Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nanowrimo Ate My Blog (or it might have if I'd actually been blogging)

Alley and Wires
watercolor and pen on paper
8.5"x 5"

Yipes! Where have I been? Not blogging, that's for sure. And not painting, either.

But I have been writing.

I am not going nearly as fast as I have gone in the past. No five thousand word days for me. I have not gotten so far ahead in my count that I am on track to be done by the fifteenth.

I have actually been writing my minimum. No, not my minimum, which has always been two thousand words a day. I have actually been writing the suggested nanowrimo minimum-- 1667 words a day. More or less.

It makes me nervous to not get ahead, to not have the word cushion. But, I have decided that if I keep going at a good pace, a moderate pace of 1667 words a day, more or less, then I am doing pretty well. If I fall behind, which has happened, I know I can catch up with a 3k word day, or three 2k days. More or less.

I'm wondering what will happen after nanowrimo is over, when I haven't burnt myself out by overachieving and ignoring all other responsibilities. Maybe keeping a more moderate pace will actually help me build a writing practice that I can continue with through out the year. I have been disappointed in my ability to keep it up. I go in jags. No writing at all, then a few months of intense writing. I don't really like that work pattern, but my life has had other ideas, and it ends up not actually being about what I really like.

As for AEDM, I have not been creating Art Every Day this Month. Sad face. But that's ok. Going along with my gentle treatment of myself, I am not going to freak out over not reaching my goal. I am, however, going to keep trying to get back into art.

I recently decided that what I'd like to do is get back into art journaling. I miss journaling. That might have been part of why my writing practice and my blogging practice fell off... because my journaling practice has been pretty lame.

So. I'm going to draw pictures in my journal, paint a scene, like today's drawing. I based it on a snap shot I took on the way to work. Then I sat in the break room at my job and sketched it out. Finding my minutes of creativity anywhere I can.

Well, I've written my two thousand and some catch up words this morning. I did some doodling at work. I did a pencil drawing this morning before I started writing, as I sat at my desk and stared out the window. I also added some drawings to a background that I prepped in my journal. Truth be told, I don't know where my directions in art will go. I'm just going to open up my journal every day and see what happens. Or a couple of times a day until I catch up on all the drawing days I've missed.

Switching up the pace might be good for me.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

10 Tricks for Writing 50k Words in November

acrylic and gel pen on paper

It's the beginning of nanowrimo and the beginning of AEDM and I am off to a satisfactory start. I have not even started my piece of art for AEDM, but I am planning to do that during Glee tonight. But then I knew I wouldn't have art in time for posting, if I was going to blog today, so I planned ahead and painted a companion piece to the last one, the self portrait with writing hat.

This is it together in my moleskine.   It's about taking charge of my own dreams, knowing what I want and taking action. That's what the hand is about, it's about self determination. This is your hand. It does stuff. What do you want it to do? Do it. Believe in your ability to get it done. 

This is me in my writing hat, getting ready to sit down and win nanowrimo. That's my Work In Progress on the laptop. That's my desk. That's my semi-clean porch out the window. Those are my reading glasses, because at 40 I realize I have trouble focusing on something that is in front of me when I sit for long periods of time. Plus it keeps me from gazing out the window at the now fuzzy world beyond my glasses.

I figured that since this is my sixth year of doing nanowrimo and I have won 5 out of 5 tries, I'd like to write about some of the tricks that I have used to actually hit 50k words (and usually beyond.)

1. Aim for 2000 words a day, not 1667 like it says. 2000 is a nice round number and it gives you a bit of cushion. It also makes you feel good and productive when you are doing better than you need to do on that little graph thingy on your nano page.

2. Remember that November is often a very busy month and you might have external commitments. A birthday coming up? Count that in. (Is it YOUR birthday, ask for time to write, or tools to help you write, or a writing date!) Do you have to cook dinner for 20 on Thanksgiving. Plan around Thanksgiving. Maybe add in a few extra hundred words for each day, knowing you will be out of commission for a couple of days. Is work a busy time? Write notes on your lunch break to keep your head in your novel.

3. Do you have specific days free? Take as many hours as you can and just write write write. Get ahead of yourself.

4. Get a timer. Set it for 15 minutes and start writing. Do not stop writing until the timer dings. Do not stare out the window. Do not puzzle over choosing the right word. Do not anguish over some bad writing or a plot twist you didn't plan. Just keep writing.

5. As for those unplanned scenes and plot twists... if you find they have taken you off course, do not despair and do not delete. Find where the story went awry and hilight the naughty text. You will take it out later in the revision stage after you read it over to see if there's anything salvageable. Now start over again, as if the naughty disagreeable writing didn't happen. Word count is still word count. It's still part of your novelling process, it will simply be removed in the revision process, along with many other words. Don't worry, that's part of the way it works.

6. Back to that timer, when life outside of nano starts to weigh on you, and you know you have to take care of washing dishes or doing homework or spending quality time with someone or calling mom, set that alarm to go off in 15 minutes. Take care of that life business, call your mom, scrub the bathroom, finish that homework, then when it goes off, you can get back to your writing, knowing that you are not so neglectful of your life as you were 15 minutes ago. If you have still more life stuff to get to, set your alarm so that you can write for 15 minutes, and then when that is done, do another 15 minutes of chores. Frankly, life can definitely move forward in small baby steps of 15 minutes. Sometimes the smaller chunk is less stressful.

7. Race yourself. Try to beat yesterday's word count. If you hit your word count, but are only 302 words away from a nice round number grand total, go for that round number. If you get that grand total and then realize that you are only 87 words away from reaching 3k for the day, you stretch for that extra 3k. This self competition technique has actually bolstered my count hugely on a daily basis. I can't bear to "just" miss some nice juicy number, so I push myself. I mean, really 87 words is not much at all, and I usually do far more than that, and then there's another nice number to hit after that.

8. Write during commercials. It sounds crazy, but prime time television is how I wind down, and sometimes, not always, I can manage to get a few hundred to a few thousand words simply by writing in those few minutes. This does depend on my mood and ability to focus for the day. If it isn't working, forget it. Put the novel aside. Get some down time. Go ahead and watch tv or whatever it is that recharges you. You don't have to stress yourself out and work all the time. Give yourself a reward for being on track, or for hitting a daily word count. Or for catching up. Or whatever.

9. Speaking of other things that recharge you, sometimes I like to exercise my other creative muscles. Painting gets my brain going in other ways, but the creativity is still going. What gets you going? Dancing? I can see that recharging the body and the mind. Exercise? If you need it, don't neglect it. It's quite possible that giving your brain a time to go on autopilot while exercising will allow your brain to mull over plot points and character development without interference, anxiety or stress. Take a break from writing. Take a shower. Go for a walk. Meet friends. Just remember that you have to keep your word count going.

10. Keep track of your progress in a visually satisfying way. I have a graph in my notebook that keeps track of my daily word count. For every 100 words, I hilight one square. I have lines for each day marking the various word count goals... the bare minimum 1667, my personal minimum of 2k. 2500 which would make a more hefty 70k word novel, the I-can-relax goal of 3k, which means I don't have to write at all that day if I don't want to, and the happy happy celebration goal of 5k. I only hit that a couple time in a nano, but it's a good feeling. Every time I mark my graph, I feel a sense of accomplishment. This is how far I've come. And because I can see the progress, I do not feel as discouraged, even when I don't always get as far as I want to. And I can also see when I am slipping, and that encourages me to get back to what I know I can do.

These are my word count goals. There is no padding in my stories like I've seen some people do. There are no make believe forced in plot lines just to keep writing. This is just about getting myself to sit down and write, because that, I've found, is the part that is the hardest.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Putting On My Writing Hat

Put On My Writing Hat
acrylic, sharpie, on paper moleskine

Yesterday, I decided to do some sketching. I drew a self portrait from a quickly snapped digital picture. I know the chin is too prominent, but that's what happens when you use sharpie. You're stuck with it, more or less.

Sketching turns out to be a good way to start my day. I don't know if I will make it a habit, I only have so many minutes before I have to get going on my regular days, and there are always so many different things that I'd like to start off with. But this day, a day off of work, turned out to be a good one.

Getting ready to nano, I am starting to get my outline together. It's never as much time as I want, but it's what I have. I put my hat on, my "writing hat", before I got started. It kept my brains from wandering all over the place when I was trying to write. I know it's probably silly, but I also think that it might be a good sense memory-association to cultivate. Hat goes on: girl goes writing.

I took my hat, pulled together a writing folder, gathered up my index cards, collected my pens, printed out my previous notes, and headed to the cafe, where I stared out the window, drank a latte and ate coffee cake, and began a snowflake outline.

The funny thing is, I only had a couple of hours to write, but while I wasn't writing, I got so much else done. Cleaning and cooking and working with kids and painting and blogging.

It is so terribly hard to sit down and start writing when you haven't been writing and you are out of practice, but when you actually get started, the momentum can carry you forward in all sorts of productive ways.

And that's what I'm working on, getting a creative momentum going, building up those good writing habits, pulling together the supplies I need, getting out the ideas so that I am not stopped by "what do I do next." And staring out the window, mulling things over. That too.

What do you do to get your creative momentum going? Do you have creative habits? Talismans? Schedules?  Routines?

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Girl, Creation and Destruction

The Girl,
acrylic on paper
8.5" x 5"

Since I have decided to both work and stay home (it's a fancy trick, involving part time and weekend hours and  a sometimes babysitter) boy oh boy is it hard to get creative work done.

To be honest, this is probably why I haven't been keeping up with my blog as much as I used to. I just have a load and a half on my plate. The kids, oh the kids. You know, it never really gets easier... or it does, but then their needs change and you have to adjust everything all over again.

But for all the frustrations, and for all that a kid can wreck your living room and anything left within reach of grubby little hands, a kid is also a fountain of creativity.

Since having kids, I have learned how to do all sorts of things that I always wanted to and had never bothered to sit down and try. From baking a chicken to making a stuffed animal to writing a novel and taking it through the draft process, I have never been more creative.

Well. Aside from the three years of pregnancy and infanthood, and these last few months that have not been kind to my writing or painting. Ok, so periodically, the creativity hasn't been that good, but overall, parenting has added a whole new level of creativity to my creating.

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and when you're a mother, everything is about necessity.

I NEED to have something creative for myself outside of creativity. I NEED to leave something for my kids, a body of work or an example of work ethic. I NEED to make something for dinner though I haven't been to the grocery store. I NEED to use my childfree time productively. I NEED to make something cute for Christmas presents. They NEED something to make them feel special. They NEED a fun birthday party despite a slight budget. They NEED to allow their imaginations to run free. They NEED that toy they see so it's lucky I can figure out a way to make it.

Really, the needs are endless, and it's those needs that inspire my creativity. Sometimes the needs are theirs, sometimes they are mine, but since becoming a mom, my life has been much, MUCH less about what I want, and much more about what I and my family need.

Right about now, I need to get back to my writing, to remember my creative routines, and to take myself more seriously as an artist and a writer. I'm not really sure how I'm going to balance this need with the needs of sticky fingers, and hungry bellies and clingy arms... but I need to figure it out.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Boy, Inspiration and Frustration

The Boy
acrylic on paper, 5"x8"

Ah, inspiration. And frustration.

Here I am, thinking about being creative again, wondering how to get back to the daily practice that I used to have. Trying to remember bits about who I was and who I am, and daily, I have these little beings running around, getting in the way, teaching me things, demanding stuff, making me bigger, shrinking my life down to size.

Art and Transformation. For me, that is what it's all about. It is a spiritual practice that centers me and grounds me and allows me to experiment and explore. It helps me believe in myself. It helps me understand the world. Art allows me to interpret my life, it also allows me to share with the world my thoughts and feelings and spirit and energy. Art builds us up. My life is built upon art.

But I can't separate this art from my children. I can't separate myself into the mom and the artist. Sometimes I wish I could. I wish I could go back to when it was just me and I could spend hours, days, weeks, even months in the pursuit of my various artistic tendencies.

Now, when I create, I always have to consider my children. They are always at least in the back of my mind. I have a timer waiting to go off, to tell me that it is time to be a mom again. Or I have toys scattered around my house, even on my desk, reminding me that I have duties.

Once, I was told that it was impossible for a woman to continue to be an artist once she has kids. That is not true, I thought then, and continue to believe now. It is possible for a woman to be an artist with children, but the way she is an artist changes. What are the changes? Who does an artist who is a mother, a mother who is an artist have to become in order to synthesize her double identities?

I think art may help me understand. I think if I didn't have my art, I might easily be swallowed by the role of mother.

But then, maybe this kind of struggle is not limited to being a parent. Sure, being a mom is kind of an all encompassing state, not just personally, but culturally, too. The role of motherhood is huge. But don't all artists have to struggle with balancing their artistic lives with their real lives? I had a similar struggle as a teacher, or as a younger woman living my life, falling in and out of love, searching for happiness and meaning.

Perhaps accepting that being an artist and living our human lives can be a struggle, a balancing act. We all have external demands and internal demons. How do we handle them all to create a creative and personal life that is fulfilling?

How do you balance your life and your art? Where do you struggle?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

La Frida, or Remembering My Heroes

La Frida, Articulated Paper Doll
with diego, monkey, flower, apron, heart, and shawl accessories.
Giclee Print, metal brads and embroidery floss

You see this here? This is my commitment. Two posts in a row. Sometimes I forget that I have made a commitment and I get lazy and sit around watching tv or surfing the internet. Sometimes my laziness has a purpose and I am really stirring some sort of pot inside of myself, waiting for the ingredients (that have already been added) to come to the right temperature, to meld, to transform into just the right kind of stew.

Right now, I think I'm kind of in the taste testing phase of my stewing.

Is this the right flavor? Has it been cooking long enough? Do I need to add something? Am I missing an important ingredient? Am I patient enough? Am I stirring it enough? Heat too high, too low?

How do you like my metaphor?

Well, yesterday, I posted a picture of my La Pintura paper doll, the artist inside of me. The desire to create, to throw myself into new images, messy paint, visual passions, color, etc. Today, I show my little Frida doll. She, I suppose, represents those people who have inspired me in my life. If I'm speaking artwise, it's not just Frida Kahlo, but also Van Gogh, Lucien Freud, Kiki Smith, Klimt, Egon Schiele, Degas, Rothke, Chagall, Rousseau, Basquiat, Alice Neel, Gaugin, and many other artists that I've loved over the years.

Today, I've spent time on my pinterest boards, looking at art, paintings, photographs, portraits... I love to let what I love inspire me to create. This is part of what my art is made of. Those that have come before, those that have influenced me at different times of my life.

But if I want to be creative again, I can't let myself stop with just looking at what other people have done. I can't just be a consumer of art (and writing and movies and tv and music) I have to actually start using my rusty creative muscles. Not only should I consume, but I should also produce.

And here is where the difficulty happens.

How to get from the unformed, stewing ideas to the active creation?

What else am I doing today?
I am writing lists.
I am brainstorming.
I am sketching.
I am using exercises or prompts to start low stakes projects.
I am crossing media lines, going from art to writing to photography and back.
I am joining communities to support my creativity.
I am doing, not just watching and waiting.

It's time, I guess. Do I have it figured out? No, but am I taking the steps to make my ideas concrete? Yes.

This is where my stew metaphor falls apart. Oh well. I have to get back to work, I guess I can't fuss with the stew anymore.

Is anyone else joining nanowrimo or art everyday month in November?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

La Pintura On The Way Back

La Pintura, articulated paper doll.
paper, giclee print, metal brads

Long time no see.

I've been in hiding. Well, not really in hiding so much as in a fallow period. Busy with daily life and silent on the outside. But at the same time, I feel a lot of work has been going on under the surface, even if my forward momentum seems to have stalled.

But the way my life works, I've found this is actually a normal part of the process. Again and again, I've gone through quiet, struggling periods of life, where art is silent and the transformation process is dark and quiet.

It would be easy to get stuck there, to think, "I have creative block," or "I give up," or "I just can't do it, my life is too difficult to allow these goals in." But the truth is, my goals as an artist and a writer are not just something that comes from the outside, they are a part of me. Even when I'm not painting or writing, I still feel that urge, and it gets stronger and stronger until I have to work my way back. Because I am just who this Paper Doll says I am. I am The Painter. And I am The Writer. I am the Artist even if she's quiet sometimes.

So here I am working my way back, trying to find the right steps to take me back to creativity and productivity. That's okay. Remember, this si part of the process. I'm beginning to remember creativity as a choice, a daily choice. I'm beginning to remember myself as the creator, even at the end of the day when I'm exhausted and have been taking care of other people all day long. Part of taking care of myself is creating things.


So then. The baby steps I am taking are towards recommitting to art and writing. I have begun painting again, little things in my journals. I took out my new-used sewing machine for the first time and gave it a whirl. I went back to my old novels and read them over to get ready for a new commitment to

Yes, I'm going to try to write a novel in November, again. I am very worried, to tell the truth. I've met the goals every year for the last five, but this year, my habits are so poor and my mind is so out of writing that I am concerned that I won't be able to get the writing juices flowing and actually sit down at the computer every day.

So I am afraid. And that means I have to do it. Is fear what has been stopping me all along? Am I just using busy-ness and fallow-ness as an excuse for not doing it?

Well, I'm going to try again. I'm going to go for the daily commitment. And I might as well do Art Everyday Month, too. Commit to a daily creative practice and it will come back, I know this. Because for all I've been "The Mom" all this summer and autumn, I really am "The Artist." I am "The Writer." I am "The Painter." It's just who I am, and I am going to find a way to integrate all these parts of me. I just am.

Wish me luck.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Alien Freaks aka Cute Li'l Guys

Alien Freaks aka Cute Li'l Guys
(all following) about 4" in diameter, felt, thread, rice.
designed by Gabriel, Ivy and me, sewed by me.

Here's a thought: Do we value the special unique qualities that make us who we are?

Or do we think those little quirks about us make us somehow wrong? Somehow not good enough? Freakish? Flawed? Ugly?

I made these beanbags, by hand, for Gabriel's 6th birthday party. The plan was to use them in a beanbag toss game and then let the kids take them home for a goody treat.

I had to squelch down my worries that they wouldn't want a dorky handmade goody treat. Or that my flubs in stitching would make these rejects. Or that no mom would want a kid to bring home a thing stuffed with rice. Or that the designs would not be cute enough.
But guess what? Every kid, from 4 to 11 snatched one of these little babies up. They picked the ones they liked best and those were owned.
Even the first attempts, the wonky little guys with wonky little eyes and wonky little tentacles.
And you want to know what? Even the one that was left over... I took it. Mine, I said, defending it greedily from six year old paws. Mine. I pinned it up over my desk. They didn't understand the delicate curlycues and the subtle color scheme, but that one was mine. The kids liked the wonky ones better. Go figure.
I'm even going to have to make replicas of some of the ones that went away for little girls who want friends for theirs.
What is this all about?

This is about trusting your own uniqueness, your own alien beingness, your own wonkiness. Someone out there will love you the way you are. Someone will love what you create with your own two wonky hands. And even if they don't, what you do is just the path towards you learning who you are, what you love, and how to make it.
Trust. Keep trying. Look with unbiased eyes at what you do. Look for the loveliness, not the flaw. Imagine your work was created by someone else and see it for what it is, without your own feelings of unworthiness and not-good-enough-ness getting in the way.

Loving yourself, is the key. Believing in yourself. Trusting in your vision and your process.

Saying yes to who you are and what you do.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What do you want to make of this world of yours?

colored gel pens, ink, sharpie marker, recycled menu

What DO you want to make of this world of yours?

It is possible to make it, did you know that?

That's the first step to changing your world, to creating something new, to transforming yourself, to breaking out of your rut... believing that it is possible.

This is where art can help with transforming your very soul.

Art makes things possible. It creates them as a reality, even before they are a reality. As humans, when we imagine something, when we ponder how it could be created, when we mark down the boundaries of something, we are taking steps to make the ideas real.

Sorry to sound as if I am a text book, but I myself am trying to create something in my life. And I know the first step is to imagine it so clearly I can see the steps to take to make it real.

This very drawing/doodle/sketch I posted above is an exercise in creating what I want in the world.

Facing the empty page, I said, "what do I want to make in this world? what do I want to have? what do I want to see?"

What I wanted was positivity. What I wanted was energy. What I wanted was about giving, not taking. It was about belief and personal power. So I drew it.

And look at me here, today, the very next day, being positive, energetic (yes I washed the dishes before sitting down), sharing, and believing in the very possibilities I am creating.

Make the world you want.

Imagine it.
Believe it.
Take the steps towards it.
Live it.

It could be about a personal mindset, a zen belief in life, like here. It could be about creating an etsy shop. It could be about writing and publishing a novel. It could be about making an ice cream cake when you never have before.

See. I did that too. It was pretty tasty, although not perfect, and not without troubles in the execution. But I did it, and I could do it better next time.

Creating is about making the world you want to see, and it is about standing in your own power.

You can do it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I Am Not Lost I Am Just In Camouflage

I Am Not Lost I Am Just In Camouflage
acrylic on paper, moleskine
5x7" 7/12/11

I did this yesterday. Took most of the day to paint and futz around with my art work. I did this one, and also, I've kind of been trying to figure out what style I want to paint portraits in. Sometimes it feels too cartoony, or not cartoony enough, too modeled, not modeled enough, too rough, too realistic, too pretty, too ugly.

I don't know if other artists have this sort of dilemma. Sometimes it feels like I am struggling with it because I am basically a weekend painter. Between the kids and the job and the house and the writing and the wasting time obsessions, I don't have enough time to dedicate to experimentation and creating and discovery-- the journey. But maybe that's just a story I tell. If you add together all the years I've been working on art, the moments after bedtime or the summers before kids, the painting sessions with my tiny watercolor set, the sketching while at work, the doodling while in meetings, the classes I've taken, the museums I've visited, the books I've read, the classes I've taught, the crafts I've concocted, the photos I've taken... this is the life of an artist.

Just because I don't do it as my full time job, or because I didn't get an MFA doesn't mean I'm not an artist. I've spent 35 years developing my art. I'm lucky because I was born to an artist and was encouraged even when I was very young, but I think we all have a tendency to devalue what we have achieved, our own personal journey, and only see what we do not have.

What makes us artists? I believe that all humans are inherently creative, an artist is simply someone who focuses their energy on developing that creativity, on growing and experimenting, on discovering who they are and what they have to say, and honing their skills.

We can be artists at any stage of development, and as artists, we might very well have different purposes for being artists. While one person wants to be the next Sally Mann or Kiki Smith or Chuck Close, another person might just want have an outlet for their personal self expression, with no desire to show or create a commodity at all. Me, I think I'm somewhere in between.

I would love to be able to make a career out of my art and writing, to not have a day job, but I also think that I would do it anyway, even if I never made any money at all. And more than making money for me, I want to be an artist who teaches and enlightens others.

I suppose that's what my blog has become. I share my journey, sometimes daily, sometimes weekly, but I do it so that I can shed a little light on the creative process, share with people who need inspiration, and perhaps find some sort of balance between living and creating. I don't know if I achieve that, but I try.

As for the painting, I am slowly developing a style of figurative work that pleases me. When I was painting the picture above, I went back to some old paintings that I wasn't satisfied with and adjusted the faces. Yes. What I thought was done, was not done. I might still continue to work on them. The process is never done. Or I suppose it is done sometimes, when you let go of a piece and send it out into the world or stuff it into a drawer... or maybe not, because you can revisit the images or ideas, they can continue on.

Oh just like life. Our process is ours. Our life is ours to develop, no matter what other people are doing. Just stay true to ourselves, try to be us, not someone else. Keep going. The journey is not over until we give up on it.

Keep on trucking.

(this painting inspired by this photo)

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Strangers in a Bar

This is my second post in my July photo challenge. And my second picture. The theme for this was "strangers."

It was a hot day. The air conditioning was nice. The cold beer was nice. Sometimes it's nice to just sit in a nearly empty bar by yourself and be a stranger. Yes, I think I was the stranger.

And in an attempt to not be a stranger to my blog readers, I am trying to get back to the habit of posting. Even if this is the July 4th weekend and everyone is out doing summery celebratory things and this isn't exactly an enlightening post.

The theme for today's picture will be "lunch". I might be able to manage this.

See you tomorrow and have a happy Independence Day. And if you don't celebrate Independence Day, have a happy Sunday.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Night. Street.


I'm going to try to do this photo challenge, here. I've been such a bad blogger lately that I need a prod to get me going again, but I don't know if I'm up to doing any of my old painting a day things. I like to take little photographs and my camera is easy to carry around, so I thought this might help me blog better again.

This photo above is my first attempt to fit into the challenge. The theme is "Street". Is it kind of fudging the challenge if I take these moving-car-on-the-road pictures quite often? Oh, who cares. The challenge is the commitment, not each individual theme. Today is "Strangers" and that will be harder for me because I am a rather private person. I don't like to bother strangers. (Never mind the public blog, ok? I don't mean writing. Writing is not the same as being face to face with strangers.)
Rain. Green. Street.
watercolor on paper 5x8

In fitting with the theme, I did a watercolor sketch a few days ago, in my journal. More than the painting itself, I think it was important that I sat out side on my porch with my watercolor set and actually painted.

It was good to sit in the moment and focus on what the moment was about, not the future or to do lists or worries or things to do or any of that. Just the moment, the rain, the green and the gray, the paint, the paper.

Paying attention to the world you are living in. Paying attention to the moment that is happening right now. This is important.

Friday, June 17, 2011

This is What I Would Do, Grounded Girl

What I Would Do, Grounded Girl
acrylic and gold paint pen on moleskine, 5x8"

I painted this one yesterday, inspired by this image. My addiction to pinterest DOES pay off.

Anyway, I've been very caught up in house hold duties. It is my first end of school as a parent, and I am making all sorts of plans to help my son get ready for first grade, since he was still struggling a little at the end of kindergarten. I've made a school alcove and project plans, and have started on some other things, like a paint chip alphabet set. I'll show those when I get a little farther along. I've got a star chart for overcoming challenges, finishing projects and chores and have even made a little box of treats for them when they've hit a certain number of stars.

A lot of work.

I have, however, been letting the novel writing slide. I was at a place in the rewrite where I realized I needed to delete another chapter, and it all seemed like it was going so slow, and I was realizing that I was not able to do this writing thing full time, seeing as I have a job and kids to take care of. For a while, I thought this meant that I should give up, that I would never get to the point I wanted to reach, never finish this book, never publish.

But I think that was part of the process.

When I stepped back a little and realized that this was a marathon, not a sprint, it helped. When I began to think about how everything in my life feeds into my dreams, where I want to go and what I need to do, I stopped thinking that "this" (being the life I am actually living) is blocking "that" (being the life that I dream of living).

So yesterday when I started painting, I was half way into the painting, with all it's layers and ticks and hatches, and I realized that THIS was what I would do. Remember the long term goals, and add up all those little seconds and small efforts and baby steps, and realize that these are what get me to my dreams. These are the things that build up and create the dream as a real thing, not a fantasy.

This one. This life. It's the same as that one. That dream.

What small things in your every day life are leading you, slowly, to your dreams. Honor them.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tumbled, Four Self Portraits

Tumbled, Self Portraits. 1-4
Sharpie, Acrylic Paint, Recycled Chip Board

Yesterday, I had the urge to paint a self portrait. I actually painted one a few days ago that I was not pleased with. I thought, I don't really know what I want to paint... but really, I didn't know HOW I wanted to paint.

So I snapped a picture. This is it. I took my hair out of the bun, and it tumbled down. And I liked the motion in the tumbled hair, so I decided to use it as the basis for a quick drawing/painting.

Then I had some 3x4 pieces of chipboard that I had cut out, because I like to cut my recycling into useful bits. Then I took a sharpie and drew out a quick contour drawing. Moments, it took only moments, and that's the way I liked it.
Tumbled #1

Then I filled the face with titan buff, and outlined the features in black, colored in the hair, added some pink, shaded a bit with pink, buff and black, painted the background with cobalt turquoise and buff, then added the white hilights and shirt.

Tumbled #2

Then I took out another piece of chipboard and did it again. I was afraid to ruin the first one, because I liked the expressiveness of it. Thought maybe I couldn't do it again, it wouldn't be the same, I would lose whatever it was I liked. Except that didn't happen. The next painting, using the same techniques was different from the first, and in some ways better. Some things worked even better. I even went back and added some of the things I learned from the second piece into the first piece, taking from both sketches to improve the painting.

Tumbled #3

Each time I started over, I came to the painting with more to give. And I learned more from each painting. And each painting became it's own, important, individual thing, with something new to reveal about the subject. I like the swoopy feel given by the contour sketches. I like that the features don't stay the same, but there is still emphasis on the same things, the eyes, the cheekbones, the jaw and hairline. I like the way the hair changes shape each time, tumbling through the variations.

Tumbled #4

This is a great exercise to try, to lower your own expectations of yourself, to handle your own fear of not doing things right or not being perfect.

I spent twice as much time on that other portrait (which I'm not showing you) and like it have as much as each one of these. There is something to be said for loosening up, and not being so attached to a perfect outcome.

Try it yourself. Try to make small sketches of the same theme. Or take your recycling and turn it into something, without worrying that you are ruining something valuable. Or take an old story that you have given up on and chop it up, rearrange it, remove characters or throw in a plot twist. Take an old shirt that you no longer wear and make it into something for summer. Chop it up, stitch it back together, add something that is special, but not precious to it. Accept it for what it is, and then make it loved.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Not Knowing and Releasing Attachment

Not Knowing
acrylic and paper, moleskine

Life is a mystery.

It is an unknown.

Even if you make plans and believe you know where everything is going, there never is a guarantee.

But you've got to keep trying. You have to have faith that everything is going to work out in the end, or if it doesn't work out, that you learn enough to make the failure worth while.

I like art when I don't know where it is going. Sometimes, when I get too secure in my artistic vision or technique, I feel like I am stifling. I like the questions that are embedded in my creating. I like the results of chance that happen when my brush goes over the page and changes a shadow or silhouette. I like how different colors react against each other. I like being able to consider whatever is happening on my page, taking it for what it is and working to make it more pleasing or more meaningful.

It is hard to do this with life sometimes, when you are expecting certain outcomes and then you don't get them.

I think this is the Buddhist concept of releasing attachment, and it has always been a difficult one.

We think we should have THIS result.
We don't get it.
We are dissatisfied.

What if instead, we live life in the way we go about creating a painting:

Have a rough idea or sketch in mind.
Pick up a brush and take action.
Step back and look at the results.
Decide if those results work for you.
Take action to either change or accept those results.
Move on to the next step.

No railing against fate. No fighting with other people about not getting what you want. No resentment or feelings of failure. Just acceptance of what is. Action without anguish. Moving forward.

It seems like a life lived without attachment, accepting the what-is, would be a much more peaceful kind of life.

But I do believe that releasing attachment requires that you have quite a bit of faith. You have to trust that in the end things will come out all right. That you will be all right. And even if you don't have a guarantee in the results, you need to have enough faith in yourself to believe that you will be able to handle whatever happens next.

Maybe that's why releasing that attachment is so hard, because it is hard to have that kind of faith in yourself.

Oh, and I know that being an artist is not as easy as all that, too. I know that it is hard to release attachment and have faith in our ability to create something beautiful and moving. I know that some artists will burn everything that they have ever created because they are so tortured. I know that when we create, we are also fighting all our demons at the same time. It's interesting to see how creating art can be such a mirror to living life. And I'm glad I get to practice living in my creating. It helps me see the living part with just a tiny bit more perspective.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Standing Still and Dreams

Standing Still/Porch Steps

I took out my camera to take a picture of Ivy riding her bike, and when I turned it on, this is the image I saw in the screen. I said, hells yeah, and snapped a picture. I loved all the textures, the different colors of gray, the leaves, the slippers, and then my constant companions, a journal and my big honking bag.

And then when I was looking for a work of art to post today, I was choosing between two paintings, (yes I have a back log of paintings) one of which I like better, and then this one
Standing Still/Flying Girl
acrylic on paper, 8x5"

I said, it's the same thing.

Standing still, grounding oneself, and still managing to fly.

This is the tension of life, my life, at least. Finding a way to be grounded in the every day living while still letting the imagination fly, while still being creative. A balance between ideas and reality. The dance of the dreams and the what-is.

I can't say I've mastered this dance. I'm still learning the steps. And these steps keep changing. Always new ones to learn.

How do you manage to balance the real world with your dreams?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cells and Building Blocks

Cells and Building Blocks
pencil, pen, watercolor on paper

For the last six years, I have been struggling to remember who I am. Where I want to go. What I really want to do with my life. My art.

This is confusing, because I am who I am, even in this time of kids and jobs and housekeeping and normal every day living. I am living my life and I am thankful for the life that I have, but at the same time... it's really hard to maintain focus when there are so many things pulling on you.

This is a different way of living than it was when I was single and had all my free time to devote to writing, art and dreams. Now, half the time, I am still devoting time to writing, art and dreams... but it's the writing, art and dreams of my kids. I don't mean that metaphorically. Working with G on his school work and practicing writing. Setting up projects and helping the kids in their painting, plays, music performances and other creative outbursts (also cleaning up from said creative outbursts). And dealing with nightmares, midnight wakings, bedtime routines, as well as the kids adventures in discovering their own dreams for themselves.

A fully worthy focus.

Except I can't help feeling frustrated at my inability to keep up with my personal goals.

As usual, this blog is about recovering, maintaining and exploring my creative goals. Since the very beginning, when I was trying to get back to being creative after having two kids, this is what it was. But I am creative again. I've found my voice again. Now I want to be heard.

This is a different journey, although a continuation. And I am writing this while the back of my mind ruminates over the bad chapter that I am revising in my novel. I want this book done. I want to finish my synopsis and send it out with my query letters. I want to get OUT in the world.

You'd figure if I really wanted to have my voice heard, I would post more than once a week, but like I said, it is hard to keep my focus in this busy world of living. I guess it is for everyone. And the only way I know to reach for those seemingly unreachable and frustratingly close goals is to take baby steps.

To paint one journal entry.
To write one extra blog entry this week (this makes 2 this week!)
To spend an hour before work (or after or at bedtime or whenever) revising my novel
To carry my "How to Write a Synopsis" book with me and read it whenever I get 15 minutes
To add another print to my etsy shop
To crochet a granny square or two while watching SYTYCD (it's back on, yay!)
To slowly work on organizing my workspace
To take notes on my synopsis in those slow moments at work
To have an artist date with my daughter where we can both paint and draw
To take photos whenever the need strikes me
To never give up on those things I really want, even when my efforts seem useless and it seems I have been working on them for an eternity without much progress, to never give up
To believe and remember and commit even though it's not perfect or easy
To never give up.

I said that part a lot. Never give up. Maybe it's a midlife crisis, wondering if all these years of effort are worth it. But I guess I decided it is.

I'm still at it.

You don't give up, either.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


paper, pencil, acrylic paint
8.5 x5"

This morning I sat down to draw with a couple of things in my head for inspirations. One of them here, and one of them here.

But what came out was this painting. Why? What does it mean? I meant it to mean, "I am trying to stay grounded," but as I painted, I got a feeling of anxiety and oppression. Not what I was intending.

And then I began to see the hatchmarks not as time passing, which sometimes is what it feels, but words. Words on a page, words in a book, words spoken and heard. Ideas made real.

And then I thought of this "write one word over and over" prompt from Wreck this Journal. And I had somewhere to go with this piece that wasn't oppressive. I still feel like there might be room on the opposite journal page for words or even color, but right now, this is where I am.

I like this piece. Hope does come out of darkness, you see.


A gratuitous photo, because somehow, the painting feels like stone to me, and perhaps some rain. And I took this photo right after I made the painting. And there's nothing like a rock for being grounded.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Of Writers and Divas

La Diva Airstream, articulated paper doll
giclee print, mini brads, ~8.5" high

I've printed out, cut out and assembled my La Diva paper doll. I just wanted to show you how cool she turned out when all put together. I still think she needs a frilly apron, and now a vintage camera, but there wasn't room on the paper when I was drawing. Those "new style" skirts take up a lot of material... fabric and/or paper.

She is far more glam than I will ever be, but I am glad that she was commissioned, because I love her.

I've also put her up for sale in my shop. Finally. I'm trying to get my back log up in there, but there's so much I get overwhelmed. So it's an achievement to put her together, do a photo shoot, edit, and list. And then go and write a post! Geez.

So tell me to stop feel like I'm cheating for putting the same piece up two posts in a row. I already feel guilty for letting my once daily blog slip to once weekly if I'm lucky.
The Writer, Altar Ego, close up of articulated paper doll
giclee, paper, mini brads, 8" tall

And here's a reminder about The Writer. She's up in my shop, too. How exciting. Two new things. And she also serves as a constant reminder to myself that I am working on my novel, however slowly, even if it's just researching the query process.

I also started some polymer clay beads last night, while watching Glee, which I just love. It's an experimental process, but I want a new necklace, so I brought out my clay.

I hope your processes are continuing on. I hope you're not too hard on yourself when you don't get as far as you'd like. I hope you're letting your alter egos out to play sometimes. It's good to play sometimes.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

La Diva Airstream/Altar Ego (unassembled)

La Diva Airstream, unassembled articulated paper doll
acrylic paint, pencil, recycled menu

I created this paper doll as a commission, after showing a friend my Writer doll (who is hanging up above my desk with her coffee and manuscript). She wanted a present for her mother on Mother's Day. I whipped it up in a couple of days and assembled it for her as a test. It worked well, and was well received. Alas, I was on such a tight deadline that I forgot to take a picture of the doll once assembled. I am going to have to print up another one to show you. Now I think I want to finish up the other dolls I have, print them up and put them on my etsy shop. Because they are pretty darn cool, if I do say so myself.

My writer girl keeps reminding me that I should be writing. Sadly, I have not had the opportunity. I keep thinking I should be able to, and then... poof. Yesterday, I wanted to take all day, since I was off both work and childcare, but the power cord to my computer went poof and I spent all morning freaking out, then all afternoon looking for a replacement, then all evening in a funk over where my writing day went. Not productive.

So this morning, half an hour before heading off to work, I wanted to check in here. I know I haven't been writing very often, but I've at least been trying to maintain a once a week presence.

I discovered something interesting though, when I popped into blogger. They now have stats built into the blog system. Who knew? I checked mine out, and found that my most popular entry of all time is this one. Most popular by far. I have no idea how people are finding it, but I read it through and it's a good one. One I should probably listen to. It's decided me on going back to a creativity log, which I have basically been ignoring for the last, oh, couple years. Sometimes I find that I am smarter in the past than I am in the present. Luckily, I have some of my smartness documented on this here blog, so when I get stupid, I can review it and go, "Oh yeah! That works. That's a good idea! Hey, I was pretty smart, but I sure am dumb now." (That last part is probably not productive.)

Why do I do that? Find a system that works and then get lazy? Because I really need this creativity log to keep track of all the various projects and responsibilities that I have.

Perhaps life is continually about making adjustments in what works. I've been wanting to get a writing practice going in the morning before I go to work, but am finding that I am so used to allowing myself the slow waking period, that my time is gone before I know it.

Oh no. I think I have to get up earlier. Oh, drat.

Well, this goes to show that when you want to be an artist of any type, you often have to sacrifice something to the gods of creativity. Lazy mornings. Social life. Money. Well, maybe not, but those are things I have sacrificed.

Ok. Enough talk of sacrifice. Let's get back to focusing on what is done, what has worked, what we have accomplished.

When I begin a new creativity log, I am going to make the new categories like this:
Me (I wanted to skip this, but it is important to remember yourself, particularly when you are a mom)
Business (blog and etsy)

Well, maybe that's how I might organize it. I will get back to you when I've actually started using it. I hope I actually start using it.

On another note, I was wondering if any of you had suggestions for new Altar Ego paper dolls. What part of you wants to show up in doll form? What role do you want to remember in a visual manner? I'm working on an artist doll, and a yogini. I think maybe a punk/rockstar might be on the horizon, too. It's fun to draw these girls, and fun to see them come to life when I pin them together. I don't know what it is about the articulated design that just makes them pop, but pop they do.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Writer/Altar Ego

The Writer, Articulated Paper Doll
card stock, pencil, acrylic paint, mini brads
about 8" tall

I made myself a paper doll to remind myself of who I want to be. Who I am. Oh she's me, no doubt. The kids found her when she was still in progress and carried her around, having conversations with her, "Hi mommy. Are you going to drink coffee now?" She has accessories, like her manuscript and her cup of joe. Obviously, she's busy revising. Or she can pick up her laptop and notebook and get some first draft work done. Or, she can take her journal, pens and pencils and do some process work.

Sometimes I feel like my other roles take over the parts of me that I really want to focus on. I mean, it's springtime and the kids are cute and I have jobs to do, but I don't want to lose my focus on the long range goals. So I make little reminders for myself. Right now, she's hanging over my desk, on a piece of black embroidery floss. She's like my little alter ego. Or maybe she's my altar ego. A little altar to that part of me.

Who are the parts of you that you need to be reminded of? Who is the you inside of you that needs to get out more?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


ink, watercolor pencil, paper
(can you see the little green buds?)

Ahh, my friends. This process of revising, of getting my head on straight, of organizing my ideas and regaining my creativity? It takes a lot longer than I would like.

The world does not become what you want it to, just because you decide it should be that way.

For that matter, it's not just creative projects.

My kids do not clean up after themselves, no matter how much I want them to keep track of their game pieces or put their books in the book shelf. And the economy does not improve just because I have decided that I am done being at its mercy.

And again, spring does not come just because I am sick of winter.

It is cold and cold and cold, and there's a warm day, and then the snows come, and then it's cold and there's a warm day, and the snowdrops sprout, but not the daffodils, and then the grass blooms, but not the trees, and then it snows again, and then it melts and then the rain comes and comes and comes and comes. And it really seems like it will never be green, and never be bright and never be warm.

But spring comes when it is ready. Spring comes when it has gone through its own process that may or may not be frustrating to us. And then the skies are blue and the trees bud and the tulips smile, and spring is here, it's really here.

Whatever it is you want to develop, whether it is that novel, or that art, or those children or that love or that business, or that stability... it comes in its own process. We work. We strive. We keep at it and never give up, and when it's ready, in its own process, it will bloom.

And we should remember to love it, whatever it blooms into.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


acrylic, fabric sample remnant, paper

Quick post while dinner is in the oven.

Sometimes, I get an idea that has to be done right then... but I don't have the materials that match my vision. So I search around until I find something that feels right and then I see what happens. This is one such case.

I think this girl looks a little more modern. I don't know what that means, except maybe in this modern world, we get caught up in the daily expectations and understandings and forget to believe in our pasts, our selves, our dreams.

I've also been thinking about National Poetry Month. I agreed to write a poem a day, but you know, I've been feeling these drawings and paintings are somewhat like poems. I've only written about 3 or 4 poems this month, but that's more than last month. So I'm good.

I am trying not to put myself to such a demanding challenge as a painting a day or a poem a day. I am thinking I'd like to revise five pages a day, but that's just because I want to finish this novel and stop putting it off. I'd like to do more than that, but I'll take 5 pages.

I don't want to burn out. I don't want to expect so much of myself that I can't help but fail. I want to allow myself a natural growth and exploration that might come with time to think about projects or down time or revisions.

So in that spirit, I've started writing poetry, I've done a half dozen or more paintings of a new journey. I've revised 33 or some pages. That's in only a couple of weeks. A little gentler on myself.

I'm trying not to equate my goodness with my production. I have a life to live, you know, not just a quota to make. I am not an art making machine.

I should draw that... an art making machine. That would be funny.

How are you managing your life/work/creating balance? Are you making yourself into a machine, or giving yourself a chance to live?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Three Grounded Girls, Paint, Ink, Pencil

Spring (Grounded Girl Holds Still)
acrylic, paper, 5"x8"

Well, I've taken out my paints.

Grounded Girl is a bonafide "THING". I don't know how long she'll last (Flying Girl lasted a couple of years and honestly isn't quite done yet) but she's here now.

I feel an upswelling of something with her, so I'm going to go with it.

Oddly, Spring was inspired by this painting, by Shaun Downey. Don't ask me how it turned into what it turned into. It just did.

Made of Rain (Grounded Girl is Part Of It All)
Ink and Paper 8x5"

This Grounded Girl came a few days before. It was raining. I think. Or maybe it was not. The hatchmarks feel like days passing, like rain, or like breaths. Or maybe not. I had the idea that the dark background would have the same kind of hatchmarks, but in white, and she would be one and the same, kind of like a part of the universe, but I worked so hard on that background and it came out so nice and texturey that I decided I was going to let it stay and let that girl exist the way she is.

Idea (Wild Grounded Girl)
Pencil, Paper 8x5"

A couple of days before, I drew this one. Good old pencil. Like back when I was a student or first learning how to draw delicate work. I don't do a lot of delicate work now. I have a tendency to go too far towards "pretty" drawing, or so I feel, and I often try to go back the other way with rougher or wilder gestures. But the truth is, the pretty is a part of me, and perhaps I should go with it, instead of trying to go against type and be "serious" and deep. If I could find a way to manage both pretty and serious, I might be quite happy with myself.

Shh. I don't want any of you who know me to start nodding your head as if you have just psychoanalyzed my personality.

I'm just going to go with it, and not over analyze. I'm going with the flow and seeing what comes out.

Speaking of, I have revised/rewritten about 18 pages this week. Yay me. It's been a long time, and I think I have finally gotten to pay attention to the writing itself, not just the structure or the story. Put in a little of my "pretty" if you will.

And if my blogging rhythm is off, down from my usual three or four posts to only one a week, well, it's just because I am wrapped up in spring cleaning and working and kids and cooking and writing and painting. And I'm not pushing myself to paint every day or blog every day or even write every day. I'm just going with my flow, and committing to the work, and seeing where it leads me.

I do intend to put some prints of these in the shop, but I am a little bit behind in that area. I've got quite a back log of work. I was hoping to get my new camera first, so I could take better pictures, but the flow has had other ideas. Oh well.

Where is your flow leading you, lately?

Monday, April 04, 2011

Grounded and Acknowledged

Home (Grounded Girl in Wonderland)
ink, vintage book page

I have been trying to get my mojo back, and it's pretty hard.

As you can see, I have been slacking on my blog. I have actually been creating more than I've been posting, so I have a back log of art and crafts... although I probably won't show some of it, because it kind of... well, some of it is more about the moment than the lasting meaning of it.
Spring/Days/Rain (Grounded Girl)
watercolor and paper

I kind of like the way this theme is developing. I don't know where it's going. But I think it says something about my state of mind. After all those flying girls, I feel the need to get out of my head and get grounded in the real world.

How does one develop a theme if one doesn't have extended periods of time and concentration to really get to work on them, like one would if one were a "serious" full time artist?
Sky/Land/Sea (Grounded Girl)
pencil paper

I guess one does what I do. Keep a journal. Try to remember to draw, paint, sketch. Let the ideas come to you, and then actually work on them.

I do know that when I am trying to get my creativity going, it helps me to keep things small and portable. Small to keep the pressure down. Portable to allow me to create wherever the inspiration strikes.

Another thing that helps grow creativity, that I have yet to develop this turn around, is to have a creative routine.

I'm trying to write in my journal every morning with my coffee, instead of sit on the computer. I did this yesterday and it was great. I wrote a multitude of pages in my journal. I got a lot of thoughts out of this busy head, and frustrations, too. I wrote a poem, because I am trying to write a poem a day in this month of Poetry. I drew the top Grounded Girl. I wrote a poem. I decide to tell S. that I needed to get back to my novel writing as a serious endeavor, like a real job. And he agreed. In fact, after work today, I am going to have a few hours to myself, without kid duty, and I am going to work on my fourth draft. I am going to get back to business.

Felt Medals
felt and thread.

So in honor of my accomplishments in getting back into the swing of things (even though I am not there yet) I am giving myself these medals.

I made them for my kids. The "cool" one for a boy who is a Cool Writer, and is bravely struggling through his perfectionism and struggles with fine motor skills. For the "Ivy" it is for a girl who is learning to be helpful and responsible.

Are you acknowledging your own successes, even though you don't feel like you have gotten where you want to go yet? It's the small steps that lead to the big accomplishments. Are you paying attention to how far you are getting each time you try to take one baby step?

Give yourself a treat. Say it's from me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Made of Days and Tomorrow

Made of Days and Tomorrow
journal diptych
pencil, water color

I don't know what I'm doing.

But I suppose the important thing is that I keep doing.

I've been wanting to get back into my journal for a while. I want to write. I want to draw and paint. But it has been a long time coming,

I've been collecting images of journals here. I've been scribbling and doodling bits in my journal but I haven't felt like I have been getting anywhere, creatively. Or have I?

I've been thinking about what I like in art. I've been wondering what is meaningful to me, and what appeals to me aesthetically. I've been thinking about the way I go about doing art. For so long I have painted quickly and immediately, with little to no planning. I have been telling a story with my art.

Sometimes I feel sad that I don't have the time, energy, space or money to dedicate to art and being an artist the way I'd like to.

But this is my life, and this is my path, so I can't really give my energy to what my life isn't, but rather want to think about what my life IS.

As I began drawing this journal piece, I started with the repeated circles. I like repetition. I like the meditative state of hatch marks or little circles. It reminds me of when I was working on Wreck This Journal. And I wanted to work on the shape of a person. A kind template for a person the way my Flying Girls were a template that allowed me freedom within the constraints to express myself. But I wanted something that I could take to a deeper, less literal place.

I'm not sure I can do that. I'm a pretty literal person. Well, that's not true. I'm a pretty narrative person. I can't help but make stories, whether I am painting a picture or writing. I can't help connecting things and giving them a meaning, a journey.

And somehow, after I drew this piece, I began thinking about what it meant. I compared it to my flying girls, and thought about my own journey, and thought maybe this is what I need now. Before it was all about dreaming and taking flight and going after the dream. I think now I may need to settle down, build something, ground myself. Perhaps these are grounded girls, the way my others are flying girls. Or perhaps not. We'll see how it turns out.

Oh, and yes. Once I started this drawing, I found that I had the urge to explore what was happening here. There have already been two more drawings/paintings in this vein. I guess we will have to stay tuned to see where these days and tomorrows lead.
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