Archives for category: art and the artist

Early morning. Still dark. Nothing surprising about that; autumn is approaching. There are hints of all among the leaves and along forested paths. The mornings are chilly now. The nights have cooled off. The rains are returning. November isn’t far off, and the end of daylight savings time will switch things up a bit, but for now, that’s not relevant. What is relevant is that early morning is dark now. I sip my coffee looking past the window into the pre-dawn darkness.

“Hints of Autumn” 10″ x14″ acrylic on canvas w/glow, 2021

My own heart, in this moment, is filled with light. 🙂 Nice place to start the day.

Impermanence is a real thing. Darkness comes and goes. For some folks, there often seems more “darkness” than light. I think on that as I watch the first faint hints of dawn revealing the gray cloudy morning sky. The light does return. I think about that homily “it’s always darkest before the dawn”, and while I wonder whether it is literally true, I sip my coffee and observe the sky as it continues to lighten, on the way to daybreak.

The wheel continues to turn. The pendulum swings, the clock ticks. Change is. We may be mired in darkness in one moment; the sun will rise on another.

The pale gray sky beyond the window hints at rain. The clock reminds me that the work day is ahead. My coffee is mostly gone. I think about garden chores. I think about a walk later. I think about my Traveling Partner in the other room, and fill my thoughts will love and well-wishes for his day.

Another moment slips by. It’s already time to begin again. 🙂

The waves hit the beach in a regular cadence, still managing to be quite varied and individual. The sound of it is thunderous through the open balcony door. The sky is azure, broad, vast, and seemingly infinite-of-horizon. The mild beiges and tans of the sandy beach separate land and sea quite conveniently. The numerous rocky outcroppings of various sizes just “offshore” become a fun festival of tidepools when the tide is at its lowest. The weather is “perfect” (for me), neither chilly enough to require a fleece or sweater, nor hot enough to make bare feet on sand uncomfortable. I walked miles yesterday, and again this morning. It feels good to feel so solitary, so conveniently. I’m not far from home (about an hour’s drive), and the beach is certainly not deserted, but in every practical way, I am far from the routines of every day life, and wrapped in solitude in spite of the nearness of other stray human primates scattered along the beach, walking with their thoughts, their dogs, or their families.

…I even went walking among the tidepools before I had my coffee this morning! I did not want to miss the revelations that low tide has to offer. 🙂

Tidepools to explore

I returned to the room after coffee and a bite of breakfast – a bit of a luxury. [Side note: I love “brunch”. My Traveling Partner is less enthusiastic about being up and dressed and out the door dealing with other human beings first thing, just for a meal as easily made (and often better quality) at home. I enjoy the variety and lack of effort (no cooking, no clean up). So, when I take time away, I definitely look for a choice opportunity to get breakfast or brunch. 😀 I’d even plan an entire weekend away around a really noteworthy brunch… I’ve got one or two of those on my “do this someday” list. LOL ]

Today, I’ll spend more time writing, reflecting, and letting my brain “get caught up” – clear that overloaded buffer – and then return to the beach for more miles and minutes.

I’ll be quite content if this little getaway is no more productive than a series of walks and naps, honestly. This is one way I recharge. 🙂 Making a point to take this time to recharge is one way I ensure I am most able to be my best self, and fully participate in a wholesome healthy way in my relationships. When the relationship I have with myself is not sufficiently nurturing or self-supporting and emotionally self-sufficient, I lose traction on being able to skillfully provide loving support and nurturing to my partner. 🙂 That was a hard won lesson to learn, and I sometimes feel I must be quite a bit stupider than I feel day-to-day that it took me so long to understand that.

…I do miss my partner, though… funny how these emotions exist side by side, mixed up together.

The coffee in the hotel room is quite horrible. I have no idea why otherwise nice hotels persist in providing these absolutely shit little drip coffee machines, with ancient packaged ground coffee of similarly terrible quality in these rooms. It would not be notably more costly to do just a little better than that. Hell, an electric kettle and a good quality instant would be an improvement. LOL I knew what to expect, so I made a point to bring along a better quality of coffee, so… it’s at least drinkable, more or less.

The beach, easy to see through the open balcony door, begins to fill with people. It’s after 10:00 am now. Time to begin again. 🙂

This morning I had what I thought was an excellent starting point for the morning, and had the intention of writing. I never got to it. I enjoyed coffee with my Traveling Partner, had a pleasant walk before work, and enjoyed a productive day of work. My partner has a project going that keeps him quite busy. I love seeing him deeply engaged, learning new things, and occupied in a way that puts his mind to use on something worthy of his talent; it’s profoundly inspiring.

I’ve been painting. That’s part of what kicked my intention of writing off to the side, actually. I sat down in my studio, with my coffee, but facing “the art side” of the room, instead of the “office side”, and found myself whiling away some minutes before work gazing at new canvases – time I’d intended for writing, consumed on nothing more (or less) than inspired daydreaming. I’m even okay with that, I just wish I’d taken notes – even just a word or two – about what I was thinking before my head was filled with colors and thoughts of paintings yet to be painted. I’m pleased to be doing creative work again. I’m not sure what pushed me into the creative zone again… I don’t think it’ll be helpful to overthink it, so I am just enjoying it.

Funny… I’m finding myself wondering if the updated lighting in the house has any part to play in my re-emerging creative energy? I know I’m sleeping better, and when I wake the very gentle middle-of-the-night lighting doesn’t prevent me going back to sleep at all. I’m waking more gently too, and feeling rested and less cross. I’ve known for a long time that I loathed the infernal beeping of my alarm clock for a long long time – any alarm clock, really, and it doesn’t have to beep, and for basically all of my existence that I’m aware of. Bells. Chimes. Ringers. Clangers. Clappers. Buzzers. Doesn’t matter. I have no liking for them. Now, waking to a soft fade-in of light (and not any shining directly into my eyes), and having done so enough to be quite confident I won’t “miss my wake-up” or oversleep, I sleep so… comfortably. I even slept in yesterday. 🙂 Nice. Is that what’s stoking my creativity? Is it the acoustic treatments all around the house that removed the annoying echo and softened the sounds, generally? Such a quiet house, now. I feel more relaxed even thinking about it.

…And also, thinking about the love that has gone into it. Time, sure. Money, too. Considerable effort by my Traveling Partner, too (I’ve been getting to mostly just enjoy the ride on this one)… More than any of that, though, has been the obvious real love and care my partner has put into these projects, each detail another conversation about what matters most, what I may need, how this or that technology can ease some challenge, or enrich our experience of each other, or our life together. It’s pretty mind-blowing to be so well-loved, and it’s a bit to live up to, too. The pandemic has been hard on each of us differently… I wouldn’t want to have had to do it with someone else, though, I’ll say that. I’m glad he’s here. I’m glad he’s been here. I’m fortunate to be so well-loved (and he’s said similar things to me). This evening, that love we share finds me in my studio, on the other side of the work day, writing in the evening – and smiling to think how well that worked out… he needed some time to work on some complicated details of the smart home stuff. I’m happy to write for a few minutes and give him that time – I know that supporting each other pays off in some pretty amazing ways. 🙂

I hear him in the other room, letting me know he’s done for the day. I breathe, relax, and smile. It’s time to begin again.

I woke abruptly this morning, too early, ahead of my artificial sunrise that now wakes me gently each morning. Somewhere nearby, a neighbor’s dog was barking. Loudly. I might have dozed off once again, but the hint of daylight beginning to glow through the shade was enough. I got up. Dressed for work. Made coffee. I’m pleased with myself for remembering that today is Tuesday; my work day starts early due to a meeting with a London colleague. I stare groggily into my coffee mug – I should be full awake by the time that meeting starts. LOL In the meantime, I have a few moments for me, in this quiet space, with my coffee. 🙂

Yesterday was hot. Like, summer hot, actually. I’m glad my Traveling Partner did so much to set up my garden for success with the drip watering. My plants seem happy. Roses blooming. We mostly stayed indoors, preferring the comfort of air conditioning. It was a pleasant day, generally speaking, without much chaos and no drama. Nice. I spent quite bit of the day (and the weekend) in the studio, painting. I’m pleased with the resulting work.

I’m rambling. Not quite awake yet. If I laid back down right now, I’d probably crash hard and slumber deeply. I think about doing so with a certain yearning… but it isn’t time for that, right now. 🙂 It’s time to Monday the hell out of this Tuesday. lol

I look at the time. I hope my partner slumbers on for as long as he needs to, to wake refreshed. I smile, and get ready to begin again. 🙂

I am sipping the cold remains of my second morning coffee, abandoned earlier, on my way into the garden. It’s less than ideally satisfying, as cold coffees go, neither properly cold, nor at all warm. I don’t much care; relative to other concerns it is a meaningless detail. Today, I’m feeling the weight of Memorial Day; it’s been a very long time since Memorial Day was any sort of celebration, for me. It is a day to remember the fallen: lives lost to war, lives lost to violence, a moment to contemplate the wasted human potential sacrificed to the causes of various governments… some of those lacking in moral high ground of any kind. I don’t find it something to celebrate. Instead, I honor those I’ve lost, and the lives lost that matter to others that I will never know. It’s simply my way.

I spent yesterday afternoon in my studio, painting. I’ve commented in other places that I am less likely to paint when I am content, fulfilled, happy, or satisfied. It’s an emotional experience that requires emotional impetus, and emotional momentum, and, for me, a way to communicate what I lack the words for. Make of that what you will. Honestly? I dislike “watching the world burn” in these problematic, chaotic times… but in my studio, and so many elsewhere, these are conditions that have a lot of potential to create great art. (Fingers crossed that anyone is around to appreciate any of it… later on.)

I am feeling a bit glum, and a bit angry. How is it 2021 and sexism is still a thing? Or the chronic condescension of patriarchy? How are so many people unwilling or unable to see the strong connection between sexism & misogyny – and literally all of the other evils of our society? (How many racists do you know who are not also sexist? How many people filled with hatred toward immigrants are not also sexist? How many elected idiots are not also sexist?) Sexism isn’t even limited to men, for fuck’s sake; there are ever so many women willing to carry that apologist torch to maintain this system that burns us all. This is where my head is at today; perplexed and sorrowful about all the human relationships tainted by the ugliness of implicit sexism. I’m not feeling open to excuses, explanations, denials, or “othering”, today. I’m not interested in justification, or placating platitudes. Hell, it’s not even connected to Memorial Day sadness – not even a little bit. It’s just where my head is at. I’m in a place in my own life where I no longer feel any obligation whatsoever to placate various men in my life, although out of general consideration, and a lack of interest in their opinion on an experience of sexism they can not share (and largely seem unable to recognize, as a result), I mostly just don’t discuss it, at all. Complicating all this is that is sometimes feels like a conversation with my father. He’s dead, though… hard to “feel heard”. So the anger comes and goes, not unlike the sorrow of any one Memorial Day; it has a place in my experience, a moment taken to care for it tenderly, to consider and soothe it, and then I move the fuck on to other things. There’s no solution that I reasonably expect to see in my lifetime, and I’ve got things to do.

I put on music to write to, suited to this peculiar headspace, while I sip this cold coffee and practice self-soothing a lifetime of seething rage until I am “okay” once more… For most values of “okay”. It is what it is, I guess. Life is, generally, pretty good. I find it worrisome to see so many people take their anger out into the world, along with a gun… and then end someone else’s life. That seems pretty unfair and entirely inappropriate. I don’t like seeing it become more and more prevalent… but of course, it’s hard to be certain that it has; likes, clicks, views, and the eager drive to capture consumer attention dictates what is in our news feeds every day. The undermining of “truth” – real, factual, documentable truth – has progressed to the point that I’ve even removed satirical and comedic content that uses current events for the foundational content from my feeds. I don’t care to risk my understanding of what is real and true, if I can avoid doing so. I try to stick with content that is fact-checked reliably. It gets harder all the time.

What do we do with all this anger? I feel it, too. I’m trying to find healthy ways to process it, to deal with it, to care for my own tender injured heart without doing damage to someone else’s. Painting is one way. Funny thing; yesterday I was not “painting anger”, although it was among the mixed emotions that pushed me into my studio. I was painting love, and painting hope, and painting joy, and the comfort of emotional safety. I was painting what I want to see in the world and in my own life. I surprised myself with that. Maybe it’s a good practice? I guess I’ll be needing to practice to see what comes of it, over time.

Today, though, is a day for housekeeping, and mindful service to hearth and home. This, too, is “my way”. I’m not sure why Sunday. I could say “the habit of a lifetime” – but it isn’t. Growing up, I most commonly saw housework being done more or less in all the waking hours of our family life – and all of it done by my Mother, or Grandmother, or some other woman, in some other home. I’m fortunate. I get a lot of help from my Traveling Partner. We generally both handle routine basics during the week. I do a few hours of focused housekeeping on the weekend, to get ready for a new week; I like the results, all week long. My partner tackles a lot of the maintenance and upkeep of the house and the technology we live with. It mostly seems a pretty fair division of labor. My resentment, when it occasionally builds up over time, tends to be more about my own shortcomings self-care-wise, and lack of skillful boundary-setting or time management, and discomfort with asking for help when I need it. Recognizing that’s “on me” to resolve, I try to be aware of my bullshit before it spills over elsewhere. No doubt I could improve in this area. lol

I look at my list of chores for today. It’s honestly not “all that”, and definitely doesn’t amount to enough work for any hint of annoyance or resentment or fuss. It’s just a routine Sunday on a long weekend. 🙂 Hell, I may even paint more later – I’m feeling very inspired lately. I don’t suggestion that that is a good thing… it’s just fuel for the artistic fire within.

I glance at the time, and into the bottom of my now-empty coffee mug; it’s time to begin again.