Tag Archives: blogging

About the Blog

My regular followers probably noticed that I didn’t publish a post last Wednesday. I was in a hotel that night and being in a hotel that night was not the original plan. According to the original plan, I should have been home by then. I was not prepared to write another blog post on the road. I did try, but when it got to be 10:20 pm and I saw that I was just getting a good start, I decided to let it go.

I decided to let this one go, too, but then I realized I wanted to explain why, so here I am. I chose to keep up the Wednesday blog posts because I was enjoying them. I looked forward to Wednesdays because they were my blog days. I’m not sure when that sense of anticipation turned into a sense of obligation, but it did. It made me think of my favorite quote from Ghostbusters II, “The joyfulness is over.”

I want blogging to be joyful. If it’s not joyful for me, it can’t possibly be joyful for my readers. I’m tired. I was on the road for a solid month and being home is both a relief and a disappointment. I saw so many wonders on my vacation that it’s a little hard to adjust to daily life again. Still, I missed this house. I missed my children and grandchildren. I missed my fellow singers in the Don Thompson Chorale.

It is good to be home. It is good to be back in my comfy chair. It is good to be singing again. I’m sure it will be good, eventually, to be blogging again. Just not every single Wednesday without fail. That’s not fun any more.

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Weather and Whatnot

Okay, it’s blog time again and I want to report from my real life and my real heart, but there’s not a whole lot of reportable stuff going on right now. I got back from the North Carolina trip and got caught up on chores. Nobody wants to read about my bill-paying and grocery-shopping. The time I don’t spend on chores I spend watching political things on television, and I’m absolutely not going to blog about that. This is not a political blog. Just reading the ones I read and seeing the vitriol in the comments makes me question my faith in humanity.

I don’t want to lose all faith in humanity. I know the vicious people are a small minority, but they’re a loud minority and they make me sad, so I won’t be opening up my blog to that sort of virulent discussion. Nor will I waste my time preaching to the choir of my regular followers. You know where I stand.

If I want to be topical and I don’t want to be political, that leaves the weather and Pokemon Go. The weather is hot and I’m not playing Pokemon Go. My daughter wants me to play Pokemon Go, but, so far, I have resisted the temptation. I may be weakening.

She does seem to be having a good time. Today, she caught a Pikachu with more than three hundred CP. “Is that good?” I asked. Apparently, that is good. Even though Pikachu is the only Pokemon almost everyone has heard of, it’s not particularly common in the game. When you do find one, it doesn’t usually have much CP, and three hundred is a lot (at least for a Pikachu – I’m still a little fuzzy on the details). If you’re like me, you hear something like CP and you want to know what the letters stand for, so (now that I’ve asked my daughter) I will tell you. It’s Combat Power. That sounds intriguing and I want to know more.

Yes, I may be weakening.

A New Goal

If you are a regular reader of this blog (there are a few of you out there – even one or two who are not related to me), you’re probably wondering when I’m going to set a goal for my third blog year. I’m six weeks into it and I haven’t said anything about a new goal. There’s a reason for that. I’ve actually been toying with the idea of not having a specific goal this year.

As a procrastinator, I end up putting a lot of pressure on myself in the last month of my blog year. January was intense this year. I met my goal of creating fifty paintings before my February 8th blogiversary and then I just collapsed for a while. I thought about new goals, but I couldn’t make myself commit to anything. I was blogging every week. Wasn’t that enough?

It’s something, that’s for sure, but it’s not enough. It’s not enough because I want to paint and I’m not painting. I don’t know why I’m not painting. I think about painting. I have paints. I have canvases. I have brushes and palettes and time. Why am I not painting? I fear it’s because I have a goal in mind, but it makes me a beginner again and I’m afraid to take it on.

I want to paint outdoors. I want to learn to be a plein air painter. If I set a goal of painting fifty paintings en plein air this year, I can’t just put off half of them until January. Even in Florida, January is not a great month for painting outdoors. I might have one or two nice days; I’m not going to have twenty-five. If I set this as a goal, I’m going to have to keep up with it. I’m going to have to do my painting while the sun shines. To complicate things, I have a day job as a tie-dye artist. This also requires working outdoors in reasonably good weather, and I’m about to enter my busy season.

I have plenty of good reasons for resisting this goal, but my heart wants me to take it on. I’ve been fighting my heart for weeks, but the heart wants what it wants. Who am I to argue with my deepest heart? Okay, okay, okay…I’m setting a new goal. I will paint fifty paintings before my next blogiversary and I will paint them outdoors.

There. I said it. Am I happy now?

Painting Again

I bought a new calendar last week. I brought it home and I put it on the kitchen table, still in the bag, for a couple of days. I knew I needed to take a look at it and see how many days I had left to meet my blog goal, but I was still (am still) fighting a cold and I didn’t want to face it. Eventually the need to know was stronger than the need to avoid the whole subject, so I took out my new calendar and I counted the days left until my blogiversay. There were precisely twenty.

How bizarre and what a coincidence! I needed exactly twenty more paintings to meet my blog goal for the year. The message was clear: it was time to start doing one painting per day. I hauled out my paints. I found a tiny canvas (hey, I said fifty paintings; I didn’t say what size they had to be) and I found something to paint. It had been weeks since I had tried to paint, so I picked something easy – a nice, round grapefruit.

Grapefruit

Grapefruit


I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about starting again after such a long break, but the minute I picked up the brush, it felt like coming home. It felt like diving into a well-loved book or stepping into a warm bath – or taking a well-loved book and reading it in a warm bath. Is it a good painting or a bad painting? Who knows? Who cares? I painted it and while I was painting it, I lost myself in the process. That’s the reason I want to paint.

It’s a good thing, because the next day, I tried something a little more challenging. I looked around the house and I couldn’t find any more round fruits. I found a plant, a succulent in a ceramic blue dish. It looked doable, so I decided to try and paint it. My goodness, that plant has a lot of parts! The weird thing is that you can look at a thing and think you see it, but when you start trying to draw it or paint it, it suddenly has all these little curves and spines and shadows you never saw before. You start thinking, “Just what, exactly, am I seeing there?”

Succulent

Succulent


Okay, so that one was a great learning experience. I don’t hate it and I’m glad I painted it. Today is the third of the twenty days and I decided to do something that looked as if it would be easier, a couple of bananas I found in my kitchen. I tried to find something round, but there just wasn’t a round fruit or vegetable in there that I hadn’t already painted. There were bananas. I painted bananas.
Bananas

Bananas


So far, so good. Three days, three paintings. Here’s hoping I can keep this up for seventeen more days.

Another Wednesday, Another Blog Post

Wednesday is here again. When I looked at my 2014 blog stats last week, the one thing that stood out was the reliability of the Wednesday blog post. I tried different days in the beginning of the year, but once I landed on Wednesday, some time in May, I stayed there. The graph is a straight line after that, a blog post every Wednesday from May through December. I like that straight line. I like being able to depend on myself to publish something every Wednesday.

Maybe not something brilliant, maybe not something wonderful, but something. The reason that line is so reliable is that I gave myself permission to just be honest, even if that made for a lame blog post. I’m here, I show up and I tell the truth. That’s all I need to do. The truth about today is that I have a cold. I have had it for about two weeks and I’m tired of it. I am also cranky.

I visit Facebook and I see all these posts about all these wonderful resolutions folks are making and they just make me tired. I need to rest, not make resolutions. I will do stuff in 2015, really I will, but I’m not going to post on Facebook or on my blog about what that stuff might be.

There will be stuff, okay? If you are a follower of mine, you know what I’ll be doing between now and my February eighth blogiversary. My goal for this blog year is to paint fifty paintings and I have painted thirty. I mentioned this last week and I hoped I would be able to report this week that I had painted, but, alas, I have not. I realize what this means.

It means I’m going to have to follow up the December Sketch-a-Day challenge with a similar painting challenge if I’m going to have any hope of meeting my goal. For the record, I did complete the December Sketch-a-day challenge. As far as I know, I am the only person who did. When I say I will do something, I will move Heaven and Earth to get that thing done. This makes me pretty careful about what I say I will do.

I’m not making any New Year’s resolutions. Blog goals seem to work for me, because the need to post something every week holds me accountable. I don’t have a lot of followers but I value the ones I have because they bear witness to my struggles and to my mistakes and to my successes. A few good friends and relations read every post and comment on almost every post. You know who you are and I hope you know that I treasure your contributions.

You are the reason I keep showing up. Thank you.

Bleary Blog Day

I’ve been around the blogosphere long enough to know that there are bloggers out there who are so organized, they not only publish on a regular schedule, they have several drafts on hand at any given time. All they have to do is pick one and post it on blog day. I am not one of those bloggers. I do have a regular blog day. Sometimes I even think about starting to write my post ahead of that day, but I never actually do it. I also think about starting to write my post early in the morning of my blog day. I don’t do that, either.

I might think about my blog during the week and consider different ideas, but I always end up putting off the actual writing until my blog day bedtime is breathing down my neck. This does not allow for unforeseen circumstances, such as getting no sleep at all the night before my blog day. There’s no good story that goes with that, just a weird panic attack in the dark. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does happen, I have to get up and go in search of light.

I try not to disturb my poor husband, who needs to sleep before rising early and heading out to a soul-sucking office job every weekday morning. I just grab a flashlight and go to the living room, where I can turn on a real light. Or two or three, plus the television. Last night, I picked up my iPad mini and played every game on it to calm myself down. That kept the panic at bay but I didn’t really feel calm again until I went to Facebook and saw a post from a friend who lives in Europe. Hers was a “Good morning” post. She was drinking coffee and writing Morning Pages.

That was when I started to believe it really would get light again. It was already light in other parts of the world. I’m often surprised at the things that help when the anxiety is trying to spiral out of control. One evening, it was a PBS teaser for a show about Ireland. The minute I heard those Celtic fiddles, my anxiety started to melt away. For me, the least scary darkness of all is a darkness filled with fiddle tunes.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I need a blog post and I’m too bleary-eyed to come up with anything clever or profound. In such situations, I default to the truth. This is what happened to my blog day.

On the upside, I have a couple of paintings to share. These are the latest in my series of paintings of things I happened to find in my kitchen. This time, I found a peach and a pear. I painted them first on an 8” x 10” canvas and then again on an itty bitty canvas.

Peach and Pear

Peach and Pear


Tiny Peach and Pear

Tiny Peach and Pear


As you can see, orange is still my nemesis. Some day, I will make it my friend.

Painting

Friday was not blog day this past week, but it was a day of working on getting things done, so I would have something to write about when I was ready to blog. I’m friends with a Vincent Van Gogh page on facebook and I’d recently seen a couple of his paintings of lemons. I thought I might try painting some lemons. If they’re good enough for Vincent, they’re good enough for me, right? I decided to go to the grocery store and get some lemons.

I also needed gas and cash, though, so I went to the gas station and the ATM before heading to Publix. Since my memory is not what it once was, I was running my little three-item list through my head as I went to the car. “Gas, cash and lemons,” I thought, over and over again, so I would remember what I needed to get. Yes, I could have written a list, but it was three items. I should be able to remember three items.

“Gas, cash and lemons,” I thought, as I drove to the gas station.

“Gas, cash and lemons,” I thought, as I drove to the ATM.

“Gas, cash and lemons,” I thought, as I drove to the grocery store.

Then I stepped out of the car in the Publix parking lot and thought, “Gas, cash and lemmings.”

“Wait…what?” I thought, “That can’t be right. Publix does not carry lemmings.”

People probably stared at me as I stood there, laughing at nothing in the parking lot at Publix. Then I walked inside, needing only lemons, since gas and cash had already been acquired. The first thing that caught my eye, though, was a lovely display of pears. They looked delicious. Also paintable. I picked up some pears. Then I passed the flower display on my way to the lemons and I couldn’t help but notice that there was a bouquet of sunflowers with two different kinds of sunflowers in it. I love sunflowers and I was already running on Van Gogh inspiration, so I bought sunflowers.

I drove home with three different things I could try to paint. No lemmings, though. They were fresh out of lemmings. That’s okay, I’m pretty sure I’m better with flora than fauna, anyway. Nice little fruits and flowers that will stay where I put them are challenging enough for me right now.

I was feeling excited about trying to paint, but I had one more errand to run. An ad in last Sunday’s paper had told me that a local craft store was having a huge sale on multi-packs of prepared canvases. I’ve committed to finishing fifty paintings this year, so I didn’t want to miss that sale. By the time I returned from the far-flung craft store, I had a ten-pack of 8”x10” canvases, a seven-pack of 11”x14” canvases and a five-pack of 16”x20” canvases. And no more excuses.

I started with the lemons. I put all five of them in a blue bowl and looked for a cloth to use as a background. I got in a hurry and chose the first thing I could find. An unbleached muslin dish towel does not make a pretty background. Another lesson learned.

Not lemmings

Not lemmings


Okay, I’m not fond of the background, but I don’t hate the whole painting. I’ve started trying to look for things I like about each painting, instead of things I hate. I like the shapes of the lemons and I like the color of the bowl. I can see all the imperfections, but there’s at least one highlight on that bowl that makes me happy. Progress!

That was enough for one day, but I woke up on Saturday with a feeling of pleasant anticipation. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way, first thing in the morning. I was actually looking forward to painting again. I put three of the pears on a white plate. I gave more thought to the background for this one, but I still made an unfortunate choice. In the real world, the green of the background is a very different green than that of the pears, but it doesn’t look that way in the painting. Oh, well…there is still something I like about this painting. I like the stems on the pears.

Pears

Pears


Today is Sunday and today I was way too ambitious. I tried to capture the sunflowers.
DSC06461
I don’t hate this painting, either, but it’s pretty far from what I was imagining, and from what I saw in front of me. The blue of the container is a very different blue from the background color, but it looks the same in the photograph. It appears I am now going to have to learn something about photography, if I want you to see my paintings as I see them.

Still, I’m happy today. I painted and it was fun. I’m looking forward to painting again, and I am not going to run out of canvases. Life is good.