Magically overnight, I turned from 56 to 57! Imagine that. I dressed this morning, looking forward to breakfast out with my pal. In the kitchen, there is a lovely vase of daffodils with a note from the man. The note said, "It's your party, you can smile if you want to." etc.
I am having a bit of trouble with birthdays for the past couple of years. Somehow the old "It's just a number" thing feels like an empty platitude. Vanity, I suppose.
It's rainy here today. That is very nice because I remember a birthday when I was young, 8 or 9. My mother was still alive so it was before I was 11. It rained on that day and she made a tea party for us inside. Not unusual for April but unusual for my birthday.
I will think today of all of the people I love and am grateful for. That is the sign of the years. Not being loved, but the act of loving. It is powerful.
Happiness and gratitude to you, dear readers. You so often delight me and make me ponder.
Perfectionism and Craftsmanship is a topic I've been wanting to bring up for awhile now. I've given this a lot of thought over the years. Shall we discuss? This will be posted in the Taming the Critic category.
A perfectionist, as I define it, constantly criticizes her work. The notion that the work is not perfect inhibits the individual's ability to show her work or take any pride in it. This harsh attitude brings the creative process to an abrupt halt, you can't progress in your craft. I'm not sure about this, but I think it's a confidence issue.
A devotion to craftsmanship is the artist's ability to look critically at her work and and see what could be improved and how. I take great pride in my craftsmanship and deeply respect it in others. The craft in everything from writing, to dance, to music to painting inspires me to better my craftsmanship. Craftsmanship = practice.
Here is the link to the original post on Taming the Critic. If you click on Taming the Critic under Categories in the sidebar, you'll have all of the posts in this topic.
This post just touches the surface of my thoughts on this. I have more posts planned delving a bit further. And I'm sure many of you will have lots to say :)
In the meantime, the chorus of Anthem by Leonard Cohen is quite thought-provoking
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in anything
That's how the light gets in
and sometimes someone else's flowery vision.
It doesn't have to be grand or important, you see? It can be a about a line that meanders across your page with whatever tool is handy. It doesn't have to be a "session" with your journal or a complete sketch. You don't need to put this pressure on yourself.
I'm thinking of a friend right now (you know who you are). She has a beautiful blank journal and very little time for artmaking. I get that. Her drawings and paintings are "for real." And I get that too. But really? A simple line won't go to waste.
There is never a wasted moment in life. Every single moment - at the end - is worthy.
That's where I've been. After an injury that I thought had healed, I went to PT (for the ankle) on Monday and then to Yoga and then torqued my back really REALLY bad. So am laid up. Before this latest interruption, I was working on the longstitch class: frustratingly close to being ready to roll.
and this binding ...
and it all must just wait. I am going to let myself heal. Then get back on my feet more slowly.
I've come to this conclusion: my body is 56 years old. I never paid much attention to my aging body. Didn't give a fig about my age. It is really catching up with me: "I am 56 years old! For crying out loud, will you slow down?" Not much of a choice, is it? My mind and heart (soul) are 56 and that is a very good thing. I am grateful for that part of the aging process. And I need to respect the fact that my body is beginning to need some special attention.
Meantime, I am making granny square slippers for my granny-aged feet. Ha.
Remember when we were talking about being an Inspiration Addict, here? My chosen medication was to stitch up a big pile of granny squares and make an afghan. Plain old granny squares - not 15 different kinds.
I used the same crochet hook, the same pattern. My hand dipped into the basket of yarn and came out with random colors. And I used that color (most of the time, that was a bit hard). I didn't think about what I was doing but instead thought "What Am I Doing?" in a larger LIFE sense. So even though Teddy thinks I made that afghan just for him, I know better. It was about intent. My intent was to make a blanket and to make some space for myself. A warm space without constantly re-inventing and designing and creating. Without massive amounts of thought and study and learning. Just dip in and keep going. And thinking.
Do you ever feel like telling your muse to just go away? Too many ideas flooding your mind? Never a quiet moment or space between thoughts?
I'm not 100% back yet but am getting there. Creating that new normal. Going to yoga and bellydancing. I was absolutely amazed to find myself balancing on one foot this week! My focus is returning. I'm finally getting to the physical therapist as my ankle is still giving me a lot of trouble. Beginning to learn to meditate. Resting each day. Sleeping 8-10 hours every night.
Later this week - or possibly next week? (one eyebrow raised) - I will have a free video tutorial up on making fabric cloth as a prelude to my next online class which will be a Longstitch binding class.
If you don't read the text in this post, it may appear to be a "perfect life" post. The photos are from around my studio.
Looks can be deceiving.
These lovely pictures are the surface. And I have a perfect life. You probably do as well.
Most days you start out with a plan, right? You get up all rarin' to go. Drop a glass in the bathroom and step on a shard. Spend the rest of the day limping around and cussin'. Get the jobs done. Keep going. Get a great email or see someone you love. Spill your coffee on your favorite shirt.
Forget to bring the packages you need to put in the post. And then there you are driving home in the middle of a most amazing sunset and somehow you realize that you do have a perfect life. And this is it.
Perfect has to be flawed. Or it wouldn't be perfect. Flaws are part of the wonder of life. So is hard work and problems. If there were not problems to solve, where would the challenge lie? If you hadn't been limping around (and cussin') all day because of that shard of glass in your foot, it wouldn't really be such a treat to stick your feet into a bucket of warm, sudsy water.
This is real life. Don't believe everything you read on blogs and in magazines and what you see on TV.
Books in no particular order because it is fun not knowing what is going to come at you next:
Photos in this post: Art Journals, More Art Journals, Mini art journals, part of my flip book collection, art supplies.
I woke up mid-dream turning cartwheels. And sticking them. Clearly a sign of improvement. When I was small, I could do a cartwheel. Somewhere along the line, I lost trust. I didn't lose the ability to turn myself into a human wheel but trust in myself prevented my legs from reaching for the sky. Self-doubt plays a huge part in mind, body and spirit.
I recently took up yoga after several years hiatus. One of the selling points on this class is it is specifically aimed at Seniors, which I am not. But that is OK. It is the right place for me.
The big intention on my part right now is Balance and Earth. I am very intentionally grounding myself and trying to strengthen my core in order to focus. I drew a metaphor the other night while working on the granny square project. It is tempting to go out and learn every granny square pattern online. But no. I am sticking with the classic. Turning the process into an artform. Improving every detail of my form. Reaching blindly into the basket of yarn and using whichever color comes to hand. Trust.
Sharing this and that I've been up to during my self-imposed vacation and maybe some thoughts along the way.
I figure it'll become a blanket. Monkey Brain tried to get a hold of me and I started off road looking at MANY different patterns for making these little suckers. But I'm backing off on that. Just playing with the colors and enjoying the classic pattern for the moment. I don't need to be the world's foremost expert on granny squares. Ha!
The honest simplicity of crochet and felted vessels is appealing. Crochet is making sense to me right now.
I'm using Debbie Stoller's Full O Sheep for the grannies and some wool I found in the craft store for the vessels. Where do you folks get your yarn? The local independents seem to carry only high end (pricey) and the craft store selection is limited (though it looks enormous). I've found Jimmy Beans Wool on line.
And just thinking that looking at too much stuff gives me Monkey Brain. Did you read The Artists' Way? Do you remember the media fast? No books, TV, radio (and I'd add internet). Julia Cameron is right on the money. Too Much Information. I'm on a semi-fast because I can't stop reading novels. Nope.
Just an aside: I love putting things into the Unruly Posts category.
Last night ...
The painting from the other day, Green Purple, is one of the paintings in the Citizens series. These are the inhabitants from the larger NorthEast Kingdom series, which is on-going.
I was looking at traditional dress and patterns from different parts of the world for this series. Maybe more about the textiles and how I think my Citizens would dress if there were no restrictions. I was greatly influenced by the Kokeshi dolls of Japan for some of these paintings.
This series is mostly Sold, except for Green Purple. 100 bucks. They are pretty small. 5x7? 4x6? I am feeling too lazy at the moment to go and look at it. Yes, I am a terrible salesperson. Green Purple has some gold leaf in the background.
I just got back from the first ArtEscape program at Abington Free Library. I've been doing these programs for I-don't-know-how-many years. It is a children's art-literature program. 30 kids, 6-10. They are simply amazing. A tonic, really.
Today ... I will paint, draw, drink tea, and continue on with mulling. Many new house shapes to consider. It occured to me while I was in Fabriano that vessels (containers) are larger than I originally thought. Sorry to be cryptic. Things are floating in my mind.