Tag Archives: artist

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

Creative zoning

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It’s the wee hours of morning.  Many of my friends are just rising.  This is my favorite time of day.  I guess because it’s very quiet, I’m seldom if ever interrupted by the phone, and my creativity screams from 10pm-4am.   So many have expressed their concerns, that I’m isolating, which may be true, but truly, this is a peaceful time for me.

The cat is asleep, I hear her little snore in between the lulls of music.  My studio is in the usual disarray that happens with winds of creativity.  I’ve got two stacks of messy bun hats that are holding up the rooster and turtle paintings, and my large painting table is covered, every inch.  It’s awesome.  When I go into the kitchen to fill my glass with drink, I look at the pile of dishes and smile.   It will end.  Eventually this streak will come to close, or slow anyway, and the dishes will eventually get done!

So many of my friends are struggling, or have been with health issues.   I offer prayers for them whenever I think of them, or see their posts.  I slept and rested today, watching some old television programs on Netflix.  But at 10pm, my mind was thinking of color, texture, and ways to paint certain pieces, effects.

Earlier today when I fell asleep on the couch, I had a dream that recurs.  It’s a painful dream, and I always wake up feeling breathless, and sad.  So I did what I have learned to do, and that is, not run from it, but honor it, and not dissect every bit of it, but lightly think about why now?  Sometimes the answer comes, sometimes it doesn’t.  I’m grateful this dream is not nearly as frequent as it used to be.  And I’ve come to accept I’ll probably have it for life, unless somehow I find resolution.  But there is no resolution.  The best way I knew how to shake it off was with a brush in hand.

I must admit when I rose today I wasn’t thrilled to see it snowing.  As I walk in my yard it’s hard to believe that I will ever see ground again, but I will.   And in Spring when new life grows, and I see the beginning of plants and perennials that survived the winter, I forget all about the tons of white shit that right now fill my yard and block off about 1/3 of my normal driveway.

So, this is where my thoughts are.   On painting, on new beginnings, and sadly, some endings.   It is what it is.

I’m seriously considering taking some classes, art related, maybe even a writing class to get me seriously actively pursuing a lifelong dream.

Plans to stay up all day today, and try to curve myself back into the schedule of the majority of the world.   We shall see how that goes.

Peace to you,

 

“50 things about me!”

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1.)   I get teary eyed and goose bumps when I see a big old Red, White & Blue flag flying

2.)  One of the proudest days of my life was when I bought out my ex-husband, and owned my own home!

3.) I am the middle of five siblings

4.) I have known love

5.) I hope to be half the person my dog thinks I am!

6.) My mentor is an 87 year old retired art teacher who I just adore.

7.) I have been in a room with someone I loved when they were told they had only a short time to live

8.) I have EXCELLENT taste in friends.

9.) I find great joy in making things…. Art for one

10.) I have had more surgeries than I can to share!

11.) My home is like my womb, and I hope it’s comfy and inviting to all my guests

12.) I do not like to cook

13.) I rarely lose anything

14.) I am not a morning person, have never been

15.) I was unable to have children, so I guess I married them

16.) I believe in God, and I’ve been blessed to see his work in my life

17.) I believe if you give to another it comes back to you, tenfold

18.) I do not feel my age mentally, but physically I do

19.) My most creative time has been 10pm – 2am

20.)  I despise phones, but I love what my Iphone offers me

21.) I have smoked one cigarette in my life (at age 15), and I had a headache for 2 days

22.) I love Bailey’s Irish Creme

23.) I believe when a door is closed, a window is opened, or visa versa

24.) Music is vital to my happiness

25.) I have had the following cars:  1976 Subaru (Turquoise), 1980 Subaru Coupe (New), Renault p.o.s., 1988 Honda Prelude (new),  Pontiac Fiero, 2003 Subaru Wagon, 86 Jetta, 91 Jetta, 2003 Honda Odyssey, 2003 Jeep Liberty, and I now drive a 2002 VW Passat with 270K!

26.) I am my own worst critic

27.)  I believe food tastes better, and possessions are more appreciated when earned or grown yourself

28.) Sometimes I think about growing old, and I wonder if I will

29.) I am very grateful for my parents and their love for me

30.) The best advice given to me (or that I heard) was “Step back, look at the situation before responding, hence reacting

31.) I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that life is like a 100 piece puzzle that we will only get 60-70 pieces to connect

32.) I know mental illness intimately

33.) I love being near or close to bodies of water, I find it tranquilizing

34.) I hate snakes

35.) Family comes first, always

36.) I know what lost love feels like

37.) I am a cancer survivor

38.) I have laughed so hard I’ve wet my pants

39.) The older I get, the smarter my parents are!

40.) I believe we are responsible for our own happiness

41.)  I don’t like the state of the World.  It saddens me

42.) I have been physically abused before

43.) If I had to do it over again, I would have become a graphic artist

44.) Nature grounds me

45.) I like who I am, I am honest, kind, caring, and I love to laugh

46.) I have lost two sisters to ovarian cancer

47.) I fear more loss

48.) I love animals

49.) Fall is my favorite time of year

50.) I am an extrovert who heals and recoops like an introvert

Whose next to share their list???????????  I dare you!

For the times, they are a changin…..-Dylan

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Last week my 12 (she keeps reminding me… soon to be 13) spent the week with me.   She starts school next week.  It is the longest time we’ve ever spent together, and THE BEST TIME I’ve ever had with her.   I feel so grateful for the week.     She is a very special girl.  Very smart, very talented (she loves to paint) and the music videos she creates has me in awe.  Creativity doesn’t lack in this soul!

I dropped her off at her dad’s Friday, and as I drove home Friday night, windows down, older music on the stereo, my thoughts were so filled with love, with desire to spend more time with her.

There was a time in my life when I didn’t have much time to myself.   That isn’t the way it is now, much to my own making.   I have spent, and do spend A LOT of time on my own.  I keep busy, I own a house which I’m renovating on my own (now that the major work has been done by contractors), and I have a business that I need to dive back into.

As the wind blew my hair around, and kissed my skin, I thought about the news of the week.  The flooding in Louisiana, the fires in California, and all the political bullshit that makes its way to my computer screen.   My mind drifted to the Zika virus, as I waited while a pregnant woman walked across the road to a restaurant.  ENOUGH, I said.  ENOUGH!    I can’t take anymore news right now, I don’t want to see anymore election crap, I don’t want to worry about tomorrow, I just want to feel this beautiful place I’ve been over the past week.  A purpose beyond survival.

I feel change coming within me.  I have felt it for a while now.   I no longer want to spend all my time to myself.  I want to look into someone’s eyes and celebrate them, us.  I want to share my life with someone who appreciates and respects mine.

Thoughts drifted to relationships of past.   Each one had their own beauty, a couple when they ended!  🙂   I’ve been single for over a decade.  I’ve dated, but the guys I’ve dated were not even close to who I would spend my life with.  I think today, overweight, covered in painting clothes, I’m the best person I’ve ever been.  A very dear friend of mine, whom I trust with my soul said to me from Australia “Do you know how long I’ve been hearing you say, you aren’t ready?”   She wasn’t criticizing, she was sharing her feelings and it reminded me of the time another friend said to me twelve years ago “There will always be excuses to stay in a bad relationship”.    Both statements have moved me.

I’m not going to race out and join ANY online dating site.  I’m not ready.  But I’m BECOMING ready.     One thing I’ve always loved about twelve step programs is, you’re never asked to do anything without becoming willing, first.

I painted this weekend, and I finally finished a painting that I feared, I could not.   My hands are riddled with pain, but this weekend I had a break from that.  The brush didn’t exactly flow as I wanted it to, but what was different was the way I treated myself when this happened.   Easy does it.  Pick it up, try again.   I don’t know if any other artists struggle with fear of losing the ability to create.   This weekend my inhibitions took a hike, and my weekend was filled with love, memories of a great week spent with my niece, and a painting that assures me, I can still paint.  It feels nice to breathe, to not recirculate within myself negativity.

I’m taking a break from the news, while I don’t want to be ignorant of what is going on in the world, I need to breathe, to feel this happiness, this peace.   I will continue prayers for the world, and for so many friends and family members who need them.  But right now?  I’m going to stay where I am.    It’s a really nice place to be.

My busy time will soon be upon me.   This year I’m starting extra early for me.   I want to enjoy my life, not race through it going mach 80 with my hair on fire!  I am going to start an art blog, and probably, hopefully, start working on the book I have known I was supposed to write for three decades now.   Not sure what that means for this blog.   But that’s okay.  I don’t need to know!

Peace to you, and to world.

What a great time!

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Five minutes after I arrived home from a painting convention today I fell into bed.   I was so tired but fell asleep and woke up with a smile on my face.    What a great time.  I taught three classes, had AWESOME students who kept me entertained and were ever so willing to hear my funny stories.   It’s so good to laugh, isn’t it?

My first class I was 5 minutes late to.  I got caught in city traffic.  I’m not used to that!      I refused to get upset about it, and when I arrived at class my students were happy to see me, they all pitched in, got everything together, helped set everything up and we were off.    Only help, love… no criticism, anger.   It was a very nice way to start the convention.

The first day I left my purse in a public seating area.  Fortunately one student (who was actually in my class last night), brought my purse up to the desk, very wisely took action and it was returned to me while teaching a class.   I wasn’t even aware that I didn’t have it!   Now move forward to last night and one of my wild friends from upstate VT had left her purse somewhere and they had it in lost and found.  How VERY NICE it is to know that there are still honest people out there who care.   It renews faith in humanity, ya know what I mean?

The first class I taught was Sallie Snow woman, everyone did great.   I suggested and they were excited about getting prints made of their painting and making their own Christmas cards!    I look forward to seeing them…. (Hint Hint…. send with chocolate!)   No, just kidding.  I’m off sugar.

Also during class a friend, fellow artist stopped in to visit and gifted me with a pack of her cards which are prints of some of her many beautiful paintings.  It was so nice!    It really made me smile!

I also realized that I had unintentionally left two pertinent colors at home on my table.   Well, I didn’t fret.  Two crazy assed friends from Maine were able to help me.  As we went up to their room they were entertaining me with a very funny.    I see panty shields in my future conventions!

Things worked out smoothly, without planning that I was able to see girlfriends and spent time with them between classes and commitments.  I love it when things flow with little or no effort.

Last nights class which we named “Saturday night live!”, we were laughing so hard that the teacher and students in the classroom next to ours ran over to find out what was so funny.     I love it when everyone is comfortable sharing funny stories, particularly female stories.  My goodness, it is so healing!

All day Saturday I was feeling “dizzy”.   Sort of “falling over” feeling.   About an hour into class last night my students were busy so I sat down, threw one leg over the other and realized that the sole of my dansko had disintegrated.    CHUNKS of rubber were missing, and the thick sole on the heel was gone!  No WONDER I felt dizzy.    I had seen all this black stuff on the carpet and wondered who the heck had taught in there the class before!    It was chunks of my sole!     Today as I walked around the trade show my every other step my shoe would stick to the cement floor.   It was so funny.  I drove barefoot on the way home, afraid that my shoe may stick to one of the peddles.

Another time I was trying to get my girlfriends attention who was sitting at one of the front tables.  Gail!  Gail!   Gail?   It was like she was in another world.  Even the girls sitting behind said “Gail, Gail” and she didn’t respond.  I just figured she was entranced in her “ever so her” usual acts of helping someone else, in this case the woman sitting next to her.    A few minutes later I was talking to her and said “Gail” again and she said “Michelle!”    I KNOW HER NAME!   I KNOW HER!   We are twin daughters of different mothers.  Why the heck did I do that?   Have you ever been so tired that you do such stupid things that it makes it all the funnier?    She also told me that she told her husband if something should happen to her, he is to split her painting supplies up between her friends and call me….  FOR A DATE!     Is that not the sweetest thing ever?

Yeah, it was a wonderful time.  A very busy time but many great memories were made, beautiful paintings were done, lessons were learned and laughter could be heard all over.  It rocked!     As I drove home, I thought about how kind, caring, and the sisterhood that decorative painting industry holds.   Helping one another, sharing stories, supplies…  What a great group of people.   I will remember more as I unpack and get back to my life.  I know I am forgetting to share other funny stories.   These are gems nuggets of gold that will keep me warm in the coldest of winter to come.

I am so inspired that I want to stay up all night and paint, but I’m just too tired to unpack my jeep!   But what a good tired… what a good tired.

Yes, I am one fortunate woman to have god given talent that I can share with others.  For all the wonderful and long term friendships and new ones started that have sprouted from teaching.   I feel very blessed.   As I head out to Long Beach, CA in 10 days to a Nerium convention, I know that there I will be with childhood friends, long term friends and will meet new friends as well.   I’m a very fortunate woman.   God has blessed me with so much.

Love to all…..

Who am I if not a teaching artist?

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Here I sit on a Saturday night with my animals and a dictionary I bought in 1984 as companions. 30 years ago? Where the hell has 30 years gone?

I am amongst change, and for the most part, choosing to make these changes. There is truly much excitement, happiness, a new challenge is exciting and I will grow from this, become a better person. But I have realized that my identity, my self worth is tied up in what I have done for the past 15 years of my life. Who am I if I’m not a teaching artist? A publishing artist? A self employed artist?

I remind myself that no matter where I go or what I do, I will always be an artist. It is up to me to keep my hands engaged with creativity, which I am pretty good at doing so. I design jewelry, I write, I bead, I paint, I draw, yada yada yada. Am I poo pooing my own talents? I know I have in past. In my teens and twenties I thought everyone could do what I do, that there was nothing special about my abilities. In my 30’s I realized, I was different. I realized that the years that I spent feeling “different” than my siblings, than my friends, than school mates, thinking different, coming alive at night and sleepy in the mornings, a lifetime of being called “overly sensitive or emotional”…. well, that is all part of who I am and who I was designed to be. And perhaps my feeling different than others was all a self centered narcissistic thought process?

Here’s the thing. I’m confident that I can be successful at that which I am choosing to participate in, that which I am shifting my focus and committing to. I KNOW I can… I already am! I see the opportunity, I have the vision, I was guided here, I WANT this! So why am I questioning my identity? Why is it (if it really is) wrapped up in what I have done in my past.

I guess it’s normal to feel this way, or to be thinking this way. I guess it’s because in some way I’m walking away from what I once believed was my “purpose”. Why can’t I have more than one purpose in my life? Why do I question that my purpose will not reveal itself to me just as it has done in past? And then again, will my future endeavor be much different than my past? Perhaps not with brush in hand, but with my heart, my outreaching arms?

In past I have habitually given more of myself than I had to give. In relationships, in work, in all. My passion provided me with the endurance to do this. Perhaps it is aging? Perhaps it is being guided (which I do believe is true) that I am shifting away from that which I know to that which I do not know. But then again, as a person with a sixth (and a sick) sense, I truly believe this is the natural evolution for me. This is what I’m supposed to do.

I remember in my 20s I was constantly seeking purpose. It was ridiculous. As I aligned with that which I was being guided to, I didn’t question it. I just “knew” and all that was laid out in front of me provided the path to purpose.

I am grateful I no longer see myself only being worthy in a relationship. I have, and what I hope will be the rest of my life, realized that being in a relationship, a committed relationship is certainly nice, and would fill lonely times, but it does no longer defines me. I am not who I am because of who I am with. My sense of self, my identity is not as someone’s girlfriend, wife, fiancé. I guess that is why I’m feeling tripped up about my identity being tied up in my accomplishments as an artist, as a teaching artist. The truth is, I will hold dear to me all the years, every student (well, minus a couple) that I had the privilege to teach, to introduce them to their creative side that many never knew they had. What a beautiful thing! So many wonderful memories, so many wonderful friends. And I’m not planning on leaving this industry totally, but certainly stepping away from it on a much larger scale than I have in past.

I’ve known for several years that I want to teach art, painting, drawing, whatever it may be, to cancer patients. I want to provide them with something fun, something healing as they go through the many challenges of treatment. This is how I want to teach now. I have not the means to do so yet, but I will. If it’s Gods will, I will. Am I feeling guilty that I’ve chosen to now seek financial stability in my life? I want to live out my days with no worries of disconnects, overdrafts. Do I feel like I am selling myself out? Hell, who knows. I don’t think so. Just as I have always known there was something else out there for me, and I am having a lot of fun in doing so. I have a reunion with old friends, meeting new ones… I AM happy with what I am doing…. so why am I feeling this conflict within myself?

I have been particularly bad at giving due credit to difficult days. When sick, or tired I rarely would attribute these things to my foul mood, or my lack of ambition. It was because I was lazy, or because I was bad, wrong, yada yada yada. You cannot see this, but I am sitting here nodding. Perhaps this is just a difficult day? Perhaps I am tired? Perhaps I am getting ill? It doesn’t have to be something monumental, nor do I need to be critical of myself. It just IS how I am feeling today!

I love it when people who hardly know me will “diagnose” my feelings. Seriously, like really? The thing is, I can be this way with others! I think I know what is best for them and I’m sure in some cases, I do! It’s much easier to see another person’s problems and solutions to those problems than to brave my own.

I have been thinking today that what if my purpose is to just be? What if I take all the pressures of perfection, of production out of my life and just wake up each day, take it as it comes, and do my best and feel that my best IS good enough?

Now, see, aren’t you glad you stopped by to read this sorted tale of confusion? I was asked the other day how I was….. My reply was “Well, given that my biggest problem today is deciding whether to keep my hair long or cut it short again, I think I’m doing VERY WELL!” Tis true. If that is the only thing on my mind, then I have a pretty good life, don’t I? So am I CREATING this internal conflict to sabotage my happiness? Oh yeah, I’m fairly adept at that. I think we all can be.

Because I am changing directions of my sails doesn’t take from me who I am. My god given talents as an artist will remain and I will still delve into them, perhaps enjoy them more without deadlines! Another thing I have done in my past is taken whatever enjoyable thing I was doing and turned it into a business. Seriously! I loved to crochet, so I took it the next level and published with Leisure Arts, McCall’s… I loved floral arranging so I became a department head and full time designer doing such! I saw decorative painting and said “OMG, I can do this!” So I did! I love beading, designing jewelry, so let’s start selling it! I love to write, so I am working on a book and going to write articles for women’s magazines. Now, there isn’t anything wrong with doing these things. For one, it kept me well stocked in supplies thus assuring my “fix”. Good God, even flea marketing with girlfriends became a business. They will tell you how well I did at turning over furniture and making a profit on it…. even after using it for a couple of years!

But the constant shifting of furniture, my three season porch constantly filled with my next “treasure”… it grew old. I now want to simplify my life, quit the hustle and bustle of producing and accepting each day as a gift, and as a person worthy of that gift without accomplishing, or conquering the world?

Many times I have heard “I wish I were an artist, I wish I were you, I wish I had your life”… Well, you know, I do have a good life. When all is said and done, I do have a good life. But being a creative soul comes with it’s pitfalls too. When I am not able to create, I become restless, irritable. I think of Ernest Hemingway, and how deadly his writer’s block became. Well that and a whole lot of booze. I’m not implying that I would think about slicing my wrist if I had artists block (again), but let’s just say you wouldn’t want to live with me then! OMG…. Oh my God! What if I am feeling this way today because I fear that I will become that bitchy artist who does not produce? And more? What if I am feeling this way today because I have only ever based my self worth on what I accomplish? Well, holy shit Sherlock! Perhaps I’m onto something!

Now, as Scarlet O’Hara said…. “Tomorrow is another day”…. let’s see what it brings! I do know one thing. I am planning to take back my maiden name and ditch the name that came with the ex husband. He’s not around now, so why should his name be? I think I’m coming home. I think the changing sails will bring new adventures, memories, and a return to myself. I only kept his name because it was my “published” name. That sucker is on it’s way out!

Reacquainting myself with my paint brush

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Today’s lesson:   Dump the negative connotations and insecurities that keep me from being who I am supposed to be!

Today’s gratitude:   That tomorrow I have therapy.   Missed all of last week and I feel it.

As I sat here this morning, looking over my shoulder at my paint desk I had a heavy feeling in my stomach.    I always go through this when I haven’t picked up my paint brush in a while, and every January I am so burned out from teaching the past year that I take a sabbatical from painting.    What goes through my head is…. “What if I can’t do this anymore?   What if I lost my ability?”   On and on I can go, but I’ll spare you from it.

So after much self coaching I sat down with the photo of what I wanted to paint.  Deep breaths, couldn’t get the chair positioned right, nor able to open my paints or find the right brush……MORE procrastination, more excuses to keep me from finding out if my fears have come to light.   Of course, I changed my mind a few times as to what I wanted to paint.  Hey, I reserve the right to change my mind, and because I have problems with commitment… I just HAVE to change my mind!

I reintroduced myself to my brushes, falsely told them how glad I was to see them.  Dread.  Fucking dread.    I hate this part of my psyche that I am working to change.    After I got painting, however, the brush flowed, my hands and fingers started to work and I then get excited.   You know, come to think of it, I often confuse excitement with dread….   but that’s a horse of a different color.

I think we are hardest on ourselves, I know I am.   I wish I were a fine artist… I wish, I wish, I wish.  As I tell my students, embrace your heavy or light handed painting… it is who you are.    Art is art.  Everyone’s interpretation is cool… okay with the exception of some of the contemporary stupid statues that take little if no thought… but then again, even that has it’s place in the folder of art.     We are all artists, whether we have found so or not.    When I’m asked what kind of artist I am I say… “Con”.     I wish I could draw a nude man…. hell, maybe I’m just wanting to SEE one! 🙂   Anyway, the talent that go into that drawing amazes me.  I love it.    Perhaps one day I will try it.

Phillip Phillips is playing in my background… “Don’t pay no mind to the demons they fill you with fear!”    Ain’t that the truth!   I am insecure about many things including on some days, my artwork.   When I have seen fine art, I really want to go home and crawl under my bed… why?  Again, because it is something I want to be and I know I never will be… and you know what?????? That’s okay!   I am uncomfortable painting around others, comically I teach… but to design to paint a picture, I like my solitude.   For some reason I think if I’m painting alongside another artist, I’ll be doing it wrong… which is SO stupid, but sadly true.

I am working on a wildlife scene with Canada geese.   Already I see three things I would have changed, but time is of the essence, deadlines are fast approaching…   I need to produce!

Well, I guess it’s time for me to get back to work.   Still, the heaviness in my gut is there.   As a child I wanted to be two things… an artist and a writer…   I recall a couple artist friends who said they didn’t take this on as a living because they wanted a sound financial life… sighs…    Sometimes I wonder, what would or could I have accomplished if I had continued education in art.   But I can wonder all I want, it won’t change my reality.   My reality?  I love what I do, I hate the lack of financial security.    I guess that is “union dues” for being an artist… ya think?

Hope you have done something today that you enjoy doing…  For me, it certainly isn’t watching the Super Bowl.  Couldn’t care less.    Hockey?  Yes….     Have a Imagegreat day! ♥

Today’s artwork:  Hydrangeas painted on a rusty tin pocket…. probably painted a decade ago or more….

Chaotic, crazy…. my Christmas Open House!

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For the past week I have been cramming for my Christmas Open House.  Every year I do this.  When I had the large studio with gift shoppe in the front we would have a grand Christmas Show in which my friend Mark and I would blast music (Laura Branigan, Cher…) NO!  Not Christmas tunes, we needed motivation, drive…. we needed beat!     It was always a fun weekend.  By the time we closed Sunday night, I would fall fast asleep in a chair, on the couch, or on the floor with my Brody boy.  
Since moving my studio to my home, I have it in my house, two nights.  This year it is Sunday and Monday.  

Every year I panic, I call my friend Harry, I tell him I don’t have enough, then I tell him it’s not good enough, then I tell him I’m worried that no one will like my things, that I will disappoint them.  And THEN I will say to him…. “Why do I do this to myself?????”  Speaking of the show, not the wind of idiocy that is spinning in my head, expelling through my tongue to Harry’s ears.      Every year he listens, every year he says “Calm down, breathe”.  Every year he says “Donna, you do this every year and it is always a success”… I mumble, I sometimes cry.  Anxiety….fear…..insecurity…..   Of course then there is the pricing.   I have underpriced my stuff for so long, I can no longer do it nor do I think I should.  See?  I do believe in my abilities, I do believe my work is nice… but when the whirlwind of doubt comes in, I end up calling Harry once again.    Every year the cost of supplies goes up, every year I hate raising the price but no one seems to say anything, they look at me and roll their eyes…

I think my biggest fear is that it will be disappointing to my guests.    I don’t want to let them down, I want them to come with great enthusiasm and leave happy, excited, pleased.    

Every year my studio is turned upside down, canvas everywhere, brushes everywhere, ornaments, beads, florals…and somehow when the show opens, everything looks nice.      I then wonder… is this the year I fail?   And then I ask myself, can I really fail if I’m doing my best?  These are my friends who are coming, not Hallmark Design team.    We shall see, we shall see… and I shall report, if I survive this! 🙂

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to follow tradition, I need to call Harry!   ♥

Timing challenged

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“Donna, have you ever kept track of how long it takes you do to tasks?  I think it may surprise you!”   Yup, she was right!

It seems I am always rushed for time, frantically getting things done on my “Honey do it yourself” list.   Simple prep instructions emailed should only take about 15 minutes top, right?  Wrong, add one hour.  I had to write the prep instructions, scan the line drawings, and there very rarely is not issues with me on how to do things.  I think I’m computer literature, but I realize I know just enough to know I don’t know enough.  I can hold my own, but there are tasks I know can be done quicker, simpler…if only I had the time to learn them!

Always running with my hair on fire, getting to appointments, meetings one minute before, or squeezing in under the late buzzer in my and my doctors heads!   I am learning to leave early, just IN CASE of unexpected delays, like…traffic?  I have been consistently early for a few weeks now.   I’m enjoying the relaxation, not having my body tensed up because I’m going to be late…changing things I can change to make my life better, to improve the quality of my life.

“Why don’t you start earlier so you aren’t rushed?”  The last convention I started one month before, prepping surfaces, getting packets done, and STILL when it came time to go, I still had things I brought with me to do.   I felt so proud of myself that I was tackling things earlier.   Bottom line, I guess it saved some stress but there was not absence of such.

A very small ornament class.   “I need about 4 hours prep”.   Wrong again.   It took half that to basecoat them, Three hours to straighten up and set up my art room into a classroom, 1.5 hours transferring patterns.  Of course there is always something that goes wrong, in this case the ornaments were drilled in the opposite direction needed.  Out comes the wood filler, and it takes several “coats” to fill it in nicely and not have it obvious…. Then ,,,, they need to be drilled the right way!

I horrendously misjudge time.  Funny, I am very good and mostly right on track with my curriculum when I teach, but most other things?  Insanely wrong.  No wonder I am always flying around with my hair on fire.   As a bored kid my mother would often say “There just isn’t enough time in the day!” , I would roll my eyes, sometimes the days seemed too long.  Now, not only do I see glimpses of my mother reflect from the mirror but I hear myself saying the same thing.   I yi yi!

It isn’t only calculating task times, but also budget.  I’ve been working VERY hard to get to a point where I will be able to cover my bills, I don’t want the stressers anymore.   I’m finding that physically I am not able to do the things I did 10 years ago, even 5.   I hate admitting that, I hate accepting it but it is a cold fact.   The days of prepping for 4 classes at a convention, packing up the booth, getting out the new packets, prepping surfaces, copying instructions, pictures, line drawings, transferring design onto surfaces, driving 12 hours straight to get to the convention center, unload the van, set up the booth, organize all for classes, teach classes, run the booth (I learned quickly to split the booth with another, as it not only covers costs but also you have relief!), figure out the taxes, break down booth, load up the van, drive 12 hours home, unpack the van, inventory packets, fill orders, unpack all of the stuff that I just unloaded, and have a class scheduled for the next morning!   INSANITY!    I honestly don’t know how I ever did it, I know I couldn’t do what I have done the past decade and a half without the help of my mom.  She works cheap…for coca cola!    

I remember about 20 years ago when I was in much pain, doctors hadn’t figured out what was wrong with me, finally I saw a neurologist and he did testing, upon meeting him to find out the results he said “There is nothing wrong with you, you just have fibromyalgia!”   Dr. Patak was his name.   This was when fibromyalgia was just starting to be recognized by doctors, and his statement clearly proved he didn’t have a clue as to what it was, or what it took from me, what it takes from others.   I renamed him Dr. Pecker and was fortunate enough to have a good primary care provider who hooked me up with some good resources, specialists.    I don’t talk often (or I don’t think I do) about fibromyalgia.  When I was finally diagnosed, with assistance of a cane at times, I went to a support group at the local hospital.   I was the youngest there and it didn’t help me at all.   I am sure they have changed, and I know the facilitators of the meetings now are very helpful, offer educational facts and self help tips, stretching, exercises.  Back then I felt it was a “pissing and moaning” group.    I vowed then that I wasn’t going to become “Donna Fibromyalgia Scully”, and I haven’t.   Screw that.  But I digress….so I was making my bed one morning, pain shooting up my legs and back, I started to cry and said out loud “I just can’t do this anymore, I can’t do everything anymore”.   Now add to that aging, natural slowing down, I simply am not the woman I once was who could juggle it all, and as I said above, run state to state with my hair on fire.    Only recently have I intellectually accepted this.

I’m growing leaps and bounds, making better decisions for myself, improving the quality of my life.  I have wonderful friends, and a couple in particular who have helped me through so much and still do.  I am quite fortunate there, and grateful as well.  I also am grateful that I work from home, in my pajamas if I want, unless I am travel teaching or at convention.   I have the advantage of throwing in a load of laundry where those who work outside the home have to fit that into their off work time.   I can set my own schedule, if I don’t sleep well, I sleep in and work later, if I have a doctors appointment I can make it without missing work, it’s much easier for me to get there than those with scheduled work hours.    I honestly don’t know how women, single women, do all that they do, not to mention single mothers…. Good god!  I suppose that sounded sexist.  I don’t know how ANYONE does this long term.   

So am I moaning? Eh, I’m really not upset, and many times my words have been misconstrued as anger or griping.  It is not, I am learning, changing, and shocked and sharing how wrong I was with timing of tasks, etc.   Would I do it over again? No question..YES! I don’t even want to think about what else I am wrong about that is negatively affecting the quality of my life…not yet anyway….  It will reveal itself soon enough. 

Change is not easy, at least not for this woman.   It takes self discipline, reprograming, perseverance and more, but I am doing it.  I have heard and read that “pain is the greatest motivator”.   I agree.   When our realities become painful, mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, we are more motivated to change it.

Now off I go to do another 3 hours of work before I go to bed.   Think I timed this right???????

 

 

Let those Emotions OUT!

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My life is flying by at a rate of 7 days per hour… I can barely catch up with all that has transpired in the past day, let alone the past week.  I check one thing off my To Do List and fly into the next.   Visualizing the scene from the movie Titanic “Iceburg straight ahead!”

As a kid my parents did not know what to do with me.  I had emotional outbursts, physical outbursts to the point where my parents would omit telling me things, it was easier.  I was treated with “child gloves” from not only my parents but also my sisters.    One thing that was apparent was that I was “different” from my siblings in this regards to emotions.  Being “emotional” was a bad thing.   So I learned the art of humor and I became the clown in my family.   

Years later upon accepting myself as a creative type, and exploring this I learned that this was normal behavior for an artist.   This was part of who I was and part of who I am.    I can imagine how exhausting and frustrating it was for my parents who did not understand this, nor did they know how to deal with it. 

Today I accept who I am, I accept that emotions run deep within me, but they do not have to rule me nor my life.  I love with great passion and intensity, and I mourn and grieve as if my heart has been bludgeoned.  Eventually the wounds become scars, the one sided mirrored walls that were built to protect my heart are torn down, and I begin to love and trust again. 

A few days ago I was in the grocery store and I heard this kid going on and on, and this turned into a crying fit that could have been nominated for an academy award.  I was agitated and getting more agitated by the minute.  “Shut that kid up!” I was saying to myself.  Then something came over me as I looked at this child.   I stood motionless staring at him for what was probably only a few seconds but seemed minutes.  I was looking into the mirror of yesteryear.  As I watched this child cry and studied the pain and anguish on his face I came to a place where I no longer was agitated but identifying with him.    My thoughts were now “Cry kid, cry… if that is what you need to do, get those emotions out!    Why here, let me join you!”