Total Eclipse 2017

eclipse-selfie.jpg

This is not my first total eclipse – I was around for the last one some 30+ years ago and
I’ve been around for others, too.  Lunar, partials… I thought I wasn’t going to be all that jazzed about seeing this one, but I have to admit I am a little excited.  I think that as an artist I am looking at it differently this time.  I’m looking at the light – the changes, how it looks different today and it occurred to me that while standing outside observing it it’s almost like you can feel the earth move under your feet.  And I’m humming Carole King’s “I feel the earth move…”.  I think about all the planetarium shows I’ve seen over the years about celestial events and remember there were always sounds associated with stars and planets moving around – I’m imagining that, too.  I believe that for a few moments you could actually sense the movement of the planets and dance with the moon!  This was the best picture I could get with my phone and a solar filter – without the filter all you could see were clouds.

eclipes 2017

Nature has always proved the existence of God to me and today was no different – Psalm 19:1-6 NIV says ”

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 
2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 
3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. 
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.
I think this is a very appropriate verse for today!  Everywhere I look in nature the wonder and marvel of it all reveals the hand of God in all of His creation.  As an artist I like to think of Him as the first artist – His works the ultimate in creative genius.  Every day He paints a new sunrise and sunset.  There have been many times I have just sat in the woods or by a stream or on a beach and listened to the voice of God.  He seems very near to me in these places even when I hear no voice at all and just feel His presence.

Clouds are partially obscuring the view here today, but with the solar glasses on you can
still see the moon starting to blot out the sun.  We didn’t hit totality, I’d say about 95%, but the dance of the planets goes on every day whether we see it or not.

And another thing…

As I continue to think about my long lost artistic self and take steps to rediscover her, I’ve been wondering where on earth do I start?  Start where I left off in college?  Kinda hard to do since it’s been almost 40 years – I don’t even remember what the last canvas I worked on was!  I’ve been pondering things like – do I want to make statement pieces – a commentary on my life over the last 60 years – struggles – depression – what?  Do I want to paint flowers, or kitties or nature?  I can see where I could really get stuck here as I am rather ADD!  And then lo and behold my friend Lori Rivera posts this on her Facebook page today:

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-zoe/2012/08/the-adhd-artists-way/

And shares what she’s been working on – there is no one thing here – she’s been painting all kinds of stuff (check her out on Facebook at Lori Rivera Art –https://www.facebook.com/LoriRiveraArt/ ) and a kind of light bulb went off – just paint!  Paint whatever you want – paint kitties, flowers, nature – do it all!  I’m starting to discover some freedom here and realize now that I’m painting for myself.  Not for a deadline or a professor or anyone else.  It’s just for me.  And if it turns into something else well then so be it.  So look out art world – you’re about to be revisited by my too illustrious self!  (A criticism I once received about my work).  And to those critics from way back I say:

stick out tongue

Oh – and I painted another rock – because it is…

coffee rock

Scared, but not as much.

In my last post Scared I talked about how scary it seems to me to try to pick up the paintbrush again and paint after an almost 40 year hiatus.  Art often involves putting yourself out there and expressing personal emotions and while it still seems scary, today it’s not as scary as it was a couple of weeks ago.  I’ve been doing some thinking about what is holding me back and where the fear comes from.  The most obvious one to me is:

CRITICISM
Probably my number one fear – along with its friends rejection and shame.  I have struggled with trying to fit in my entire life.  We moved on average every 2 years when I was growing up which left me having to fit in with a new group of peers sometimes every year.  When I was young, fitting in wasn’t as hard – younger kids seems to be more accepting than older.  But, as I got older, the cliques formed and I was always the outsider – no one wanted to accept the “new kid”.  (One exception was in high school, but that’s another post).  Immediately I felt labeled and unable to fit in.  I began to feel “not good enough” – a feeling that haunts me to this day.

unclean2

Critical parents didn’t help with this feeling – I never felt like I measured up to their standards.  There was always something I should have been doing better, but that something was never defined.  That led to a lot of ambiguity.   I lost myself during those years trying to be someone else who would hopefully fit.  That didn’t work so I tried to be myself – whoever that was – and found that didn’t work either.   For a long time I was a doormat.  Apparently nobody liked the real me either.  To this day I am confused about myself.  I have had people I thought were my friends drop me like a hot potato and I don’t know why.  One day they were my friends, the next it was like I had the plague.  I feel a lot of shame – why don’t they like me anymore?  What did I do? Why am I never enough?  Which leads to a lot of negative self talk.  I’m too fat, too ugly, too stupid, too whatever.  I feel like I’m on the outside even when I’m in a group.  I feel invisible like I’m not even there.  And it hurts.  I hate feeling left out.  So, the idea of painting – an expression of self that will leave me open to criticism is scary.

Many of the people I would like to have as friends feel more like acquaintances – there is a wall that keeps them on one side and me on the other.  I honestly don’t reach out much anymore.  So, I continue to think and think and think some more.  I continue to keep to myself and watch life go by from the outside.  Maybe that’s just my lot in life – I don’t know.  There sure is a lot that I see going on though that makes me long for what I see others experiencing – I hope it’s not a false perception, but even that’s crossed my mind!

OTHER THINGS
These are things that are pretty trivial, but sometimes daunting because the solution isn’t always easy – time, money for supplies, a place in which to create, the right mind set, etc. These are things that are easier to work on, but can sometimes be hard to accomplish too because support is lacking.

In the meantime I continue to knit and crochet, outlets for some of my creative energy that are soothing and help me focus for awhile.  I have a very ADD brain… squirrel!

squirrel

Oh – and I painted a rock… it’s a start.

cat rock.jpg

 

Scared

canvas

This is the scariest thing I’ve seen in a long time.  I am literally unable to start – I don’t know where to begin.  I haven’t picked up a paint brush or a pencil in over 35 years.  So I just stare at it… clueless.

So, I start to ask myself why.  Why does this scare me?  Why can’t I just “do it”?  And lots of reasons come to mind.  Fear of failure, fear of criticism, what if I’m not able to paint or draw anymore, what if, what if, what if…  Where do I start?  What should I paint?  Why is this so hard?

I have wanted to get back to my fine arts roots for a very long time.  I got derailed early – right after college and it seems like I just can’t get back.  I’ve tried a few times, but obstacles keep putting themselves in the way.  How to remove the obstacles?  Not sure.

So – what happened?  My major in college was painting and drawing.  The 2 local universities had fine art departments but at the time I thought I wanted to go into commercial art.  That seemed to be where all the jobs were and I wanted to be able to make a living after college.  Neither school had a commercial art program so I knew I would need to attend a school that did if I was to get a degree in that field.  Since my parents were paying for my education I talked to them about it and they initially agreed that if I was accepted somewhere then I could go.  Got my portfolio together, sent it out into the world and after several rejections, I was accepted at a school in Ohio.  I would only need an additional year and a half of classes to earn my degree.  I thought I was on my way.  Then for reasons I still don’t know, my parents jerked the carrot away.  No, I could not go.  I never got a satisfactory answer as to why not.  So, I graduated from the school I was currently attending, adding business classes that seemed to fit with my desire to work commercially and I settled.  I did the best I could.  Now – backing up a bit – during my senior year I became engaged.  My parents did not like him.  Not one bit – but never really said why.  I couldn’t see any reason not to marry him, so we made all the plans to get married a few months after I graduated.  1 week before the day I said “I do”, the carrot returns – “if you agree not to marry this guy, you can go to that art school after all”.  I was stunned – why now?  Obviously they thought this was the only way to get me to not get married.  Really?

I was very confused – everything was paid for – would my parents really just throw all that money away?  I didn’t think so.  Money was always an issue around our house.  My $40 wedding dress was too expensive.  I ran the idea by my fiance – would you mind waiting another year so I could get my degree?  Nope.  He wasn’t for that idea at all. Either we get married now or we wouldn’t get married at all.  (Should have listened to my gut at this point).  So I did what I thought was my only option – got married.  Turned out to be a bad idea – he left after I paid off all his pre-marriage debts (which were huge) to go back home to live with his parents.  There were other things, but I won’t get into that here.

So – he fled to another state, left me with the lawyer fees and car payment – both of which he was supposed to take care of and which forced me to take a second job.  Working a full time and part time job left me with no time for anything else and the paints dried up, the pads of paper got ruined when the water heater in my apartment leaked and it all had to be thrown out.  Over 5 years pass.  Met and married my second husband but even though I only had to work 1 job full time, there still did not seem to be time to pursue anything artistic.  So much time had passed – my confidence waned.  My brushes, which for some reason kept, sat on a shelf collecting dust.  I guess I gave up.

Fast forward to now.  I still really want to paint and draw again.  Despite everything that has happened, I long to do it.  But I’m scared… I don’t know where to start.  In a way this seems rather odd because after an almost 30 year hiatus I took up playing the oboe again because I missed it – for whatever reasons this did not seem so intimidating or scary.  I’ve been playing for over 10 years now and love it!  Even took up a second instrument to boot – the English Horn.  If I can do that, why the hesitation to paint again?  Should I audit a class at the university?  Take a class at a local studio that offers them?  Dive in?  It all seems daunting.  And right now I don’t know what to do.

Frustration Part 2…

I appreciate the comments on my last post – but am frustrated once again because I can’t see them on my site!  Nor can I find the post on Facebook.  AND I don’t know how to change that despite searching on Facebook and WordPress for an answer!  So in addition to being frustrated, there is also being aggravated, vexed (thank you to whoever suggested this one), irritated, disgruntled, absolutely maddening, sheer insanity (not the exercise regimen), and the list goes on and on.

What aggravates me most is that the majority of what happens is totally out of my control.  I can do something about anything that falls within my control, but other than deal with how I respond to situation I can’t do much else.  It’s like walking out the door only to be barraged with snowballs – unending snowballs.

snowball

I don’t know… I guess I am tired of having to deal with my responses to these situations instead of having them not happen in the first place.  It eats up so much time that could be spent doing what I set out to do in the first place!  And if you know how I can fix the problems mentioned above, I’d appreciate your suggestions.  I am NOT computer savvy – another source of great aggravation!

Frustration…

frus·tra·tion
frəˈstrāSH(ə)n/
noun
  1. the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something.
    “I sometimes feel like screaming with frustration”
    synonyms: exasperationannoyanceangervexationirritation

    • an event or circumstance that causes one to have a feeling of frustration.
      plural noun: frustrations
      “the inherent frustrations of assembly line work”
  2. the prevention of the progress, success, or fulfillment of something.
    “the frustration of their wishes”
    synonyms: thwarting, defeatprevention, foiling, blocking, spoiling, circumvention, forestalling, disappointmentderailment

    According to the dictionary.

    I struggle to deal with frustration – there seems to be so much of it lately and all I want to do is throw in the towel and call it quits.  When it seems like all I do is bang my head on the wall, it’s easy to think this way.  I keep forging ahead but I feel like I’m swimming in mud, against the current, neck deep…

    frustration

    So how do we talk about what’s frustrating us without those around accusing us of “whining”?  I find THAT frustrating as well!  Sometimes you just need to vent, get it off your chest, scream, yell or whatever, but when you do the world starts telling you to “suck it up, put your big girl panties on and deal with it or stop whining”.  Why are we not allowed to express our frustrations without being made to feel guilty about it?  I get tired of always having to put on happy face when I feel anything but.  Life can be so unfair at times and it can feel like every time you stand up after being pushed down you get pushed down yet again.  And again… and again…

    So what do you do?  Do others accuse you of whining when all you want to do is just have someone listen so you can get it off your chest and maybe help you see things in a different light?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

So… it’s been a while

Yeah, I know… I’ve said it before and this time it’s been 3 years.  Insecurity keeps me from jumping in writing on a more regular basis.  I think that nobody will really be interested in what I have to say.  But I’ll give it a try again.

So – what’s up?  Today I’m trying to give my bazaar set up a make over as it looks boring, boring, boring this year.  I have a new tent with a white top and combined with the white table covers makes my display look sterile.  I don’t think I’m displaying my goods to their best advantage either.  I am trying to do this with things I already have on hand – between left over shop displays and fiber fest set up materials I think I can do it.  My biggest problem is keeping it simple.  I’m prone to over doing it.  My other problem – procrastination… I’m prone to that, too.  Am I working on my set up?  No… I’m writing a blog!

If they would have had ADD, ADHD and all those other designations back when I was in grade school I’m sure they would have put me on meds.  I’m not hyperactive, but I am very easily distracted.  Somehow I managed to make it through school with decent grades without them (except for that sewing class in 7th grade – that’s another story) and in spite of a 2nd or 3rd grade teacher telling my parents and the school principle I was “retarded”.  This was back when you could still use that label.  She humiliated me in front of my classmates because I did not finish a handout on time and sent me to the principles office.  I cried.  I was already suspect with my classmates because I was the new kid – having moved there in the middle of the school year and that just gave them all the more reason to give me a hard time.  It was a miserable year.  The teacher did not want me in her classroom, even after testing showed there was nothing  wrong with me, I was just ahead of the other students.  Back then there were no advanced classes or programs for gifted and talented kids.  I was just bored.

I think boredom can be a problem for most creative people.  Our minds tend to wander all over the place looking for that next bit of inspiration or that tantalizing new technique to try.  At one time or another I’ve tried all kinds of creative outlets – painting, drawing, ceramics, jewelry making, stained glass art, journaling, card making, quilting, weaving, knitting, print making, crochet, netting, embroidery, beading, counted thread work, dyeing, spinning – you get the idea.  I am constantly lured by pretty colors of yarn, heck, pretty colors and patterns of just about everything!  My mind loves to wander – which is not always a good thing.  It’s like a computer with too many tabs open at one time and I have a hard time concentrating on any one thing.  I get anxious and depressed when I can’t focus and get something done.  I am trying to spin too many plates.  I have tried to become more disciplined in recent years weeding out the excess outlets and focusing on what I can do and love to do in the space that I have available.  But it’s hard – I want to do it all even though I know I can’t.  I could, but I wouldn’t be doing anything well and that’s important to me too.  I want to do what I do well.

 

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