“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring– it was peace.” -Milan Kundera
I love dogs. I love to hang out with them and play with them and, of course, draw them. I try to get at least a few dog drawings in a week if possible. Drawing dogs is a great exercise in paying close attention to form, as well as getting gestural movement down on paper. The other day our neighbor dog’s “cousin” Parker came over to visit. She is full of unabashed energy and abandon. And she smiles. I love that.
A year ago today, my soul sister and dear friend Mia, passed from this life onto what lies beyond. This occurred after a year-long, courageous battle with breast cancer.
Mia’s calling in this life was Healer and she gracefully went about this work in all avenues in her life with primarily one tool, that of Kindness. Like most women, Mia played many roles in her life: Mother, Wife, Sister, Friend, Doctor. But no matter what role she was in at any given moment, Mia had a way of looking a person straight in the eye. And somewhere in that kind, steady, ocean-green gaze, comfort was to be found.
In her words and in her actions Mia was always there to remind me to treat myself, and others, with Kindness. If you happen to be reading this today, go do something kind, for yourself, for someone else, or both. If you have a conversation with someone, however brief, look them in the eye and really see them, human to human.
I saw a church sign once that said “Kindness is the oil that reduces the friction of life”.
The world could use a little more of this oil, don’t you think?
This past weekend I had the distinct pleasure to attend a celebration marking the publication of a recent book by my friend and talented author/ researcher/ professor, Anna Klosowska. The book is the culmination of some years’ research and digging into the poetry of an aristocratic woman named Madeleine de l’Aubespine who lived and wrote poetry in France during the sixteenth century.
Anna discovered some academic references to this poet’s lyrical work and followed threads all over Europe to further discover and then translate the complete works. At the party, guests were treated to Anna’s recitation of Madeleine de l’Aubespine’s somewhat racy (for their time, at least) poems in their native French language.
The translations are lovely and allow non-French speaking readers to get the point of the poems, but nothing compares to listening to them in French, read by someone familiar and enchanted with the work. As an artist, I find that the passion and visual imagery provided by both women’s work is an inspiration for my own work.
The book is available for pre-order on Amazon.com.
I have been home in my new home studio space for about 5 months now and still marvel daily at how wonderful it is. This light filled, quiet work space was one of the selling points of this house we decided to move to. I love it. For the first time ever my tools, technology, inspiration, family and kitchen are all under one roof. There is nothing like having a pot of chili on the stove, kids quietly doing homework, the dog snoozing on the couch and me getting real work done, all happening at the same time!
There are things I miss about my old house, (primarily its “oldness”), and things I miss about my former studio space (the company of my Blue Door Studio mates), but frankly, things couldn’t be better here. I step into this space each morning and breathe a deep sigh of gratitude, and wave to anyone who might happen to be peering into my window with a curious gaze.
An artist sister-friend of mine sent me this quote today from somewhere on the internet (not quite sure who wrote it… let me know if you know so I can give proper credit where it is due):
“What is the use of a tree? Well, it has many uses, but it isn’t TRYING to be useful. It’s just doing what it wants. And in that process, it does its job in the natural order of things. Despite all the rantings of moralists, you are in the same boat. The only way you are ever going to do an ounce of good in the world is to do what you want. Do what makes you happy, or at least what distracts you from your misery…. So revel in your perfect uselessness. It’s the useful thing to do…. You do not have to strive every minute to be better than it is possible to be…..”
In that spirit, I have spent today in a sort of wandering mood. I met an old friend I haven’t seen awhile for coffee, stopped into Salon Cherry Bomb for an impromtu hair trim (amazingly, she had a spare 5 minutes). I practiced some music, walked the dog and took a nap. There is a small part of me (getting smaller by the day) that feels a little guilty having a day like this. But the gentler part of me, the artist-self who gets stronger and wiser each day, knows better. In the midst of all of this “uselessness” I seemed to have found the key to slowing down the clock. Today seems to have lasted longer than most. Along with my wanderings, some drawing has gotten done, some of the boring studio house-keeping tasks managed to get done as well. I have some ideas brewing that weren’t there earlier in the day…. I feel productive. It’s been a good day in the studio. The action and practice so necessary to maintaining forward momentum as a self-employed artist must be tempered with balancing non-action and days of uselessness (or so it might appear to others) that allow for ideas to simmer.
So, that said, I think I’ll make like a tree…. and grow. Useless as that may be.
It is a crisp, cool, October day here in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is not a special day, really. Not a new year, or even a new month or week. Just a normal work day. A Thursday. A perfect day to dip my rather wary toes into the pool of bloggers I have come to enjoy and respect in recent years. Often I read something on one of these posts that changes my perspective a little; that causes me to pause and reconsider something I may not have thought about before. I am better for it.
I know many people whom I admire who have made the decision to create change in their lives. Some have stopped smoking, or decided to lose weight or begin an exercise program. The ones who have found success in their endeavors are those who went about it without much pomp or circumstance. They just got started, one normal day. Simple as that. Then, step by step and over time, goals were accomplished, then new ones created. And lives were lived well.
I have come to realize the precious quality of each individual’s voice in this world. More recently and miraculously, my own included. And so, with this blog, I am putting my voice out there with the others. It will more than likely be largely ignored by anyone outside my network of family and friends. But in this blogging framework I have an official-feeling place to ponder new art ideas and collect the data the world throws to me. I have a place to structure my thinking; a place to take those baby steps that will lead to the larger work. I am proud to place myself in this blogging arena with all the other interesting voices out there and I look forward to what magic may come back around my way by taking this one… tiny… step…