Happy Sunday to all!
Hope you made it through the week with a minimum of chaos and a maximum of creativity. Did you find some time to decorate holiday cards, make place card settings for Thanksgiving or maybe decorate cupcakes with sprinkles, swirls of frosting and a gum drop or two? As long as you do a little something, then you're making progress.
Claudia and Sergio Olivos are getting ready for an open house on December 04. See their blog at http://olivosartstudio.blogspot.com/ to get an idea of what they are working on now and maybe get some hints as to what they might feature at their open house. Claudia and I tweet back and forth through the week, encouraging each other, venting and always looking for positive things. I have to admit, Claudia is much better at that aspect than I am, but with few butt kicks from Mary-Jo from MerCurios Jewels, I'm learning a little more quickly than I might normally. I am not a Pollyanna, but I am starting to find a lot of "happy" or "glad" thoughts in each day.
Each day is 24 hours and we need to make the most of this time. Consequently, we fill up as many hours as possible, scheduling meetings, attending parent/teacher get togethers, shuttling the kids to hockey, dance practice and the dog/cat to the vet for their shots. It's a full day and by the time we finally haul our butts into bed, hopefully before midnight, we're exhausted and just don't think of taking a moment for ourselves. What has this got to do with our artistic journey? Everything! You need to find some time, even if only a few moments, each day to just enjoy the moment. I refer to this as smelling the roses time. A moment when nothing else exists in our world, we are free to mind travel or just simply clear our minds of all the superfluous junk floating around in there, sit back and sip on a cup of tea. Try to sip the tea, notice the scent, Earl Grey, jasmine, green tea - they all have their special scents, blends. Breathe in the steamy scent and let it calm you, take you to that happy spot in your world.
Do you remember a commercial from at least 20 years ago where it showed a woman, alone in the bathroom, enjoying a scented soak in a tub? Do you remember her son banging at the bathroom door calling for her, saying his sister was being mean and then the camera panned over to a little brat of a sister calling her brother "hamster brain, hamster brain" over and over? Meanwhile, mom sat quietly in her warm tub of fragrant water (courtesy of Calgon, if memory serves me right), oblivious to all the commotion outside the door. This was a woman who not only knew where her happy spot was, but was smart enough to lock the door so no one could intrude. This was a woman who knew what she needed and knew how to get that time. Okay, so it was only a commercial, but the premise is still the same. You need to know how to find your happy place and to go there to rejeuvenate for a bit every day.
For me, taking the time to paint is the necessary part of every day. I can be in a really bad way, but if I pick up a paint brush and start working on a canvas, I calm down. My breathing becomes slow and even. I listen to music and I'm almost painting along with it, rhythmically, happily. I'm taking time to smell the roses, in my own way. I definitely spend more than a few moments at this each day. I need to. If I go a day without painting or making some kind of artistic statement, I feel like something is missing and it is. The very essence of my soul is lacking a vital component. Art is medecine, that is recognized by doctors everywhere. Art is a kind of therapy that brings peace of mind to the troubled, allows a social worker to see into the mind of someone who is too young to say what is bothering them, but the picture the child draws will tell the story. Maybe, when something is troubling us and we can't quite put our finger on it, we should all run for our paints and paper, paint what we feel and then we would have an idea of what it is that put our psyche in the trouble zone.
In the past two years, I've been able to spend more time making art than most people. I've needed this "therapy" to help me let go of the past and look forward to the future. I've come to accept that there are certain things that I will never be able to do. But, I've also found that there are things that I can do that I thought I would never be able to do because someone told me that I didn't have the talent for it. If I had listened (and I did for some time) to this, I would never have bought paint supplies and tried to teach myself something that brings me a lot of happiness. This journey is taking me through abstract, pop art, still lifes and so much more. I paint, make cards, decorations and now I'm getting back into writing. Writing these posts has helped me loosen up and putting pen to paper or allowing fingers to stumble over the keyboard in preparation for my posts makes me open to seeing new things, reading new books, trying new products and so much more. This journey is helping me keep active mentally and physically. Physically? You betcha! When Molly decides to dance on my palette with ultramarine blue paint and then tears off when she sees me coming, I get my exercise trying to capture the little brat and then give her a wash up in the bathroom sink. There is nothing more angry than a kitten who has just had a bath. Well one thing, a kitten who has chased the water down the toilet bowl and gotten wet in the process. LOL Yes, I laughed, despite the blue paw prints on the floor, it was funny. A couple of years ago, I probably wouldn't have laughed, but now, I find things funny, enjoy a wider variety of activities and surprisingly, have turned to listening to the radio while the television sits silent in the front room. I watch so little television these days. I turn it on to hear the weather so that I plan my outings on days when I won't get drenched or chilled to the bone when I head out for supplies.
Something else has changed in my quest to smell the roses. I've become a person who takes a great interest in others and what they do. Whilst I'm still a quiet person, I am more likely to ask about a particular book that I see someone reading or ask about how something was made if I'm at a craft display. I take time to watch puppies being trained to be service dogs. There is a group that gets together at a local shopping centre once a week for this exercise that is run by a professional trainer. They do this at a shopping centre so that the puppies get used to being around people, especially people in wheelchairs or scooters. I try to make a point of scooting by their practice and then sit off to the side to watch. This batch of puppies is doing well, they don't take any notice of me now as I drive by. They will make someone a fine companion in a year or so. Meanwhile, they make me smile as I enjoy their little antics to try and get another treat from their host family.
I hope that you take the time to smell some roses this week. Literally or figuratively, hey, whatever you've got, make use of it. The time you take for yourself will make you feel more alive, more interested in life and just maybe pursuade you to pick up a paint brush and try your hand at some free style painting. You've got nothing to lose. But, just think of what you might gain!
Have a great week! Take care of yourselves and each other.
P.S. I'm reading a few good books right now. I never do anything one at a time. There just seems to be so much I want to read, to do, to try. So, on my bedside table right now are copies of Vegan with a Vengeance (Isra Chandra Moskowitz), Vegan on the Cheap (Robin Robertson), Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists (Carla Sonheim) and A Course in Weight Loss - 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever (Marianne Williamson). The cook books are great, wonderful recipes that do make satisfying meals. While my doctor probably wouldn't agree, I feel the books make sense and that we do rely too heavily on meat, processed products and so on. Whether you turn totally vegan or just want to try some vegan meals a few times a week, these two cook books will give you a good start on some healthy meals that taste great. The art book, I'm just getting into it and it seems to be a good one for getting you to loosen up and generate new ideas. The last book, the one on weight loss, is heavy duty. You need to read a bit and then sit back and think about it. I'm taking it a chapter at a time and have just finished Chapter One. It's an excellent book to read even if you don't need to lose weight, but have recently lost weight and want help in keeping those pounds from coming back. Julie Anne Rhodes who writes a blog at The Roving Chef ( http://therovingchef.com/ ) will be going through the book starting in another week and writing about her perspective on what she has read. Marianne Williamson, the author, may write a guest column and will answer questions as we all make our way through the book. Julie Anne writes a wonderful post twice a week and includes recipes you will want to try, I guarantee that!