Archives for category: Art

Well… Happy Valentine’s Day, at any rate. Try to avoid getting VD (venereal disease) – it would be sure to detract from any potential holiday joy. πŸ˜€

“Lovers” 8″ x 10″ watercolor on paper 1992

I have a lot of thoughts about Valentine’s Day, few of them are G-rated. My personal take on Valentine’s Day, as a holiday, is that it is the one holiday on the calendar specifically devoted to sexual love. Romance. Not “family life”, not little kids giving paper cards, not “hearts and flowers” in any casual sense (“I sent my Mom flowers for Valentine’s Day” is definitely not in the spirit of the holiday as I understand it, myself). Valentine’s Day is a holiday to celebrate sensual pleasure, sexual pleasure, physical connections and bonds, the delights of romance of all sorts, and not some watered-down Hallmark holiday at all.

Is love a journey or a destination? Or… is love a verb?

Having said all that… I’m alone this Valentine’s Day, and lacking co-celebrants of any sort in any near-at-hand physical sense. LOL πŸ˜€ Somehow, I manage not to be bitter about Valentine’s Day. Some years I’ve been partnered. Some years I’ve been solo. Some years being partnered hasn’t resulted in sex on Valentine’s Day… which is like the worst way to celebrate this holiday. LOL At least have some smooches and snuggles, y’all. πŸ˜€

Be love. It’s a choice. Love is a verb.

Somewhere a long the way, people seem to have gotten the idea that “inclusion” and “inclusivity” means everyone can, and must always have access to be able to, celebrate and/or enjoy everything available to be celebrated and/or enjoyed by anyone at all. I don’t think life really works quite that way. This is a really good example. I see Valentine’s Day as a specifically quite carnal sexual celebration of love… I also don’t have a partner at hand with whom to celebrate this holiday, on this day, in this year. Those are all true things. Does this, then, mean I am entitled to celebrate nonetheless and all such celebrations must now be tailored to enable and accommodate my participation? And what if the pre-requisite for such requires that I be fundamentally other than I am? What must change? Just something I turn over in my head now and then. I’m a huge fan of inclusion – sorting out what precisely that actually means is tougher. I mean, I will nonetheless “celebrate” the holiday – by noting that it exists, and quite probably enjoying a lovely meal later, and maybe a very tasty glass of sherry or port – but it is a pale comparison to my preferred ways of celebrating sexual love. LOL πŸ˜€

Love matters most.

Valentine’s Day-wise, Love gets to lead a lot of the conversation. Love has a lot to say. I don’t know what it says about love – or folks who read my blog – but this post on Valentine’s Day, from 2013, is my most popular post ever of always to date. So, this year, remember – even if you can’t “get lucky” this Valentine’s Day, how lucky you are simply to be,Β and to be you; you matter. Celebrate with the person in the mirror (<groan> lol, sorry, I could not resist, but sure, if you’ve got the time and inclination, do you. LMAO). Enjoy you. Lavish yourself with your own affection this year – why not? You may begin the best relationship of your life, by beginning a better one with the person in the mirror.

My ears are still ringing. An evening to remember, for sure. Wow. GRiZ. Opiou. The company of my Traveling Partner and a couple of friends down for a night of fun. My ears are ringing, sure… and I am awake far far too early. I’m still smiling. πŸ™‚

Live.

I got home “at a decent hour” a bit past midnight. Made a point of doing basic self-care stuff in spite of the late hour, and got to sleep soon enough to manage a couple hours of deep sleep, waking groggy and unconvinced it is worth it to drag myself around adulting on so little rest. I reset the alarm for an hour later and slept for 3 more minutes. lol

No, seriously – live life. Do things. Go places. Have experiences. πŸ™‚

I’ve no idea what today holds, besides this smile. And coffee. There will be rather a lot of coffee. Maybe I’ll see my Traveling Partner again tonight. Maybe not. The day will unfold, crafted from choices and circumstances, enhanced by observation, perspective, and emotion, and interpreted through this wily squishy bit sloshing around in my cranium. The journey is the destination.

I woke promptly at 3 am. I mean, like, really woke up. No panic, no sense of being awakened by something, I simple woke, feeling rested and alert. Too alert for the wee hour of morning at which I woke, but… fuck it. I got up and made coffee. πŸ™‚

It seemed the sort of morning for it, so, wireless headphones on, I move through my yoga routine, some strength training, and feeling joyful and generally good I moved on from there to simply enjoying my playlist, dancing, and tidying up a bit (relatively quietly, considering the hour – and my neighbors’ likely desire to sleep much later than I had).

Yesterday ended up being, aside from the bit of OPD (other people’s drama) in the morning, quite a lovely and relaxed day. My brunch plans fell through, so I made a lovely bit of brunch at home. My afternoon plans to hang out with a friend also fell through (no ache over that; we hang out most Saturday afternoons, and don’t take such things at all personally, when one or the other of us cancels now and then). I enjoyed a lovely nap in the afternoon, in spite of the quantity of well-crafted espresso beverages I’d consumed. I painted some. I spent some time reading. I enjoyed some time out on the deck, listening to the rustling fluttering leaves tell me about the breezes. I hiked a couple miles on unfamiliar neighborhood trails; my current favorite is rather steeper than I ever seem to expect it to be, and therefore still a bit challenging. It was, in general, quite a lovely day.

After my blog post, yesterday, and throughout the remainder of the day, friends reached out, checked in, checked on me, offered sympathy, encouragement, words of support. I certainly feel well-regarded by my friends, readers, associates – y’all are a good bunch of humans, and damn – I appreciate you. ❀ I’m still pretty wowed by the outpouring of concern and affection. I hope the woman next door is similarly well-regarded by her friends, family, and loved ones – pretty sure she had a much tougher time of things, yesterday, than I did.

Our ability to connect, to share, to be open to one another, to “be there” for each other, matters so much. This morning I finish my coffee while thinking back on dear friends who have always tried to “be there”, and how long it took me to understand that welcoming that connection, and being open to be being supported, is also required. Perhaps I’d have come farther, faster, or found my way more easily to greater wellness sooner, if I had been more easily able to accept help when offered? It’s something I think about.

Funny thing about these early mornings; they don’t seem to change whether or not I have much to say. LOL The track changes on my playlist. I finish my coffee. There is so much of the day still ahead of me…

…The light in my current studio is every bit as good for painting at 5 am as it is at 2 pm in the afternoon (not very; I use artificial light here, so the hour of the day is irrelevant). I turn an imaginary sign in my head to “artist at work”, grin at my fanciful imagination, and go make another cup of coffee. It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

Inspiration is a funny thing. I am occasionally frustrated when Inspiration strikes, and I am “trapped” at work, or in life, in circumstances that undermine the moment from one of great power and motivation to something more like a cognitive itch I can’t scratch. Timing matters. Time matters. Location matters. Available resources with which to work – that matters, too. Any one element being a bit off, or out of reach, and the whole moment degrades, slips away, fades before I can dive into that delicious drenching sea for a quick swim, before inevitably returning to the sometimes tedious shores of a more staid reliably productive wholly limited reality.

Having a studio at home as been awesome, and exploring what that can be like definitely changed my approach to my living arrangements. Making a point to live in spaces in which I can have dedicated creative space has uncoupled any struggling to match inspiration with location from any of my relationships. That’s been wonderful. Managing my professional life (outside of art) such that I reliably have the resources to keep art supplies well-stocked has uncoupled any struggling to match inspiration with available resources. Β The only significant struggle that remains is to do with time, and timing.

I’m smiling this morning, and feeling fortunate that I’d already planned a long weekend for the equinox. When inspiration struck me with force, it was easy enough to roll with it, change my plans from coastal camping to a stay-cation in the studio, and happily move on with things. πŸ™‚ I arrived home yesterday and happily flipped an imagined “artist at work” sign in my head, made a coffee – because I’ve got 3+ days to play with, and no requirement to adhere to any particular routine unless I choose to do so, and no concern about late nights. Sometime after my 5th coffee of the day (and a bit past 4 pm) I admitted I’d probably had enough coffee. lol In the meantime, I had stepped into my studio, looked around, and agreed with my inner artist that a different arrangement of space, gear, and furnishings would be helpful…

…Somehow, I spent the evening rather energetically (hello 5 cups of coffee!!) “moving in more”, moving stored paintings around, discovering there were just too damned many stacked that I’d intended to be hanging, which lead to hanging more paintings (everywhere). I moved on to “those art cabinets are sort of in the way right there… which lead to moving furniture around. I got to that skinny box by the wall, and went ahead and finished setting up my workstation by putting the big desk monitor in its obvious place – on my desk. One by one, stacks of paintings, boxes of art supplies that had been “left for later”, art cabinets, supplies, blank canvases, books, gear, drop cloths… everything began to “sort itself out” (with my help, obviously – because no one is doing this shit for me!). By 7 pm, I was pretty much stalled. Finished. Done for the day. Not exactly tired, I remember thinking, but more just needing a bit of a break to consider next steps – with every intention of turning on appropriate lights and doing some “dark work” in glow colors.

Coffee or no coffee; I crashed at 8:30 pm, and slept deeply through the night. I woke briefly around 4 am, took my morning medication, peed, and went straight back to bed, and slept another 3 hours. It isn’t common for me to sleep so well, so deeply, or for so many hours. 11 hours of sleep? Brain-tired from an intense, however short, work week. I get it. It makes sense. I’m glad I didn’t make any attempt to force a routine on myself; I obviously needed the rest. πŸ™‚

This morning feels fresh and new and filled with wonder, color, music… and yeah, more coffee. LOL No idea what “next” looks like, yet. I linger over my coffee and my words; there’s no need to rush. This is a moment which is not enhanced by attempts at efficiency. Totally okay with that. The woman in the mirror is a different creature when she’s painting than when she’s 9-to-5-ing. I roll with the change happily, feeling transformed into some more natural state of being, relishing the freedom to be wholly myself, utterly without limitations or restrictions besides those I place on myself. Feels good. I let my soul stretch just as I would let myself stretch my body after a long time in one position; comfortable or uncomfortable, remaining in one position too long generally results in needing a good stretch, yeah? Same for my artist’s soul, I suppose. I feel my heart and my emotions reaching outside the day-to-day limitations of what is comfortable to display in public. Freedom to feel more, to explore myself more, to fully be. My home, my rules, my way. I look around my studio with a smile, and remind the world beyond “you don’t tell me“.

Maybe I write more this weekend. Maybe I don’t. Maybe I get all the sleep I need. Maybe I’m up all night painting. Maybe I paint a ton of tiny paintings. Maybe I work on just one canvas. Maybe I choose. Maybe I let Inspiration lead me gently. Maybe the work unfolds precisely as I envision it. Maybe everything I do ends up entirely different than I expected. Maybe all the housekeeping also gets done. Maybe the weekend ends with dishes in the sink.

That’s a lot of maybes. I’m sure about the coffee. LOL The rest? I’ll let you know on the other side of this vast Sea of Inspiration. It’s time to go for a swim. πŸ™‚

So, training on a new tool ended yesterday, in the sense that the trainer has left the building to return to her regular day-to-day experience elsewhere. My work week ends in a handful of hours after one meeting. It would be so easy to give myself a moment of self-congratulatory joy, celebrate an achievement, and be done with that… but… that isn’t how new knowledge (or new practices) actually work. The learning is a beginning, only. Then come the verbs. The practice. The repetition. The iterations of improvement over time. The learning curve. Skill building. Improvements. Refinements. Enhancements. Efficiency building. It’s even a cycle. Each new thing learned, practiced, and “mastered” leads to yet another new thing learned, which must be practiced, and mastered, which leads… yeah. So.

Weekends are also a thing. I’ve got a lovely long one ahead of me. I’d planned to spend the Autumnal Equinox on the coast, but this training week was important (remains important, it is simply now in the past), enough to cut a couple hours out of my planned time, resulting in a change in plan. Truly, though, what canceled my trip to the coast was a splash of inspiration urging me into the studio, which… yeah. That comes first whenever I can make it so. πŸ˜€

Beginnings and endings, and an unfinished self-portrait waiting to be completed.

I sip my coffee content with this moment. Eager to return home to my weekend. Eager to linger at leisure at the edge of the rainy day deck garden with a coffee too late in the day, unconcerned because the day of leisure will be followed by another. I am even eager to throw routine out the window, to stay up late in defiance of healthy sleep practices, to sleep in on a “work day” (helloooo, Friday morning, I’m looking your way!), to play the stereo loud, to be – without looking at the clock. Just anticipating the delicious leisure moments ahead, I feel myself relax. I need this. πŸ™‚

I’m pretty good at routines. I’m less skillful about breaking them. It’s not generally wise, but sometimes I do learn best from my challenges when I explore them, gently. Am I ready for some chaos? I’d better be…

…Anyway… I can always begin again. πŸ˜‰