Announcing a little summer vacation for all you house and work bound adventurers! Now open for registration is my new Pipe Dreams online workshop taking place
You can read all the details here!
The rain we've had the past couple of days is welcome, as far as I'm concerned. A torrential downpour yesterday surely beat most of the pollen out of the trees, down to the raging creeks, and out to the ocean...? The soggy afterparty is still going strong but by tomorrow this time, it will be over and all the guests will have gone home. I've enjoyed the show, the theater of clouds that has performed with vim and vigor and I'm not one to pass up an opportunity to make popcorn.
A giant bowl of it is hanging out in my studio with me today. Loud music, ever energetic playing pups, and popcorn. Being alone all day has it's pluses.
Speaking of good things - I have a cool announcement coming Monday! It involves metal and interactive play. It's going to be good. (stay tuned!)
For today's Studio Fruit, I bring you a waxy, plastery theater of clouds...
"Theater of Clouds"
12" x 24" x 1.5"
plaster, acrylic, beeswax on wood
and a ladder to the stars for climbing after the clouds have cleared. Best hold up the hem of your nightgown while climbing.
"they're not as far as you think"
6" x 6" x 1/5"
plaster, acrylic, beeswax on wood
A stuffy-nosed hello to you all! I have a 50 lb bowling ball of a head on my shoulders, sinuses all stopped up, and sniffles galore. hello beautiful oak trees that give us luxurious shade in the hot summer months. hello the precursor hell that is a continuous fog of greenish yellow pollen that blows down from them like a cloud of death. hello spring allergies. (three million cheers for Canada that still carries my allergy pill of choice that I can no longer get in the US. three more million cheers for buying stuff online and having it delivered right to your door just when you thought you couldn't take another minute of what feels like someone's elbows shoved into either side of your nose.)
And yet, I still paint. I paint and sniffle and sneeze and paint some more. I listen to loud music and drink lots of water and wonder what famous people are doing right this very second. Not really. i just had that one thought earlier today. Like, I'm in here painting in my garage while Tom Selleck is doing what? Digging ditches?
I dug a few ditches of my own this week. Mostly in wax. Then I rubbed some paint down in them ditches and had a little conversation with the marks that made themselves evident. Working with wax is always such an adventure. It's like planning your birthday party with someone who is planning a bigger surprise birthday party for you at the same time. You know there's going to be a party, you just have no idea how cool it will really be until it happens. I make marks in the wax but then I find even more cool marks that I didn't put there. I love that.
I might be subconsciously craving a long road trip because I feel like I'm painting a lot of sky in some form or another. Or at least mostly open space where the wind is probably blowing a little bit. I'm pretty sure that the deserts of eastern Oregon and Nevada are putting on an awesomeifying sage-blooming show right about now. Bet it's purdy.
If there is this place in your mind where you are free of all the weight that you have felt burdened by and in that place you are fully alive, confident, loving, allowing, kind, compassionate, trusting, bold and all of the other ways of being you can imagine for yourself...
...and if you feel like there is much work to do to be there, that there are too many things "in your way", parts of you that need fixing, pain or stuck ideas that need releasing before you can be there...
...it just occured to me that the energy put into fixing and trying to release might be better used in practicing the opposite. I mean, if you practiced enough the being fully alive, confident, loving, allowing, kind, compassionate, trusting, bold and all of the other ways of being you can imagine for yourself, pretty soon it would be easier to be that than to be forever trying to fix yourself, forever believing that the pain or stuck ideas need to be relased first.
You don't need to wear yourself out trying to fix a false-flawed self. Take a breather in the practice of being totally okay. In this moment. Now. (does your mind start to explain itself? does it try to justify the discomfort?)
Bless your heart. Bless all our beautiful hearts.
The morning showers outside in the early sunrise are stirring up the deep thinking parts of me that want to be totally satisfied with exquisite beauty of each moment and the possibility (reality) that I am an integral part of that.
I'm getting used to - even fond of - the early morning showers outside. The air has been cold but the water is good and hot. As long as you keep your arms tucked close and turn slowly around and around under the shower spray, you can stay toasty warm. We're doing dishes on the outside wall of the outdoor shower house at the big salvaged farm sink we installed a few years ago. To get to the shower we have to walk in through the small garden gate. There is so much awakening in there right now. If everything that is growing made music, it would be the symphony of a lifetime. I have yet to pull up last year's cabbages. They've all bolted beyond bolted but just look at the cute little bally blooms! So touchable.
Among the other blooms are strawberris and currants. And the marigolds I showed you the other day are as velvety and rich as every. Perfect for rubbing gently on your cheek.
There is a mirror hanging on the outside wall of the shower house and the view ain't half bad. The oaks are all leafed out - seemed to happen overnight - and the poppies are putting on a frilly, vibrant show. Where they are growing was the end of a neglected, ill-planned flower bed when we bought this place a few years ago. Now it's more of a thoroughfare. Especially now that we are tromping from house to shower to house to sink to house and back again multiple times daily. I see no need to move them to a "better" location. I mean, it's not everyday that you have an enthusiastic crowd of brightly dressed cheerleaders waving their poms poms at you as you walk by with a bin full of dirty dishes! "Go, girl, Go!" I will collect thier seeds soon and spread them elsewhere on the land. I consider this patch a patch of volunteers now and dad always says about volunteers: "If they've volunteered to grow there, might as well let them and see what they do." I've been painting painting painting. I have a gillion pieces in progress but have only completed two large paintings these week. Two that are too large to try to ship easily so this week's Studio Fruit Friday is a flash back of last week. Prints are still in the shop with the addition of one more print of my most recently finished piece.
The original measures 24" x 24" and feels oh so yummy to the touch. This plaster love affair keeps deepening. Every hour the pull between the dirt in the garden and the clay in the studio intensifies. I'm steadied only by going back and forth between the two and while I'm in the studio, I keep the big door rolled open so I'm practically outside and while I'm in the garden I wear my painting apron so that my flowers know what I'm doing when I'm not with them. As if they don't get along just fine without me.
It all started this past Thursday. I take that back...it started a month ago. The toilets clogged. But not just the toilets - the sinks and showers wouldn't drain either. Bad news because it's not a problem that can be solved with some drain cleaner or a wire hanger shoved in the pipes as far as you can manage. Nope. A month ago the problem magically resolved itself by the end of the day so we figured that whatever was holding things up had passed on through.
Okay, so Thursday. Deja vu. I first noticed it when I was taking a shower and by the end of it I was standing in a couple of inches of water. Same thing happening in the other bathroom. When it didn't resolve itself that day, we had the neighbor (who owns a plumbing company) come and snake the lines. No dice. So, he dug a hole over the lid of the septic, lifted that big, 'ol concrete top off and jumped aside as the septic contents burbled up. Yeah. Gross.
Fridays are not well known for being able to get people out to work on stuff on a moment's notice so we rode it through the weekend - not doing laundry, then having no clean clothes so then a visit to the laundromat where I did homework, showering outside, washing dishes outside, doing other...stuff...outside. Pioneering it (which was probably much easier, mentally, for the pioneers who knew nothing else and who didn't have neighbors within eye and ear shot who are flushing and dishwashing just fine. Don't know for sure...just a guess.)
I tell you what, when the honey truck showed up this morning to pump out the septic, I could have kissed them. They might have well been wearing super hero capes. I went to run some errands anticipating being able to come home, load the dishwasher, run a load of whites, and go about my American dream life as usual.
Turns out it's not that easy. The leach field is dun tucker'd out. It's totally shot and needing to be replaced. We just bled a turnip to get the septic pumped and then to have the plumber hydroflush the lines just to find out that he couldn't flush the lines because the leach field is shot and we'll have to get the septic pumped again when we replace the field. Cough Cough ca-ching! (Tell you what...if I were a plumber hired to do a job and couldn't do it for whatever reason, I would have a hard time still charging full price for the service. But that's just me.)
Anyway, there are so many rules and red tape about this kind of thing. I know there are good reasons but it sure makes me want to jump on some soap box about ridiculous building codes and over regulation and the horrendous fees for upgrading and repair. This is also when a little money stashed in savings would come in handy. Or a sugar daddy. The cool thing is that this kind of time is when my cockeyed optimism kicks into high gear (it's self-preservation) and I march around full of purpose tidying up things as well as I can so that I'm ready when the suprise that we never could have imagined shows up and gives us exactly what we need. This is the way things go when you are certain that this is the way things go.
But i digress.
Today, there was shining sun, birds collecting chicken feathers for nests, the puppy minding her manners a little better each day, plenty to keep me busy, a house full of awesome help.
Yes, it could be worse. A lot worse.
In lieu of posting original painting this week for Studio Fruit Friday, I've listed a small collection of prints in my etsy shop. I've been meaning to do prints for years but have had a hard time with the idea of letting go the tactile quality of original work. It was time to finally give it a try and I'm happy to say that the prints are just as lovely as the originals in their own, printerly way. The colors are true and the content is maintained. I look forward to venturing more into the world of prints (which also means even more originals coming available as well!)
Today is one of those days when the bliss of being a self-employed artist (la la painting la la music playing la la dancing in the studio la la being inspired by every little thing) is hiding in a closet somewhere refusing to come be my companion. It makes me want cake, cheese, hot saucy noodles.
Every day, just by engaging in what I do, I committ to this life more and more and the more committed I am, the more I am required to examine all the facets of what it means to be an authentic artist. I don't believe that this examination necessarily needs to be a battle. It's just part of being fully connected to who you really are. I'm not currently sitting solid in pleasing-people-with-my-work mode...which isn't to say that I am not fully and one million percent committed still to my intention to create work that uplifts and inspires people in some small or big way. I feel I've just scratched the surface of how that will show up for me. And sometimes scratching the surface long enough makes your fingers bleed. Sometimes, when you think you've had all you can take without having a good scream, grace steps in and gives you a hug. Or in my case this morning, directed me to this artist who, drives 100 miles from his home to his studio and today, saved my soul - the soul that needs to make stuff without everything else appearing perfect. Thank you, Brian.
Here's what he said in a video interview that set my compass back on the right path for today - mud, snakes, poison oak and all.
"If the process of painting is simply a matter of me making a decision and then me executing something that will make you feel a certain way, there are too many places for deception – even my own self-deception – to exert their influence."
"Some of the mess of our lives seems to show some evidence of particular design for our good. Some of it seems to just be the incidental mess of what happens when you have…people."
"I do not FEEL like I have a balanced life. However, I have learned certain things where it seems like none of the categories that I value greatly are screaming from complete neglect. They are all a little bit neglected. Maybe that’s the balance. I’ve balanced my neglect."
I laugh at the truth of it all and this little knowing chuckle is like a big "Amen! Let's get on with making a mess of things. With dancing through it. With letting spirit move into a through me without deciding anything yet. This is what I do."