Sunday, November 18, 2007

finding rest

We're BAAACCCKKKK! After a week. After a week of having nothing around me that defines me-no art projects, no computer (well, at least not mine), away from my house, all that. It was a good time, but I have to admit, being without all your "stuff" is hard. Also being in a position to not exercise my "position" is hard as well. Accepting someone else's hospitality graciously is sometimes hard, too. The Spirit is working on my pride, which is huge. HUGE, large, octopussian, tentacular, controlling, inescapable it seems, even on vaca. Sigh. A friend is going through tremendous changes in his life and I've been a part of that process. The most critical week in his adjustment just came and went, and I was gone. There was nothing I could have done anyway. But the idea. I wasn't there to oversee everything. I'm changing my art process and had to leave everything, right on the verge of getting into another type of media. It drove me crazy to go.

I haven't changed my working methods in a long time because I'm afraid I'll look unprofessional, like I don't know what I'm doing. Pride keeps you from risking because you are constantly worried about maintaining a semblance of order and outward appearance. And I just read that art is all about failure. Apparent failure. Happy accidents. No such thing in my book. Accidents are BAD. No accidents. How in the blue blazes did I become an artist and not be able to risk change??? That is like an oxymoron. Yes, the "moron" part fits. The way I was taught no longer works for me. I'm not content, something is definitely wrong. But it usually takes an emotional nuclear blast to get me to change. No wonder I'm on the verge of biopolarism. I'm just too darn stubborn to admit my insanity, and too concerned about what other people think of me.

Sigh. Then there's caring about other people. How did I ever get married? I must have been temporarily insane (again). Love does not make sense. It isn't neat or clean, pretty like the movies or even good for you. Well, in the sense that it can make you INSANE (I can't get away from this). I'm not good with being off center stage, in the background, content to help other people and not toot my own horn-me, say nothing?? HA! That's a laugh. This Christianity business is also insane. It's all bassackwards. Lose my life to save it? Gee, can't I at least keep a little? Nope. The childlike inherit the Kingdom. Oops, that leaves me out. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Doggone there no justice (my brand anyway)?

No rest for the wicked, but for those who choose to lose their pride, a rest from their labor (s)...Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy-laden (man, this pride of mine weighs a ton!) and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble in heart (just can't get away from it) and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (sounds good to me).


Vacation starts today for me, and I am not quite sure what to do with myself. I got an e-mail from a friend who lives out West, and oddly enough she'll be where I am going at the same time, so we are going to try and connect. But I have hours of waiting time before that, waiting to drive to one destination, waiting to fly to another...I'm not used to this waiting. And we had our first big snow of the season, so a class I would have taught this afternoon I cancelled. So here I sit. I feel fit to bust wide open from so many things going on inside, but right now, I guess I need to have the calm before the storm.


What's been happening lately is more and more opportunities to write and serve prisoners and their families. I signed on for a local Angel Tree project, where inmates with children request gifts be delivered. A volunteer can buy toys and take them to the home of these kids. I want the contact. I feel like it's one thing to hear the women inside talk about their children, and another to connect with these families who are feeling the impact of their parent's imprisonment. I've also had more opportunities to write letters to inmates. I love to write letters and always have, so I think it's neat that something so simple and natural for me to do can be used to change another person's life. Or just make it more bearable.

These things fill up my spirit and make me stronger. The cool thing about sharing love is that you just get more back to share. It can be hard, and can hurt-I'm struggling with the fact that my son isn't writing lately much, but then I realize I have three or four others for every one letter I may not get from him. It's ok. The scriptures say that God sets the lonely in families. I'd sure like to be one of those families. It doesn't have to be blood. I think heaven will be filled with those in the parable of the rich man throwing a party-his invited guests begged off, so he told his servants, go out into the highways and tell anyone who wants to, please come. There will be the ignorant, the poor, ex-cons, the not so great in life. It just takes saying ok.

Friday, November 16, 2007

jars of clay

I spent time in my studio yesterday cleaning, reorganizing, getting it into some kind of recognizeable order for good work flow. It's only a bedroom space, but I realize how fortunate I am to have a private space just for that purpose at all. I remember starting out years ago, how I started in the corner of our bedroom, then moved downstairs to the kitchen, then our front room, and now a vacated room upstairs again. I couldn't do what I do without that space, or not as easily or as well. I also ordered 7 or 8 books on color theory, contemporary artists I admire (Wolf Kahn, Wayne Thiebaud, David Hockney). A friend loaned me a precious retrospective on surrealist Susan Seddon Boulet. There are times when change is in order. My prior training, classical realism, is something I will never abandon, but something needs to be changed. I feel like I'm using a shovel to cut a diamond. I suppose even contemplating a change like this is a luxury, but it had to become a necessity. Another friend tells me to do whatever it takes. I agree.

So I've been thinking and studying hard, writing down notes and contemplating what it is I want to say to the world creatively. It's almost like preparing for marriage-you get so into the china patterns, trousseau, who's coming and what the music will be that you forget it's going to be a real, sometimes magical, sometimes clumsy and bad, foray into a REAL change in your life, a new influence that may or may not work well, and it will take practice no matter how great those untouched paint tubes look now. What I have to do now is simply PAINT!! Many things brought me to this place. It won't happen overnight. But it also wouldn't happen at all had I not first made the decision, and secondly, got the necessary things to physically do it.

Seems simple enough...but how many dreams lay on the shelf gathering dust because we just don't believe we're worth it, the effort is worth it, or even possible, or it's easier to look at that pretty dream and not make of it the stuff of earth. Crystal dreams are realized in jars of clay.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Here I am almost a month later and nothing much said. I guess I've been too busy observing other people's lives and blogs. Chuckle. Mine seems alot less exciting. I'm usually on the periphery of the action. I learned a new word today, "pentimento"...I was thinking 'pimento' but of course that's the red thing in an olive. The new word means a ghosted image. I feel like that in other people's lives. I'm not seen necessarily, but somehow dyed into the fabric of their experience. I suppose I don't mind. I rather like it. To think that I may somehow be a part of the whole image of a person. That's neat. As an artist, I approve. The work should speak for the creator, not the creator themselves.