Sunday, November 27, 2011

Getting back on track, I hope!

Good Sunday to all!

It has been more than a difficult time for me over the past three months.  I am telling you this not to get a sympathetic nod, but rather to explain what has been going on in my life.  Early in September, I caught what the doctor called a lower intestinal gastric bug.  Translated, that means I had a bout of the flu that took me down for just over eight weeks.  Not impressive, nor was it a productive time.  Just as I recovered somewhat from that particular ailment, I managed to catch a cold that has been more or less with me until this week.  While I am now finally feeling better physically, I have to own up to the fact that I have been more than a little depressed.  That is a difficult statement to make, much less post for all to read.  However, in the hopes that my being open about this problem, maybe it will help someone else know that they are not alone when they have what is truly more than a little case of the blues.

There was a time when a person feeling that little case of the blues was told that they should just go out and treat themselves to a little shopping spree.  Sounds nice, but the reality of that is that in today's world, most of us cannot afford to go on such a spree and it really does not help cheer you up long term.  Rather, once you look at your budget and see what chaos you have caused, you sink deeper into despair and the whole viscous cycle repeats itself over and over.  Being fiscally aware of the limitations of my budget, I refrained from shopping for frivolous items and only allowed myself the necessities plus a few pouches of treats for Molly Cat.  No matter how dark things may seem, Molly will always be able to depend on there being a dish of treats set out for her each morning along with her regular bowls of kibble and water.  Should I be late in getting the treat dish filled, Molly has been known to drag the pouch of "cookies" into whatever room I am in and sit there looking at me with a look in her eyes that clearly tells me that I had better not think of making a pot of tea until I take care of this essential part of our morning routine.  And, I perform this task immediately, apologizing profusely to my little feline telling her that I really thought cleaning the litter box to be equally as important, but I now realize my error in judgement.

Such was my case of the blues that tidying up my studio was a hit and miss task.  More miss than hit I am afraid.  Finally, last evening I forced myself to go into the room and was determined to make a dent in the clutter with the goal of everything being pretty much back in place for Monday morning.  I sat in my much loved rolling office type chair and started sorting out items and returning them to their appropriate boxes and disposing of empty tubes, rolls from tape and other such items into the refuse or recycling bin.  Deciding that some music might make the task a little more enjoyable, I looked through my collection of CD's and chose one that I thought might be medicine for the soul.  The disc was by an artist named Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, the name of the disc being "Facing Future."  How appropriate!  The male vocalist goes by the nickname "Iz" and the playlist definitely gives you a taste of Hawaiian type music.  But, on this wonderful CD, there is a rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" that really speaks to the heart and soothes the troubled soul.  I had to stop working when this selection was playing in order to pay attention to just this piece of music and allow its healing properties to permeate my body.  Result:  I felt so much better after listening to this CD, but more so that one particular piece of music.

Thanks to Iz, I am feeling much more like the me that enjoys life, but more importantly can get back into the business of art and start getting colour back into my life.  I was up earlier this morning despite going to bed much later than I had planned.  Somehow, as I was heading off to bed, my sketchbook, a stash of coloured markers and my case of regular sketching tools ended up being brought along with a tin of soda and I spent a couple of hours working on some designs that I have been thinking about for a long time.  When I looked at the time, it was just after 3 a.m.  Yikes!  I set my alarm for 8 a.m. wondering if I would be able to pull my body out of bed and to my surprise, I was up just after 7 a.m. and heading to the kitchen, with Molly Cat in tow, and got our Sunday started.

The therapeutic value of music cannot be denied.  Find the right music and banish the blues, sometimes even the most stubborn case of depression will respond positively.  As I sat with my first cup of coffee of the day today, I realized that music had been lacking over the past few months.  If I had the radio set to my favourite classical program that I normally enjoyed each morning, it grated on my nerves and I would develop a major headache.  Consequently, I banished the radio and all forms of music from my life.  When my cleaning lady commented on the lack of music each time she came (on alternate Fridays), I knew I was not my usual self and that something was amiss.  A day without music is just not acceptable to me.  Even when I worked in an office, I was known for always having music playing quietly in the background.  The music kept my work day moving along, smoothing out the inevitable bumps along the road that happened every day.

I am feeling physically better today.  Whilst I still have a stubborn cold hanging on and making its presence felt, I know that I can deal with it.  The studio is looking pretty good and once I dust and hoover it Monday morning, I will be back in the business of making art.  Hopefully, some art that captures not only my emotions, but also reaches out to others who see it over the next month.  Thursday is the first day of December and whilst that month is not my favourite one of the year, I will be able to work my way through it.  I am getting back on track.  I am making plans for art projects that I want to work on over the next few months.  This is all progress in my eyes.  I will not allow myself to go into that dark corner to sit and worry.  But, I will make the most of each day and be sure to listen to my music and let it help me find my way on this artistic journey.

Getting back to tweeting this morning and posting my status on Facebook proved to me that all is well.  Setting up a display of the holiday wreaths made for friends makes for a splash of colour in my front reception room.  One wreath will go with me for my appointment with my doctor tomorrow.  He has just moved into a new office in a newly built medical building and I suspect holiday decorations are the last thing on his mind.  He usually makes a point of decorating the office, making it quite festive.  Hopefully, the wreath I bring will kick off the holiday season for the doctor and his staff as well as thanking them for all their help over the past year.  I am grateful for their many kindnesses.

The illnesses that pulled me into the feelings of depression are moving on and I have diverted myself from that particular detour on my journey.  Amen to that!  I much prefer pathways that add a little colour, excitement with the knowledge that I am adding to my treasure chest of art techniques.  Now, back to the studio for me!  And, Iz is going to sing those soothing songs once again as I gain control and order takes over what was chaos for so long.  It is a good day for me and I hope an equally good day for you.  Celebrate even the little victories such as cleaning stamps that have been inked.  Even little victories are still just that, victories.  With every little victory you celebrate, the momentum gains and soon you will be feeling pretty fine.  There will always be those days that take me down, but as long as the good days out number the not so good ones, I will consider myself to be on the path where I belong on my artistic journey.

Have a great week!  Hopefully, by next Sunday, I will have some new art or works in progress to share with you.  That is the plan and my aim is to stick with it.

Sincerely,   Rutheemac 


Sunday, November 20, 2011

So many ideas, so why am I not progressing?

It has been a couple of weeks since my last blog post and I really do not have a good reason as to why.  I love to blog, it feels very much like I am having a chat with you about what is happening in my studio.  Maybe the truth is that I seem to be at an impasse artistically and not able to decide which way I should be heading with what I am doing.  Or, maybe I am trying to go in too many directions at the same time and am not able to focus clearly on any one thing.  I suspect this last thought is the one that is most accurate.

So, when I find myself in this situation, I sit back and look around the studio hoping to find some divine direction and when that fails to materialize, I decide to gut the room and rearrange it.  And this is what I have been doing for the past two weeks.  First the storage area got a good tidy up, but that meant that a lot of boxes ended up sitting on the floor of the actual studio.  It was then that I knew that the whole set up in general needed tweaking.  Bins have been moved and still have not found their way to their permanent placement, boxes are still scattered about, but a new six foot table has been put in place necessitating my moving another table and two storage towers to new locations.  I am bruised, but the feeling that I am getting closer to having the room set up so that it better suits my varied interests keeps me motivated.

Hopefully, by the end of the day on Monday, I will be organized and ready to tackle some of the many ideas floating around in my mind.  I know that I need to focus on one project at a time, but that never seems to work out for me.  I tend to move from one area to another and work on different artistic endeavours on a whim rather than out of an organizational method.  I try to justify this telling myself that while one piece is drying, I can work with some clay, beads, ribbon and whatever else draws my attention. That in turn draws me over to the bookcase to get some information that might help with what I plan to do, but then I get interested in reading something and before I know it, a few hours have passed by without my being aware of the fact.  The same holds true whilst I have been organizing the studio - I start going through a box of stamping materials and get distracted only to find myself setting up a box of stamps to use in another project.
Seriously, I have major issues with committing myself to one and only one project at a time.  I say this with a smile since I cannot take myself too seriously when it comes to organizing my room.  My little furry assistant, Molly Cat, does not help matters when she jumps out of boxes at me or runs about the room with small rolls of ribbon, decorations, paint brushes or whatever else captures her attention.  I suspect I would get more done if I were to close the studio door with Molly left to roam around the rest of the flat.  But, it would not be near the fun that we have together in the room.

This will be the week that I get organized.  I am determined to accomplish a few mixed media pieces over the course of the week and hopefully have something worthy of submitting for a competition wherein I show that stamping is far from passe and that it does have a place in art pieces today.  I can see in my mind one of the pieces that I want to capture on canvas, but whether this translates well in the final piece is still debatable.  Fingers crossed, I will make this happen and be satisfied that I have achieved what I set out to put together.  Somehow, I always change elements of the design at the last moment, but maybe this time I will leave well enough alone and see what comes of it.

I hope you have been working on something artistically satisfying over the past few weeks.  I would love to hear your suggestions as to how you keep on track and not roam all over the map trying too many ideas at the same time.  I suspect I am not the only one who finds this a problem, at least I hope I am not the only one with commitment issues. 

Have a great week!  And, I will commit to letting you know how the studio turns out and if anything of merit was put together over the upcoming week.

Sincerely,   Rutheemac