Winter is best served with Christmas

It’s time for Christmas, to just warm up by the firelight, with a cup of hot cocoa or glass of red wine. But not until all the shopping, and wrapping, and cleaning and decorating is finished for the day. I look around my living room and see ornament boxes, wrapping paper, half-finished decoration trails and a mix of slippers on the floor, blankets on the couch, and newspaper advertisements stacked on the table just waiting for the coupons to be clipped. It’s kind of scary to think I need to finish up all this shopping for personalized gifts, get them all wrapped, clean up all the paper messes, bake cookies and pies, and have it all ready in a week before family comes over to eat, drink and be merry. Then we will all unwrap gifts, and when everyone leaves, I will be left to clean up afterwards.

But when I look at the beautiful Christmas tree standing in the corner, with twinkly little lights, and smell the cookies baking, and slip into my cozy slippers, all the heaviness of the chaos seems to dissipate and the spirit of Christmas ~ the joy, the love, and the hope ~ takes on a new life of it’s own. The joy of seeing loved ones and sharing our hopes and dreams. With Christ in my heart, the worry and stress seems to vanish.

The commissioned oil painting (triptych) that I’ve been working on up until a week ago, when it suddenly hit me that I need to prepare for Christmas, is on hold. But it is coming along – slowly. I will once again work earnestly on it in the new year. It has been an interesting experience working on large canvases (30″ x 40″) – all three simultaneously. Oil painting is a slow process, because oils dry slowely.  Plus, my studio space this time of year is generally quite chilly.  I open the doors and turn the heat on when I get ready to paint, and it warms up nicely. But in the meantime, it’s chilly. Oil paints take much longer to dry when it’s cold than they would on a warm summer day with the windows open. So, this painting may take a while to take shape at this rate. But luckily, I’m patient, and the client who requested the painting is not in rush to have it finished.  I will reveal photos of the painting when it’s farther along.

For the month of December 2015, enjoy the season, no matter how you celebrate it, but remember to keep Christ in Christmas!  He is a friend and helper in times of need, and He is the Savior of the world. And the world needs that more than ever!  Rejoice! Hope springs eternal.

 

2015 – Getting in touch with my creative side

Twenty-Fifteen. …. drum roll ….  I anticipate a year of growth – creative growth, self actualization, acceptance of what I am capable of creating, and learning from my intuition.

The world is full of creative people! Visual artists, craftsmen, musicians, singers, writers, poets, playwrights, actors, comedians, dancers, architects, designers, culinary artists and chefs, philosophers, etc. – all are artists in their own right. What we do with our lives and how we spend our time between being creative on an artistic level, and just being a good, creative friend or family member, sharing our talents with others in what ever we do, adds to the overall experience of living a creative life. Some can afford the luxury of devoting all their time to the creative process of their calling, and some may have to juggle their time to fit their artistry into their life. But what ever your passion is – that creative outlet that brings fulfillment to your existence – it’s important to allow as much time as you can afford, and build on that, as you grow toward your artistic goals.

My hope for this year, as an artist/painter, is to spend more time experimenting and playing with my artistic processes, developing my skills, and realizing what I am capable of creating. I plan to spend less time worrying over where I’m going to show my work, who likes it, and what others have to say about what I’m doing. This doesn’t mean I’m withdrawing from opportunities when they arise. But my desire is to focus my attention on growth and the satisfaction of knowing that I’m doing the best I can do.

Painting is my creative passion, and when I approach a new, white canvas with my brush in hand, it is as if a whole new world opens up and I am driven to fill the space with colors of my vision until it is complete. Everything else in my life is put on hold while I’m painting. It’s a meditation, lifting me away from the tumultuous world, a time to experience my inner emotions and feel alive! When I’m painting from memory or photographs I relive the experience with each paint stroke, as if being transported back to the particular place and time. If I’m painting from life, I feel myself becoming a part of the scene or object I’m painting – each leaf, each stone, each cloud is woven into my being.

I love having a room in my house dedicated to painting and other art projects. However, if I’m going to get in touch with my creative side, I need to organize and declutter my studio space. I plan to sell and give things away that I’m not using: books, supplies, tools, materials, etc. Although, for me, it’s hard to let go of some things, because there is that gnawing feeling inside that tells me I’ll someday have the time and inspiration to use the myriad of things I’ve collected over the years in a new and wonderful project. By clearing up the space, I’ll probably find things that actually can be put to use, however, this year I hope to ruthlessly let go of the past and devote my energy on the present, setting a new precedent for the future.

Here are some “BEFORE” photos. Once things are cleared up, I’ll post the “after” photos.

New Year ~ New Plan

a fresh perspective…

Time to make a new plan for the new year. Resolutions, in certain terms, are hard to keep, which can give us a sense of defeat when things don’t work out. So I decided instead of making “resolutions” which, to me, seem to infer a final decision,
do-or-die, change-or-suffer-the-consequences kind of mind state, I will simply develop a “new plan” for the new year ahead. Instead of stating a matter-of-fact change I want to make in my life, I will make a plan which involves setting a series of goals within a loosely defined time frame. I like things to be flexible.

First of all, I intend to keep a daily journal. This will be a personal journal where I can write a few sentences or a few pages —whatever I have the time or inclination to do. I can write down what I’ve done, what I’ve dreamed or thought of, what I am praying for, or what I am planning to do that day, or that week, with my art, my family, or with my life. In other words, it will be a sort of vent to help me organize my thoughts, and give me an outlet to justify my feelings. I’ve read in various places that writing in the morning is preferable to help get the day off to a good start, but I will not restrict myself to a morning journal. I may write in the afternoon or evening if that works out for me.  So far I have two days accomplished!

Next, I plan to set aside time at least once a week to paint or draw. This in turn may result in getting my art studio organized, and help me stay on top of where everything is located, because I find it hard to get comfortable drawing or painting when things are cluttered or out of order all around me. Painting helps me focus and puts me in a “happy place” so if I condition myself to paint on regular basis, I will probably be a happier, healthier person, and my artwork will most likely evolve.

I also intend to write a new blog each month. My daily journal may become a source to assist me with writing the blogs or I may come up with a topic that stems from my painting sessions. These plans are meant to help with my overall growth as an artist.  As I build up a stack of new art work and ideas, I will have fresh, new art to show when the opportunity arrises. Who knows where it will lead. I’m excited about these goals and where they may take me.

I have numerous personal goals for the year that involve simplifying my lifestyle, getting more sleep, starting my Christmas shopping early in the year, keeping track of everyone’s birthdays, etc. But perhaps by journalling, organizing my art studio, and creating new art with a fresh perspective, I’ll have added insights into how to get a handle on my personal agenda as well.

Here’s to a creative and happy new year to all of you!