Dismantled Car

Tomorrow morning we leave to see the premier of this famous opera with sets and costumes designed by this artist and other special exhibits of his work. I’m so excited about the trip, but had hoped to be further along on this piece before we left town. Maybe the break will do me good though — I think I need to get away from these orange buildings that are driving me nuts.

When I started the drawing for this quilt, I thought my buildings looked too blocky, so I drove around downtown doing a little lazy girl research by taking photos of buildings from my car. It was Sunday, so there weren’t too many people honking at me for stopping in the middle of the street to snap a photo. Now I’m wondering if I’ve given the buildings too much personality, because they’re taking so long to make.

Hopefully when I get home, I’ll finish this up so I can start the quilting. I have new idea for this, so am anxious to see if it works. Until then, maybe we’ll see some great art and get some good photos on our trip. I’m ready to be inspired!

“To make each decision during the creative activity of art making is such a mysterious act. It is impossible to even define each creative move or the decisions that take place in the art making process”– Jun Kaneko

Annual Planning Retreat

This is where we’ve been for the last two days — holed up in a little cabin in the woods. So nice that it snowed for our adventure, the only snow we’ve had this year! Made the whole thing more romantic.

Russ and I always take a little retreat early each year to examine our lives and goals. The first day we start by reviewing the previous year accomplishments and financial stuff. The second day we look at our artistic dreams and commitments, also personal and family trips we want to take. This year I typed up a calendar of important dates – it may be one of our busiest years in a while.

We’ve been doing this retreat every year since the early 90’s, and it’s taught me a lot about the difference between important and urgent things. Every day we are all pressed to respond to urgent things, but sometimes they are not the important things. Important things usually don’t knock at the door or come in your email box. They are things that you choose to define yourself and are your compass in life. And sometimes it’s good to check that compass, especially in the partnership of marriage.

Life Imitates Art

I wore cat-eye glasses in the fourth grade. Boy, does this photo bring back memories. My glasses were so thick that other kids made fun of me — they said they looked like the bottoms of coke bottles (I guess that’s when coke came in bottles).

Notice my early preference for turtlenecks, and the mole on my forehead that I later had removed. Also the fact I was always a late bloomer. I lost my front teeth long after everyone else had grown their permanent ones.

Before that I wore blue cat-eye glasses in the second grade, but you can’t tell since this photo was taken back when most photos were black and white. That’s me with my younger brother Andy…and there’s that mole again. How it haunts me.

Since high school, I’ve worn contacts. But I’ll always think of myself as the girl with cat-eye glasses, so when I needed a new glasses, I decided to return to my roots.

I found these wonderful Lulu Guinness glasses with rhinestones in the corners. I love them, and now they can make lenses so thin, that I might actually wear them in public. Actually, I think they look pretty good on me, but Madelaine is more glamorous than me, so I asked her to model.

And here’s me today — modeling my Lulu Guinness sunglasses in the parking lot. Typical turtleneck, sans mole. Oh yeah, and I had my ears pierced when I was 35 — late bloomer again…

My Gratitude Journal

Recently I read a special issue of Time magazine called “The Science of Being Happy.” It was very interesting, several of the articles were about how historically psychologists studied only the mentally ill, but recently there has been more research into people who are not and into the things that contribute to people being happy.We know there is a great deal of evidence that people who think positively are more healthy, but something in the research struck me as new. Several studies compared groups of people who kept a “gratitude journal” with those who did not, or who kept a journal that recorded both good and bad feelings. These studies found the people who wrote down about at least three things a week that they were grateful for were happier, healthier, and more energetic than those who did not.

I’ve always been intrigued by artists’ journals, but never felt like I could keep one because I felt it would sap the creative energy away from my “real art.” But I decided give this gratitude journal a try.

I bought a weekly planning calendar, picking one with only five lines per day, because I thought the limiting structure would help me stick with it. I guess I could make a fancy cover to dress it up, but it’s not necessary — what’s inside is what’s important.

It has been easy to do. Every couple of days, I write a few short sentences in the book. Mostly it’s little stuff, like “I saw a full moon this morning,” or “It was sunny and warm today.” Sometimes it’s goofy stuff, like when I dropped my laptop and it didn’t break, or when I left my purse on a plane and a nice mechanic helped me find it.

Sometimes it’s about something good that happened to someone I care about, and many times it’s something I’ve accomplished myself.

Now I’m feeling better, so has the journal helped? Who knows. But I am going to continue writing in it, and here’s why.

Last Sunday I was feeling kind of down, so I decided to read through the last two months. It was the first time I had re-read any of it, and at first I noticed that each little sentence made me smile.

Then I started to realize that it was filled with special moments of my life that would be forgotten forever had I not written them down. By the end of the last few entries, I decided that I need to fill lots more of these little books, so when I’m old(er), I’ll have shelves full of them.

Chinese Checkers

Oh my, it was a beautiful day today…I saw a guy and a dog flying a kite in a big grassy field.  Actually I spend the morning inside drawing, not a good use of the fabulous weather, but I did get out in the afternoon to go to an auction, and got this great Chinese Checkers set.

This one has unusual graphics with this odd little Pixie guy, and it says it was made in St. Louis.

And wow, does that guy really have five hands? I sure could use his help around the house!

Magic Carpet Ride

I’ve been interested in learning creative meditation, so I decided to make up my own Meditation story. Today after my daily yoga routine, I lay on the floor and day-dreamed this magic carpet ride.

I’m wearing a long white nightgown with puffy sleeves, my hair long and flowing. There are silver rings on my toes and the carpet is a thick, soft Persian carpet in deep purple and red colors.

I’m floating in a blue sky with little white fluffy clouds on the horizon. I’m a little hungry, but not worried because there’s a refrigerator on my magic carpet and it’s filled with all my favorite foods. A little later I’ll sit up and eat something with Charlie and Mary, who I just realized are on the magic carpet too.

The carpet is squishy soft with what seems to be hills and valleys, and I just now realize that I’m as big as a mountain and I’m really laying in hills of soft grass. Then I get up and eat breakfast.