Wednesday, September 27, 2006

To Everything There is a Season

Kelly turned 12 yesterday. I can't help but think how far we have both come in 12 years. These years have brought each of us to a turning point. Kelly is on the brink of the journey to find herself and I feel that, finally, just now, as I approach 54, that I am beginning to know who I am.

It was Kelly, arriving in my life 12 years ago that taught me how to really be an artist. She taught me to see the world though the eyes of a child, where everything was new, filled with magic and wonder. She taught me not to be critical of my art, to just create. I'd watch her scribble on a sheet of paper, finish and then go on to the next sheet. She didn't judge, she did not criticize, she was caught up in the magic and pleasure of mark-making. I realized that the point was to create, not evaluate. Do one. Move on to the next one.

As she has grown, it has been my job to keep that art spirit alive in her. She came home from school one day upset because a friend was "better" at drawing than she was, because her pictures looked more like the real thing. I said, "She's not better, just different. Everyone has their own style." I caught her early enough, because she has never questioned her ability since. Not better, not worse, just different.

I used to think that I was weird because my art did not look like anyone else's. I thought that people would think me strange. And then one day, lightbulb moment! - I realized that my art doesn't look like anyone else's! - that's a good thing. I realized that what is important is not being better or worse than anyone else, but being yourself. When I started being me, people started noticing. It's a weird thing, because the moment you expose your true self, you feel most vunerable and naked to the world, really exposed. Yet, as artists, we want people to take notice. A form of communication is present in any work of art. We send out our message and we want to know someone is listening - especially if we are standing there all exposed.

I don't know where I am going with this, and I have a plane to catch in 3 hours, but I wanted to share my thoughts this fall morning when so much is changing around me. Let me leave you with this, a quote I shared with a friend last week that make a huge difference in her life ~

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~ Marianne Williamson

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Color Purple

Because sometimes, I just like to be silly and have fun....and besides, I'm too darn busy to post anything of substance!
You Are Grape

You are bold and a true individual. You are very different and very okay with that.
People know you as a straight shooter. You're very honest, even when the truth hurts.
You are also very grounded and practical. No one is going to sneak anything by you.
People enjoy your fresh approach to life. And it's this honesty that makes you a very innovative person.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Eat Pray Love & Make Art

As I mentioned in my last post, I am finally reading again. I love getting lost in a book. I have been known to walk down streets reading, read in my car at stoplights and burn a few dinners, all because I was lost in a book. But that lifestyle has fallen by the wayside, primarily because, if you are reading, you are not making art. I had to choose between the two.

But I am happy to say that there is some time for reading again. I want to cram in every word, paragraph and page while there is time. I just finished Eat Pray Love. It was a beautiful book, very timely for me, as I will be traveling to Italy (eat), need to slow down (pray) and am looking for balance in my life (love). It came at just the right time for me and I hung on every word. Even learned a bit of Italian too ~ l'arte d'arrangiarsi: the art of making something out of nothing
I read while flying to and fro Valley Ridge Art Studio in Madison, WI.First stop - University of Wisconsin book store. I love being on a college campus and UW/Madison is one of the best. Then it was off to the rolling hills of cheese country where we spent an unseasonably cold and very wet weekend making art.Here's one version of the weekend: Beth's blog, and here's Laura's version. That's Laura on the left and Beth on the right (Tricia, me and Jane in between)~ they definately had a fun weekend...but who didn't. We were all very relaxed and happy and "in the zone."
Today I had to go to downtown DC. I have not been there for a while and it is always exciting. I drove past all the museums and galleries I have been meaning to go to. I did not have the time to stop today, but I must make time. I must. It is important to fill the well, broaden the vision and drink in the beauty. It was a weird feeling, because I knew that Lynne Perrella and her husband, John, were in town, walking those very streets, strolling through those very galleries. I so wanted to be with them, but will make do with meeting up with them for dinner tonight. They ended up staying about 2 miles from my house! It's great when you can see a fellow teacher and friend somewhere besides an art retreat when we are hurried and working and seeing hundreds of other familiar, fun faces.

In two weeks I will be off again for what feels like a marathon teaching adventure. But rest assured I will have my books with me. Right now it's The Memory Keepers Daughter which is wonderful. Waiting for me at the library is A Student of Living Things YUM!
A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of her life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.~ Goethe

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fall is in the Air

It's time for me to leave home again - hit the road for my fall teaching. I have really enjoyed the past two months being home without having any major projects or deadlines hanging over my head. I learned how to relax again. I read books (just for pleasure), made art (just for fun), watched movies (because I could) and for the first time in years, felt a sense of calm. See, when you are caught up in a whirlwind, you forget what a stroll is like. It's has always been one of my strongest beliefs that if you take the first step, the universe will step up to meet you. I posted this quote by Goethe on my mirror years ago and have lived its truth ever since ~
That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
The whirlwind is the life I have created and like any ride, it is exhilarating, exciting and fast paced. I thrive on it and am always ready for more. But I am going to try to balance the amusement park part of my life with more down time - I will wait to write that third book, not accept so many teaching opportunities and just take more walks.

This Fragment has one of my favorite photos on it. It is one of the new ones I have posted on my WEBSITE ~ a whole new Gallery of Fragments, the first in two years! I was so surprised that it had been two whole years since I had any Fragments for sale online. I fell in love with making them again this summer...over 100 of them. It is one of my favorite things to do, to choose a photo, find just the right quote and marry them with fabrics that sing. They are like my daily sketches done in fiber and stitch instead of pen and ink. The weird thing is, no matter how many I make, or how much fabric I use, the pile just keeps growing. I have found some beautiful fabrics recently, especially the hand-dyed and rusted fabric I used in this Fragment, from Charlene Phinney.

After my weekend at Valley Ridge, I will be off to the American Sewing Expo in Novi, MI, Art & Soul in Portland, OR, and a full week at the Quilt Festival in Houston. I will be on the hunt for fabric, friends (old & new), and fun in all three places. I hope our paths will cross. If you see me, please remind me to slow down and relax!

OH! One last thing. I am excited to be the featured artist in the Paper Scissors Crop section of the Oct/Nov issue Mary Engelbreit Home Companion magazine. I haven't received my copy yet, but it is arriving in mailboxes and on newsstands as we speak. Another one of my dreams come true. I hope yours do to.