Friday, September 19, 2008


This week my painting got away from me again. I painted the first two days of the week, then contractors came in again and it was out the window. See, when I work I have to get into this peaceful space bubble and lose the distractions of the "real" world. Not so easy to do when someone is banging around.

Plus, I have this built in personality clause that says if someone is in your house you are the hostess/host and must make it a pleasant experience for them. Workers, friends, family, people who drop in off the street, doesn't matter. My home is like a part of me (well, my husband and I) and when you enter our world I want it to be a place of welcoming. Can't help it, it's there, like the impulse to kick when the doctor hits your knee reflex. So, I'm hopping around, making tea, making pleasant conversation, making sure they have everything they need. Not painting.

What I did do was knit. There's a million other things I should have done, empty boxes, do paper work, but I was dealing with my stress so I knit. Plus I have this deadline for class this morning and I wanted very much to meet it. (To that end I will knit seven more cm if I can this morning.) In doing so, I did realize that the knitting served it's purpose. It is helping my beginnings of arthritis and the cut nerve in my left hand is feeling a bit better, though I'm told I will always feel it. (I consider it my mindfulness bell and that rationale somehow makes it ok.)

Knitting got me back in a place I wanted to be again in my head, like leaving breadcrumbs in the forest, only they didn't get eaten by the birds. See, I don't deal well with moving, let alone jacking myself up on caffeine to get through all the necessary (?) renovations. Kinda waaaaay allergic to caffeine so that was a bad plan. (That's why the hand is a bell, reminding me not to have more caffeine...ever.)

So, now that I have come, more or less, back, finding myself home again, I need to reflect on the breadcrumbs. Do I eat them and say the cake is finished, back to work? Well, as it helps my hands and as it gives me great pleasure and keeps me mindful, no. But I have decided it will now have to take a back seat to the task at hand, that is doing my work (painting, drawing) full time all the time. I will pick up the knitting only at night to unwind that ball of yarn which is my thoughts. It's good to be back, good to see the blue sky in between the clouds as they break up. And if I need it I can always pick up the sticks, knit, purl, knit purl, knit, purl...breathe.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Love, Love, Love

I knew it. At least I knew it and then I forgot and now I know it again in a new way. If you want to do good art there is only one thing that matters, well one main thing, you have to do it with love. See, I grew up in California in the late sixties so I got a good dose of all that love hippie culture and man did it stick! I wore a groovy Love pin to school one day, purple and pink in big loopy letters. I sat in the big red leather reading chair while kids taunted me for believing in love. I was undaunted. Yes, I believed. I became a leader of a Circle K group and was asked in a leaders conference what my one word for leadership would be if I could sum it up, love. This was met with skepticism also. Still undaunted. I got into so much trouble believing this sometimes that it got me into some sticky situations I won't go into here.

But here's the thing. I still believe. I believe in giving it to others and in giving it to everything you do. I also believe now in something I had forgotten, or at least pushed back from time to time, in giving it to myself. Mom always said "you can't love others till you love yourself". Well, that's not altogether true, but it is true that you can't be your best to others if you don't treat yourself with love. I know that for a fact, folks.

But this isn't what I wanted to talk about. What I wanted to say is that if you are doing art, writing, creating, painting, forget about the money, forget that anybody is going to see it or judge it, go to that center place and ask yourself. What do I love? What do I want to paint that I love, that brings me joy, that I want to stare at for hours, curl up in, wind myself around? Can't guarantee that it will sell you some art, can't even say others will like it, but you will. And as an added bonus, if you put love into it, care for it, raise it up, it might even be a thing of beauty, one that perhaps comes close to that nectar of the gods you are looking for. But still, even if it's not, it might be the next one, or the next, and in the meantime you are in a place of bliss that will feed and nourish you to keep reaching for that chalice. Love is all you need, yup, I still believe in that, goofy, hippie, whatever. I am undaunted.