Saturday, April 08, 2017

THOUGHTS ON BALANCE, MINDFULLNESS & ALIGNMENT and not my tires.


Thoughts
This year I have been concentrating on BALANCE, MINDFULLNESS and ALIGNMENT in my daily life and in my art.
I’ve gone back to Journaling to time in order to shift, become aware and adjust those three themes.
1.       Focus Journal – My keeping a weekly record of the 12 identified areas of my life that I consider most import I have been able to see where I fall out of BALANCE and one or two areas become extremely demanding of my limited time.
1.       RILEY – SCHOOL & OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES
2.       JOURNALING
3.       JOHN
4.       EXTENDED FAMILY & FRIENDS
5.       DOG IN THE HOLE STUDIO – Art
6.       PHOTOGRAPHY
7.       EXHIBITS
8.       COMMUNITY & ART
9.       3150 STUDIO ARTISTS – Workshops
10.   VOLUNTEER TIME AT SCHOOL
11.   HOME
12.   GARDENING
I am able to make adjustments and put focus on areas that have slipped through the cracks.

It is a messy journal.  Each Focus area has a TO DO LIST and a CONTACT LIST.  I may have listed them in order of what I consider my priority but it doesn’t always mean that is how a week will play out.

I am trying to keep a 52 WEEKS Photographic Journal.  

I am trying to keep a MORNING PAGES Journal.

I am trying to keep an IDEAS & INSPIRATION Journal for my art.

I am now keep a FOOD DIARY JOURNAL.

Finding the right time for all of this is far more difficult than I realized.

The way I look at it I have a choice.  I make a choice to do something because it provides me with a positive benefit.  When that no longer happens then I have another decision to make.

While I follow my choice, I develop a discipline, a routine that isn’t negotiable.  If the discipline continues to provide me with a positive benefit then I’m happy and everyone around me is happy.

Establishing a new habit or discipline seems to require at least six weeks of consecutive work for it to become established.  There will be slip ups, mistakes made but if the INTENT remains foremost and an examination of why they mistake were made and corrections made the habit should become established.

Balance in my life is both a noun and a verb.  I like stability and a sense of equilibrium, when I don’t have that I begin to feel stressed, tired, and irritable.  By JOURNALING I can BALANCE my life activities by comparing and evaluating how much time they require of me.  I can assess and appraise the need of eliminating something, asking for help and maybe easing up on myself.

I see ALIGNMENT happening once I have established BALANCE in my life.  And BALANCE in my life requires me to be MINDFUL of every activity I choose to do during the day.  I can choose to view some activities as being time consuming, irritating, unnecessary or I can be MINDFUL of why I am even doing the activity.  I can see the bigger picture even though I am trying to stay in the moment. 

:)Bea 




Tuesday, February 28, 2017

In December of 2016, I felt as if I had said everything I wanted to say for a time. I felt drained of energy, inspiration, attention and joyfulness.
I made the decision to just stop, stand still for a time and listen.  Listen to that quiet, still, voice, in my mind to help give me direction, once again.
My Journey seemed to have come to a standstill. I was not unhappy with all that I had been doing but I was feeling a number of tugs that I needed to become more focused.  
                                                             (not my photo)
While standing outside one evening in January, waiting for Murphy to take care of his ablutions I stared up at the night sky, the thousand and thousands of points of light and asked out loud for one word of direction for this new year.
                   The word I heard from the
                   small, still voice in my mind
                   was CLARITY.
I spent the next week in my meditation time asking for guidance on what exactly I was to apply Clarity too.

For those of you, new to my blog, my belief system includes synchronicity, coincidence, and signs as part of the way that the Universe, God, my Soul/Spirit all communicate with me. 
Often it isn't until after the fact that I realize that I have just received what I needed.  That's the case with a link from one person on the Internet, that connected me with another person, a teacher of journaling methods.
I have kept journals over the years, all types of journals.  I am a list maker especially now as I get older and I find that too many tasks can slip away if I don't remind myself that I needed to do them.
I embraced her wisdom and accepted to TRY a different method of record keeping.
This was a year of change of "mixing it up" in order to have more clarity.
I began the GRID method of journaling.  
I indulged myself with cute little post-it notes.
I was required to limit myself to a certain number of FOCUS areas of my life.  I came up with 12.
Seems like a lot doesn't it?
I had to write a list of everything that I was trying to get done in a week, put them in categories and those categories would become focus areas.
Maybe I was trying to do to much?
Weeks one, two and three were a bust. Cute little notes distracted me. They made me feel anxious if I didn't attend to them and put something one them.
The purpose of the grid method and the focus areas was to see what was getting done, what was getting neglected, what was really important and perhaps what should be let go. The little post-it notes were demanding they stay, they were important, they were starting to cause me more stress.
By the week of February 14th, I lost the post-it notes.
Cuteness was gone from my Grid Journal which I had now renamed my Focus Week Journal.
My areas of Focus covered Family & Friends, Studio Work, Granddaughter's Activities, Granddaughter's New School, Art/Photo Exhibits, Photography, Other Journals, On-Line Classes, Writing, House/Home, Living Life, and Wellness.
Perhaps making my personal wellness the last category and the 13th wasn't the best idea. 
What I found in the next two weeks was that all the other focus areas had a great deal of attention and the self-care/wellness was empty.
That's what I love about this particular method of weekly record keeping. It isn't supposed to be "pretty", its purpose is to help a person see where their time is being spent and how to keep it all in balance.
Next meditation time I voiced my concerns, out loud, about needing to take better care of myself.
In my house, books don't fall off shelves just because I need to read them, BUT I do have a gray and white cat, JoJo that will PULL them off the shelves for me.
I found three, in three different places that he had provided for me to begin my self-care program.
More about that tomorrow.

In peace,
Bea


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

SHE FLOATS EASILY AFTER PRAISE

It is now 2 degrees outside and dropping as an Artic Blast hits us this evening. I'm toasty warm inside worrying about the animals and humans that don't have a warm place to hunker down in.  There are actual plans presented to the city council recently to renovate an old city building near the downtown area into a shelter. We will have to make do with the generosity of the downtown churches and Y's this year. It is a subject that is not going away and desperately needs to be addressed.  
I am giving you a peek at some of the photographs that will be in my Photography Exhibit: Come Along With Me, January and February of the new year, 2017. I will be exhibiting 25 photos, abstract, landscapes and a few black and white, all some of my favorite photos.
The show will be in the Middleton Library, in a so-so display area.  Frankly, it is so difficult to find quality space that hasn't already been booked into 2018 around here.  Many photographers make the rounds of exhibiting in local coffee houses and although it makes more a charming atmosphere for the coffee drinkers it isn't really a place where people think about buying art.  Although, with that said, I sold a mixed media fiber piece ,the day I hung the show, which surprised the heck out of me.
 
I had an interesting experience the other day in Michael's while I was dropping off prints and doing the bookwork for the framing.  An elderly gentleman was standing behind me waiting his turn and apparently looking over my shoulder at my prints.
When I had concluded the instructions as to which direction a photo should be matted he told me that he thoroughly enjoyed looked at my work and that he thought I had a good eye for composition and color.
Then he told me that he had taught photography classes at the local technical college for 30 years.
I'm not sure my feet actually touched the ground as I left the store. 
Family and friends are always supportive of my endeavors and I appreciate them for that.  To have a complete stranger validate me, was extra nice.
We chatted for a bit and I found out that now that he had retired from teaching, his passion was not photography but antique cars. 






Ok, that's your sneak peek. 


Saturday, November 19, 2016

SHE DREAMED DREAM AFTER DREAM OF FINISHED PAINTINGS

                                         HOMAGE TO RABBITS


                                       THEN THEY TOOK THE FARM

There are those nights when I wake up feeling exhausted from dreams.  I wander down the hall, check out the wall clock and see that although I feel as if I have been dreaming for hours that only one hour has passed.  
Thankfully, these types of dream states don't come all that often but when they do I find myself overwhelmed with images of completed pieces of artwork.

The first piece, above, Homage To The Rabbits started out as a neutral study.
I don't seem to have a picture of it at that stage and I suspect it is because the transformation of it happened rather quickly. 

I may sit down and start something with my own agenda and plans only to find that once I am in "the zone" my inner artist comes out to play and things get changed.  So the neutral, probably rather boring study became a Homage To Rabbits.  I suspect that my inner artist was remembering the YouTube video of the closing dance on, So You Think You Can Dance.  Homage to the Rabbits.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNSw9bRP5n4

It is one of my all time favorites. 

The artwork is paper collage and acrylic paint.

FARM SERIES
The second photograph is of one of my newest pieces, Then They Took The Farm.  In my dream state, I was frantically producing an entire series dedicated to the topic of the vanishing family farm from America.
And, despite my normal sense of order, in my dream, I had begun with the last piece and worked backward.

This sudden push to create has me working my photography into my acrylic work.  The faint picture of the shadowed farm is a regular photo transfer onto the painted surface.  The trees are a photo transfer done on organza material and then applied to another layer of acrylic paint.

As with most of my paintings, it is safe to say that there are probably 6-8 layers, sometimes more.


The past two weeks have provided me with wonderful early morning weather conditions for shooting.  After dropping off, Riley, my granddaughter, at school
I cut through the Epic campus in order to get home and avoid the early morning rush hour traffic.  I'm still in the process of selecting what I consider my best and most interesting photographs for my show in January and February, at the Middleton Library.  It is my first solo photography show.











I've been taking a lot of photos of reflections this summer and fall. They intrigue me. 




These three canvases are 18x24.  The first layer of collages papers has been applied.  I use photo copies of my favorite papers because they will be covered up by additional layers. I could use paint to give this first layer different values but I like the idea of using a bit of paper that mean something to me, they remind me of different things from my past.  

It took the dream to make it clear to me how much I enjoy the collage process and how much I enjoy that first, quiet layer of putting down my memories onto the canvas.  It is a very personal process. The "viewer" will most likely not even realize that the papers are there.  Only if they look closely and carefully they might catch a glimpse.

Because I do this process to establish texture of value to the first layer I need to check it to make sure that it still meets my criteria for good design.
I take pictures of the pieces in black and white. 

Now I can better see what is too dark and jumps out at me, where there are too many pieces of the same value, how my corners look in shape and value and just my general overall impression.

I'll make corrections by adding additional pieces of collage paper until I'm happy with it.  I will put a medium layer over the collaged papers and let it dry.  Next step will be a white gesso wash painted over the entire piece.

There are four of these canvases and they are part of series called, NATURE SPEAKS (Thank you, Mary Young, for that suggestion).

Have you seen the movie ARRIVAL?  Amy Adams stars in it as a language expert.  She is requested by the military to help communicate with aliens that have brought, 12 space pods that hover above the ground, all around the earth.
I won't spoil anything for you but telling you that their communications are much different from ours.  They produce intricate circles that express more than just words, but extensive ideas, the past, the future and countless other things. 
Although these aren't pure circles I did these at the beginning of the summer.
Perhaps I was communicating with aliens in my dreams?
I made a photocopy of this painting at Office Depot using their large photo machine.  If you want to make a photo transfer from a photo copy it should really be done with a machine that uses toner, not ink or laser. The toner will sit on top of the paper fibers and be easier to bond with the medium.  Ink is absorbed into the paper fibers.  You can make a transfer but sometimes it looks a little too distressed for what you want it for.
I have two coats of liquid gloss medium on the photocopy so far.  Each layer goes in a different direction.  There will be a total of 8 layers of a medium on this.
After each layer, it is necessary to let it dry completely. So you can see this is a time-consuming process.
When all the layers are on I will soak the photocopy in the tub with warm water and then spend a great deal of time gently scrubbing the photo paper off the back of the piece. Some people use their fingers.  I find that a flexible fake credit card that banks keep sending me the perfect tool.

I will add paint to the white gesso washed canvas.  I'm not sure yet whether it will be different values of white and gray or if I will add splashes of bright colors.
When I'm happy with that stage then it will be time to put the transfer on top.
It can all go pear shaped if it rips or I get to carried away and forget good composition, etc.
It's a process that I love doing.  Time is forgotten. The real world is forgotten.

I'm tired now.  Time to go to bed and hopefully dream quiet dreams.
I'll tell you about the other series and the Bamboo Cutter and His Wife another day.  Such a lot to do yet.


                                                       Bea




Thursday, October 27, 2016

Another birthday has come and gone.  I laid in bed last night thinking about how when I was young, an adult that was 68 years old was just OLD! 
How did that number creep up on me?  
I admit that there are days when I go to get up out of bed I feel every bit of that age.  But, there is that moment before I get out of bed when my mind looks forward to the day and all the things I plan on getting done, or have to do, want or wish to do and my mind has no trouble imagining that all of it will get done.
And, then............. my body reminds me that it doesn't quite move with the same grace and speed that it once did.
Seventy seems just around the corner and I know that seemed ancient to me...what..... just a few years ago.


 I've been giving a lot of thought lately, to my photography show, to be held in January and February, of the new year.  It will be held in a neighboring towns' library, a nice library but not a particularly great place to display art or photography.  




Do I stick with my original intent which was to showcase 15 -10  prints of pictures that I love?
Do I showcase the selections of "Reflections" that I love?
Or, what about these?








I can't make up my mind.  They are all my "babies".  I guess I will have to do what I did before and enlist my family, over the holidays, to pick their favorites and narrow it down that way.



In my Photography group they recently had a show at the University of Wisconsin.  One of the categories that one of my pictures had been juried into was called, Our Vision, Our voice.  When someone asked what exactly that meant it was explained that it was where we saw ourselves now as photographers from where we began.
I had a lot of trouble with that one.  



This was the photograph that was accepted.  I called it Winter Snowstorm.  But it was really just from my collection of Old Barns and maybe a Winter Landscape. I love it but I don't think it is the definitive answer of what kind of photographer I am now vs what I was when I got my first Canon ten years ago.

These two were part of the Abstract Exhibition at the University.  I've been taking odd pictures for a long time.  I like bits and pieces of things.  I like a photograph that makes somebody stand for a minute and wonder what the heck it is they are looking at.
This was the entry that won a place in the Black and White Exhibit.  It's one of my favorites from my Journey Series, called Time Past.  






Lately, I've had more than one opportunity to capture some great bird photos.  Especially these gorgeous Cranes. 



I love trees.  I can't tell you how many photos I have of trees, tree bark or remains of trees.  Enough to do a show by itself but probably not that interesting to many people.




The landscape around me is beautiful.  Sometimes I think I take so many pictures of it is this unspoken thought I have that I will take these images with me when I die.  Silly, I know, but it doesn't stop me from taking more of them.  To me they all look like beautiful paintings, too.

See, what I think is the problem, for picking just a few photos, is that I love where I live.  I love the countryside, the views, the colors, the roads, trees, barns, animals and just about everything.  



Hmmm, maybe I already selected the photos with your help.