Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In Sync with Why

"I bless this journey
with moments of delight
where time disappears
and truth emerges...."
Peleg Top

Week Four Life Book 2014

This quote by Peleg Top is my current measure to see if I'm in sync with my why. Why am I doing what I'm doing now? When I'm in touch with my why, I create with soul filling energy.

I would say I'm deep in the healing step of reclaiming my joy in creating. Yesterday I stopped by a shop that shows my cards. I wanted to swap some out, and when I got home, the truth was that I didn't want to make cards to sell anymore. I love the time I spend drawing. The joy drained out when I began to "manufacture" them to sell. Above my desk is an  unfinished painting from Flora's last online class. It has a lot going for it. When I can approach it again and work on it with delight, I will. I will not struggle with myself to get myself to do it. Right now I'm having a lot of fun beginning with a toilet roll and seeing what I can do with it. I'm playing to get the fun back into art.

Elements of an Assemblage in Progress

As I try out different elements and while I play with assemblages, the hours pass seamlessly. I draw little ladies that make  me happy. They grew out of years of doodling and express various parts of me. As with writing, when I draw, my creative expression comes from following an intuitive trail, and when I come to the end, I feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Painting is a very different thing. Much more difficult and less spontaneous. My main achievement in Flora's Bloom True class is letting go of outcome. I love big brushes, big canvases, big mess, lots of layers. Fun if I don't make work out of it. I'm looking forward to that.

I'm so grateful to artist Jeanne Bessette who asks great questions on her HeArt Space Facebook page.

Baruch ata adonai...it's so easy to do what I do because I've walked down a path I thought was a good idea or because someone encouraged me to, but when I've lost energy and enthusiasm for that way of doing or being, I've lost myself. Just now there are lots of teachers in my life all saying the same thing in different ways and I'm hearing them. Thank you. Amen

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Something from Nothing

Start with a blank canvas, a piece of white paper, a cardboard toilet roll. Start the new year wtih ideas from two internet classes, Creative Jump Start and Life Book 2014. Where have three weeks gone? Here's my show and tell.

Scrapwrap. Start with a household item, stuff in your stash, low technology and creative time.

Life Book 2014 is a year long class. Each week a new teacher, new techniques. Carla Sondheim, this week's teacher, is known for her blobamils. Start with a blob of paint and see what appears. This is some octopus!

Start with a day set aside to do art. Start with good intentions. Then clean out your studio, get involved with HeArt Space on Face Book, spend time with some newly salvaged stuff for cardboard box art, eat, make some appointments, check for email, go for a walk, lose something you've put in the scanner, spend time trying to find it cleaning up as you go, need to go to the Dollar Store, Michaels, feel tired from so much avoiding doing art. That was yesterday. I'm sure today will be completely different.

 Make a flower with two pieces of paper and see where it goes next.

Lay down three different kinds of tape. Make sure they overlap. Fill in with pen. Who is waiting to appear?

I'm not even going to tell you what this animal was suppose to be. The task was to draw an animal in one continuous line with your eyes closed. Another was to cut a typed paragraph into words or phrases and compose a story. That was a bit of a bust for me. Instead I wrote part of the story around this guy.

Baruch ata adonai...I am having fun and growing and my mind is in creative places. I am grateful. Amen

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Open Studio

I'm reading The Hare with the Amber Eyes, a book about a particular collection of objects that is passed down to the author, Edmund de Waal. As he traces their journey, he steps through the door to his family's history as well and learns much more than he could have imagined. This week I also looked through Where Women Create, a magazine showing the work spaces of women artists, and I wondered what one of my work spaces says about me. Here are some of the views of my writing space.

If you sat at my desk and turned your head to the left, this is what you would see. In the first column of shelves are what remain of the books my parents read to me as well as books I read to my children and grandchildren and children's books I bought on trips to foreign countries. In the middle section you see my blue Smith Corona from my freshman year in college and above that, a step below the center of this section is a storyteller from Santa Fe and poetry books from when I was writing poetry. The third section is Judaica, the history of my genetic makeup. Each item on these shelves is connected to a specific memory and touching any of those things transports me to my past.

If I look up from my computer, I see a shelf of my aspirations and books and nichos I've created. I think this shelf is is about what I want for myself.

I like that part of me that is so earnest about creating and is mostly appreciative, looking back, on what I accomplished. At the time it may have been a much different story, but with time, lots of it looks better to me now than then. When I learned about putting books together with binder rings, it gave me an enormous sense of freedom. The first books are the ones at the top. You can see the covers. They're alphabet books containing quotes, cards, stuff I liked at the time. Below these books are three containing a cache of cards I thought I might use as a writing prompt. I'm sure there's a book there I doubt I'll ever write. There are journals from trips and art journals and in the lower left, an accordion book I created with the most delicious Indian orange pages. I think these must be my personal museum shelves.

There's a soulful continuity here I didn't appreciate before I started writing this blog. I began writing about something completely different, and I'm not sure how I segued into where I am at the moment. I'm glad I trusted the need to refocus my writing. Now I can see why I like being in this room.

When I write, I learn things about myself I didn't know before. What I see in this writing is the way I've been able to trust and invest and reinvent myself over my lifetime. It's very comforting to know, especially when I'm currently stewing over an unresolved issues it seems I should be able to let go of or change. 

Baruch ata adonai...this morning I woke up very early and gave myself unstressed time to read and write. I'm grateful I didn't continue to stay in bed and think about what I would do today. Now I feel very ready to enjoy what will arrive through my open door. May I resolve the unresolved and be a more loving person today. Amen

Monday, January 6, 2014

Feeling Content

"All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple of years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer...It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as  your ambitions."Ira Glass

This morning it only took me an hour to make that watermark. That's a lot of time first thing in the morning. I started at 7:15 and voila! There it is, covering up an important world. I'm settling for good enough. One of my words for this year is ease, and so I relax. This morning Ira Glass whispers in my ear, "It's going to take awhile. You've just gotta fight your way through."

Well, here she is. My artistic guardian. I love her. She's the first face I've ever drawn I truly love. She looks me steadily in the eye and reminds me to keep being creative and pay no attention to those snotty voices that could be muttering away if I were to listen. She wants me to have fun. And I am. I do need to give her a name. Hmmmm. I'm going to give this some thought today.

My guardian, loving and steely, appeared during the first assignment in a year long online class, Life Book 2014. One week into it and I'm smitten. I think it's going to be a wonderful course for me. There are students from all over the world. It's a huge class in terms of the number of people participating and the content. In the first week there were six videos. There will be many guest teachers over the course of the year, and Tamara, the founder, producer and guide-in-chief has done an amazing job of building in support for artists like me whose courage might flounder, whose stuff is just not that good, yet, but trying to be good and getting better with practice.

The word you can't quite see is Abundance. My guardian wants me to explore Abundance. Isn't she wonderful? With ease!

Usually the first few months of the year I like to go away to someplace warmer and sunnier. Last year I painted in Mexico. Another year we spent a month in Kauai. This year I am very happy and content to be at home and to grow myself right here in my own sweet place. Sometime feeling content has a short shelf life. Today I'm creating a gratitude jar and dropping a little piece of paper inside, a reminder that today at nine in the morning, I am feeling an abundance of contentment.

Baruch ata adonai...I rejoice in moments like this when everything seems right with my world. I rejoice that I recognize in this very moment I am optimistic and happy. No qualifiers. Thank you. Amen