Over the past year, I created less than I like to. I try to paint on weekends. There were times when I would sometimes paint twice in one weekend (those were the weeks when I felt really good about it)! At night I crocheted. During the work week I wrote in my journal using sentences like, "Gee, I need to write more." "I'm really pissed off right now." "I need a vacation to a dead writers' house because I'm going crazy and that is a good way to calm me down." "Maybe I should just live like Thoreau, but with GPS now a days there's a good chance someone will find me." Although it was "just a journal", it kept my sanity by helping my brain pen negative thoughts and frustrations every day on a lined inanimate object that held them for me to peruse later in my life.
My life changed greatly over the past year. I now find myself googling questions like, "how can I create more time?" and seeing suggestions like, "get up earlier". Yuck. I was hoping I could bottle it.
I persevere because there are many things contribute to infrequent blog posts about painting, writing, crocheting, parenting. One of them is that my three year old daughter no longer takes regular naps. It's very hard to convince a three year old that she needs to take a nap.
"Alexis, you look tired."
"I'm NOT TIRED, Mom." she whines while rubbing her eyes and yawning.
"Oh, ok." I nod half assuredly.
My painting time used to be peaceful and quiet. I used to hear nothing but the hum of the refrigerator. Now I hear: "Mommy, can I paint too? I want red. I can't do it. The paint doesn't work. You need to help me. I just want to paint a flower. Mommy can you paint the flower for me? Mommy, it doesn't look right. I am mad. MAD MAD MAD! Mommy!"
Don't get me wrong, I love to create with my daughter, and sometimes we have a blast. But there are times when I need ME time. Every hour of every second of every day is devoted to Alexis. So when I have five minutes, or an hour, or even when she goes to bed at night, I will use that time to the best of my ability to read a book, sew, watch a movie, paint, draw, crochet, write, etc. Creative little bursts of time are just as useful than a large chunk of it, because you can sprinkle them in where you need them. See?
The picture above is of my cousin Carolyn McCarthy. She is a beautiful dancer. I gave her this painting as a college graduation present.
In October I started taking painting lessons from a wonderful artist named Sheila Foley. "Sunflowers in a Poland Spring Bottle" was my first painting done her Wednesday night art class. She is an awesome and witty teacher. I highly recommend her work. You should especially check it out if you, or someone you know, is getting married, graduating from college or celebrating some other life milestone as she is a live event painter
. You can find her here: http://www.sheilafoley.com/
The other paintings below were done by me in her class. I choose the subject and she gives me valuable advice about light and shadow, composition, etc.
The above painting is an attempt to copy Monet's "The Magpie". I absolutely love it. It was a lot of work and I learned so much about the painting itself as well as the colors and the techniques he used.
The above painting is called "Bowl of Toasted Marshmallows". I needed to paint something that was white on white. My sister suggested marshmallows and I was like, why? That is dumb. Except now, I totally see why she told me do marshmallows (thanks Christine), plus they are delicious. Making things seem fluffy and round is tough even more so when they are in a bowl together. They have a ton of colors mixed in them that one does not notice until one is painting it.
Portraits are tough. The above painting is of Rachel Ray. All I can say is that during the last few weeks of this painting, I hated it. I didn't like painting faces. it was hard to get the colors to blend. It was hard to make it look realistic. She looked to big to be who she was. It was not my favorite thing to do so far. That being said, I would definitely do another portrait. Knowing what I know now would help me a lot as I made many mistakes.
This is an apple I did in watercolor pencil on my own. I loved doing this. It was a lot of fun to try a different medium. I am still getting used to watercolor pencils. So far, I've only managed to paint/draw fruit.
So onward in to the summer I march in search of relaxing creativity dripping from my pens and brushes. Let's see what the summer yields!