Moon, Water, Growth, & Habit

"Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity." Twyla Tharp. EVERY. THING. I know this, but sometimes everything is overwhelming. Everything is raw.

I need to go back to basics when I am stalled or don't have focus on a creative project. More money would help, but money isn't really stopping me; I have most of the art supplies I need since I am working small. A lack of extra time is part of the stall, but I've scaled that wall before with chipping away at creative projects while juggling. Creating motivates others areas of my life, but creating does take time. What I really need are more consistent habits. So, I am re-rereading The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, at the same time a fellow artist does too. Thanks for the extra push, Cathy!

I started this Moon, Water, Growth series last summer. It seems like something I must do, yet I am not sure where to go from here. Tell me, Twyla! Routine & developing habits, she says. Get a bank box and label it with the name of your project, she says. Here is the box, labeled Moon, Water, Growth, and now I will start filling it with what seems even remotely related. Next, sketching, photographing, and chipping away at the mixed media 8x8" panels. My goal is creating 50 Moon, Water, Growth panels, where ever they lead. I mean, even if they become Sun, Drought, Decay, that would be okay. Creating is the goal.

Underwater Red Moon, 8x8" mixed-media on wood panel
Grass on Orange Water, 8x8" mixed-media on wood panel
Water Through Roots, 5x5" on paper
The Creative Habit is the first thing in the box.


Teenagers, Trust, & Tumors

Driving into work on a cold Minnesota morning, away from
my teenage daughters and toward the teens I teach, I was
thinking about how teenagers, trust, and tumors led to
choosing my 2019 word, JOY.
Riding the Storm,
Gouache and Self-Designed Wallpaper

Detail of some of my recent gouache clouds
Teens are this thread that runs through just about every
part of my life right now. I am still learning, but after more
than 20 years of teaching them, 5 years mothering and living
with them, and pretty vivid memories of being one, I know
teens really need to be trusted, as they find healthy, joyful
outlets to learn and grow. Hearing my daughters laugh is
one of my very favorite things. Of course, it cannot be all
joy all the time, but I live for sharing joy with the people I
love. We have to have trust and patience that joy will come.
"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the 
morning." Psalms 30:5.

Things like tumors get my attention, jolting me into wonder-
ing why it takes something like that to remember that life is
too short to keep putting off joy until tomorrow. My body is
an overachiever at growing benign tumors with atypical cells
in various locations. Every few years now, I have to have one
or two removed and then my family, friends, and I hold our
collective breath waiting for the result. Of course, every time
I think, this is it, my luck has run out, but in November I got
more benign results from 2 tumors. EXHALE, relief! Then,
guilt... so many do not get benign results. Also, I don't like to
see my favorite people worry, but really, I am not bionic. We
all need support. I have to trust my people to be there for me,
just as much as I want to be there for their struggles and joys.

The joy of playful art-making and not overthinking, just
trusting the process, gets me through a lot. The cloud images
and a few boats getting thrown around got me through this
recent tumor-time. During tumor-times in the past other
images formed: sheep, birds, foxes, water, patterns, Eames
chairs, pears, landscapes, etc. In 2012, I wrote this list,
Here is number from that list:
Well, don't go out and get one. But that is what got me 
started in October. A tumor was found, and I waited 5 
weeks through many tests to find out if it was cancerous. 
In the meantime, I painted as a DISTRACTION from 
the stress and didn't over-think it. It was medicine for 
anxiety, but after I found out that I don't have cancer, 
painting became a CELEBRATION that I get to live. 
Turn the lights down, music up and make art. 

There is so much to celebrate, daily. Yes, right now!
Storm-tossed boats, detail of unfinished acrylic painting