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Not sure I even need to add anything to that title -- it applies in so many ways in life. Sometimes it doesn't even feel like there's any real improvement for a while but eventually even discipline can bring rewards.
Surgery went well. At least I got by with the arthroscopic surgery instead of the full-blown, open up your knee kind. So now I'm healing from the surgery and I'm still healing from the injury but I can walk without crutches and I've started physical therapy and so despite the continued pain and discomfort, there is definite progress.
My dwelling place has become our fairly good size living/dining/kitchen great room these days. Jimmy set up a daybed where the sofa used to be with a 2.5' x 4' table next to it where I can keep within arms reach just about anything I might need. (Anything except art supplies, that is) He did this because I am still unable to get in and out of our small bedroom safely and after two weeks on the couch I finally said I couldn't take that anymore. (It's was a month yesterday since the freaky weird dislocation.) Mostly I've been reading or messing with my wacom tablet or getting online or watching movies and such to keep myself occupied but I have had some hints of borderline insanity hit on long days here by myself.
After going to the orthopedic specialist (O.S.) last week, and being put in a better brace that allows me to bend my knee a little bit, I was ready to do something other than spend all day, every day on the daybed. Actually, I was ready way before this but the brace I was in before made it difficult to be comfortable for very long in a chair and until I saw the O.S. I didn't want to make many plans. With surgery coming up this Friday and the prospect of an unknown amount of more time continuing to living this way I started begging Jimmy last Friday to bring a bunch of my art supplies downstairs and set up a makeshift art space for me in the living room. After blowing it Monday by barely acknowledging my birthday, I guess Jimmy was willing to do just about anything to make me happy and stayed home from work yesterday to move a bunch of my art mess downstairs. And happy I am. I haven't made anything yet but just looking at the art supplies nearby has done a tremendous thing for my spirits.
The living room has become a studio/art production area a few other times when I was working on projects that were too overspreading for my little studio so it's not the first time I've taken over the main area of the house. I don't know that I've currently made it look any worse than those times but I'm finding it difficult to limit myself to just a few things. Mixed media is wonderful fun but dangerous because of the diverse number of supplies you think you might need. I think I was probably pushing it a little this morning when I handed Jimmy another list of things (that I had made at 3 am) of more junk I needed him to find upstairs. Even Jimmy has his limits.
"All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed."
Hebrews 12:11-13 (NAS)
I know I should be living in the very present reality of Today but dang!, 2008 has been one hell of a ride and I'm sure hoping 2009 is a bit less dramatic. I can't go into all of it here but thinking about the six (or more) life altering or at the very least, life shaking events in my life or the lives of family members this year has caused me to think about the fact that no one ever really knows what other people are going through, even if they really open up and fill you in on the details. I can't even come close to revealing all the different stuff that happens let alone the many ways that circumstances might be affecting me. Besides the fact that I can't broadcast everything that touches my life because many of those situations involve other people who I want to protect or at least not expose to public scrutiny, the real underlying fact is that I don’t even comprehend how it all factors in and fits together or what I’m actually learning from it all. I talk openly about the things I can and process much of it as transparently as I possibly can but honestly, there are really very few people in my life that I feel I can be completely open with and like I said, even then they are limited in what they can know or actually do to help. (I have to say though that even if they are limited in their ability to really fully bear my burdens, as I think about the comforting, stabilizing presence of friends in my life, I am truly thankful.)
All this brings to mind the old cliché that has to do with the same concept… “You never know until you have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.” And really we can’t. Even if someone does fill us in on their own current events and we try to identify and empathize, each one of us has had that unique set of experiences that factors in to all that is 'us' and we just can’t know how all of that is fitting together to affect someone’s thinking or emotions or reactions. Sometimes it may seem that someone is reacting to us when in reality they have a multitude of other things that have led up to their response in any given moment. I’m hoping that in the future I will have at least become more sensitive to other people because of being made more conscious of this.
I’m not really sure where I’m going with this but these are my thoughts today as I ponder yet another change in our lives. I am determined to be at peace and will entrust it all to Him who judges justly and try once again to rest in His comforting presence. Life is good despite all it throws at us (and boy am I glad I don't have to walk a mile in pink stilettos! :)
My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.
I believe I'll probably be learning this 'til the day I leave earth because of the fact that there will never cease to be some new area of thinking or new situation that I can apply it in. The need to understand what's happening in the grand scheme of things or just the basic need of trying to make sense of my own little world is not necessarily a bad thing. It's just that to wrestle with those sorts of things to the point where it makes us uneasy or fretful isn't conducive to a peaceful life or enjoying good health and I just can't seem to get the hang of quieting my soul to the extent that I can do it consistently. I truly am better at it in complete crisis when I know there is absolutely nothing that I can do to change the circumstances but even then (like now) I still fuss and struggle to some extent. I think mostly I worry about that big unknown -- about what's going to happen tomorrow or what can I do to help a situation or why in the world did a particular event transpire in the way it did and what am I to learn from it.
Maybe it is meant to be just as uncomplicated as what I've observed with babies before and after they are weaned. We've all witnessed a nursing infant or toddler who, until their demands are satisfied, just won't be still or rest quietly in their mother's arms. Because of what she can provide for them it seems they just can't be comforted simply by her presence with them.
I think that's what I'm to learn again -- that in the midst of this and any circumstance to find my hope and comfort in His presence. Not in what He can do for me or provide for me or questions He can answer for me but only that He is with me and will hold me close no matter what.
Because I'm an only child and the only one of the two existing grandchildren in our family that lives nearby, I accepted that caring for my mom and grandma was primarily my responsibility. I have been fully committed to doing whatever I could (Jimmy helps a lot too) to assist them in any way they have needed me to. I'm reminded that they are not ultimately my responsibility and the weight of the whole thing needs to rest squarely on Bigger Shoulders than mine. So, lesson #1 -- don't try to lift more than you can safely carry.
My niece, Kym, made an observation the other day when I explained how this had happened. After hearing that it was a direct result of trying to wiggle into a control top undergarment she said, "that'll teach you to stop trying to control stuff." So, lesson #2 -- I must stop trying to control the lumpiness of life.
To be continued...
I blew out my knee this past Tuesday morning. I actually thought at first that I had broken it because the top part came out of the socket, the bottom part was going a different direction and my kneecap was on the side of my leg instead of the top. Scary and painful. Most of the stories I remember hearing when people have had knee accidents were adventurous or athletic. Not me. I had been walking for 40-45 minutes and had just gotten out of a hot shower and was hurrying around trying to get dressed so I could make it on time to a funeral that was happening in a town about 1.5 hours away. As I was putting on a control top undergarment to wear under my skirt it happened. That’s it. It’s only embarrassing to tell of – nothing truly adventurous or athletic about it.
I will forever be thankful that it was a holiday and Jimmy was home. If I had been home alone he might have found me after work that evening still on the floor in the bathroom, between the toilet and the tub, exactly where I had landed that morning. We did have a bit of an adventure getting me out of there since I couldn’t straighten out my leg with it being out of the knee socket and all. We somehow maneuvered a blanket underneath me and while I held my leg at the only angle that wasn’t excruciating, Jimmy pulled on the blanket and I scooted until we finally made it out to the living area. While trying to dress, Jimmy had to lift me up a bit so I could pull up some athletic pants (oh good – there’s the athletic part of my story) and my knee slid back into place. Thankful, thankful, thankful for that!! Don’t know how I could have possibly gotten to the car with it still out of place. Anyway, the x-rays that were taken during the emergency room visit indicated an MRI should be done so Saturday (after a long week on the couch) we went back to Socorro General Hospital for that. Now there’ll be a few more days on the couch until the results are read and we find out what is next. I’m hoping I won’t have to have surgery but they thought that maybe one of the bones had chipped so we’ll see. It’s been a week today – I’m getting around a lot better and hoping for good news.
I’m sad to be losing ground on the exercising part of my cholesterol lowering program but Jimmy has made the dieting part possible by taking such good care of me while I have had to keep my leg up. He’s amazing. If I end up spending much more time on the couch I thought maybe I could convince him to bring some art supplies downstairs but so far I haven’t felt like being very productive. Yesterday I had him bring down my Wacom tablet and Corel Painter IX which I’ve hardly touched since I bought it three years ago. Painter came with a Lynda training disk that I’ve never even cracked open and I also have a book by Jeremy Sutton about Corel Painter so I thought I’d see if I could learn something today. If I had a lot of time on my hands (which I may still if I end up having surgery) I think I’d sign up for a membership on lynda.com – there’s training for every program you’d ever want to conquer on there.
Ok, enough already. See ya.
I meant to do this before now but take a look at my daughter Nicole's recent art project. A couple months ago she was asked to participate in an upcoming Habitat for Humanity fund raising project. I think the event is scheduled for late October or early November but they will be auctioning off bird houses that have been created by Durango area artists.
The quote above the birds is from the song Volare (volare means 'to fly' in Italian, just in case you didn't already know that) and says, "No wonder my happy heart sings, your love has given me wings." I helped a tiny bit (with the image transfers) but I think she did a great job and just had to let everyone get a glimpse of her creativity.
Here's another one using the text from my blog post about my dog Duke a few weeks ago.
Jimmy (my cutie husband) told me Sunday (after the book-making ladies left) that he wished he had joined us Sunday in making little books. He had to take today off of work to take care of some business stuff and so this afternoon he had me show him how to make little books. His is the one on the left with the spider and the one on the right is one I did for my granddaughter, Haevyn, who saw the ones we did Sunday and said, "I want a little book too Llama." She has a new, pinkish-red Betta fish so that's why the Betta on the cover of the pink one.
Didn't Jimmy do a great job on his? He was so meticulous about the way he went about putting it together, even adding a 'half-hitch' knot when he was tying the signatures of the pages together so they'd stay together better!
Not much time to post this morning but I thought I'd show the little books Yvonne, Kellilynn and I worked on yesterday.
They are ATC size, using playing cards for the light cardboard in the covers. We did some image transfers on some paper from Nepal and coated it lightly with acrylic medium. It ended up looking a lot like leather. Lots of fun!
Hey, check out The Altered Page postings from yesterday and today -- Studio Shots 1 and 2 showing tons of artists' studios with pics and comments by each one. I love it!
Seth Apter has organized "the third edition of The Pulse: an artist survey" and began posting the results on August 18, 2008 with 95 artists participating. Very interesting and inspiring to read. Actually, check it all out.
I found out last week that I sold one of my prints that had been in the VLA (Very Large Array) gift shop. It had been there for about 8 months at least. Jimmy always says that art just needs to wait for the right person to come along -- the one who's just gotta have it. He told me last week that the lady who runs the gift shop told him that some guy who was with a film crew out at the VLA site recently had bought it and it was going to his office in New York. Cool, I thought and Yay, the print finally sold. Found out today that apparently (or so I was told) it was David Muir with ABC News and he's hosting an ABC Primetime special about UFOs that aired tonight. (Honestly, I've never heard of him before this but I still thought it was kinda cool news. Apparently, he's pretty hot stuff in the news world. He sure looks like a hottie in his pictures anyway ;) Now I'm wishing I had framed it more professionally and included a certificate of authenticity (standard procedure for "real prints") or at least attached a business card to the back of it.
I also wish I had a better photo of the print but the one shown above is the best that I could find in my photos. The print is titled, "Still In The Box". It is called that because of a story Jimmy told me of a family that was traveling and stopped by the VLA for a tour. They were all exclaiming over the size of the radio telescopes and the interesting spectacle that they are out there on the Plains of San Agustine and one of their little girls pointed to the one that was in the huge barn where they go for repairs and said, "Look Daddy, that one is still in the box."
Here's mine...Sorta pathetic.
Actually, I try to be organized. I really make an attempt at being organized but I don't love to organize or the discipline that it takes to stay there. I get shelves and containers and try to put things in their place. Sometimes I try anyway, like on those occasional, I'm Really Going To Get Organized Weekends that happen maybe three times a year. But then projects or shows happen in the middle of life happening and more times than not, I end up trying to do art in ten square inches of space and frustrating myself while searching for supplies that have gotten buried under supplies from past projects. Or moving those materials and supplies from past projects to tables that are already piled with stuff from other projects just so I can get to an essential piece of equipment (like my press) and making more clutter and chaos in the process.
Another thing I've been thinking about lately is how my always wanting to experience new art mediums or learn new techniques (which usually then require new art supplies) is a lot like someone who is always wanting a new lover in their life; always wanting to experience that excitement and thrill of new love over and over again. I can't seem to stick with one thing long enough to actually ever make a commitment to explore all the possibilities with it before becoming infatuated (or just intrigued) with some new art interest. I guess I'm feeling like I'm acting a bit fickle or kinda like a player* toward art related things these days and that maybe it's high time for me to quit taking more classes, buying more books and accumulating more art materials and just focus on using the stuff that is currently cluttering up my art space in our house. I'm beginning to think that many times all the books, blogs, workshops and online info that I'm constantly taking in also only adds to the clutter in my head and prevents any real artful inspiration and creativity from taking place. (*Player: a guy who is sustaining supposedly excluisve relationships with multiple girls simultaneously.)
I'm not sure why I thought I needed the world (or the half dozen people who actually read my blog) to know this about me. I must be in a true art confessions sort of place.
Rosh Hashanah--the Jewish New Year--is coming up (Sept. 30/Oct.1) so this is actually a very good time to be feeling new resolve. Not that I'm Jewish or believe in keeping the Law or anything but I respect the idea that there is a particular time set aside to consider old ways and determine (with God's help) to do better. I'm so there, in so many ways.
I bought some HammerMill Color Copy Gloss paper this weekend at Office Depot. I had never seen it before and I keep trying to find a paper that gives me a really nice, consistent transfer without a whole lot of effort. (besides that I'm just a paper junkie.) Anyway here's a couple of samples of what happened. (remember this is just an experiment, I'm not going for art yet.)
In the first photo (above) the images are transferred to MDF that has a light coating of dried white gesso. I applied a layer of Golden Polymer Medium (gloss) and then burnished the images face down with a brayer -- the back of the paper covered with plastic to prevent gel medium from going everywhere. The daisy on the right was printed on a color laser printer and the one on the left was printed on an epson c88+ with durabrite ultra inks. This next one (below) is transferred to some untreated matboard -- again the laser on the right and the inkjet on the left.
Of course, the laser print is the more vivid of the two on both and I did have to be careful not to rub too hard on the inkjet one because it wanted to lift off a bit once I was down to the image. I only let it dry about 30 to 45 min. before I removed the paper. Whatever this paper is coated with makes it really easy to roll the paper off the image/gel layer. It rolls right off leaving kind of a chalky white film with just a tiny bit of paper fibers still attached. Doesn't take much after that to get the remaining paper and white stuff off. I used a wet paper towel to completely remove the white chalky stuff when all the paper had been removed. Not sure why the gaping hole in the daisy on the right -- probably didn't get gel medium spread evenly or I may have been too energetic in removing the paper.
I think I love experimentation more than the art. It's nice not having any expectations or being afraid I'll ruin something I'm working on.
Two o’clock this morning I was awake and afraid to go out of my bedroom because of not knowing whether my dog, Duke, would still be breathing or not. Jimmy was sleeping on the couch in the living room to be near him, just in case. He’s been in and out of the dog hospital the past couple weeks while they tried to figure out what was going on with him and they decided on Monday that a cancerous tumor on his spleen was causing his declining health. Actually, he was in pretty serious condition when he went back to the vet’s office this past Saturday. I’ve been grieving since then and I guess I’m weary of the pain. The pain of grief is odd – it seems to rise to the surface and be multiplied by each loss that is experienced. I think partly because it is simply a reminder of other losses but also each loss has some regrets associated with it and each loss permanently removes a blessing and a joy of some kind from our lives that we must learn to do without. And then once you’ve experienced many losses, you know there will be others, possibly even harder to accept and adjust to than the previous ones. Once it rises to the surface, grief seems to consume your thoughts and gets you centered up on the empty half of the glass and all negatives of life in this world.
I guess Duke represents so much more to me than just a good dog. He somehow reflects all the good in my life – the uncomplicated, non-demanding, un-annoying good in my life. Simple joy and blessing and unconditional love. I feel like I’ve taken him for granted, believing he’d always be here with me but that’s how I felt with every good thing I’ve ever had and lost. There is regret for not appreciating the person (or thing) more and really, consciously taking note of the joy their presence brings into my life. I’m wishing I had taken more note of the pleasure brought to me each day that we’ve had Duke here with us, alive and well. But I suppose it could be exhausting being fully conscious every day of everyone and everything and being extremely conscientious about expressing it to them as well. Maybe it’s better just enjoying our many blessings more naturally and less intensely and obsessively.
Duke has also represented life to me somehow. We got Duke 10.5 years ago during an extremely grief-filled time for our family. We had just experienced a grave loss that week when my niece was killed in a car accident. Her husband and six week old puppy had survived the accident. We had all been together as a family the day before the accident to celebrate Stacie’s birthday and had all marveled over her wonderful new springer spaniel/australian shepherd mix puppy, one of her birthday gifts. She had told us that there was one last puppy available, her puppy’s twin, and she had given us the contact info for the owner. Jimmy and I made the decision to go ahead and get the twin to her puppy the day after she died, mainly to give our children a diversion and a small joy in the midst of all the grief. Duke has been sort of a constant reminder of Stacie to me all these years. Of her death, inescapably yes, but more so of her life because I always associate Duke with that day our family was together enjoying Stacie on her birthday and participating in the joy of her new puppy which caused us to think about obtaining one of our own.
Duke ended up coming down with Parvo two weeks after we got him and miraculously pulled through. I bonded with him during that time. I’d go visit him at the dog hospital where he was all tubed up and sit with him and tell him how much we all needed for him to live and be part of our family. I prayed for him to survive so that our kids would not have the pain of him dieing added to the grief of Stacie’s death that we were all still so acutely experiencing. I probably invested way more emotionally than I should have in a pet because of the circumstances and somehow came to see Duke as a survivor like his brother who had been in the accident.
It’s hard to watch suffering, especially if you are a “fixer” like me. I function much better if I can actually do something to help bring comfort to someone or relieve a burden in some way. It is also so hard to let go, especially when it is a prolonged letting go. Having to remain in an indefinite, suspended state of relinquishment and resignation is almost harder somehow than sudden, unexpected, forced separation.
Usually, goodbye means, I’ll see you again soon or I’ll see you next time but when you’ve already acknowledged the upcoming final separation that will be occurring, each encounter can be more painful than the last. Jimmy says, “Prolonged goodbyes don’t really extend the visit, just the goodbye.” Perhaps that also is part of the pain, the extended goodbye with Duke is causing me to relive all the other final goodbyes in my life and in the lives of others in my family who are dear to me, who have had painful goodbyes or are currently experiencing extended goodbyes of their own. Life does go on and other people and interests or even pets seem to fill in the gaps a bit but never really fully replace those who are no longer with us.
Duke was doing better this morning and so am I. I’m going to enjoy each moment I have with him and try to do the same with all the other things and people in my life that the Lord has blessed me with. He and I went for a short walk and he found a big stick to bring to me like he always does and I smiled and felt joy in the moment. I’m certain there will be more pain but I will delight, with thanksgiving, in each occasion of joy.
This poly-litho print was first a composite of photographed items in my neighborhood. My son Josh and I took about 20 minutes when he was here for the weekend recently and shot photos on our property and next door. The US Forest Service has been doing some thinning in my front yard (I'm 15 ft. from the forest boundary) and the eight stump is probably about 40 yards from my front door on the Cibola National Forest. It was a fun find.
That's it for the 8x8x8. I had more ideas but ran out of time. I think I'll be glad to be able to think about art in a different format than 8"x8" and maybe my obsession with "eight" is finally over.
My first attempt at a mosaic (sort of) with Glass Graveyard and Kelly (ghost town near Magdalena) dump finds along with some other odds and ends. Even some crash glass swept up from the road near my grandmother's house in Socorro. The images behind the two bigger glass glob thingees are of the rings from a blue ringed octopus.
One more to post for the 8x8x8.
The scans of these clocks have 'photoshopped' hands in these images but they are now real clocks. The one on the left is one of those typical mixed media, never could be duplicated sorta pieces. All the texture was accidental, a result of an attempt to deviate from the recommended components of a crackle technique. The one on the right turned out a bit more like it was supposed to except that the background (which was the residue of a failed photo transfer) added a yellow cast that I don't love. Someone who saw it recently said that they loved the "quinacridone gold" color of it so I guess it is all in the eye of the beholder. :) The show isn't until this Friday and I've already sold the one on the left (have the check and everything -- thanks Josh and Stacy) and possibly the other clock as well. woo-hoo!
I just scanned this piece to replace the photo on the 8x8x8 blog so I thought I'd post it here as well. As usual, photos just don't do any favors for artwork. It's better in person. All the red squares are high gloss and then the prints on the black squares are matte. I like it. I don't want to sell it. :( I might just mark it sold and keep it.
This was already posted a while back on the 8 x 8 x 8 blog but I thought I ought to put it over here as well. It was intended as more of an experiment instead of a final version but since I haven't made much progress yet, it's probably going to end up in the final eight. It's a poly-litho print on an acrylic painted panel. This one is all about the eights.
For those of you not familiar with the project check out the 8 x 8 x 8 blog.
.I've decided this one looks a lot more like a decorative tile than real art but it was fun experimenting with the dimensional acrylic in the vines and then trying to figure out how to get the image on there. This is actually the second one I've done. On the first one I used the gel medium image transfer technique and was not quite happy with the depth of color on the pomegranate and tried to fix it by applying a second transfer on top of the first one. I should know better. My fixes are more often disasters than successes.
Anyway, the image on this one was printed onto tissue paper and then basically decoupaged onto the panel with acrylic gel medium. I made a carrier sheet using card stock sprayed with 3m adhesive spray (that I blotted to remove some of the stickiness) and then stuck on and trimmed the tissue paper to 8.5"x11" before printing on my Epson C88+ that uses durabrite inks.
A free copy of the new summer 2008 Somerset Studio Gallery arrived in the mail today. It feels a bit weird to see it finally in print but there it is. Not sure why they decided to only show the red hair from the beaded fairy that was attached to the house but it really doesn't matter. Maybe it didn't photograph well. I included a website in the short bio at the end of the article but I've never found the time to do anything with it. I wish there were time for all the art and blogging and websites I would like to be doing right now but at the moment, life (as my friend Leau often says) "is what it is."
"Creativity is a lot like happiness. It shows up when you're thinking about something else."
I saw this book in Michael's last week. I didn't buy it. Kinda wish I would've but I will later when I'm actually ready to move on to something besides what I'm doing now (which is just doodling basic shapes and simple drawings of everyday objects). Keys To Drawing With Imagination by Bert Dodson looked so interesting though that I finally googled it so I could read more about it and see some of the pages. Realread.com has the introduction pages which I'd recommend reading even if you have no desire to get the book or ever learn more about drawing. Below is one paragraph from the introduction...
"Imagine you are sitting in a room with your sketchbook in hand. You have an urgent desire to create. Your pencil is poised. Your energy is focused. You are determined. But nothing happens. Why? Because wanting to be creative is all about you. It is a goal, not an action. Goals are about the future. Actions are about the present. Try picturing yourself differently. You have a definite project in mind. For instance, you might try combining two of your previous sketches into a single drawing. Now you have a specific task. While the rules may be simple, the possibilities are vast. The project is no longer about you but about solving a problem. Your creativity comes alive in the present instead of being stalled in the future."
I think he reveals my biggest obstacle in that one paragraph -- not only in art and creativity but in life. Heck, maybe it's everyone's biggest problem. A line from a Matchbox 20 song comes to mind... "It's me, yeah well I can't get myself to go away." If we can just get over ourselves and get out of the way maybe something significant can be created or revealed through our lives. It's not all about me and I'd like not to take myself so seriously.
It is so true in so many applications, not just drawing. I think back to times of creativity and agree that they have been most productive when the focus was on solving the problem or completing a specific task rather than on my desire to be creative or come up with creative ideas (or my frustration in my own inabilities). Besides this nugget of a paragraph there are at least eight principles of creativity explained in the two introductory pages of this book. Very simple but very wise principles.
(Readers consider yourselves forewarned...the following contains scriptural references.)
Appreciating God's artistry and creativity and honoring Him is meaningful to me as an artist because I know that I enjoy being appreciated and honored for the things I create.
I think it is amazing that The Source of all creativity has designed our day to begin and end in exactly the same way -- with spectacular beauty. (Represented in the above photo of today's sunrise in Denver, less spectacularly than I wish I were able to.) I find that encouraging somehow.
I've always loved sunrises and sunsets and I've never ceased to be awestruck by their intensely colorful beauty and God's endless variety in their presentation. I'll have to admit, I've seen more of the sunset variety but nevertheless, they are equally beautiful to me. For me it means the day begins and ends with hope and with promise. In the morning we are greeted with the splendor and warmth of the sun and light and then, as though God knew that we needed the sunset as reassurance of the return of light after darkness, in the evening the day closes in the same way. The Light separated from Darkness by Beauty.
"There was evening and morning, the first day." (Genesis 1) I also find it interesting that God's way of measuring the day is different from ours. He starts with the evening and we start with the morning. When I look at it His way, it means that each day begins with rest rather than ending that way and I find that encouraging as well.
I'll admit there are much prettier pictures that I could have posted from here in Colorado but this is from Jon and Nic's upper deck. I think if you have to live in the Denver area, the Golden foothills are not a bad place to be.
I've lived through four of the six days that I get all by myself up here. What a luxury. I don't remember ever having six days all by myself, anywhere. Well, I'm not entirely alone. I'm dog sitting for my daughter and her husband while they travel to Jon's grandmother's funeral in Louisiana so my biggest responsibility is pottying dogs and making sure they don't tear up the house or run away. They are such pains but I find myself talking to them and liking them a bit better than ever before. That's what happens when you have no one else to talk to, I guess. I've been allowing them to sleep in the same room I'm in at night just so I know where they are and I'll admit, to feel a little more secure in a strange place. Woke up this morning with some of my clothes scattered about the room and Mocha sleeping in my suitcase and Brewster wearing my black bra. Well, not wearing it exactly but all tangled up in it. Funniest thing I've ever seen in my life. Guess I didn't think to take a picture because I was still half asleep and laughing hysterically. Outloud. All by myself here, laughing hysterically outloud. That in itself is funny. Actually, I can't seem to stop laughing outloud about it which feels kinda weird when you are completely alone. Maybe six days of being by myself is too much. I may have gone over the edge.
My biggest daily dilemma has been what I'm going to do with this totally blank canvas of a day which is also very strange for me because most days have something required of me. I've been blessed this week. Kinda bumped around the first couple days without any real sense of purpose but I've had some things sort of solidify in my thinking and understanding as I've prayed and reflected this week.
One thing I thought I'd be doing is spending some time in a couple of heavy-duty drawing books that I brought with me. I tried one morning and came to the realization that I really don't want to do heavy-duty drawing coursework at the moment. That was liberating. I've been feeling guilty that I haven't been doing that (because I have these great books) and now I know that it's ok.
I've discovered that I really just want to doodle and jot down thoughts and prayers on a blank piece of cheap copy paper. That is satisfying somehow. What is not satisfying is a lovely, empty journal filled with multiple blank, white sheets of quality drawing/watercolor paper sitting on the table waiting for me to create equally lovely journal entries. Intimidating and paralyzing, not liberating. And I'm way into freedom and liberation at the moment.
More later...right now I'm off to either the books stores, the galleries, the Denver Art Museum or Jerry's Artarama. So many choices, so little time left. So very, very blessed. Thank you, Lord!
What's up with me and time these days. Well, maybe it's not just these days. Someone gave me a sign about 20 years ago that read, "This is the earliest I've ever been late" so I guess this really isn't a new thing. I just thought I'd be better by now since all our kids are raised and all that time I thought it was their fault I was so often late.
I really try to be organized and have my act together and be on top of things and all that but I rarely seem to be able to pull it off. As I wrote a brief intro this morning for a yahoo group I was joining and read back through previous blog posts, I suddenly became aware of how often I'm pressed for time or mention time being a factor in my life. Hmmmm. Could SomeOne be trying to get my attention? Must be my 'Word' for the year. (see Leau's blog and Christine Kane's blog)
I'll have to ponder this to figure out what it all means when I get a little time to think it through. :)
Now all I have to do is write the article and get it sent off before February 1. I've had it on my to-do list all week but do you think I made time? I hate that one of my favorite sayings is, "if it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would ever get done." Blah!