Studio Re-do

Because my whole house is in perfect order and clean (HA) I decided to take apart my studio and re-do it.

Here’s what it used to look like:

Everything in one place! Studio redesign

And now:IMAG0773IMAG0775 (1)IMAG0774

I moved out the big black cabinet because my daughter needed the storage in her room AND I like to be able to see everything. If I can’t see it I tend to forget about it.

I also built a separate desk out of a long table and an old door to use as a journaling and art card station.  That stuff tends to spread out and stay out.  Now I can work as time allows and the big table is freed up for other projects.

It’s not quite as “pretty” as the previous configuration, but I like it.  I believe it is more practical and will be more functional.

I’m finding that I’m less and less concerned with the overall appearance and tidiness of the studio.  I think that it has something to do with my attitude and confidence with “being an artist”  rather than “looking like an artist”.

It’s a shift in thinking that I’ve been working on.  Before I used to think about how to be an artist.  Now, I’m thinking less and doing more.  I’ve really been working on looking ahead and not looking left or right. (I’m stealing that terminology from a blog I read, but I can’t remember which one and I can’t locate it to properly credit it.  My apologies and thanks to whoever wrote it in the first place).  It’s all about looking in the direction you wish to move rather than concerning yourself so much with what others around you are doing.

Anyway, I’m worrying less about what other artists are doing to be artists and finding my own way.

Now, what to do?  Deal with the piles of stuff leftover from cleaning the studio or make some art?

Maybe a little of both.

The Interruptions

interruption
[ ìntə rúpshən ]
NOUN
a pause, break, or temporary halt in an ongoing activity or process
I’ve said this before, but I’m saying it again…and probably again and again…
“Sometimes the interruptions are the work that needs to be done.”
You know that day (or week) when you have a plan to get it all together, and then life happens.  The unplanned for thing(s) that you couldn’t have expected, but probably should have.
Illness, injury,  a forgotten appointment, a friend in need –  you know, the next door neighbor in her 70’s whose roof got seriously damaged during a storm and another storm is on its way.
That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about.  The things you need to do.  The things you want to do.  But, in the back of your mind you’re thinking:  but I have a list.  A list of things I’m going to work on today.  I’m going to do those things and cross them off and everything is going to be all better.
Except that’s not life.  It’s certainly not the life you are trying to get your life together in order to live.
I want to clear my clutter and organize my life so that life’s happenings aren’t seen as interruptions.  So that I can focus on doing what needs to be done without feeling like I don’t have time.
I want to be the person who is there for someone who needs them.  The person who isn’t half-way present.  I don’t want to feel like the work I need to do is an interruption.
Sorry for this hastily written blog.  I’ve only got a minute to jot this down, but I suspect that I’m not the only person who struggles with this.  I hope it doesn’t sound as much like a rant as I suspect it does. it’s meant to be more of a “share”.  I am frustrated – with myself mostly.
I want faster progress.  I want improvement now.  It’s been a busy week – full of life (interruptions).
Peace.

Retreat or Stand Your Ground?

When I woke up today, I already felt anxious.  I felt like I was behind and could never catch up.  I looked at my list and knew that it wasn’t enough.  Those tasks alone would be insufficient to make any progress.

I thought about adding more things to the list.  I thought about pitching the list entirely.  Maybe the list was just a stupid idea.

Then the computer started acting up.  Slow, sluggish, and programs that won’t open.  Our internet has been weird since all the rain started anyway.  Simple tasks that I need to do were taking forever.

Then the dog started barking like crazy in the back portion of our land – the out of the dog yard part – the extremely overgrown and untended part.

I went out on the deck and found myself staring down a large doe.  Weird.  Deer aren’t known for participating in staring contests.  They run.  That’s just the way deer are.  Unless…

Here comes Matilda, running at the deer in full Basset hound fury. She barks and runs between the deer’s legs – and goes flying through the air as the deer kicks her.

Deer don’t stand their ground unless there is a fawn involved.  A fawn that is carefully hidden in the yard somewhere and is being threatened by something.  Something like this (she looked a little scarier in attack mode, really!)IMAG0744

A full-blown battle ensues because bassets are stubborn, if nothing else.

My son runs barefoot through the cactus, mesquite and overgrowth to save the dog.

And what had been an anxious day, is now a full-blown adrenalin rush day for me.

Decision time.

Do I plow on through the day?  Push through the anxiety and keep going.  At this point in an anxiety attack (for me), the tears are at the surface or already flowing.  I feel emotion-full.  In reality, anything can set me off.  Thoughts are running at a million miles-per-hour through my brain.

It only makes sense to take a break…a nap.  Some Sabbath time.  A quiet respite.

But, that’s hard for me to do.  To admit that I’m not stronger than this problem – this actual, medical condition.  I don’t want to admit that it is stronger than me.  I don’t want to give in and surrender to it.

Retreat or stand my ground against an opponent that is bigger and stronger than me?

I took a nap.  A really long nap (with the dog).   My body and mind needed that break – some recovery and healing time.

Now, I’m going to tackle the list.  It’s not a stupid idea as I thought earlier.  What a difference a nap makes.

Oh, and this is what you see if you look out our back door.   Just standing there and staring.IMAG0735

material things and spiritual things

 spiritual – of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.

synonyms: nonmaterial, incorporeal, intangible; inner, mental, psychological

 

I live in the Texas Hill Country (U.S.A.).  Previously in a drought, we have now been hit with seriously serious weather.  Day after day of thunderstorms, wind, more rain and recently tornadoes and flooding.

Personally, we’ve been lucky and blessed.  We lost our driveway, washed out.  We don’t have the money to fix it, but still not a big deal in the scheme of things.

All around us, people have lost things to the weather.  Homes are damaged or destroyed.  Some have lost everything they own.

And there has been loss of life.  Friends, family members, whole families gone.

So much loss that is hard for me to comprehend…to take it all in.  The devastation is so widespread and complete.

It leaves one with a helpless feeling.  And perhaps a slight feeling of guilt that some lost so much and we were spared.

All in all, it has led me to further contemplation about the space that material things hold in my life versus the spiritual things.

As I look around my home, I think about the material things I own and what I would miss the most.  What would I need to replace?  What is irreplaceable?

Our home (a home) is essential.  We need clothing and food.  Toilet paper is high up on the list of “needs vs. wants”.

I have photos that are important, but the memories would remain if something happened to them.  I would grieve their loss, but I’d be okay.

I have artwork that I would miss, but I’ve become more and more comfortable with giving it away as well.  My kids’ artwork…that would be a big loss for me.

I’ve noticed that, in my life, as the material things have decreased, more space has opened up for spiritual things:  personal reflection and growth, the building and strengthening of relationships, and creative pursuits.

I think it’s time for another evaluation and round of de-cluttering.

I am so grateful that my transition has been voluntary.  I am choosing to get rid of material things at my own pace.  The decision isn’t be made for me by circumstances.

 

The Bowl

IMAG0732IMAG0731This is a follow-up to this morning’s post.

The bowl has been “repaired”, worked on, restored.

When I finished and had taken these photos of it, I realized that I was ready to let it go.

There was no doubt in my mind, no difficult decision.  I just knew that it was time to let it go.  And it’s gone.

There are probably a lot of symbolic, psychological thoughts and discussions that could accompany this decision…but I don’t even feel a need to go there.

I just know that “process over product” worked and I feel lighter.  And a bit more free.

That is good.  Enough said.

Broken Things

IMAG0730I loved this bowl.

I like bowls in general –  I just like the way they fit into your cupped hand and the  symbolism they represent – empty waiting to be filled with something nourishing.  I like almost all bowls.

But this bowl was special.   I liked the shape, the design, the color and the tiny chips on the rim.

If I was to de-clutter to an extreme, I would have kept this bowl.

It broke yesterday.  I bumped a shelf in my studio and it crashed to the ground.

I’ve pieced it back together.  Enough of it is there that I could glue it and place it back on the shelf.  I could pretend that I didn’t break it.  But I know that it did.

It’s not the same bowl.  It would be the same shape.  I could still appreciate the design and color.  I might even be able to put something in it.

But I know that it’s not the same bowl.  The bowl has changed.

I thought about putting the pieces in a box to use in a future project.

I thought about cutting my losses and throwing it away.

I thought about gluing it back together and pretending it was okay.

And then I thought about what this bowl might represent symbolically.  About how I might relate it to my life.

The experiences in my life have changed me.

Things have happened that have “broken” me.

I’ve chosen to withdraw from life at times to avoid being hurt.

I’ve considered “throwing myself away”.

I’ve put myself back together and pretended like nothing had changed – that I hadn’t changed – and that everything was okay.

Today, I’m going to celebrate this bowl.  I’m going to place this bowl at the very top of my to-do list.  I’m going to use my creative abilities to make something new out of this bowl.

It won’t be exactly the same.  It will be changed.  It will be transformed.

Like me.

The Home Sweet Home List

I think I have blindly and accidently stumbled upon something brilliant.  Last week, I made a list.  A list of things to do. Note to reader:  I realize that list-making is not a new concept and that I did not personally discover “the list”. I was hoping it would help me focus on specific things that needed to be done AND help me stop before I lost focus and became discouraged.   I wrote down numbers 1 – 20.  Why twenty?  It seemed like enough tasks to make some progress and challenge myself a bit, but not too many to accomplish. I didn’t get everything done on the list.  And I forgave myself.  I just “rolled over” the undone tasks to the next day. The items were very specific.  I didn’t write “clean the kitchen”, for example.  I picked the most urgent tasks.  Wash the dishes (so we actually had some clean ones) and sweep the floor.  Once those were done, the kitchen was somewhat presentable and I was able to move on to another area. The idea is to deal with the worst of the situation and end up with a reasonably lived-in home that is not overwhelming and discouraging.  Spending all my energy and time on one room results in one clean room, but I’m eventually going to have to leave that room and come face-to-face with the rest. I’m not going to write down “finish the laundry” because the laundry is never finished (unless we all walk around naked for a day).  I’m going to do a load of laundry a day or two if there’s a lot. I’m not writing down “weed the garden” because that’s not doable.  I’m going to weed for 15 minutes. Small wins…the satisfaction of crossing something off the list. And when the day is over and it’s time to rest, I can do so knowing that I’ve taken steps in the right direction.  Progress. To celebrate that – and to ensure that there is creativity in even the hardest days – I’m going to paint over the day’s list and do a quick journal page.  Nothing fancy.  Just a symbolic gesture.  That day is over and done.  It can’t and shouldn’t be re-lived.  Let it go and move on. IMAG0715 I’m three days in on the list-making.  It may not be a forever thing.  All I know is that it’s working for me right now. It was an awesome weekend.  Lots of family, friends and accomplishments.  Oh, and LOTS of rain.  Did I mention that it rained this weekend?  It’s raining now.  I’m not complaining (much).  We’ve been in a drought.  I would imagine that it’s over. It’s part of who I am to start worrying when things are going well.  When is the other shoe going to drop?  This happiness can’t last.   Something is going to go wrong. What a horrible way to live. Missing out on the good because of worry about the bad. I’m going to work on changing that.  It may be an actual item on the list today! Good things will happen.  Bad things will happen.  That’s just the way it is.   One doesn’t cancel the other out.   It’s a matter of perspective. In reality, my problems are still with me.  The financial issues aren’t resolved…and a thousand other things.  I’ve just changed my focus and moved the good stuff into the forefront.   Perspective.  It all needs my attention, but in equal measure. There is that balance thing again I am a work in progress – with a list.

Embracing Imperfection

You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing. You don’t have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success – none of that matters. No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.   – Ram Dass

I am embracing imperfection today.  Doing what needs to be done, but not more.

Friends are coming over.  Sweep up the big stuff off the floor.  Don’t mop.  Pile the dirty dishes by the sink.  Don’t wash them. Take-out fried chicken is just fine.  Every meal doesn’t have to be homemade.

Outside finishing the chicken coop.  Hoping the rain holds off for just a little while longer.  Friends and family.

Allowing myself to actually slow down, then stop and really feel the contentment.  The happiness.  Is this what joy feels like?

For too long I’ve allowed myself to be distracted by the minutiae of everyday life…and missed the joy.  Always seeking perfection and the approval and validation that will accompany it.  Striving for that which only I can provide for myself.

Change is slow, but good.  And today is an accomplishment for me.