I was taking an evening beach walk last week when my two friends, a couple, each pulled out a pair of Zeiss binoculars to look at a bird. “Wow,” I remarked, “Someday I am going to get myself a decent pair of binoculars” as I inspected one of the pairs. Then I stopped and said to myself, “What the hell am I waiting for?”
About 30 years ago on a hike, I had difficulty identifying a bird that my companion easily did. She said “take a look through these” and she handed me an expensive pair of Leica binoculars. There was the bird with its colors and features crisp and crystal clear. I was astounded at the difference between her glasses and my inexpensive pair at the same resolution. “Someday,” I said to myself.
Those excuses…too expensive, too extravagant, too precious, not practical. What bunk. I’m in my mid-sixties. Practicality can only work so long as an excuse. Really, sometimes it’s good to reexamine your longings, take them seriously, then take action.
I got home, did some research and ordered a fabulous pair of high-quality binoculars with all the features I could ever want. They came yesterday. I love them. This morning in bed I watched a Downy Woodpecker at the feeder with my new binoculars. The colors and features of the bird were crisp and crystal clear.
The somedays roll past
Like tumbleweeds on a desert highway
Piling up on fences
The calendar pages turn
“Someday I will…”
I declare longingly to myself
Until I realize there are a limited amount of pages left to turn
I spent the better part of the day last week at the aquarium in Newport, Oregon looking for inspiration for future artwork. The Jellyfish tanks were hard to pull away from. I lost track of time mesmerized as their twisting bodies gracefully moved in their fluid world.
I’m a master of avoidance. Once I’m in my studio I”m ready to roll but getting there past all the distractions and excuses can be tricky business. Really, does laundry need to be folded and put away first? The “Thing” that needs to be manifested from your psyche in words, paint, ink, or whatever medium you work in is the priority. Here is a system that works well for me…
Make an appointment for an assigned studio time. The earlier in the day, the better. Your cell phone is not invited.
Enter studio, close door set timer and say to yourself “for one hour I will focus on nothing else but THIS.”
Do not answer the phone, check email, or do anything not essential to your project on your computer- NO EXCEPTIONS!
Work, work, work for one hour and then STOP. Continuing for more than this often leads to overworked material.
Take a break for at least a half an hour and do something mindless like weeding or doing the dishes. Stretch and get outside for a breath of fresh air. This acts as a reset for the creative part of the brain that’s been working hard.
Repeat steps 1-5 if needed
Most of the time I can get an amazing and satisfying amount of work done in a focused 60 minutes and I’m good for the day. If I have more to do, I find that by taking a break I come back to work reenergized with “fresh eyes”. I also use the timer method for unpleasant tasks around the house in 15 minutes increments (ex. cleaning out the fridge- ugh). You can accomplish great things in a small measured amount of time!
I have been pondering what the “it” is after reading a post several weeks back from a fellow blogger. We all wonder at times, what is life really about anyway? I wrote the following poem with how I respond to that question…..
She wanted to know what the “it” was
A fair question to be pondered on a blog
Several commenters responded “YES, YES, where is the It?
It escapes me!
The same question dodged me in my younger years
But with six decades behind me, I know the It
For it is hard to recognize and often takes the passing of time
It can pass right under you like a tsunami in the open ocean
Several weeks ago a friend apologetically said that she could not join me and friends on our annual creative trek to Ghost Ranch Retreat Center in N. New Mexico this July. I started this tradition about 9 years ago when I felt I needed to escape my daily life and focus on just art – no other distractions. Since my initial trek, numerous pals have joined me in the fun.
This particular individual, who had not been there previously, remarked that she had too much work to do on her house, specifically remodeling a bathroom, to take up an artistic pastime at this point in time. I remarked to “Honey, your work on your house IS an artistic pastime and to recognize it as such! Your house is your canvas”.
Too many people separate ART from their daily lives ( I wrote more about this in my post There is “No Word for Art in Their Language”. It does not have to be a sanitized framed rectangle celebrated with appetizers and wine. Anytime a room is decorated, an outfit is planned, a garden designed, or a tasty meal is prepared, one has to think about combining different colors, shapes, textures, (and tastes in the realm of food), creativity is being expressed. There is art in all of those endeavors. I have to say that after remodeling two bathrooms, one kitchen and redecorating my living room, this is some of the work I am most proud of.
No Ideas? Simple…just go on Pinterest, Houzz, or similar websites and steal a few! Below are some of the touches I’ve added to my home “canvas”.
When I am being creative I feel I am in my place in the world. Be it writing a poem, printmaking, painting, or creating something out of clay that’s when I feel the most “in my skin” no matter where I am at. This is my upstairs studio in my farmhouse in rural Oregon.