• Art,  WIP Fridays

    Art Friday: Let us take joy in it.

    pallette brusheshousebegins2

    It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world.

    So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them.

    And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation.

    So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.

    Neil Gaiman

  • Art,  WIP Fridays

    Art Friday: The canvas is finished…

    notconsumed1 notconsumed2 notconsumed3 notconsumed4

    This canvas has taken on such a deep meaning to me. I didn’t know where it was going when I started- it originally looked a bit cloud-scape and I could see it leaning towards an Emily Jeffords-inspired direction. It ended up leaning far more celestial. I remember painting the starscape on a particularly troubling night, feeling angry and bereft and a bit at a loss for words, and how calming it was to bring that vision of stars to life. And then the woman arrived, a total surprise, as I tend to lean more towards abstract collage. The shape of her and the way she was hugging her arms to herself suggested loss and fragility; the snippet of verse came quite soon on her heels. When I finished over-painting the drawing, it still didn’t feel finished to me- in need of more texture. I borrowed from my Poobah Jocelyn an embellishment technique with hand-stitching- and then- it was just right. I’m so pleased with the final product. It really took me out of my comfort zone in many ways, but I kept following the thread of the story, and am better for it. As odd as this sounds, I needed to prove to myself I could commit to the long haul of doing it for the process and showing up. Start to finish, this canvas took me six months.

    Speaking of doing it for the process, Emily has started a wonderful new Instagram account that I have absolutely been loving, called none other than… @DoItForTheProcess. Go follow! It is full of lovely inspiration.

  • WIP Fridays

    Art Friday: Layers and arrows…


    (Wonder and Inquiry will return next week.)

    There’s another layer on the canvas. I was really surprised when the woman appeared. Usually my layers tend towards abstract-ness, and yet, here she is. She’s definitely not finished yet…I wasn’t sure at first. She needs more detail. Overpainting. We’ll see.

    When I started this canvas I had no idea how introspective it would become…these are all mysterious journeys to me. What I think I’m making in the beginning is never what I end up with, and that’s half the fun. But this one? This has a story emerging. Something I needed to tell myself, I think. I feel the pull to get back to it and get another layer going, which usually doesn’t happen. Most of the time I’m just playing with things, a smidge of a minute here, fifteen minutes there. This one though…I need to make some big time very soon.

    I’m often listening to a playlist of my own design lately, if I’m not catching up on my love affair with all things British (Downton, Who, Broadchurch, Sherlock). And before you ask, yes and yes to the last season of Downton (sigh!) and the second season of Broadchurch, and absolutely NOT to Who, and a very qualified frustrated don’t bother to the Abominable Bride. I usually love BBC Sherlock. I wanted to throw something at the screen for this one. I’m sure others loved it. Anyways. (Sorry, tucking the fan girl back under!) The whole point of this was to say that this particular song of Josh Garrells has been heavy in the rotation. The whole Home album is excellent. But this one? Something about it.

  • link love,  WIP Fridays

    One thing leads to another…


    It appears I’m struck by all things celestial these days. After finishing the stars, I immediately knew what the next layer of the canvas was. I was painting this while catching up on Doctor Who, so I’m pretty sure the TARDIS had something to say about the color. Don’t get me started on this season. BLEH. Thank goodness there are nearly fifty years of re-runs to enjoy. I have no idea where this canvas is going- I never do. It’s the journey to the finished project that I’m interested in.

    It was definitely inspired by Annie’s sky that she shared on Instagram a few weeks back, but it seems I’ve been collecting a lot celestial inspirations, period. Something about light in the darkness has become quite a theme for me.

    Two other artist crushes these days:

    Heather Slightholm (Audrey Eclectic)


    Jeanne Oliver


  • link love,  WIP Fridays


    autumnflowers drawing

    I’ve been working on a piece in the wee smas of the day. I haven’t gotten as far as I would have liked this week, but it will come in its own good timing. It has taken me a long time to learn this, to slip into the small moments and use them as well as I can and then move on. It is a far more peaceful way of being, no longer under the gun of what can sometimes be my outlandish expectations.

    There have been so many good things around the internet this week.

    Molly Sabourin, Grace Here and Now– Just As I Am…

    It’s natural when approaching unfamiliar territory to try and make sense of it by observing the natives. I did this when I was first pregnant and living in the city. The circles I ran in happened to be more alternative than traditional, medically speaking,  and the new mothers I saw regularly at my parish and La Leche League meetings were pro-homebirth, breastfeeding, babywearing and kelp eating. These devoted hippie mamas became my tribe. I adopted their philosophies, birthplans, and bohemian style. To me, they were the quinesstential definition of “maternal” and because of that limited perspective I assumed flowy skirts, baby slings and Birkenstocks were the required uniform for new-momness, and vegan lentil stew, kale salad, and honey sweetended carob brownies the required menu.

    I have to say, this next post series was an article series that my husband and I could have used in our younger years-so much we had to learn the hard way. I deeply appreciate Bonnie’s willingness to be vulnerable and transparent about this so that others can learn!

    Bonnie, A Knotted Life– Financial Hardships and Suprise Pregnancies: An Introduction…

    …Yes, we are living this life because it’s the life we’ve chosen. We chose to take out student loans. We chose to pay for things with a credit card. We chose to not contracept or abort any of our babies. Travis chose to go into teaching and I chose to be a stay at home mom (Although daycare for five kids? It wouldn’t even be worth it for me to work!) We have chosen to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. We have chosen to make these sacrifices because we believe that in the end, no matter how hard things may be now (and how hard it is for even us to see it), it is worth it.

    It’s worth it to choose life. It is worthwhile to choose life over death, over the impossibility of more life,  or over things and experiences. And it is worth it because life is worth living.

    Could alternately be titled, (yet again) Why I Let My Children Read Harry Potter. (Okay, okay I confess to a little bit of snark with that comment.) I’m amazed at the people who refuse to read it or let their children read it “because of the evil of witchcraft” and yet have no problem with their children reading Narnia or Lord of the Rings. Good is good and bad is very bad and the evil literally wear their sins in their bodies, on their skins, and yet there is light and redemption….oh just go read the article. She’s talking about all sorts of fiction….

    Kathleen Shumate for Story WarrenTrue Fiction

    I have loved fiction longer than I can remember—“I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun”—and I have hope that the best stories will shape my children as they shaped me. True fiction furthers the Great Story and trains our imaginations to love and yearn for what is good. It is well worth our time.

    One of the uncomfortable conversations I have with my children often, perfectly captured and explained.

    Tony Woodlief for Image JournalThe Beast Without…

    So in the spirit of practicing what I preach about considering how our actions incite others, I think on the conversations my children have overheard, in which I question someone’s motives, in which I denounce some political figure or corporate charlatan, in which I rail against the people tearing down Western civilization.

    YES. YES. YES. Kort is on a roll this month, and this one I was getting all old-time gospel religion and hooting and shouting yes as a period for each sentence.

    Kort Garrison, One Deep DrawerGood Enough is…Good Enough

    I’ve got this idea in the back of my mind that things have to be perfect–the booklist complete, the supplies in hand, the house organized, dinner planned–before I can start.  It’s a fancy way of procrastinating.  It’s a fine way to give into the fear of failing or not quite measuring up.  It keeps me busy enough with the peripheral that I never actually get down to work.  And if affects my homeschooling and my paid work.

    It seems I always end with John, but if something ain’t broke, why fix it? You do read him, don’t you? I’ve told you a thousand times about his poetry, so you have no excuse. The harder decision is to pick which one to share with you. This one…just oh. No words. Just read.

    John Blase, String Bright the Gray