In colorful silence on a nameless boathouse wall, flightless birds of the Livermore Yacht Club artfully display their tempered rigid wings. Meanwhile, The Sparrows of Redhook, New York dream of flight in an endless sky, saving their voices for a reverberated cry of freedom.
I hesitated to post my ten minute doodle today for fear that the haphazard painting event was not “good enough” to share. Then I realized that the fear of criticism or rejection of the work wasn’t the obstacle; it is my sensitivity about being compared to other artists who have had more formal training, or who are making their living full time from their creative endeavors that most often stifles me. Then I remembered a piece of advice that Seth Godin once offered: “The act itself is more important than the output…When you keep the commitment to complete the act, the muse returns.” And she is always welcomed here.
My inspiration to spend time in my studio has waned in the past two weeks which was beginning to make me feel anxious, frustrated, and less than awesome. I know I’m not alone in the struggle; there are many creatives out there that find themselves in this situation. My need to create tends to get squelched by an over-scheduled work day and the negative conversations that rumble around in my head. The former is temporary and can be modified to ensure that I’m spending at least 90 minutes each day in practice; the latter requires a bit more attention and determination to quell the noise.
I had forgotten about the cartoon drawing of Archie Nemesis that I created during a telephone consultation with my mentor and Co-Active Coach, Susan Walker. She advised that I acknowledge the negative thought when it happens, allow myself to feel the temporary self-doubt that the thought creates, and then continue working. It is sensible and good advice, but sometimes more difficult to overcome depending on the frequency of the internal conversations. Those are the times that I reach for my sketch pad to doodle that doo out. I also doodle the positive outcomes that I want to see happen in my life and it works. Every time. Now back to the drawing board!
Sacramento’s Farm-to-Fork Festival is scheduled for September 26th, and I just realized that I will be unable to make it. I had hoped to spend the day tasting my way through the annual festival and establishing connections with the farmers from my region whose lifestyle is the focal point of my artwork. I’m like a modern day Grandma Moses but instead of painting on fire boards, some of my work is done on paper plates.
We’ve been enjoying the Seedless Thompsons (also called Sultanas) since the middle part of June but the past few weeks of triple digit heat began to take its toll on the raisin cultivars. I decided to dedicate most of my weekend to the delectable chore of harvesting what remained on the twenty-something-year-old vine that grows in our yard.
A reflective moment under the arbor was an opportune time for a self-portrait.
If our freezer would afford us the space to save twenty-four pounds of grapes, I may not have attempted the arduous process of making jelly. It is trickier than I imagined and despite my good intentions and recipe, did not quite get the formula right. Instead of jelly, we have a concoction that looks like syrup and tastes like honey. Pancakes anyone?
“Up the Creek Without a Palette” 16″ x 14″ pencil and watercolor work-in-progress on paper.
I invited my partner to have a look at one of my sketches, and he admitted that he wasn’t quite sure what he was looking at. His reply initially hurt my fragile self-taught artist ego, but I appreciated his honesty, and forgave his lack of shared vision. My former, less confident self might have accepted his comment as absolute truth and hastily abandoned the newborn work but instead, I allowed my intuition to confront and dispel the fear of dreaded rejection that keeps many artists from sharing their work in the first place. The truth of the matter is this: My artistic style is not going to appeal to everyone, and not everyone is going to support my creative endeavors, but that is not going to stop me from bringing my work into the world. There is no other option because at my very core, I am an artist.
Bee keepers have varied opinions about which type of bee feeders work best to nourish their hives. Rusty Burlew’s Honey Bee Suite provides comprehensive information on the subject, along with beautiful photos of bees and other pollinators. I don’t keep hives, but I do like to feed bees, and find the Black Eyed Susan model is affordable, beautiful to look at, and easy to maintain.