Sunday, November 2, 2014

Weaving a Life

There's a saying, widely attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson (not confirmed he ever said this, btw), that goes: "Life is a journey, not a destination".  Good to remember, especially as I get older and closer to that final destination. When I was younger I was all about the "plan".  "When I finish school...", "Next summer...", "In a few years..." and on and on, always planning for that magical time in the future; mostly, just trying to "get through" the present.

That makes me sad. But, I can't time travel back and give myself the good old-fashioned shaking I needed, and dwelling on the past is really just as bad as always wishing life away by focusing on the future. So, I'm done with all of that. I'm planning for the future, of course, by making sure I'm doing the things I need to do to ensure we are ready for retirement when it comes, but I'm not living there.  I'm trying my best to focus on the journey and spending my time enjoying the present, celebrating the now. I'm doing those things I always wanted to do, but didn't "have time" for. I'm cherishing the sunrises and stopping to smell the roses and putting down the grading pen and picking up the paint brush. I'm smiling at my husband and savoring the cookie (or pie, or candy...). I'm reminding myself, often many times each day, that it's about the here. The now. The joy of the journey. I'm weaving my life, one day, one strand at a time. Sometimes, by actually weaving.

My first attempt at weaving on a makeshift loom. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Better Late Than, Well, You Know....

Wow, I can't believe how long it's been since I posted on here.  Sometimes, though, life steps up and gives you a good shaking, and that's what's happened.  My oldest son suddenly got a great new job and moved. This happened in August. Then, school started back and on the first day my students returned, my husband suddenly lost all of the vision in his right eye.  Thankfully, he has optical neuritis and not something much, much worse, so he's slowly regaining his vision.  So, after a busy, frantic couple of months, I'm hoping that things now will settle down and allow me to get back to writing and making art.

Yes, making art has indeed gone from a "I've always wanted to try this" to a passion.  I spent lots of time this summer making collages and practicing techniques and, while I don't think I'm an artist, I've certainly enjoyed this new way to express myself.  Here are a few of my favorite pieces I've made. The image transfers are from my own photographs.

This is one of my favorites.  The photo of the flower in the middle is the first image transfer that worked really well and it's of a zinnia from my garden. 

This is one of my favorite mistakes.  I ended up painting the flowers in the middle when the photo transfer I attempted failed.  It's in my room at school.

My latest piece.  It's for my daughter.

Acrylics, stencils, layers of papers, lots of sanding, and a hand-painted daisy make this one another favorite mistake. I originally had tried to do a photo transfer that went really poorly.  Thank goodness!

Finally, this one was made on paper instead of canvas. It's for a dear friend and is layers of acrylic, stenciled and stamped inks and paints, one of my favorite sentiments, and another flower I painted.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Art of Living

It was something I'd been wanting to try for about five years. I thought, though, that I needed a class. I thought that I wasn't "artistic".  I thought I'd mess up. I thought I'd look the fool. I thought, well, as you can see, of a lot of reasons NOT to do it. But, a couple of weeks ago, I finally thought "why not".  If I mess up, I reminded myself, the only person that would know about it would be me. So, I did it.

I got a canvas that was lying around in the basement. I looked through a cabinet or two in the basement and found some acrylic paints and a couple of paint brushes.  I went on line and found a quote I liked: "Bloom where you are planted."  And, so, I did.  I made my first ever mixed-media collage.  I didn't judge as I was going and I just let "the girls in the basement", as Jennifer Crusie calls her unconscious mind, take over.  Well, not Jennifer's basement girls, but mine.  And it was a BLAST.  I've not felt that sense of flow for a while.  And, when I was done, I was sort of in love with what I'd made.

Since then, I've made two others, one a planned piece for my son and the other just a free-wheeling free for all that came about after my first attempt at making a photo transfer onto canvas messed up.  I also boldly posted photos of my creations on my Facebook page for all the world (well, at least my few friends and relatives that actually look at my wall) to see.  And it was very freeing. And fun.   I highly recommend it.  Or, if making a collage doesn't float your boat, I recommend doing whatever it is that you keep finding reasons not to do. You only get one life.  Make it a good one.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The 16 Things You Didn't Know About the 9 Authors Who Said 4 Interesting Things On 5 Topics Designed to Motivate You to Do Stuff for 30 Days to Learn 8 New Things About....(And Now I've Lost Count!)

Clearly, based on the title of this post, I've been spending WAAAAY to much time stumbling around the Internet, reading too many self help posts.  A few days ago, mired yet again in what amounted to inertial quicksand, I came to the realization that, instead of lifting me up and making me feel better, all of these articles I'd been reading were contributing to my growing sense of restlessness and discomfort. But how could that be? While most of the articles were basically benign, sharing fairly innocuous pearls of wisdom, some actually contained surprisingly good advice or valuable insights. None of them were actually harmful. So, why, instead of feeling uplifted, was I feeling suffocated? 

I didn't know, so I decided to take a break. I shut the laptop, got my rear end up off the couch, and cleaned out my desk drawer. And, that's when it hit me: the problem wasn't with the articles. The problem was with me.

So, as it turned out, this post really isn't about The 16 Things You Didn't Know About the 9 Authors Who Said 4 Interesting Things On 5 Topics Designed to Motivate You to Do Stuff for 30 Days to Learn 8 New Things About. Sorry to disappoint you. Maybe you'll forgive me, though, when I tell you the One Thing You Need to do to Have a Better Life: