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.
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