Back Story – Fulfilling a Promise. Part Two

Heavens! I am freezing right now.  Did anyone else have another visit of winter this week?  I hope this is the last of it.  Before I could start writing I had to run water out to the chickens.  Theirs keeps freezing overnight and we bring it in to thaw in the morning then take it back out to them.  There may be a water warmer involved next winter!

If you just dropped in this week and need to catch up on my story, check out Part One.

So, here I find myself, 50 something, empty nest, new husband, new home, new community and down to only one job for the first time in at least a decade.  I have truly been a little bit lost for the past nine months with all the extra time on my hands.  You would think it would be an easy transition, but it has been a shock to my system.

Here is the real kicker.  After all these years of yearning for creative time, now that I have it, I feel guilty for indulging in it.  What the heck??  I no longer have kids here to put first for their survival, my husband is fine with my art time especially since he also now has time to enjoy his horses and other interests. I take care of all my design/print clients first every morning and we have adequate income.  Why do I feel guilty for taking the time to do what I have always wanted to do?  If you have answers, please fill me in.  I want this whole guilt thing GONE!

Are there other roadblocks to fulfilling a promise to myself?  Yes, indeedy.  Procrastination, that I’m pretty sure is another word for fear is one.  Right now I am fighting the urge to throw myself into two un-art related projects.  Those two projects did not show up until I committed to a big ‘ole, heavy duty art project (more on this below) this week.  Life in general also pretty regularly stops my artwork with family obligations and home/farm maintenance.  There is a reason that artists and writers and musicians run off to cabins in the woods with no phone or wifi.  Sometimes that is the only way the good work can get out. Constant starting and stopping interrupts necessary concentration and the work gets watered down from the original inspiration.

One more big hurdle to fulfilling my promise to myself is the simple fact that I don’t give myself the priority required.  It feels very selfish to put my own WANT (I would argue NEED) before so many of the other things listed above.  More than once I have said that girls of my generation were raised to be TOO NICE.  There I said it.  We were raised to put everyone and everything above ourselves.  It is ingrained throughout our cells and extremely difficult to erase or even temporarily lock away.  Hummm, I think this is related to that darn guilt thing.

Soooo, what have I been doing and/or going to do to fulfill my promise?  I started this process almost four years ago.  When my son (my youngest) pulled out of the driveway for his first year of college, I literally took over his room.  Yes, it seems cruel.  Yes, he reminds me of it occasionally, but I did it and he doesn’t seem too much the worst for it.  I set up three big tables and had my computer/work stuff on one, art supplies on another and sewing machine on the third.  For the past four years I have let myself play.  Not consistently, not with serious intent, but I have played.  I have tried out all sorts of creative endeavors in my attempt to find what I really like best and my “voice”.  I have made lots of messes, bad art, bad craft, some good art and good craft.

Now I feel like it is time to drill down.  Recently I read or heard (can’t give you the source because I don’t remember it) that it takes about ten years for an artist to find their “voice”, that thing that makes their work unique to them.  My sporadic art making over the last several decades should count as about one year total and add the past four years of playing around, I figure I’m five years in.  Now, I’m not getting any younger here and I have no guarantee that I could pull off a Grandma Moses by making it to 80 years old.  My butt needs to get to work.

I had been playing around with doing an extended daily project when I ran across The 100 Day Project. By now I know myself pretty well and I suspect that just left to my own devices, I would start out pretty strong on a personal project, but without some accountability, I would soon find excuses to skip days here and there and there and here until it fell apart.

Yep, you guessed it.  I have signed up for The 100 Day Project.  This is totally out of my comfort zone.  I have done a thirty day project, but the work was very small and thirty days is NOT 100 DAYS.  The project itself asks you to post on Instagram your daily project.  My plan is to do a daily 8 x 10 painting or drawing and also post on my Facebook page and offer the work for sale.

What do I expect out of this?  First, it takes what? Thirty days to ingrain a habit?  For me, one hundred days would be more likely.  I will have to follow through with this during THE busiest time of the year for us.  It starts April 4th, which is right after I finish Bee School (Did I mention Bee School?  I will come back to that in a later post.) on April 1st.  The garden starts going in mid-April and my bees arrive then as well.  My son graduates the first weekend in May.  Before he graduates and sends all his stuff home, I have to get the bedroom that I use as an office painted and rearranged to fit his furniture.  We will be out of town for his graduation so I have to figure out how to paint or draw while in the midst of family and celebration.  The 100 days does not end until mid-July.  Who knows what else will test my determination in that timeframe.

Second, the whole “voice” thing.  My unique style and interests cannot evolve without consistency.  I have not had consistency.  I have had stops and starts.  I am hoping to hone my skills, discover that uniqueness and what I want my art to say.  Big order!

Third, income.  Here is the honest truth to this art thing.  I HAVE to make stuff.  It is in my genes.  Unfortunately, I cannot pay for endless supplies or store all the stuff I make.  To support my habit/addiction I have to make some money to buy more supplies AND I would really like people to enjoy what I create.  I have given away many, many pieces of my work over the years and I like to do that, but it is not a self-sustaining process.  Art supplies are expensive and we are not wealthy people.  Animals have to eat around here as well as ourselves.  So, what I make on this project will be for sale and I am going to ramp it up a little with some advertising investment to see what happens.  My goal this year is to replace my income from my last PART-TIME position.  You got that, right?  Not outrageous expectations, but bigger than anything I have ever asked of myself before.

I think I have given you enough to read this week.  You have the link above if you would like to join The 100 Day Project.  I am not going to bombard this blog with my work every week during the project, but will let you know how it’s going.  I will post links to my Instagram and Facebook pages for you to check out.

If you want to go ahead and start following those here are the links.  I will be updating information on them in the next couple of weeks as I prepare for all this.

Instagram  and Facebook

I am off to prime canvas.  Have an awesome week!



A beautiful sleep

clouds unsplash

Happy Friday!  Today is confession day.  Why? I’m feeling a little guilty and need to get it off my chest and let it go.

So what have I done? It’s more what I haven’t done.  For the past couple of months I have just barely been getting these posts done.  I enjoy writing these and for a while was putting in the time and effort to squeeze some substance into them and work on my writing skills.  Lately though, life has been getting in the way and I haven’t been giving you much worth reading I’m afraid.

I could take an extended break, but I have done that in the past and lose people completely along with my self-discipline. So, I ask you to bear with me for a couple more months.  I will keep coming to the computer with my stressed out foggy brain and write so that when the fog clears I’m ready.  I do occasionally have a good idea that will not get justice right now, so I am keeping a list for future reference.

I am heading to the farm this morning to start on room #2. Check out room #1. Yes, we have baseboards to add yet, but the floor is finished in here! Hopefully the process will move finished flooralong a little faster now that we know what we are doing and we have the right equipment.  I’m running out of time!

Tomorrow, my soon to be Bonus Daughter has a horse show so there will be no home improvement going on. I am hoping to do some sketching while I am there.  I haven’t held a drawing pencil or paint brush in weeks and I get cranky when I go too long without some artsy time.

All the running around, physical work I’m not used to, stress and planning has been taking a toll on my health as well as my brain.  In the past couple of weeks I noticed I was walking around exhausted all the time. D. also noticed and suggested I find some vitamins soon.  So I took a little time to evaluate what was going on.  For almost 20 years I have been vegetarian.  Vegetarians often do not get enough B vitamins because they are found mainly in meat.  I have been low before and should have realized what was happening.

I also have not been sleeping well.  As long as I can remember I have had bouts of insomnia.  It’s miserable.  There has never been a rhyme or reason for my insomnia. Occasionally I know it’s stress related, but often life is fine and I still cannot sleep.

Sooooo, on Monday, I found myself some vitamins with a good dose of B’s. I got the gummy kind.  I literally gag trying to take the pill form and even though the gummy ones are full of sugar, a vitamin that doesn’t go in your body doesn’t do any good at all!  Then I cut out what little dairy I eat, and for my evening snack substituted a blueberry/avocado/chia seed/ginger/honey/almond milk smoothie one night and last night made myself some Golden Milk (recipe below).

This morning I woke up from the BEST sleep I have had in ages!!  I feel like a new person.  I had noticed yesterday that I still had energy after 2:00 in the afternoon and got most of my house back in order.  Today my head feels clear and I need to finish this up so I can go slap down some tile!

Golden Milk (Variations can be found on Pinterest of course. I sort of guesstimate with what I have on hand)

2 cups of coconut milk or almond milk

1 tsp – 1 tb of coconut oil

1 tsp – 1.5 tsp of turmeric

1 tsp – cinnamon

1 tsp – nutmeg

1″ piece of fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp – raw honey

sprinkle of black powder – this allows your body to absorb more of the turmeric.

Blend (I use the powder at the moment and just mix it all in a sauce pan) then warm over medium heat and drink.

Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend!


Cloud photo credit