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.

Anxiety Doodle

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Yesterday’s journal page – an anxiety doodle done throughout a very stressful day.  As everything worked out well by the end of the day, I cut up the “anxiety” and glued it to a page.

The day started out rough.

First off, I noticed all the little things that were undone around the house and began by wondering if taking the time for art was worthwhile.  The dishes undone, the laundry undone, the trash the dogs got into strewn around the living room, and the half-finished decluttering and organizational projects all about.

Next, we had to deal with the car issue.  Our credit isn’t great,  we had a limited amount of money to work with, and we really don’t want monthly payments.  Also, sharing my daughter’s car with all of our schedules is impossible.

I like shopping for cars almost as much as I like hanging out in the DMV or the phone store.

In other words, not at all.

My family pulled together, started the search and headed out to solve the problem while leaving me at home to make peace with our home.

(and find peace for myself)

They can be simply amazing!

By the end of the day they had purchased a good, solid used car well within our budgeted car repair fund – newly established by our recent windfall.

It’s not even ugly! It’s a sharp-looking Volvo station wagon type vehicle.  Lots of room for our lifestyle, but not too big to drive comfortably.

And although the house doesn’t look significantly better than it did this morning:

  • we have enough clean clothes to make do
  • there are some clean dishes to eat off of
  • the trash is gathered and to the curb for pickup tomorrow
  • and, most importantly, it looks like home through my eyes

Anxiety dealt with and disasters averted.

Life is good!

Peace

A “What If-er”

 

Mood swings, irritability, frustration, guilt and self-recrimination.  That seems to be my constant lately.

Some days I wonder if it’s worth the effort of maintaining any sense of optimism.

Some days, hope is hard to come by.

And then, something happens that turns things around and lightens the load…

On Mondays, I teach a class of Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders at a small private, Christian school.

I pretty much teach a process over product class and place the emphasis on the “what if” idea.  What if you try this…what will happen?  I emphasize creative thinking.  When the class project is done, the kids get to work (play)  in their journals and work with all of the scraps that we have collected in what they have dubbed the “what if” box.

Yesterday, as we were working on a owl drawing and painting project, I shared a story from my own early elementary days.

A long, long time ago when I was about your age, I was working on painting a plaster owl in art class.  We didn’t have an art teacher or classroom at the school I was attending at the time.  It was my regular classroom teacher and she wasn’t an artist. We had red, yellow and blue paint.  I remember that I wanted my owl to look like an owl with lots of colors and texture.  I was young and didn’t know how to achieve that so I kept layering on paint…lots and lots of layers.  The paint began to muddy and crack. My teacher told me that I was doing it wrong and took my owl and washed all of the paint off.  She returned it to me and told me to start over and do it the correct way.  I didn’t want to finish the owl because I was afraid that I wouldn’t do it right.  It’s important to follow instructions, but it’s also important to try new things and not be afraid to make mistakes because sometimes that’s how we find the answers we are looking for. 

After I told the story, my little artists finished up their project for the day and  moved on to their journal time.

As they were working, one of the boys in my class who I often suspect doesn’t listen very much because he is always talking, stopped drawing in his journal and said to me…

Miss Kelly, what if God gave you that teacher who messed up your owl so that you would become a “what if-er?  What if you were supposed to become a “what if-er so you could help me be one to? ‘Cause I think I’m a what if-er like you are and we’re supposed to figure stuff out.  Is that even a word?  What if-er?  I think it is and I think that’s what we are.

Well.

What if I’m supposed to be a what if-er and I have just forgotten what that means?

What if it took a child to point out to me that there is a purpose and a meaning to my life that I have lost touch with?

What if I just keep trying things out and remember that life is a process and not a product?  And that I’m going to make mistakes and that’s okay.

What if I quit striving to reach the destination and spend more energy on seeing the joy in the journey?

The destination is a mirage that you never actually arrive at.  The journey is the reality and there are magical moments to be found…often when and where you least expect them.

Here’s to what ifs and the what if-ers who explore them…and to the joy to be found in the exploration…

And here’s to the purported wisdom of owls and some art teachers (including myself) and the actual wisdom of small children…

 

– and to following the instructions (mostly) and then celebrating the beautiful, varied and sometimes messy results of our “what if ” life.