Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Long Pause (AKA The Lost Post)

I just completed the March 2013 post The Intermission is Over...only to find...I told you I don't know what I'm doing...the lost post from December 2012.  So I am posting it today.  Two at once!  Wow, I'm feeling a sense of accomplishment today.  I'm not going to spend any time editing get it just as it is.  Bear with me, please.  And if you are reading and following, please add a comment.  What a boost to know whether anyone has been here.  I may be more encouraged to post more often.  hint. hint.

The Long Pause. 

It's been longer than a year since the last post.  This has been on my mind often and now I find myself rusty at posting today.  Why does this matter?  Why shouldn't I give up?  There's this nagging feeling that I've been beaten and/or I've quit.  I love reading blogs and for some crazy reason I can't put my finger on I want to record my own art related ventures.  My desire to write a blog began as a desire to be more than a wife, mother, homemaker, crafty person, Sunday School teacher, and on and on.  I felt like the artist part of me was very much lost.  She was pushed off to the side because there was no time.  It was a sad frustration that this core part of me was fading away.  I made a conscious decision to begin weaving my artistic self into everyday life.

Great times on the back roads of New Mexico.

Swatches of colors in my watercolor supply.

My husband is so amazingly good to me and I feel very blessed. In May 2012 he surprised me with a trip to Santa Fe, NM. He remembered that I've always wanted to go back there someday. Way back once upon a time when I was in much younger...I spent about an hour there. The city was so beautiful and full of artistic inspiration. My husband made arrangements for the kids to stay home with his sister. (Thank you, Myldred! You are the best!) We went for four days and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Georgia O'Keeffe is an artist I've admired for many years. We went through the Georgia O'Keeffe museum and I was so in awe of her art and belongings on display. I couldn't get enough! We drove the roads and took in the views that inspired her. We stopped at the Ghost Ranch and I knew I was standing in the places where she had once been. I regretted not being able to tour her homes but that will have to be planned on another trip.

Watercolor kit for weekends in the mountains.
Being more actively creative takes thought and time to pack a camera bag and watercolor travel supplies that most likely I won't touch on an outing.  The worst feeling comes when these things are still at home and I want to paint or snap a photo of a great sky.  My own strategy had to change if I wanted to reclaim more time for art.  I have used Picasa for years to keep our photos organized.  Now I found myself using this program to adjust art reference photos.  Building my reserve of inspiration is worth the extra are great tools for building paintings.

I became more aware of the sunflowers outside my living room window. On one occasion a big, beautiful butterfly joined the bumblebees on the sunflowers.  This is a moment to drop everything, grab the camera and get as many shots as possible.  My dear husband grabbed a tall ladder for a better vantage point. 

More aware of the special moments, I paused from the busy day's activities to take in the sparrows at the feeder.  There were walks with camera in tow, actively looking for subject matter that I loved.  I set aside time to make my art work area work better for me.

Then in the early fall came another opportunity that challenged my comfort zone.  When approached to teach an adult watercolor class, I jumped in and took the risk of maybe not being up to the task.  Many years ago my first attempt at teaching adults did not pan out like I'd hoped.  I was thinking maybe this just wasn't my niche.  This second attempt was so incredible that I'm excited to teach again in the spring.  We had a fantastic time!  Watching others enjoy watercolor, trying new techniques, asking questions, making amazing progress...I loved it more than I can describe.

Subject inspiration came from ordinary objects that can be studied closely.  What better experience than spending time looking closely and noticing the characteristics that make this item unique?  This is something that I've learned from Georgia O'Keeffe's style.  It's become part of how I work with watercolor painting.  The pears actually came first, then the feathers and lastly the seashells. 

It's just a week until Christmas and the craziness of preparing to travel in a few days is here.  I've been knitting dishcloths for my sisters and mom.  It's something I enjoy doing while watching tv or riding in the car.  The thought occurred to me a few days ago as I was letting out several rows of stitches, "I'm much more successful with the brush than with the needles."  The birds that visit our backyard have been a great companion and inspiration so often.  After sorting through my growing and massive photo folders I chose to paint a sparrow perched on the weathered fence. 

Note:  All images property of Christy Sheeler.  Copyright 2012-1013 
Please do not use without permission.

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