A Missing Day

I didn’t post yesterday, not due to illness recovery but because a household project very much got in the way. This wasn’t a roadblock that I threw in my own way, but something that had to be done. Just last week I wrote about not letting this blog turn into the Monday morning diet syndrome, I can’t let this happen. This project has become entirely too important to me. For the first time in my life I have a sense of accomplishment and true happiness. Like many people I spent years looking to others to make my life complete. It’s taken me a long time to figure out that only I have the key to make that happen. I’ve never felt the kind of pride I have in my accomplishments and in my work before. Of course I’ve done things I liked or loved over the years, but this is the first time that I have fought myself to make me a priority. I’m finally feeling better, there are no excuses to not get back on track. I find it ironic that tomorrow is Monday after my little rant, but it is, and I will start working on making up lost time. For tonight, after a very, very long day, I decided to just grab the watercolors and see where it led me. I was playing with color, still unsure of my project when I looked up to see Riley, my cat. She was laying in front of me in a rather cute position, problem solved, tonight’s subject, Riley.

No pencil sketch, just painting her as she lay.Image

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Broken Promises

Did I break the promise I made to myself last night? Of course I did. The last thing I wrote last night was a promise to myself to start my day with my work. As usual I let everything else get in the way. Cleaned my house, ran errands, you know the “anything I can put in my way” stuff. Are you like me? Do you keep your promises to everyone, everyone but yourself? Why is that so easy? When I say I’m going to do something I do it. Sometimes I don’t even feel like it but I do it anyway. Like telling someone you will call them when in fact you really don’t want to talk to them. I call. Or agree to help a friend do something, and then you are tired or lazy or just don’t feel like it? I do it. I have a sneaking suspicion that Catholic guilt plays a role, and I’m a woman. Women seem to feel bad awfully easily, at least I do. But if it’s for me, bottom of the list. I think I need to do a “Stuart Smalley”, remember Al Franken on SNL? I need to sit in front of a mirror and repeat, “I’m good enough”. But only after I clean the house, right?  I did finally sit down to do some art.  “And what time was that?” you ask. Well, if I’m going to be honest, about 7:30 this evening. By that time I was quite frankly ready for bed. Still unbelievably tired, but I was upset with myself last night. I did last-minute, under pressure homework for this blog last night, and it was crap. I really didn’t even want to post it, but I did say I would put up everything, even the crap. So as tired as I was tonight I was determined to put up something to be proud of.

When Dan and I went to Paris in 2009, I took in excess of two thousand pictures. The most beautiful, in my opinion, were the ones I took in Giverny. Every home and garden were spectacular. I looked through those photos today and pulled a few of my favorites. I believe I have mentioned my odd love of gates, windows and old doors. (If I haven’t then here’s the scoop. I take many, many photos of old doors, gates and windows. I never, ever take photos of people, except for Dan, who is of course my favorite human) I chose a photo for tonight of a gate I liked because of its color. Watercolor on paper. It was sort of last-minute, but its work I like, not something that I will feel bad about in the morning. No promises as far as a schedule for tomorrow, only the promise that I will put up work that I am proud to put my name on, and I will try really hard not to put myself last…I’m smart enough…I’m good enough…

 

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Catching Up

Long day today. Still battling some fatigue, of course very high temperatures outside don’t help. We did spend some time in our beautiful garden this morning before the sun grew too hot. I shared some photos along with my usual art work this evening. One of the fountain we designed and the other of my grapes. I am ridiculously excited about the grapes. I’m a city of Chicago kid, grew up next to the El. Growing grapes make me very happy.

I know I have some art to catch up on, but I also have a million things in my non-artistic life that I have fallen behind on as well. By the time I sat down to decide what to do for an artistic project this evening, I was exhausted and at a loss for what to do. Everyone tells me to take it easy, but those who know me well realize that sitting still is difficult for me. I unfortunately didn’t leave myself much energy for my project. I am making myself a promise that tomorrow it will be the first thing I do. I sat here on the couch and just looked around the room for inspiration. What I ended up with was a small leaf study in watercolor from a plant on my table, and when I opened my husband’s iPad there was a beautiful photo of a silhouette of a tree against a sunset, small painting number two. Both are small, no more than a few inches, nothing I’m crazy about, but it was enough to stretch my artistic muscles for the evening. Better things in the morning…promise.IMG_9724

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Recovering

I’m back, and I hope this time it’s for good. This pneumonia took an awful lot out of me. I don’t ever remember being this tired. I had every intention of posting yesterday, but early in the day I overdid it, and by evenings end I was in no shape for anything. My dear husband stepped in as I drifted off on the couch.

I’ve missed being here. This blog has done so much for me and my creativity. I’m feeling more at ease and creative than I ever have. It really has changed my life. I’ve spent most of my life being a “next Monday morning dieter”, and I did make several good attempts, but I would always fall back on my old ways. I was the same with art. Many, many false starts, but I never stuck with it til now. In the last several days as I struggled with illness I was afraid that when I tried to come back, when I tried to work again, that it would be another failed Monday morning. I’m sure your all familiar with it. You do one wrong thing and then it’s a private conversation in your head, goes something like this, “Well, I blew it now. I’ll just eat whatever today, and start again tomorrow.” Tomorrow never comes, or it doesn’t come for another six months. It took me so long to get here, and trust me there were days when I came really close to letting myself off the hook, but I didn’t, I followed through. I’m proud of that. I’m not giving up. I am a few days behind of course, three hundred sixty-five days, three hundred sixty-five pieces of art, I need to play a little catch up. I’m not worried, I know I can do it. I am however going to be realistic. I have been sick, very sick, and I need to take it easy.

It was very hot here today and our house felt like an oven. We decided to sit in the garden tonight where it was cool. I grabbed a couple of tomatoes off the vine. Tonight’s very simple exercise is a watercolor of my tomatoes. I’ll be back tomorrow, hopefully with something a little more ambitious. For now I’m tired…again. Goodnight.Image

The Artistic Refrigerator is Unplugged…

As much as the artist in residence wanted to try to post tonight, it just wasn’t going to happen.  There is no energy to power the ‘fridge.  Her husband (me) is putting this one to bed.  She (hopefully) will be back in full form tomorrow.  And I promise that the Refrigerator will again be filled.

Returning To Work

 

Hello known (and unknown) universe. I’m back for a quick blog. Feeling somewhat better, but still not to be considered a fully functioning human. Tired and winded, it may take a few days to get my mojo back. I thank all who participated in sending me good karma. I did manage in the last forty-eight hours to get something done. Actually, more than one thing since it was my wonderful husband’s birthday. It is also our twenty-fourth wedding anniversary today. I have been couch bound for a week, therefore no birthday gifts, cards, or anniversary card or gift. I don’t know why I have ever bought a single card, I make beautiful cards. Who knows? So I made a lovely birthday card, and then as a combination birthday/anniversary present(s), I wrote two poems, and then did pen and ink drawings to put them on. I’ve posted a photo of the first minus the poem. I think I’ll be doing a lot of watercolor, pencil drawing, and pen and ink in the coming weeks, I need to avoid the fumes of everything else.  I am more than pleased with the finished result, and even better than that, Dan loved them, and that is all that matters. Happy Birthday, and Happy Anniversary Dan, I love you.6 236 24 (1)

An Answer To Last Night’s Question, And A Little Tale

Last night I asked a question of the universe. It pertained to how I was feeling. I got my answer today….pneumonia. Alas, the universe has yet again thrown a roadblock on my journey!  One pill down and my head is up (although the rest of me is still on the couch), so I decided tonight in leu of artwork I’ll just write. There are more people following my blog than I had ever imagined, and I appreciate the support more than you may know. I thought maybe tonight I would just tell a little tale about myself. I have a very good friend who laughs at me, it’s not mean, it’s just that she knows me well enough to know if an accident can happen and I’m in the area, it’s mine. Another dear friend who keeps telling me that I need to save it for “the book”.There are many, many of these stories, but because I am already getting tired (been up since 2 a.m. coughing) I will share only this one.

January in Chicago can be really, really cold. Lake Michigan has a lot to say about how miserable Chicagoan’s will be. Lake effect snow, and wind chill can be brutal. My first car was an AMC Hornet. It was hideous, sort of gold color, with two giant rust holes in the hood that would spin the slushy crap off winter streets onto my windshield, not to mention that sometimes when the car wouldn’t start I would pop the hood, and using a pen I would push something inside the engine, (no idea what) and the car would start. That last part was actually quite impressive, guys actually thought I knew something about cars…not so much. As far as the rust holes in the hood, I had to shove plastic bags in the openings to be able to see through the windshield on winter days. Very stylish. How old was I with this piece of crap car? 16? 17? 18? No, I was twenty-six,(I had to spell that one out) a mother with a full-time job. On that cold January morning I drove my daughter to school. It was on a major Chicago street, Western Ave., lots of traffic, lots of parents dropping off, not in those nice suburban school circular driveways, but curbside on a street with four lanes. (I couldn’t possibly make a fool out of myself on a nice quiet street with no one around, could I?) The Hornet had two big, very heavy doors. I walked around to the passenger side to take my daughter out of the back seat. Once Jessica had cleared the door safely, I slammed it with force, which was the only way to shut them. As the door slammed it grabbed part of my coat, the part with the pocket, the pocket that had my keys in it. I couldn’t take the coat off, it was too cold, and there was no spare key for this car. Here’s a creative assignment, picture a woman, who appears to be leaning on a car outside in the middle of winter. I think the temperature was somewhere between nine and fifteen that day. Fortunately my sister’s kids went to the same school. I sent Jessica in search of her aunt. When my sister arrived she found great amusement in my dilemma, this of course after a lifetime of living with me.  Honestly, I would have killed for a coat hanger, and privacy! Eventually, between the two of us, and a little cooperation from my raggedy old Hornet, we managed to pull the coat and keys free.

Well, that took longer than I thought, and now I’m really tired and winded. Have a little laugh again tonight at my expense, I do it all the time myself.

I Surrender

Several blogs ago I used the title “No Surrender”, I have also written about not thinking about the obstacles that might get in the way of my 365 project. Some of you may have noticed I wasn’t here last night. Well, I’m back, not really, as I type this while laying on my couch. I mentioned the other night that I was coming down with something, and I was right. Barely able to lift my head up for two days, and a high fever. As much as I had never intended to miss a day with this blog, I had no choice. What I’d like to know is how not even a week since I finished ten days of antibiotics for strep, and a flu shot, I have the flu. So the artistic fridge is closed again today, (although I did manage the attached little illustration with my head hanging off the edge of the couch) hopefully I will be up and running tomorrow. Image

Taking It Easy

I struggled through the project tonight. No artistic issues this evening, well, maybe a few, but I’m definitely coming down with something, which is amazing considering I just finished ten days of drugs. That’s why tonight I decided to take it a little easy on myself. Anyway, I chose watercolor for this evening, again because of how I’m feeling. Anyone who works in oils knows that sometimes the fumes aren’t friendly, I may need to avoid them for a few days. For subject matter I looked through some of my photographs. I have more than a few mission photos. It may be from growing up Catholic, but I think more likely that I love old things, worn things, antiques, architecture, and history, for all those reasons, I love missions. I am fortunate enough to live in Southern California, not far from both Mission San Luis Rey, and San Juan Capistrano. I have visited several others specifically to take photographs. I came across one shot of just the top of a bell tower, and to be honest (again because of how I’m feeling) it was the quickest project I saw. It was also the first in a while where I tried to draw the perspective without measuring out every inch. I didn’t do too bad. I sometimes like the effect of watercolor, pencil and pen combined, and I think that is where I want to go with this. I will have to let it dry and revisit it tomorrow. For now I think I need to call it a night.

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