of sun and paint and deep deep peace

I returned from Mexico last Thursday. I know it seems like I’ve given up on my one-piece-of-art-every-week commitment, but that’s not the case at all. In fact, Mexico propelled me ahead of my goal. Here are just a few things I cranked out while I thawed in the sun:

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I don’t know when I’ve ever enjoyed myself so much. And based on my productivity, I really should look into moving there. It’s like my lungs opened up and my heart followed obediently. And then my fingers got involved. It was so easy. Even the wrong turns were less frustrating.

So now I have to figure out how to bring all of that inspiration into my real world where the ocean is nowhere to be found and it’s so very cold and often dark. I’m taking a deep breath and remembering the peace I felt in my body and willing it to stay.

Dear peace, you’re welcome here.

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Posted in one piece of art per week for a year

that which is primitive in me

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I’m not sure that this is finished, but I’m counting it as my piece of art for the week. I’ve been fascinated with petroglyphs for the last week or so. Also, Africa is still bumping around inside my skin. I’m dreaming of ancestors and what it must have been like to be so close to the prospect of death. It must have made family and friends so important. And I love that even in times so primitive, art was important enough to find its way on the walls. That means something to me.

I have miles and miles of damp caves waiting for me to make my marks.

For those of you who read my post from last week, I did end up changing the painting that I hated so much. And now I love it. Nothing is ever beyond redemption. This is true.

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Posted in one piece of art per week for a year

on busyness and the ability to say no

You probably thought I forgot about my commitment to produce a piece of art every week, but I didn’t. In fact, this past week I produced two pieces! I can’t show you both of them because it’s a project for a CD cover and I can’t put that out there, but I can show you one of them and parts of the other one.

The first piece I did last week was actually a failed concept for the CD cover. I had an idea and it just didn’t work out the way I wanted. It’s fairly important to notice when something isn’t working and set it aside so that something else can emerge. I’m actually kind of embarrassed but in the interest of full disclosure and the ability to share honestly, here it is:

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I know some of you will rush to say how much you like this, but I truly hate it. Well, that’s a bit harsh. I hate the bottom of it. I’ll put it away and wait for the animosity to subside and I’m sure I’ll find a way to redeem it.

Now, the second attempt was much better. Again, I can’t show you the whole thing right now, but here’s a couple corners of it:

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Ahhhhhhh. Much better.

I’ve been feeling pretty busy and I’m trying to figure out what to do about that. My life is fairly unstructured and I’m realizing that if I don’t manage it differently a million little things will come in and demand my attention and suck me dry. And none of those million little things seems like much all by itself. So it feels really hard to say no. But I’ve got to start saying no.

I’ll give you an example.

There’s been this little challenge floating around the one of the artist Facebook pages that I frequent. It’s lovely. You post three pieces of your art for five days and also challenge two other artists to do the same each of those days. Let me clearly say that I see nothing wrong with this. It’s wonderful and I’ve enjoyed seeing some of my favorite artists share their work as a result of this challenge.

So the other day, I was tagged in this challenge, and normally I would be really excited to join in the fun, but instead I noticed that I was feeling a lot of dread. So I sat and tried to figure out what was going on that was creating that feeling for me.

I realized that I haven’t really been following too closely who has already been tagged and it would take some time and effort to pick ten artists who hadn’t already been tagged. But even more than this, there was something about the particular timeframe I find myself in right now. I’m busy with several projects and I’m just coming off of three weeks of hosting guests in my house and I just needed to have some control over what was getting my attention.

And even more than either of those two things, I needed to say no.

I’m not good at saying no. I never have been. And I suspect that it’s becoming more and more important for me to learn this skill.

So I said no.

And it felt great.

I’m going to be spending some time thinking through my big “yeses” so that I will be better able to say no with confidence and grace.

What are the things you’re saying “yes” and “no” to these days?

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Posted in one piece of art per week for a year

full-time granny

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I’m still on full-time granny duty, and that means I’m still struggling to find time for art. Today I forced myself to sit down and do a quick sketch of MLK from the jail in Birmingham. Seemed fitting.

The kids are supposed to go back home on Wednesday and I’m going to make it a priority to plop myself down in my studio and get to work. Hold me to that, would you?

It’s week two and I’m still here. 🙂

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Posted in one piece of art per week for a year

of new meds and swollen faces and a full house and doing it anyway

One would almost think that the universe listens for resolutions and then unleashes chaos to thwart said resolutions.

Last monday I resolved to produce a piece of art every week. I went to work on a large piece thinking to myself,

I’ve got plenty of time to work on this. No problem.

Ha! That’s the last time I throw out a dare like that to the forces of evil. No sooner did I start to feel smug, when suddenly my life slipped completely out of my control. It began gradually. I started a new medication to try to manage my headaches that made me feel, well, icky and weird. Then my husband developed a tooth infection and began to slide downhill quick. In the midst of this, my daughter-in-law flew to California to be with her sister gave birth to her first baby, which meant that my son and two grandchildren moved in with us for the next week or so. By Friday night, Dave’s face looked like this:

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After a trip to the ER, an emergency trip to the dentist, no fewer than three antibiotic changes, and the possibility of a hospital admission, he is finally doing better. But let me tell you, I’ve not had a ton of time for art.

But I’m not giving up so easily.

I decided to sit down and make this little card for a friend.

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It’s not much, but it’s not nothing. And I feel good that I didn’t give in to the forces of evil that go around trying to kill art-making. Ha ha.

I’ll leave you with a 6 second video of my grandkids so you can see what I’m up against. They are way too cute. I’m toast.

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Posted in art process, getting real

belated new year’s resolution

I’ve never been the kind of person who makes New Year’s resolutions. Or at least I’ve never had much luck keeping them. I’m sure I’m not alone here. Resolutions seem like a giant set-up for failure to me. I read something from Anne Lamott on Facebook recently that resonated with me deeply:

I know you are planning to start a diet next Thursday, January 1st, I used to start diets, too. I hated to mention this to my then-therapist. She would say cheerfully, ” Oh, that’s great, honey. How much weight are you hoping to gain?”

I got rid of her sorry ass. No one talks to ME that way.

So, when the idea of a resolution popped into my brain this year, I gave myself a stern talking-to. It sounded like this:

Oh Terri, you silly goose. You know that will never work. YOU, my friend, are the kind of person who CANNOT follow through. You will only disappoint yourself and others. Now, go back to your regularly scheduled life and forget about this resolution nonsense.

Yeah, that was uplifting. I hate it when I talk to me that way.

So I’m ignoring that voice and going ahead with a resolution anyway. And it’s not a diet. My resolution is to produce one piece of art per week this year, starting this week. Sound good? It sounds good to me.

The truth is, I’ve been struggling quite a bit since I returned from Africa on Thanksgiving. My health has been terrible and I’ve barely been in my studio at all. I did make time for this little beauty as a Christmas present for my dad:

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He loved it and so did I.

I toyed with the idea of a resolution centered around health, but I think this is better. I take better care of myself when I’m immersed in art. I’m more alive.

So here I go. Anyone interested in joining me? I’d love to hear from you.

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Posted in art process, getting real, health

what?!?

Oh, this sad little neglected space. I’ve been so busy I kind of forgot about this corner of my world.

I’m so happy to announce that I’m preparing for my first ever art show at Olivet Congregational Church (1850 Iglehart Avenue) at 11:30 tomorrow morning. What?!? That doesn’t really seem real to me, but I’m doing my best to cozy up to the idea and not be too neurotic and weirded out. And then on Thursday I head out for South Africa. What?!? My life is definitely getting a tad out of hand in the best possible ways. To tell you the truth, it feels a little dream-like. Someone pinch me. But not hard.

Here’s a window into tomorrow. Please join me if you’re local and able. I’ll be the one in the corner trying really hard to look like this is normal even though it is NOT.

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