Friday, October 25, 2013

Feature Art Friday: Art in Progress

So this is what you get today for 'Feature Art Friday'. A mostly-finished blurry church window photo, snapped quickly last night in art class. It isn't the planned, well-documented, from beginning to end, step by step thing you usually get on Fridays. It was honestly almost an afterthought... but there is a great reason.

I feel so inspired & so motivated since this happened. Something about saying out loud that I really wanted to be brave made it happen. Imagine that. Certainly there will be nerves prior to participating in my first ever effort to sell original art, but I'm not going to be scared anymore. It's hard to learn to ask for help & show vulnerability when you are middle-aged. But it is happening.

While I have several canvases finished for the art sale, I have almost as many in varying states of completion, like this church window. Last Thursday, feeling brave, I arrived in class with a written list of questions... what sorts of displays do I need? Lighting? How do I price everything? What does the art hang on? One of my friends went so far as to walk me to a chalkboard & draw me a picture. He's a patient man. Last night, I announced that I had an eyelash-less giraffe & a floating chicken that needed some help. And they got it. The chicken is now standing firmly on the ground & the giraffe has not only eyelashes, but perhaps a bit of eyeliner as well.

So maybe things are a little messy here on the blog & not quite so well-planned. And that is okay, because I'm too busy running the legs off of my 39th year with all of this inspiration.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My old friend

Grief is a strange thing. People speak of getting over it or through it, as if it is something tangible that should be maneuvered around or scaled like a wall. If only.

For me, grief goes along. Or maybe I should say it comes along. Oddly, it travels better than you might think... more so if it is old enough to know how to behave itself, which my grief does. He should- he is 30 years old today. We actually grew up together, I only vaguely remember my life before he arrived.

We have developed some sort of uneasy friendship at this point, or at least a mutual respect. We certainly know more about each other than either of us care to admit. He has learned to do a better job of picking his moments for wanting attention & I have learned the hard way to let him have his time.

Whenever there is reason to meet new grief, as there was a few years ago, my old friend shows up to make the introductions. I angrily told the newcomer that she wasn't welcome here. Not to get comfortable. She refused to leave.

My old grief waited. He stayed a while to see if I would learn to be kind, which I would not. It is easy to find kindness for grief when it shows up so early in your life that you don't know any better- when you set him a place at your imaginary tea parties & play on the tire swing together. It inspires a bit more anger when you are old enough to know better & see the unfairness of it all.

So my old friend waited, even though I refused to give in. Who knows what his intentions were. Maybe he was here to support me. Or maybe misery really does love company.

Either way, he's worn out his welcome this time around & I've asked him to pack his bags.

See you next year, old friend. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dear 39

Dear 39,

Good morning, it’s nice to meet you. In order to get off on the right foot, it’s important that we cover a few things, starting with my feelings about you. After observing many of my friends during your introduction, it seems reasonable that you might have a bit of a self-esteem issue.  Unlike many of your relatives, you somehow found yourself in the unenviable position of having to stand right next to 40 your whole life. It isn’t your fault and 16, 18 & 21 are rude to pick on you about it.

I have some good news for you. I’m happy to see you. Seriously, we are going to do great things together. You are special. Why? Let me explain. My father died when he was 40. By the time he met you, he knew that he didn’t have much time left. It’s heartbreaking that he died so young & painful to think about all of the things he missed & is missing. I try very hard to be positive & continue to learn from him- from his life as well as the unfortunate loss of it at such  a young age.  Yesterday I realized the significance of his 39th birthday. He probably wondered if he would make it to 40.

What did I learn from this? I was reminded that I don’t just want to be alive. There is an almost immeasurable distance between simply being alive & actually living. It reminded me of this quote from author Marianne Williamson:

“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? Your playing small does not serve the world.”

I don’t want to just be alive. I want to live.



With a wide open heart.

When I am afraid, I want to recognize that it is an indication of how much something means to me & that I need to suck it up & be brave.

When I feel vulnerable & want to shut down or paste a smile on my face & pretend it isn’t happening, I want to lean into the vulnerability & recognize that I will learn something from it. It might not be pretty. That is ok, I’m 39. I don’t need to worry with pretty. I’m sorry, 39 I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. You may not be as pretty as 25 but you are so much wiser. Yes, I still like you better.

So I want the two of us to have a great year together, as another lesson to learn from Pop. If you ever think I am playing small, feel free to remind me that unlike my father, I still have my health. I still have the ability to conspire with the universe & co-create my life. I am not only still alive, I am living. And I do not want to play small. I hope you are wearing your running shoes & feel like an adventure, 39. Because I’m about to wear you out.


Pop & me, a few weeks before his 39th birthday

Friday, October 11, 2013

Feature Art Friday: The Lobster

I'm getting things ready for the first art sale I have been involved with, so there has been more painting & less blogging over here lately. The lack of posting isn't tied directly to the increase in painting, it's more closely related to the paralyzing fear I am periodically feeling with regard to standing in a room full of strangers, not really knowing how the art will be received. It's difficult to type with clenched hands. I'm also (believe it or not) an introvert, which makes the art sale even more daunting. 

I spoke to 3 of my art friends about it last night. Two of them are introverts & it made me feel a little better to hear a story about an incredibly talented artist who literally hid behind his art at his first sale. Another amazingly talented artist is an introvert who paints in such a large format that I almost wonder if part of the purpose in the large scale is to keep people back. Now that I think about it, it seems less likely that you would have to carry on a one-on-one conversation with someone when they are standing 20 feet away to take in the beauty of your work. She's one smart "art lady" as my boys call her. The third friend involved in the conversation is such an extrovert that he seems baffled by the idea of strangers in general. He doesn't ever seem to meet a stranger & is one of the most friendly & open people I have ever met. I'm somewhat envious of his people skills & open heart. There is so much learn to from them all & I'm grateful to have them in my life... & I'll be even more grateful when they are taking turns talking me out from under the table at the sale next month.