I joined a thirty day challenge to celebrate International Women’s Day. Thirty portraits, thirty days, thirty minutes each.
What a whirlwind those thirty minutes were. Instead of chiming, I wished Alexa could say “Brush Down! Hands Up!”
To keep it simple and quick, I used only india ink, white gesso, graphite and a white pen. There are a couple with some spot color, but not too many.
What a great experience this was. It stretched my skills – I definitely don’t paint realism, and gave me the opportunity to learn about the fabulous women who have come before, the women we are now and the women we are raising.
10 hours and thirty one minutes from now it’s a wrap.
It hasn’t been all bad. Sure, there was fear. Definitely there was too much hate and untold sadness, but there have been bright spots as well.
I have made connections with amazing artists and beautiful human beings that I probably would never have made. I have started and sustained a journaling practice that I’ve always dreamed of doing. I have created a cozy, creative space for myself.
I used my voice and vote to instigate change. I pushed some boundaries with my art and learned that sometimes it’s okay to just hang onto a wall.
It’s been a year. When “normal” returns, there are definitely parts of my new normal that I will keep.
I’m a huge Austin Kleon fan and just beforeThe Pause, I started following him on Instagram and signed up for his weekly newsletters. I also ordered all three of his books: Steal Like an Artist, Keep Going and Show Your Work. He rocks my world! Maybe not as much as Barack Obama, but pretty close.
As I had planned and booked a trip to The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany for April, I was very interested in developing a daily practice of journaling and sketching. To up the ante, I had taken a sketching class with Ardith Goodwin in January. My goal was to be able to sit in a cafe and quickly capture what was going on around me.
Sometime in February, Austin (I can call him by his first name…we’re buds that way even if he doesn’t know I even exist), started doing daily blind contours of himself. Blind contours also rock my world, way below Barack (also on a first name basis) and Austin, but rocking is rocking. I loved that Austin said that he enjoyed seeing his face rearrange itself each day. Yep. Game on!
What began as a journal to create a daily practice soon became The Plague Journal, but the mostly-daily practice endured. This is the longest EVER I have journaled. I think I can now say, “I have a mostly-daily practice and I’m going to keep going with it.”
Way back in January…remember January? Going out? Being with friends? Hugging them? Toilet paper?
Way back in January, I did an art show and the woman in the booth across from me was fabulous! I was fascinated by her and her steampunk top hat. It took me all day, but I finally got up the courage to ask if I could take a picture of her. She was my muse.
In that funny way the universe works; marrying disparate items, events and emotions, Holding My Breath was born.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
In 2017, Hurricane Irma came through leaving downed trees and water, water everywhere. Along with the rest of my property, my chicken coop was flooded and my chickens were stranded in there.
Dressed in black construction bags for pants – the duct tape held them up – and kitchen dish gloves, Husband waded into the coop to catch my terrified chooks. The chickens were squawking, the husband was swearing and I couldn’t stop laughing.
He assembled a temporary coop that sufficed until we could get out for the bits to create a better solution as it was apparent that it would be quite awhile until they could return to their coop -three months to be exact.
Husband proceeded to build the Taj Mahal of coops. The plan was to have something on wheels that we could reuse should we ever flood again.
Once the waters receded, the plan was implemented: Attach the coop to the tractor and pull in behind the workshop into the chicken run. Easy peasy, right? Wrong! This beauty with its pressure treated lumber and cedar shingle roof was not to be moved. No way. No how. Off came the roof and various other bits and finally we were able to drag it behind the fence.
Fast forward to 2020 and the creation of the new studio.
All those shingles, plus another full pallet that hadn’t been used were still in the building. I knew immediately that I wanted to paint on them.
As I worked through this painting, the news worsened. Any interaction with anything from the outside world made me feel like I could feel the germs crawling on my skin. Still does. I can’t possibly wash my hands enough.
We’re all holding our breath right now. Better days will come and there will be more muses to meet and deep breaths to take.
For now, there’s art, there’s sunshine and for today, still toilet paper in the linen closet.
Stay safe my loves. As my mom always said, “This too shall pass.”
As we all try to wrap our heads around this pause we finds ourselves in, the husband has kept himself very busy building a new studio for me!
We are fortunate to have a large separate garage on our property. Unfortunately, when we moved in, that building became the Den of Despair Where Delayed Decisions go to Die.
It’s been a process, but at last it’s done and I’m in! My mother always said that it’s easier to move halfway around the world than it is to move across the street and boy, ain’t that the truth! I feel like I’m moving in one paintbrush and pen at a time. At least by this time next year, I’ll know what I don’t use or need.
Taking out the garage door and putting in a door and window.
I won’t say “Where does the time go?”, but I sure would like to!
It’s been busy in the Sim-Studio. In November, I had an amazing exhibition at OhVino’s, a local wine and sake bar. It began as a crazy idea that turned into a GREAT idea, if I do say so myself.
In my little town, we live and die by the Space Center. Don’t get me wrong, but I often refer to Titusville as ‘that smudge on the road between the Cocoa and Daytona beaches. We’re the girl who was invited to the prom, but couldn’t afford the dress. Our downtown area consists of about two blocks of mostly boarded up historical buildings, an art gallery (YAY!), a brewery which I love, more coffee shops (two) than our town can support so one closed, an amazing playhouse and OhVino’s. Oh yeah. There’s an ice cream shop, but no one can figure out what their hours are. If any of you are fans of Night Vale, we also have the Faceless Woman and lights over Arby’s.
But I digress.
I really do love where I live and support many of our small town businesses, often to the potential detriment to my liver, so when OhVino’s opened, I wanted everyone to know about it. It’s a cool kind of hipster bar (is that still a thing?) run by to wonderful people where jazz is always playing and there are not TVs so the patrons actually talk to each other. One of the owners is also an artist.
“So!” said I, “How about I have an exhibition here and we’ll invite a bunch of people who probably don’t know about you and you’ll sell wine and I’ll sell art?”
“Fabulous!”, said James, the artist/owner. “Let’s set a date right now!”
Yeah. I woke up the next morning thinking what a fucking stupid idea that was. And then this happened:
Pretty cool, huh?
It was an amazing night! So many people showed up and both wine and art were sold in abundance. Okay – more wine than art, but it was still a great night!
So the moral to this story is this: If you have a crazy idea, just do it. You never know what may come of it.