Monday, September 11, 2017

Court 4

It's no secret I'm not that much of an athlete. I really love being active but I missed the hand-eye co-ordination team sport gene and since I can remember, I was that kid picked near the end for sports. (The agony!) I've always assumed "I'm not good at sports" and I've faithfully lived up to my belief but there are some, that despite my skill level, I adore. Namely, tennis.

I played growing up, high school, had regular lessons, dabbled in university, my 20's, always a little, never consistently. But it was always there. As my sport. The one I didn't play frequently, but mine nonetheless. I owned a racket after all!

This has been the surprising summer of rediscovering and playing tennis. I have a fabulous partner to hit the ball with, take lessons and attend a weekly clinic. I'm all in. The suffocating smoke that has descended on our town has temporarily derailed outside playing but I've found indoor courts. If I'm not playing this week, I'm watching. The US Open has never been more exciting and action packed! Is this an obsession? Maybe. And that's ok. I like obsessions when they lead me down the path of joy and distraction. When I started painting regularly I was absolutely obsessed. Still am. To me, these are the human green lights on our highway. Keep going. Rev the engine. Hit that ball!

It's also been a summer of challenges. Unexpected expenses, major household repairs, brutal fires all around us, hazardous smoke and close friends moving away. And that's before I turn on the TV and watch the devastation happening in Texas, Florida, the world, the orange person in charge. I'm a piece of sand compared to what's going on globally.

During these times, I'm trying to rise to the challenge & continue to follow the obsessive joy markers when I can. I notice myself needing to fill up the well more frequently. My nerves are frayed. The gentle quirky little life I have here packing orders, painting commissions, going to trade shows, selling my wares, all feels a bit tender.

So might as well smash some tennis balls, hang out at Court 4 and pretend, for just a moment, that I'm Maria Sharapova. xo

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I'd Rather be Sailing

Literally. I'd rather be sailing. I'd rather be doing any number of those bumper stickers you see in parking lots and the freeway. But I'm not. I'm working. I'm digging in. I"m doing the behind the scenes not so cute part of creating and running a small business. There are so many not cute parts! Who knew!?

A couple of people reached out yesterday and asked if "I was ok". Maybe I shared too much. Maybe I shared just enough to remind us that life isn't always glossy. Sorry, matte finish. Yes, everything is ok. There's just more than my share of stressors at the moment and part of my job is working through the stress which is a noticeable challenge when your job is to make....see previous blog...HAPPY ART!

It's very smoky in the Rogue Valley right now. Air quality is poor and the town feels vaguely apocalyptic. Tourists are wandering the streets with ice cream cones and looking into the sky to see a red ball through the smoke, like a confusing eclipse sequel. Vendors at the farmers market are wearing masks like it's downtown Bangkok. Local news is updating the fires on an hourly basis. The bucolic town is under a blanket.  I drove to the lake yesterday to clear my head and it worked, a little. I parked and took some photos.  I've taken those same photos in many seasons, clear skies, torrential downpours, wind storms, smoky summers, soft spring evenings and autumnal crispy mornings. Life keeps moving forward in all kinds of water. xo

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Smooth Sailing

This is what calm waters, smooth sailing and charming summer days look like. My day, my week, does not resemble this. In fact,  if it was a painting, it would resemble an ocean liner hitting a big iceberg and I'm not sure Leonardo is throwing me a life raft.

As my dear imaginary friend Anne Lamott would say Life is Lifey this moment. Plumbing issues in the house that are complicated and costly. Loved ones are going through some challenging times and I can't make it better. Some big positive changes that I was hoping for myself and my business just got yanked for reasons beyond my control. You know, Tuesday.

I'm not sure what the next move is other than turn the page to Wednesday. Pack an order. Paint something. Reach out to family and friends. What we all do. Keep on keeping on. I notice that it's these moments, these gullies in life, where I don't want to paint or write or reach out or do anything nurturing. I like to eat pizza. But I'm experimenting. Because I had to leave the house anyway BECAUSE MY BATHROOM DOES NOT WORK (see paragraph 2), I'm sitting at a cafe, working, emailing, blogging and thinking, what would a wise old friend say?

Honey, it could be worse. Ok, maybe not a warm fuzzy response, but the one I needed. It could be worse. And it will get better. And this creative life isn't all Insta-charming 24/7 and pipes break and pets get sick and humans are fallible and maybe disappoints are just a re-direct. So go paint some damn boats and cheer yourself up! (Said me to me.) xo

"Emigrant Lake" 8x10"

Friday, August 18, 2017

Happy Art

Someone told me recently, your art is happy. I was both flattered and deflated. Of course, any mention or acknowledgment of what we are creating is a luxury. I should not split hairs on the quality of compliment. But the museum loving gallery junkie in me longs to make art with meaning, depth and that je ne sais pas quoi. But who am I to decide what that certain something is that makes someone stop and look twice or purchase or smile or feel good or all of the above. I'll take happy these days.

I'll take keep going where my natural aesthetic and creative pulls lead me. I do know that when I keep going and paint day after day, the work does evolve. And the artists I look up to and admire change over the months and years. Which means my art, too, is changing over the months and years. Is "happy" as a description so terrible? No. It's not. In context it says this. It says it lightened someone's moment. Maybe it inspired. Perhaps it made someone laugh. It's likely it pulled some nostalgic memories. It made someone feel. Happy. And that is why I paint and create. Because it makes me feel good and complete and happy.

Tag, you're it. xo

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cherry Tomatoes

The world appears to be falling apart. Or imploding. Or both and I'm scared and angry and frustrated at how helpless it makes me feel. Domestically, the word "Charlottesville" will sum up a national outrage for years to come. Internationally, Korea, Barcelona, Sierra Leone are top of the harrowing news. I don't know what to do. So I keep going going with the small parts of my life where I do know what to do. Bringing a tiny slice of joy into someone's life through art or an unexpected kindness through snail mail or....there are so many different "ors" for all of us.

I'm not born a political crusader, I shy away from conflict but the climate right now is so heated, so tender and raw, I can't write without acknowledging it. And still, after mulling over this post with fingers pausing on the keyboard, I still don't know what to do so until I do I'm going to go deeper and stronger into the creativity I do know.

I know how to capture little moments that make life sweeter. Like cherry tomatoes from the local farmer's market. Or writing thank you notes. Baking treats and sharing. Picking fresh flowers. Running my small business with huge heart and attention to details and loving the real live kind folks who order from me. I know how to appreciate what I have and be grateful.

Today, cherry tomatoes. xo

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pot of Clover

I have an affinity for 5x7 flat panel canvases. They are relatively inexpensive in a world of spendy art supplies. They make charming postcard paintings, one of my pet side projects.  But most of all, they are the secret sauce in my creativity equation.  Often a canvas looks too big, a project too long to complete, an email too complicated to start, a catalogue mailing too boring, taxes too daunting and the list goes on forever. A lot of us creatives love the starting line...but the finish...? Well, there was a cafe I had to sit down at, a house I had to clean, dogs to walk, cats to pat, texts to return, Netflix to consume, I mean really important things!!!

But the minis? They are petite and approachable and unbelievably satisfying to complete. They are my reminders that frequent small painting will propel me further than large intricate occasional dabbling. These little pieces keep the paint wet. They keep me sitting down at the easel. They make me smile because there is something so silly and frivolous and ok about painting a donkey or dandelion or pot of clover. Do I need them wall size? No. But the spark of joy these miniatures bring me is priceless.

Often it is the days I do a mini that I open the channel to start a larger project or complete a task that's been lingering. They are also an excellent place to experiment with supplies and techniques. Composition, value, paint opacity, brush strokes. Sometimes I pay attention to these things, but often not. So much of painting is intuitive but when I use a small piece to execute a technique there is greater chance for me to slow down and practice.

People frequently ask me, do you paint every day? No. But I do paint almost every day and that has changed my life, changed my career, changed my joy level, changed my acceptance of my own work, changed my acceptance of other peoples work, so what I'm trying to say is that it has basically changed everything. xo

"Pot of Clover" 5x7"

P.S. Coming soon as direct result of these minis!
A beginner's painting course: "Wait, Wait, I Don't Paint: A Workshop for Beginners, the Curious, and the Creative." No experience necessary.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Pink Roses

"I must have flowers, always and always." Monet

Well, one could argue Monet was on to something. For me, the inspiration is endless, regenerative, serene, peaceful, easy, difficult, contemplative and familiar. I paint florals frequently not only because I love the beauty of them (and what a great excuse to buy fresh flowers) but also for the complexity. They continue to challenge and delight. There are florals I do that flow naturally, and those I really need to study and correct and deliberate over. As often as I create them, each one is unique.They are my teachers. My muse. My faithful inspiration. xo

"Pink Roses" 11x14" SOLD