Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday's Post and Reflection


            "Your life is a work of art, and you are the sculptor who fashions it."
Gail McMeekin
I love to start the week with a quote that inspires me to create a wonderful week filled with creativity and beautiful experiences.  I have been reading Gail McMeekin"s book, The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women and completing the journal that goes with it.  This morning I turned over the journal and the sentence above jumped out at me.  As women it is often hard to sculpt our own day much less our own life.  It is natural for us to take care of others first and put ourselves last.  But it is important for us to create a life where we are also an important part of the picture.  It is important to take care of ourselves with as Gail says, "exquisite self-care".  My mother used to tell me she wanted to be surrounded by pretty things.  For each of us that is something different.  For me it is nature.  I want to be able to see the sky, look at the grass, walk through the flowers.  I want my house to be filled not with lots of things but with simple things that I love.
I really love the image of creating a life that is filled with beauty.  Painting and writing are now an important part of that life.  So is communicating with others online and sharing what I am doing.  My hope is that as I share what I am doing I can encourage others to also create a life that they find beautiful.
                    I hope you  have a wonderful week filled with only beautiful experiences.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Friday's Special Moment of Gratitude

I just don't think time is supposed to go this fast.  It is Friday once again and that means time to party with all of the wonderful artists at Paint Party Friday.  Since joining the party in January, I have painted something every week and I believe it is making a difference. I am not so critical of what I am doing and I don't expect to finish something the first time I sit down to paint or draw. 
This has been a nice week.  The construction is getting closer and closer to being done.  The craftsman who have worked on the project are really giving their all and we so appreciate their talents and their dedication to what they are doing.  There are so many talented people in this world and it is fun to see how people can use their creativity in so many different ways. 
This week the sky has been blue, the sun has been shining, the wind has been blowing (I love a breeze) and the flowers are growing.  Who could ask for anything more?  I hope that you have a wonderful weekend.  There are so many simple things to enjoy each day if we slow down and take time to recognize and appreciate them.  It took me awhile to realize this.   But now that I do, I want to share this simple fact with everyone I know!
                                                 I would love to know what made your week special.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday's Walk

I am always reading books about creativity and how to be more creative.  A reoccuring theme in many of the things that I am reading  is the importance of taking care of yourself and how this helps you to express yourself creatively.  I've decided that I need to walk more and to walk  in beautiful places.  I love nature and to be surrounded by its beauty.  But, I find myself walking in the same places all of the time.  So to encourage myself to try to find new spots to walk I decided that, at least for a month, my post on Wednesday would be called Wednesday's Walk and I would share with everyone a new place that I walked that week.
This week's picture came from our neighborhood.  It's not a different place to walk but I did walk in a different direction.  Everytime I came to an intersection I turned in the direction that was opposite from what I normally do.  Not a terribly extreme adventure but I did see things from a different point of view. 
I am really hoping that I will begin to branch out more and more on my walks and have better and better pictures to share each week.  If you were going to take a Wednesday's Walk where would you go and what pictures would you take?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday's Quote and Reflection


                Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass.  It's about learning to dance in the rain.

For me, this has become the only way to live my life.  There are always challenges and obstacles to overcome.  There are small challenges each day and really larges ones that crop up at different times throughout our lives.  If we wait for the storm to pass, we sometimes have to wait a very long time.  It is so much better to have fun, see the positive, and enjoy the special moments that are there for all of us if we just take the time to see and appreciate them each and every day.  I hope that you have a wonderful week filled with sunshine.   But remember if some raindrops do appear, you can always choose to dance in the rain.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Friday's Special Moment of Gratitude

It is Friday.  When I was working Friday was always special because that meant the weekend was coming.  Now, it means Paint Party Friday.  I look forward to visiting all of the many talented artists each week.  I love to look at their work and it is so nice to receive their support.
Friday is also the day I write about what I am grateful for that week.  This week I am grateful for the Art Camp I am going to.  We meet each Monday for four weeks.  Each week is devoted to learning just a little about a different artist and their style of painting.  We also use a different medium each week.  This week we used chalk pastels.  I had used them before and I did not like them.  But in this class I really enjoyed working with them.  I am so grateful to Shawn, my friend and instructor, for encouraging me to loosen up and to add more color.
I am also grateful to Kat Sloma for her wonderful online photography class, A Sense of Place.  I am learning so much about myself and the way I take pictures.  If you are interested in a wonderful photography class and teacher, this is the place for you.  The picture below shows a place I love to visit.
Creatively this has been a great week.  And, if you have been following me lately at all you know we have been going through  major construction.  It looks like the elevator may be in by the beginning of next week.  That will make life so much better for my husband who has a rare breathing problem.  It also means that the stairs will no longer be a problem and that we can enjoy the house we love for many more years to come.  For all of this, I am very very grateful.
     I hope you have had a great week and of course I would love to know what you are most grateful for!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday's Quote and Reflection

                            “Children need the freedom and time to play.  Play is not a luxury. 
                                                            Play is a necessity."
                           Kay Redfield Jamison, Contemporary American Professor of Psychiatry

When I found the above quote I really liked it.  I agree with this quote but I also believe that it’s not only children who need to play but all people.  No matter how old or how young we are, we all need to take the time to play.  It helps us to relax, to get to know ourselves better, and it allows our creativity to blossom.

When you look at your day or week how much time is left to play?  Can you arrange your schedule to allow time to play?  I was someone who forgot how to play for a long time.  I became so absorbed in my job that I forgot to leave time for me.  It was only after retiring, that I realized that I hadn’t seen the sun rise or set for a very long time.  I went to work in the dark and came home in the dark not because I had to but because I had become so consumed with my job.  I had not really enjoyed the change of seasons or just relaxed unless I went away on trip for the specific purpose of relaxing or seeing the color of the leaves.  If I had built some time for play into my life, I am sure I would have felt better and probably would have been much more productive.

 It is easy, even when you are retired, to become so involved in projects that you forget to take time for yourself and to play.  I made that mistake once but I am trying not to do it again.  Now, I make sure there is time to do something just for me every day.  When I paint, I feel like I am playing.  When I write, I feel like I am playing.  And when I am taking pictures I can get lost for hours just playing with my camera.  It would be easy for me to become too serious about any one of these things.  I tend to like things to be perfect.  But when I see that happening I step back, take a deep breath, and remember how much more fun it is to play than it is to be perfect.  Then I pick up the paintbrush, the pen, or the camera and begin to play once again.

How do you play?  Playing is not something that comes naturally to me so I would love to know what you think of as play.

            I wrote this piece for April's Creative Dream Journal .  The theme of course was play.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Friday's Special Moment of Gratitude

I always look forward to Friday and getting to see all of the beautiful work produced by the many artists at Paint Party Friday.  You always have an open invitation to stop in and join the fun.  I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.
The construction work continues at our house.  It is a very long and slow process and our backyard continues to look like a construction site so I have not planted any spring flowers since they would only get ruined.  I am not an accomplished gardener but I do enjoy planting some flowers every year.  They just make me feel good. 
Years ago my husband built flower boxes around our deck.  He also planted several types of perennials which at the time I did not necessarily appreciate but I do this year.  I did not have to do a thing to the perennials. They just came up all on their own like they are supposed to do.  They ignored all the construction going on around them and reached for the stars.  So this week I am very grateful to my husband for planting those flowers years ago and to those simple plants that come up year after year and bring a smile to my face each morning.  Once again I am reminded that it is the simple things in life that can give us the greatest pleasure.
                                          What are you most grateful for this week?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Sense of Place

I have just started a wonderful online photography class with Kat Sloma called A Sense of Place.  I am starting to understand the difference between a great picture as well as a photograph that captures the emotions and feelings of a place.  Gibbs Gardens is an incredible place that I have visited recently.  The above picture, which I really like, does not capture the feelings you get from the gardens but it is a picture I enjoy.  I like the colors, I like the water, and I like the way the light shines on the water.  One of the things I am finally accepting is that as a creative person I need to be consciously aware of who I am and what I like and be willing to share those things with others. I think it is important for me to know why I am drawn to a person, a picture, a painting, a method, or a place.  This class has just started but I know that I am going to learn quite a lot about what constitutes a "sense of place" for me.  What do those words mean to you?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday's Quote and April's Dreamboard

                                                                  If you have castles in the air,
your work  need not be lost;
that is where they should be,
Now put foundations under them.
                                                                                                             Henry David Thoreau

I believe that this dreamboard is telling me now is the time to begin putting the foundations under my dreams. Actually, there is no time like the present.  I hope that everyone will spend some time this month making their dreams come true

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Friday's Special Moment of Gratitude

Just a simple sketch to contribute to Paint Party Friday.  I am not sure what my fascination is with drawing hats but I am enjoying making quick simple sketches that include hats.  I am hoping by doing this I will learn to be quicker and looser with my work.  I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens.  This week Jessie decided to take the flowers off of her hat and change her hair color.  Maybe I should do the same.

On Friday it is my practice to share just a few of the things that I am grateful for.  This week as always I have lots of things that I experienced that stand out in my mind.  Seeing the deer up close as they wander through our yard, feeling the breeze as I walked the dogs, and watching a tiny baby bird up close as he hopped across our garage roof are just a few.
 I am also grateful for a simple reminder that the universe decided to send my way yesterday.  We live in the suburbs just a few miles from a large horse farm.  Each time I drive past the pastures I feel like I am out in the country and it feels so calm and peaceful.  I have said for a very long time that one day I was going to park the car and walk past the farm and the horses and really enjoy the experience.  But I was always too busy and so I just drove by and said to myself, "Next time I will stop."  Well, finally yesterday became the next time.  I parked the car with camera in hand ready to be transported to another place.  As I walked down the street, I realized that the peaceful ride I had while in the car enjoying the scenery was much different than the noisy experience I was having walking down the street as car after car whizzed by.  If I had stopped the car months ago, I would have learned sooner that riding by was actually the better experience for me.  It was a great reminder not to wait.  If you want to do something, do it.  It may turn out to  be the best experience you have ever had or you may learn as I did yesterday that you already have exactly what you want. 
                    I would love to know what you are most grateful for this week. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Photo-Heart Connection

This is the second month that I have participated in Kat Sloma's Photo-Heart Connection which is a really interesting experience.  The photo-heart connection is about finding the picture that touches your heart and determing why that picture, or the experience that led to the picture, means so much.
During the month of March the weather has been beautiful and the flowers are beginning to bloom.  I took lots of pictures but none that were are as pretty as the real thing.  Then last weekend we went to a wonderful garden that has just opened close to us.  The gardens are the result of one man's dream forty years ago.  As we walked through the gardens which were spectacular, I noticed how quiet everyone was.  There were people of all ages, from tiny babies to toddlers and teenagers, all the way up to senior citizens in the gardens and it seemed that everyone was in silent awe of the beauty that surrounded them.  The time spent in the gardens reminded me of how important it is to have a dream and how important it is to pursue that dream with all of your might.  These gardens were a great reminder to me to never stop dreaming.  My dreams may be very different now that I am older but they are still just as important as they were when I was young.  So today I would like to thank Mr. Gibbs for the beautiful gardens he created for all of us to enjoy and for helping me to remember just how very important it is to dream.