Tag Archives: studio

The 52 Lists (for Happiness) Project #22

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List the things you prioritize before doing what really makes you happy:

I imagine a life of rising to coffee, then yoga, then writing, that would then give way to a long walk with my dogs and a spin around the yard and garden before going to the studio. There, I would have time to fully develop concepts, try out guesses and whims and ideas that come to me in dreams, read, explore and grow. Another run through the garden, to gather vegetables for an evening meal, then a shower to signal the end of my work day. Dinner, then, mindfully prepared and enjoyed. Cleaning time next, then the rest of the evening for relaxing activity. I think a life like that would make me happy. But…

  • I prioritize things I have to do. Because my life falls apart if I don’t. Things like laundry, and dishes, and sweeping the floor. My life is so much better – and happier – when these things are done, I even incorporated “cleaning time” in my imagined ideal life. Then there are the seasonal “have-to”s. Like planting the garden or mowing the lawn. When it’s time, other things have to be put aside to make time.
  • I prioritize things I ought to do. I go to funerals. I make an appearance at benefits, showers and retirement parties. I attend the annual meetings of the Beaver Island Boat Company. I am a sitting member of the Amik Circle Society, and serve as secretary at their meetings. I occasionally attend township meetings. I vote. These are obligations. Still, there is satisfaction in fulfilling them.
  • I prioritize the things I need to do. I need to have a job with a paycheck I can count on. Though art sales and art classes have supplemented my income for the past thirty-five years, and I have imagined a hundred different scenarios (and tried out more than a couple) where art-related activities could support me, realistically, I need a job. I will probably have to hold a job for the rest of my life. I call it the “work until death” track. For more than twenty years, I worked as the morning waitress at the Shamrock Bar & Restaurant; I have been working at Powers Hardware for the last sixteen. Though I work because I need to work, I am fortunate that it makes me happy, too. I saved a few lines – I can’t remember the author, but have that written down somewhere, too – that would be perfect for my eulogy: “I slept, and dreamt that life was joy. I woke, and found that life was service. I acted, and found that service was joy.”
  • I prioritize joyous things that come along. Sometimes, it’s a grandchild or two, coming for a visit. Sometimes, it’s a day when I’m simply too exhausted after work to walk the dogs, so I load them into the car – along with a camera, a beer and a book – and we go to Fox Lake. We have the place all to ourselves, the dogs are happy and the water is beautiful, so I stay, ignoring all the things I should be doing. Most recently, it was last week, when two of my sisters and one cousin arrived, to open the farmhouse for the season. I didn’t get into the studio, even for a minute. I didn’t get my lawn mowed. I didn’t get my windows washed. I didn’t continue any of my organizing or deep cleaning. The trade-off was an entire week of family time: dinners around Aunt Katie’s farmhouse table with people that I love; good conversations; evenings of euchre, Bingo and Scrabble; laughter; good hugs; wonderful companionship. Worth every bit of time I could give!

Though my imagined “happy life” is a far cry from my life as it is, I am happy, and my priorities contribute to my contentedness. So!

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Timeout for Art: Coming up Empty

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I am an artist.

It took me many long years to learn to use those words to describe what drives me, what my passions are. For a long while I felt unworthy of the title. I’d say, “I like art,” “I’m an art student,” “I play around in art,” or “I’m working in the arts.” All of these reflect interest, but none imply achievement. Finally, I got over that barrier. I say “I am an artist.” Not only that, when asked to describe myself, that is usually the first thing that comes to mind. It has become the way I think of myself, on equal footing with mother, walker, feminist and writer. It is a big part of my identity.

I am an artist.

It doesn’t go away. This identity was slow in attaching itself to me, but now that it’s here, it isn’t fickle. Even when long days and weeks go by without time in the studio, it hangs on. Though sometimes I feel I have nothing to express through my art anymore, it stays with me. That’s good…because sometimes I just can’t bring it. No time and no energy leads to no inspiration, because inspiration isn’t a gift from the heavens, but just a by-product of daily tending. If I don’t put in the time, I don’t reap the rewards. It’s every bit as simple as that.

Still, I am an artist.

Though my children are grown and long-gone from my household…though it’s a rare occasion that I can even slip in a piece of advice…though I can see them each straining to not roll their eyes when I try to relate how I handled things…still, I am a mother. It’s at the very core of my identity; it won’t go away.

I think I will always think of myself as a walker, though my distance is not as impressive as it once was, and I let many other things get in the way. It has to do with how I feel about walking and how I feel when I am walking that holds its place in my list of personal identifiers.

My life is crowded with things to do…many are less important to my spiritual growth and well being than art, but demand my time anyway. I can’t always choose which way to best direct my energy. I have to consider obligations, commitments and the earning power of any endeavor. It might always be like this, though I’m wishing for better. No matter what, I am an artist.

 

Timeout for Art: Studio Time

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Though I’ve stuck to my commitment of doing a sketch a day, the results are less than stellar. One night, in pajamas and in bed with my sketch pad and Miss Rosa Parks, I decided to use the little dog as subject matter. Rosa doesn’t sit well for photographs and, it turns out, she’s not much of an artist’s model, either. I had only her little nostrils drawn when she moved away. I started again, and had the perfect outline of one ear when she moved again. I got one line tracing her back from shoulders to tail when she flopped on her side. I set it aside and went to sleep. The next day, I used the same page for a sketch of my dinner napkin. On other days, it was my water glass, an edge of blanket or the corner of a room. Nothing much, and nothing finished.

I did manage a few hours in my studio this week. I now have twenty-eight small collage-paintings underway. I’ve been working on them in groups of four; each set has similarities in color and collage elements. My goal is that, when finished, each painting would stand on its own, but that they would also look good all displayed together. I don’t want it to look like a bunch of “sets of four,” but like a cohesive group of twenty-eight or maybe a hundred, if I get that far.

To pull them together, I mixed them up and arranged them on the floor. Then I chose a procedure, a color, and other factors to merge the disparate pieces. First, I used the wrong end of a paint brush to make tiny dots in a meandering line with copper-colored iridescent paint. Forty dots, with the line starting on one piece and finishing on the next. Not every painting got this treatment, but maybe six pairs did. Then I rearranged the paintings. Next, a tiny brush to make little teardrop shapes in large arcs of deep blue. Again, the pattern went from one piece to the next. Then rearrange. I continued this way through several procedures, sometimes a bold dotted line in a subtle color, other times a bright color with a more timid mark.

I want the paintings to share characteristics, but not to shout it. Even if these little details go unnoticed, they should serve to make the pieces  relate to each other when displayed together. I have a long way to go before these are finished…but I like the way they’re coming along.

Creative Fire Journal, Day #5

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“What an overwhelming lesson to all artists! Be not afraid of absurdity; do not shrink from the fantastic. Within a dilemma, choose the most unheard-of, the most dangerous, solution. Be brave, be brave!” ― Isak Dinesen

A dilemma I’m facing is:

Make a list of 10 unheard-of, dangerous solutions:

A dilemma I’m facing is getting my work space organized so that I can easily work in it.

It’s a small room, 12′ x 12′(the space under the eaves adds about 3′ x 12′ to either side, though it’s not high enough to stand in). When it comes to art, art books, art materials, beautiful papers and tools for working, I’m a bit of a hoarder.

If it were used only for art making, the room would already be crowded.

There is the very large yet very necessary drafting table, taking up a big block of space. It is used for drawing, adding watercolor to collagraph prints, painting, putting collages together, reading and – every now and then – as a dinner table. There is the big padded bar stool that goes with it, to get me up to the correct level to work. Next to the drafting table, a set of shallow shelves holds materials I use most often. There is a smaller desk chair. It is needed, too, for when Madeline (or one of the grandsons) is visiting, and we want to be in the studio together. I sometimes use it as an easel, too, and it’s always there when I need a place to drape a sheet of newsprint or fabric that I’ve used to rub a painting, until the paint dries. The printing press, if not in use so that the press bed can be centered under the roller mechanism, takes up a space 32 inches by 40 inches. More, when the press bed is off to either side. A short bookcase stands under each of the two windows. Their shelves house my art books; the top surface holds clay pieces, waiting for the kiln.

This is also the room where I keep my materials, and finished works in between galleries.

The space under the eaves is used for storage.

I have, on one side: two file drawers; a map cabinet for storing flat works; 12 storage totes labelled with the materials they contain and hung on rails between dividers, so that any one can be pulled out without moving all of them; 8 bus tubs for paper-making supplies, tucked in the same way. Behind the totes is a large vinyl lidded trash can filled with moist clay, several big bowls from an old commercial bread making machine, and a few rolls of bubble wrap. A shallow shelf above the totes holds moistened printing papers inside of large plastic bags when I’m actively printing. At other times, it tends to be a catch-all.There is an old TV with a built in VHS player hanging from the ceiling. Sometimes I put a movie in, for entertainment while I work.

The other side has a folding work table for inking printing plates. It holds pots of inks, boxes of latex gloves, and squares of dense cardboard for spreading the ink. There is a work light hanging above the table, and many lengths of starched cheesecloth hanging off to the side. Beside the table is a box holding collagraph plates and another holding lengths of metal frames, not yet assembled. Then there is a box of mattboard, and several packages of pre-cut matts. The remaining space has framed artwork, wrapped individually for protection from scratches and air-born paint spatters, stored standing up, in very tight quarters.

At this time, I have a half dozen finished or almost finished works leaning against the wall of storage totes, making them inaccessible without a major shuffle. I have gallons of gesso, polymer gel, polymer medium and glue under the drafting table. I have a large painting-in-progress on top of the printing press. I have small painted canvasses in various stages of completion on every available surface.

This is definitely a dilemma!

Possible solutions:

  • Pretend I’ve had a house fire, and clear out the studio entirely. Mercilessly. This is a fresh start.

[My heart is pounding dangerously at the thought!]

  • Get rid of everything that I don’t love right now. If it needs work or isn’t “quite there yet,” ditch it.

[No, I still can’t stand it!]

  • Toss everything I am not actively working with, or working on. Burn the drawings that I did twenty years ago in art class; dump the contents of totes that I haven’t looked at in months.

[I’m not up for these kinds of absurd solutions!]

  • Work larger; use stuff up.
  • Plan works using the materials I have on hand.
  • Spend more time in the studio, finishing things, using materials.
  • Use what I have; don’t bring any more materials in.
  • Quit saving every single thing.
  • Find ways to incorporate scraps into new works.
  • Perhaps make woven sculptures from old prints and papers.

That’s just about as dangerous as I can bring myself to be. It will have to do.

One Day to the Next

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Some of these mornings, I am not prepared to write.

There are days when I wake up so bursting with ideas of things to talk about, I can hardly type fast enough. Other days where I turn to my writing prompts for inspiration, and work it into a post.

I started doing that this morning: day five of the thirty-day journal writing challenge. I put in the prompts; I found a photo; I even found a good, inspirational quote. Nothing came of it. I am uninspired. I’ll save it for another day.

Winter is finally upon us here on Beaver Island. It’s not one of those extreme winters we’ve grown accustomed to. Not so far, anyway. But the snow has arrived, and looks like it will stay awhile. Our ferry boat quit running before Christmas. Business has slowed.

Time, then, for all of the things I put off…until winter.

I’ve been cleaning, at work and at home: the kind of thoughtful sorting and deep cleaning that never gets done in the busy season.

At the hardware, I’ve been arranging the basement so that overstock merchandise and seasonal products are orderly and accessible. I cleaned up the screening area, hauling out glass and plexiglas pieces, rolls of old screen and metal scraps. I put all the holiday merchandise into one side of one neat aisle. I’m helping to set up a display of new faucets.

At home, I’m incorporating some”Zen habits for de-cluttering” that I recently read about. I never get up from the desk without filing or otherwise taking care of five items that are on it. I never leave a room without fluffing a pillow, wiping off a surface or tidying an area. Last week I thoroughly cleaned my underwear drawer. I threw out every pair of socks with holes in heel or toe. I got rid of anything with worn out elastic. I pitched every single uncomfortable undergarment. Then I folded everything that was left, and lined it up nicely, in rows. One small step, I know…but in the right direction!

In the studio…well, I’m working on it. All of it. The organizing and cleaning. The matting and framing. The actual art making. I just plug away, with the time I have for it, but it is definitely a discouragement.

The list is long, of things to do, wherever I am, and whatever I’m doing. Usually just a bit longer than the winter allows for. All I can do is continue working on it all, day to day.

Timeout for Art: What’s Going On?

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Not much going on in my studio the last few days, but come, I’ll show you around.

Coming up to the top of the stairs, a bookcase fills the landing. If you looked to the right, you’d see the bedroom door, painted pale gray with the word “BED” stenciled on it in white. To the left is the studio door. Notice the “Paint” sign my granddaughter made for me, on top of the bookcase, with the arrow pointing the way to the studio. A stuffed hand hangs on the doorknob, and points to the poster. The framed poster is an old one, designed in the late seventies to promote a new city-wide art program in Portland, Oregon. As I understand, it was the mayor of Portland that posed as the flasher for the picture.

The other side of that door looks like this:

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Pinch pots, just the right size to fit in the bowl of your hand, are waiting to be fired.

Drawers hold works in many styles, and various stages of completion.

Collage papers are collected and gathered together on every available surface.

Usually I have something hanging. or leaning against a wall to look at, to try to figure out what it needs. Right now, it’s this large piece:

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I’m planning to soon have progress on current works to report. For today, though, just this little tour.

Time Out for Art: Getting Back Into It

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This is not a great work of art.

It’s not even a finished work of art.

It’s just a beginning…but that’s much more important than it sounds.

I’ve complained a great deal, over the last year, about having no time to work in the studio. Other obligations and commitments have filled my days. The longer I stayed away, the harder it was to start again.

Creativity in any form – whether writing, painting, parenting, teaching, performing or climbing a mountain, for heaven’s sake – needs to be practiced. Otherwise it is diminished. Skills may get rusty, but they are not lost. What is lost is confidence: that ability to get “into the flow” where everything comes easily, where right choices sing and bad decisions don’t paralyze.

When creative practice has been neglected, it is HARD to get back at it.

I’d been struggling with it for quite some time.

I kept pencils and paper handy for sketching. I tried to get back in the habit of drawing every day. I acquired and read several books on artists, techniques, and overcoming blocks. I went to the studio to just sit, to become more comfortable with it again. I watched the entire PBS series on art in the 21st century. I collected scraps and detritus and papers that might work in collages. I lined up paints and oil pastels. I made stacks of papers. I clipped magazine pages.

It seemed like I couldn’t get past the “preparation” into actually “beginning the work.”

I’ll tell you what finally worked.

A friend had me over to dinner. She was here on Beaver Island for just a short visit so, though I was very busy and quite tired and kind of depressed, and figured I’d probably be lousy company, I didn’t cancel.

I know it was a lovely meal though I can’t remember what we ate.

She brought out colored pencils and coloring pages designed for adults, with patterns rather than pictures. We colored as we talked.

She showed me her new work and asked about finding direction, figuring out what to do next, and how to know when something is finished. I advised her not because she needed my advice (her work is lovely) but only because she asked. I told her things that had worked for me, or that had worked for others. I told her about some games I had played with students, to get them to loosen up in their art.

I remembered a disc, like a game would have, with a spinning pointer. Instead of things like “move ahead three spaces” or “return to START,” it had techniques or materials to incorporate in the artwork. The more we talked, the more we both got excited about the idea. We set aside the coloring pages and started making lists of methods and materials. As we divided our circles into pie-shaped wedges, we alternated method (grid; strong horizon line; collage) and materials (watercolor; oil sticks; sewing notions). Our lists varied, but had several similarities.

We passed ideas back and forth for several hours. Before the night was done, we had arranged to work on same-sized canvasses, to keep in touch through the winter, sharing images and progress via Email, to create at least fifty new works, and to finish it off with a joint show next summer! It was wonderful!

Not only that…I actually ordered the canvasses. I gathered the materials. And…on each of my days off this week… even though I had a dozen other pressing obligations…I actually put on my painter’s clothes…went in to the studio…and began working! It was fantastic!

So, though this little painting has a ways to go yet…I feel that I am well on my way!

What I’m Doing…What I’m Not

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Yesterday was gorgeous, bright sunshine and blue sky.

Today, new snow and winds have changed the view.

A little under the weather, I cancelled classes and stayed home both days. I think exhaustion, rather than illness, is the problem. I don’t seem to be able to get enough sleep these days. One night of good but insufficient rest will be followed by a night of insomnia. A trip to the city to accompany my aunt to the hospital – strange beds, city lights and worry – compounded the problem. A couple days off would do me good.

I wrote a few letters, answered a couple Emails and enjoyed two long telephone conversations.

I waded through snow to my hips to empty the compost – a collection of coffee grounds, eggshells and vegetable parings – into the bin on the far side of the garden. The bin is almost full. I’m not the greatest at composting. My collections never get turned, and the ratio of green matter to food scraps must be off, too. Even in the heat of summer, the compost doesn’t seem to get hot enough to break down. It should, after a while, look dark and crumbly; it should smell like earth. In odor and appearance, my compost looks like exactly what it is: a collection of old coffee grounds, eggshells and vegetable parings. Still, I persist. It seems like a good idea, and it feels more hopeful than tossing all that organic matter into a plastic trash bag. Every few years, when the bin will hold no more, I tip out the smelly mess and use it to mulch around pumpkins and winter squash. Covered with a layer of straw, the unpleasant characteristics are masked, and it works to hold in moisture.

I gave the bathroom a good cleaning. One area at a time, I am setting up my house according to the precepts of Feng Shui. I did this long ago, when it seemed like I was the only one who had even heard of the concept. As I gained knowledge and added books to my collection on the subject, I found contradictions and big problems. Without being able to tear down my home and start over, some things seemed hopeless. I let it fall to the wayside. Recently, I picked up another book on the subject. Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Karen Rauch Carter is a clearly written, not-too-serious manual of using Feng Shui to “get love, money, respect and happiness.” As I’m in the process of a major winter “de-cluttering”, and clutter is the enemy in Feng Shui theory, it seemed like a good time to try again. The bathroom, in my home, is in the “Helpful People” section. I had barely finished my thorough cleaning (plus one red ribbon tied around the sink drain, all mirrors shining bright and a wind chime to dispel negative energy) when my sister Brenda called, with an idea to solve a big problem I’ve been worried about. Immediate results!

I’m making soup…an awful lot on these cold winter days. Yesterday I finished off a pot of spicy lentil soup; today I have turkey and wild rice simmering. Easy: one cup of diced turkey, sliced from the bird and frozen after Christmas; two quarts of turkey broth, made and stored in the freezer around the same time; three carrots, one onion, four stalks of celery and the leaves, stems and core from a head of cauliflower, all diced; a generous handful of wild rice. It will simmer all afternoon, and be ready to eat at suppertime, when the bread’s coming out of the oven, with plenty left over for lunches this week.

I am not putting in time in the studio. Winter is usually the time for art-making. The studio can be a cozy place to work when the cold winds are blowing. With a movie or the radio for company, I’ve spent many long hours in creative pursuits. Not so much, this winter.

I’m not shoveling snow…not much, anyway. If I can wade through snow to my hips to empty compost into the bin, I guess I can tramp through a foot of snow to get to the car. In other years, I’ve done more. Usually there is a clear path from the side door to the car, and also around to the front door. There is usually a path from the front door to the side yard, so that I can read the meter. There is walkway shoveled from the sliding door in back, just for the dogs, that leads over to the pine tree at the side of the house. Today, with another six inches of new snow, my chihuahua gave me a very intense look when she needed to go out. I suppose it’s time I get going on that.

I am not, it seems, coming to grips with my sister’s death. I was not there when she died; I was unable to attend the memorial. I forget that she is gone. Because I live away, and rarely saw Nita, it isn’t immediately apparent that she’s not still with us. I have moments of sadness. There are pangs of realization. I recognize symptoms of depression in my sleeplessness and neglect. I don’t feel depressed, though. Though I know it won’t last, most days I feel as if she is still here. That’s not a bad feeling!

Wading Through Summer

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I slept this morning, my day off, until I woke up naturally.

No alarm.

I woke to birdsong, and a gentle breeze coming in through the window.

Outside, flowers are blooming, sun is shining, the garden is growing.

And yet…

I woke to a feeling of deep sadness, mounting pressure and near panic.

I’ve been trying to figure it out, as I have coffee this morning.

I have lots to do, no doubt, and I am behind in everything.

Today, for instance.

This is the first day of Museum Week here on Beaver Island. There are speakers and activities all week long. Many of them, I have book-marked to attend. There is no sense, I tell myself, in being on Beaver Island and missing every good thing that goes on. Things that – if I didn’t live here – I would come here to participate in.

A week ago, I deliberately missed a good party – the Islander’s Reunion – because (1) I had to work all weekend, and worried I’d be too tired, (2) I didn’t have a companion to go with, and was afraid I’d feel out of place and (3), behind on everything already, I felt it would drive me farther into this mire that I am slogging through. Oh, and I couldn’t afford it.

Just last weekend, the Beaver Island Music Festival took place.

I stayed away.

Same reasons.

Slogging through summer. Mired in work and obligations.

Today, I have to finish and frame four collages to submit to the Museum Week Art Show (that deadline is tomorrow). I have to go over my notes for a talk I’m giving at the Beaver Island Association meeting this afternoon. I have frames to pick up at the airport, to frame six new paintings for the Livingstone Studio “Meet the Artists” event, coming up soon (that date is August 2nd). I have towels on the clothesline already this morning, have a comforter washed and ready to go out, and a load of dark clothes in the washing machine. I have a kitchen drawer, in parts, on the floor behind me, evidence of my sorry ongoing attempt to repair it. The contents of that drawer are keeping company with a cluster of dirty dishes on my kitchen counter, right next to the faucet that is still leaking and waiting for repair. “Do dishes” is on the top of my to-do list today, though I’ve already put other tasks ahead.

I’m feeling sand under my bare feet, and have to take time to sweep. My windows show evidence of swatted flies and mosquitoes; they could all use a good cleaning. I mowed lawn last week, but still need to take the string trimmer around the borders and walkways. The weeds are getting away from me in the garden. The back seat of my car is now full of “recyclables” so I need to make a trip to the Transfer Station.

I have too many jobs without endings!

The house: I could spend a forty hour week getting it caught up, what with drawer repair, half-finished painting projects and both major and minor construction all waiting…on top of necessary upkeep.

The garden will take whatever time I can give it and never, I think, be truly “done”. At this moment, though, it looks clearly un-done, which adds to the pressure I’m feeling.

Writing takes as much time as I can give it. I never finish a piece without thinking that – given more time or a tighter edit – it could have been better.

The studio: “bursting with ideas” feels like a cursed weight upon my back when I don’t have time or energy for bringing ideas to life.

My administrative job asks only a few hours each week from me, but there is much to learn and more to do and I hold the constant feeling that I am two steps behind in my obligations there.

The hardware (sigh…) and other jobs that specifically offer an hour’s pay for an hour of work, that I can walk away from at the end of my shift…are a blessed relief. They offer little in the way of status, glory or personal enrichment – though I am always enriched by doing a job well and to the best of my abilities – but they support me. Rarely do I wake up sad and overburdened by them…except by the hours they take that prevent me from other pursuits.

I remember summers, when I was small, with warm, sunny spots and shady places and trees to climb, and room to breathe.

There have been summers, with children or grandchildren, when we didn’t miss a single good day for the beach.

Where have those summers gone, that’s what I want to know!

Muddling through this awful mood, I came upon a lovely bit of writing by Will, who writes at <www.saddlebackmountainfarm.org>

I am about to go now and pick the first of the beans. It is early Monday morning. It is cool, clear, and the sheep are up and grazing to eastward. The largest of three porcupines that roam our farm nightly is still roaming. Bird flight and song are the only sounds. And in the garden in the middle of this living are my beans. 200 ft. worth. Damp with pinkish-white flowers, slim, willing, green. When I reach in to pick them they will swing. When I drop them into my bucket, they will sound. When I pick on down the row, they will increase, increase, this heaped-up increase of the fullness of life, this moment in the company of beans. And now the new sun and me damp at the end of the row, hands smelling of beans, the day just started, the sheep, when I look their way, looking off at something I can’t see. This increase. Do you understand what I mean? How there are moments sometimes when we are as lifted? Increased?

Another friend wrote of how she’d nearly forgotten about winter, now walking in bare feet to maintain “that connection to the earth.”

That’s what I want, of summer!

Renewal, increase, connection.

So, now – swamped in obligations, wading through summer – let me add to my list:

Don’t forget to appreciate what is here…to notice sun, breeze and birdsong. Don’t forget, in these long summer days, that life is short. Take time to read, to draw, to think…and to not think. Take time to walk in the water, to stroll under the stars, to feel bare toes in the grass. Take time to love the warmth.

Take time…take time…take time.

Time Out For Art

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I have come to the conclusion that I never jump into a project with as much enthusiasm as I do when I am doing it in avoidance of another project.

I didn’t just conclude this.

I probably first noticed it fifty years ago, when a homework assignment took on monumental urgency and importance when faced with the job of cleaning my room.

Or, vise versa.

I probably spent several years in denial…convincing myself of the necessity of one thing rather than the other…justifying the clear hierarchy of task importance.

I think I finally spent time pondering it long and hard – and thus finally concluding it – while trying to avoid some other pending deadline.

(Maybe I have A.D.H.D.!)

I have been pretty lax in my blog writing, lately. I planned a blog to say that I have recovered from my “funk” and thank you all very much for your kind and generous thoughts…but I went right from my “funk” into a “fit” of activity that left me no time for writing anything.

(Manic-Depressive?)

It started with a desire to get my bedroom in order.

No, it started with a string of writing commitments.

I had agreed to write an article for the Spring and Summer Newsletter of the Beaver Island Association. Another for the Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative. Plus reports for the Northern Islander, the Beaver Island Forum, the Beaver Beacon and Beaver Island News on the Net on the Archipelago Meeting I attended in Lansing last month.

That got me thinking about getting my bedroom organized.

Which led to the necessity of digging out the (non-working) vehicle that I use for storage (a sort of garage-on-wheels), to get to the shelves I had stashed there. Which led to  the decision that the shelves that really belonged in the bedroom were the ones holding cookbooks and gardening books in my kitchen. What followed was a scenario worthy of a full length feature starring Laurel and Hardy.

The kitchen bookcase went upstairs. The kitchen wall got a fresh coat of paint…which forced the decision to put up the nice white shelves that used to be on that wall (because weren’t they just the best?) despite the fact that three of those shelves were now working shelves in my studio, and two others were employed as my desktop in the dining area AND that fitting the shelves in the kitchen would involve moving the all-wood 32 drawer cabinet out of the kitchen (wasn’t it always too large for that small room anyway?) and ultimately out of the house (because there is not another spot it will fit!). Which means that I had to build a new desktop, cut new shelves for the studio and empty the contents from thirty-two drawers!! I have only two shelve up in the studio, as all of this re-structuring left me short on shelf brackets, and they won’t get to the island until  the first boat runs in April. I have the contents of 32 drawers in boxes and bags on my kitchen floor. My dining room table is laden with overflow from drawers and shelves and desktop. Ditto, the kitchen counters. The bedroom is possibly the only room “in order” at this moment.

(Crazy???)

Soooo…faced with all that, of course I got very inspired to get busy in the studio…and then to blog about it.

I’ve been totally negligent about posting art on Thursdays for months now.

In fact, though I’ve had quite a few things underway, I haven’t gotten many things finished in the studio this Winter.

Faced with the disaster I’ve created around me, art-making took on epic importance.

It is Time Out for Art Thursday, after all!

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