Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 255


I walk toward the building. My shoes clop, clop, clop on the empty sidewalk. They grow heavy.

This is not where I want to be.
This is not what I want to do.

The task ahead frightens me and my shoes fill with dread. They are lead shoes. Cement shoes. I could drown in my hesitation. Lose my way. Fail in my task.

My legs are heavy. Retreat whispers behind me, a compelling call. Should I turn, I could run away as on air, scampering like a rabbit back to its hole.

Inertia is a weight on my chest. My breath is short. My feet are clay. I stop. I close my eyes and connect with the child I was. Wise child. Test, dental appointment, scolding. Back then, I knew that looking just past the thing would get me through it. I'd visualize handing my paper in, closing a door behind me, walking away. After. After.
Look ahead, just a little, silly grown-up. The girl sends a message to the woman.
Message received. This is time travel.

My task matters. Others count on my success. Should I fail, I'd rather it not be because I failed to try. Every plodding step leads me to putting this task behind me. I move not toward the task but toward the moment beyond it. My shoes are made of leather. They pinch a little, but they take me to where I want to be.

I wrote this a few days ago. I know from your earlier comments that you're familiar with the concept. I hope it resonates true. I hope it puts one more tool at your disposal, or reminds you that you have it, this looking ahead, tucked away somewhere.

And I hope your Wednesday is good. Let me know what you discover today. Out there.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 252

A few photos as I finish "Blue."
Casting and painting were slowed by the extreme heat and humidity this week. In time, everything set and dried.

Primer coat + 2 black layers + 1 white dry brush coat.
Then I block out main areas of color.

Define the mask area with a thin black line--paint thinned with water.

I paint the heart tattoo with thinned blue, then blot with my hand to let the skin tone show through., just a little.

A very dry brush of bright white over the light grey 'make up.'

This black line will be softened later. I add highlights and texture to the blue by dry brushing with the blue mixed with white.

Just beginning to define the eyes with black.

Adding blues, a layer at a time, from darkest to lightest.

The two, nearly identical, but not so with a closer look.

They do make a pair, don't they?

This weekend was hot and humid with clouds, thunder and a bit of lightning. Plenty of news of Irene on. Glad the storm wasn't worse, empathy for those affected. Have called a number of friends to check in. Have more to call tomorrow.

I'm still affected by the inertia we talked about last post. Slogging through, not sad, but not energetic. There were a lot of frank and insightful comments. I'm going to spend the next few days catching up orders for Poppet Planet and thinking more about 'the accuser.' Seems many of us know this character. I don't think we're done yet.

Hope your Monday is good. Be safe.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 250

William Blake's accuser is my accuser too. The Accuser the guardian of the gate. He bars the way forward by diminishing us, throwing a blanket of contempt over our visions. I know this, because he's here now, barring my way into the direction I've chosen. I don't flatter myself by saying Blake's demon is my demon too. The accuser gets around. I'll bet you know him too.

I start my day by jumping that particular hurdle, even though I may not be aware of doing so. These are not necessarily conscious thoughts. The accuser is skilled, can weigh us down with invisible baggage, words whispered that only we can understand.
And comrades, he knows what scares us.
The accuser tells me first of all that my work, and therefore I, am not essential. Art is not important. How do I feel otherwise when all around us libraries and galleries are closing, school programs are losing funding and the arts are the first items struck from household budgets.
Art is supremely important in the longer run, the larger picture, but not so much for the short term, leaner, getting-through-the-week times.

Although I'm working, mostly functional, the accuser has taken a toll this week. No indeed, I'm not flattered by his attentions. The best thing I can do is to learn to face him, recognize him, ridicule him and try to send him away. Possibly he's like any other bully, if I don't react, he'll get bored and move on. Demons often do.
So far, no good. But I find strength here. Because I know you know him too. That puts me in excellent company.
Let's compare notes. Maybe we can help each other. What does your accuser tell you, what voice does it use and how do you fight back?

I'm ready to push back today, starting with reminding myself that you're here with me. If I figure something out, you'll be the first to know.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 244

Sometimes change slips in through the side door and politely takes a seat at the edge of things.

I've felt lighter these days. Less worried. More hopeful. Why? It's still hot as fuck outside. My situation isn't different. The world looks the same---at least on my screen it does. It occurs to me that I'm different. I didn't realize how much until I started thinking about it. I'm thinking that if this is true for me, it must be true for you too. It seems to me that the best plan is to forget whatever sense of security I used to have. It was always just that, a sense.

It seems that many of use would do well to forget how things were. We have to stop measuring ourselves against what we had, were or did then. We don't live then, we live now.

We're calling these hard times. Sure enough, I've had to reach far past my comfort zone on several levels. There's not much good news. This may mean we need to adapt our expectations, our priorities. It's evolution, baby.

It's okay to celebrate getting through another week. In fact, it's better than okay, it's called for. Sometimes all we can do is get by. We're in a transition. I know I'm different than I was. Sure enough, change is hard. I'd like less work and more play. Less worry and more creating. I'm going to have to find a way to make that happen in this reality. Because the one I had five years ago isn't coming back.

Nor would I want it to. It's not human nature to go back. It's human nature to evolve, whether we're aware of it or not. We have to. We don't know what's coming next. Mostly we have to trust ourselves to handle it. And to, for the love of Mike, have some fun along the way.

Your silly human needs sleep, for sure. g'night

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 240

I'm reading The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898 - 1918. Klee had a bit of the compulsive in him and each of his entries is uniquely numbered though some numbers are missing. He mentions the new music he hears; Schubert's No. 6, the Pastoral and "a newly discovered so-called Mozart Violin Concerto No. 7 with too large an orchestra. A doubtful pleasure, to be truthful about it."

He describes various experimental techniques he tries as he labors to pull his unique style from his training in art from nature. Even now I feel a bit of the voyeur as he writes about his frustrations, the birth of his son, his fears and his discoveries.

A few favorite entries:

Today they took my cat away from me and I had to look on while it disappeared in a sack. I understood at last what words had not succeeded in making clear to me. It was a cat that had been borrowed to catch mice for a period of time. And I had already given away my heart.

Too bad that the early Van Gogh was so fine a human being, but not so good as a painter, and that the later, wonderful artist is such a marked man. A mean should be found between these four points of comparison; then, yes! Then one would want to be like that oneself.

He has found his style, when he cannot do otherwise.

Armed with binoculars, went hunting in the fields outside town. This is the best way to outwit one's models. They suspect nothing, and their poses and faces are natural.

I cannot find sleep. In me the fire still glows, in me it still burns here and there. Seeking a breath of fresh air, I go to the window and see all the lights darkened outside. Only very far away a small window is still lit. Is not another like me sitting there? There must be some place where I am not completely alone! And now the strains of an old piano reach me, the moans of the other wounded person.

For, in art, everything is best said once and in the simplest way.

Otherwise, I'm working and doing mom stuff, thinking when there's quiet, not thinking when I can swing it. Hope your week is going well.


Sunday, August 07, 2011

Day 233

It's Sunday and about time I showed up. I've got nothing to offer but an update. I'm winging it this morning, just talking as I would to any other friend. True enough, it's been a tough week. A friend told me yesterday that I've sounded a lot lately like the wolves were at my door. It does feel that way sometimes when I wake, especially in the middle of the night. But it's more like I've moved to the advance class. Oh yeah, these last three years have been an education. I feel that I've brought my C- up to a solid B, but it takes a toll, this curriculum.

I continue to write things down and to look at things as openly as I'm able, employing the generous grace of Poppet Vision. There's a fair enough chance that my hard schooling will parlay itself into art and writing that will be 'worth the cost.' That's what every artist wants, is it not? Then it may not. In my earlier years, when my older children were tots, I invested a lot into my art career. In my earnest, eager, hollywood-fueled heart I believed that 'in the end' the work would help me create a life for them and they'd see it was all

worth the cost.

Really, there is no end and we must learn to balance what we invest in our futures with what we devote to our presents. It seems the only way to learn this balance is to live until our futures are smaller than our pasts. So I'm going to say to you, dear reader, put effort into your future. Climb a tree and see where you're headed. But keep your heart in the present. It's fleeting, for sure. Here we are. Now. And now that moment is gone. These words I've written are in our pasts. We can never retrieve time we didn't spend well.

Practice living in the now. Love your today. If even one of you benefits from this message I'll feel a bit less of a fool.

Have a good Sunday. I'm off to work today, so that tomorrow I can play with Orion. Fortunate that we humans sleep and can, like Finnigan, begin again.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Day 229

The raccoon put fish sticks in the pool.

The fish sticks lay on the bottom all night.

Retrieving them without turning them into murk is both an exercise and an art form.

I started this blog in the winter of 2004. I remember that well because we were in a monsoon and for the first few days I thought the water might make its way into the house. Orion was toddling around in diapers. Each year I write about summer in the desert. This year is different. I'm not writing. I'm watching. Just watching. As always, we swim at night. I lie on my back and look up at the stars. I look out there.

Let's talk about the weather. I don't find many people talking about this when I'm out and about. I really want to know what you think. Where are we headed?