New.

I’ve decided to have a good time today.

It’s a new day.  It’s a new week.  And soon to be a new month.

It’s my time and I’m going to have some fun with it.  I’m not going to have a Monday where I lament all the things that need to be done after the busy weekend.  I’m going to challenge myself to see if I can catch up the laundry.  Maybe clear off a few counters.  I might even sweep and vacuum.  I can’t get it all done.  I might have, in the past, been guilty of trying to get the whole house back together, but not today.  That would be unrealistic.  I’m not going to do that to myself today…or this week… plans for a whole month would be pushing it.  I’m gonna keep it simple.  And just do my best.

I’ve also prepped a new canvas.  I mentioned a new project a while back.  It got started as a fabric and thread effort and has since morphed into something new.  It’s moving to a canvas and it’s ready.  I’m going to work on that today.  I have a new direction I want to try out.

That’s what’s awesome about today.  It’s new.  I can choose what to do with it.  Life may make some choices for me, but I get to choose how I deal with it.

May you find something new and positive and fun in your day today!

Invites.

“Sabbath observance  invites us to stop.  It invites us to rest.  It asks us to notice that while we rest, the world continues without our help.  It invites us to delight in the world’s beauty and abundance.”  Wendell Berry

To change or not to change.

It’s been an interesting week.  I started off in a bit of a blue funk.  I didn’t feel like doing much of anything.  I didn’t have a car so I couldn’t distract myself with shopping or the like.  I was stuck here with myself.  It could have turned into a really ugly situation.  As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like being moody.  But, something amazing ended up happening.

Three things really, but three things wound together into one life-changing realization.  Not a big “we’ve sold everything and are joining a cult and moving to a small island off the coast of Africa after having a sex-change” kind of life-changing moment…this was a small, significant change in a way of thinking that makes good change possible.

First, I realized that I was really, really tired of the themed journal-a-day challenge I set up for myself.  Not so much the journaling part, but the “bird” over and over and over again.  I stopped doing them and then have been trying to catch up.  Ugh!

Next, the Get Messy Journaling challenge for the week dealt with the topic of “what would you do if you had the courage to live your dream”…I’ve paraphrased a bit.  We were also supposed to challenge ourselves to a new art technique.  As I wrote yesterday, my first two pages were – not something I liked.  I tried to create without paint and layers.  I went for a plain background.  I handwrote with pen and ink in a free word-association style reacting to the photos.  The photos were of myself at two points in my childhood.  One was a photo of myself as a young child before I have any real memories of life and the other at the beginning of junior high during a particularly unpleasant time.  I know that nobody enjoyed junior high really, but this year of my life was particularly horrible.

And third, I read someone’s post about “having a habit or being in a rut”.  I’m sorry but I can’t remember where I read it and I can’t seem to find it again.  If and when I do, I will give proper credit due.  It talked about the difference between doing something intentionally out of habit and repeating something without intention (being in a rut).

This is what I came up with after a day or two of thought:

  • The journal pages had become a “rut” and thus, were boring.  They all look somewhat the same.  I wasn’t risking anything new or using it as an opportunity to learn.  Of course, they were boring.  I had simply turned it into a chore or task to be done…a check on a checklist.  They were never supposed to be completed works of art, but experiments and practice.  Lesson 1.
  • The challenge was supposed to be exactly that – a challenge.  What I had viewed as a disaster was actually a stunning success.  It’s called art journaling for a reason.  Art is only part of the picture.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and pushed myself artistically and personally.  Equally important:  I participated in community by sharing of myself even though it was uncomfortable and difficult.  Being a part of a community is not always comfortable (the rut).  I needed to make an intentional decision to be part of the community.  In the process I dealt with some personal stuff and took another step in my personal journey.  Lesson 2 – the difficult personal one.
  • Habits are good; especially if you deal with mood issues.  Habits ground us and help us grow artistically.  “Practice makes perfect”.    But I need to avoid falling into a rut in my art making.  I need to challenge myself and grow.   This will mean taking risks and investing myself emotionally in my work.  Lesson 3.

I’ve long hoped to grow in my art and infuse it with more passion and emotion…more of me.  Now I know that, at times, that may be painful or difficult.  I can do that and survive…grow.  Living with intention is never “done”.  It is a process, not a product.

Life and art -a process, not a product.

Get Messy Thursday/Adventurous Dreams

IMAG0369IMAG0370Get Messy is an art journal challenge where a gang of crafty vixens are sharing art journal pages we have created to practice our skills and push past our creative limits with hopes to inspire. We share our pages without restraint every week, and once a month we create around a prompt. Go check out these crazy talented ladies who are creating pages who each have a unique perspective and style. We will be sharing our work around social media so follow the hashtag #getmessyartjournal.

Journaling Challenge: Live your adventurous dreams on paper. What would you love to do, or at least try, if you had the courage to live more adventurously? I would, for example, like to live on a houseboat or a train wagon.

Art Challenge: Try a method or material you’ve never worked with before. Be adventurous

The journaling challenge:  For me, it’s all about continuing the adventure I started when I began writing my blog almost two months ago.  I’m focusing on changes and goals for my life.

The art challenge:  No paint, using paper I’ve been saving forever because I didn’t want to mess it up or use it up, and keeping it very simple.

Now……….for the hard part.  As I’m typing this I’m trying to decide how much to share and whether to share at all.  We’ll know if this gets posted or not.  One of the things I wrote was “bravery” and I’m not feeling very brave at the moment.  The posted photos are actually my second attempt at this challenge.

My first attempt was not successful from an artistic standpoint.  I tried to do a photo transfer with gel medium.  I’m okay with art mistakes or failure.  Most of my work is built on that…that’s why so many layers.  After I finished the pages though, I totally lost it emotionally.  I got angry and snapped at my husband, and deleted the posted photos.  Racing heart, light headed, chest pressure…classic anxiety attack.  Worst I’ve had in a long time.  I don’t know what in particular caused the reaction and I started to throw them away.  As I type this, hours later, the anxiety is returning.

But, the point of journaling is more than practicing our art skills and trying out new stuff.  And, I said I would share without restraint each week.  So, I’m not going to post the black & whites on instagram, but  I am going to post them here and on our facebook page.

Like I said, I don’t know what was so emotionally upsetting about these pages.  I’m gonna have to deal with that.  And I will deal with it.  That fits in with the challenge of “what I would do if I had the courage to live more adventurously”.  So, here’s the photos and I’m going to hit publish.  And it’s all going to be okay.  Growth and change are difficult.  I am brave.

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It was brilliant, I tell you.

Last night I couldn’t sleep.  I played solitaire until my IPad battery died and I couldn’t find the charger in my kid’s room without turning on the light and waking her up.  Her floor is a mine-field of little sharp, pointy toys (I call them vacuum cleaner food).

Then I tried to catch up on my supposedly quick daily journal pages.  They aren’t getting down daily because I am sick of trying to create something original with a bird on it.  I’m going to get it done because I committed to doing it publicly, but it’s going to be 30 quick bird journal pages in the month of September…instead of daily.  Just a matter of semantics, right?  Anyway, I was going to do a couple of pages, but spilled an entire mason jar of water-colored water on my journal, desk and self.  All the clean laundry is piled in our bedroom and in the closets and I had trouble finding something to wear without turning on the light and waking up my husband.

Next, I decided to look at blogs on wordpress and found a ton of cool art, most of which I wish I had thought up and created.

At 3 a.m. I decided to try and sleep again.  I lay down and almost instantly had a brilliant idea for a journal post.  By then I was sleepy so I just knew I would remember the post without jotting it down in my idea notebook by my bed.  How could I possibly forget such an amazingly genius idea.

This morning, I’d completely forgotten I even had an idea.  Now, at almost two in the afternoon, I vaguely remember that I had an incredible idea.

But, of course, for the life of me I can’t remember what it was.  No clue.  Not a hint.  As in, completely and utterly vanished.

I do remember that it was awesome.

So…you’ll just have to take my word for it.  It was brilliant, I tell you!

Company.

Yesterday and today I’ve been in a sort of “down” mood.  They happen now and then. I felt myself start slipping late last week…depression and anxiety suck.  On the bright side, it’s never as bad as it used to be and I’ve gotten much better about recognizing that it’s happening.  Time to take care of myself, take some naps, let my family help out…try to remember that I’m not being lazy.

Yesterday, I was trying to write a post here and just couldn’t do it.  The words just weren’t there.  My husband caught me crying on the keyboard and asked what was wrong.  Such a brave man…after 35 years, he recognizes that’s a potentially dangerous question that still needs to be asked.

I tried to explain that I just get tired of being “this” person.  The one who can’t think straight, who can’t do normal everyday stuff, who just wants to cry and stay in the house and not deal with people.  I hate this depressed and anxious me.

Why can’t I always be the outgoing, creative, articulate, organized me.  I like her.

He simply stated that they were the same person…me…and perhaps they should learn how to hold hands with each other.

A simple enough statement on the surface, but there is a lot of wisdom within it.  They are both me.  (I know the pronouns are getting all mixed up – doing the best I can!)

I need to be kinder to myself…in all my moods:  up and down.

On a positive note – I was finishing up a project today.  The creative part was done and I was just doing the tedious, finish up detail work.  I looked over to the side of my table and realized that I had company.  A praying mantis was watching over me.  They don’t startle me anymore.  We had a lot of them hatch on the deck just outside our back door.  By a lot, I mean A LOT!  My son counted 23 one evening.  They are sort of hanging around in the house.  We don’t have a mosquito problem anymore.

We watched each other for a bit.  They are really fascinating.  His “tail” is a beautiful antique copper color.  I wish I had a camera so that I could get a better shot.  I’ve named him (or her?) “Amigo”, Spanish for friend.

He cheered me up.  Good company – no conversation required.

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We create.

Some friends had a couple of extra tickets and invited us to a concert Friday night.  It was a lot of fun.  The performers were entertaining, the music loud, and the crowd fascinating to watch.  All in all, a great date night!

During one of the set changes, I started thinking about concerts I’d been to in the past.   I’ve enjoyed them all, but my favorite concert experience of all time didn’t require an expensive ticket and didn’t take place in a huge venue.

Year ago, I started attending a yearly artists’ retreat at a place called Laity Lodge in a little town in Texas.  It is attended by all kinds of creative folk:  visual artists, singers, musicians, writers of poetry, prose, and song, dancers, actors, designers…forgive me if I missed anyone…suffice it to say, there was a whole bunch of creatively awesome people.  Before I started hanging out with this tribe of creative artist, I didn’t have a artistic community to be in.  Even in college, I didn’t hang with the artists. I didn’t feel like I belonged.  I’ve since learned so much from them.

One of the things I’ve learned deals with my concept of art and success.  I’m talking about my idea of what makes an artist successful.  I’d also supposed that an artist became a success when he became known in the world – a visual artist doing gallery shows, an actor on Broadway or on the big screen, a musician or singer on the radio, a writer who is published and on the best-seller list.  I’m sort of embarrassed and ashamed that I even thought that way.  I have a lot of learning to do it seems.

But back to the concert I was talking about.  The best concert I ever experienced was one late night around the fireplace at Laity Lodge.  I was walking through the patio area on my way from the studio to my room.  Around the fireplace was a gathering of people and there was a whole lot of music going on:   guitars, an accordion, singers (including an opera performer), songwriters, and I don’t know what else!  It was a spontaneous celebration.  Some of the participants are well-known in their field of endeavor.  Some are downright “famous”.  Some used to play in the big leagues and have since stepped out of the spotlight by choice.

We all had one thing in common.  We create.  It has nothing to do with the expectation of fame or financial gain (although I don’t know that we would turn down some cash if it were offered).  Some are famous.  Some are making money.  Some are well-known and respected in their field.  Most of us will never be known outside of our respective “tribes”.  We all have one thing in common.  We create.

We want to create.  We have to create.  It’s not even really a choice sometimes.  It’s what makes our lives real.  It has nothing to do with an audience or acknowledgement.  It just is.  It makes us who we are and blesses our community – large or small.

So, here’s to all of the creative people in the world…those I know and those I’ll never meet.  Those whose endeavors I’ll enjoy and those I’ll miss out on.  What you do – what we do matters.

That moment.

That moment when you realize that during your 3-day creating frenzy you created a lot of art that you really like and…..you have created a huge mess on every flat work surface that you have so…it’s time to stop making the mess and start cleaning up the mess.  This is what Get Messy Thursday is really all about here at Faithacre Studio.

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Get Messy on the 18th.

photo 2 (2)photo (47)Get Messy is an art journal challenge where a gang of crafty vixens are sharing art journal pages we have created to practise our skills and push past our creative limits with hopes to inspire. We share our pages without restraint every week, and once a month we create around a prompt. Go check out these crazy talented ladies who are creating pages who each have a unique perspective and style. We will be sharing our work around social media so follow the hashtag #getmessyartjournal