Seek & Find

Journal page 24:

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If I was to title this, I think I would go with “seeds” or “new growth”.  It is a watercolor background and when it was dry I just traced some of the lines with black marker.

Once done, I saw seeds sprouting and growing up towards the sun.  It may be just what I was thinking at the time…nobody else may see it.

That’s the great thing about unfettered art journaling.  Sometimes it clarifies what is going on in our head or our lives.

I actually went into the spare room yesterday evening and with help managed to almost clear it out.  It took frequent breaks as the decisions were stressful.

There was saved lumber that had so many possibilities…too many.  It is gone except for the plywood scraps that can be used for cut-ins on the new floor.  Shelving, doors, scrap trim, and what-not are out of here.

Also gone are several pieces of furniture that were waiting to be fixed-up.  We don’t need anymore furniture.  At this stage in our lives, we need less.

Three bags of trash are filling the trash can.

One box was taken to recycling.

Two boxes are ready to go to the thrift store.

A box of photos and frames are waiting to be considered.

Evidence of an unwelcome resident of the rodent variety has been uncovered.  Ah, the joys of living in the country during the dry season. Steps have been taken to ensure that he knows he is not welcome if he chooses to return, but I suspect he has already moved on.

All that remains is a stove and a microwave that I will be posting to give away.  They were acquired when we had plans to make a small “apartment” in case my sister needed to move in with us.  She has made it clear that she has no interest in doing that and I am making peace with her decision.

The room is now ready to make-over into a usable and peaceful space for my daughter.

Oh yea…you may notice that I am typing in both upper and lower case letters today.  In the back corner of the otherwise empty closet in that room we cleared out, I found a brand new computer keyboard…still in the box.   Nobody remembers purchasing it or sticking it in there. It has replaced the one that I messed up yesterday during my ill-fated cleaning spree.

It’s true that when you get rid of what you don’t need, you get what you are seeking!

Peace.

My Voice

Journal page 17…

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A quiet weekend.

Today begins a new week.

I have an idea for a biggish canvas that I want to work on, but first I need to clear space in my studio.

I have been sorting through the stuff that is in there – trying to be aware of what actually contributes to art-making and what is there to simply make me feel like I am an artist.  This process is a lot harder than one might think.  I still struggle with saying that I am an artist.  I used to just say that I made stuff.  So, I’m making progress in that respect.

Anyhow, getting rid of stuff that I don’t need is a good thing.  It makes room for what I really need, and clarifies and simplifies the process of making art for me.  A studio that is functional is better than a room that looks like a studio in a magazine spread…not that I actually achieved that look, but I kept trying.

Still, parting with stuff that I might need for a future, hypothetical project is difficult.

And that difficulty applies to all areas of my home, not just the studio.

So, today we are redoing the Konmari method for the whole house.

Not the whole house today, of course.

Today is clothing.

I don’t anticipate that there will be a lot to get rid of, but who knows…

Until tomorrow –

Peace.

Lost and Found

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I picked that quote because I have no idea what this drawing is about.  It just happened and is in no way my normal thing, but I kind of like it…I imagine that more work will be done on it in the future.

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And in other areas of my life – this quote fits today.

Yesterday, we went to drop off a car load of de-cluttered stuff that had been piling up in the dining room.

We visited a new thrift store set up in an old house.  I naturally ended up in the kitchen where there were lots and lots of cabinets with the doors removed and painted a beautiful clean white.  On display were lots and lots of beautiful dishes.  It was a dangerous situation to be sure.

As I browsed and enjoyed the abundant wonders, I thought about how amazing it would be to have a kitchen that looked like that.  I have a kitchen with still unpainted cabinets, half-redone walls, missing trim, a plywood floor and dirty dishes.

Then I stopped.

Nothing in that room would make my kitchen look any better.  Adding more stuff would make the issue worse – no matter how beautiful the item is in its current setting.

I am blessed to have a kitchen with electricity, running water and working appliances.

The rest will come with time, effort and money.  The money will come if I quit spending it on comfort purchases and attempts at quick-fixes.

Buying and acquiring stuff is an emotional response that I have developed over the years.

The clutter is a symptom that I have been attempting to deal with.

That doesn’t work out too well in the long run.

You feel better for a while, but you’ve only treated the symptom.  The cause is still there and inevitably the symptoms will return.

I believe that I clutter to try and protect myself from the difficulties and traumas of my childhood.

A scared little girl wanted to buy the pretty dishes in an attempt to make everything better.

I am not that little girl any longer although she does live within me.

I think I am finally reaching a place where I am realizing that I need to become the adult who heals the scared child within me.  She doesn’t need more stuff.  She needs to feel protected.

I need to address the problem and not just the symptoms.

I can’t keep ignoring the fear and trying to live as if its not there.

The fear is just as real as the clutter that I try to bury it under.

This is feeling a bit like an overshare, but I know that I’m not the only one living with either the fear…or the clutter.

There is another empty box waiting in the dining room.

What will I find to put into it today…

And what will discarding it reveal?

Peace.

 

 

 

57 Page Journal Project

 

 

Page 1 of the fifty-seven page journal project is done…

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I also sorted through all the fabric, lace and trim  in the studio.

Stuff that I don’t love anymore has been bagged up to donate or thrown away depending on it’s potential.

And as a result of looking through and handling the pieces, a new project has been started with what remains.

Pictures will be posted when sufficient progress has been made or, in other words…when it actually starts to resemble the pictures in my head.

The stuff that made it through the “purge” is being neatly organized and stored in one area of the studio instead of all over the place. Two medium sized boxes of fabric and one shoe box of trim and lace are all there is.

End result of this decluttering project:  one box for the thrift store and a big bag of trash.

Less stuff to deal with and two creative projects undertaken!

A good day…

Peace.

 

Bent Pins and Collected Things

Life is too short for bent and dull sewing pins, fabric I no longer love and dried up paint.  I could add a hundred and one other things to this list and never even leave my studio.

I’ve decided that it all comes down to FEAR and it’s constant companion ANXIETY.  There is no simple button to press and make those two disappear from my life.  I just need to continue to work towards a peaceful home where we can exist together harmoniously.

My studio.

That’s where I have been for the past couple of days.  Not for long periods of time, but little visits so I can work out a way to want to be in there…

To make stuff again.

I’ve identified two specific things that I fear with regards to that room:

Fear of getting rid of things because I might need them someday and the accompanying fear of using things because then I won’t have it and it might work better in another future project…

and that hypothetical scenario leads to the next fear…

Fear that anything I make won’t be “good enough”.  I can’t even explain that one.

Is it a fear of someone else’s opinion?  Maybe a “real” artist judging what I’ve made or…

Am I really just afraid of my own inner critic?

– that voice that does such a good job of telling me that “I can’t”

In any event, the result of this fear is that I’ve become more of a collector of possibilities rather than a creator of them.

I have fabric, canvases, paint, brushes, ephemera, stamps, ink, adhesives, buttons, threads, jars of fascinating little things, pencils, pens, paper and more paper and a hundred and one other things.  All of this was purchased, found and gifted to me because of it’s potential to become something more.

I’ve even collected quotes about creativity…

But I’ve made enough lists for today.

It’s summer.

I have fewer responsibilities to use as excuses.

Today, I have decided to start a summer journal project and publicly declare it’s existence.

Fifty-seven journal pages this summer.

One for every year that I’ve been alive.

Instead of saying that I want to make stuff over and over again, I’m going to make stuff.

Make pages with no excuses or apologies for what they look like or don’t.

Process, not product…

Along the way, I’m going to get rid of anything taking up space in there that doesn’t work for who I am now as an artist.

starting right now!

use up

 

The Broken Bowls

 

0608180035I bought a set of bowls…

They weren’t expensive and I didn’t really need them, but they were pretty – painted in bright colors and I felt happy when I looked at them.

So, I bought them and brought them home with me.

I used them that first night.

The dog smashed the biggest one the second day I had it.  Broken into a lot of pieces. I said it was okay, but I felt a little less happy as I put the pieces in the trash.

The next day, as I was washing the middle sized bowl, I noticed that it had a big chip on the rim.  Okay.  I finished washing it and planted a geranium in it. And turned it around so I couldn’t see the damage.

As I was putting up the washed dishes later that day, I picked up the smallest bowl and saw the crack.  A crack that ran from top to bottom.  I tried to put a plant in it so that I didn’t have to throw it away, but it leaked water everywhere.

I thought about trying to fix it and it sat on the counter for a long time.

Today, I looked at that bowl.

It no longer brought me happiness.

In fact, when I looked at it, I felt regret that I had purchased it at all.

I thought about the fact that everything is not valuable and worth salvaging.

I can’t have it all.

I don’t want it all.

Real happiness is not found in things.

Some things can’t be fixed.

Some things shouldn’t be fixed.

It’s important to practice discerning the difference between what is truly valuable and worth our time and energy and what is not worthy.

Sometimes a broken bowl is just a broken bowl.

And I need to let it go.

Peace.

 

And…another plan

Two blog posts in a row!

And…a new plan of action.

I’ve talked before about how I bounce back and forth between liking a bit of homey clutter and thinking I should just ditch all the stuff and become a minimalist (or a quasi-minimalist because I’m pretty sure I can’t go all in on that plan).

I’ve been on a roll lately and have accomplished a lot.

I’ve crunched a lot of numbers and drawn up a new budget that might actually work in the real world that we live in.  I’ve added and subtracted (mostly subtracted) and come up with a plan to try and pay down some debt.  We are pretty much paycheck to paycheck, but I’ve re-dedicated to managing money better.  I use YNAB (You Need a Budget) and “undebtit”.  Both are programs that are helpful for the math challenged me.

I’ve roughed out a plan for next year’s art class that I will hopefully be teaching.  That depends on whether enough folks think art is important enough to sign there kiddos up for the elective.  In the past I’ve planned as the semester moved along.  I’ve already got the whole year planned out and a list of supplies put together.

And, since youngest daughter is starting high school next year, I’ve already pulled together the plan for what we are going to do in the fall.  A rough plan, but a plan.

I’ve accomplished a lot.

But yesterday, I kind of hit a wall.

I looked around the house and started thinking that I couldn’t manage it all.  It’s such a mess and there is so much to do.  Piles of laundry, drifts of dog hair, a science experiment in the fridge, suitcases still out, and a completely buried dining room table.  I know that it’s the same house that I was okay with the day before.

My perception and attitude is what changes.

But that’s a situation that is my reality.  I need to plan for the days when things aren’t going to go well and I can’t cope or handle life the way I would like.

So, a new plan for the summer.

Today, I am going to pack up stuff – getting rid of the stuff I don’t need or want along the way.

I’m going to pack up stuff that I like, but that isn’t essential to our life.  Mostly the decorative or sentimental stuff that is lying about.

Just for the summer.

I’m going to clear surfaces for easier cleaning and make more time for fun and relaxation.

And then we’ll see if the stuff needs to come back for the fall…or if we did just fine without it.

A minimalist-ish” (I know it’s not a real word, but work with me) summer.

Those “mountain-top” days or weeks are great.  I get a lot accomplished.

But they are not worth the time spent in the depths of the valley.  The time depressed and anxious and angrily frustrated.

I’m going to keep trying out new ways of doing things to maintain an even keel avoiding those ups and downs.

Now, to work…

Peace