Sunday, April 17, 2016

finding time and Milton Glaser

hello everyone!
Here we are, 8pm on a Sunday night -
and I am in weekend mode
as long as I can stretch it. :)
The weather was beautiful today...
sunny and about 18C (65F)
which is nicer than it's been in a while.
No more snow at least
and the days are getting longer & warmer.
I sat outside today
with a coffee and a good book
and stayed there till late afternoon.
I washed some clothes
and hung them outside -
something my grandmother loved to do,
and my mother loved to do,
and now I love to do.
Then I made spaghetti sauce
so i didn't spend the entire day
on my ass
but i could have, easily. :)
I've felt this strange distance
from drawing these days.
When I do draw, it's done quickly
and with less patience it seems.
I've been writing a bit more than drawing
but even that - I am finding little time for these days.
Whenever I start working again,
it always takes me a little while
to adjust & find my groove.
To feel like myself again.
I always feel lost in those
first few days/weeks.
I usually paint a lot less
and write a lot more.
Then I start squeezing in a sketch
here and there
and by the time week 4 or 5 rolls in,
i'm doing what makes me happy
at least some of the time
during the course of a day.
It is difficult for me
to be in a social setting all day,
where there is rarely a quiet hour
during the day.
Sometimes, I get home
and i feel exhausted.
Like I've physically worked hard all day.
Being around people who talk a lot
(and usually say little)
drains my energy.
So that's when things like
yoga
or books
or a hot bath
or mint tea
or a nice walk
or a good Netflix movie
come in handy.
All of these things
save my sanity
and honestly -
compared to last year at this time,
i am in good shape.
We're not always able
to find what fuels us
and some of us know what we need
but it's just not attainable
for whatever reason
when we most need it.
My heart goes out to those people.
Those who run on adrenaline.
Or on fumes.
Neither is good
and if you are one of those people,
know that there are better days ahead.
Mom came from a family
of 13 children.
There had to be many moments
in my grandmother's life
where she was in desperate need
of a hot bath
or a quiet cup of tea
or an afternoon nap -
and she instead
had to feed the children
or bake bread
or mend the torn 
and tattered clothing.
I am in awe of such women.
Me, mom, and my sick little brother Ricky.
I was about 5 or 6. 

On another note,
I picked up this cute little book
the other day at the 2nd hand book store.
I am a sucker for books with visuals. :)
 This little doodle/logo page
brought me back to my college days 
when i studied graphic design.
I am more grateful now than ever
that I chose this for my career.
We don't often think of it,
but we are surrounded with art & design.
Packaging.
Posters.
Billboards.
Book covers.
The newspaper.
Your furniture.
Your fridge.
Your car.
Your clothes.
A good designer knows
that it's not only about how it looks,
but it's about what it communicates
and how it makes you feel.
Here's little video (6 min)
on one of my favorite designers,
Milton Glaser -
about art
and design
and love of life.
Happy week everyone!
Thanks for being here.
xx

Friday, April 8, 2016

there's a time for everything

hello everyone!
I feel like I've been away from here
for at least 3 months.
(It hasn't been that long, right?) 
Only a bit of art to share 
but I want to share a few other things with you.
During the day, I am now sitting in a gray cubicle
working from 7:30am to 3:30pm
so I have little time left for art.
I've yet to take St├ęphanie's great advice
of doing quick little sketches
during the course of a day - 
but I plan on bringing my sketchbook next week.
It took me an entire month
to get myself settled into what will be
my new place for the next few months.
Next Monday, I begin my 5th week there.
So far, I haven't gone insane.

There are so many little things we can do
in the course of a day
to make life smoother.
I go out for some fresh air
as often as I can.
I avoid the lunchroom and instead,
bring a good book
and escape to a different world during lunchtime.
I'm still doing yoga
and it's still taking me to places within myself
I had forgotten were there.
The place within me that ponders the stars at night.
The place within me that knows how to heal.
The place within me that is
part of everything (and everyone) else.
I do yoga in the evenings now instead of mornings.
If I feel energized, I do 30 or 40 minutes.
And if I feel more tired or not in the mood,
I do only 15 minutes.
But I do it.
I feel better.
I feel more grounded.
I feel more peaceful.
So I do it.
There are so many things
I want to do this month of April,
like the blogging from A to Z April challenge
(thank you Arti ! I hope to join you this weekend!),
and April Love, with Susannah Conway,
and make more art
and write more poetry again
and help a friend with 
her own book of poetry.
I want to visit your blogs
and take time to soak it all in
and leave you kind comments.
And here we are a week into April,
and I've done none of these things yet.
I'm trying to remind myself
that I'll get to everything, in time.
And that even if I don't,
it's ok.
The strange thing is -
I had all the time in the world
only a few weeks ago,
but all of a sudden,
all these things feel urgent
now that I have little time to myself.
I want to leave you with these little thoughts
from SARK.
I read some of SARK's books years ago,
at a time that was perfect for me.
There are certain things in life that happen
at a perfect moment in time
although when we stumble upon these things,
it doesn't always feel like the right time.
Sometimes - often times -
only when we look back
do we realize
how magical the timing really was.

Love to all of you.
xx

Saturday, March 26, 2016

maybe i'll become a monk

Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.
- Leo Tolstoy
I went to the book store the other night.
I was picking up my son at a friend’s house at 9pm,
so I decided to drop into a local book store
for a bit before I picked him up.
My mind’s been going a little crazy lately –
all over the place.
So when I walked into Chapters that night,
here's what was going on in my head:

So I'm back at work. Again.
If i know I don't fit in there,
why do I keep going back?
For the same reason everyone else works.
For money.

I can’t believe Donald Trump made it this far.
I'm afraid terrorism has become the new normal.
So much anger in the world.

I miss mom…
I think back at when she was in the hospital,
and how much she suffered.
Life isn't always easy.
I wish _____ didn't drink so much.
I wish _____ was more at peace with himself.

I’m so happy _____ met _____.
They seem so good together.
I think it takes a lot of courage to divorce.
Some couple just shouldn’t stay together.
They start out ok, but something happens along
the way & they lose one another.
Too many people stay together
for the wrong reasons.
I loved that movie we watched
about Jean-Michel Basquiat.
I love that he did his own thing.
I hate that drugs took over his life
and we lost him much too soon.

I wonder if I'll ever "make it" as an artist?
And what does that really mean anyway?
To be in a gallery?
To be known?
To die young & tormented?
I'm so happy I have writing and art.

Being an artist is more about
how you feel on the inside
than about what happens on the outside.
It's about knowing your heart.
What more needs to be said & done?
So I walk into Chapters
with these thoughts flying through my head
like birds around a branch
and I stop at the first table I see.
Books on meditation and well-being and yoga.
Not books I would normally look at.
I pick up a small book by Thich Nhat Hanh,
the Vietnamese Buddhist monk,
on brush painting.
I flip to a page,
and I see these beautifully
hand brushed words:
a cloud never dies.

And all at once,
my mind was quiet.
I began to picture a blue sky,
with a slow moving cloud…
the way it moves and changes
and rearranges itself in the sky
– and then it slowly dissipates.
At one point, 
it is there
and moments later
it is gone.
I stood there with the book in my hands,
staring at the beautiful,
simple brush strokes…
imagining his hand writing
these few simple words
that said so much me
in that one moment.

My thoughts dissipated
just like the cloud.

And I understood.

All of the buzzing in my head
only moments before
no longer mattered.
It never had.
Life is suffering
and confusing
and frustrating at times.

But it is also beauty and truth and love.

These opposites always co-exist
and always will.

I can choose to go against the tide – or with it.
I can choose to see only darkness
or to see both light & dark.

I can choose to be the suffering,
or I can choose to be the dissipating cloud.

I much prefer being the cloud.
Thank you all for being here.
Wishing you all a fabulous weekend!