104 degrees…are you kidding me?

They say (those weather people) that it will be 104 degrees here today.  What’s up with the weather?  This year has been hard on the apple orchard. Not just our farming projects but all of our many farming neighbors.   It got warm early and we lost 90% of our crop of apples.  Now the ones that are left are not getting enough water and some are cooking on the dang trees. Or malformed.  Heartbreaking.  I look out over acres and acres of trees each day.  I talk to those trees and tell them what a good job they’re doing.  Everyone needs to hear that, even trees. But,  they can’t do their jobs if the weather doesn’t cooperate with them.

Very soon, I will have several acres of pumpkins growing this year too.  I’ve been looking forward to all that orange.  You gotta love the addition of orange to a landscape right?  But, if we don’t start getting some steady rain…that won’t happen either.  No “Great Pumpkin” to commune with either.  And hey…I want to commune with the Great Pumpkin!!  Just imagine all that color and form just outside my window.

So, today, I’m wishing for gentle, soothing, rain and soft breezes to blow thru the orchards.  I’m wishing for the kind of weather that people say we used to have here.  I’m wishing for bright crisp days and cool moist nights. The photo above is how our orchard should look and did look five years ago.  Instead of that vision, we have brown grass, no apples and brown wasted leaves on the trees. (below) These poor trees are many years old, and they are struggling. I think they are depressed along with my roses, hosta and weeping cherry.   I’m wishing for consistency Mr. Weather.   Can you please just do that huh?

Life truths…

I was watching Caroline Myss on Oprah this weekend.  She said something pretty amazing.  She said that a lot of people are chasing a life that wasn’t meant to be theirs.  Basically she said that we had a soul contract and that we got here and got distracted,  by the “American Dream” or “American Idol”.  Basically she was saying that when you’ve done all you know how to do and it still doesn’t work…that it wasn’t your path to begin with.  That’s why you lost your way. I had to sit with that one for awhile.  I understood exactly what she was talking about.  But…lol…..if you know when you wake up in the morning that all you want to do is create art, then, you’re an artist.  However; possibly that’s not the main thing.  Maybe it’s a hobby.  Or maybe it sort of leads into what you’re meant to be doing.  Don’t know.  Don’t care…la, la, la, la.  Yes I did put my fingers in my ears and sing.

Then in a lucid, adult moment I did have to consider this truth.  I find it very difficult to see a truth and then ignore it.  Well, I can ignore it but I’m only pretending to ignore it.  Everyone may think I am ignoring it, but I’m not really.  I’m usually meditating on it.  Or letting it marinate.  One or the other. So then I was left with that idea and it was sort of depressing…I won’t lie.  Artists spend truly amazing amounts of time practicing.  It’s hard work whethor you know it or not.  Focusing on details, finding materials, paying for materials, looking at trends, ignoring trends, trying different things to get out of the box, visually portraying your feelings, puttting it all out there to be judged, ignoring judgements and criticisms from family and well meaning friends, etc. etc. In the end, after many hours, many dollars, many lessons, you are left with voluminous amounts of artwork staring back at you from every corner of your home and studio. Some good, some bad, and some occasionally great.(  As a matter of fact, my daughter asked me recently “if something happens to you, what should I do with all of it?  I mean there’s too much for me to keep all of it”!)

Now what?   Dang it!  Because… just because you learn a truth doesn’t mean you act on it.  Am I right? You know and I know that I’m probably not right.  I hate it when that happens.

I have been changed for good…

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fR4JotwwWo

I’m on a Wicked kick. You can click on the link above to see the youtube video.  You know the musical told from the perspective of the Wicked Witch of the West?  One of the songs, For Good, just plays in my mind alot.  It’s one of those songs.  You know the ones…the ones you just can’t get out of your mind.

(Elphaba) I’m limited Just look at me – I’m limited .And just look at you. You can do all I couldn’t do, Glinda. So now it’s up to you. For both of us – now it’s up to you…
(Glinda) I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason. Bringing something we must learn. And we are led to those who help us most to grow, if we let them. And we help them in return. Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true. But I know I’m who I am today, because I knew you.
Like a comet pulled from orbit. As it passes a sun. Like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood. Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better? But because I knew you. I have been changed for good
(Elphaba) It well may be that we will never meet again In this lifetime. So let me say before we part. So much of me is made of what I learned from you. You’ll be with me like a handprint on my heart. And now whatever way our stories end I know you have re-written mine. By being my friend…
Like a ship blown from its mooring, by a wind off the sea. Like a seed dropped by a skybird In a distant wood. Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better? But because I knew you
(Glinda) Because I knew you
(Both) I have been changed for good
(Elphaba) And just to clear the air I ask forgiveness, for the thing I’ve done you blame me for
(Glinda) But then, I guess we know there’s blame to share
(Both) And none of it seems to matter anymore
(Glinda) Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes a sun. Like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood
(Elphaba) Like a ship blown from its mooring by a wind off the sea. Like a seed dropped by a bird in the wood
(Both) Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better? I do believe I have been changed for the better
(Glinda) And because I knew you…
(Elphaba) Because I knew you…

Who would have thought that you can find spiritual lessons in Broadway plays?  I’ve just been going along singing this catchy tune under my breath for days.  But then I started really thinking about these words and how everyone you meet really does change your life.  And not just people but animals too.  They all paint on the canvas of who you are.  It’s a true life mixed media painting.  That right there… is a very cool piece of art,  friends.

And wouldn’t the whole world be a better place if we all just cleared the air by asking for forgiveness?  How cool would it be if we understood that we each have our own blame in any given conflict?  Hey….let’s all propogate world peace by adhering to a song in “Wicked”.  Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants to alot of people?  Think of all the money we could save. Really Wicked!

What to do…..

We’ve all been there.  What do you do when the painting you’ve been working on for hours is the worst painting you’ve ever done.  I know.  It sucks.  But there are some things you can do.  Here’s what I do….

First, I let it dry.  Then I take a photo and put it up on my computer.  Sometimes if I walk away from the actual painting and then critique it in photoshop something happens.  I can see what I should have done or need to do to fix. it.

Second.  Can part of it be saved?  Cover parts of it up with a piece of paper and see if some part of it is salvageable.  If it is, then paint over the part that’s not.  I’ve had lots of happy accidents doing this.

I just painted over the middle of this painting with black and then I could see the painting starting to go where I wanted.  Don’t be afraid.  It’s your canvas and paint.  Just go ahead and free yourself up to make mistakes.  I promise you that your art will be better because of it.  Promise.

Third.  Maybe it can’t be saved.  We all have paintings that just didn’t work.  Okay, paint over the whole thing.  For years and years I saved all of it.  Even the bad stuff.  Hey I’m with you, I know how hard it is to get rid of even the bad stuff.  Then, one day when I was out of canvas….I started into my stash of bad art and just painted over it.  Re-use, recycle.  And you know what?  It freed me up to realize that I wasn’t going to have to hold onto all that stuff, it’s not permanent….just paint over it.  Make a mistake?  Learn from it and create something with it.  Best way to learn in the whole ding dang world.  True Story.

 

 

Small moments are precious…along with tree frogs!

 

I was sitting in the living room last night….and looked up and saw this small tree frog clinging to the deck door.  Everyone laughed as I excitedly said …”LOOK”!  They figured it was another instagram moment.  But, these days, how often do we get to be close and personal with small wild things?  Not often I think.

I was thinking about this little frog as I got up this morning.  It’s the small things, the small moments that are so sweet.  Look at his little face.  I love his little toes just clinging to the window so nonchalantly.  And best of all …he had small brilliant yellow dots on his belly.  Interesting that his brightest colors were underneath.  Could be a metaphor.  Just saying!

Let’s talk about Pastels….

 

Literally…is there anything as downright dang good as a box of creamy hand rolled pastels?.  I could just eat them up.  And even though I now have to wear gloves and a mask to use them (I’m sort of allergic to them) they are still my first love.  And even though they are still what I’m truly best at…everyone says so…..I don’t use them that often anymore.  Can’t afford to frame them.  Oh yeah, they have to be framed, no choice.  I don’t frame my own art.  I’m not great with power tools although my sister is. Power tools scare me.  They have to be framed and matted.  The double whammy.  So, I don’t use them often but I dream about them.  Dream you say?  You think that’s odd?  I do too, but it’s true.  I always imagine any art that I create in pastels first.  Then I pull out the paint and slap it on the canvas.  Kind of sad now that I think about it because that means that the paint is second best. Don’t tell my acrylics ok?

Non-Movement Movement…

You see a lot of talk these days about “pushing beyond limitations” and “rising above your limitations” and “we’re souls having a human experience” and “focusing on the positives” and “healing ourselves with the power within”.  This is the “buzz” philosophy of the moment.  And, I agree with them all, I really do.  But I was thinking this morning as I watched Evan hobble across the floor and then cry out in pain when he decided to put the pepper back in the cabinet(because he has repetitive use syndrome, and arthritis, and pinched nerves, and bone spurs in his shoulders).  Isn’t some of this thinking what gets us in trouble to begin with?  We are souls having a human experience but that means we have some physical limitations…sure we are completely limitless as souls, but our bodies have limits.  Real ones.  And it seems to me that it’s dangerous to ignore them in our quest for spiritual enlightenment and “pushing beyond”.

I married into a farming family.  The battle cry on Orchard Road is “it’s got to be done”.  No matter what.  I get it, I really do.  If the farming wasn’t done, the family didn’t eat or pay their bills. This philosophy is ingrained in my husband, to his detriment at times.  If you can get something done by physical power and stamina, he’s going to do it no matter the cost. To him, or his body.  Now he’s paying for that with pain.

I understand…my sister and I have always been fairly strong by feminine standards.  I’ve always taken that strength for granted.  The truth is….I just have more limitations, myself, than I used to.    I hurt more and it takes me longer to heal.  But the thing is…I don’t consider that a problem, I consider that a natural progression for me.  I’m learning to adjust and ask for help when needed.  That’s because I’m a woman and can even ask for directions when necessary.  I feel free to join the “non-movement Movement” when I need to.  Call it lazy and selfish, I call it informed and powerful…I know my physical limitations.

But I’m getting off track.  Here’s my point.  (and I can hear the generation  ahead of mine, huffing) We have to remember what we’re doing here.  Not showing our great physical strength, not amassing large amounts of things, not chasing the latest celebrity,  or doing it better than our neighbors, or any of that stuff we were taught as kids.  We’re here to grow as souls.  Learn compassion, empathy and learn to judge less and love more.   And we’re also here to learn some limitations sometimes….I believe it, because it points to the things that are important.  Those things that are important?  they are NOT how many miles you can walk,or how many pounds you can carry,  or judging others for what they can and can not do.  Big Karmic No- No in my opinion.  Of course that’s a judgement on my part…lol.

 

 

 

Tomorrow…we conquer the world!

Who’s with me?  Doesn’t it seem easier to just conquer the world tomorrow?  This is how we procrastinate right?  We’ll conquer the world tomorrow and today we’ll…I don’t know….surf the net looking for new ideas, write a blog post, clean the kitchen (in case the world we conquered wants to come to lunch).  But…nothing gets done tomorrow because while we were cleaning the kitchen…we realized we are out of cleaning supplies and we’ve got to go shopping.

I told the kids recently that they need a bucket list for the summer.  Not just fun stuff but stuff they need to get accomplished.  Otherwise, I told them wisely, nothing will be accomplished at the end of the summer.  Of course, I did not take my own advice.  And, oddly  enough…here I am not conquering the world today.  I really hate when the advice that was meant for them turns out to be for me.

me? 

There are other worlds than these

Late Saturday afternoon, I was painting away.  Just puttering around with a paint brush as I’m wont to do.  Had no plan, just putting paint to canvas people.  This is how I usually get the creativity flowing.  I just start.  I decided a long time ago that the difference between people who create art and people who don’t …is that you have to start. Just start.

Anyhoo…I’ve been meditating a lot in the last couple of days about knowing what you’re feeling so that you can convey that to your audience. But …because we are all often unconcious about what we feel…sometimes I don’t know what I feel, so I just paint.  See that?  It’s most likely the opposite of what makes a really great artist, that’s what some would say. I paint to know what I feel, rather than knowing what I feel and painting it to communicate with the rest of the world.  In other words I’m painting to myself.  lol. But I’m getting off track.

So I’m painting along late Saturday and getting no where really.  So I left it to sit and later went to bed.  I woke up Sunday morning with this phrase sort of ringing in my ears….”there are other worlds than these”.  Now, I’m pretty sure that’s a partial phrase from a Stephen KIng book.  Makes me wonder what I was dreaming.  But I immediately got up and inked it in.  Hey I listen to myself when I’m dreaming because I know my pesky ego is out of the way.  So now you’ve seen a small glimpse of how my creative mind works.  Pretty scary really…although not as scary as a Stephen King novel or my husbands new book “Serealized” which by the way is up on Kindle today!  I’m not really sure how I feel about this new book, because as usual it’s well written.  But, there’s something really creepy about reading a book like that and knowing the person who thought it up. I wonder how Stephen King’s wife feels about what goes on in his books?  Something to think about.  I guess if I’m creeped out than that means Evan has done his job. Achieved his goal.  I’m just saying….if something happens to me, you guys will know where to look. lol.   I will admit to doing the cover art and that’s pretty creepy too.

You can find his newest book on his website…www.evanwilliamsauthor.com  or on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.