Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New York City Scapes and Big City Skylines

I spent a good part of yesterday in the studio. It feels great to have the space to stretch out and create without a single distraction. I don't use a cell phone, and I certainly don't take the computer along (I wouldn't have a connection anyway), so it's quite raw and basic when I'm there. So far, it's the perfect recipe for creativity and freedom.

I worked my way into this next period of creativity with the vision of doing a series of paintings about Vermont, but curiously, what is coming out are abstract cityscapes, mostly nighttime skylines reflected in water. What makes me feel absolutely wonderful is the fact that I no idea where these images are coming from, so that helps me to believe that I am successful in my quest to be completely free in my creativity, in my moment, and without too much thought of the future. When I'm painting and experience those moments of free flowing creativity, without my inner critic analyzing the piece, I have a sense of connectedness that soothes my little soul.

Phil and I spent a good hour or so this morning discussing just that. Being connected. Believing. Believing in something...anything! I definitely struggle with it all, and at times delve too far into the literal or even the literary side of it (just look at my library list of books borrowed!) Our conversation left me with the realization (again, this isn't new...I just need a reminder now and then) that yes, there is something. It's not in my best interest to try to define it right now. But in order to bring more comfort into my life, which is the result of this connectedness, I need to pay attention to the moments that make me feel in touch with that little bit of positive magic, which I understand to be "It."

So today I'm going to putter around the house, listen for little messages, welcome the messenger, stay relaxed in my day and spontaneous with my intentions. It's all I can do... all any of us can do!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Great Impression

It's Monday afternoon, and life is really quite good.

I think the big old financial crisis is hitting people in a way that is a bit unexpected, me included. In the past week, I've flopped from panic (i.e., oh my's all crashing... should we get chickens? a gun?!) to absolute peace with it all, actually welcoming whatever shakedown comes from it. I hear more and more people talking about their grandparents, their experiences with the depression and how people had a camaraderie that is all too absent today. Not a bad thing, I think, to bring back to the masses. Time to put away the credit cards, time to stop believing that a $170 pair of jeans will make your life better. Time to make soup with lots of potatoes, time to make art with what's in the house! I've already worked on setting up a holiday gift-making party with the Sugars, where we'll kick out a bunch of homemade gifts together, working with what we have on hand (journals from old aprons, of course!)

Speaking was quite a big day for me 'cause I moved into my new studio. It's a funky old garage in Burlington's Old North End, right across the street from Viva Espresso and the Panadero Bakery. Perfect! It has a nasty kerosene smell, no running water, and no bathroom, but it's allllll mine! Big windows that look out into backyards, and lots and lots of space. I scraped paint off the windows this morning (apparently it was an old guy's 'workshop' -- who knows what Pop Pop was doing out there -- blacked out windows??!!), swept up, put on a borderline obnoxious (not to me but potentially to others) mix CD, and got to work. It felt great to get a new start in a space that will allow me to be messy and creative and loud.

The paintings that are 'appearing' lately have a sense of a city landscape -- mostly nighttime, big city skylines reflected in water. I had started a series based on VT landscapes, but this other stuff keeps coming through. It's interesting, and I'm curious to see where it goes......

2:00...the nap is calling. Time to let some more braincells grow, to replace the ones that died this morning in the studio.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Night Dream

It's Monday morning, and we just had a wonderful whirlwind weekend with the Merricks. Grandma Helen, of course, and Greta & Brandon from Boston, Tim & Janet up from NYC, and Rick and his crew from NH. Big dinner on Sat. night with flatbread from the backyard oven. It was so nice to have everyone here and to work a little more toward blending the families.

I'm listening to Kurt Elling, who drives me nuts in all the right ways. It's been awhile since I've put on one of his albums (do we still call them that?) and listened to it start to end, because I use the computer or iPod now and almost always mix it up. He's just crazy... lyricizing (spell check tells me that's not a real word and it want to turn it into this: criticizinglies, which is quite interesting in itself..) instrumental works. Singing Coltane and Shorter, note for note, dead on. Simply put, he makes my brain feel really good. Mmmmm. My synapses spark.

His lyrics are usually quite fabulous too, 'cause he was a student of theology and in general he's a smart dude:

Take a spark of it - deep within you - put it to the test - it will do the rest -
I confess - It will be like
climbing up Mount Everest - I can't express the view from there - but it's

for you to follow through.

So he's my little spark for the day... my supplier of affirmation. As I push forward in the personal and professional aspects of my life --- all new, all challenging, all putting me to the test, daily, I try so hard to remember that all I have to be is myself, simply me, and the rest will follow.

So here's a bit of me, in the form of art. I love abstract. I love folk art. I have 2 separate artistic selves, and they met each other.... Like everything I do, you need to look at it from far away, and then up close to see what's really there.... So lookie here:

Now come a little closer...

Now just a little more.... (put your glasses on!)
It's actually brighter than this...and I'm pushing to get a start on the Alice in Wonderland playbill... so no brightness tweaking right now..

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

So Philly's momma is cleaning my kitchen, and has been for an hour (God bless her!). Liv's happily doing her pre-teen thing, whatever that may be, Caleb's snoozing, and Phil's raising Cain at a local school meeting.

I put the finishing touches on my new painting, now its framed and ready to go.
(this is it, but before I framed it, and before I cut a few inches off the bottom...)

Ready for a name, too. This is a first in a series of very abstract images of Vermont. They really have to been seen in person, because there's almost a bit of a "where's waldo" type hidden image thing going on. This one is of Church Street --- honest! It's of the top block, the UU Church, the clock, the fountains, people, umbrellas, the whole works. Then, after the basics were put on, the predictable image.... I went to town and redefined it how I see it, and spoke to it with my feelings. They're all good and sweet and wonderful. This painting is a reflection of how this part of my city is important to me --- it's about the swirl, the light, the wind, the cold wind, the hot sun, the people --- seeing old friends, seeing people you just kind of know... it's about the Old North End kids splashing in the fountain, the color of the buildings against the cool blue autumn sky. It's about the pulse of life on a hot summer day, or the stillness in January, late on a snowy night. That's what I see, and feel.

So, having cleaned my house somewhat thoroughly over the past few days in preparation for Helen's visit (ha ha --- that's a very funny testament to my housecleaning priorities... considering that she's, at this moment, scrubbing my stovetop!), I don't have much to do at this moment.

When all else fails, blog.

What's going on inside my head today, right now, and probably tomorrow too:
  • I am sleepy.
  • I think I have reached the point where I can exhale about the Art of Action application and get through the next 48 hours without wondering if I might have a chance...
  • I am so very thankful that I finally found a studio.
  • I would like some new black shoes.
  • I'm not sure if I'm going to watch the debate tomorrow night. I cringed so much at the Katie Couric interviews.... I don't want to feel that icky again anytime soon.
  • I sure do love that Doe's Leap Goat Maple Kefir. I wake up thinking about it.
  • I'm ecstatic that Helen is getting a really big kick out of cleaning my house (she just came in with a big smile, letting me know how ecstatic she is!)
  • There is absolutely nothing I need to do right now, except be myself.
So on that lovely note, I'm going to go smile at Helen and sit in the kitchen while she continues to scrub my stove, I'll be myself, she'll be hers, we'll share some ecstasy, and call it a day.

Tweenaldee and Tweenaldum

Close to the end of a long and sweet day. Phil's momma flew in late last night, and we stayed up getting her settled in. Got up early of course, with the kiddos to get them out the door.

I'm working with a great group of kids at the Edmunds Middle School, helping them make the set and props for their production of Alice in Wonderland. It's been years since I've worked with kids this age, and wasn't sure at first at how well it could go. Today was our second meeting, and I was so impressed with the work they did, and how smart and fun they all were. We're working on a series of doors for Alice to choose from, and they created these funky, wild, bold doors that look just magical. Over the next few weeks we'll make tea cups and a hooka, a "Drink Me" bottle and a mushroom... time to roll up our sleeves, pull out the plaster of paris, and have some fun. I'm so glad I signed up for this one. It's a wonderful way to be creative and spread some art-joy with others.