Greetings earthlings! :)Well, I've accomplished very little
in that usually wonderfully creative time
between Christmas and New Year.
Here we are, almost mid January...
all getting back to our 'normal' routines,
whatever that may be for you.
I woke up this morning,
made a pot of coffee,
and decided I would sit myself down,
and do Susannah Conway's
UNRAVELLING THE YEAR AHEAD.
(you can download it here, if you're interested)
I suck at goal setting and planning
and I don't do resolutions -
but her way of looking at things...
the important questions she asks,
always seem to lead me on the right path.I've always been hard on myself.
I am not a high achiever,
& I don't have high expectations,
but I get a LOT of shit done
in the course of a year,
and I don't take enough time
to celebrate that.
I've never been good at celebrating
There's a disconnect between
what I DO
and what I THINK I do.
I'm surprised sometimes,
when I look back at what I've done
or where I've been.
If I want to do something, I do it,
then i just move on to something else.
Until someone says: "that's amazing!",
I don't think much of it.
Last week, someone asked me about
the illustrations I had done in the past
for children's books.
I pulled out a few things I had done
over the past few years
and sent pics of them to her in an email.
As I was going through them, I started thinking:
"wow. I've done a lot of illustrations!"
"wow. How lucky that I was able to illustrate
so many fun children's books!"
"Some of these are pretty damn good!"
I do things in small increments...
one little piece of art, here and there.
But I rarely ever pull them all together
and look at the whole.
I guess that's what I'm trying to do -
in art and in life.
Pulling everything together
and celebrating what actually gets done.
Celebrating the lessons learned.
Celebrating the small steps towards change.
Towards a life that feels more like "me".
I'm not gonna get all corny
and open a bottle of champagne or anything,
but just SEEING everything
I've managed to get done,
even when I feel like I'm not doing much.
Last year, I did the "29 faces in February" art challenge.
One small portrait of myself, every day for 29 days.
I did them on small index cards,
so they wouldn't take much time.
When I finished the month,
the index cards went to the corner of my table,
and I never looked at them again.
Until the other night, when I was sorting out some things
and I saw them.
I put them all on the floor, all 29 of them,
next to one another,
and I was impressed with the mosaic of color and style.
"Wow." I thought.
"I did this".
Sometimes, I actually don't remember
making the art.
But i do know one thing:
i was happy while I was doing it. :)
Because many of us as artists
are rarely compensated with money (at least consistently),
it's up to us to gather our work now and then
and admire how much we actually get done.
Money is never an indicator
of how much you accomplish (or not).
Never use money
as a measuring stick for anything.
Especially not for your happiness.
Use joy instead.
Peace of mind.
The way you feel
when you sit yourself down
with a blank canvas & paints,
or with a new journal and a sparkly pens,
or with a good book...
Ralph Waldo Emerson only came out
of his sanctuary in the woods when his money ran out,
and he came out only long enough to make enough money,
to allow himself to go back to the woods again
and do what brought him joy - write.
If making money had been his priority,
I doubt that we would have
so many of his great writing.
The real joy for me
has nothing to do with the money I make as an artist,
but it has everything to do
with making the art itself.
So I'm setting 'intentions' for the new year.
Not plans, not resolutions, not goals.
Which basically means:
something you can't fuck up. :)...and a little bit of art.
Very little these days.
I'm taking what comes my way
and making the best of it.
Acrylic on paper...
On fire, with little energy.
That's what eating a ton of chocolate
and drinking too much wine will do.
And menopause. :)
What I'm currently reading.
The first is a graphic novel,
beautifully done about Dahmer as a student in school.
We tend to forget that there are killers amongst us.
The second is written by the author of WILD,
a collection of beautiful stories & words of advice,
by someone (Cheryl) who was basically an orphan at 21.
And John Elder Robison (Look me in the eye)
is the brother of Augusten Burroughs,
who wrote 'RUNNING WITH SCISSORS',
the sad memoir of how they were raised
by parents who were both mentally ill.
John's book is about his life with asperger's.
Their father was a college professor in the eastern USA,
and their mother was a poet/writer.
It always amazes to me that people can be raised in such dysfunction
and grow to become productive, sane human beings.
I guess some make it (like John Elder)
and some don't (like Jeffrey Dahmer).
I am loving each of these books.
Thanks for being here.