Tag Archives: art

Negative space

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I’m getting some much needed alone time.     With music (therapy) in the background, windows open, I am painting today off an easel, a piece I had designed many years ago.  I’m not painting it the same way, nor with the same paint.   Today’s version is more realistic, and the palette much brighter than that of before.    I attribute that to high pigment paint AND my own growth as a woman, as an artist.

So I’m not using the old reference photos for anything but placement.  Basically trying to keep my life simple, because I recall the agony I had when first sitting down to design this piece.  It initially had a couple of watering cans in it, and it was too busy.   Back when I analyzed the shit out of everything, I would sometimes “fill” my paintings to the brim, instead of breathing, detaching, and appreciating or recognizing the need for negative space.  MUCH like the alone time I am having today.  I don’t mean to infer that I’m negative, not in the least today, but my alone time is crucial and vital to my peace of mind, creativity, and general health.  Therefore, I’m comparing negative space in a painting to alone time in my life because it’s needed and I’m usually pleased with the end result.

Such is true of food, as well.  I’ve been off sugar since April.   The first week was HELL.  I had headaches, quick trips to the bathroom, dizziness, and generally feeling like all I wanted to do was pick up a pop and drink it.    Anything to quiet the toxins that were being excreted from my body.    A week later I started feeling better, and stronger, and now some 14 weeks later I’m feeling SO much better, dropped a few pounds, and my goal is to remain happy and kind to myself.   The inner critic that resides in the darker parts of my mind is silenced at this moment.   When I catch it coming to forefront of my mind, I do what I was taught to do while learning to meditate.    Acknowledge it, and then go back to focus.   It helps.  And I’ve learned that it really is the smaller things that help me, not the large and drastic changes the critic sometimes pushes me to believe I need.

Music is a huge source of happiness for me.   Today, as my playlists echo throughout my studio, I acknowledge where the song takes me, the people that were in my life at that time, situations, circumstances.   And then when the song is done, I do it all over again with the next song.    I have several playlists that I’ve made, one all about my life, songs that come from the most significant times of my life.  And I’m here to tell you, “significant” wasn’t necessarily  big events like marriage, but reaching understanding, un-complicating my life from worry, finding peace, acceptance of things that LARGELY contributed to the bright side of, and improved quality of my life.

I’ve no answers for others, this in itself is a valuable piece of information.  I can’t live my life or make decisions for someone else, just myself.   And some days I have all I can do to do this for myself.    So the point I’m trying to make is, ridding myself of the clutter, both mentally and physically, in all aspects of my life have gifted me with this day of feeling happy.   I’m much looser with my painting, I’m focusing on the moment, and in the moment, and enjoying all this “negative space”.

Hope yours is going well, too!

 

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“Signs”

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This past week I spent a few days in Maine, York to be exact.   Being around water is super wonderful for me, it helps ease the binds that chain me.   The ocean?  Makes me realize how small my problems are.  That is not to say that my problems aren’t important to me, they are, and I’m facing life with zest and experience, knowing a higher power has always had my back, and I highly doubt he’ll abandon me now.    But just as anytime something bad happens to you and you never really have to look real far for someone who has it not only worse than you, but much worse, and they handle it gracefully, the ocean reminds me that the reaches of self importance in extreme can be like a tital wave, gushing in here, there, everywhere until you are no longer focused on that which needs work.

I was thinking about what it’s like when you lose your identity.  For me, I was a art teacher.  I travel taught, and published in magazines, self published, even authoring a book many moons ago now.   So when that seized to exist, who am I?  What am I accomplishing?  Am I worthy of life?    So now, just these questions you probably are saying “Lighten the hell up, Donna!”.    This is where my brain goes.    I felt purpose when I taught.   I remember when I cut way back on travel teaching, a battle five years ago with depression and anxiety so high I don’t care to even think about it.    I couldn’t function.   I had all I could do to take care of myself, physically, mentally.    So teaching was cast aside and so were many “friends” who didn’t accept “the new me”.    Maybe it’s in my head, but maybe not.  When you are no longer supplying people with what they want, or need, does your existence go away?   Because if it does?   I’m here to tell you, these people are not your friends.   Friend’s stick with you through the challenges of life, and there are MANY challenges in life.  And those who don’t?   Doesn’t mean they weren’t your friend, or that they don’t care.  Perhaps they don’t.  But It’s okay.  It really is.   Because new, good, fun, meaningful things are new people are awaiting your arrival!

I’m about to embark on a “come back” if you will.   But not really a come back, but a new chapter in the life and times of Donna Scully.   Not really sure what will work for me, but I know I loved to teach, and if I went into a class in a bad mood, when I left it, I was singing and smiling.  (Insert Rocky Balboa theme song here).   KIDDING!  Have a lot of things going on, excited and happy about that.  Stay tuned!

I’ve been thinking about how painful and disappointing it can be when you are treated differently because for what ever reason, you are no longer offering what you once did.  Who is not to say that you aren’t better then you ever were?  Seriously?

I have a friend who was unfriended by many “friends” because of his political view.   A “star” to them at one time, now, forgotten.   It has to hurt.  It did when long time friends did that to me, but I’ve long since made peace with all that.    I really have.   I believe when doors close, windows open, and new adventures will reveal themselves.

I’m a creative soul, a good soul.  I am kind, honest, caring, and I love fiercely.   But age and experience has taught me that not everyone is worthy of time (and likewise, I’m sure).   So I’m rather excited about “new beginnings” that will define itself mid term.   I look for signs, pray for guidance, and am never disappointed with what comes to replace the old.    The problem I have is hanging onto what once was.    I white knuckle it until I’ve made the step of acceptance, and USUALLY when I can’t decide what is next for me, it is because it hasn’t yet been revealed.

I remember a day when I was on my way to a Michael’s, probably 30 miles from my home.  On my way there I was asking my higher power “Should I start designing in needlecraft again?”    Not five minutes later, upon entering Michael’s and heading back to the yarn department a woman I hadn’t known said my name.  “Donna Scully?”  Oh boy, how do they know me?   Anyway.  She introduced herself as a couple of my students mom.  Had recognized me from magazine pics, I guess.    (Miracle there).   Anyway, she said “Guess what I’m doing here?”  I look down at her basket which was full of this one beautiful colored yarn.   “Making a sweater?” I asked?   With that, she pulled out one of my Leisure Art booklets that has long since been retired, it was an instructional pamphlet with 5 of my sweater designs in it.  “Nice!” I said!    “Thanks for sharing!”

As I walked back to the department after our conversation I looked up, smiled and said “Thank you!”    The experience justified spending more money than I was planning on!  (I’m good at justifying when it comes to my creative efforts).

I had an epiphany a few weeks ago… alas, direction, I know what I’m doing, and the direction I’m supposed to head in.  But all eyes are not on the prize, but on what presents itself because things rarely ever turn out the way I think they are going to.   I have endless stories of this type of event happening with me.   Like one time thinking maybe I’d sell my house and move away.  To where?  Was in CT with a close friend, we were on a Craigslist adventure.     During our conversation I said I didn’t yet “feel it”.  I didn’t know where I should be, I just know I felt disheveled.   Just as I say that a sign (town sign) showed up on our right.  “Vernon” (which is also the Town in which I live in another state!”   We both laughed.  I guess I’m supposed to stay put!

Do you get these signs?  Are you listening and open to them?   I bet signs are all around you, are you open to seeing or hearing about them?

Prozac peonies

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I started painting another secretary front (slant front that drops down for reveal).    They look like old fashioned roses.   Now, maybe some could just accept that, and it will go up for sale and whoever buys it, whatever they see is what the flower is???  But I can’t.

In past my frustrations I’d sand it down and start over.   But I was doing that a lot lately, as well as having preconceived notions of what others are doing or thinking.   I set it down last night, instead of heading to the sander.   This morning, to my dismay, they still don’t look like peonies, so now I’m starting them “again”.

I’m off kilter today.   I should know better than to try to paint something I haven’t painted before, but I guess I like a challenge?    The idea was to paint this desk without stress, without worry.   Use an old pattern to put it in so all I was doing was painting.  It doesn’t work that way with me.  Just like buying something for my home.   I have to alter it.   Rarely have I brought something home that I haven’t “fixed” or “changed”.   I know this is the right brain, and that its a gift to be creative and to be able to paint, to create, but sometimes it’s overwhelming.  Why can’t I just accept things as they are?    I’m not talking about life here, truly I’m talking about pretties!

And I’m not one to hide my true feelings (ask my friends), I mean, I am honest.  So today, I am struggling with painting these peonies and I’m very grateful I am on prozac!

What would happen if I just left them as wild roses?    Is this the perfectionist in me driving me over the edge today?    I’m stubborn, more than stubborn, which along with everything else has it’s pros and cons.

So I’m going back to sit down at my painting table.    I hope to accomplish a good looking peony.    If it doesn’t happen?   Will I have the fortitude to walk away like I did last night?  As if when I come back it will have magically morphed into a peony?    Time will tell.

Hope you’re having a great day, I am determined to, too!   Going to drown these voices in my head!

 

Holy Heat

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Heat has hit here in New England.   We went from having our furnaces on for a week, to installing my portable air conditioners in one day!   I guess I really should think about shaving my legs.

Had a great day of painting.   Let’s see, today I sketched, painted, grooved to some great music!  My mom is staying with me for a few weeks, anyway I thought she was outside so when Michael McDonald came on, I really rocked it!     I didn’t put my brush down for the fake mic, but close.    I stand up, dance, and walked into my living room and there sits my mom.     “Did you enjoy the concert, mom?”

Painting vegetables, fruit, sunflowers, and sketched my first person today.  He needs some work, and I can’t stand this guy, in fact, I loathe him, but I’ve been studying a picture of him for weeks, thinking about how exactly to draw it, what are his strongest features?  Maybe I’ll use it for target shooting!

I have four inches of roots showing on my head.   Is it not a wonder I have been using the widest headband I could find?  Thankfully tomorrow, hopefully, I’ll look human again.  I don’t know about having my hair done and shaving my legs on the same day.  It just might be too much excitement!

Still standing with our President!    I believe when the heats on, you step in and do what you can to support the person.

Well, I think I’ll head to bed early, have some research to do, and I love doing that when I crawl into my cozy spot, give thanks for another day, and pray for my family, my friends, my country, my President, and all service peeps, veterans, AND…. whoever reads this!

 

 

 

 

Mental slag

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Today has proven to be a challenging day for me.  The first thing I did besides feed the lippy cat that was ready to eat two hours prior, was go out and shovel out my car.  I must say, someone was looking out for me when it drove right out of it’s spot, unlike the last time where I was stuck.  But stubborn brunettes don’t give up!   We had a shitload of snow fall yesterday.

What was challenging for me today was my head, where it goes.   I once heard from a psychiatrist that the more intelligent you are, the more remote places you can find to hide in.   Not saying I’m the smartest person in the world, not even close, but I have at times thought, if I wasn’t so smart, I would be happier.   Sit on that one for a moment!

I cannot share my thoughts here, I cannot share them with anyone.    I’m doing what I know to do, and that is to get moving, get busy, keep trucking.  It took me hours of stuck to get there.  I guess I should celebrate in getting there.

I’m heading to bed early tonight, taking a friend to a much needed doctor’s appointment up North.  I’m hoping the roads and snow removal are in good shape.  I get to drive the cutest car in the world because mine doesn’t have heat.   (Kia little boxy car, I just love it!) Ya just can’t expect an 81 year old to ride that far without heat!

I walked around my house today foreign to myself.   Not exactly foreign, but certainly not where I wanted to be.   I know depression and anxiety intimately.  But where it takes me, those are places that it’s hard to find comfort in.  I remember hearing at a recovery group a couple decades ago “Find comfort in the uncomfortable”.   One of life’s tricks to success, or certainly to get beyond, or overcome.

I did some sketches today on a piece I want to start soon.   But as I walked into my studio this evening, sat down to work on ears of the pet portrait I’m doing, I see many 85%-90% paintings started, but not completed.  That isn’t a sin, but it’s something I have to be vigilant of.  Signs?  Silliness?

Well, have things I have to do before bed.  I’m hoping I sleep.  Last night I did not.  Not well, anyway.

Hoping your having a great day, full of insight and direction!   It’s what I’m seeking at the moment.

 

 

Enough snow!

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Well, a couple feet of snow fell on my lawn today.   I haven’t gone out, tomorrow.  I just opened the door, looked, and slammed it.  It is still snowing.   Yup!   Tomorrow it will be fun shoveling the car out of it.

Spent the day working on my first pet portrait.  By the time I went to bed last night I had the eyes, and that was enough to make me feel good.   I’ve never tried doing this before.  I have rarely, if ever, painted real animals.   Painting from a photograph that the details get blurred when you zoom it.

At least I can tell it’s a Corgi, and I think I’ve captured his big personality.  But fur?  That’s for another day.   I am learning from last weeks painting over tantrum to just leave it and relook at it in the morning.

I really don’t mind all the snow, as long as I don’t have to go out in it.  Thursday morning, I do.    That will depend on how they are doing tomorrow with snow removal.   There’s a shitload of snow to find a place for!

Had a very relaxing day, was one with myself, painting.  It was nice not to have to fight off the itty bitty shitty committee that resides in my head.  Well, a little.  But not totality.  That’s progress.

On this 14th day of March, I’m excited to think that winter is almost over.  It’s much easier to say that looking at the date then out the window.

Hope you had a great day!   Blessings!

 

Artistic growth

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As I continue with the art challenge to post pictures of my artwork for 6 days on my facebook page, I am having an internal conversation with self.

I look at the scenes and see how much I’ve grown as an artist, and always, as a woman.   I have been trying to find my very first painting to post, alongside my last.   I think what I need to do, for my own sake, is to repaint an earlier piece.

I know it’s important that I honor every part of my journey.   I am mostly self taught, with a few classes with awesome teachers.  I’m now looking to take some classes on painting animals, because I’m enjoying it very much.  The roosters I’ve been painting have come easy for me, but when you add the body, the sprawling and presence of many beautiful feathers, I become perplexed and sometimes, overwhelmed.  But I know I can do it, I can learn this.  I know i will.

Most of my earlier Santa’s have taken on a provocative look.   I will share this lightly.   Most of my Santa’s noses ended up looking like male genitalia.   My students and I would laugh over it, and many comical, highly amusing stories have come from my earlier work.   Perhaps now I can paint noses as I’d have to reach deep into my long term memory to paint male genitalia!   I say that laughing, laughing more, and laughing loudly.

Just like our growth as a person, an artist has to start somewhere.    The ideas and things that I have in my head that I’ve yet to put to canvas are so different from my paintings of past.  But that’s because I’ve changed, we all change.   I’m not the same person I was when I designed and painted prior.   I see things differently, and my colors and interests have evolved.   Honor the process, Donna, honor the process.

God speed to you and yours

Reviewing processes

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The past few weeks I’ve been reflecting and dissecting what I would like to do with the rest of my life.  What do I like?  What don’t I like?  What are my dreams?  Are they feasible?  What are my needs?   I’ve also been writing up a business plan for myself, which in itself has been a very interesting journey.  I’ve changed it three times.

I’ve also participated for two days (another four to go) in an art challenge to post pics of my art on my facebook page for six days.  This, too, has been an interesting process.   I’m reviewing photos that I have, which aren’t exactly organized like someone dominantly left brained would do, but I’m only 25% there, so I’m giving myself a break!

4-5 years ago my life came to a crashing halt.  I couldn’t get out of bed, I didn’t want to paint, write, and was incapable of making any decisions for myself.   Fortunately my strong mother jumped in and helped, and after hospitalization for two weeks, I was diagnosed with Major Clinical Depression.  This was not the first time, but the fourth.  I must say to you, it’s been hell trying to come back from it.

Why do I mention such a personal thing?  Because I’m an idiot!   🙂   Most people do not confess such, because of the stigma attached to mental illness.  I want others to know who are suffering with such, it’s okay, you’re not a freak, you aren’t crazy, you are sick, and encourage you to get help.  For me it meant some serious psychological drugs, many therapy sessions, a lot of writing, a lot more of praying.  It is still a monkey on my back, but I am learning, everyday to replace the negative talk in my head.  Some days I’m successful with this, some days not.

Back to the art challenge, as I’m surfing through pages of photos of my artwork, which also have pics of other aspects of my life, love, marriage, breast cancer, family, friends, pets, artwork, gardens, etc… I must say, I feel good about things that I have accomplished in my life.  In spite of the crap that came rolling into it, I’m still standing, and there are days, still, too many, that it’s very hard for me to get out of bed and face the day.   But it was nice to see things I’ve done, the magazines my artwork and needlecraft designs were in, interviews with me as a visual artist, and a fiber artist.  I even had artwork on the cover of magazines I think twice.  How quickly these accomplishments fall by the way side when you’re looking at it through the dark eyes of depression.

So, I’m feeling a bit chipper tonight, painted a little bit today.  Plan to spend a few hours tomorrow doing the same.   We are supposedly having an arctic cold blast this weekend.  I’ve stocked up on the necessities, my mom is here visiting for the weekend.  If I don’t kill her, by the time Monday comes around I should be in good shape! 🙂

The message today is… Hang on.   Hang strong.   Celebrate the good days, and do all you can to survive the bad.   It may be worth your while to dive into some pictures yourself.

Sending you peace and love

 

 

 

The day of the cardinal

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Flonase, I believe is the culprit that sent my head into pain.  A postponed doctors appointment for my 3 month steroid shot, and a low key day.   And, get this.  Dreaming of The Obama’s.    Do you see my eyes rolling?   Any of my close friends I’m sure find the later very amusing.

Taking a break from roosters, moving onto birds, and I’ve struggled with this cardinal. The last thing I was painting that I didn’t like (a rabbit) became a turtle.  This cardinal’s fate may very well be another tortoise!

Agitated tonight, tired from the headache that now has settled into a raw stomach.   This, too, shall pass!   Onward.

I think tonight I’ll start my 30 day free trial for Hula.  I need a distraction.   The Golden Girls are always good for a laugh.   What’s alarming is that I am now the age that they were when the season started.

So it’s looking like a career painting animals is out.  (Was not my goal, I’m being sarcastic), but I’m angry that it isn’t coming easy for me.    Who am I kidding.  I’m angry at most anything right now.   I’ll sign off before I say something really bad!

Hope you have a nice weekend!

 

Things I’ve learned

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Have been painting, and listening to music.  “I’m holding on, I’m holding on, I’m holding on, I’m barely holding onto you”.   Lifehouse “Broken”.

Thinking about times of my life where I was broken, so much that it hurt to move.   And it is the pain from those times that keep me vigilant to never go there again.  But is that any way to live?   “Is there healing?  In your name, I feel healing”…

Mother Teresa “I have found a paradox in love, if you love until it hurts, then there is no more hurt, only more love”.   One of my favorite quotes.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned in this journey called life.

True Friends show up when you need them the most, and you don’t need to talk to them every day, you don’t need to hear from them to know, they are there, nothing has or will ever change.  It is also at the most needful times that we learn, sadly, who we can count on, and who is fair weathered.

I’ve also learned that love comes when you least expect it.  For if and when you search, that which you find is forced.  Nothing is more refreshing than falling in love when you aren’t looking, or thus doing anything to get the attention of another.  You’re just being yourself, and in my case, and I hope yours, seeking to be a better person for each day we are alive.

Two halves never make a whole.  But two wholes can be together and still, independent of each other.  I think this is the healthiest place to be, to fall in love.

I’ve also learned that falling in love isn’t just about human relationships, but about life, and things we stumble upon that thrust our passion into full speed.  Passion is an awesome thing, and one that I am very very grateful for.   I have met people, quite long in the tooth, that have never experienced passion.    The past couple weeks I’ve fallen in love again with painting, with new techniques, new visions.   I’ve fallen back in love with my very old, needy, ditzy cat, who is quite vocal about her needs and wishes!

Being alone done not mean loneliness.   At least not for me.   I have been single over a decade now.  I’ve dated, and really have no preference if I do or I don’t.  You can say that’s sad, some friends have, but honestly, I love my home, I work on that, I have my art, music, my animals, and family and friends that I do not spend enough time with.   When I feel like I don’t want to be alone, I call up a friend who is kindred here.  We both like our solitude.

“Desire” by Ryan Adams is now playing. I found this song off an old “House Episode”, love it.   I’ve also learned in life that there are more ways than being in a relationship to get that physical human touch.  My animals, and in past, my nephews, my niece.   A new born baby, animal, I think that’s why the world is watching and anticipating the birth of April the giraffes bambino!     Who isn’t watching?

So, in this day, reflective of my past, my past loves, I am sitting here in peace, with happiness in my heart as I play and work in this newfound love for art.  Each brush stroke I anticipate, and it’s hitting right where it’s supposed to.  Even accidentally dropped a brush on my painting and the color looked delightful in a place I never would’ve expected or tried.

“You know me.
You don’t mind waiting.
You just can’t show me, but God I’m praying,
That you’ll find me, and that you’ll see me,
That you run and never tire.
Desire
Desire
Desire
Desire”

Wishing you love, passion, and always, peace
rodney2