Monday, February 20, 2012

Pick a pathway, continue a journey or start a new chapter

I was indecisive as to what I should write about today and so this post is going up much later than originally intended.  This tardiness is not due to my not working on anything artistic or of artistic merit this week, but rather that I had a little too much going on. I worked in the studio using the acrylic inks that are proving to be a learning experience, read for a while each day, got inspired by two journals that came my way and thought about other ways in which I might challenge myself.  Add to all this a major need to purchase groceries followed by some enjoyable time spent in the kitchen cooking ahead so I would have meals ready for the next couple of weeks.  So, yes, it was a busy week and I have to admit that more than one night was spent in the studio.  I figure if I cannot fall asleep within a reasonable length of time, then it is far better for me to get out of bed and do something constructive.

The learning curve using the acrylic inks is a steep one.  But, I am enjoying the experience, maybe just a little too much.  I have started a couple of pieces and trashed a couple that were not turning out the way I had hoped.  I find my biggest obstacle is me.  I feel that I should be able to dive into any medium and be able to put a respectable piece of art together regardless of whether or not I have worked previously with that particular medium.  Mea culpa, such is not the case and I have to accept that I need to allow myself time to work with my inks, learn how they respond to different brushes, take the time to mask off areas of the canvas with friskett so that I keep the colours where I want them without trickling over into other areas on the page.  In other words, I need to learn to be patient with myself if I want to give myself the opportunity to grow as an artist.  I am impatient and like to see results quickly, but I am learning that it is far better to take the extra time and use it wisely allowing sections to dry, see the intensity of the colour and how it relates to other colours already laid out on the canvas.  I need to allow myself to change my mind as to what colours I will use and what the subject of each painting will be.  Will I paint a series or will I do one offs, single canvases not related to each other with the only common factor being the use of the acrylic inks.

I try to be frugal in my use of friskett and other mediums that would help me to achieve certain effects on my canvases.  The hard hitting truth is that there are times to bite the bullet and use the proper materials and that even if they are used on test pieces, this does not mean that I have wasted a medium.  Learning through experimenting is the best way for me to learn and develop my own techniques.  It is one thing to read about a technique, but an entirely other method of learning by actually putting thoughts into action.  I have always been one who likes to actively work on a problem in order to resolve it and find the best method to work with for me.  That is not to say that how I work out my answers and what items I use to achieve the much desired effect will work for another artist.  I am more than happy to share my findings with others, but need the other artist to know that while this method may have worked for me, it might not achieve what it is they hope to capture on their canvas.

While I have been spending a lot of time in my studio, very happily I must admit, I have also promised myself that I will read at least two books per month.  This leads me down another pathway where a new chapter of the journey is showing up.  Bird by Bird, a book written by Anne Lamott is a book with "some instructions on writing and life."  I always have enjoyed reading books of all genres through the years.  I read a statistic last week that the average adult has read less than 100 books.  That horrifies me on so many levels.  How can someone not want to read a book?  With so many books to choose from on such a variety of subjects, my problem is picking one book to read now and promise myself that I can to back and read any other books that capture my attention.  Picking one book over another makes for a difficult decision and I have to firmly keep myself in line and ask myself which book best follows my interests at that moment or which book will give me a brief holiday from what is going on in my life at that time. 

I have wanted to wanted to write for so many years and true to form, I figure that I need to do some research on the writing method before I contemplate starting.  Bird by Bird outlines in baby steps how to get yourself in a writing frame of mind.  Writing a bit each day and building on your skills will hopefully lead you into the steps necessary to write that novel that we all feel is just waiting in a corner of our brain, waiting to be transcribed and then hopefully to be snatched up by a publisher.  Suffice it to say, that the book does not sugar coat the likelihood of this ever happening, but at the same time does not discourage the would be author from writing.  Getting something down on the page each and every day is key to setting yourself in the "writing frame of mind" and forces you to establish a schedule in order to accomplish this goal. 

I have a lot to learn before I manage to write something of any substance, something that might capture the attention of a wider group of people than my blog currently reaches and that will likely mean that the subject of the book will not likely be about my journey through artistic mediums, at least not at this time.  I have not got a clue as to what I would write about, but I know that it is going to take a lot of time and effort.  I have got the time and effort, well, I am more than willing to work away on practising and writing piece after piece to develop my own voice and style.  So, whilst I read books to learn about the process, I have notebooks on the go in which I outline ideas and research these ideas, fleshing them out to see if there is maybe something in this idea worth writing more than just a paragraph or two about. With this in mind, I found the perfect journal type book in which to track these thoughts and ideas. 

Marisa at Omiyage carries a line of such journals. Have a look at her web store at and you will find various journals.  The two that captured my attention are "A 1000 Kinds of Stories" and "Editorial."  The first journal has 1000 sections contained within a wire bound book that will slip into your tote or briefcase. The sections are numbered and I can see myself making brief notes in each section, 1000 steps to pulling together information, ideas, to reach the point of actually starting the process of writing.  This journal would also be perfect for jotting down quotations that have reached out and meant something to you at this time of your life.  It could be a journal to track your exercise goals, an entry for each day as to what you accomplished.  There are so many stories to be written about in this book that I suspect everyone reading this would have their own spin as to what they would like to make notations about over the course of 1000 days. 

The second journal, "Editorial" breaks a page down into sixteen sections, graph lined with an area at the top for a title or subtitle.  Another perfect book for the writer in training!  Each little section could contain a goal to accomplish regarding one's writing.  By the time the budding author has worked their way through the journal making notes as they go, he or she should be well on their way to developing a story line.  I am excited by both of these journals.  I have not made an entry in either, and I suspect that I will start off with 1000 kinds of stories to get my creative juices flowing.  Will I ever really write a book?  I would like to think that I will pull together a story, whether it is a short story or perhaps that epic novel.  I can envision a few people rolling their eyes upon reading this and thinking that I definitely have more than a little fluff stuffed between my ears and masquerading as brain material.  I still plan to travel down this pathway and see what unfolds.  A few years ago, I thought that I would try painting and I am still painting, learning and growing with each piece.  Maybe, just maybe, I can try writing and see if I can progress from smaller pieces to actually pulling the storyline together along with character development and make it turn into a cohesive piece of writing.  That is what I am hoping to achieve.

My artistic challenges for Sunday were kitchen related.  For the first time in my life, I made a pot of chicken vegetable soup.  I have made many a pot of vegetable soup, minestrone soup and others similar in nature.  But, I was proud of my chicken soup and have to admit, it tasted pretty good and I now have enough soup for more than a week of lunches.  I also roasted a chicken, low and slow which produced such a juicy, tender meat, that I was pretty amazed.  JulieAnne Rhodes has a web site, in which she teaches her PCApproach to cooking.  By setting aside a few hours each week or every two weeks depending on how many people you are cooking for, you can cook and package up the meals in portion sized servings or family sized servings and just need to heat these up and have dinner on the table in no time flat.  I use the approach to get different items cooked or baked.  A pan of a perogie style lasagne was baked off, cut into servings and frozen, along with a pan of boneless, skinless chicken thighs roasted, an Asian inspired meal utilizing ground turkey, Asian spices cooked up and ready to serve over rice and just because I love muffins, a dozen blueberry muffins baked up beautifully and are now individually wrapped in the freezer, ready to be warmed up in the microwave.  I have enough individually packaged entrees to keep me going for around three weeks, so I think spending Sunday afternoon in the kitchen was well worth the effort.  You definitely should take a look at JulieAnne's web site and join the community.  For a very modest cost, you will have access to a new menu each week, along with the recipes, the shopping list and tips to ensure your success.  Plus, you will be able to participate in the forum where members answer each other's questions, have a chuckle at some stories of kitchen successes after battles valiantly met head on where youngsters have been persuaded to try a new type of mashed potato which actually was cauliflower mash and where vegetables are tucked into entrees without picky eaters even being aware of their presence.  I can guarantee that you will be ROTFL over some of the blogs and the forum discussions.  But, more importantly, you will find that it is possible to get dinner on the table without going crazy each night and you will meet the most amazing group of folks who are there for you in a heart beat.  Now, that is what I call a family, a very extended one, but most definitely a true family with JulieAnne keeping us all together and helping with advice, suggestions and most of all, you can tell that she really cares that you have the tools you need to produce delicious and healthy meals.

So, this is the week that was!  It was artistic in so many different ways, and all of them satisfying.  I will put up pictures of the acrylic paintings in progress on Twitpic so you can get an idea of how things are working out.  As for samples of my writing, well you read a sample each week in the form of my blog post.  I still have a long ways to go to developing a writing style, much less coming up with a solid idea for a book, but these will come with time and effort.

I hope you had a wonderful week and would love to hear about your artistic endeavours in the studio, kitchen or where ever you encountered them.  They all count!  Do not ever think for a moment that they do not.

Sincerely,   Rutheemac


Rachel said...

I love reading your blogs. It's like having a conversation with a good friend and learning at the same time. You've been VERY busy in the week that was!

Rutheemac said...

I love keeping busy, consequently I find myself involved in a few projects at a time. Hearing back from you (and others) is frosting on the cake! I will keep chatting as long as everyone keeps reading. :)