Thursday, August 23, 2012

Week 24...Notes on Giving

Have you ever heard of the book by Shel Silvertein, The Giving Tree?  Most likely if you answered "yes" to that question you were also flooded with childhood memories.  How can you not?  I cry every freaking time I read the book.  I think since the day I received the bottom copy for my 8th Birthday from my BFF's.  The top copy came from my first Youth Group in 1990 I ministered to. 
I'm not really sure what brought this book to my forethought this week.  Maybe it was the willow in last week's painting.  I actually had to find the book box and unpack they will sit out as a gentle reminder.  To give.  Whole heartedly.  But, I think I already do.  To everyone but one.
Yeah.  It seems I give to my in kids in all sorts ways lately.  As well as my husband.  My job.  Friends.  Parents. Other family.  Pets.  House.  Business. Church. Art....and the list goes on.  But you know the one thing I seem to leave off the list?  Guess.  One guess.


I wrote on FB yesterday that if there was such a place as beyond tired that I'd found it.  And then I proceeded to have crazy dreams about my two dearest friends and how I had disappointed them....and the dream just would not end.  So I woke at 3am.  And was so upset I didn't go back to sleep.  That makes for a very fun teaching day I tell ya!  You see I think the book, the art, the dream were all trying to tell me to stop for a minute and do something that surrounds my soul with complete wholehearted giving.  With joy.  To myself.   Not like go out and buy myself something give.  Like find something to give myself that doesn't really cost anything.  I'm working on it.  Porch time sure is nice....and tonight there may be a little time carved out there.  For thinking.  But I think there needs to be more. 

Now I love to give, don't get me wrong.  One of my greatest joys is sharing my teaching with others.  Don't go crazy thinking "oh great she's closing up shop."  In fact the opposite is happening and I am going bigger with that end of my life.  Nah.  I think it's more about the little stuff I need to be more giving to myself about.  Like laundry waiting,  dinner can be a bowl of cereal, Lily can go out on her own, kids CAN put away clothes, hubby can do homework duty, if I'm not feeling so good running is not a good idea, and not painting everyday is okay.  It's week 3 of school.  This time last year we were moving.  Maybe a niggle of my anxiety is that.  That we made so many changes in such a short time my body is just figuring it all out.  I've not slowed down long enough to stop and look around at the riches I have.  Like the boy in the book....I am constantly seeking to be happy on the outside.  Perhaps I need to look a little closer around me.  And a little more inward.   And maybe I just need to be still and listen to what the heart  is saying.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Week 23

 As a child every summer my little sister Molly and I spent a week with Grandmother Adkins in Opelika, Alabama.  I have amazing memories of paper dolls, sweet tea, spinklers and chocolate pie with that Grandmother.  It seems the only time we ever made paper doll world was at her house.  We'd make her entire tiny apartment our playhouse. Which was actually just chopped up Sears catalogues Grandmother saved just for us.  If times were good she'd take us to the "Wal-marts" and let us pick out one paper doll book each.  Oh man we loved those because they had stands and were made of thick paper.  Good times for sure.....
The other fond memory I have of her were the webbed chairs.  Man she loved those things.  She'd sit on her tiny stoop, rock and smoke.  They were teal and white webbed, and were rockers!  Molly and I always rocked ourselves silly.  I can still hear her saying to us, "Girls you gonna rock so hard you're gonna fall back and break your head, and my chair!"  I can remember the ordeal of having them re-weaved.  I'm not sure what happened to the chairs.  I do wish I'd mentioned to Dad how much they meant to me and my childhood.  I imagine once we moved her into the assisted they were thrown in the trash.  I mean, who uses them anymore?  They did like to pinch the back of legs! 
I also have a fondness for willow trees.  There is something about them....I have a vague memory of one somewhere in my childhood.  It has to have made a mark else why would I still have a vision of it? Swaying, rustling, sheltering.  Beauty.  I think alot about growing old these days.  Not the morbid sense of dying old....but the growing older and wise older.  I'm definitely taking more time to reflect and listen to my heart these days.  Trying hard to eliminate what makes me sad, stressed and overwhelmed.  Finding a groove that fits the family and me.  Thus why the words on this little painting just flow so lovely right off the page and transcend me to a place and time when Billy and I can indeed sit quietly growing old under the willow tree.  How about you?  Where shall you sit and grow old?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Week 22...

While searching my pile of treasured trinkets I came upon this flashcard:

And the wheels started spinning!!  I have to tell you first that I have a slight obsession with vintage flash cards, letter cards, bingo chips, etc.  And yet, I never use them.  For fear of...well....using them!!  How funny is that?  But super glad I'd not used this one yet.  Although after taking Sarah's class this card in a sketchbook would be a great idea.  It'd be protected and inspirational!

With school starting tomorrow I decided this awesome Sunday afternoon would be a great time to get into the studio uninterrupted.  I honestly know the first two weeks of school I will be A.pooped  B.not in the best of moods  C.pooped   D.  more pooped.  I just know it.  So I have planned ahead.  Meals are planned, laundry is all done, house is clean and my running times are slotted.  I've a feeling running time is going to be a saving grace!!  I am not saying at all that I wish I didn't have this dreamy job.  I'm just being real.  The first week of school sucks.  Plain and simple. rocked out in the studio!!!  Like really....I am loving this new found love of paint mixing and a white base canvas.  Who'd a thought??
 Above is the base painting.  A tad messy and loose.  I love just putting the paint on the canvas without much thought as to the end result.  I'd sketched out a simple plan with the 5 balls on the church bulletin today (it was a rather long service with communion....communion time I was sketching away!!)  So the composition was already laid out in my head.  This, although looks very haphazard , is quite planned out!
The cool thing about layering is that you can scratch into the wet paint giving the painting a very textural appeal.  With the original colors peeking through.  It's like the colors are saying, "look at me...look at me!!"  Like my wood cutting days.  Mmmmm....

So here's the end result.  I just love the end result.  All my recent softer paintings are just so, so happy.  I like growing.  So very much. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Week 21

This is the hot mess Week 21 started off as:
All righty....I'll let you in on a little secret.  I've been taking an online class.  And this is the last week.  It's with Sarah Ahearn, the author of a wonderful book Paint and Pages.  I've admired her work for years.  And when the opportunity came about to take a class from her...well I was in!!  And besides, I love to take online classes to enhance my painting vocabulary.  Because here's another tid bit about me.  I took one college art painting course...oil painting.  But let me paint the picture for you about how we learned in the class:  our crazy teacher threw a bunch of CRAP on a table, put a spotlight on it, left the room and came back at the end of the quarter.  Where upon she ripped you to shreds for not painting anything powerful or moving or statement worthy.  I have an entire soapbox post about this subject....the lack of teaching I received from Auburn's art program, but that's for another day.    I was one of the crazy people who got to college without a clue as to what to do and decided art sounded good.  Yep...that means I'd not taken ONE art class ever before the year 1991.  And they let me in....hmmm...
Her class had a major emphasis on sketchbook creating and using this thought thread to move into the canvas.  The sketchbook wasn't really my thing I'll be the first to admit, but her painting style I just love.   As with any new class, I try hard to channel not copy the teacher's work.  And slowly it'll weave its' way into my own artistic thread.  I just love the layering, collage and softness of her paintings.  Hopefully the skills she's given us will find a happy medium into my usually very bright and BOLD work!  Oh and the other really good lesson I learned, good paint is good paint.  And only using primary colors does indeed yield lovely colors.  So my next PSW workshop will focus a lot on mixing.  Because that is definately a new love!!  Because folks, the painting below I used about 5 tubes of paint only to make all those colors.
The subject matter was inspired from our family beach trip last week to Saint Simons Island.  While on my long run training Saturday I was weaving in and out all over the little neighborhood beside our condo.  And at the end of one street was the house.  The house I want to grown old in.  The house I want grand babies to come visit me in.  The house I wanna hold hands with Billy on the back porch and watch the sunset with.  Yep.  Dreams do come true though.  And the dizzying was for sale.  Sigh.  Double sigh.  So I am putting it out there...dreams are easily put into reality when made known.  I've found that out a lot lately.  Good lesson to learn at age 40, right?