Sunday, January 4, 2015

Onward and upward

Is this not a fun bottle of wine?
Got it as a Christmas gift.
Haven't opened it yet,
so it may taste like crap, who knows.
But I don't care,
cause it's got ART ON IT!
 I'll be saving this one for sure.
A bit of doodling last night
while I watched TV.
Watched something called Sole Survivors.
About sole survivors of plane crashes.
There was one man in particular
who was having such a hard time
with survivor's guilt.
He felt like he was just wasting his life
doing nothing
while all these other people on the plane with him
had died.
Their lives had ended
and his had continued
and he couldn't get over the feeling
that he was wasting his time.
Don't we all feel like that sometimes?
I do and i'm not a sole survivor of anything!
But we don't need to be incredibly accomplished
to have value in our lives, do we?
There is profound value
in being a good mother.
A good father.
In being a good friend.
In not being prejudice.
In spreading love as much as we can,
or at least, not spreading hate.
In being grateful for the simple things.
I believe there is HUGE value
in a simple life.
We don't all need to be presidents and astronauts.
Some of us need to be garbage collectors,
or secretaries,
or waiters or stay at home moms.
And others (like me)
need to be part time office workers.
Tomorrow, I begin a new job
and for the next 5 months or so,
i'll be sitting in a gray cubicle again,
shuffling papers & answering phones.
About 2 years ago,
right after mom died
I decided I needed to get myself a job
outside of the house.
I had been self employed as a graphic designer
for about 10 years (at home)
and I needed a change.
I needed something totally different.
Out of my element.
I felt like I was stuck in the mud.
I no longer loved what I was doing at home
and as much as I still needed a paycheque,
I also needed a drastic shift
in what I was doing for work.
Well - I got what I wanted.
Not sure it's a good change, but I got it.
I got an office job where I was well paid,
8 hrs a day, 5 days a week,
about 5 months a year.
So now I get called back every few months
for this gray cubicle job,
where I mostly feel like a fish out of water.
But I get a steady paycheque.
I sell them 8 hours of my day
and they give me money in return.
Some would say it's a great thing,
because it's a JOB.
And maybe I should feel the same,
but I don't.
Just thinking about going in to work tomorrow
makes me want to poke my eye out with a pen.
I am already thinking about plan B
but for now,
I will make the best of Plan A.
is because so many of us think that
everyone else "has it together".
Everyone else seems to have figured out
how to make that 6 figure salary,
or how to find their dream job
and wake up every morning to the sound
of twinkling harp and sparkling waterfalls.
That's not reality for most of us.
Many of us are doing work
that is not fulfilling.
That is not connected to who we really are.
Some of us are doing work that we hate.
But we do it anyway
because we need to pay the bills.
Because that's what grownups do.
Because society says
THIS is a normal job - not that.
And sometimes,
some of us do all the right things
to get to where we want to be in life,
but for some reason,
we are not there yet.
So we carry on 
despite the boredom
despite the disappointments
and we continue on our path
even if it makes no sense to anyone else
but ourselves.
The important thing is to carry on.
To persevere.
To practice patience.

The handwriting (photo) above is something
I wrote about 3 or 4 years ago,
when I was trying to figure out
why I was having such a hard time
carving myself a life as an artist.
A life that would sustain me financially.
When I look at the list now,
I feel sad and proud at the same time.

Here it is, in case you couldn't read my writing:

What did I do right?
1.             Practiced my ART every day. (writing and painting)

2.             Sent my writings to magazines – got rejected.

3.             Sent to more magazines + got rejected again.

4.             Surrounded myself with inspirational people.

5.             Read ALL the right books about courage + perseverance.

6.             Avoided the naysayers + negative people in my life.

7.             Spent a lot of time in nature.

8.             Shared my art with the world (blogging)

9.             Put my ART for sale on Etsy.

10.         Put my ART in galleries.

11.         illustrated children’s books – a success – until the publishing house decided to call it quits.

12.         Kept painting – even when I sold nothing.

13.         Kept a journal – several journals!

14.         Took on-line classes to further my skills.

15.         Took on-line classes to connect with others.

16.         Gave paintings away as gifts.

17.         Learned from others who are doing what I want to do. (making a living
with ART).

18.         Teach part-time classes (in Art) at the college.

19.         Offer ART classes to women in my community.

20.         Read books about inspiring women.
What I did WRONG?     
1.             Not believe in myself.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Art, quiet walks and Barrel of Monkeys

The world today doesn't make sense,
so why should I paint pictures that do?
- Pablo Picasso

So Christmas has come and gone for another year.
As much as I love the season,
I'm relieved.
I miss the old Christmases.
The ones we had
when I was younger.
Much younger. :-)
When everyone was still here
and the whole house smelled like cinnamon and cookies
and there were sparkly Christmas balls hanging everywhere.
When mom would let us decorate the windows
with thick, fake snow in a can
and we'd make paper snowflake decorations for the tree.
And we had been good all year,
so we just knew we'd be getting
that Spirograph set on Christmas morning,
along with Barrel of Monkeys
and Shaker Maker
and Trouble
and Monopoly!
And then dad would remind us
how poor they were when he was younger
and how all they ever got for Christmas
was an orange and, if they were lucky,
a thick pair of socks
hand made by my grandmother. 
And we secretly thanked GOD
we weren't born in that era and that we were getting
more than just oranges and socks. 
So yeah, things are different now...
We spent some time with family and friends,
spent some time enjoying wine
and chocolates
and music...
and there's always time for books.
I got a few good ones for Christmas...
Then just the other night, I went for a nice walk
in the town nearby...
After the hustle & bustle of Christmas,
it was such a nice, quiet walk.
Hardly any cars on the road.
As much as I love people,
I can only take them in small doses.
Especially the annoying ones. (wink wink)
The holiday "hubbub" is too much for me after a while
and I always look forward to my alone time again.
I was trying to get the reflection of the lights on the water
in this photo, but you can hardly see it in the distance.
Still - it's pretty.
We usually have lots of snow by this time of year,
but this year, it's been mild
and we got more rain than snow!
Not that I mind.
I've lived in the Maritimes long enough
to know that the snow WILL come - eventually.
Sometimes later than sooner,
but it'll get here.

Here's a photo of last year!
Dec 30, 2013!
Some would say it's prettier than grass,
but I'm not so sure...
I kinda like driving
on nice clean roads for a change.

Thank you all for taking the time
to be here with me.

Monday, December 22, 2014

ho ho ho!

Without art, the crudeness of reality
would make the world unbearable.
- George Bernard Shaw
This time of year is so fragile for so many.
When we hear about things like the massacre in Peshawar,
or the woman in Australia who killed her children,
it's hard not to lose faith in humanity.
And for anyone who is sensitive to the pain of others
(yes, I mean me)
it's that much more difficult not to curl up in a ball
and hide in a cave for eternity.
Hiding in a cave may shelter us 
from the bad stuff happening all over the world
but it would also shelter us
from the good stuff.
And I don't know about you,
but I don't wanna miss
any of the good stuff out there,
nor the good people spreading love rather than hate.
So instead of looking for my own cave,
I paint!
Sometimes the art makes no sense to me
(like the 2 watercolours above)
but for some reason,
after I've done them,
I feel better about everything.
I feel more grounded.
Like I've spilled something on paper
that was weighing down my heart.
It solves nothing except to comfort my own soul,
but sometimes,
maybe that's enough.
And then of course,
there's always the beauty of nature.
 and more art...

(acrylic on paper)
 ...and a walk on a dirt road
(before the snowfall you saw in the first photo!)
and books...
oh my, books!
the one I'm currently reading (Small Victories)
and below, a list of some of my favorite books
and graphic novels,
in case you have time on your hands
during the holidays.

And a couple of great Christmas songs
to get you in the mood!
Merry Christmas everyone! xx