Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Carl Jung was a smarty pants

Synchronicity: A term coined by Carl Jung to describe the experience of two or more events, apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, that are observed to occur together in a meaningful manner.

That Carl Jung… he was such a smarty pants.

Let me tell you a story. It’s a story of synchronicity that has me oscillating back & forth between disbelief & gratitude. Momentary surprise that has me shaking my head in amazement just before slipping into heart-swelling happiness.

On more occasions than I can count, I have had this conversation with friends as they peered curiously at my latest art project:

Friend: “I wish I could do that. I’m not creative.”

Me: “You can do that, anyone can. Someone may just need to show you how, that’s all.”

We have even talked about having “art night” at my house, where we would empty the giant wardrobe that holds my art supplies onto the table, have a drink & make things. We would completely take the mystery out of it. We would have a good time, enjoy good company & I would happily answer questions, offer encouragement & watch hopefully as they realize that they can, in fact, make something creative.

I have never been one of those artists who believe that art is something for a few select people who happen to born with a predisposition for it. Certainly it comes easier for some people, but if given the opportunity I think just about anyone can produce something artistic that just might surprise them. I love seeing the look on their face when it happens. You see the wheels start turning, as they wonder what else they could do that they have never been willing to try.

Back to the synchronicity… after one of many of these conversations, a friend sent me a link to a part-time job. What? I wasn’t looking for a part-time job…

It was for a place I had never heard of- Painting with a Twist.

Painting with a Twist? What is this Painting with a Twist?

I opened the link & realized I was looking at a franchised version of “art night”… that would be opening in my city. Immediately, I wanted to know more. I went back & read the ad for the instructor positions.

Certainly they would require someone to be available when I have to be at my ‘grown up job’… nope. Most of the classes are during the evening or on the weekend.

Surely they would require an art degree… Nope. They want to see a portfolio of your work & a resume, but no art degree necessary.

I won’t bore you with the details that include a minor freak-out on my part prior to the interview, or the fact that I couldn’t stop thinking about this place that I have never seen, or how the interview felt like a conversation with lovely artsy people rather than an interview, or the happy dance I did standing in a bathroom when I received the email offering me one of the instructor positions… never mind. There are the details.

Needless to say, I’d like to make a shout out to Carl Jung. That smarty pants.

Check it out... Painting with a Twist.

Monday, June 27, 2011

36 things list: encourage someone

Encouragement is a funny thing.

There are those who bask in it like a cat in a sunbeam; “Really? You think I could do that?” A slow smile spreads across her face as you see the wheels turning & you can almost feel the possibility of this thing she wants to try running through her head.

And there are also those who want no part of it; regarding you suspiciously as you offer support & gentle prodding. Those who come up with reasons it can’t happen/won’t work so quickly that you catch yourself agreeing with them, or in the very least slipping partway down the slippery slope of negativity.

Should you fall into the latter category, I recognize your responses because they were often mine too. Any compliment, encouragement or positive statement was generally met with a reason (at least in my head) for why it couldn’t possibly work that way.

After adding my desire to encourage other people to my ’36 Things’ list, it has become second nature. If you don’t want to get a positive response over whatever idea you may have, you should steer clear of me. I turn into a cheerleader in about half a second at this point.

I’ve learned something from this “offering encouragement” business… once you have been at it for a while, people start telling you all sorts of things they have always wanted to do. You become a safe depository for dreams of people you barely know as well as people you have known your whole life, but who never felt comfortable sharing the things they wish to reach for.

The funniest part of all of it is this: by making a conscious effort to encourage others when they talk about things they want to try, something really interesting happened- something I never considered, when I added “Encourage someone” to my list.

Somewhere along the way, I finally started encouraging myself.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Feature Art Friday: Crushin' on a Cat

Ron Burgundy has admirers. Two seven-year-old girls, to be exact. They have pretty serious crushes on him, mainly because he is such a nice cat that he dutifully allows them to carry him around like a baby. Sometimes he likes it & other times he casts sidelong glances wistfully at the floor as he is lifted into the air & flipped on his back to be carted up & down the stairs. I'm not sure why he he goes along with it... he has claws, he doesn't have to. The girls were told on several occasions that he could be picked up but at the first sign he felt like a hostage he had to be put down. When asked what the signs were, I told them they would know if he showed one. I figured it in my best interest to leave Mr. Burgundy with the element of surprise. Ron even occasionally sought them out... the girls ran down the stairs one evening & he was right behind them in hot persuit. Maybe it's a two-way crush & his wistful glances were just his version of playing hard to get.

I knew it was getting serious when the most sensitive, animal-loving child I know announced, "I need crayons. I'm going to color a bird for Ron Burgundy to dip in hot sauce & eat." Being an animal lover myself, I was somewhat horrified, but having no plans to stifle a child's creativity, I not only gave her crayons & paper, but a roll of tape when she asked if she could tape the "bird dip" on Ron's playhouse. Poor bird. If you wonder what the orange bit is at the top, that's Rons paw holding the helpless creature by it's wee little head.

Shortly after this, the other child visited my office & asked if she could have paper & pencil. I'm happy to report that this didn't result in the imaginary homicide of a bluebird, but I do have what appears to be a decapitated cat's head hanging on the door in my workplace. I assumed it was Ron, until the child pointed out (rather reproachfully) that this cat has bows in it's ears.

It's a girl.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Losing time

I have been absent- from blogging anyway. I have been absent in that respect while being oh so present otherwise.

Last week, on a hot summer evening in the south I watched three very special children delightedly accept an invitation to play in the tiny baby pool in my neighbors yard. I sat on the steps watching as they all flitted back & forth like little birds flying from yard to yard, where the sprinkler lazily beat back the heat on first one side of the yard then the other.

As I watched them running & squealing as the sprinkler caught up to them, making them all throw their hands skyward & laugh, I hoped they would always remember what it felt like to "lose time" in my front yard that summer. Losing time is an important part of play & imagination; a sure indicator even in adults that you are doing something you enjoy. It is a sign that you are living so intensely in the moment & holding it so closely to you that one moment slips into the next until the sun is setting & the three little birds finally, magically, circle & light in the driveway to watch the sun slip away.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Flea market love

This old iron door was only $22.50! We had to ride home an hour with one end of it sticking up front between the seats. Good thing I was shopping with a fellow vintage-shopping addict.
Something else I love almost as much as flea markets? Spray paint. It's magic.

I love flea markets. I adore them in the way one loves things when they can't stop thinking about them. When they wonder if the recipient of their adoration misses them when they are apart. Unlike (boring) retail stores, you just never know what you may stumble across (quite literally) at a vintage store. For the record, I have yet to fall down but there have been a couple of close calls. Flea markets are not known for their spacious aisles.

This basket was $6.50 & will be the perfect home for all of the fabric I keep buying for when I finally get around to learning to sew. What can I say? I'm easily distracted.

They make LIME green spray paint. I love it. LOVE it.
Old things in a flea market have a story, & each item had a whole separate life before you met. You hardly see the exact same thing in another store & if you see something you want, you better buy it before someone else comes along & snaps it up.

This candle holder was $10.00 & weighs a ton, but I really liked the shape of it.
Krylon makes this nickel finish spray paint that I have actually used on light fixtures, so I just used a little left over for this project.
Everything in a vintage store has potential to become something better- or almost everything... Saturday while flea-marketing with my good friend we came across an ancient bread toaster that looked like some sort of torture device. I like picking up some of the really old stuff & trying to imagine what it might have been used for, although judging by my initial reaction to what turned out to be a small kitchen appliance, I'm probably not doing to well. It's OK, maybe I could just use more practice guessing. It's only been 48 hours & I'm already looking forward to my next trip... what can I say? That's true love.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Quote of the Month: "It's never too late..."

This quote & I have bumped into each other quite a bit recently, & by “quite a bit” I mean more often than you would expect from a quote written by a long-deceased novelist.

It’s a bit daunting if you really think about it… “It’s never too late…”



Never ever?

If that is true, then we can’t really be too comfortable sitting around watching the world whiz by. If, in the very least, the alarm had recently sounded on the “too late” bell, then you could wilt into your chair & say wistfully to yourself, “well, I would have accomplished all sorts of things, but now it’s too late.”

But if good old George really knew what he was talking about & wasn’t just shooting off at the mouth, then I would guess we all have two options.

“Sorry, you have to do all that work you thought you had put off long enough to avoid what you really want from this big scary life.”


“Congratulations! You still have time!!!”