Thursday, December 2, 2010

Can I still be an artist with the holidays so near?

Happy Thursday to All!

Can you feel it in the air?  All of a sudden there's a subtle change in our daily dynamics.  Instead of our usual routines, we're gearing ourselves up for the "holidays."  We run around, shopping, wrapping, dash to the post office to send off parcels, special greetings and such.  We're in a frenzy, baking, cleaning up our homes, decorating and making sure that everyone who enters our abode knows that we're in the holiday spirit.  Hogwash!  If we really told the truth, we'd tell each other how much we dread all this hoopla and putting on a special formal dinner for 12 to 16 of our dearest friends is the last thing we truly want to do.  Now, I do know of a few people who really do enjoy all the frantic activity, the cooking, baking, decorating and so on.  But, I wonder if the people who benefit from all this activity really understand how much work it is to undertake?  I wonder if it ever occurs to them that they might offer to help and share the work load?  Then, maybe the host and hostess might feel less pressured and enjoy the evening as well.

I had an e-mail earlier from someone who told  me she had finished making her holiday cards and was about to tidy up her studio since she wouldn't be back in it until after the new year.  That's a month from now at the very minimum before she will give herself permission to have some fun, do something artistic just for the joy of it.  That is so sad for me to think that someone who really enjoys being creative, won't find the time to do something that gives them so much pleasure.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  I do it too!  I fuss over people coming over for a holiday visit.  I clean the flat, wash the floors, try to put some type of order in the room that serves as both my bedroom and my studio.  Put books away in the bookcase.  Basically, what I'm doing, what we're all doing, is making our homes into what magazines and television shows tell us our homes should look like during the holidays.  I know my budget doesn't allow for lavish displays and I wouldn't want to put all that money into decorations that only get used for a brief time.  So much better to purchase paints, canvas, whatever it takes and make some of your own decor.  At least it will be personal and have some meaning for me.  Maybe that should be our challenge this month - paint or create a holiday display without breaking the bank.  Paint a new picture to put up in the diningroom or front sitting room.  Send me pictures of what you've done and I'll post them throughout the month to show everyone what a creative crew of people read this blog.  Create something from your dreams, something that's personal to the way you celebrate the holidays.  Make it a reflection of you and your home!

I don't know about you, but I'm not planning on letting preconceived ideas about the holidays take me hostage.  I'm going to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but that doesn't mean that I won't indulge in a cookie or two.  I'm not going to hide away the articles that define my life, like my paints, books, artwork or Molly Cat.  I'm going to put up as many paintings on my walls as I feel looks good, notice I said that from my perspective of what I think looks good.  My friends should be coming to visit with me, not do an inspection of the flat to see if I hoovered under the bed or if I washed the shelves in the medecine cabinet.  We should be getting together more regularly, not just during this one month of the year.  What a shame that we let ourselves get so caught up in day to day life that we forget to celebrate life every day, not just for a few special days during a certain month.  Life is something that we all take for granted until we get that dreaded diagnosis or hear of a loved one who might not be with us much longer.  Celebrate life every day!  Take chances, do things that you really have wanted to do for such a long time, but told yourself that this wasn't the right time.  None of us know when our final days are approaching.  I would rather know that I've pulled some all niters to get things done for some artwork I've been working on or even that I sat up very late to put together a post for this blog.  This journey that we call life can include so many different aspects and we each have the opportunity to personalize our lives to suit our interests.  Celebrate your life!  Not the life you see portrayed in all the glossy photo shoots in magazines, your own life where the tree is a little crooked or serve those pigs in a blanket that your kids love even if it would be ever so more chic to be serving a magnificent cheese tray.  Split the difference, have some nice cheeses along with things you know your family really would rather have.  In the end, isn't it really all about family and even extended family?

My personal journey is an artistic one.  I'm writing, painting, learning to cook healthy meals.  My journey is one of self discovery, learning about myself while I challenge myself to learn new artistic ways of expressing what my life is about.  What is your personal journey about?  What challenges are you willing to take on in order to further your interest in truly living?  Does this all have to come to an abrupt halt on December 01 because the holiday season is near and heaven forbid that the family and/or neighbours see what things we truly like to do?  I hope not or I'm in big trouble.  And as for anyone who dares make a comment to the effect of "isn't it cute, she thinks she's an artist," that person will be ushered to the door posthaste!  No cookies for them!

These past few days, I've been looking at some unfinished pieces of art scattered about the flat.  I grabbed two and finished one completely today.  I worked and reworked the piece.  I left it alone for a while and just walked by it periodically thinking what it needed in terms of colour, material, texture.  Finally, the paint brush took on a life of its own as it swept great and little swathes of colour over the canvas.  Just for comparison, I've included the original piece of Faerie Child Sleeping, a coloured pencil piece on black card stock for you to see.  I've also put up the work in progress piece of the same being done in acrylics.  And now, the third photo shows the tentatively completed piece.  I like this one much better.  The placement of the key figures is better, the texture is more apparent and the colours are brighter, crisper, much more true to myself.

I'm looking at this piece now and the thought of not doing anything artistic for a month saddens me.  But wait, it's not me who's going down that pathway.  I'm willing to keep the apartment a little tidier in case I get a call that someone is coming over, but I refuse to let the thought of someone's impending visit change my lifestyle.  I can bake and have things ready in case people drop by.  Maybe this year, I'll put out more healthy alternatives to nibble on along with a tray of cookies.  I'm tidying up my art supplies so that I can grab a plastic bin of paints and a canvas to work on without totally messing up the place.  But, there will still be books laying around that I'm reading or getting ideas from.  Molly's toys will still be very much in evidence as will her food dishes and water bowl.  Life doesn't have to come to a complete halt in order to celebrate the holidays with a showcase display in our homes.  Personally, I think it's so much better to welcome someone into my little flat and when they look around, my friends will smile and say to me "It's good to see you and we can see what you've been up to lately, judging from all the paintings on the walls.  By the way, which two can we take home, you promised we were going to get two."  Of course, these friends will nose dive into the brownies, cookies or whatever is up for grabs, but there's no doubt in my mind, they came to see me, not check out my flat and look for dust bunnies or kittens. :)  That's the kind of month I plan to have.  I hope you can make peace with yourself to forgo the insanity and try to really enjoy the month of December, but even better, to spread some of that joy into the other eleven months of the year.

Sincerely,  Rutheemac


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Ruthee said...

David, thank you for sharing this resource! We need time management skills in all areas of life and I know that I especially get carried away, take on too much and then get stressed out. Time to stop the insanity, get back on track and ultimately, be more productive. I do intend to keep on posting, so nice to hear that you enjoy the blog.