I What is this thing I call PROCESS, and why have I chosen the word as the title for my new exhibit of paintings?
It is THE question asked of artists. "So, what is your process?" And it is the question to which I never had an answer. Until now.
I quote from my journal, written 5/12/19. Without any edits (much as I want to add things right now! I will save those thoughts for the next blog post.)
"How do I explain my process to an audience who might not understand what I mean when I say I am guided by prayer?
Am I talking to God? Absolutely yes. Inviting the Holy Spirit to guide me. And do I believe that my prayers are answered? Yes. Otherwise, why would I ask?
"Well, what's that like, Mimi" you may ask. "You're telling us God speaks to you?"
If I answer yes, you may think me crazy, or perhaps arrogant. And what does it sound like? A voice? Sometimes. A gentle nudge? Most times. Crazy? I don't think so. Arrogant? Quite the opposite. I find it most humbling when I feel God's nudge. "Go here, not there." It's the voice of one who loves me.
I get it. You may not agree with me. Or you prefer to refer to this voice, this nudge, as simply an artist's muse. But for me to do so is to deny the awesome, powerful divinity of the God I have come to know as loving parent, constant companion, and personal savior.
This collection of paintings represent an adventure into a whole new way of painting for me.
May they bring you quiet delight, whether you choose to simply enjoy them here, or prefer to take one or more of them home with you.
In any case, I thank you for being a part of the process. For the painting I create is only part of the story. The rest lives in how it is perceived by those who take the time to look."
Thirty years ago today, 1/13/89, my father's life ended, by his own choice.
Suicide. That word nobody wants to talk about.
It's not polite. Though it's all too prevalent in our world.
But that's not why I'm writing this blog tonight.
I'm writing it because after thirty years, I found myself torn today between thinking that I SHOULD be feeling awful, as I consider the memory, and instead wanting to do with it as I have been doing with so many things in my life in the past year.
LET IT GO.
It's time, don't you think? I mean, 30 years - that's a long time to hold on to something. Anything.
It's important to remember. To learn from it. But then, to let it go. To allow it to become part of my past, as I make room for my future.
Allow the memory to live on only as it may contribute to more love. More beauty. More joy.
My father loved that I was an artist. One of my last memorable Christmas gifts from him was a gift certificate to my favorite art store. He wanted me to paint...more.
So perhaps that will be how I honor this day, this year. I will make the commitment to paint... more.
He was 58 years young when he died. Exactly the same age as I am now.
Time to start living life facing forward, rather than looking in the rearview mirror.
Besides... I'm terrible at backing up. Have you seen the rear bumper on my car?!
Nite nite. Blessings, love, and joy to each and every one of you.
PS - I wrote that last night. Intentionally let it sit a while before posting.
Painted the following this morning. 24"x18" oil on canvas - titled "Accidental Heart"
Yes, I know I am violating every "do this and don't do that" relative to pricing art by offering this sale.
Never reduce your prices.
Never offer a different price than exhibited in another gallery.
Never, never, never... well, please forgive me, but it's 10 days til Christmas. And 2 weeks til New Year's.
And I am feeling VERY excited about the NEW paintings I am beginning to create.
Which adds to my eagerness to let go of so many of the older ones.
So, please enjoy the sale. If there's something you see that you truly love, and it's still a little out of your budget range, well then, ask me. I want to find homes for these pieces. Maybe yours...
Never say never!
Thank you for indulging me.
Love and blessings to each of you.
Yes, I know. That's supposed to be New Year's. And we aren't there yet (though we will be before we can even imagine!)
Here, now, it refers to my painting. I am having a lot of fun playing with new styles. Pallette knife with thicker paint. And softer brushes with less paint. Larger than ever, and minis. The keyword is PLAY.
Staying away from my former way of copying photos... listening now for inspiration. Ranging from serene seascapes to, dare I say it, abstract!
Please stay tuned. I likely won't share a lot of image photos until there is a more substantial body of new works. Fun for you is that I have marked prices down on older works. Simply would like to find homes for them to make space for the new.
Here is one little sneak peek... my first endeavor into the abstract. Late night. Too much caffeine. 3am. A painting that was not behaving well, so I took a pallette knife to it, and simply started to smear around the paint, with music blasting. 30"x40". It's in my living room right now if you want to see it. I get lost in it.
Happy Thanksgiving to each of you. I am grateful to each of you who reads this...
\YES! I am PAINTING AGAIN!
"What do you mean again?"
"Let's just say it was a long winter. And the broken wrist and elbow didn't help. Yes, it was my left hand, but everything just took longer, and I got tired too easily, and..."
That's the voice inside my head, yelling at me to just get over it all and get back to the easel.
I did on Saturday. Four glorious hours parked at Chapoquoit Beach, painting out of the back of my car. Enjoy a summer day - an EXQUISITE summer day - with a full view - paintbrush in hand - asking myself WHY do I not do this more often?
So, do you wanna know the real answer? It's FEAR. Yes, I said FEAR.
Fear that when I show up at the easel, what I create might be, well, subpar. Not what I see in my mind's eye. What if I disappoint myself?
Which is ridiculous. Because as I would tell any one else who said the same thing to me, "it's just paint on canvas? How seriously wrong can you go?"
So, I recommit this summer. To MORE HOURS. That's all it takes. Like when I trained for my one and only marathon back in 2005 - just more footfalls on the pavement and you'll get there. So, with the painting, just more strokes of the brush and the pallette knife, and voila, more paintings! IF they turn out awful - well, scrape 'em, and start over. And IF they turn out - wonderful. Then simply shouts of JOY!!!!!
It's midnight. Time to turn in, so I can start again tomorrow. Stay tuned!
xoxoxo and blessings to every one of you.
ps - here's my favorite one from this past Saturday. Wander over to the 'fresh paint' page to see others. Nite nite.
"What color cast would you like?"
"I don't know. What do you have?"
"Dark blue, light blue, white, pink, red, and John Deere Green."
Well now - the choice was obvious back on March 8, wasn't it? Had to be green. Spring coming soon (or so we thought). And the old wannabe farm girl in me loved the JD name.
Today, 6 weeks later, the cast came off.
"Cast for what?" you might ask. The short version is I fell on March 3, and landed square on my wrist, headed downward on outdoor granite steps. Left hand out in front of me to break the fall, the way they tell you you should not (they're right - don't do it.) Full body weight with a little extra inertia on my left wrist. Broke two bones in my wrist, plus one in my elbow, because good things come in threes, right?
Why am I bothering to share this with you? Because I found some surprising life lessons learned in the past six weeks, and I want to write them before I forget them.
1. I have a new respect for anyone living with physical disability or pain on an ongoing basis. Everything is just that much more of a challenge, and tiring. I had an idea, but know now it was barely an inkling.
2. I learned to think ahead two or three steps before doing things to which I never before gave a second thought. Example? The time I took the rubber band off a rolled up bag of partially eaten potato chips - ate a few - then looked at the bag and realized I could not re-do it with one hand (bless whoever invented the Chip Clip!). Probably not a bad idea to do even when healthy. And to move more slowly and intentionally. Walks on the bike path became more precious time to pay attention and really notice nature.
3. Living for six weeks with a broken arm was not terrible. Terrible is a permanent injury, or illness, or any number of other tragedies we witness in our world on an ongoing basis. Or the woman I spoke with at church less than a week after I did this who fell and broke both wrists (talk about a perspective builder.) This was simply an inconvenience. It was also an opportunity for my friends to love me - to help me - and I will remember each and every kindness extended to me during the past six weeks quite fondly.
4. Things that absolutely require two hands:
- cutting steak
- opening a can with a can opener (the manual type - not electric)
- pulling hair into a pony tail or braid
- shaving both armpits (TMI?)
- tying shoe laces
- flossing teeth (thank goodness for those little plastic pre-strung flossers!)
5.. Things that can be done with one hand, but require extra effort:
- shampooing one's hair
- hand washing dishes in the sink
- putting toothpaste on a toothbrush
- pulling on a pair of pants
(oh - and don't even ask about trying to put on a bra with only one hand!)
6. My entire wardrobe is now available to me again! (not just the things that fit over the cast!)
7. Opposable thumbs are not overrated! That's a whole other list! But I've possibly already said too much.
In closing - one special thank you...
Thank you to my sweet pup Rosie, for wearing your no-pull harness for six weeks so that I only had to snap on the leash (doable with one hand), not try to connect a buckle (requiring two hands.) You were very patient with me. Somehow we managed to get through this six weeks without pulling in a dog walker to help. I promise we will start taking longer walks now. And yes, Dora the cat - thank you to you for trying to sleep right on top of my broken elbow. I know you thought you were offering special kitty healing powers - but ouch!
As the Joni Mitchell song goes - "Don't it always seem to go that we don't know what we've got til it's gone."
Our bodies are amazing creations. NOT to be taken for granted. Gifts from God.
I am wowed at how quickly an injury can happen, and by the healing process.
THANK YOU to this vehicle of skin and bones and organs who knows how to do things without me telling them it how to do it! You have carried me through 58 years of life so far. I promise to pay attention just a bit more... and hopefully to appreciate you a whole lot more.
ps - oh - and it was my left hand! through it all, I could still paint. SO grateful!
February 5. Five weeks into the new year. How are you doing with those resolutions?
Perhaps a distant memory. Given up because maybe they were too large, or there were too many, or, quite honestly, you simply grew tired of them and put them into the "maybe another time" box.
Consider starting again. But this time, make it SIMPLE.
I find it helps to break things down into the basic, baby steps. Set the daily goal as something so small, demanding only a mere moment of time, that I simply cannot fail.
As Mimi the artist, author, and musician, it has meant the following in 2018.
I paint, every day. Now, don't laugh. When I say that, I define it as picking up the brush or palette knife and putting a new mark on the canvas that is sitting on the easel. Sometimes, it is simply that - just one new mark. Other times, it morphs into several hours. But I can honestly say I've painted, every day. Not because I want to brag about it, but because I have made a commitment to it.
And sketching. I've added that to my routine, too. Not yet as successfully as I'd like (I've always resisted the sketch book and I'm not sure why) but it is most definitely the building block for an artist who wants to paint in a realistic style. I must observe, and put it to paper. So far - one day. Ha ha. See? You thought I was accomplishing a lot... well, this one needs work!
Music? My personal piano was moved home from the church last week, and I have started playing scales every day. Literally - takes about one minute to run a scale up and down several octaves. And sometimes, it turns into sitting down and PLAYING (there's.a reason that word is used with music!) a bit more. Pulled out some of my old classical books and played JUST FOR FUN. Tears of joy streaming down my face. Yes. Really.
Writing? Well, that's obvious, isn't it? But another one I've shied away from. New resolution starts today. Pen to paper, every day, even if just one sentence. One sentence can speak volumes, and might just provide a springboard for something longer on another day.
My point? IF I am to identify myself as Mimi the artist, author, and musician, then I may do so only if I am actually doing each of those things on a regular basis. It is far too easy to cry "writer's block" or "I didn't have the time." But what about the 15 minutes I spent scrolling through Facebook, looking for I don't even know what? Those 15 minutes might have been spent at the keyboard, or easel, or with pen in hand.
What is YOUR smallest time indulgence you might ALLOW for yourself to play with something you have been meaning to do and simply haven't gotten around to? What are you waiting for? Life is uncertain. Do it NOW. And think about how you define success.
I invite and encourage you to try the "tiny tidbits" method. My guess is you will find that on some days, it is all that you can do - maybe 15 seconds worth. And on other days - you will surprise yourself when seconds turns into... an hour or two?
Watch the cumulative affect of a little bit of something done every day. Notice your mood. Be aware of how it impacts your day(s).
Please share what's worked for you, or hasn't...
Happy February 5 new resolutions day!
With love and WARM hugs,
PS - it occurs to me after writing this that I've missed one. I have made a daily commitment to reading scripture. First thing, every morning. Using a fun app called Read Scripture. Take a look if you'd like - it can be started any time. A FUN way to read through the entire Bible in a year!!! There are these cool little cartoon videos every few days that help with overviews - even inspire me to pick up the ink pens and doodle!
Oh my. How is it possibly 4 months since I last entered a blog post?
It goes something like this.
In March, I made the decision to close my gallery in West Falmouth, and move my painting studio to my home, so that I could focus on the painting, rather than the business.
Then I received an invitation to participate in a larger gallery show later this summer. Quite the reward, and affirmation, on my decision.
Then one of my other jobs went through some significant changes.
And I decided I needed to take on yet another day job (two, actually) just in case. Without dropping any of the others.
By then it was early May.
I worked more hours in May than I knew were possible. And spent the hours in between sleeping, eating, walking Rosie, and praising God. Then working again. The job total was up to six. Or maybe it was seven.
By early June, I knew I needed to let go of one of them, so I did. All part time, but they added up.
And as the gallery show June 30 deadline loomed near, I spent more time at the easel than I had in quite a while.
My point? (there is a point)
Just when we think we have life figured out, and in balance, change happens. We can either fight it, or flow with it. I've flowed, mostly, but not without certain sacrifices.
Praising God? That's number one. Nothing gets in the way of that. It remains how I begin each day, and central to my life. I've taken on the task of reading the entire Bible in one year in 2017. Over halfway now! But that's a blog for another time.
Eating? Luckily my newest job addition is Maison Villatte, the wonderful French bakery in Falmouth, so eating has taken on all sorts of new lovely flavors.
Sleeping? Haha. What was challenging this past winter has become a top priority. And comes far too easily - even sometimes when it shouldn't!!!
Walking Rosie? Well, the dear one needs her mama.
But something has had to give in terms of my time. And unfortunately, that has been relationships. Please accept my apology, dear friends, that I have been far less present than I would like to be in your lives during the past several months. Dropped have been yoga classes, sailing adventures, long luxurious walks, day long excursions. Please forgive me if I don't accept your invitations. And know that I would love to say yes to all. Time is simply squeezed right now. And my pillow beckons in between all else.
But that's just how it is right now. That's the key. Because just as things changed in the direction they did this spring, they quite well may again.
That's where trust comes in. I know this is a season. My life won't always look like it does today. Though honestly, today, the view is quite lovely (except for the relationships part - I miss sharing time with so many of you!)
And I feel blessed abundantly in more ways than I can count.
The gallery show? It's at Cortile Gallery in Provincetown. Opening night is Friday, August 18. More on that to come.
In the meantime - please know I am grateful to those of you who have followed my blog and various writings and emails through the years. I promise I will start writing more. Lots of new topics that float through my brain, usually right as I'm falling onto my pillow...
Love to each and every one of you. Blessings of summer warmth, joy, and God's grace be yours.
ps - two days after writing this it occurs to me that some may interpret it as a complaint - NOT AT ALL! I wrote it partly as explanation, partly as apology, to those to whom I have had to say no when I would rather say yes.
I did treat myself to the Falmouth Fireworks on July 4. So spectacular over the water, off the beach in Falmouth Heights. Tears as they played America the Beautiful. SOOOO very blessed to live here.
The last book took three years. This one took three weeks.
Well, ok, a little longer than that, but when something wants to be born, sometimes it just HAPPENS.
It started as a letter to a friend. Pieces of what worked for me in my faith journey of the past two years.
Then I shared it with a few others.
They encouraged me to explore the topics a bit more. And a little over a month later, a book is born.
Whether what I did will work for someone else, I don't know. I simply had to write it down one night when I could not sleep before I did.
It's called "The 10 Things - an invitation to dive in." You may learn more about it here.
If it calls to you, I hope you might listen.
With thanks - and wishing you blessings.
Some things are made to last for decades. I don't believe a mattress is one of them.
I've been sleeping on the same one for the past 20 years, more or less. It's time has come, and gone. I noticed on the last laundry day that it actually had a sag in the middle. No wonder my back hasn't been so happy. That's the old one in the picture.
So what? Is this really blog worthy? It is to me, when I think of the changes it has seen and weathered with me during the past 20 years. I won't bore you with the details. Not right now. The mattress served me well. Fulfilled its purpose. Took care of me when I needed it.
Today, the new mattress ordered online arrived. And tonight, my head resonates with the phrase "you've made your bed, now lie in it." But rather than a negative tone, it is kinda exciting.
Because this afternoon, at almost the same time the mattress arrived, I uploaded the files for my next publication. Titled "The 10 Things - an invitation to dive in." It's about as opposite from my novel as can be. It's nonfiction. Faith based.
If all goes well, I will have copies in hand and ready for distribution on March 16. Possibly sooner. So figuratively, I made a new bed today, speaking out on behalf of God. The book is testimony to my faith journey of the past several years.And that's all I will say for now.
Tonight, literally, I make and sleep in a new bed. Fresh. No memories - good, bad, or otherwise. Just... peace. And rest.
Wishing blessings and love to each and every one of you. Much more to come in the weeks ahead...
Thoughts, dreams, questions.