For Ellen

Macy'sHouse

Macy

Macy knew, that as she grew,
her love for all things making
was growing still, her heart to fill …
crocheting, quilting, baking!

Yet in all this, one more was bliss
a thread ran through them all—
A gift to give, for this she lives,
something not found at the mall.

So Macy made, with her heart she gave
of fabric, yarn and flour.
With needles and hook, spoons and a book
to make something sweet from sour.

With ribbon and bow, her love would grow
in giving her creation away.
She wished she could be, a mouse on the knee
of the one opening it that day.

Yet content she be, to make more with glee
she only wanted more time
To quilt or crochet, to bake without delay
more presents with ribbon entwine.

-jpe
12/1/2013
For Ellen, my making/giving friend.

IMG_1447

****At my recent Book Signing/Art Show, my friend Ellen gave me a little bag with blue tissue peeking out the top. I got home after that magical evening and even forgot who had handed me the gift bag. I fell in love with the gift inside, a little felted mouse holding what looked to be either paint brushes or knitting needles (or both)! How perfect! And adorable!! I named her Macy and she now stands proudly on my studio Christmas tree. I keep having these poems run in my head about Macy. I’ll share them with you throughout the season. In the above drawing I switched the things Macy holds to those that are particular to Ellen. She’s an amazing quilter, crocheter, baker (and knitter too!)  All I want to do is sit at my drawing table and draw all kinds of illustrations of her! I  simply don’t have the time. But whatever ones I’m able to draw, I’ll share with you … thanks for popping in this holiday season!

MacyMouse

 

Once Again…?

Could you pop next door once again?

Or…as Stew Crother might say in a lovely English accent,

“Will you nip in next door?”

Or, as folks might say from my Southern region in the USA,

“Y’all come on over now, ya hear?”

Anyway, Genevieve would love it if you could visit her today!

Merci!

The Grumble Blankie

Recently, I’ve realized a nasty habit:  I complain a lot.  You might be surprised at this.  But if you heard the tape that runs in my head some days, or if you asked my husband…you’d hear an awful lot of grumbling.  Laundry, dishes, dust, work, busyness, crazy drivers, not enough of this, too much of that, etc.  The list goes on and on. A couple of weeks ago I was freshly awakened to this wearisome tape.  Funny, how you also realize… that you’ve realized this about yourself before! Yeesh!

My thoughts went something like this:  Ugh! There it is again! Complain, complain, complain! I’m sick of hearing myself complain! And now I’m even complaining that I’m a complainer! How will I be rid of this? It seems like it’s part of who I am…  But surely not.  Perhaps it’s not woven into the fabric of my being…perhaps it’s like a blankie I keep carrying around with me, the way a too old child carries around his/her blankie from infanthood.  Well, if that’s the case…I can throw away the grumble blankie!!  And so I did!

It felt great! To visually and purposefully dump that nasty, sucked-on-forever blanket I’d been nursing.  But I felt I really ought to put something in its place…get rid of something yucky and replace it with something positive.  And this image came to mind.  I’ll trade my grumble blankie for a drawing pen!  Drawing enables me to refocus the grumbling to embracing the life that I have.  Yes. and Yes.

I went to sleep that night content with this little drawing and with the thought of that grumble blankie in the trash can.  But the next morning, I swear that blankie must’ve crawled out of the trash can and inched its way up to my room as I slept.  Oi! Darned if I didn’t start off…”ugh..it’s too early!…i didn’t get much sleep…how can anybody be expected to function on 5 hours of sleep????? grumble, grumble, grumble.”

And so, I’m finding I have to throw that darn blankie away every morning.  Truth be told, I have to do it several times a day!  Good Grief.  But at least it drives me to pick up my pen and draw…draw the life that I am really truly thankful for…

…even if I grumble about it. 🙂

Drawing Your Life: Mini Lesson #2

All the Drawing Your Life Mini Lessons have now been typed up, expanded, revised, updated and published into an ebook & video course for you!

Purchase this in my ETSY shop HERE.

Discover Your Life Beautiful…One Drawing At A Time!

Sincerely,

Jennifer Edwards

Three Cheshire Grins

Big doings in the Edwards household these days…

All three kids wearing smiles as wide as their faces…

I’d have to say…I am too! 🙂

**A Note about the Mini Lessons starting this Friday!!  I’m a little overwhelmed by everyone’s enthusiasm…and so I’m afraid maybe you might be thinking this will be like an interactive online class.  Sadly, no, these little lessons on Drawing Your Life will merely be a blog post.  Albeit filled with drawings/paintings/etc. (by me:) and encouragements by me, there will be no YouTube videos to watch or interactive lesson to tune into at a specific time.  I’m just posting on Fridays something that will, I hope, aid you in your endeavor to chronicle your life in images.  There will be minimal instruction on specific drawing techniques.  I hope this isn’t disappointing to anyone.  I just wanted to be clear.  I re-read my previous post, If I taught You to Draw, and yep, sure ‘nough, it spells it out pretty well.

Gosh, it sounds like I’m really dampening the prospects of these Mini-Lessons.  I just have to tell you I .AM. SO. EXCITED. ABOUT. THISSS!!!!

The Linchpin

Yep. You guessed it! To draw and draw (and paint) my little life!

Genevieve knew it. I’ve even known it in some measure all along…it shows up in my Artist Statement, in this post and this one.  But somehow I’ve needed a re-ordering, a sorting, if you will, to realize once again, the path I’m on.  One commenting friend suggested it might be “creativity” as THE ONE THING.  Though this is certainly valid, it has been too broad for me and I’ve been wanting/needing some focus among all my creative loves.  When my friend, Teresa, asked the question and I answered her so definitively, she said, “Well, then THAT’S your job and all the others are your hobbies.”  I loved that.  There have been SO MANY times when I’ve tried making the others my “job” and I’m left saddened that “drawing” is put on a back burner.  Though I love and enjoy-to-pieces the other creative endeavors…I’m content to think of them as hobbies.  Drawing is central.  This explains why I draw my knitting, draw my crocheting, draw my ukulele and illustrate the poems.  This explains so much.

But there’s another element to my “job description” that I haven’t mentioned yet.  It was as much a part of the answer to Teresa’s question as “drawing my life”.  Here’s my entire response to her:

I want to draw my life and to encourage others to do so as well.  I want to empower others (as I myself practice this daily) to see the Beauty that is right under their feet and all around them in their everyday, ordinary lives…if they will but look for it and draw, paint, or collage it to remember and celebrate their life.

This explains a lot…why I teach art to kids from Kindergarten through 8th grade, why I’ve taught a Visual Journaling class a couple of times in the past, why I’ve given several sketchbooks away to friends in hopes that they would draw their lives and find joy there, and why I titled my first Zine, Thoughts on Drawing & Life.

Perhaps I need a little of Genevieve’s determination some days to focus the creative ADD and the flotsam and jetsam of living.  Perhaps I just needed to name it…(again?).  I have several ways I want to expand my drawing horizons…they include you.  I’ll continue in Baby Steps to see some of these dreams come into reality.  I’ll share them as they evolve.

In the meantime…draw your life!  Read Ish! by Peter Reynolds.  Read The Creative License and Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory. Go through the terrific exercises in the books One Drawing a Day by Veronica Lawlor and Artist’s Journal Workshop by Cathy Johnson. I love EDM (Everyday Matters) both on Yahoo and on Facebook for the camaraderie and sharing of our drawings and paintings.  Join us, if you aren’t yet a member.  Carry a little book around with you and sketch or doodle the little things you see…interesting, beautiful, quirky, fun, and even the sad, dreadful, and horrible.  Your life…your beautiful life.

P.S. Teresa used the word “job” interchangeably with “calling”.  That’s how I’m thinking of it…a calling on my life.

P.S.2. The Free Dictionary definition of Linchpin:

linch·pin or lynch·pin  (lnchpn)

n.

1. A locking pin inserted in the end of a shaft, as in an axle, to prevent a wheel from slipping off.
2. A central cohesive element.
2. a person or thing regarded as an essential or coordinating element.
Noun 1. linchpin - a central cohesive source of support and stabilitylinchpin– a central cohesive source of support and stability

Going Through My Closet

This may come as a surprise to many of you who visit my blog regularly:

I struggle greatly with what might be termed Creative ADD, to put it lightheartedly.

On second thought, many of you may actually have diagnosed me with that malady on numerous occasions as I flit back and forth from drawing to knitting, painting to crochet, ukulele playing to sewing, and even a bit of poetry.  So, whether this surprises you or not, I LOVE LOVE LOVE having so many creative outlets…yet I STRUGGLE STRUGGLE STRUGGLE to find a path, a focus, a sense of direction and purpose in my artistic endeavors. I also crave a focus/”career”/”job” (whathaveyou) that encompasses my WHOLE LIFE and is not sectioned off to certain small segments of my life.

I’ve been blessed with a friend whom I’ve known since I was a little girl and who is also a creative with many interests, a mom, a hard-working gal, and whose insight and experience I both admire and feel drawn to learn from.  She is a mosaics artist who is equally at home with clay and other arts & crafts.  She is the former owner/operator/teacher of Everyday Art Gallery in Reidsville, NC.  We were able to carve out of our busy lives some time to catch up with each other and for me to ply her with the questions that badger me.

Of the many things I came away with that day, one of her questions to me has been most illuminating.  Here’s a paraphrase of how she put it:

Imagine your creative life like your closet…you know, how you sort through your closet from time to time, weeding out and sorting through all the accumulated stuff.  You have your staples, the mainstays, the clothes you wear all the time, feel good all the time, say “you” all the time.  Then you have the clothes that you bring out once in a while…maybe the outfit or two when you’re feeling flamboyant, or when you want to be super comfy.  There are the exercise clothes, the Sunday clothes, the party clothes.  Then there are things you haven’t worn in years and years that really should be given away.  It always does a person good to go through ones’ closet.  So…what is the ONE THING creatively that you couldn’t do without.  What is the mainstay, the staple?  What creative endeavors are seasonal?  Which ones do you think-“well, I want to keep it, but I’m ok with not wearing it today or even this week/month.  I can get to that later.”  And are there any that can be given away that are just weighing you down?

I had an immediate answer to this.  It surprised me that I did, although once said, I felt as if I had spoken it before on numerous occasions. Had I forgotten?  Has the water muddied by just the sheer overwhelm of creative ADD?  Was this further clarity and affirmation that what I actually find myself doing most often is really THE THING I want to do, want to be my focus/job/career?  Yes and YES!!

It has been incredibly liberating to name it.  To actually name and pen the ONE THING that jazzes me most, that makes me giddy, that I’m actually already at work doing in so many ways, but which has opportunities for so many more things I’d love to explore.

So…can you guess??  Teresa, you can’t answer this, since you already know :).  But for any of you who would like to guess at how I answered my friend on Tuesday…is it knitting? crocheting? drawing? painting? poetry? sewing? ukulele playing? other? Which endeavor do you think I named as the linchpin to all the others?  The overarching theme?  The centering purpose?

Leave your thought in the comments and in a day or two, I’ll tell you.  I doubt it will be much of a surprise…but oh, how delightful it has been to be re-surprised by it!! Just naming it and hanging it front and center in my closet has brought a renewed sense of focus and desire and purpose.

Thank you Teresa!