Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mind Power!

work in progress

I am teaching my middle child MIND POWER right now....I know, you didn't know I am such a guru. Let's explain.....Mr. C (as I call him) is a delightful kid. But recently this ugly self defeating bug has popped up through his meadow of tulips and wonder. He has started to be really hard on himself. My mind is rolling like a hamster ball, oh yes, I know this, I remember this's been awhile.

So, what to do? When I was 22 I lived and worked in Boulder, Colorado, far from my family, feeling overwhelmed, I drove my co-workers crazy with my heavy sighs and general malaise. My manager pulled me outside on a beautiful day and we sat under a tree (in the parking lot).
"You know," she said to me, "when you wake up in the morning you can decide how you are going to feel. You can change your attitude."
I was amazed. Really? It had not occurred to my 22 year old self that you could manipulate your own mind in such a positive way. (really). Now, I'm not saying that every day I pop out of my bed with trailing butterflies and a path of roses to lead my way. But I do find myself, using her words.....change your mind. If you don't like how you feel today, you can change it. Or at least try, dammit.
So, I've taught Colin to wipe those thoughts (we literally wipe our foreheads) out of our heads and replace them with good thoughts. I'm not good enough-wiiiiiiiiiiiiipe, I'm good, I'm great. Now, I have been careful to tell him that for example, sad, frustrated feelings are okay to have but they don't have to take over your day. I certainly don't want to bring up boys who can't cry or have surpress all of their feelings (I want great daughter-in-laws, I'm thinking ahead).
So he's recently been telling me that he's been sad because he misses me on the days I go to work. I asked him if he feels that way all day. "Yes", he said. "But do you need to?" I ask. "I mean, couldn't you just miss me and think, it's okay that I miss my mom, but I am still going to have fun today?"
I can see him thinking this over.
A's not rocket's MIND POWER.....give it a try:)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bad Work

 Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping,…Stop it and just DO!…
Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you – draw & paint your fear and anxiety…
You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO!…
Try to do some BAD work – the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell – you are not responsible for the world – you are only responsible for your work – so DO IT. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any preconceived form, idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be…
I know that you (or anyone) can only work so much and the rest of the time you are left with your thoughts. But when you work or before your work you have to empty you [sic] mind and concentrate on what you are doing. After you do something it is done and that’s that. After a while you can see some are better than others but also you can see what direction you are going. I’m sure you know all that. You also must know that you don’t have to justify your work – not even to yourself.
excerpted from a letter from Sol Lewitt to Eva Hesse

I found this over at Keri Smith's blog, an artist I much admire. And it's exactly what I need to hear today. I have the simplest task that is becoming a behemoth undertaking (because I made it that way not because it in any resemblance IS). I have to give a workshop for women my age (or so) for a ladies night at our local arts center. We are calling it Postcard to Myself. I've been making these for years but I just realized that I have NO IDEA how to teach someone else how to do what I do. (That's why I teach kids-they are not, in fact, making postcards to themselves). And I usually have some element of drawing in my work. It's in fact, what is most dear to me about my art, the pen gliding on the paper, shaky lines, crisp lines, complete infusion of me into the drawing as if I were well, using my own blood (eeeewwwh). Okay, a bit dramatic. But how do I explain? I can talk composition, layers, textures but how to simplify....and how to make one in an hour after a couple of glasses of wine. (hmmmm...that could really help me). I made so much stuff today but only a few things that made me get that, yep that's it feeling. Maybe I should take good ole" Sol's suggestions and just really try to make some bad work and then I'll probably end up my best.

I found this written on a scrap piece of paper in one of my boxes of collage material:

After my telling my oldest that scribbling was for little, little kids (my apologies to Sol)....

"Yeah, but if you draw with scribbles you COULD make the universe with asteroids or something."


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Muskrat, Weasel, Woodchuck

Been working on this for a long time....sometimes just posting art helps me see the imbalances etc. With this one, I think the middle is too linear. But it's fun regardless.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

On a Sunday

I'm in a holding pattern right now......almost done with my book, almost, almost.......these little glimpses are still waiting patiently. Wait until I tell you what is in those two beauties up top. I'm really enjoying my stash of 1950's housekeeping manuals.

I'm being featured in Artful Blogging's Summer issue! And I'm feeling a little starstruck's really nice, I'm excited to see the article. Until then, I promise to be around a bit more. I'm landing this plane....and then taking off again I'm sure.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


disregard the wrinkly fabric

Sometimes in my piles of pages, fabric and drawings some line up with each other just so.....this is the start of a piece that simply just started itself.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Catching Up

Catching up here....been sick, sick, sick....finally. Yes, I actually was getting a bit worried that I was not catching the common cold. Sure, it's great to have a healthy immune system but I think there is something wrong with people who don't get sick. Is that bad of me? Yes. But I digress, I have been having a wonderful year so far. You saw my excursion to Puerto Rico but what I didn't tell you was that there was also a SURPRISE party thrown for me by my husband and siblings. And let me tell you, this was no easy feat. I am not nosy, I don't go through my husband's emails or pockets, but I am very intuitive. I can sense when something's awry. My brother told my husband, "Good luck with that, Beth is a gumshoe (which required both of us to look that up-what a GREAT word). But I was surprised, completely and totally surprised. Unfortunately, there aren't any pictures of the party since the pictorial historian (that's what I call myself) was the flabbergasted center of attention and not behind her camera. There is a video of my entrance and I came through the wrong door, I've been told. What what I have seen of it, it is pretty darn funny. So as soon as I can figure out how to get that off my husband's computer of a phone, I will.

Other than that (I'm still reeling).....I've been working on a project that is done in a very specific children's book style and I'm finding that that type of work brings out the worst perfectionist in me. It's simple characters, watercolor washes and line art, an illustration style I have always enjoyed, but not always enjoyed "doing". It doesn't leave much room for error. And after painting the same page for the third time, it gets frustrating. But it will turn out good in the end, it will, it will, it will..........

So, I got a Nook Tablet for Christmas and have completely turned to the dark, not totally, I'm just a little gray, somewhere in between. Having this hi tech tool has been more rewarding than I would have thought and one of the gems that I have been reading is by Eric Maisel, a creativity coach. I know you too have been thinking, eh gads, what IS that and is that really necessary? I just finished his Coaching the Artist Within and with the Nook I am able to electronically highlight the parts I want to re-read and then with the touch of a button bring up all of the key parts I want to reflect on. I truly, emphatically, completely, totally, irrevocably, entirely recommend this book for any creative person. I am already reading his Creativity For Life and it is equally impactful (apparently the dictionary is telling me that this is not a real word-who knew?). What I love most about his books are that they are extremely practical and not full of lofty quotes like "Trust the artist within." I'm also finding that the books are great tools for procrastinating.....which is one thing he tells us to try not to do, do the work, make the mistakes.....go through the RIGHT door, I mean, really.