Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Make It Dangerous or It's Not Worth Doing

Make it Dangerous or it's Not Worth Doing
pen, Pitt Artist Pen, Paper, 8x5"

Day 6/100 in 100 days
30 minutes :( 3hours and 56 minutes totall since beginning.

So I'm behind in my revision hours. A little over 2 hours behind my goal. Ugh. It's really a struggle to make my hours of writing time.

And it's not that I don't have time. I spend time browsing on line or reading or watching tv.

It's that....

Oh goodness gracious!


Of course it is.

And I did not plan today's drawing because of this revelation, I just had the revelation this instant. I mean, I knew there was a connection between Fear and writing/art. I also thought it was a good hint for writing a novel... to up the stakes, to offer some danger for your characters, other wise, well, it's just boring.

And I knew that it is dangerous for me to attempt this revision, to FINISH this novel, because this is what I really want, what I have always wanted and that means the stakes are terribly high for me to make a success of it. But what if I can't do it? What if I give up and never finish. Even worse, what if I do write my novel and finish my drafts and it SUCKS. What if I am not as good in reality as I am in my head?

I don't think it is ever as good in reality as it is in our imagination, in art or in life... and that's because there is always possibility, there is always freedom, there is always the concept of perfect in our dreams, but reality puts everything on the line.

Once we put something down on paper (metaphorically or literally) we are stuck with what we've done, who we are, and the choices we make. We have to let them live their own lives, be their own thing and they are evidence of who we really are inside. Not dreams, reality. Not potential. Evidence. Not perfect... imperfect.

Oh I am afraid of finishing my novel. Of not being good enough. Of putting my money where my mouth is and having it be quite a few bucks short of the price of admission.

So I use my normal excuses to avoid writing. Too busy. Too tired. No time. My brain is not working well today. Can't focus. I must be coming down with something because my head hurts. I need to clean my desk/make dinner/pack boxes/draw an inspirational quote. My favorite show is coming down and I won't have enough time before it. Oh it's too late now I'm too tired it's bedtime forget writing tonight. It's too hard.

But in the past, when I have uprooted those excuses and sat down to work, they have almost always evaporated into the creative work and the words. I have frequently discovered, past bedtime, that if I take my laptop to bed, I can whip out an hour of work and find my mind zooming through problems I thought I was too tired to hack. Or if I commit to only 15 minutes, I end up going for one hour, two hours. Sometimes just 15 minutes, but the words come and they add up.

What's the lesson here?

Follow the fear.

The fear tells you where there is danger. The danger tells you where there is something to lose. When there is something to lose, there is also something to gain.

When I'm scared of something lately, when I realize that it is FEAR holding me back, that is when I have to make the commitment to tackle it.

Because I want those dreams. These high stakes are the fulfillment of everything I have been working towards my whole life. This is dangerous because this is really, really


Monday, September 28, 2009

Something and Nothing

Something I Doodled
Pitt Artist Pen, Pen, paper

Day 5 of 100 in 100 Creative Challenge: Writing til the End of 2009
4 hours 39 minutes. page 10, mostly new writing. A little revision.

I am still behind on my writing hours. But that's okay. Remember, in order to build up to a habit, one has to start slowly. One has to expect relapses. One has to allow oneself to be imperfect to get those muscles going.

I have this new idea that maybe I should write for one and a half hours every day, as it doesn't look like I will be able to write every last single day. So to make up for the days I miss, I could tack on another half hour of writing time.

I forget to check with my bosses if that was okay with them.

Apparently, after I hit one hour thirteen minutes writing time this morning (including breaks for snacks, hugs, diapers, etc) boss number one decided I'd had enough writing time and it was time to pay attention to her.

Commence whining. Crying. Yelling. Cries of "kiss my boo boo! kiss my boo boo" when there was no boo boo in sight.

The boy enjoys his adventures in the garden, and his tv shows, and his imaginative games of superhero or dinosaur or robot, and his planning of aquariums or building playgrounds or hosting parties and plays well by himself... but the girl, she wants mama. She will not be satisfied by running around making jet sounds in my general vicinity.

Tensions rise when two different characters have different desires and goals. This is true for fiction and this is true for mommying. I'm okay as long as every body is doing what I want them to do and it doesn't interfere with what I want to do. If I have no particular goals for the next few minutes, there's no tension, but if my goal is to write for ten more minutes and the girl's goal is for me to stop writing RIGHT NOW and give her attention even if she doesn't have anything in particular that she wants from me... well, her screaming gets louder, and so does mine.

In the end, I said, okay. I will stop writing. But I also told her that I needed a break, because now the tension was so high in my head I needed a time out. (note to self. When writing tense scenes in my novel, do not stop the action to mull over the beauty of, say, the sky, or ponder over the things that led to this point. Stay with it. Tension in a mommy is bad. Tension in a novel is good.)

Interestingly, I decided to practice some nothingness, an idea that is floating around blogland because of Jamie Ridler's Joy Diet bookclub. I don't have the book yet, but I thought I'd practice a few minutes of nothing, despite feeling that a triple shift, no help stay at home mom doesn't really get the opportunity to do nothing without being on duty. I went out onto the front porch, with the girl wailing about how much she misses mommy (I roll my eyes) and sat down with my coffee to look at the lizards dancing and the hear the squirrels chittering and feel the breeze as it rustled the live oak branches. It was nice out there. Cool and shady, and the cries from behind the screen door faded away, for the most part, with but a screech here and there to remind me they were still kicking.

So, ten or so minutes later, calm and free of tension from that simple ten minutes of not having to DO anything, I cam back inside gave the kids some hugs or water or whatever little thing they wanted. I checked my email. I made some lunch. I prepped dinner. I put a girl to nap. I gave the boy a snack. I took a photo and now I am blogging.

In the end, I decided nothing is good. Pushing for something all the time isn't necessary. Maybe I'll try more nothing tomorrow and get more somethings done as a consequence.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cake and Writing. Celebrate the Messiness of It All

acrylic on paper, 5x8"

2/100 1 hour 6 minutes. Page 5 of third draft of Mythos. All new writing.


I cheated a little. I didn't write anything at all yesterday. No I didn't.

After a day of running after kids and trying to get stuff done and dealing with other stuff and organizing stuff and wrangling stuff and feeling like I was doing it all rather badly, I had not much left in me once the kids went to bed.

I said, shoot, forget it. I'll make up the time tomorrow, although I was kind of planning to skip the whole hour and make it up whenever.

Then, before I went to bed I checked my email and my Facebook and there were all sorts of wonderful people rooting me on and joining in.

Damn you people.

Knowing as I know how easy it is to fall behind in those self made goals and poop out before you get very far at all, knowing how easy it is to forget that you really really wanted it in the face of how hard it is, and knowing that people were watching me, dammit, I woke up this morning and got back to work. Last time I started doing challenges I remember having this problem. I ended up counting my day as nap to nap, not midnight to midnight because it worked for me. So, I thought I'd go back to my old schedule. BUT... the boy no longer takes naps, and I have so much to do while the girl sleeps. So I had to find some time within my already busy day to get the writing done. So I did.

Yes. I wrote my three pages this morning. Not in the loveliness of silence and time to myself where the brain is functioning and and uninterrupted. No. I wrote in the chaos of post breakfast children running around the house pretending to be dinosaurs or cats or superheroes or whatever it was they were pretending to be.

I wrote with Sesame Street singing about lightning bugs in the background and little girls tugging on my skirt and boys yelling to be let back in the house from making mud pies in the garden, and having tantrums about how there was no way in the world that he could take off his own shirt by himself even though he did.

And I kept writing when the boy came up and asked what all the words on the page were.

Well, no. I stopped then. And I stopped to get the glass of water. And I stopped to let the boy in. And I stopped to change a diaper and put on shoes and clean up the spill and hand out goldfish, and do a time out or two and praise for accomplishments and hug for booboos.

But I kept going back to work.

I know this is not the ideal situation in which to write a book. I know that I should probably get up at 4am (!!!!) before the kids wake and just get at it, but my brain does not function that early and yipes.

I didn't know if it would work. I've never tried to write while the kids were running around the house, only during naps or on rare days off. But you know what?

I did it.

It worked.

I thought for sure that I couldn't write while the kids were howling around me. I am not speaking euphemistically. AWOOOO! And yet. The howling did not stop the writing.

I could indeed write.

I'm a little amazed. I wasn't expecting it.

And there is yet another "I can't" that has been tossed away. You mean, it's possible to write a novel while watching a toddler and a preschooler without any help at all? You mean it's possible to be an artist and a stay at home mom? You mean it's possible to get that mommy brain back, or keep something of my pre-kid dreams for myself, or be an artist and not be a totally selfish, crazy lunatic?

I guess when we break down the boxes and definitions of what it means to be an artist, or a mom, or an American, or a human being, well, perhaps a lot of the can'ts become possible. Oh, it may look like a holy mess, without out those neat categories and separations, but it is possible.

And yes. I also painted that cake this morning. in honor of the Wayne Thiebaud postcard of cakes my little one dug out of my desk this morning while I was still waking up and left in the bathroom for me to find. Also in honor of my mom's birthday a couple days ago, and the kid's desire to throw a party, any party.

So AWOO to you. Celebrate yourself for something you didn't think you could do, and once attempted, found out you could.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Time to finish my book (oh no!) More days of 100

Time to finish my book (oh no) More days of 100
gesso, acrylic, marker, pen on paper. Journal.

1/100: 40 minutes. page 2 of third draft of Mythos. All new writing.

Well, I made myself write last night, an hour or so before midnight. I didn't get one hour in, but at this point, at the beginning of my process, I am okay with that.

After writing novel/learning how to write novels/trying to write novels now for... oh 23 fricking years (what? really? 23 years? why do you not have ONE finished, revised book?) one of the things I learned is that, in order to develop a writing practice from zero, you have to be gentle with yourself in the beginning.

If you don't write, it's hard to all of a sudden write 5000 words in a day. If you don't write, it's hard to just jump right in from nothing and be actively in the middle of WRITING THE NOVEL.

Just like my 4yo who says he can't write the letter A ("ican'tican'tican't") and throws his chalk across the room when I show him how it's done, you have to allow yourself to be a beginner. G thinks that he is a big boy, so he should know how to read. Yes. He actually said this. I told him that learning to read is part of becoming a big boy, and this is one of the things he can learn as a getting bigger boy.

I tell him, "but you know all your letters and even know how to pick out some words, and that is great for being a 4 year old."

And he says, "but I only know animals. I can't read. I can't write an A. I never write an A."

Well, it was hard to get him over his tantrums and get him to write his clumsy A... which he gets so frustrated with because it is still not perfect. But we did it. And tomorrow, we'll try again until he learns more confidence. And then we'll figure out A, and we'll figure out B, and the C and you know the way that story goes.

And tonight, when the kids are sleeping, I will try again to see what I can do with my novel. I will start where I am and I will allow myself to be imperfect and to not know the answer to revision or to writing. I will learn what I need as I go. I will gain confidence in my ability to revise. To rewrite. To shape my novel.

I will get into the practice of writing. I will put down my words one by one. I will engage daily in the practice of revising.

For 100 days. And at the end of it, I will look back and discover how much I have done. Maybe I will even have a finished, final draft of a book.

In reality, it's not talent or inspiration or ability that separates artists from non artists... it's commitment. That's why I'm doing this hundred days. I need to commit to this book, regardless of the other things going on in my life. I might even be offline for some time during these hundred days. But I'll still be working on my novel.

What do you need to develop, to learn, to commit to?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Last Hundred Days of 2009. Am I crazy to do another project? I guess so.

the grapefruit tree in the garden this morning the kids bring me flowers
art journal
watercolor, pen, acrylic

I've been absent. Yes.

I combination of resting from the flu and resting from the end of 100 in 100 days project. Plus the chaos of life and a trip to the zoo which taught me that I wasn't quite over the flu and if I pushed myself, I'd get knocked back on my butt again.

I haven't painted in a while. I'm okay with that. I'm learning that I don't need to hang onto the painting everyday thing out of fear that I will lose my painting.

It's a discipline, being a creative, it is, but it shouldn't feel like something you are yoked to.

Anyway, it has come to my attention that today is the 100th day until the end of the year.

Some of my buds from the 100x100 days project are taking on these last 100 days by challenging themselves in a new creative project, and I am, I think, joining in.

I've changed my focus though.

I'm going to let myself paint when I feel like it. Let myself do art journals more and maybe some larger paintings which take more than a day to finish.

My new challenge to myself is to write one hour every day for 100 days.

It's not a real challenge, because I know I can write easily for an hour. And I know I can write fast for an hour.

But it IS a really real challenge because I have not been able to set up a good, every day, lasting writing practice ever since I had kids. It's either feast of famine. I write all the time in a frenzy, or not at all.

So hopefully, when we ring in the New Year, I will have developed a solid writing practice.

Hey. Anyone else want to join in on this last 100 in 100 days of 2009? I'll do another side bar if you're interested... although I am totally slacking on my sidebars, and need to revamp the whole thing. Damn kids. Always getting in the way of stuff.

Now they want goldfish crackers. Goodness.

Well, I guess I'll start my plan by setting up a chart for myself.

Being a visual thinker, charts are nice for me. I'll mark out 100 days, and put the time I start and the time I finish and what I've done. I'm looking to revise my novel, so I really shouldn't be looking at page number,but I'll have a place for it.

When to carve out an hour a day when I wake up with the kids and one of them doesn't nap anymore? I guess it has to be when they go to bed... although I always get so tired at night.

This of course, may be my usual tactic to avoid. "I'm too tired." "I don't feel well." Yes it is. So I guess I need to conquer through my tiredness, and just write.

Really, it's about showing up to the page, showing up for the creativity. Just keep going, day by day, hour by hour, page by page, word by word.

This is how novels, how bodies of work are created.


Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wild Mermaid Princess Thing in the Jungle, and Me

Jungle Royalty (in the garden) What I Wore Today
September 17, 2009
pitt artist pen, pen on paper

So I've been absent for a while. Turns out that I was far more productive when I was in the middle of the flu than I was after I had been through the worst of it. For the last week or so I have just been exhausted and too tired to do much of anything but moan. So I thought I'd spare you all posts saying how tired I was and I didn't do any painting, anyway, because I kept pooping out once I made lunch for the kids.

To tell the truth, I'm not 100% right now, still a little achey and headachey. BUT only Ivy's high pitch squeal or a brass band can still split my head open, not normal music or the boy's shouting... so it's an improvement. And I still have a little energy, so before it runs away, lets get this post going.

Wild Mermaid Princess Thing in the Jungle

Ivy has been obsessed with Mariana the Mermaid Princess' magic crown (from Dora the Explorer). She has been using her plastic cereal bowl as a crown, and it inevitably slides off of her head and crashes to the floor with a ringing clatter, bringing on that split-open head feeling in mama. So yesterday, I'd had enough and took out a cereal box, cutting it into a crown, then painting it with gesso. I told them they could paint it when it was dry, but Ivy loves hers white.

I've been trying to capture a photo as she runs around the house, saying she has to bring the crown to Mariana. When she ran outside with it this morning, I ran after her, trying to catch the Wild Thing in her native habitat. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy. I got this one, but she spent most of the time ducking between hanging vines and overgrown elephant ears or tall swaying ferns. The little dickens. She also doesn't think that anything bad will happen if she falls into the pond, because, obviously, she is turning into a mermaid.

So after a few weeks of inactivity and exhaustion from the flu, here's three creative projects in two days. Photo, drawing and crown. Not bad for She of the Flu.

I feel a headache sneaking up. Sigh. I was hoping I could get a little packing down... that's still coming up on the horizon. Just taking things one step at a time, I guess.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Radio Silence

A towering cloud outside of the supermarket in Florida

I just wanted to say hi. I maintained a radio silence yesterday, 9/11.

I have been dealing with a lot of struggles lately, and to tell the truth, I'm just not up to reliving that day 8 long/short years ago. So I didn't post, because I would have felt the need to relive it. This year, I let it go. Without dwelling.

If you'd like to read my story, I wrote it here on my blog last year.

In other news, my friends Nikki and Billy had their first child yesterday. So, I would prefer to remember 9/11 this year as a day of birth and rebirth. Life. Transformation. Faith that we are strong and can go on.

So I played with my kids, drew pictures, cooked delicious pork chops w lime sherry sauce, relaxed and recuperated from the flu (it turns out the relapse thing is a symptom of The Swine) and watched the repeat of Glee, laughing so hard during the "Push It" number that tears came to my eyes.

The good kind of tears.

So, 8 years and a day after that fateful day, I memorialize it by moving on and crying happy tears.

You have my permission to let go of your pain when it is too hard to bear.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

An Interlude

The boy in the rain. I safe inside behind a screen door.

You know what?

I have the flu still.

I may not still be sick-sick, but I am recovering. There is a reason for my exhaustion and short temper and body aches. I'm sick.

So today you get a pic that's a few weeks old.

I'm going to chill.

It's important that we learn to take breaks and relax, and understand our own human frailties. don't push so hard.

Take it easy, ma peeps. I'm going to.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

What Next?

What Next? (What I Wore Today)
Pitt Artist Pen and pen

So I am done with my self challenge to paint, and I don't really know where to go next.

I mean, I have lots of things to do and many responsibilities and all, but what happens next with my painting? With my art? With my creativity?

Now that I have reached this goal, what do I do with it? What do I do with what I have learned? What do I do with my creative habit?

I don't want to stop painting. I don't want to lose my daily creative habit. But I'd like to expand my definition and my boundaries.

I also have to maintain my etsy shop, and I haven't been doing very well at that. There's so much work to put up and I haven't had the time and/or motivation to do so. I mean, I did have the SWINE FLU, or what I like to think of as the swine flu, and I'm still recovering from whatever it is so there's a reason for falling off of the work. But I still need to get some of these new paintings up there.

I'd like to organize all the work done in these past 100 days. My computer died in the middle of it, so the photos are not all in the same place, but I would like to have them in one place. Maybe Flickr.

It turns out the more that you do, the harder it is to keep the business side of it all organized.

I Finished My 100th Painting in 100 Days Today, (What I Wore Today)
pen and pitt artist pen on paper

But you know what? I am longing to do something more than just paint.

I want to alter an old college tshirt that is too big and baggy for me. I want to finish making some felt toys for the kids. I want to work on some creative games to play. And the biggest thing...

I want to do something with my lonely, neglected novel.

But I don't know what.

I am glad that after this whole ambitious project of mine, I have developed some more faith in my creativity. A year ago, I wouldn't have believed it. I believe it was about a year ago that I embarked on a month long challenge of Flying Girls. I probably have done 300 new paintings/drawings in this last year. And at this point, I don't need to keep my focus so narrowed down onto one theme.

That's fun.

Maybe I'll do some creative journal planning sort of things. Some dreammaking and stepthinking. Visualizing my goals have always helped me. I like charts.

And tonight is the new season of So You Think You Can Dance and Glee. I might just like to paint something on this night. I won't be able to write if I'm watching tv, but I can paint.

I am also having fun doing these sketches of What I Wore. .I whip these up when I am having my morning coffee usually. Plus this project keeps me from choosing the shlub when I get dressed in the morning.

So what happens if I keep drawing/painting every day, but still allow myself to choose other creative activities?

I wonder where I will be and what I will have done a hundred days from today?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Bloom, or Where You Are Planted- 100/100

Bloom, or Where You Are Planted
100/100 in 100 Creative Challenge *Fireworks* *Triumphant Singing* *Big Sigh of Relief*
Golden Fluid Acrylic on Watercolor Paper, about 8.5x11"

Here she is.

The finale.

Finished about 15 minutes ago. Did a diaper change. Came back and snapped a shot to upload.

This one took a long time. I forgot about my up and down process, since I've been lowering the stakes with my art journals and drawings, which I don't find nearly as difficult.

This one was envisioned a week ago, begun two days ago and is made up of layer upon layer of color and paint. I've been tweaking the tones and lines the entire time and for a while there, I was convinced that this last painting in my personal challenge of painting 100 paintings/art pieces in 100 days was going to be uninspiring. But I ended up really liking it.

First of all, it's bigger than I've been working. It's not that big, but it's bigger. And second of all, I've been thinking about the concept, so there was a lot of weight to it. And thirdly, oh yeah, it was the last piece, so I wanted it to be really good.

Whenever you want the results to be really good, I find that the process suffers. You seize up. You don't want to try risky things. You don't want to mess it up. You are afraid to be a wreck. But when you close off the possibility of wreckage, of pain, of loss, of sorrow, of grief, of dissappointment, of fear-- when you try to be safe and in control and perfect... well you lose the perfection that is your imperfection, your emotion, your beauty, your soul.

I want you to know, I'm not just talking about art, here.

So here I was with my pretend lotus picture, and my idea of blooming where one is planted, and the idea of the beautiful things that can grow out of the muck of the swamp, and I tried to go with it.

I tried to wipe my expectations of what it should be from my mind and just focus on what I had there in front of me. What was working? What pleased me? What resonated? I tried to hilight that. And then to look at what was off? What wasn't quite working together? What needed more attention, a brighter color a sharper line, and take care of that.

And by "take care of" I mean, "try anything I can think of and see what happens next." The flower was white pink yellow green orange cream brown. It had pointed petals then paisley doodled petals then blurred petals. It was darker then lighter then half lighter and half darker. Leaves no leaves. The water was ground at one point and without the fish which was white then yellow then orange. And the blue was green, and then plain blue and then shadows added and then hilights added. And it never stopped evolving except for that "put it away" time where I take the night, sleep on it and see what I need in the morning. I almost always figure it out the next morning.

I guess this is what I learned during this process... in part aided by the Wreck This Journal bookclub... let go, try new things, see what happens and go from what you've got.

I run out of energy sometimes. I get gloomy sometimes. Things don't work out right and I get other things wrong sometimes, but this is where I am planted. The only way I know how to grow is one day at a time. One petal, one step, one painting at a time.

It seems insurmmountable when you look at the big goal from the beginning. It looks inconsequential when you pay attention to only the single steps, and doesn't seem like you are going anywhere. But when you start to add those days up, you can literally track your UNimpossible progress. You can see the logic of movement. You can understand how growth happens.

And then when you reach your goal, the thing that once seemed so unreachable, you look back and think, "huh! that wasn't so hard after all." Honestly, I'm not even all that impressed with my accomplishment because it was so gradual and every day. It was all baby steps. I am gratified, and I like the body of work that I made and I'm pleased with the creative development that happened, but it doesn't seem superhuman looked at in retrospect.

And that gets me to thinking about some of my real life goals.

They seem impossible from here.

But what if they just need dedication? What if they just need commitment? What if they just need some sort of plan and then lots of little babysteps?

Maybe those dreams aren't so impossible after all.

Maybe your dreams aren't impossible, either.

Monday, September 07, 2009

The Last Drawings before the Finale, 97-99/100

Good Morning


Woo Hoo! Getting Close. Tomorrow is day 100 of 100 in 100 days creative challenge.

I can't believe I am actually going to have 100 paintings/drawing in those 100 days. Can't believe it's over. Can't believe it just takes each single day's effort to reach the big goal. There's a lesson there in achieving our goals.

100 pieces of art seems impossible until you actually just go one by one.

I'll be honest, I didn't always paint or draw every day. Sometimes I did two or three in one day and then took off the next few days. And if it weren't for allowing a wider range of art into my count, I don't know if I would have achieved my goal.

But I think widening my definition expanded my creativity and my ability as an artist. It definitely gave me a larger vocabulary.

I am freer now than I was before.

Ow! Ace Bandage


Back when I was only painting Flying Girls, I got a lot out of going deep into one theme. I was allowed to explore that one idea and develop my style and the things I loved. I think I developed a me as an artist.

But I think as that went on, I started to feel trapped by what was once a comfortable boundary. I got bored of flying girl. Now, boredom in itself is not a bad thing. Because it can make you try new things. I found different ways to interpret Flying Girl and make her exciting. But then I got even more bored and I realized it was time to move on.

I've done Flying Girls and moved into the Traveling paintings. Wreck This Journal allowed me to expand beyond my expectations and go off into new/old directions. I did some flowers that allowed me to indulge my doodle urge and my love of patterns and detail. I did the more realistic drawings of things in my daily life and re entered the world of art journaling... which I used to be completely into and have recently abandoned. And these last few days I've been having fun with these "What I Wore Today" illustrations. My love of fashion returns. Not that you can tell with my I-just-threw-it-on outfits.

Today's Word is Sparkle


These are fun. I don't expect them to be heavy or weighty or even all that meaningful. They make a neat way to document my life for a period of time. And Ivy loves to watch me draw them. In fact, I think she did her own version.

Mama, Gabriel and Ivy
By Ivy
chalk on chalkboard

I particularly like the pointy head and mouth that runs from side to side w little google eyes. LOL.

I'm going to save anymore writing about it and work on finishing tomorrows painting. Number 100. I have the background painted, but I am a little intimidated. I think I want it to be SPECIAL. I don't want it to suck. I am afraid I will ruin #100. Thus, I freeze.

Another lesson. Lower the stakes. 99 didn't bother me. Nor 38. But 100 is momentous and I'm trying to be momentous.

Just be, chickadee.

Just be.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Feeling A Little Better but Not Well Yet Journals, 94-96

No Nonsense Mom Wear, Friday, September 4, 2009
96/100 in 100 creative challenge
Pen, Pitt Artist Pen, on paper, journal 5x8"

This is what I am wearing today. I thought I was better from the flu, but if you look at this drawing, she doesn't seem quite 100% yet. Those kids in the background? They're doing the monkey dance and the bunny dance and being very loud about it and now my ears are aching. well my head, but it got in through the ears. More recuperating is required. Must take it easy and not pretend I'm not sick.

I got inspired to do this when I discovered this Flickr group dedicated to drawings of What I Wore Today. All I can say, is FUN.

All Year Long My Kids Bring Me Flowers
94/100 in 100 creative challenge, 9/3/09
Watercolor, Acrylic, Pitt Artist Pen and Pen on paper, 5x8" journal

I did this yesterday. Have I ever told you about my hand paintings? I first discovered this trick back when I was recovering from heartbreak in 2001. I wanted to express myself and start painting again, but my head and heart was empty.

So whenever I wanted to make something, I would trace my hand in my journal and allow it all to come out within the journal. I painted them different colors, filled them with words or wordless swirls. I drew in multiple hands or collaged them or painted selfportraits in them. The hands gave me a framework, a script within which to explore what was going on with my head. I developed a kind of visual language for myself by utilizing these hands and it opened up a door for deeper art that I could then step through when I was ready.

Yesterday morning I had nothing to say, so I traced my hand. Flowers came to mind, so I filled it with flowers, weeds, just like the ones my kids give me.

I like the hands. They say that my life is in my own hands. I have the power to create it the way I want it to be.

Waterguns and a Wild Garden...
95/100 in 100 creative challenge, 9/3/09
Watercolor and pen on paper

Then as you can see, my kids wanted to play with waterguns. It gave me the time to paint this. IT's the extra gun. No one wanted the red gun. Don't ask me why. It turned into tantrums and yelling and whining. But it made a fun painting subject. :)

I am enjoying these daily living drawings. I am enjoying being present ish. I am enjoying the simplicity of sketching things I see instead of putting so much meaning into things. And you can see they are quicker than the paintings I had been doing. 2 or 3 a day? Good for my output count. I'm all caught up. I think it's not only a less time consuming style, but it's also a less weighty style. It is about imperfection and going with what comes, not layering and shading and filling in every last wrinkle. It feels lighter and more airy.

I've been thinking about living lighter, actually. Of letting go of the stuff. All the stuff we hang on to and think we ABSOLUTELY need to be happy. I'm not sure how much of that stuff is physical and how much of that stuff is mental, emotional, psychological, metaphorical etc.

I know I'm heading into a traveling light phase. It might not last that long, but it might. I've already gotten rid of so much, I am finding that I am hanging on to what I have left and the things and habits that make me comfortable.

Maybe drawing the things will help me come to grips with letting go. I don't know. It's a thought. And it's a journey. A journey of lightness, hopefully.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

More Flu Journal, 91-93

The Key Lime Blossom I Plucked from the Tree
91/100 in 100
watercolor, pen, and Pitt Artist Pen on paper (journal)

Feeling a little better from my bout w the flu, but not well yet. Just not quite as in pain and/or exhausted. Yay for me. Still taking it easy.
Pretzels are Yummy
92/100 in 100
watercolor, pen, acrylic on paper (journal)

Lately I like the idea of paying attention to the mundane, little details of life. I haven't done this kind of art journal in quite a while. I like it though. I don't know if I'll ever be able to sell it, but art doesn't always have to be about commerce.

Anyway, I miss doing art journals. Or plain journals. The internet has beggared my paper journal.

Hero of My Own Story, or Orion Flying Girl
93/100 in 100
Golden Fluid Acrylic on paper (journal)

I saw an orion drawing that was nice. So I thought I liked the idea of a Flying Girl Orion. Whether or not I thought the painting was successful, it's fun to be able to explore in the journal without feeling the need to always have perfect paintings.

There are things to learn from letting go of the reins, from allowing imperfection in, from just going with intuition instead of planning it out. Also from letting yourself off the hook.

It does not have to be perfect.

It does not have to make money.

It does not have to count as art to anyone else but you.

It just has to feel good, feel right, somewhere, in some corner of yourself.

Do some feeling good today.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Flu Journals (89&90/100)

Saying Yes (art journal)
89/100 in 100 creative challenge, 9/1/09

Working on my art journal as I try to take it easy. Maybe I shouldn't have had the coffee in the picture because I think I have the flu. Maybe even the swine flu, but it's not the worst flu I've ever had.

So, soup tonight, lots of rest. Lots of movies and tv for the kids and one more art journal page for my creative challenge tally

In My Hands (art journal)
90/100 in 100 creative challenge, 9/1/09
watercolor and Pitt artist pen on paper

Ten more to go.

Hands are amazing things, you know.

We have lots of power in our hands and we don't even realize it.
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