Day 31. The end of an era

Making art is like

Three ice cubes every Monday

And watching it bloom 

 

The orchids I mentioned on day 15? Two of the buds have bloomed and the other dozen or so are on their way. I am over the moon that I didn’t give up on this little plant. Three ice cubes on Mondays. A small task with a great reward. 

I’m looking at the orchids now on my windowsill. I took a photo of today’s not yet fully bloomed rose outside in my front yard. Yesterday, I hired a cleaning crew to help get my house ready to sell, and now everything just smells so good. 

It’s the end of an era for me. A new home, a new and improved studio space, new additions to my family. New challenges and great new joys.

I always feel the need to end my 31 in 31 with some grand painting that somehow summarizes and celebrates the entire month’s work. And then I always remember what 31 in 31 is– it’s three ice cubes on Mondays no matter what. It’s small, committed efforts that form or reinforce a habit. And it’s okay to end with a tiny painting. It’s okay to let it take its little place in something bigger than it.

For my 31 friends– those who have taken on this challenge with me– your poetry, stories, art, music, lettering, gratitude practices, encouragement and love have made this my very favorite January so far. Your work is beautiful. Your efforts equally so. Until next year!

Just kidding. The 31 group page is always open and I know we will continue to connect on it until the 31 in 31 begins again. 

 

***All this month’s painting will be available tomorrow, February 1, at 10am on my site. I’m sending out a $50.00 gift card tonight at 9pm to one randomly selected subscriber on my mailing list. If you’d like a chance at the gift card, you can subscribe here.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Day 30. Crying over spilled wine

I spilled red wine on 

your sweater tonight, the one 

I got after you died.

Just over a year ago, a dear friend passed away from an agressive cancer. She was a vibrant, no-nonesense person who knew what she liked, what she didn’t, and wasn’t afraid to tell you. Her house was always immaculate, but if you were lucky, she’d mail you birthday cards filled with confetti that would spill out upon opening, leaving your own floors in need of a broom. 

I wrote today’s haiku about her and then tried to expand it into a more fully formed poem. It was really hard. They painting is an image I’ve painted before, but this time the figure is a bit more burdened, a bit less care-free. 

 

Crying over spilled wine

 

I spilled red wine on 

your sweater tonight, the one 

I got after you died.

 

And I thought about you– 

drinking wine

Without messes

 

It’s wine time

you would say

Pulling out a stemless glass

From a perfectly organized cabinet

 

But I am careless–

no neatly stacked cloth cocktail napkins

always at the ready

 

I am sorry.

not just for the wine– 

 

that I am wearing your sweater

that we aren’t toasting each other on the patio

 

I am sorry 

that when I pull it over me

I cry a little

 

And that sometimes I don’t

 

Your sweater now stained with a little bit of me

Like this poem

Like this grief

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Day 29. Like buds blooming.

 

I am grateful for

The girl in a black sweater

Words like buds blooming

Not too long ago, I met someone at a wedding where I was painting. We chatted for a minute about art and casually about life. I gave her a card. 

Later she came to one of my art shows, and we chatted a bit more, this time a step up from small talk and pleasantries. She said she had been reading my blog and connected with some of the more vulnerable posts. 

Here’s the thing– this blog has been as much a part of my art as the paint that hits the canvas. I send it out, often times with uncertainty, many times with fear. I can see the analytics about how many people are reading it, what post is more popular than others, but I don’t really know who reads it and what, if anything, it means to them.

This stranger did wonders for me. I had been questioning whether or not the blog was kind of a dead end– if it mattered at all. And she reminded me why I started it in the first place. She inspired me to keep going with it, even if it never has very many followers– this was never a quantity game. 

Words like buds blooming. 

Today is my third 6x6 sunflower of the month, and I love the little group that has formed. Each approach borrows what I learned from the last and tries something new. 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again when I head out in a few minutes to talk to a group of fourth graders at career day– art is about connection– maker to viewer, hands to mind, soul to soul. 

 

 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Day 28. Bouquets.

You’re not a flower

In your own lake of a jar–

A bouquet. A place.

 

I have been painting single flowers on 6x6 canvases. Today I wanted to try a larger arrangement on that small of a surface. Most of my bouquets occur on at least a 14x14, but I thought it might be fun for just a dab or two of paint to represent an entire flower. It was!

I’m thinking of all my 31ers who have taken on these 31 days of a creative practice with me. I’ve got that Jack Johnson song stuck in my head– it’s always better when we’re together. 

If you’ve been participating, please leave an image or text of one of your favorite creations this month in the comments below. I want people who follow this blog to see the whole bouquet. Love ya’ll!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Day 27. Seasons

 

Mornings are grey now

Black leaves litter a sad street

On our walk to school

 

My son and I have been biking or walking to school now for nearly four years now. I remember when he was younger–pre-k– often he would point out the cardinals he saw in the trees along the sidewalk. With that high-pitched toddler voice, he’d inform me if it was a girl or a boy based on its color. “Look, mom, a boy cardinal!” he’d say if it flashed bright red against the green or grey of the trees. 

Truth is, I kinda miss that little guy. I see him a little in the older, wiser kid I have now. The one, who on our walks to school, tells me about the boss he defeated in whatever video game or what type of fishing pole, I, a novice should start off with. The one who might, every so often, spot a bird in the trees and still remembers the difference between male and female cardinals. But the really little guy still feels gone. As much as I love and enjoy who he is now, I miss the toddler. I even miss the baby. He’s been gone for a while now.

Today is cold and grey. Yesterday’s rain has turned the leaves black in the street. We didn’t notice any birds this morning, but they say cardinals appear to remind you of the presence of a lost loved one, and I thought painting one was appropriate for today. I know there’s a future day out there where I’ll miss who he was today.

I’ll admit my haiku is pretty dreary. But the painting’s not. I know the grey winter streets we walk will soon burst with magenta azaleas and bright green leaves. Everything’s a season. I’ve learned its okay to both grieve and rejoice. I’ve learned from the birds of the air, the changing trees that line our walk to school.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.