Archives for posts with tag: artist at work

Actually… I do know better. I can’t claim ignorance on this one; holding on to expectations and assumptions is a reliable shortcut to disappointment. Seriously. I let it go. There’s no value in beating myself up over the poor sleep thing.

I started into the weekend very much looking forward to sleeping deeply, sleeping well, and sleeping in. Innocent enough; I was struggling with fatigue and exhaustion, and the nights just felt too short, no matter how early I went to bed. I was eager to sleep in on Saturday morning, and, while I did so (on a technicality), my sleep was interrupted, restless, and less than ideally restful. Still – a great day of painting followed, so, no matter.

I rather stupidly caught myself still drinking coffee well past 5pm last night. Saturday night. No problem; I am not so tightly held to a “bed time” that the occasional late night would be a problem, right? So. Yeah. Amusingly, I was so tired, right at my usual time to start winding things down, I totally went to bed “on time” anyway. Caffeine? Not a problem apparently…only… my fitness tracker pointed out this morning that actually, I fell asleep, sufficiently deeply to register as actual sleep, sometime past 1 am. Wait… I was asleep enough to be awakened by a bad nightmare, shortly before midnight… wasn’t I? Fucking hell. My sleep, after I went back to bed following my nightmare, was again restless and interrupted. Here it is Sunday. Nothing whatever like “good sleep” occurred this weekend. lol Fuck.

Did I set myself up for failure by becoming emotionally invested in the task of sleeping? Probably. Is that “why” I didn’t sleep well? Doesn’t matter whether it was or wasn’t, actually, and getting caught up in the why of the poor sleep is just a distraction from the more immediate concern; awareness that investing in expectations and assumptions (even about sleep) is problematic. It puts me on a path of being disappointed by day-to-day experiences so commonplace as to be unavoidable. Not helpful.

I woke fairly well-rested this morning, in spite of the short, restless night. The laundry is started (I didn’t get far with it yesterday. lol Artists, amiright??). My studio is ready for me to get right back to work on several projects. I consider a visit to the market, and where the timing needs to fit into my day. When I feel like painting, everything else is a distraction. I am sitting in the studio, sipping coffee… and yawning. Listening to the washing machine chug along.

Inspiration is a funny thing; if I walk away, no guarantee it will be waiting when I return.

I sip my coffee, thinking about art. Interrupted work, like interrupted sleep, doesn’t always turn out quite as planned. Maybe I actually paint more today… maybe I don’t. I can’t tell from this perspective, right here, quite yet.

I pause my writing to put on my painting playlist – maybe music will get me re-engaged in this piece? I put out peanuts and bird seed and sit with my coffee for a few minutes, on my meditation cushion, seated in front of the patio door. Waiting. Watching. Breathing.

Visitors come and go. I sip my coffee and enjoy the moment.

The washing machine clunks to a stop. I get up to move the clean wash into the dryer, still unclear where the day will take me. Feeling rather less inspired that I felt at the end of the evening, last night. I’m neither disappointed nor unhappy; it was a great day in the studio yesterday, and the day, today, is far from over. I just don’t know what the day ahead will hold. What it looks like, from here, may be very different than the day I look back on. Best not to set myself up for failure by imagining the day too clearly or specifically, or falling into the trap of becoming so invested in one outcome, that no other can satisfy. lol

I consider the day, and this moment, here. I decide to begin again.

I pause from my studio time to have another coffee, consider the day, and the work so far, and just to take a needed break. Tables everywhere, a desk, a large easel – and I still often find myself working on the floor. lol It’s not as easy as it once was. Breaks are a good practice. πŸ™‚ I shifted, at some point, from stretching my legs to pacing. I didn’t really notice the change, my thoughts were still in the studio.

I contentedly note that although I’ve spent considerable time in the studio, this weekend, and very satisfyingly so; I don’t have much “to show for it”. It hasn’t been a frenzy of hastily conceived and completed work (one of the ways I commonly work is bursts of inspiration resulting in a dozen or so new pieces over a weekend, then… nothing for months. lol). In fact, this weekend has been a slower, deeper creative spell. I spent time tidying and organizing the studio, lost in creative thought. I spent time sorting through previously prepared backgrounds of various sorts, looking at them with new eyes, and new inspiration. I spent time contemplating a couple major works, still in progress, half-surprised that the slow pace has not frustrated me at all, making notes about next steps, and assembling materials. I spent time working out technical challenges involved in some new work I want to do – some ideas come to life more easily than others. What have I not done? I haven’t actually painted much. Nonetheless, a deeply satisfying creative weekend, savored moment-by-moment, rich with inspiration, and an awaking-from-within, as vague notions become detailed plans, sketches, and notes.

I needed this time spent with and on self. I sit contentedly with an afternoon coffee, reluctant to pass up the luxury of it, even knowing tomorrow is a work day. (I made a good choice, and made decaf. πŸ™‚ )

There is much to be learned from moments, and the day is not yet over. There’s more that I want to do – practical things, like laundry, cleaning paint brushes, and showering. It’s been a busy weekend, and I find myself reluctantly recognizing that I’m nearing the end of my physical resources, for the time being. Maybe for the day, and certainly for now. I allow the acknowledgement of fatigue to become encouragement to take time to savor the experiences of the weekend, at leisure. Breathe. Relax. Consider some detail or another. Feeling the contentment. The satisfaction, and feeling of wholeness. I continue, breath by breath, recollection by recollection. I feel my smile. I feel the comfortable relaxed posture I am in. I take note that I am not in any noteworthy pain at present, only a bit tired. I look around the studio at what I’ve gotten done this weekend. Tube after enticing tube of paint, and dozens of jars of glitter, sparkling bits and pieces, threads, chains, and shards of glass, draw my eye around the room hungrily. It does feel like a sort of hunger – to touch, to arrange, to feel the textures of paint and canvas, to see a thought become a vision – but I am sated already, and too tired, now.

…There will be other weekends…

In the meantime, there are practices to practice, and self-care to manage. For now, that’s enough. πŸ™‚

I spent Sunday in the studio. It was lovely. Music, paint, and chill creative time – an investment in self. New work drying, waiting to be seen in sunlight, and a beautiful recollection of time well-spent. “Being a creative” – probably true for any sort of artist, really – is quite possibly the most precious and “important” part of “who I am” that I could ever think to share; it’s how I tell the stories I don’t have words for. It can’t actually be taken from me – by anyone.

I’ve been in some shitty relationships, and gotten tangled up with some human beings who did not actually have my interests in mind at all, and did not mean me well – but only one of those, ever, has dared to lay an angry hand on my art work. Her existence as a human being colors the way I feel about new relationships, sadly, making me very cautious, indeed. Generally, human beings I have been emotionally involved with have been pretty uniformly respectful of both my creative process and the resulting work. Not that one; it is clear that the behavior is willful, deliberate, and intentionally chosen for maximum cruelty and manipulative power. While that sucks completely, and causes me real pain, I know something she has not yet learned; tit-for-tat nastiness does more emotional damage to the person doing it than to the person being treated poorly. The damage to me amounts to only as much as I permit. Non-attachment is huge here. Having learned that lesson a very long time ago, there’s no reason to interact with her at all. (In keeping with my own admonitions “don’t take the bait”, I am careful not to allow myself to be baited.) Certainly I’ve no interest in game-playing or “pay backs” – what a waste of precious limited life time that would be.

Work in progress, not yet completed, inspired by an X. “Toxicity”.

Walking on from something as dear to me as my art work, when I know it is in the hands of someone who will (or has) destroyed it – and who I have clear confirmation has that potential, because she’s already damaged some of it (and won’t return the rest) – is uncomfortable. It’s hard. No lie. Is all that beautiful work lost? Maybe. It may be that I will have to handle it with a civil stand by, at a later date, or criminal charges, or a civil lawsuit, certainly, it is not necessary for me to “take care of it” myself. For now? I have other things to do with my life, and no interest in being emotionally manipulated. I let it all go. I walk on. I spend delightful leisure hours in my studio, painting new work.

I hear from my Traveling Partner late in the day. We talk. I feel wrapped in his love. That’s a story I will tell on canvas, in colors and brush strokes, for the rest of my life, and it is one that brings me great joy.

So much love it regularly spills onto canvas. πŸ™‚

Pay backs are bullshit. Don’t be tempted into playing that game; you’ve already lost once you allow that toxic mess into your thinking. Stay on your path. Be the person you most want to be. Don’t become a thing you despise because you feel hurt or angry. (I know, I know, there are verbs involved, and your results may vary.) Transcending the willful hurts delivered by another can be incredibly difficult, but… every time you do? You demonstrate the beauty of your fundamental humanity. Taking that “high road”? You show the quality of your character – to everyone. What that person so invested in hurting you thinks about you (or says) is irrelevant, to you, and to the world; they have shown who they are. Let them have their skewed world view, and walk on. “Being right”? Not as important as your life. You don’t need to defend yourself to others, or “prove” a point. Life your life. Live it well. Treat others well. Be kind. Be true to your values. Let go of whatever you have to, in order to break the chains that bind you to another by anything but your own choice to be with them (ideally because you mutually meet each other’s emotional needs in a positive supportive way, that encourages personal growth and nurtures you all).Β Β Just my thoughts on that sort of thing. It works for me.

Another day and week begin. A satisfying weekend becomes a new work week. Clearly, it is time to begin again. πŸ™‚

 

 

I’m sipping my coffee and listening to the rain fall. The dawn is gray, and it’s hard to accept that day break is past, and this… is it. Morning. No “sunrise” in any obvious way. The sky is a drizzly homogeneous featureless gray. I woke planning to paint. I still feel peculiarly energized to paint, and likely will. I’ll probably “go off script” from there, though, and “just paint” instead of working with purpose, plan, and structure on pieces that I have already sketched out in my head. I know what works for me, artistically.

I contemplate conversations with friends from yesterday. The afternoon was spent wrapped in warmth and intimate affection, connected close friendships, easy hang out time. We shared a bite of late lunch-not-quite-dinner, sufficient to fuel the afternoon hours without the distraction of hunger to throw off the genial vibe. Both very good friends of mine, neither had met the other previously, and we all had a great time – it was a well-connected, deep, experience. The conversation was lively, fun in spots, serious in others, and quickly exceeded any sort of “getting to know each other” limitations to become fully invested, authentic, and yeah – deep. Really talking over life. Love. The world. It was soul-nourishing time.

Hanging out and talking, watching cartoons, listening to music – these are very much favorite activities of mine to share with friends. Yesterday was a day well-spent.

I miss my Traveling Partner. I smile, feeling the warmth of his love as a sort of carrier wave on which the details of my experience travel across my consciousness. He would have been so welcome, yesterday. He remains so welcome today. He’s just hundreds of miles away, is all. lol I wish him well, and wrap the thought of him in my love. I would enjoy sharing coffee with him, this morning, and talking over yesterday – and tomorrow. lol Soon enough.

Openness is one of my “Big 5” relationship values. It’s a tricky one – what does that even mean, “openness”? For me, it means both acceptance and non-attachment. It means listening deeply, not just waiting to talk. It means being willing to change my thinking with new information. It means being observant in the moment, and prepared to “go with it” when circumstances or people reveal something more about themselves. It means embracing authenticity, myself, and sharing who I actually am, with others who are sharing who they actually are, too. It means creating an emotionally safe environment for that authenticity to exist. It means learning to communicate without tools like criticism, discouragement, or ad hominem attacks. It means “yes, and…”, instead of “no, but…”. There you go. Go forth and be open! LOL – I know, I know, it isn’t that easy, it does take practice, and your results will definitely vary. πŸ™‚

This morning I got schooled on being open in the most delightful way; I woke to a message asking me where my boundaries may be, on the subject of “getting closer”. Gently handled, clear, frank, and worded such that there just wasn’t any chance of being hurt by the inquiry, or any possible mistake about the intention – quite the contrary. I live pretty openly with this being I have grown to become over time, and I’m not surprised someone besides me would like to be closer. Going beyond the platonic relationship we share now is an exciting thought. No need to rush things along; that’s sort of new, mixed in with all this extra adulting I’ve learned to do. I offer reassurance that I’ve got no preset rules against growing closer, and no objection to it. I find myself wondering if I were sufficiently gracious about it – did I communicate my appreciation? For the desire? For the question? I smile. Everything’s fine. There’s no room for pointless anxiety here. There is always time enough for love. πŸ™‚

The rain intensifies, and perversely I now want to be in the garden. lol Instead, I set a course for the kitchen, a second coffee, and my meditation cushion. It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

I’ve been wandering around in an inspired fog now for almost two days, feeling electrified with wonder, new perspective, feelings of being profoundly well-loved. It’s a very good place to be, as an individual human. I ride the wave. I know this too shall pass. lol

Good news from yesterday; still mortal, but whatever is causing me so much pain isn’t (as far as modern science can thus far determine) some obvious horrific creeping disease of middle-aged likely to end my journey “too soon”.

The bad news? Still don’t know what’s causing me so much very specific new pain. That’s the thing of it – I’m making doctors work for their money. I don’t want my pain medicated, and if easing it right now requires medication, they can go fuck themselves. I want to know what is wrong. First. Fuck pain killers. Fuck the politicization of pain management. Fuck the “opioid crisis”. Fuck bad medicine. Fuck bad politics. Fuck congress or the nightly news getting all up in the business of managing my health care – which ideally should be a matter for me and my doctor(s). Fuck the VA replacing MD’sΒ with nurse practitioners to cut costs. Fuck all that – just tell me, correctly, accurately, with good certainty, what the ever-loving-fuck is going on here? lol Small ask, one would think.

Did you not read that last paragraph with a proper frustrated-to-the-edge-of-tears snarl? Give it another read for me, please? I’m angry as fuck. lol πŸ˜‰

Still in progress, about to be completed, new work in mind – great challenges create inspiration. (Your results may vary.)

Still. I’m wandering around with inspiration delightfully distracting me from all that in most moments, which is … wow. I still have to calm myself enough to firmly decide whether I am painting this weekend… because… omg… I gotta. lol I haven’t felt this level of inspiration in actual years. It is… wonderful. One downside… I’m lugging my sketchbook everywhere, and a fistful of colored pencils and manga pens, for note taking sketches for work I consider “already in progress”. Mixed media details are quickly being sought, gathered, ordered, acquired, obtained… and I am filled with a sense of power and purpose.

A great deal of my work is inspired by defiance in the face of trauma or turmoil. A wordless shout, “you have no power over me!” Delight and euphoria surge through my body, and electrical shocks climb my spine again and again. Today I spell “Artist” with a capital “A”.

Today I begin again.