art is the soul made visible

art is the soul made visible

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction & 30 Days of Getting Shit Done

First a quick art catch up...
I entered two paintings for the July gallery show at San Diego Watercolor Society and one was accepted-yay!!  The painting in my last post "Wanting" was accepted-hooray!!  I also entered a small painting of a pink peacock, pictured below,  (5x7, mixed media) which was not accepted.  For me the "trying" equals "success", so I don't mind if my artwork is not accepted-so long as I try I feel like a "winner".'s definitely more fun if it is accepted and I am grateful to have a piece in the next show!! We walked around looking at all the entries for the show...Oh man!! This is going to be a really incredible show! There was some really amazing stuff entered-very creative, beautiful work. I always enjoy the shows, but this one has me REALLY excited!  In other art "news"...Today I finished a portrait of Frida Kahlo which I started ages ago.  It's 8x10 mixed media on cardboard.  It was interesting doing a painting on cardboard-it is a fun surface to work with but also challenging. Happy with how it turned out!  She is staying on my desk for now-keeping me company.  This painting is much prettier in person and I am really enjoying looking at it.

And now MBSR...
Today I started a meditation course.  It's a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course that I found online for FREE!!  Here you can check out the  FREE COURSE. UCSD has some additional resources HERE if anyone is interested.  For anyone who hasn't heard of MBSR  Jon Kabat-Zinn is a physician who started MBSR  (in 1979 I think).  It's a scientific, non-religious meditation program for health and well being with proven results. Just what the doctor ordered! ( lol-ing at my own terrible joke)!  I meditated for years, but have been struggling to get back into the habit since getting ill.  I sat in silent meditation daily for years and even went on a number of meditation retreats (3-5 days of solid meditation).  I know I am capable of meditation, but for various reasons I've been really resistant to it for the past couple/few years.  I've managed to meditate a little here and there, but haven't made a practice of it since getting sick. My stress level has been out of control for about the last year and I know that meditation will do me a lot of good. I am excited about the course, because I think it has the structure and support (via the guided meditations, videos, and articles) that will help me get back to my meditation/mindfulness practice.  I desperately need it.  It's not fun feeling like I'm on the edge of a nervous breakdown-constantly.  Fortunately that feeling has been (slowly) shifting over the past couple of months, but still-my stress level is WAY too high.

And finally-30 Days of Getting Shit Done...
Feeling constantly on the edge of a nervous breakdown for most of the past year has meant that I have not done a good job at keeping up with much.  So, I've got what feels like a billion nagging tasks which I've been avoiding.  Time to deal with them.  I know that not having all that stuff hanging over my head will help my stress level a lot. So, I typed up a big 'ol list of stuff that's been needing dealt with (I think there's about 20 things on it-some will need more than one day to complete and some are re-curring chores) and have decided that every day for the next 30 days I will do one thing on the list (health permitting).  Today I put away the sculpture stuff that's been on the floor.  I've had two paper shopping bags full of sculpture supplies sitting on the floor for over a month.  I live in a tiny and very FULL studio apartment.  Two bags takes up a lot of space when you haven't got space to spare.  I had to do a bit of re-arranging to get it all put away, but it's done now. And now I'm not tripping over bags of art supplies on the floor.  You can imagine how good I'll feel after 30 days of getting that type of thing off the "to do" list.  Other things on my list...catch up on emails, organize paperwork, clean off  my art table, clean out and organize my pantry, replace the dead twinkle lights in my bathroom, organize bathroom cupboard, and more.  I can't say I'm excited to be tackling all these chores, but I am definitely happy to be freeing up my physical and mental space by doing them.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Wanting", Feeling Stuck, and Symbolism

Hello Dear Friends! I just finished a painting today that I want to share with you.  I will be submitting it to the San Diego Watercolor Society gallery this weekend for the monthly juried show (wish me luck!)  This one is titled "Wanting". It is done in mixed media on paper and  measures 20" x 22".  Price is $575 framed.  I am very pleased with how this one turned out!!

I really had to work for this one.  I did some of the work on this piece during a spell of depression.  When I started the piece I was feeling okay, but halfway through...I was hit with a very, very deep depression. The depression pretty much murdered my inspiration.  It is rare for me to lack inspiration or drive to make art, so it was pretty painful to experience that while creating this painting. I really had to push, to force myself, to keep going.  Fortunately the depression (slowly) lifted and inspiration returned, but it was rough going for a bit. I started the flowers during that rough spot. I ended up pushing through that feeling of "stuckness" and coming up with something beautiful (...beautiful to me anyway).  I experimented and used totally new (or "new to me") techniques and materials for the flowers.  I really felt like my ability to create took a leap forward during that experimentation process. That perseverance, that determination to keep going despite the oppressive force that is depression...I ended up expanding my skill set and bringing extra excitment to my art practice.  I look at this finished piece and see my ability to transcend difficulties and my passion for art.  The experience of struggling to get past that "stuckness", the triumph over difficulties...makes this a particularly meaningful and  beautiful piece for me. I hope you enjoy it too!

Symbols have been showing up a lot in my art lately. For me art is very therapeutic and healing. I often say art is my best medicine-and truly it is.  Recently with the heavy use of symbolism in my subconscious  seems to be  working things out on the canvas/paper whether I like it or not.  In this piece I didn't consciously decide, "I am going to work out some of my issues here in this painting".  It happened much more organically.  I felt compelled to add the various elements and during/after adding them I was moved to contemplate their meaning.  Not only did I end up with a pretty painting at the end, but I did actually gain some insight and clarity.

Symbols can be highly personal.  There are some symbols that seem to be almost universal (like a heart being symbolic of love) and some symbols seem to make sense only to the person using them.  I will share some of my personal symbolism with you now.  The hands in this painting represent yours truly-they represent facets of me.  The eye in the dark hand represents "seeing"...insight, wisdom. The gold hand with the hole in the palm represents that part of me that feels something is missing...emptiness, void, something lacking. I am reaching up to that part of myself that is wise and knows what I need and how to access it. For me flowers have a number of, nature, growth, spirituality, and more. In this piece I feel they represent (at least partly) spiritual growth. You might notice that the dark hand appears to be dropping the flowers...?  One of the messages I am getting from this artwork is that I am looking/reaching for something (something "real" that is actually  available to me), but I am not quite catching/grasping it.  There is more meaning that I gleaned from this work, but I will keep some of that for myself.  I do hope that by sharing I will add something to your experience of viewing art-not just my own art, but all art.  Exploring symbolism can be very interesting and useful-be it our own symbols or those used by others. 

Thank you so very much for reading!! I would love to hear any thoughts that you have!  xoxo

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Hello Friends! (a quick update)

It's been awhile since my last post and wanted to say a quick "hello" and let you know I'm still "here" and looking forward to things to come.  First Buggle and I want to wish you a super mega happy day...

I've been busy working on a sculpture which is soooooo close to being done (woohoo!) Well, the sculpting part of it is nearly done.  After the sculpting I will use the sculpture as a "canvas" for a painting.  I will post pics soon and share about my process.

I've started drawing my own coloring book! It's a fun project, but slow going as I have so many projects to work on before it.  I plan to share a page or two here on the blog after I get a bit further down the road with it.  So, that's one thing I've got "in the works".  

All for now! Wishing everyone a lovely day!! xoxo