people’s perception.

Problem #3.  What if it looks like crap?  If I can’t even do a decent piece of art that shows who I am, what the heck am I doing calling myself an artist?  (This is not a new problem, by the way.)

Here we go…

  •   #1…The things I do make up the clothing I am wearing… because the activities I am involved in daily “clothe” me.  Each day  I cover myself with the needs of the day.  Some days I dress up, most days I wear work clothes.  These things I do sometimes obscure who I really am – like a worn out pair of jeans and a baggy sweatshirt.  Sometimes they protect me like a suit of armor.  Most days, they prepare and equip me for the work I’m doing – like a worn out pair of jeans and a paint-stained T-shirt.  The “real” me is always present; underneath it all.
  • Skipping on to #3…It’s not art, it’s a journal page.  Duh.  Lighten up, Kelly.
  • Back to #2…Here’s the best I’ve got:

Wings that are somewhat tattered and worn because so I am, but I still have some flying to do.

A heart of gold because I really do have a lot of love to share even if I struggle with trust sometimes.

Paintbrush bristle hair for all the times I’ve gone somewhere and realized I have a big glob of paint in my hair.

Striped tights just like the Wicked Witch of the West because I sometimes have the tendency to act like her.

Ruby slippers because no matter where I go, I long to go home.

Empty hands (not really empty, just open) letting go of “bad” stuff and open to grab “amazing”.

A glittery pink crown because somewhere in time, I quit thinking of myself as a princess (the magical child-like kind).

It’s not perfect and finished because neither am I.

Everything isn’t shown because parts of me remains hidden and there are things I haven’t discovered yet.

I know I forgot something because, as in real life, I’m sure I’ve forgotten (or lost) something.

If folks see me differently than this, that’s probably as it should be.  I’m different things to different people.

Oh, and I realize that it’s not actually a page – it’s a paper doll…because sometimes I don’t like to follow the rules.

I hope you have a day full of discoveries ahead!

 

 

Imperfectly Focusing.

I know that’s a contradiction of sorts in the title.

I am by nature a bit contradictory.  One day I want to be a minimalist and get rid of everything (almost, I’m partial to my underwear and toothbrush) and the next I want to live in a cluttered home surrounded by the bits that reflect our crazy, busy life.  (I just don’t want to clean it).  Sometimes I want to  consume only whole food that is made from scratch.  Other days I’m pretty happy if I open a can of green beans to go with the boxed mac n’ cheese before 9 at night.    And then there’s the mood swings.  You get the picture.

Part of my intentional life journey has been about finding a balance – in all things.  Reconciling the different parts of my personality, my nature, and my reality.

Today, I greeted the librarian with good morning and  she responded with “It’s 2 in the afternoon”.    I laughed and told her that I was still getting my morning stuff done and afternoon would just have to wait on me.  And I was okay with that.  In fact, I was pretty darned excited about it.

I’ve noticed since I started this blog journey and have begun to record that journey here, that my focus has shifted.  I am no longer focused exclusively  on the negative…on what I haven’t accomplished.  Instead, I am beginning to be more aware of what I’ve done.  When I look at my long list of to-do’s, I don’t see the ones that aren’t crossed off, but the ones that are.

For example, today I did my Get Messy Art Journal prompt for tomorrow and it’s ready to post.  I didn’t do my regular journal pages or the dishes, but that’s alright.  We haven’t technically started school yet, but we spent an hour on Ancient Chinese history and it was fun.  Not something to get through before I moved on down the list.  A load of laundry is done, books are picked up at the library, and my Artist Trading Cards are in the mail.  What isn’t done – well…

I know there are still things on the list, but none of them involve the total breakdown of civilization as I know it if they stay on the list for a bit longer.

Life is imperfect, but pretty damn good if you focus on the good stuff!

Time…Two…To…Too.

  • Time Two – because I’m going to talk about time for a second day.  Yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Past, present and future.  However you want to look at it, time doesn’t stop.  It may feel that it does occasionally – as in “time seemed to stop when she heard the dreaded words he spoke.”  And if it does indeed stop for a brief moment, it certainly seems to right itself as it speeds on.  This can be evidenced by the racing heart beat in reaction to whatever awful just happened. 
  • Time To – because sometimes I need a pause button so I have time to stop and plan and cope with life.  I can’t just keep racing towards the metaphorical cliff.  There are always solutions to any problem…if I just had time to figure it out.
  • Time Too –  because I know that the other people in my life are dealing with some of the same problems that I am, plus there own.  They need time also.  Time to spend together and support each other.  We all get busy looking at our own clocks and forget that anything is easier if you aren’t doing it alone.

 

Cryptic and vague post?  Much like time itself…cryptic and vague.  We can measure it in increments too small to even comprehend.  We chart it, log it, schedule it and live in it.  But we don’t and can’t truly understand it.  It stares at us from every electronic device we own.  We have clocks on our televisions, stoves and microwaves.  Clocks still sit on most of our bedside tables.  We set alarms to tell us when to get up in the morning and timers to alert us to things. Notice the words “alarm” and “alert”.  Neither are peaceful or positive.

Forget the easy button.  I want a pause button. 

I want to stop and enjoy the magical moments. To savor and treasure them.

I need to stop and “be in” the difficult moments.  To understand them and handle them in the best way possible.

I need time to breathe.

Yesterday, I struggled with time. 

Today, I’m covering all my clocks and I’m going to live in the moment as best I can.

Tomorrow is another day altogether.

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Time.

I tried to write on Saturday and again on Sunday, but the words wouldn’t come in a reasonable manner.  That only makes sense, I suppose.  I was back in Huntsville, TX and back at Sam Houston State University.  The place where I began my “grown-up” life when I was only 17 in the fall of 1979.

It’s also the home of my two oldest “children”.  They are seniors at SHSU.  We drove up to help them settle back in after a summer break with us.  They are adults and could have done it on their own (probably), but we’re pretty close as family goes and so, we went.

Going to Huntsville is weird.  I just can’t think of a better word to describe it.  It’s where I first lived on my own, where I met my hubby,  where I did all the “growing up” stuff you do as a young adult.  Huntsville hasn’t changed all that much.  Everything is still in pretty much the same place.  Everywhere is a memory.

Everywhere is a memory. I believe that this trip was so difficult  because I’ve begun this journey of mine:  the blogging, the facing of fears, the challenges to be “more”, and the desire to be more intentional.

As a result of some issues in my childhood, I tend to close the door on the past and move on.   We moved every year when I was a child.  There was never enough time to develop close friendships and never seemed to be any point in attempting to maintain them.  You lived in the present, the past was over and done with.  As a result, I still have trouble maintaining friendships with folks I don’t see regularly:   people I meet at a retreat, in a group that meets sporadically, or even family that live far away.  It can limit your community.  It limits my community.

Driving into Huntsville mixes the past and the present.  It confuses my idea of who I am now with the person I was then.  Of course, that person still exists within me, but I don’t think of her very often.  I lost touch and didn’t maintain the relationship. And that relationship is important.  It helps me see where I started, how I’ve grown and whether I’m on the road to where I want to be.

As I reread this, I’m not sure that it makes sense although it has improved from my previous efforts this weekend.  My thoughts are in chaos as memories of past decisions encounter the current results.  I met and married my husband at SHSU and our children are students walking the same paths we did.  I received BAs in Art and Creative Writing there in 1982 and gave up the practice of both until recently.  I had good friend there that I  totally lost touch with.   Its hard to jump back in time to find yourself face to face with a younger self and realize the amount of time that has passed.

I don’t mean to sound as if I have a life full of regrets.  On the contrary, I embrace the decisions that I’ve made (for the most part).  The best decision of my life was the one to marry my husband and I couldn’t be prouder of my children.  Even if I could, I don’t believe that I would change anything.

I do need to set the time-line of my life back in balance, if you will.  I think I’ll spend some time looking at old photos.  And, coincidentally, I need to do a journal page for the  Get Messy Art  Journal group that shows who I am without using an actual photo. Or maybe it’s not a coincidence.  Sounds like good timing to me!

 

 

 

 

Art journal.

I mentioned last week sometime that I had joined an art journaling group, “Get Messy”.  I haven’t journaled regularly for quite some time.  I miss it.  I also believe that journaling is important for many, many reasons.  I just don’t do it because there isn’t enough time.  What does that even mean?  There isn’t enough time.  Definitely a post for another day.

Joining a group makes me accountable to others.  If I don’t post two pages on Thursday, lots of folks will notice.  A public failure, if you will.

Did you notice that I’m posting this on Friday?  Yep, I missed my first Thursday.  FAIL.  Public fail.  I’m new to the group, please like me – fail.

But wait!  On this new journey, I’m trying to be nicer to myself.  So, here’s the best I’ve got.  I was sick yesterday and could care less about art, much less journal pages.  I was focusing on the most basic of human needs…trying not to throw up water.  So, no apologies.  Here they are.

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