Thursday, February 17, 2011

This Is the Life You Are Meant To Live

This Is The Life You Are Meant To Live
pencil and repurposed menu


It's been a long time. My blog absence doesn't represent anything sinister... or rather, it does, because right after I wrote the last entry, I came down with the flu, and that's pretty sinister.


Two and a half weeks later and the cough is fading, the fatigue is still hanging on a bit, and the shakes are trembling a little less than yesterday. Sometimes it feels like it will never go away, but it is, slowly, and in its own time.

I actually started this post two weeks ago, but never had the gumption to finish it.

The drawing above is one of those things I do at work when I'm waiting. It's when I'm looking for the wisdom that I need to hear.

And I think I needed to accept my winter for what it was. Not a season of action. A fallow period. A time to rest and recuperate. A time to let the snow fall and cover the land. Still and white and cold.

The work is going on underneath all that chill.
This is my old Winsor Newton travel paint set. It's about 15 years old. I feel something growing in me that wants to start painting again. But something is also holding me back. Is it my own personal winter?

Well, this is March. March is the turning point. Winter ends. Spring begins. The snow melts.

It's time for me to start over, I think. Renewal.

If I have to, I will start over from the beginning. I will take babysteps. I will go back and learn all over again how to be brave. How to be productive. How to keep moving forward.

I've done it before.

However, I am not starting from the same place. Each time I start over, I am farther along on my journey.

You see that old paint set? That has painted hundreds of works of art. It may be quiet right now, but it has a history. I have already come far, and I know that I can go farther still. My path may have bumps and pauses, but it is my path.

And I'm still going, baby step by baby step.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Heart and Needle

Heart, Sewn
felt, thread.

Here comes Valentines.


Sorry. I'm not a Valentines fan. I love the chocolate, and that it means spring is coming soon, but it is not my favorite holiday.

However, I have kids, and I don't have to infect them with my eyerolling too early. So I want to do some Valentines crafts this weekend, maybe help the boy make some cards for his classmates. Maybe sew them some little hearts to hang from their pockets and backpacks. Oh I don't know.

But I do kind of like the way this little unfinished felt heart looks on the old sweater. The threads curling off of the side, pierced by the needle.

A kind of crafty version of Cupid's arrow...

No, do not despair, I am not growing soft and mushy.

Anyway, Happy Valentines Day, whether you are a romantic, or an old grump like me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Girls' Play Date and The Big Lazy

Oh it's going slowly with my creativity. I took Ivy out for a mama daughter play date. We went to Zou Zou's Cafe.

She had a sprinkle cookie.
Then we took out some pens and crayons and did some drawings.
Here, she drew mama's hat and a flower and various other things. And I drew her drawing. Children are very hard to draw. Their faces are so soft.
As for me, I did start revising my novel, but only a few pages and again, fell off the wagon.

Sometimes being creative is like an addiction. Or breaking an addiction to laziness (or whatever your particular fiend is, mine is laziness). Right now, I have to take it each day as it comes. Face the lazy. Make a choice. Remind myself that I'll feel better if I chose creating over lazy. Remind myself that when I take the first step towards being creative, it will be easier to continue. And it will be easier each time I deny that big Lazy.

I've been feeling the desire to revise my novel, but I mostly don't. I've been feeling the desire to paint again, maybe even Flying Girls, or maybe not. But I don't. I've been feeling the desire to start paper journaling again, writing, art, collage, etc... but I kind of wuss out on that, too.

What is this reluctance to be creative, even though you know you love it? Am I afraid of not being as good as I wish I was or wasting my time? I feel a physical resistance, sometimes, as if the thought of getting out my paints would be impossible, or it wouldn't be worth the physical effort. Resistance. The Big Lazy. (And the Big Fear that we don't like to mention because that might make it real.)

But on the plus side, I know that when I start asking these questions, when I start putting my thoughts and intentions out into the world, then that is a sign that the creativity is getting stronger. The creativity is growing. The Big Lazy (and the Big Fear) is losing power.

It takes a while of this kind of questioning and consideration to make the change.

First will come some not so great sketches in my journal (Hey! I already have some of those right here!) then will come some tentative watercolors. (I'm thinking of buying some new half pans for my Winsor Newton travel set. A new set is like 150$! I'm pretty sure it cost me only 40$ or so when I bought it 15 years ago, but it might have been on sale) then will come some acrylic paintings in my journal, then maybe I'll get up the nerve to paint some bigger things.

Well, we'll see.

How do you build up your creativity? How do you get it back when it slips away in the living of life?

Saturday, February 05, 2011

A Crown, Fear, and 15 Minutes

Last Minute Birthday Crown Pin
felt, thread, embroidery floss, pin finding

Well, February is just about 1/4 done. My kids are out, attending a birthday party at some bouncy house. They asked for no presents, but I could help whipping up a little birthday girl crown for the kid of the day. I hope the girl in question likes it. Maybe she only likes things that are store bought? Or maybe she is much more sophisticated than me and prefers Tiffany boxes and stuff like that. Oh well. She's getting this and a card made by my son. I'm quite impressed with that, since he wrote it out all by himself (with my help on the spelling) without complaining. He's a complainer, you see. Hates not being able to do things well. Hates the feeling that he is at a loss. Seems to be afraid of that beginner stage. Afraid of not being good enough...

And it turns out this post is not just unrelated rambling.

February is 1/4 done and I have not started my revising.

Just like my son, I hate not being able to do things well. Hate the feeling that I am at a loss. Am afraid of the beginner stage, and most of all, am afraid that I am not good enough.

This is the closest I have ever gotten to having a novel published. I am almost at the point where I can send this thing out into the world and let it rest on it's own merits. The closer this gets, the scarier it gets.

Being an artist is about facing your fears. This is why everyone is not writing novels, I think. Because it's scary as fuck and the scariest thing about it is what is inside of your own head.

Well. So there. Excuse my french. But it's really scary.

And while my kids are out at their bouncy party, giving the birthday girl her handmade card and crown pin, I am sitting at home, with the delightful silence and stillness, and... doing not much of anything.

I have to head to work in 40 minutes.

Am I brave enough to take some of those minutes and sit and look at my waiting novel? What say you, Ro? Take out your colored pen and wave it like a magic wand over that fourth draft, turn it into the novel that you imagine????

15 minutes. That's all you have to do to get started. Even the biggest fear can be conquered for only 15 minutes, right? No more than that if you don't want to.

15 minutes starting......


Thursday, February 03, 2011

Snow Day and the Creative Process

Snow Day

Okay. So it's February now.

I've done the crazy busy of November and December. I've done the crash and stay quiet of January. I think it's time to get back to work now.

The picture is my fourth draft of my novel, waiting to be revised one last time before I start the business of trying to get published. I was trying to push it and finish it up by November, but I just didn't have enough time. And I thought it was better to do it right than to rush it. So... I let it sit for three months.

Then yesterday, I printed the first third of the novel out and got ready to go. I set up a nice cozy spot in the bedroom, by the window, with the printout, and my colored pens. A rocking chair and a view of the gently falling snow. How lovely.

How lazy.

At one point, I actually turned the novel over so that it wouldn't look at me.

But, I am not giving up. I just have to take my babysteps and work on my mindset and practice the building of good habits.

This is part of the process. Fallow period. Fear. Avoidance. Small starts. Back sliding.

I don't want anyone to believe this kind of struggle means they aren't supposed to be an artist or a writer or really anything they want to be. It's just part of the process, and we have to trust the process. Believe in ourselves. And remember why we wanted to do it in the first place.

I will keep you updated on my ability to keep up with myself and move forward.

When will she start again?

Will this book ever be finished?

Is it any good at all?

Tune in next time, same bat channel, same bat time, or whenever I post next.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Blue Bird (I Am Enough)

Blue Bird (I am enough)
Fancy felt, thread, cotton fabric, jump ring

I made this little charm as a gift for a customer. I enjoyed creating the ribbon out of my fabric stash. I felt this charm needed a fabric ribbon. The charm was inspired by this painting that she bought a print of. I'm sending it out this morning, before I go to work, and before a foot of snow comes down and makes the roads impassable for the near future.

There's an interesting thing that happens when I sell a print or a painting. Well, when it's an original painting, I get a pang of loss, because these are like my little babies and I want to hold onto them, even though I like sending them out into the world for other people to love. But a print like this, especially the Flying Girls, always seems to send me a message.

Yeah, I don't know. It's kind of weird. Someone else is buying it, for their own reasons, but when I take the painting out of storage, when I write out a narrative for it, when I print it and package it up and either find or make a little gift for the customer... well, it's as if the message of that painting is the one I need to hear.

I've definitely been trying to live into the "You Are Enough" message of this one. For so long I have gotten anxious over needing to be productive, to make things, to meet deadlines, to make money, to be working working working no fun no play. And there's no need.

I am enough just being me, and so are you. We don't have to crawl on our hands and knees torturing ourself in order to be enough. We already are.

This thought always leads me back to my favorite poem, the one I need to hear over and over again.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver

I felt the need to post this today. As a snow storm sweeps across the country and I get ready to hunker down into my life, small as it is. And learn to love what I love and let it be enough.

So I dedicate this post to you.

You are enough.
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