A revelation

Hi Everyone!

I think it’s time to accept that for the time being this blog is gonna be a little sporatic. My best laid plans keep flying out the window. I’ve had grandbabies to watch while their parents have to take care of life stuff and DN has been home AGAIN for the past week and a half for quarantine. Her entire history class got quarantined because of a few students that tested positive. God willing and the creeks don’t rise, she gets to go back next Tuesday. There are a few things that get pushed to the bottom of the To Do list when life gets crazy and this blog is one of them.

I hope all is well with you and everyone is working in some fun and relaxation occasionally. Over all we have been good here. I did have to take a few days off from the garden because I had just worn myself out. I desperately needed some R&R. Of course it was DH that pointed out that I was running out of steam and that I needed to take a break. I must have been complaining about being tired all the time and trying to weasel out of cooking dinner one time too many. He has gotten used to home cooked meals every night and if you knew my husband’s capacity to consume food you would understand why he was becoming concerned.

Along with the above conversation I was complaining that I just couldn’t find time to get upstairs and do any artwork. Like many women (not all, but I suspect the majority), my priorities start with the family and work down to myself. My schedule was to feed goats/horses, take care of the garden before it got hot outside, do the cleaning/bills/laundry/cooking and then if I was lucky I MIGHT (but rarely) have enough energy to do some artwork. So, DH said it was time I rearranged my schedule to the following: Goats/horses, garden, ARTWORK, cleaning, laundry, cooking. So I decided to try it even though it made me feel a little guilty.

Well, well, well, it has been working wonderfully! I get up to the attic (no, it’s not finished, but it is to a point I can work in it) while the temperature is still comfortable (no A/C yet and it’s been in the 90’s). I work until 11:30ish when it starts getting hot. It has been amazing how much I can get done in the approximately 3 hours of attic time. Currently there are 8 paintings in various stages including a commission of 3 small paintings. Top that off with the fact I still have energy to take care of the daily chores after I’m done and my mental clarity has been soooooo much better. No building resentment because my life is all work and no play either. Ok ladies (and any men who might have been doing this too) don’t do like I have always done and put yourself last. At least occasionally move yourself to the top of the list to save your sanity.

I have honestly felt like a new person. My day goes smoother. My brain works better. I’m not tired and cranky all the time. I get my much needed alone time.

The weather is cooling off and by George, I’m going to be spending more time in the attic. I need to reorganize lots of stuff along with doing the actual artwork. Then I need to a paint as DH puts the finishing touches on the drywall and trim. Oh Happy Day!! I love my people, but I sooooo need this now.

I will share some art with you next week, uh, next time I’m here. Stay safe out there and do something for yourself.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

Photo by Raul Varzar on Unsplash

Lesson 1

Hi Everyone,

Yes, I kinda sorta delayed this post because of three beautiful sixty degree days. It’s still February and I needed to be outside to soak up Vitamin D. Today is back to cold, gray and rainy. I will mention that I did not sleep well last night so this might be a struggle. Call me out if something I put in here makes no sense.

Last week I mentioned that I will do a drawing tutorial for anyone interested. Once again, I do not consider myself a teacher. I am the constant student if anything. This is meant to be a means of creativity and stress relief. Listening to a podcast this week I heard of the ever rising incidents of suicide happening. We have to find ways of looking after ourselves especially mentally with all the continuing crazy. So, if you are so inclinded take these lessons and spend about 15-30 minutes a day practicing this week. I will add more lessons to give you more skills. Don’t stress or go perfectionist on me. These are supposed to be fun, not great works of art.

Materials needed: paper (nothing fancy – copy/printer paper, etc.), a pencil (#2, mechanical, whatever you have), an eraser (a good one on the end of the pencil is fine).

Here is our reference picture. I tried to find something simple, but challenging.

  1. LIGHTLY sketch the basic shapes. Notice that my sketch is loose.

2. Now, the trick is to look and really SEE the lines and shapes. Tell your brain to shut up, because it will tell you what it thinks the gravy boat should look like, not what it really looks like. Take your time and see where lines connect. Begin refining the shapes.

3. Keep working on the shapes and lines. Don’t think about what the object is. Right now it is simply lines and shapes that connect. Notice where I erased and moved things a bit. It is good to put your drawing away at the point you are beginning to feel frustrated. Take some time away and then come back with fresh eyes to make corrections. Just some time away will allow you to see the places you need to adjust. Every drawing and every painting I do comes with the frustration stage. It’s normal. You just have to deal with it and work through it.

4. Here is your homework. Yes, homework. Go around your house and find objects to draw. Don’t overthink this. I do suggest keeping it simple to begin with. Now, every day spend 15-30 minutes drawing one of those objects. Anyone and everyone who has taken a beginning art class will tell you that this is standard operating proceedure. Over the years I have filled many, many sketch books with crappy, daily sketches. You know what happens? Just like playing endless scales on a musical instrument, you slowly get better and better at seeing shapes and shadows (we will get to those). Your hand starts working with your eyes instead of your brain and you get into that lovely FLOW phase where the world drops away while you intensely focus on what you are doing.

I am working on pulling together some reference materials you can check out if you decide you want to delve a little deeper and learn from better teachers.

Have a lovely week. Don’t watch too much news. It is truly bad for you.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

The best laid plans

Hi Everyone,

Let’s talk planning. Are you a planner or a fly by the seat of your pants person? I’m an uber planner married to a flyer. Every day I get up and look in my planner at my pre-planned plan and am ready to start checking those items off. Almost everyday since Christmas those plans have been thwarted, misconjoled, bumfuzzeled and thrown out the window. Between the crazy of the school schedule and the fact that my DH’s employer took the whole month of January off, nothing has gone as planned and I will soon be pushed over the planner’s edge.

Granted, we have gotten several projects done that needed to be done, but all at the expense of my daily plans. Sooooooo, I am at least two weeks behind on artwork I had planned out and listing items in my eBay and Etsy stores. The weather has had some influence on the plans as well. Yesterday I just threw out the day’s entire list because the weather was warm and sunny. We have not had many of those and I desperately needed some Vitamin D. Instead of paying the bills and photographing artwork, I pruned Mom’s apple trees, cleaned out some of my bee supplies, etc. Anything to be outside.

Today I am working through yesterday’s list because winter returned with a cold wind and we are barely above freezing. Unfortunately we did not get any of the predicted snow. Tomorrow we have one of the grands for the day so I have minimal plans made. Maybe Saturday I can get caught up.

Once again I have moved my pile of art supplies. Now that DS and Girlfriend have moved out, I have again migrated to the guest room. It’s still not optimal, but the lighting is much better. The positive side of DH being home for a month is that serious progress has been made on my attic studio. I would go take more photos but it’s freezing up there at the moment. One section is drywalled and mudded. He is at this moment building some doors to cover some storage areas. When he has that done I can actually go up and start painting walls and organizing some supplies.

That’s my update for this week. Not much artsy stuff, but our garden has a layer of fresh compost, my new bee yard is set up, our lower pasture has been bush hogged for future fencing, I have picture ledges installed in our hallway for family pictures, we have discovered a farmer we can get raw milk from, I made butter and farmer’s cheese and Mom’s apple trees are pruned. It’s been crazy, but I guess I can’t complain about my plans going awry.

Stay safe and throw out the plans occasionally.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

Photo by Renáta-Adrienn on Unsplash

‘Tis the season

Hi Everyone,

Hope you have been well. I’m sure you have been probably busy.  It’s that time of year.  Since we have minimized the gifting this year my time has been less stressed over the whole Christmas chaos. I even had the mental capacity to face driving down one of the most congested streets in a nearby city to get to the even more congested Costco.  Normally I avoid that area at all costs until mid-January when everyone has returned all the gifts they didn’t like.

I am going to go ahead and wish you all a very Happy Holidays (whichever ones you celebrate) and a Happy New Year.  I need to take a sabbatical for awhile.  Writing this blog has been difficult this year and all the losses and changes have taken a toll.  Even though the art supplies are out and ready to go, I can’t seem to focus enough to make anything right now.  I’m pretty darn bummed about that to be honest.  My brain needs to focus and my heart needs some mending time.

So, until I can regroup, my plan is to bake some cookies, paint the walls in the house, unpack more boxes, love on the people and creatures in my little world.  Hopefully I will be back with some renewed spirit after the first of the year, but I’m going to give myself what time I need.  I have a very bad habit of pushing myself to meet unrealistic, self-imposed deadlines and projects.  If you do that too…stop it, stop it now…it’s not good for you.

Happy Holidays!  Wishing all of us a new and improved 2020!!

Christel

In my wildest dreams…

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are well and life is calm.  For the next nine days I will be juggling the usual life stuff, last minute paperwork for our closing (it doesn’t end I guess until the ink is on the paper), packing again, arranging utility changes and all the last minute things I haven’t thought of yet, but am suffering anxiety over.  Don’t plan on seeing a post from me for about two weeks.  Next week will be chaos and the next will be spent trying to find things in the chaos.

Every year, to get a discount on our health insurance, we have a wellness evaluation. Now D. and I live pretty healthy lives and don’t worry about this too much, but I usually get tagged for wellness coaching due to what can only be explained as a genetic cholesterol glitch where my LDL is just high enough over my HDL to flag the system. Any way, besides being annoying, I get to talk to a nice nurse three times a year about life.  Last week was my first call. After going over all the questions and talking life, the nurse said something to the effect of, “sounds like your only real health problem is stress”. NOOOOOOOOO, really???

So in my last post I hinted at something that I was working on.  This thing is my latest attempt at some stress management. Twice before in my life I have been in some very serious, super high stress, life stuff that took a toll on my health. This time I have been trying to, if not put myself first, at least put myself close to the top of the list so that I can keep looking after the people I need to look after.  Last week we had to take Dad to the hospital again.  I don’t need to be in the room next to him.

img_6288

What am I doing you ask? Remember this picture from my last post.  See the big guy in front? That’s Asher. Asher is my horse.  Now, I never, ever, ever expected to have a horse of my own. When I was a girl and asked my Dad for a horse, I was pretty much told that if we couldn’t eat it then it wasn’t living on our farm.  It’s another whole story to explain that we ALWAYS had cats & dogs that DAD brought home and we didn’t eat them!

Fast forward through about four decades. I had taken every chance I could to ride horses, but over those four decades it averaged out to about one, maybe two, horse back rides PER DECADE.  AND on most of those rides I have been thrown off or run into tree branches in attempts to knock me off or taken very unexpected fast rides uphill / downhill to barns or generally had my wits tested by almost every horse I have ridden. AND I keep getting back on horses.  Seriously, I’m crazy if you haven’t read this blog long enough to figure it out.

 

To add to the crazy, I go and marry a guy who not only loves horses, owns a few, trains them and at one point did endurance competitions that were 50 – 100 miles on horseback. He has some experience with horses.  D. took Asher (then known very unimaginatively as Pinto – he’s a pinto colored horse) as payment for training Cinder (big horse in the back of the picture that we now also own).  D. then proceeds to tell me that Pinto (aka Asher) is my horse.  Nowhere in my adult life have I ever thought I would have my own horse. I cried. I still cry.  I changed Pinto’s name to Asher which means happy & blessed. I still cry.

Asher is a Tennessee Walker. He’s big.  He’s the Alpha male in the herd. He’s curious and never misses a leaf flutter, a deer in the woods or stick crack under his feet. D. says he’s gonna be a cool ride.  In other words, I am totally and completely inept at riding my own horse! So I’m taking lessons.  No, not from D.  I love my husband and want to stay married to him.  We all know that taking lessons from a spouse is not the best way to promote harmony in a marriage.

I have had two lessons so far from a very experienced rider/teacher/stable owner who is close to my age and has the ability to explain in detail what I need to do to stay on and control a horse.  It has taken me out of my comfort zone, taken my mind off the rest of my life and focused me like a Jedi knight trainee.  I wish I could take a lesson every freakin’ day!

Our four horses are at different levels of experience with riders. Two are veterans of the teaching ring, having put up with many students over the years.  They have to endure my clumsy signals for a while yet so I can practice before I start training with Asher.  He’s almost as green as I am.  Stay tuned for more adventures in riding!

My goal is to one day, when it has been “one of those days”, saddle up my Asher and ride off into the sunset…watch it and ride back home.

Go do something that makes your heart pound, your breath catch and grin like the cheshire cat.

Back in a couple of weeks.

 

On to the bread box

Hi Everyone,

I apologize for missing last week.  By the time I had time to write, I was too exhausted and escaped into YouTube and Pinterest for what little brain power I had left.

Let’s see, where did I leave off in the ongoing and going and going saga of our epic move?  As of Friday, July 26th, we had been moving for one month and 26 days! If we weren’t physically carrying boxes and furniture, we were doing repairs, sorting, trying to find things and cleaning up. Friday morning we officially packed up the last truckload of stuff, locked the doors for what we hope is the last time and drove away.  We haven’t unloaded that truckload, but it is at least in the same county with us.  We started celebrating in the afternoon.  We have not closed on the property yet though.  We are now on our FIFTH closing date.  Yes, you read that right. FIVE times the closing has been set.  Please cross your fingers, say prayers and send good vibes our way for this coming Wednesday…to actually sign the papers and have it DONE.

We started celebrating the final moving trip because it seemed like it would never end. Add to the physical exhaustion, there is always stress involved with a move and there has been even more stress with Dad’s condition, getting Miss L’s paperwork to school, arranging her 13th birthday party (yes, we officially have another teenager), having her braces put on, D. started a new job, having to go two different places to feed animals, etc. etc. etc.  I have had to apologize for a few stress induced meltdowns.  Have you noticed that everyone and everything seems to hit your last nerve when anxiety and stress lingers for a long time?  My last nerve is worn to a nub.

How did we celebrate? Well, D. saddled up his horse, KC, and went for a nice, two hour trail ride. He rarely gets to do that.  I probably should have warned the neighbors that he could possibly show up on your doorstep to say hello…with KC also standing on their doorstep. Expect it.  At least one neighbor had that happen.  She was not expecting it.

Miss L and I went to the community pool and I read and visited with my sister for awhile when she came to chill by the pool also.  We talk virtually everyday now, but it is usually a run down of how Dad and Mom are doing and what do we need to do that day. She is under the great banking cloud of doom from a merger of the bank she works for with another bank. Daily she has to face the stress of the upcoming layoffs and wondering if she will be with or without a job in the very near future.

Fun times we are having in 2019.  Our friend Alan says it all has to do with Mercury and its place in the heavens. Sounds like a good enough excuse for all this crazy.  Oh, and by the way, a HUGE thank you to our friends Alan and Sharon for helping us wrap up the last of the repairs.  They saved us another weekend or a couple of late nights finishing those.

So my little celebration was a small project that I have been wanting to do for about two years now.  Other than a knitting project I started, there have been no creative endeavors for the past month and 26 days.  If you have read any of these posts you know that I am a much saner person if I am making or gardening.  My current tiny garden is below. It is not big enough for a major stress reliever.

My celebratory project was painting this vintage bread box.  Ok, so it’s not a huge thing, but it is. It is my first project for our future selves.  Everything else we have been doing has involved trying to close out a chapter.  It has often been depressing and hard because we have been waiting to move forward but couldn’t. Now we can.

The bread box belonged to D’s Great-Grandmother and then his Grandmother according to his sister. It was a fixture in his Grandmother’s kitchen as long as he could remember.  Other members of the family may know the actual age, but my best guess is the 1920’s – 1940’s. Now before the antique/vintage purists give me grief about painting it, know that we have no intention of selling it.  We plan to use it and enjoy it as long as it holds together.  That said, it’s cute but needed a fresh coat of paint.  It is going to reside in our new, to us, kitchen that will have a vintage vibe.  I’m glad it was originally red because I have always liked cheerful pops of red in my kitchen.  I have another upcoming paint project that will be having a color change. More on that to come.

So I am happy to report we are closing out a chapter and looking forward to the new one.  If you have been reading this blog lately, you are probably pretty darn happy about that too. I know that my whining has been somewhat endless.  My next goal is to FIND MY ART SUPPLIES!

Here is our freshly painted breadbox!

Have a great week and may your future be bright!

Morning rituals

Hi Everyone!

I hope you have had a good week and your July is going well.  We are in the high, hot days of summer here. Once again more rain than we traditionally have. My rain gauge is based on how many times I have to mow the yard during the summer. In the decades that I have lived in North Carolina, most years you could count on having about a month’s break from lawn mowing.  Last year was every single week except on the weeks that the rain didn’t let up.  This year has also been every week, but so far without the never ending rains of last year.  Mainly just afternoon thunderstorms.  The one we had last night took out a huge Popular tree at my parent’s house as well as their phone and all the outlets at the barn.  The tree is still standing, but we are now faced with having it cut down, because it took a life ending hit.

This week has been challenging. Lots of time on the road trying to finish up the last bits and bobs of stuff from the house we left and the repairs before closing. Lots of time on the road running errands and a certain almost 13 year old to her social events.  There is ongoing stress over the house closing.  It seems that our buyers have unwisely decided to use a huge bank that has a reputation for NOT doing the job correctly, for their lender.  Every time we think we are almost finished some other hiccup happens.  Am I alone in wishing there was a brain switch that could turn off the overthinking section?? I had to deal with this bank when my sister-in-law passed and for an entire year the experience was nothing short of excruciating. I am suffering from PTSD as we try to get this closing done.

Today I desperately needed some nature and ritual back in my life.  Normally I have been dragging a cranky pre-teen with me to feed all the animals each morning and I can’t say that it has been a peaceful experience. So this morning I decided that my mental health was more important than the life responsibility lessons for the kid and let her sleep in while I visited with the critters and took in the soul soothing beauty of a summer morning.  Thought I would share it with you.  Enjoy the beauty without the humidity, spider webs and soggy sneakers.  Have a lovely week and hopefully I will be back next week in a more positive frame of mind.

The struggle is real

Hi Everyone!

I hope life has been treating you well while I was away. We had a lovely Easter weekend in Charleston, SC with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson. The drive down was somewhat stressful as we dodged severe thunderstorms from our house all the way there. We were carrying cargo of a handmade dining room table that my brother-in-law made for their new house and a rocking horse he made years ago for my daughter when she was a baby, that I am now passing down to Brayden. Precious stuff that we did not want ruined in the rain. Yes, we had both carefully covered, but driving a truck at 70 mph seems to force rain into every nook and cranny. Luckily we managed to miss the worst of in, but did endure long waits in traffic due to wrecks and downed trees. What normally takes 5 hours took more like 7.

Enjoy the struggle for the perfect family portrait! 


The rest of the weekend we helped landscape their backyard, explored their HUGE neighborhood and cooked an Easter feast Sunday morning before heading home. We were thankful for nice weather, normal drive time on the way back and for our awesome neighbors who chicken sat and looked after the place while we were gone. 

Now we are back to reality and this week has been a doozy. Lots of driving to appointments and errands plus a couple of hours rearranging storage units as we cram more stuff in. People have asked me why I am still keeping up with how much I declutter. The reason is that while our house now looks more open and spacious, the storage units look just as crammed full as ever and if I didn’t know how much has left I would still be overwhelmed by it all. 

Because we have no idea what we will eventually want to keep in our new house, we don’t want to get rid of the quality furniture yet. We have now consolidated all the furniture into one unit and when this place sells we may have to add more to it depending on where we live during the house construction. 

The second unit now has one half full of stuff we have packed up that we want to keep, but do not NEED right now. Uh, those boxes of family photos, extra pillows, hunting gear (sigh), ART SUPPLIES, etc.  The other half is still stuff that I have to clean out. The third unit now HAPPILY has a walkway down the middle and shelving to store things. This is the stuff I have to finish cleaning out from my former life.  Ideally we would get rid of this one when I’m done, but we are afraid we will need it to store some of our current furniture if we have to downsize to a two bedroom home while we are building. It’s all very complicated! 

This coming week the house officially goes on the market and I have one problem area of the house to finish clearing out. We have had our lawnmower in the shop for repairs since February. We are praying it will be done today so we don’t have to keep borrowing a friend’s mower. There is a list of small repairs that we will be working on for a few more weeks and of course the dang HVAC has to be fixed. Arrrrrgh. 

To add to the fun, we have to finish cleaning out the tool shed that includes my large stack of beekeeping supplies and I will have to become the cleaning Nazi every day, not just on the weekend.  I have to give some cred to Miss L. because she has very dutifully sorted through and packed up a great deal of her stuff. We will finish up her room today. It’s not easy for a twelve year old to go minimalist! 


Have I done any artwork you ask? Not much. I got about an hour and a half in on this sketch Monday. That’s all for the week. Will I be able to return to my hour a day schedule? I am having doubts.  Staying on top of the cleaning and yard work while showing the house will probably be my full time job. While we only planted some greens in the garden here, we are hoping to plant some basics in my parents garden. Since they can no longer maintain a garden we will be taking over that…an hours drive away. There is also that whole problem of clearing land for a pasture, building a barn, finding a place for apple trees and all the flowers and herbs we will be taking with us. It’s VERY complicated! 

For the record I’m not complaining, really I’m not. I see progress and am more than ready to make the move, but this will be, by far, the most complicated move I have ever made and I think D. would say the same. We decide each week what the two or three most important projects are, focus on those and try not to think too much about the rest until they are priorty. 

If you are facing a big ‘ole project or problem, my only advice is break it down into manageable chunks, then try not to lose sleep over the remainder. I will go now and try to take my own advice. Have a great week!

The Gloom and Doom Report

Hi Everyone!

Let me start by saying that I hope life is sunny for you right now. Literally and figuratively it is NOT where I live. If you are looking for an upbeat, perky blog post today then I will warn you now that this is not going to be it. Check back next week to see if things have improved any. 

We are in our 16th week of February with that many weeks of rain. I’m pretty sure that North Carolina has now reached its normal yearly rainfall in the first two months of 2019. We are mildewed, covered in mud and extremely cranky around here. The horses are starting to refuse to leave the barn. One of my dogs has decided he will not need to poop until about June. The chickens are beginning to acquire webbed feet. We briefly saw the sun one day this week and everyone ran outside to soak up a few minutes of vitamin D. I don’t know whether to plant banana trees or seaweed in the garden this year. 

Outside of the weather, life has been equally gloomy. I went Tuesday to say my goodbyes to a dear friend and have been waiting on the call from her family ever since. I think there was a brief moment or two where she realized that I and another friend were there with her. I hope so at least. I desperately wanted her to know that we were there. She lost the ability to speak several weeks ago and struggled to communicate the last time I visited. How frustrating that must be when you need most to say you are in pain or “I love you.” 

After two or three extremely difficult weeks of processing and waiting, I can now mention the fact that my Dad is very sick. He and my Mom have begun to tell people so I can talk about it here. There are more tests ordered, but I’m not sure why. With each test we get more bad news and the fact that cancer has been found in two major areas already doesn’t lend itself to any possibility of much better news.  I only allow myself a few drops at a time to think about the magnitude of change and difficulty that is coming to my family. 

To end the week, I am going today with some other family members to visit another family member that failing fast. I am not yet allowed to discuss it as there are still plans to be decided on, but this is a person who is near and dear and has brought much fun and laughter into our lives and will leave a gaping hole. It’s been a super sucky week. 

I did start another commissioned piece of artwork this week. After we found out about Dad I swore I would not take on another one and add that stress to my life right now, but it’s for a friend and she said there was absolutely no deadline that I have to meet. It’s actually a blessing because when my brain and heart starts thinking too much I can start working on it and the concentration required gives me a little reprieve. I will show you some of it next week. 

I apologize for the gloom and doom, but I just can’t even fake cheerfulness at the moment and I’m not good enough a writer to make up any believable fiction for your enjoyment. Bear with me. Please realize that if my blog posts are not showing up regularly for a while, it’s because we are dealing with the big life stuff. The one bright spot is the impending arrival of my first grandbaby. That little bugger is much needed right now. We NEED a gummy baby smile, burps and poopy diapers and sweet baby smells to replace some of the recent conversations. 

Wishing you a sunshiny, warm and gentle week. 

Be yourself

Hi Everyone!

How is February treating you? We are half way through what I consider the worst month of the year. Honestly it feels like this month is 60 days long. Looking at our projected two week forecast here, I truly believe we are looking at a high likelihood of mildew. Two straight weeks of mildish temperatures and more RAIN. We already have endless mud. Our horses and donkey keep coming in lame where they are slipping and sliding in the mucky pasture. The chickens need boots to keep from miring up to their feathers and I don’t dare let my car run off the edge of our driveway or it will be June before we can retrieve it from the bottomless mud pit. Yeah, fun stuff. 

So to survive February I decided that I absolutely positively have to give myself some daily art time to avoid a major outbreak of cabin fever. At the moment it seems to be working. There is still half of February to go unfortunately. 

I have been giving myself one hour most mornings (life still throws a curve ball at least once a week) and I’m pleased with the progress. The one hour doesn’t cause me guilt for what I’m not getting done around the house and keeps resentment at bay for not getting time for myself. Any evening art time is gravy! 

There has been one breakthrough. Ok, maybe more of just acceptance. Do you have curly hair that you have tried to straighten all your life? Or straight hair you have spent hours curling? Maybe you are a great runner but always wanted to play baseball instead.  I accepted my stick straight, baby fine hair that can’t hold a style longer than my ears, a long time ago. What I have fought against for five ridiculous decades is that I’m not good with paint. Passable maybe, but painting is stressful not relaxing. What I am good at, even as far back as my first crayons, is dry mediums. Give me a pencil and I’m in my element. Colored pencils even better because I have color to play with. Some of us are too hard headed to see what is in front of us (finger pointing directly at my hard head). Finally I am embracing it. I’m not throwing out my acrylics, water colors or gouche paints (though I have considered it many, many times). They will instead, be under paintings. Supporting actors now. 

For Christmas I got a small set of pastel pencils and have excavated my box of unused soft pastels, conte crayons and charcoal. I am pushing myself to learn new things though. Pencil drawings come so easily most of the time that I often get bored so I need some challenges. Soft pastels definitely have a big learning curve. Right now I’m mixing several things together. In about a minute I’m into the flow because I have to concentrate so hard. Finally a form of mediation that works for me. Sitting still, trying to ignore my thoughts only adds anxiety to my life! Here is what I have done or am working on (the building) in the past week. The door is an 8×10 inch piece, but the little girl and building are 5×7 inches. I’m trying to save supplies when I know the experimental stage results in trashed pieces. 


My advice, for what’s it worth, is quit trying to be something you are not. I have recently heard it called “your fantasy self” and that rings true. Don’t waste decades like yours truly struggling to do something that doesn’t suit you. Go with what you are good at naturally. Life is wayyyy too short!! Love your curls. Run your race not someone else’s.