Monday, January 30, 2012

3 Pages a Day: On to Jan. 30

Yes, I Was Beautiful Back in 2011
Yes, it's hard to change horses in mid-stream. No, I've never tried it, but it seems reasonable. This month I changed Challenge in early-stream, though not on purpose. The brain started out almost O.K., I did make soon Brave (for me) moves, and then Forgot to Remember The Task....

What did start in early January, and has continued steadily, has been scribbling something (3 pages) in the Marvel Superheroes journal every day. Yes, persistence in at least one area of life! Woo hoo! The writing is not brilliant, some is bitchy moany, some is Yes, I've Decided to Live. Some is the noting that, yes, a frozen tea bag will help bring down the puffiness under one's eyes - whew, some is listing of You Tube subjects that keep me semi-happy: Chuck Close interviews, Monthy Pithon stuff, Hank Williams, Dire Straits, Miles Davis, Lionel Hampton, Tim Burton inverviews, Jim Dine interviews, TED Talks, etc etc. My life is etc.-ery. that's just the way it is. And noting of the addiction to the Roz Wound Up blog.

The first meeting of our "What We Need Is Here" group is scheduled for 9 - 12 this morning. A fine group of multi-purposed folks take over a room at The Phipps Center for the Arts. Each meeting is different and usually excellent, thanks to fearless leader, Anastasia. The group has been around for four years - this will be my second as a member. We have learned to make journals, how to ask and listen, learned from experts in a variety of fields, read and discussed two books, took some field-trips, and all in all had a fine high-quality time. I feel lucky to be part of the gang.

Have the Courage to Bloom in New Ways This Year!!

I should be heading out soon, just because I like to spend a bit of time at a Hudson coffee-shop before heading to the Phipps. A few minutes sitting with coffee, paper, pen, and no pressure. And the thought that I could buy a pastry if I wanted one. This will not happen today because the typing is going along O.K. (I'm settling for lots of O.K.s in life lately, because they are better than "badly.") "If I'm not dead I'm O.K." - one of my new mottos. Now to live up to it.

These Giant Guys Perked Up Our Patio in 2011

Gardening is both a long and short time away. These photos are posted to give up Hope. There are so many kinds of plants. Some for eating. Some to simply enjoy or bring awe. This year I plan to increase plantings of sunflowers, and maybe even more basils. (Now that I can make a decent pesto. Thanks to an artist friend with a lovely pesto recipe.)

On To The Grand Adventure

So.... no, I haven't written the three pages yet today. But they will get done. Just like business stuff that is impatiently waiting. And the pastels, finished and unfinished. And February is as good a month to be Brave as any.

On to it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

3 Pages a Day - Keeping at It

Greetings -
Yes, I know. This month's 30 Day Challenge is Bravery. I may have to write EPIC FAIL at the end of 30 days or know that there were a few Braver Days and lots of couch time listening to never-ending chiming in right ear. Blah blah blah.

What HAS been continued, though not as real challenge, was to write three pages in a journal every day. Not in one of my "real" journals - filled with real journal stuff and all those Green Bay Packers WINS and rare but heart-breaking losses, not in any of the many sketchbooks, or The Journal of Power and Grace or the Vintage kind of art journal or the real art journal, but the Marvel Heroes Journal. Yes, since January 7, 2012 this hero-y book has been written in every day. Three pages, and today, four. Not always in the morning, as Julia Cameron would suggest, but every day. Once or twice a sketch happened to fill up space, but the pages are mainly filled with words. I didn't cheat by WRITING BIG either. It was to be a discipline rather than a challenge. To see if one could simply Continue Without Stopping. So far so good. Now if I could be Brave every day without stopping, well, wouldn't that be a "Woo Hoo!!" Crawling toward working up to baby steps?

In the front of the book are some quotes from when it was to serve a different purpose.
One by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche: The world does need your help so badly. And so on behalf of this world, I would like to invite you to come and do something about it.

Another, from ZEN MIND, BEGINNER'S MIND: In order not to leave any traces, when you do something, you should do it with your whole body and mind; you should be concentrated on what you do. You should do it completely, like a good bonfire... Zen activity is activity which is completely burned out, with nothing remaining but ashes.

Time to keep preparing for the Leonard Baskin & Edward Gorey presentation for this coming Thursday night at The Bikery's Van Gogh Cafe. I will not be at my best and feistiest, but the show must go on. I sure do like good drawers and people who draw well - haha. Got to cheerlead those who used great lines and the occasional color wash to create those wonderful spaces on flat paper for us to explore. And for folks like Mr. Gorey - size didn't matter. Small is good. Baskin? Well, whatever worked.

They were artists who kept at it. Creating books, art, sculptures, theater sets, and prints.
Keep at it.
Keep at it.
Keep at it.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Oven Timer Miracle Worker

Greetings -
As you may know, I am mostly self-employed. Four days a month I put on the retail smile and work at American Gothic Antiques, and that is well and good. But especially during Winter and Early Spring the motivation to do a thing or many things has got to come from The Inner Boss.

Having not punched a real Time Card since about 1980, one must create ways in which to be aware of Time and What Gets Done. Lists and the Oven Timer seem to do the trick here - most of the time.

Lists? Oh, so many through the years. In the past they were separate pieces of paper that would get lost in purse or under the table or in The Stacks of paper stuff that wasn't lists or might be a pile of lists.... Oh, the memories of tossed out backs of envelopes with pertinent info now recycled into nothingness. Oh, the finding of little pieces of paper from 1998 from which items must yet to be crossed off. No more of that - now the things that still need to be crossed off are in small notebooks of various kinds - in semi-chronoligical order. Lots crossed, some not crossed. But now, if one is brave enough to thumb back through the pages, one is immediately aware of done/not done. Decisions can be re-decided. Priorities revised. And on those Bad Days you can simply admire the many tasks checked off when you'd thought "Oh, my life has been completely wasted." No, You DID pay those bills, you did enter those art festivals, you did "enjoy the day." Gotta love those little notebooks.

I also love my Oven Timer. It times the bread. It times the muffins. Pizzas. And me. I need structure - even during good times of Flow (just keep re-setting timer). A forced fifteen minutes of "You can only work on business stuff" is short enough to not set off business nerves, but can even lead to another 15 minutes. Sometimes an hour. Woo hoo! Most of the time the timer is set for an hour. An hour is a good-sized block in an artist's life. Enough to focus on Serious Art or Serious Cleaning the Studio. At least when the timer goes off I usually know that I didn't start washing dishes, doing laundry, or cleaning the living room. Artists get turned off the artist path Really Easily. Especially when working at home. The Timer is my Boss. Then it's a good idea for We Who Do Not Remember to note the time that has been used to good stead. In our little notebook.

It's time to make a cup of tea, fry an egg, toast some home-made bread, and then pop that little external prompt. First task: figure out the order of the tasks, projects, missions, moments to relax and enjoy. Gotta find that notebook!

Be Braver,

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hibiscus Hooray & Public Speaking

Greetings -

Some long time ago, let's say, Summer, let's say early July, of, ummm, 2011, the camera took control and snapped way too many photos of many magnificent Hibiscus. Almost all pink, all in varying degrees of bud and bloom. The close-up lens became beguiled with line and texture. I knew there was a purpose for all the images, but as of yet I haven't thought of the one true one.

So today's liney pinky picture is put up simply because it recalls a warm day in a different state with beloved family, and also because it so reminds me of a costume that daughter, Tara, made. From real pink fabric for a real fake character who she sometimes portrays.

My 30 Day Challenge to be More Brave is not going so well. There IS almost half a month left, so there is hope. I have a presentation on Edward Gorey and Leonard Baskin scheduled for later in the month. In the olden days this would lead to solid sweating panic and fear. I used to get the occasional Failing Grade (E or F) for refusing to stand in from of a class and doing an oral book report. This was GREAT! I'd walk back to my seat after watching the teacher put the mark in the grading book, heave that old sigh of relief, and get on with the rest of the day. Now, and I truly don't know when/why, I seldom fear speaking in public. Now, if I'm on a roll, I may be even too long and loud. Who have guessed? Me? Never. Oh well. Another Life Mystery.

Speaking of speaking - a great tip learned long ago was "really know your topic." And "Use props." And "project your voice." And "have time for questions and answers." If I had my way almost all my presentations would be mostly Q and A. I want to present what people want to know. And it's fun to invite folks who might know even more about the topic to add to the discussion. We'll see how the Baskin/Gorey goes.

Anyway, a few weird health issues still persist. I hope I'm "in the pink" pretty soon. Summer is coming. Gardening books are sitting here not wanting to be ignored. The three giant "Mr. Jade" plants look longingly out to the patio. But this morning's temp would not have been to their liking. And the last bloom dropped off the tiny brave Christmas cactus. I drew two of it's blossoms in the visual journal so will recall the charm of their rich pink petals. Drawing always seems to be good for what ails ya. Perhaps focusing on something other than one's whiney wimpy self for an hour rests and relaxes the brain, as well as exercises it's ability to tell the eyes and hands what to do. That's quite the blithering paragraph, but a paragraph it is.

On to Brave. On to Pink. On to Public Speaking. On to wondering if the box elder bug crawling over my Things to Do journal would offer to help Pack Tee-shirt Order. Probably not. A box elder bug's gotta do what a box elder bug's gotta do. And we do, too.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Jan. 13 - Pump 13 - Friday


It leaves me confused.
Good leads to bad. Bad leads to good. Then there is all the simply Indifferent stuff we roam in from day to day.

May today hold the luck you would wish it to have, and if things don't happen quite that way - well, perhaps your path will lead to new and more and better.

Physics and choices seem to have more influence around here than good ol' luck.
Except when the number 4 is involved - hahahaha ha.

Must attempt accomplishing the continued sorting of the pastels. Just because.

"Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame."
- Erica Jong


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Jan. 7, 2012: Quickstep

Another of our favorite pairs - secure in their expertise and sense of purpose in the universe.
Like so many of our bears they are here to dance in moonlight - as long as the music or stamina lasts.

I'm a little jealous. I can watch dancers, I can read about dancers, I can dance in my brain. In real space, in real time, on a real floor - well, no. Hell was surviving a Jazz Dance class in college. I have fond memories of certain soundtracks. "Blues Brothers" and "All That Jazz." No good memories of actual physical attempts of movement, keeping count, memorizing routines. It's a mystery? To me, yes.

The shelves hold a number of dance-related texts. I read the words of Twyla Tharp. I appreciate Edward Gorey's obsession with the New York City Ballet. But my own legs & arms remain confused and bewildered.

That's O.K. We all have our gifts and faults. I'm going keep dancing the pastels around the studio. And stay awed and amazed by those who actually Dance.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

1-5-12 - On To It!

Sheesh. Focus . Do.
These sound so simply easy to do - but the bag of sugar needs returning to the correct cupboard, Facebook Friends need propping up, one must glance out to see if the birds & squirrels are re-using/recycling, & yes, there are bits of stuff in floor corners that will have to be swept up if one is to live slightly less free of house-work guilt.

Light Latin Jazz is helping..... One small pastel has been finished this week, as well as some small sketches. I admit to spending way too much time with Roz Wound Up blogs, but there are so many excellent posts to catch up on. Then Roz sends one down other darned fascinating paths, one looks up, and oops, the early morning is all used up.

So, today I will FOCUS one hour (30 minutes?) on serious business doings - laugh, you Serious Business Sorts, but we artists at home must put really thick blinkers on our brains & not consider sketching the jade plants right now, or experimenting with the raku clay that we keep forgetting we want to play with, or writing that long-over due letter to a favorite aunt.

The oven timer has become a great friend in The Focus. Even 30 minutes of "You can no nothing else but (fill in blank)" helps immensely. Although self-employed, I do have that inner boss. But in winter I tend to sneak off for really long rest-room breaks. And I really don't want to do what the boss wants me to do. Sigh and huff. And if one hides in the mental rest-room long enough, well, it's time for 10 AM coffee break. And so it goes.

30 Day Challenge: 30 minutes actually doing Bear Business. On to it!

If you have advice for the focus-impaired feel free to share! Millions of folks are accomplishing wonderful things today. Whew!


Monday, January 2, 2012

30 Day Challenge - 2012


Woo hoo and on to The New Year.

Some health stuff is still "argh"ing me. Others - well, just had to make the decision to Move On and Deal with the Day.

This month's Challenge: Focus on Getting the Bears out into The Universe. In professional manners, goofing off attempts, asking people to considering adding them to shops and galleries, more drawing in public, etc, etc, etc and more etc.

No Excuses.
Do the Deed. Do the Deeds.

Now is the time to put stuff on Deviant Art, MN Artists - the sites I join but don't DO anything in. DO STUFF. Almost every day.

The bears can't make folks smile and sigh if they stay hidden on shelves, in sketchbooks, and inside a computer's hard-drive. They can't type themselves out into the universe. They are depending on you to hit those keys.

Keep working on Pudge's brother. Yes, I know. He doesn't like the working title of "Pretty Bertie," but, darn - he IS a good-looking bruin. And it's fun to mess with pastels again.

After blocking this new guy in I chose 15 pastels as the only ones to finish the work. Creating boundaries often helps The Deciding. The deciding has already been done. Now one must simply work with the tools set out. On to Values - Darks & Lights. Oh, I love those darks and lights. And then the fun working with subtle "not-real-bear" tones. These bears are sculptured emotions. (Am I blithering here? - doesn't matter) 3-D folks on a 2-D surface. Must remember basics: squint, mirror, make some marks, step back and consider. There is no rush.

Have been reading CLASSICAL DRAWING ATELIER, by Juliette Aristides, published by Watson-Guptill Publications. We forget the great value of learning the skills of academic drawing. Might be the basis of another 30 day Challenge - although this book outlines the beginning of a serious four-year study course!

So - on to the picking up some broken shards of 2011 Hopes & Plans, and on to the creations of 2012.
May you find time today to draw, paint, write a letter, bake bread, walk the best dog in the whole wide world, or smile at a person that might need a smile.