Studio Musings

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Antidote to SAD - Buttterflies

While we don't get the snow and extreme cold of other parts of the country, Seattle's winters can be chilly and grey.  And damp!  No surprise - this is Seattle after all.  But it can get old.  That's when I love to visit the butterfly garden at the Science Center.   Last week two friends and I grabbed our cameras, shed our jackets, and spent a good hour or so in the tropical warmth. 

The butterflies were particularly active, filling the air with eddies of colorful wings.  Others posed for their cameos; each one more beautiful than the next.  I was struck once again by the diversity of colors and patterns.  Makes me want to pull out my beads and start playing with color. 

not great for the butterfly, but the tattered edges have great texture
the butterflies loved her squid cap, and kept circling it while she tried to take photos.

A little dream of Spring.  

Friday, January 4, 2019

Growing Where I’m Planted

decorating the front of my 2019 sketch journal
I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions, but some years I do gravitate towards a word or phrase that helps to sum up my hopes and intentions for the coming year.  Somewhere between Christmas and New Years, I found myself ruminating on the word “Grow”.  It's been quite some time since I feel that I've grown, creatively, and it's time.  I have an equally strong desire to focus on what I already have, and what I’ve neglected or forgotten.

Our culture places so much emphasis on new growth - new artistic endeavors, new art supplies, new clothing - will create a new, better you.  Part of me is certain that if I 'just buy this one more sweater, my entire wardrobe will suddenly click'.   These beads (paper, pens, watercolors, acrylics, fabrics, etc.) are sooo pretty; I must buy them!  I know I’ll use them!  No matter that they're likely to be lost in my stash shortly after I get them home.  Same with online courses I've signed up for over the years (most often on watercolors and urban sketching). 

Moving my studio back into my home last fall, I realized just how overwhelming all of this wonderful stuff can become.  And how much of my time is spent simply curating, organizing, and trying to keep it all neat enough so that I can find things.

My goal for this year is to turn my attention away from the new ‘bright and shinies’ to focus on all of the wonderful collections, opportunities, and yes, friendships, that I already have.  To grow where I'm planted  and what are the ways in which I wish to grow.  Looking to the resources I already have, rather than what I might add.

One of the hardest parts will be determining what is clutter - the weeds in my particular garden.  Not all of the art media I've tried over the years are really my cup of tea.  That doesn't mean that giving up the related tools and supplies is easy.  I might need them one day.  Maybe?  (Okay, maybe not).  

Sort of corollary to this whole process, I’ve also embarked on a repeat of last year’s elimination diet.  Through the fall, and especially over the holidays, I relaxed my diet too much, and started paying the price with autoimmune flares.  To combat this, on January 2nd, I cut processed sugar, all grains and gluten, caffeine, and a whole host of other things out of my diet.  My plan is to stick with the strictest version for 2-3 weeks, then slowly start retesting other foods.  Yesterday was the Day of the Terrible Headache.  Today is the Day of Swollen Joints.  I expect a few more days of misery as I go through the detox stage, but am looking forward to that day, sometime next week, when I wake up without brain fog and pain, with energy to spare.

But I’m not waiting until then to get started on growing where I’m planted.   While my fingers are too swollen to do much creative work, I can type, I can visit with friends, I can sort through papers,  make lists of things I used to like to do, and start rooting through my supplies to see what I have to work with, and I can dream.

Not a bad way to start the New Year.