One of my New Year’s Eve traditions (besides drinking Asti Spumanti without apology) is to wrap up the current year’s daily journal and to pick out a new composition book for the upcoming year. On the left is my 2012 journal, all fat and full of memories and secrets and paint and glue. On the right, the book for 2013, full of promise and mystery.
No resolutions yet, no pretenses that there even will be. Just looking forward to another fresh start. Happy New Year, dear readers!
I have had a nice little “sabbatical” these past few months. Granted, it’s been spent working (the building websites part of my business) and cleaning up my home studio…and moving in all of the STUFF from my old public studio. Turns out I’m pretty happy to be home! Some days I don’t even leave the house if I don’t want to and the dogs are so happy to have me home, giving them treats.
What have I been doing? Working on SO many things! Tim and I are working towards certification to be foster parents in Larimer County, so that’s been a lot of homework and paperwork. I have been revamping this website and my website design business site, as well as redoing my business plan. When I’m not working, I’m journaling, reading, puttering …and hanging out with my little family, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes, because that is my new TV obsession.
Since Tim has been so busy growing vegetables in our yard, it’s the least I can do to make the yard pretty in my own way. There are two projects I’m doing.
First, I started by gluing those flat-backed glass marbles to some old sinks we have been holding onto specifically for this purpose. I’ve been planning to do them for years but that FEAR THING kept holding me back. One day, I just dove in, armed with clear caulk and my collection of little glass pieces.
Here are two finished sinks. I still have two more sinks and an old tub to do — all will become planters in an area of our yard that I’m turning into a pretty and peaceful (hopefully!) meditation garden. I’m not working on them actively right now — there is a lot of smoke in the area from the High Park Fire and it isn’t good to breathe, so I’m staying inside until our awesome firefighters can get that thing put out.
The second project is making prayer flags to hang off the pergola on our patio. Recently, Cloth Paper Scissors had some info about making them and I thought I’d give it a try. I’ll never learn how to sew well if I don’t practice! There are a few more in progress on my work table, but here are the first two I put outside!
That’s all for today — later this week, I’ll have some good news to share!
On Tuesday I finally finished my little Day of the Dead grave. It started as the week 1 challenge in my Work of Art group over on Flickr. The challenge was to take a piece of kitchshy art and turn it into something else. My trip to Eco Thrift hooked me up with a few little gems: A handcarved wood guy, some broken pink glass and a small “dresser” with some sort of fake plants inside where the mirror would be. Old, grungy and just not very much fun.
The more I worked with these things, the more I knew it was going to become a grave marker of some sort. With Dia de los Muertos on the way, it seemed to make sense. Also, my family recently finished engraving our grandparents’ headstone to include my grandma’s info and my sister had sent me a photo from back east. They’ve been on my mind a LOT lately. Grandpa’s been gone over 20 years and grandma’s been gone about 4 years, but I still miss them like it was yesterday.
I thought about how awesome they were and their special little quirks that made them my grandma and grandpa, that made them my mom’s parents, that made them the hard workers their neighbors knew them as, and so on. Most of their friends and family are gone and once my siblings and my mom and aunt are gone, all of those memories will be gone, too. Wouldn’t it be cool if their headstone had a little drawer where we could store photos and stories and mementos so that when people came by the cemetery, they could read about these people I loved so much. I spent the month of October thinking about this kind of loss that happens when nobody remembers us anymore. I can’t even count how many times I have said to my husband, “I wish you could have met grandpa; he would have loved you.”
Using plaster of paris, I created a grave where the figure is partly above ground to signify that he’s gone, and part of the earth and the universe, but still very much a part of the living world as well. The little dresser is the headstone, with flowers and lights and glitter inside the glass to pay tribute and celebrate the life that once was. The tiny drawers hold symbols of the life the person in the grave has left behind.
And yes, he’s holding an umbrella. Just in case it rains.
Yesterday I spent a lovely afternoon with my new friend Heather. We worked in my studio and talked about art and life and art and life. Heather is very, very passionate about creativity and life and art. VERY passionate. I’m hoping some of her enthusiasm for life rubs off on me.
Last night, mom and I were talking and I mentioned Heather’s positive attitude. She said, “You used to be just like that.” I said I remember that and I was trying to pinpoint when it went away. I narrowed it down to 10 years ago, when I was getting a divorce and moved home to NJ just before 9/11 happened. *sigh* I know that I will never be that pre-2001 Tracey, but maybe she and post-2001 Tracey can meet up somewhere in the middle soon.
In the meantime, I spent today in quiet reflection about 9/11, doing things around the house that, while tedious and/or distasteful (husband’s bathroom, anyone?), I am grateful that I can do them. And that I have a home in which to do them. With a husband who loves and supports me completely in whatever I choose to do.
I even baked chocolate chip cookies today. Why? Because I can.
Now, stop reading and go do something. Because you can.
I know that artists, self-help folks, coaches, therapists, spiritual counselors and others have spoken ad nauseum about finding balance. About not being off kilter. About putting the oxygen mask on yourself before putting one on the person you’re traveling with.
Now I’m just trying to figure out how to balance the balancing with all of the other stuff I gotta do!
Each night, I go to bed and fully convince myself that I have the wherewithal to eat healthy, lose weight, make a living, make art and support my fellow PSA artists, along with keeping a nice home and sharing a healthy and loving life with my husband and furry children. Once I do all of that, being a better friend, sister, daughter, aunt, daughter-in-law should be a snap!
I mean, how hard could it be to keep a schedule like this: pop out of bed (7 am), do some stretching (7:05 am), write morning pages (7:30 am), eat breakfast (8 am), take care of the animals (8:15 am), do the elliptical (8:30 am) and then shower (8:45 am) and dress (oops…I’ve run out of time!) and start working at 9? If nothing goes wrong, it’s doable (I could eat while I write, right?). How do I make sure it all gets done, though? What do other folks do? Do I need to schedule everything on my calendar? Make a list? Put signs all over the house that say “exercise at 8 am!” and “paint backgrounds on some journal pages at 2 pm!”?
What it’s beginning to come down to, for me, is Pick Something … Anything … And Do It. Sure, I’ll keep organized with task lists and make sure to keep my deadlines loose, but rather than forcing myself to write a blog post at 9:30 am or update a client’s site at 1:15, I need to FEEL what to do next. I’m hoping this approach will help me with the blocks I keep having.
I’ve begun asking myself some questions: Do I feel like doing busy work or doing thinking work? Do I feel like being active and accomplished or is it time to sit back in a new atmosphere and read and dream up some new ideas? Does this task I’ve chosen get me closer to or further away from my goal? In a few weeks, I’ll let you know how this is going. 😀
Today is Day 2 of ongoing rain/hail/snow precipitation in Colorado. I love it. Don’t get me wrong — I do love the 300+ sunny days we get here, but when we have a full day of cool, gray, wet weather, I get super happy. I love the gray light. I love being cozy and comfy in the house, or in my studio. I feel creative and a little less stressed. Today I played hooky from the studio and came home to do some work and I realized that I feel a bit optimistic, even, which is unusual for me. 😉 I think I may have spring fever.
This is something I don’t normally experience, but I’m kinda likin’ it! The world is my oyster, there is all kinds of potential ahead of me, etc. I am making some serious changes in my life that will allow me to actually pursue the stuff I love and take care of my family and myself at the same time. We’ll see how it goes and when I have something to report, I will share here.
Oh! I guess I should share some of those minty fresh springtime thoughts, huh?
I am not a gardener, but I really want to plant some stuff in our backyard to sort of block out the neighbors and add some whimsy. Trees, flowering shrubs, painting the fence and creating some found-object sculptures are all on the horizon!
Spring cleaning! Not so much the housecleaning part, but the straightening, purging, reorganizing parts.
Potentially, some of the rooms in the house will get a fresh coat of paint. At least on one wall in the big rooms. 😉
I will be moving studios at the arts center soon and I have a little bit of a mural I’d like to attempt on one of the walls — some of my sketchy flowers, lifesize, with a touch of glitter. Hopefully they will banish any leftover wacky mojo and make the room brighter and truly mine. Super excited about that!
In the meantime, I wanted to show some detail on my piece “The Wall I Must Scale” since the little picture in my last post didn’t show much. Here’s the bottom part of the wall hanging. I never thought white on white would be so challenging! It’s hard to get a good shot of the whole piece and, it appears to go a bit unnoticed in our gallery, hanging along with all of the colorful works in this year’s Artists in Dreamland. But the more I look at it, the more I like it and I’m glad I tried something new.
My studio at Poudre River Arts Center looks like a bomb hit it. To wit:
I took this photo, using my phone, sitting on the little lavender loveseat. I was way too tired to even get up to show you all of the flotsam that’s on the floor.
To the right, you can see my piece “Ode To The Barbie Townhouse I Never Had,” which is in progress for our Interiors show in February. This is the kind of project that takes forever and is, frankly, never done. All the way to the left, you can see a hint of my cigar box shrine which is a amalgam/snapshot of every shore house I ever stayed in down in LBI (Long Beach Island, NJ). This is also for the Interiors show and features real LBI sand (thanks to my niece for collecting and my sister for shipping)!
I’m feeling run down today. I’ve had a run of good mood days…five in a row…but yesterday I hit a slump and was a big ole grouchypants. I mean, really, in what universe is it more important to have two hours of American Idol than one hour of Human Target (and my beloved Mark Valley)? Worn out from the to do lists, I know this is Life, but there is still a bit of crankypants in me today. Overwhelmed. I just typed and deleted a huge list of the things I need to get done. I don’t want to scare you. I’m going to get back to that dollhouse — the elevator needs to be installed!
I’ll just count on tomorrow being a more energetic, positive day.
Today, I mailed back to Brooklyn my submission for The Sketchbook Project. I am giddy beyond words about the prospect of being a part of a traveling exhibit like this. And to have my stuff archived in their library? HUGE!
And, because I can’t just see the positive in anything (ha!), I’m also a little disappointed in myself because somewhere in the middle of the project, I lost steam and ended up rushing through the book near the end. I don’t think it helped that this project spanned two months over the holidays, but it was a really good exercise for me and I’m glad I participated. And as if luck would have it, the postmark deadline was moved to today, rather than last Saturday, so I had a little more time to work on it. 🙂
I uploaded my favorite pages to my flickr account:
Despite being disappointed with a bunch of the work I did in this book, I’m especially pleased with a good amount of the work. I gave myself permission to play, to doodle, to be silly and childlike. I scanned my favorite pages, which are in the flickr set here. I particularly love the happy accident that is the first picture in the above slideshow. She’s a little pink girl, who I found in a random watercolor scribble. She reminds me so much of my niece, Devin, in her Christmas photo from 2003, when she was almost a year old:
Just for context: Devin just turned 8, is in 2nd grade, is an awesome artist, is about to make her first communion and has brown eyes now…
My other favorites in the slideshow are:
– the papertowel I used to clean some brushes (I save everything), which ended up looking like a mountain range. I collaged it onto the page over some book page scraps.
– the little running doggie. I want to practice more of the watercolor scribbling — I’ve been doing that a lot on my own, but my class a few months ago with Carla Sonheim really “enabled” me.
So, that’s my story for today. Happy January, folks!
I thought I should start the new year by reviewing my last one. To wit, a list of my professional successes, failures and the stuff that kept me going (and some that almost did me in) for the past year:
Sold one of my favorite pieces to a gallery walk regular. She is an art professor at CSU…dig that!
Began integrating regular art time into my life.
Survived my first year of managing a gallery.
Revamped the way I conduct business. I feel really great about starting my 13th year as a freelance web developer.
Participated in my first smudging ceremony.
Took workshops with Kelly Kilmer, Carla Sonheim, Katie Kendrick and Leighanna Light. Took something away from every single class and broadened my horizons a bit.
Ate fresh berry pie with homemade whipped cream with my fellow PSA artists in October. Went outside of my comfort zone and went to drinks at the Rio with fellow NoCo artists, many of whom I did not know.
My MacBook Pro died a scary little death. Thank God for Apple Care and the Mac Shack. Spent a whole weekend without a computer and survived!
Purchased a Droid Incredible this summer. I love the freedom it has been giving me, not having to drag the laptop everywhere I go. Quite helpful in emergencies!
Survived a lot of professional drama, but stayed mostly intact and learned a lot about myself and about people.
And now I will go up to the sofa and continue to drink some sparkly adult beverage while I retire my 2010 journal and start my 2011 journal.
Next post will be some workshop announcements, so stay tuned!
It’s First Friday again, kids! As I was rushing around the house, getting ready to leave so I could open the gallery on time, I was struggling with making order forms for tonight. I was so aggravated and SO behind schedule that I vowed I am never leaving my own stuff till last minute ever again.
PUT ON YOUR OWN OXYGEN MASK FIRST
And I mean it this time!
So here’s some news:
Every month, when Fort Collins First Friday Gallery Walk visitors come into my studio, my painting “Nonstop Hilarity” is the one that makes people smile the most. At the urging of my husband, I printed it on a t-shirt and it looks awesome! It’s available now on my Zazzle shop if you’re interested. The image is also available on blank cards.
Tonight, during Gallery Walk, I’ll be taking orders for t-shirts, modeled by yours truly. 😎 If UPS comes in time, I’ll also have cards on hand to sell. I’m really excited about this, so stop by if you’re in Fort Collins. If you’re not in the area, you can pop over to the Zazzle shop and order your very own Nonstop Hilarity t-shirt!
I have other news and musings, about things like fracturing and/or spraining my ankle and watching a documentary about Henry Darger and the state of network tv and how intensely I feel what little humidity we get in Colorado now and then. But it will all have to wait for another day. I’m off to get the studio ready for guests tonight! If you’re in town, drop by!