Thursday, August 25, 2016

Back in the Studio Again.

For the past several months, my studio time has taken a backseat to life.  Not that I've been living in the fast lane, but it seems like this summer has flown by and my studio routine has flown out the window right along with it.  I'm not upset about it in the least.  I'm glad. 

Life(and art) is what happens when you're making other plans.

Or, in my case, doing other things.  I've spent the last 5 months taking trips out of town for joyous events in my 'children's' lives.  I've spent many days watching my daughter perform, graduate with a master's and last but not least, be her travel partner on her new life road to L.A.  I've also spent many days watching my granddaughter grow from baby to toddler and helped her learn to walk and talk. 
Studio guilt?  Or fear.

In the past, any change in my studio routine or creative process led to a lot of guilt and fear.  My mind would reel with questions and accusations.  How could I call myself an artist if I wasn't making art, constantly?  How could I have pieces to show and sell, if I wasn't in the studio everyday?  What would happen if I stopped making for any length of time?  Would I never go back to my art?  Would I, (oh no) become a 'hobbyist'?

Fear doesn't create art.  Love does.

And love, also creates life and 'a life'.  And I want it all.  Yes I do.  

And what I've found out by taking time off from the studio is this: work gets done.  Really.  Pieces get made, painted, bisqued, glazed and, yes, miracle of miracles, sold.  Even while I'm on a road trip with my daughter to L.A.  

My art waited for me, patiently.  There on the shelves in my studio were pieces ready to be bisqued again.  There were new pieces ready to be under glazed.  There is a load in the kiln right now, waiting for me to unload it and get it ready for final glazing.  Show labels are made and ready for my next show.  And I know, next week, I'll be back in my studio with my hands in fresh clay again.  

Surprisingly, I'm not feeling either guilt or fear. My life is and always has been about making whether it's making an ad, a family or a new piece of art.  It's not the thing that matters, it's the heart.  And, I truly believe, there is no art(or life) without it. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Study in Contrasts.

This last week, I traveled from Portland to Los Angeles.  Flying home with the sun setting into the ocean, I was captivated by the bird's eye view.  The changes in the landscape below me was an ongoing study in contrasts.

All different.  And all the same.  

Buildings, houses, schools and shopping malls began and ended the flight.  In between, were large expanses of green fields growing food.  There were wide rivers, flowing lakes and forests.  Brown mountains stretched for miles and miles looking like sculpted, brushed copper in the setting sun. Then came greener and greener mounds as I flew closer to Portland.  I was struck by the expanse of the world below me that I only get to see in bits and pieces in my daily life.  

Oregonians vs Californians.    

California and Oregon may share the same ocean but that's probably about all.  Our two states are very different in many ways. And while that's fine, it's sometimes really funny.

Freeway driving speeds:
LA: 75

Freeway turn signals mean:
Portland:  "Hi, there!  I'd like to change lanes, please."  
LA:  "Look out! I'm moving over!!"

Going out to dinner:
Portland:  Let's walk to the local pub.
LA: Take two freeways, 1 hour by car, wait 20 minutes for a table.

Portland = Thank God It's Friday
LA = Thank God I'm Fabulous

What can I say?  I'm who I am and they are who they are.  It's not good or bad.  Now it's time for something completely different. And that contrast is what makes the world the wonderfully creative place for all of us.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Life as an Olympic Sport.

Watching the Summer Olympics, I marvel at the grace, strength and determination of each and every athlete.  Yes, I cheer for the USA.  But I also cheer for the tiny gymnast from China when she makes her vault.  The Australian swimmer who won his first gold.  And the 41-year old woman gymnast at her 7th Olympic Games.  

It's not all about competition.  I see it in each and every face out there.

They started out learning something new.  They grew to love it.  They wanted to do it more and more and more.  And as they did it, they got better and better and better.  They joined groups to learn to be even better from teachers and coaches and others who loved the same thing they did.  They had people who loved and supported what they loved to do.  

Doing what you love is hard work.  And it's doesn't always work out.

They get up and do their work everyday.  Some days are good, some not.  Sometimes they make the jump, sometimes they don't.  They know what they want, how it should feel and when they don't do their best or it doesn't go right, you can see it on their faces.  But even when they're disappointed in their work or themselves, they get up and do it again.

Life and art and the Olympics are the same.  

It's about making and creating.  It's more about completing than competing.  It's about doing what you love everyday whether it works out the way you want it to, or not. 
Watch them.  You'll see it.  And maybe, like me, you'll see it in yourself, too.

Curious, isn't it?  I'll never win a gold medal, of course.  But I never in a million years thought  I had anything in common with an Olympic Athlete, did you?  

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Happy Thoughts.

As I sit here on the window seat, a cool, sweet breeze flows past me.  The sky is blue.  The clouds are white and fluffy just perfect for seeing faces and animals and daydreaming about the stories of their lives in the sky.  

Do they know it's summer? Are they bored just floating up there?  Do they ever do anything?

As a child, summer was vacation.  Summer was riding my bike through the woods all day.  Skating up and down all the streets in my neighborhood.  Swimming all day in the neighborhood pool.  Going to the store to buy candy.  Summer was reading on my friend's covered patio from the stack of books I collected weekly from the local library.  Learning to embroider from my friend's mother.  Summer was playing ghost in the graveyard after dinner in the dark.  Or playing the Game of Life.  Little did I know that Summers for the rest of my life would never be the same.

Long, lost summer.

It's a slow process from child to adult and summer gets lost along the way with tricycles and stuffed animals and Nancy Drew mystery books.  We all go through it.  We go to work.  We have children.  We watch them play all summer as we fold the laundry and make sandwiches.  I loved watching my children play make believe in the backyard.  I helped them make pirate ships and castles to sail away to their very own wonderlands in the clouds of imagination.

Now, I want mine back.  But is it even possible?

As I sit on the window seat feeling the fresh, sweet breeze I'm curious.  And I wonder, why can't I have my summer back? Why not be a modern day, female Peter Pan?  Travel the world in my imagination where I am captain of my own ship.  Where is Tinkerbell when you need her?


I am captain of my own ship.  Yes, I am.  I walk in the woods everyday in my own neighborhood.  I still read book after book, usually at night.  Instead of embroidery, I throw and paint clay.  And every night, I sit on the window seat and watch the sun go down eagerly awaiting the time when the sky turns Maxfield Parrish blue with rose silhouetting the hills and trees in the distance.   

Think happy thoughts.

My summer isn't lost after all.  I can sit on the window seat and read and sip ice tea and look at the clouds and dream. Maybe what I need to remember is not my childhood summers but Summer's now.  And how easy it really is to just sit and be.

Happy Thoughts.  That's all it takes, doesn't it? And, maybe a little help from Tinkerbell.