Wednesday, January 16, 2019

I'm not the only one...

After writing yesterday's post I opened an email (admittedly from over the weekend) from The Rising Tide Society with a headline of 
"We're going to come right out and say it: January 14th is the new January 1st."  That made me feel ever so slightly clever about my "beginning again on January 15th with my writing efforts pretending it's the new year today".  You can see their goal setting guide here.  

Monday's challenge prompt was: Decide what matters and what doesn't. What's your big picture? #BESTGOALS2019⠀⠀

I have decided first that I am not going to be legalistic about starting on the same day as everyone else.  Because after all this is not school, there is not only partial credit but full credit for effort. Am I right?

tools of the trade 2018 tw stifel

What matters?  For me it's
Time spent creating
Time spent with family and friends 
Transparent relationships
Good stewardship of resources
Becoming fit
Staying healthy
Flexible schedule to accomplish these things

Pensacola Sky - Commission 2018 TW Stifel
So by process of elimination this means 
events and actions that don't contribute to these things need to be minimized or go by the wayside. 
Seems too simple doesn't it?
Next Step: pondering what that looks like.

Family Dinner - Christmas 2018

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

New Year's Resolution- Just Show Up

It is said that most New Year's Resolutions are broken by January 15th. And that most people make the same resolutions or none at all. So I am amused that my resolution of writing regularly is beginning again today, January 15th.  There.  I showed up! 

On trend the past few years is the selection of a Focus Word of the Year. Watching other people carefully choose and be guided by their year seems laudable yet something entirely foreign. I seem to have spent the last couple of years completely in reaction mode. Philosophical thinking has been dulled by fatigue.  I tend to be an extremely concrete person (make this call, do this deed, fight this fight) and less of an abstract thinker. Perhaps that is why I have not been drawn to the word of the year concept.

"Throwing Down" Commission 2018  TW Stifel
 Status Quo would have defined 2018.  2018 was a year of maintaining and healing.  Lots of health problems in the family.  Lots of treatments and thank the Good Lord and modern medicine, lots of successful outcomes. Sometimes you don't realize how much strain there is until it is lifted.  2018 was a feel of feeling stymied and frustrated while all the while counting daily blessings.  2018 was a year of waiting. Sitting with and realizing that some decisions could not made but that circumstances had to unfold. (This is so NOT how I normally live, breathe or plan.) But you know that old adage "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger?"  I DO feel stronger and ready for what the future holds.
"Armada Blue" 2019 TW Stifel 
  2019 feels lighter, more optimistic with plots and plans percolating. I was helping someone clarify her goals for the coming year and it reminded me of goal setting bigger than to-do lists. Grander than weight loss goals (although I have those too).  Real life style goals.
Sunrise Over the Bay 2019 Mother Nature
What has been your grandest life goal to date? Did you achieve it? Still working on it? Did you abandon it? I will share some of mine next time.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The show went up, the show went down, other kinds of painting going on...

Nothing much to see here, right?

 Nothing to see except the neutralizing handiwork of two out of shape, middle aged people who painted all the woodwork of the main floor of a cottage spurring on by said middle aged woman who had wanted to do this for 20 years and decided her "birthday getaway weekend" was when she could talk her husband in to doing the work. you know, as a present!
 Gone with the bright blue and yellow eighties sponge painting. Gone are our backs and knees. In is our pride in doing a good job, TOGETHER.  And, of course, we painted to put it on the market.  NOte to self: do the darn projects on the next house so YOU can enjoy them.  You can see our handiwork here.  Tell your friends. Please.
 My other big "self care" event for my birthday weekend? Got the car washed! #lowmaintainence

Friday, April 6, 2018

Maybe not so alone after all.

Being an artist can be a solitary business.  Some folks do well creating in public. Weirdly I have no problem doing my collage work with an audience but am really uncomfortable with folks looking over my shoulder when I paint.  But I love sharing my process.  Maybe I should say being an artist can be a little mentally fractured...

I must confess I love, love, love the work I have been doing lately. Please don't take that as bragging. Sometimes creating is a struggle and sometimes it is pure joy and this series has been that.  So it's really exciting to get words of encouragement from friends, family and fellow artists. Makes me feel like I am connecting both with myself and others.  That's a good thing.  It also help assuage the feelings of isolation I have with my present nomadic life.

In my last post I wrote about going it alone.  I must say it's been a great couple of days for my ego when I see reactions to a post like this-

Feeling the love!
Thanks friends!
Get all the details for my show "Sea Change"  here.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Leaving a Legacy

Pick One:
One of the hardest things about running a creative business is
+it can be solitary
+ business tasks takes more time than creative effort
+it's hard to stay focused artistically when you are trying to make a living
+it's tricky to know if you are making an impact

Leaving a Legacy 1 of 2 My caring, creative, empathetic daughter.
How about all of the above?
One way of addressing these issues is to connect with people online. Following artists on social media inspires me to get back to my own art and subscribing to various business of art newsletters compels me think proactively.

I was reading art business consultant Maria Brophy's newsletter this morning and was struck by her blog post on leaving an art legacy.  Funnily enough this article did NOT spur me to wonder how I was going to be a success artist myself.  It did make me think about all of the people I have helped get started in business. Whether in my twenty year career as a headhunter or in my ten years as a gallery shop owner I LOVE(d) to help individuals articulate and realize their goals. Being a small part of others success is a huge source of pride for me. Especially when people circle back and tell me how impactful I have been in their lives.

Leaving a Legacy 2 of 2- My intelligent, kind, droll son.
Ironically I have realized I made a career of that because I was too chicken to represent my own  goals beyond a collective. Weird to consider edifying others a crutch. The joy and satisfaction I get out of helping other is true and pure. It is also true that it takes my time away from understanding my own creative aspirations and goals.

Stripping my business back to just me is very revealing. Down right naked in fact.  Can I survive without the support of a group? What happens if I put all of my efforts into an endeavor and I fall flat on my face? Am I even capable of leaving a legacy on my own?

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Color Ways & Observations

We knew when we bought our Retirement Although We Are Not Retired House that the area we were moving to was far less ethnically diverse than where we moved from in Northern Virginia. But then I noticed something interesting.

8 version of the same groovy vintage linen make for a fun pillow. 8 kinds of people make a fun friend group.

When I went to the grocery store up on the "corner" near the highway and I saw folks of various flavors doing their shopping.  But when we would head to our favorite watering hole it was all white. Then we would head out to buy some goodies for the house and the clientele would be predominantly black. Then we would head to a different restaurant and the entire staff was Latino.  It's almost like everyone is running in packs as opposed to working and playing in multicultural groups. I think I notice it more given today's high feelings and charged political climate.
It's awesome when vintage buttons find a home.

Maybe it will be different when we make some new friends and meet true "groups" of people.  The tricky part is we zip down to the house when we have a couple of days free so we really haven't made any new friends yet. Really haven't found a new church yet. Really haven't explored much beyond our neighborhood yet.  What we have found here in the Tidewater area is that EVERYone is friendly and very willing to help you and answer the stupid questions you don't the answer to when you are the "new guy".  Just like people were so welcoming when we moved into Falls Church over twenty years ago.
Pay no attention to that big mess on the shelves!

I was thinking of how people are all the same basically. We want love, safety, food, home, and laughter. Even if we are different shapes, ages and colors. I was looking at this designer fabric sample I was playing with this evening and thinking that all these samples were like people.  All the same, all different.  And wouldn't it be nice if it was as easy to sew us together?
My mission going forward is to start and COMPLETE projects leaving no scraps. For my next project I am planning to incorporate the fabric into the canvas that I painted , um, 3 years ago and make something wonderful using only supplies from my studio.  This will NOT be hard to do! Stay tuned...

Thursday, March 22, 2018

2018- a different one to be sure...

It was New Year's Day 2018 and I was sitting in a 4th floor apartment a stone's throw from the Vatican.
New Year's Eve fireworks over the Tiber in view of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome

After 3 years of saying we were coming to visit my lovely friend Laurie we finally made it happen.
It was a weird experience being completely away from "the usual" on New Year's Day.
No shop to keep. No hosting our annual neighborhood football bowl games party. No kids back to school on January 2nd.
Family Portrait at the Colosseum 

 Weird but good. No, phenomenal. To do something extravagant and ephemeral is radical for me.
I have always been a planner. Ultra thrifty "just in case". Structured so I can plan for the future. Structure is the way I make sense of the turmoil around me.

The Maddening, yet well behaved, Crowd enroute to the Sistine Chapel
 As I reach a solid middle age though I am finally forced to acknowledge I can't control the universe.
There has been a huge gap between blog posts as I have been caught up in change. Change that I can't control.

Amalfi Coast - even on a rainy grey day the water was spectacular
 My radical changes included vacating my brick and mortar shop, selling my home of 20+ years, doubling down on my art, dealing with loved ones health scares, watching my kids graduate, and gaining weight while panicking over the tumultuous news cycles.
Trodding the ancient streets of Pompeii 
 I went into 2018 vowing to strip things down to the essentials and not get caught up in the "what ifs". I had NO idea how hard that would be to do as I am so competent at making "what ifs" concrete.  When one has less to "do" one must concern oneself with just "being".  This is hard for me.
Strolling the porticos of the Baths of Diolectin
 I miss writing. But I wasn't writing because I felt I had nothing positive to say. You know, the old "if you don't have something nice to say- don't say anything."  There has been a LOT of things not good happening since my last post but also amazing things also. I am over letting outside forces steal my joy. So I begin again.