Monday, January 30, 2017

Sunshine and Clouds

I am usually an annoyingly cheerful sort, at least in public.  Hey, make a joke!  Lighten up, people, don't be a downer.  Diffusing.  Diplomatic.  (Doc would probably have a different sort of story to tell you about me, but he is with me just about every minute and so he sees me at my worst and most complicated, and has given me many nicknames over the years to reflect this truth.  Yesterday, I pitched a tantrum and threw a pair of dull scissors across the room, and I am not kidding.  That's not the norm, at least I don't think so, but don't get comfortable!)  These days, though.  Seriously, how have we come to this?  I can't even talk about it, really, because I just get SO WORKED UP, and then my eyes get all puffy again, and--note to self--I am doing what I can.  I really have to think about other things now.  There is so much to be happy about.  "It is a serious thing//just to be alive/on this fresh morning/in the broken world." That's the brilliant Mary Oliver, who is such a balm.  Read her, I mean it.  Go, now.  
Meanwhile, there is my daily practice of showing up for art.  "Art." Please rest assured, I know that these are not "good", nor "real",  nor "art", although (as I mentioned earlier) that is not the goal, so I don't know why I feel like explaining...and probably a roomful of college freshmen could debate the question What Is Art until the beer ran out, and in doing so raise a lot of interesting points, and maybe I'll do that someday.  Meanwhile, I find it sort of revealing to look at these little practice things, these little snippets of time I spend showing up in front of a (okay, it's small) piece of white paper and doing something to it.  I just sit down, open the paint box, and start.  No do-overs.  Just do something, anything.  It hasn't happened every day, because, you know, life.  And I would say that in the past thirty days, I have painted exactly nothing "good" in this exercise, but that's not what I'm trying to do, and there is a lot of stuff happening in them that pleases me.  Those luscious blooms that you get with wet-on-wet watercolor, and the lucky accidents, and the sudden revelations of negative space.  I'm learning a lot, which is the goal.  And discipline, which is something I hate, and something I need.  Also, it occurs to me, there is so much gray.  Is it just January, rearing it's stupid, colorless, sunless head?  Or what?  Even the knitting is gray, but at least the yarn is Woolfolk Far (thank you, Santa!) which has to count for something.   Knitting that scarf (my own pattern, I'll show you more later) has been such a comfort, though I am taking it intentionally slowly, because, ow, my wrists.  There's no hurry, I have other scarves.  And other gray scarves, let's face it.  I might as well savor the Woolfolk, too, because holy moly, that yarn.  They have yarn figured out, those Woolfolk people.  It is softer than baby hair.  
Hey, is that the sun???  We are alive.  We are!  Alive!  Chew on that with me.  Xoxo

18 comments:

  1. I know. I truly do. Even here where it's summer it feels like dark clouds are hovering. Thanks for the reminder about Mary Oliver. She will need to do the trick because I can't paint. Hang in there xx

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  2. I know too. I am knitting and sewing like a crazy person here just to get out some of this frustration, I guess.

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  3. Mary Oliver is the original bomb. Love her so much. Poetry helps in these massively unsettling days. Every day a new horror so it is difficult to be happy really at any honest level - I feel you, Kristen. Dull scissors (or in my case someone cutting me off in traffic Friday night) equals INSTANT rage. Dear oh dear oh dear...this is not us but we will hang on. xxoo

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  4. I love your art every day project. I think it's a great idea. It'll be interesting to see how the colours and imagery develops over time. That yarn looks so soft I just want to reach into the screen and squidge it!

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  5. Winter is for rest and re-charging - don't push it. Our ancestors had it right. Use this time to relax, reflect, sleep and contemplate. Spring will come and with it, more daylight and more energy. I seem to be at my most productive in spring and fall. Listen to what nature tells you! Thank you for sharing your musings.

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  6. Oh bless you. Yes I know January is such a grey month. Here in the U.K. It's dreary and drizzly and sooooo damp. I find myself getting a little fed up with myself at times too. For no reason I have no reason to feel down but sometimes I have to give myself a talking to and I usually recover quickly and find some knitting or crafting or reading. It's just January.

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  7. You are brighten my gray day. Thanks.

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  8. Those look like nice pieces to send notes to others on...who also might need a little sun. :) Helen

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  9. Thank you for the reminder! Just yesterday I reposted a page from Mary Oliver's Facebook page (trying to keep my spirits up in this crazed political climate). When the hatred. deceit, and division get to me, Mary Oliver is a good friend.

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  10. Your scarf looks so beautiful - wish I could feel how soft the yarn is. Many of us in the UK are following the US's political events and feeling the pain, it seems to get worse each day. Yesterday, a lovely independent wool shop in London, Loop Knitting, donated all of it's weekend takings ($9,200) to the ACLU (here's a link: https://www.facebook.com/loopknitting/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE&fref=nf) Isn't that an amazing thing to do?! Knitters of the World Unite! xxx

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  11. Kristen, January has been a tough month, and like you, I keep trying to keep some positive spirit's going. Creative projects are very effective for my soul, as are long walks. Even so, I remind myself that February begins tomorrow, and it's got all sorts of potential...plus and minus.
    Guess what I will be watching around 8 tonight? xo

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  12. Loving the butterfly! Just keep swimming x

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  13. I should like to tape that MO quote to my fridge as a daily reminder, sigh. Or maybe write it alongside one of your wee paintings. It would make a pretty note card.
    Now the Woolfolk. I have 2 skeins in a grey/blue worsted weight that I take out of the cupboard on occasion to rub against my cheek. Baby hair indeed.

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  14. Loving the soft grey of your scarf, and the pic of sunshine on a snowy day - it is a scorching 34C here today and unrelentingly sunny, wish I could send you some warmth ... Just a thought from an outsider: Your country is a great democracy, perhaps THE great democracy. Four years WILL pass. Anything done, can be undone and redone better.

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  15. woolfolk .... serious? I want it. Lots of it.

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  16. Whenever I encounter snippets of Mary Oliver's words, they are like a balm, something soothing and sure. Thank you for sharing them. Meg

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