Anything is Possible

Journal page 22:

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This morning I paid bills.

Then I worked on my art class lesson plans for a bit.

Then I finished cleaning up my studio.

Then I opened the door and walked into the room that I need to empty this week.

Then I turned around and walked out, closing the door behind me.

Not right now and maybe not even today.

I think that I have a “decision limit” in my brain and it has been reached.

Maybe there is a certain amount of time needed to reset that function.

Anyway, some stuff is done including a journal page.

And laundry.  Always laundry.

Here is my studio desk right after cleaning:

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And after working at it for a bit:

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I’m not a tidy artist.

I found this book yesterday when out with my sister and it looks like it could be a positive thing…

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And just completed (maybe) journal page 23:

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I’ve started going back and doodling details on previous pages so anything is possible on them in the future.  I like the sound of that…anything is possible.

Let’s carry that on through the rest of the day…

Peace.

Payday!

Today is a day to roam from one task to another in an effort to catch-up and maintain some semblance of order and peace in our life.

First, off to the grocery store to help shop for a home for handicapped kids and adults – one of my part-time jobs.  That makes every Wednesday a small payday of it’s own.  This year I’m making it a game to see how much of our grocery supply I can provide off of this small check.  We are eating through the freezer and pantry to see how far we can stretch without a major shopping trip.  Any money we save from this will go into our newly opened savings account!  We haven’t had a savings account in many, many years.  Now, we have one, albeit a small one.  I’m counting it as a major win in our effort to live more intentionally and be more fiscally responsible.

Next, a major push to catch-up on the homeschooling front.  We had a lot of fun during the holidays celebrating with family and friends. I’m sure we learned more than a thing or two, but…we didn’t actually do any of the “official” school stuff that I had written in the planner.  Now, we are trudging through.  As always, I’m not putting too much emphasis on the books and worksheets.  They can be useful, but are not the be-all and end-all of learning.

Finally, I’m going to work on clearing out the studio in preparation for a weekend renovation binge.  Friday is the big payday and I get to buy the paint and flooring to finish out the space.  I’ve decided on white paint for the walls, placid sea (blueish) for the cabinet, and citrus peel for the shelves.  The floor will be black and white linoleum squares.

Payday is always exciting around here, but this one will be especially welcome.  I can’t wait to have a new space to work in.  I have lots of projects in mind!

I am feeling extraordinarily creative at the moment.  Not sure what’s prompting it, but it is a welcome change.  Perhaps the increased meds are helping.  The cloud seems to be lifting.

Life is good!

Empty Boxes

You know that you are making progress when the “declutter” for the day is empty boxes, storage containers, baskets and the like. That’s what left the house today.  Lots and lots of empty receptacles.  The family room/studio/classroom is decluttered and cleanish.

The only stuff that I didn’t deal with is my art.  Art that used to hang in a church:  art that was made for a life that is no longer the one I am living.  A lot of history including joy, growth and grief.  There are lot of emotions wrapped up in that art.  For now, it will remain tucked in the storage area covered by a quilt.  I know it’s there and I know that I need to make some decisions about it all, but not right now.  It’s out of sight, but not out of mind.  I’m learning to recognize when I’m avoiding an issue that is impeding my journey.  Something that is holding me back.

I keep reminding myself that this is a journey that cannot be traveled quickly.  For now, I’m exited about the progress that I’ve made.  A full pick-up load of stuff is gone to the thrift store and recycling.  The trash can was full yesterday and is already half-full today.

There is space in the room to set up my drying rack so I can cut down on my dryer use.  My art desk is clear.  There are two comfy chairs clear of clutter sitting next to the fireplace ready for winter snuggling.  The school stuff is organized and a plan is in place to read the books that we have on the shelves and to share them with other homeschoolers in the next few months.

I really and truly can’t find anything else in there to get rid of.  But that’s today.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings.  I may become a minimalist yet.

Um, probably not!

As promised…

…and I am back today to write another line or two of my story.  We all have one – a story, that is.  While mine currently seems enormously insignificant, I’m going to keep on living it and writing about it anyway.  I know I’m not alone in this struggle called life.  And I am aware that it is not always a struggle.   “This too shall pass” as my Dad used to say.  He stole the quote, but I can still hear him saying it so I’m going to credit him.

Art today…

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I’ve had these little canvases for a while.  I bought them for another project that hasn’t happened yet.  They were just sitting on my shelf and looked lonely.  I’ve started just painting them – and then repainting them – and then layering some more paint.  Now I’ve started sticking on the dried paint scrapings from my desk.  They are becoming quite heavy and textural.

Why?  I don’t know yet.  I suppose they’ll let me know when it is time…

I am not a tidy artist…

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But sometimes, I’m not sure that I’m an artist at all.  But my middle daughter says that I am an artist and she should know.  She will be graduating with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in December.  That makes her for sure a “real artist”.

She tells me to make what I enjoy.  To do what I like to do and not to worry about it all so much.

So I made this recently…

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and yes, those are little plastic chickens on top.  I think it might be a little bit of art therapy.  As I look at it I see little parts of my life reflected.  Some of the “down” moments and quite a few of the hopeful ones.  Art?  I don’t know.

While “doing school” today, my youngest and I stumbled across a poem we both liked.

The Sparrow

 A little bird, with plumage brown,
Beside my window flutters down,
A moment chirps its little strain,
Ten taps upon my window-pane,
And chirps again, and hops along,
To call my notice to its song;
But I work on, nor heed its lay,
Till, in neglect, it flies away.

So birds of peace and hope and love
Come fluttering earthward from above,
To settle on life’s window-sills,
And ease our load of earthly ills;
But we, in traffic’s rush and din
Too deep engaged to let them in,
With deadened heart and sense plod on,
Nor know our loss till they are gone.

It was written by Paul Lawrence Dunbar.  It was a good message for today.  A good message for tomorrow.  Just a simple, good message….

Making Art

First of all – since my husband so very kindly shared this on facebook already – the broom has been found.  It was right behind the very desk that I typed the missing broom post at.  It was leaning against the wall.  If I’d simply turned around, I would have seen it.

I suppose there is an entire post or commentary there:  what we need (or want) is often right there with us, but we keep searching far and wide for it, unaware of it’s proximity.

But, that’s not what today’s post is about.

Today, I want to take a moment to reflect on an important lesson I have learned (am learning) this week.  It’s a bit about who I am, where I belong, and what I need to be doing…

The world is a mighty big place.  There are a lot of things wrong in it.  There are a lot of things right about it.  There are unlimited causes to fight for.  Injustices that are great and small.  Some exist on a world scale and some are in our own homes.  Some we know about because they are “in our face” on the news, in social media, in conversation at every turn.  Some we never hear about for whatever reason.  Some we embrace and some we ignore.

Sometimes we choose to fight for a cause because it is deeply personal for us.  It affects us directly or someone we know.

We might be drawn to an issue for reasons we don’t understand.

In any case, I believe it is important to work for social justice – to stand for something – to work towards making the world a better place.  For everyone.

I try to do that in my own little way.  I often believe that I don’t do enough. That I should be doing more and trying harder.

But, we can’t all do great and powerful things.  We aren’t all going to make the news carrying protest signs.  We can’t all be heroes (for lack of a better word).

Kudos to those who do.  We need heroes.

It’s equally important to have those who work behind the lines.  Those who do the little things that make a difference.  Some will never be known for the work they did – a  small act of kindness that multiplied into something much more for example.  Every person plays their part – the laundry always has to be done, the dishes washed, the trash picked up, and the meals prepared.  I don’t know that there is any honest work that should be downplayed or deemed less important than any other.

My lesson this week is as follows…

I “jumped” into social media this week and made a statement.  The issue, the statement, the consequences or lack thereof aren’t really relevant to this discussion.  I don’t regret doing so.  But, I am suffering the consequences.  Maybe suffering isn’t the correct word.  Perhaps I should say, I am experiencing the consequences.  Old wounds have been opened and I am dealing with old hurts and pain that I thought I had already dealt with and put to rest.  This isn’t totally a bad thing.  I believe that we need to deal with our emotions and feelings in order to grow and fully develop.

I’m just weary, anxious and somewhat depressed. I’m tired and stressed.  Dealing with the emotions (mine and others) is exhausting.  Thinking carefully about what I want to say and making sure it is clear and to the point – and that it won’t be misunderstood.  Considering both sides of the situation and being considerate and compassionate about those involved.  Playing nice when others don’t.  Letting the angry words go because I understand the anger is rooted in hurt and pain. Dealing with the frustration when someone can’t see that their words are unfair and just plain mean.

Sometimes something will seem so obvious to me – and it seems like nobody else can see it.  I try hard to be open to the fact that they are thinking the same of me.

I’m feeling out of place, exposed and vulnerable.

I just want to wrap myself in a safe cocoon.

I just want to go into my studio and make something.

And that, more and more, seems to be where I belong. Behind the scenes making art. A more solitary existence.  Speaking through my work.  Sometimes it makes a statement.  Sometimes it illustrates a story.  Sometimes it makes me feel better.  Sometimes it makes a point.  Sometimes it just is…

I’ve been told that I write well.  That I speak well.  That I argue/discuss/debate well.  Maybe so.  I don’t know for sure.

I do know that just because you can do something – doesn’t mean that you necessarily should.

Just because you can say something – doesn’t mean that you should.

And it doesn’t mean that I never will again.

But for right now, I’m going to go into my studio and make some art.

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:

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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 Corner

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Another neglected, unfinished canvas languishing in the corner of my studio has been finished.

What shall we title this?

How about:  “What if it doesn’t mean anything?”

Or…

“Connect the Dots”

The second suggests a theme developing from the canvas I finished earlier this week.

But, I’m not sure that I want to take myself so seriously.  I read an old art journal entry yesterday that led to these thoughts:

…not taking my art so seriously, and just creating for the sheer need and joy of it.  Creating because it’s who I am and what I must do to be alive.

…Not striving to create something that is significant and important, but just allowing the image(s) to emerge from whatever mysterious place within us that it originates.

…Staying out of the way of the art (stuff) that happens when I don’t overthink it or overanalyze it.

…I have a modicum of talent, a great love of making art (stuff) and a whole lot of self-doubt, fear, and restraint.  I can be my own worst enemy when it comes to creativity.

…What if I just let it happen?  …Paint the heart in the middle even if it’s cliché, add a big yellow blob, paint over it, let it sit…quit worrying so much.

Very few artists become “successful” in the eyes of the world.

But, what a sad place the world would be without the creativity of all!

Elephants

I lost my cool today.  I lost sight of the progress and got drawn into the big world of what’s left to do.  Sometimes it just seems like there is so much to be done and that I can’t keep up.

“How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”

This old saying is true, but it’s hard to be encouraged by it when there is more than one elephant to deal with.

My house seems to be a mess.  My yard is huge and an overgrown mess.  I’ve started some necessary home improvement projects.  I want to reduce the clutter.  The list goes on and on.  When I lose focus on the positive, I start adding to the list until it seems impossible to handle.

One bite at a time.  I must prioritize and be grateful for the small wins.  Find joy in the improvements and remember, most of all, that I am doing it all to live a more intentional, simple, and happy life.

That being said, the studio re-do is done!  This stuff is gone.

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My recipes are all sorted and organized.  From this

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To this

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Small, continual, intentional steps…