#100dayproject

(Day 1 page)

The idea of 100 days of sticking to just one way of creating is not appealing to me.  I am skeptical of my ability to hang in there for that long. Also, I seem to thrive on variety, having the freedom to create as ideas come to me, leaping from drawing everyday life, to stitching fragments, to knitting and crocheting and many other things in between. To actually pick ONE and say “I’m gonna stick with this for 100 days!” fills me with doubt and makes my eyes glaze over. At least, this is how I’ve reacted each year the #100dayproject posts have rolled around on Instagram. Nope. Not for me. Thank you.

And yet…simmering on the back burner the last few days was a question. Could I find anything I might even remotely like to do for 100 days? Something that feels free, varied and allows for leaps within one vein of making? Awake unusually late last night, a flash of brilliance (or madness) tickled my fancy till I was standing at my drawing table making marks in a brand new sketchbook. (Queue up the Hallelujah Chorus here.:)

At one minute until midnight on the first day of the #100dayproject, I posted a rather poorly lit photo of the first entry (see first image above).  I had recently purchased a random sketchbook with 132 pages of Mixed-Media paper perfect for housing all 100 days. I had only filled the first page with a tulip sketch, testing the paper for its ability to withstand watercolor, colored pencil, marker and oil pastels. I loved the 7″ x 9″ pages and their thick 120 lb. feel. The slick paper allows a lovely hand to swooshing pastels around. I knew this would be perfect for the next 100 days of expressive, intuitive, mark-making pages. Here are some of my own self-imposed guidelines:

  1. Non-objective, intuitive, abstract works. As scribbly and child-like as I want to make them.
  2. Any media, any combination including watercolor, acrylic, pencils (both water media and wax), oil pastels, soft pastels, grease pencils, charcoal, collage (both painted papers and found papers), markers, pens, fine liners, ink, bamboo sticks, calligraphy pens, etc, etc.
  3. Must work quickly without thinking. I love working like this, without critiquing as I go. The only thought allowed will be, “what do I want to put down next?”
  4. Only one per day in this book. But I can, if I want to and if time allows, create more mark-making works in other sketchbooks or on canvas.
  5. Space on the left hand side to stamp the date, write the number for each of the 100 days, and any thoughts on the process for that day I’d like to record. Love this last piece of the process.

I could hardly get to sleep I was so excited about this adventure. I’ll post many of them on Instagram but perhaps not every day. I might just post them in groups of four or a weeks worth of them at a time. We shall see. My aim is to create each one first thing in the day as part of my morning practice of reflection. Simple, short and oh so sweet!

(Day 2 page)

I’m also considering beginning Tara Leaver’s 7-Day Challenge along these same lines. Tara is a wonderful abstract artist I follow and whose teaching and work has been very inspiring and helpful to me. I love receiving her newsletters filled with such helpful advice and encouragement for the artistic path. I look forward to reading what she has to say every week! A 7-Day Challenge is far less intimidating than 100 Days!  I did this challenge two years ago but used Freeform Crochet as the method of creating small fiber paintings. It was a super way to explore all that yarn and stitches can do in creating images. For this year’s 7-Day Challenge, I’d like to create the same mark-making works I’m doing for the #100DayProject but on slightly larger paper or on mini canvases. I haven’t decided which yet. But I need to decide soon since The Challenge  begins tomorrow! What in the world has gotten into me?? A 7-Day Challenge AND a 100 Day Project? Good Grief. I must surely be crazy!

Crazy about art, crazy about color, lines, shapes and marks on a page! Wish me luck! Better yet…join me in one (or both) of these ventures! It will be fun, probably challenging at times, but rewarding to have a nearly filled sketchbook with pages and pages of merry marks!

Here’s to the next 7 Days and on to 100!!

Truly…I think I need to get my head examined.

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If you are interested in Tara’s 7-Day Challenge, be sure to read the highlighted post above. There you will find a free downloadable worksheet designed to help you pinpoint what you’d like to try for the 7 Days. We can do anything for 7 Days, can’t we? It’s the 100 that feels a bit daunting. But I’m giving it a go! <3

 

Time

TimeforLife

I am realizing anew that there’s a time for every season under heaven.

fathersday-2

(photography courtesy of Hazel Kuehn Photography)

There’s a time for celebrating.

And a time for grieving the passing of an era.

WeatherAbstract

There’s a time for illness.

And a time for healing.

NevertheSame

There’s a time for making marks.

And a time for white open pages.

EpicRipOut

There’s a time for stitching.

And a time for ripping out.

TheBride&Me

(photography courtesy of Hazel Kuehn Photography)

There’s a time for gathering.

And a time for letting go.

Atimeforeverything

There’s a time for making the usual.

And there’s a time for trying something new.

***

There’s even a time for going to the beach.

I’m glad it’s that time!

I’m ready for it. I need it.

Looking forward to being with family and the restorative sound of the waves, warm sand in my toes, and days of walking, reading, stitching, drawing…

or not.

There will be time for everything.

Pensieve Paintings

WeatherAbstract

Some day, and maybe someday quite soon, I want to paint really big abstract paintings. Yeah, this is nothing new. I have wanted to do this for many years. All kinds of reasons blocks rise up when I go to actually make these little ones on a larger scale…i don’t have time, no one would want to buy such a thing, i don’t have room for big canvases, translating watercolor on paper to acrylic on canvas will not work, where will I store them, yada yada yada, blah blah blah.

OvertheMoon

There’s nothing like a huge undertaking, like a wedding, or making one’s mother-of-the-bride dress, to heighten your sense of desire for realizing other dreams. Some day. Yes. Some day soon. After the wedding. Before autumn arrives. Yes.

Dreamscape

Until then, I will continue using my sketchbook as a pensieve…a place to deposit the ideas that swirl around in my head, the color I see in the skies, the land, the world out there as well as in here. They are not meant to “be” anything, to represent any particular place or event or even subject. Just color, worked quickly so that my analytical brain can’t break in and take over.

OneFineDayAbstract

Until the day when I can sling paint on a large scale, I will make page after page of these small ones. Sometimes I fit two on a 9″ x 11″ sketchbook page. Sometimes, in smaller sketchbooks, there is only one per page, or per spread. Different papers, different applications of the paint. Add some pencil here or there, or not. Totally free. Simple and easy. So satisfying. Just for me.

Just Wonderin’…

…what’s up ahead…

I’m strangely wordless as I face a New Year rolling in. 2012 was a beautiful year, for many reasons both creatively and personally. I’ll detail some of that in an upcoming post. But I feel a sweet hush around me as I contemplate a new year ahead. The possibilities. The unexpected. The dreams. The hopes. Even the fears are all a part of my reverie. No resolutions. Only to keep on looking around me with my eyes peeled for Beauty, both evident and not-so-evident. I sit with some yarn in my hands. I have desires to put more of my designs out there for others to knit and crochet. If you’d like to peek at my knitting blog, or follow me over there, please do! But these things always morph and change with the seasons. I’ll go where inspiration takes me, drawing it along the way.

Thank you. Thank you so very much for visiting here. For checking in on the crazy things that run in my head and down through my arms to pens, paints, paper and yarn. You just don’t know how I appreciate your presence here. May 2013 bring you beautiful days to draw and paint and create!!

Pulling Down Deep Heaven: Part 2

If I climbed up

to the tippy-top of a tree,

and held out my bucket-

Could I catch the sun-drops,

and keep them with me…

…then share with others

at the base of the tree?

-jpe

If any creative act, (be it visual, musical, theatrical, written or otherwise), is a definitively spiritual endeavor, then there are certain qualities to that activity that are common to all of us.  For one, there’s a sense that a battle is going on. At the very least, the effort involved in climbing to the tippy top of the tree to pull down heaven is hard work and can be very exhausting.

Lately I have felt, alongside the exhilaration of creating, an increasing weariness. Participating in an art show, painting commissions, looking for and recording beauty can be very tiring in a manner different than other work tires.  My husband read one of his incredible short stories to the students and faculty at my school where I teach. He recounted how exhausting that was, to offer his work “out there” in the world.  As we drove home from this event, the weariness was palpable. Every time we talk to our daughter at college as she studies music, she is exhausted, pulling long hours in the practice room, theory tests, exams, and an unbelievable performing schedule. And my music educator friend, Sheri, told me in our swim team conversation, how tired and worn out she is at the holidays teaching music and performing in various holiday events in the area.

I am learning from a wonderful book by Steven Pressfield, that art is war. His book, titled, The War of Artaffirms the spiritual nature of our creative commitment to bring beauty into the world. He speaks in a martial tone, rallying us as if we artists are, in actuality, soldiers fighting a cosmic war.  He outlines the weapons needed to pull down deep heaven, though he does not use that specific phrase.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The effort involves showing up to the page or canvas, doing our scales, honing our craft, working on technique, practicing, preparing. And then we must offer it, share it, put it out there, get in the ring or out on the dance floor, run the race, fight the good fight, never giving up no matter how beat down we may feel by critics, reviews, circumstances, or our own thoughts.  We are to fight the resistance that comes in any form it may throw at us to keep us down, or out of the playing field.

Being engaged even on a small level in pulling down deep heaven is no mere trifling. It requires a soldierly mindset mixed with childlike mirth as we place one foot in front of the other up the tree, climbing ’til we reach the tippy top.  The climb down may be harder…carrying what we have gathered there from the heavens, and then summoning the courage to share it with others.  It requires miles and miles of walking or riding on a donkey to an unfamiliar town, to give birth to our heaven-sent burden in less than ideal surroundings and circumstances.  We are to write, draw, paint, make music in and around our messy lives.  None of it seems to go the way we imagined or think it should. I have a hunch Mary, the mother of Jesus, may have thought this as well. Yet we are to continue on this journey, like Mary and Joseph, until it is time.  Time for what heaven wants to bring to us and through us, be it a babe, a sonnet, a drawing, a song.

May we have the martial spirit of Mary in our hearts and daily lives this season.  May we be encouraged by the thought that our exhaustion in creative endeavors is due to the fact that we are in the fight: the calling and work of pulling down deep heaven.

*****************************************************

I wrote the above several days before Friday, December 14th, the day someone entered a school in Connecticut with the express purpose of killing.  Children, adults, his aim was all.  If ever there was proof that a battle is going on, and that we need to engage in that battle to bring down the light of Deep Heaven to shine in these dark days, it is now.

Rise up, oh Artists of all kinds…Rise up and wage battle with the darkness! For we do not fight in vain!

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*If you missed Part 1 of this series and would like to read it, click here.

Do I Dare?

It might be fun!

Whilst knitting lately in between drawing and commission works, I’ve developed an itch to blog about knitting.  So I’m thinking of swinging a bit over on Drawn2Knit.  If you’re interested in all things knitting, crocheting, yarn, etc….please join me!  I will still post here as well!

So much to draw and knit….so little time!