Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Vacation Brain

After running for the plane in Toronto and being practically the last passengers on board, then waiting many extra hours at the Miami airport and then on the runway, somehow we were finally sinking our toes into the softest sand I've felt since a trip to Eleuthra many years ago.
A boy feels sand on a tropical beach for the first time. 

Upon arrival, we headed straight for the beach when we finally reached our destination at Provinciales, Turks & Caicos. 

Since arriving, this place quickly turned my brain into mush. It takes all of my energy to walk from a lounge chair on the beach to the water for a swim, then shuffle back up and plop back down on my chair. Whew. Exhausting! 

Gentle swirls of air are like silk on the skin, the ocean is warm, just a few degrees cooler than body temperature, these things conspire to unplug a northerner from her busy brain. 

So be it. Pictures will tell this story until words return.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Rut Busting

Whether our routines are hoist upon us—a necessary and intelligent response to the demands of our daily responsibilities—or they are safe choices whose predictability we depend on to feel protected from the inherent randomness of life, once established, routines can quickly become a rut.

Artists need new experiences in order to create. It is impossible to grow a crop without planting a seed. First, something new must be introduced to the soil and nourished in the dark before the first green sprout breaks through to the surface.

It was that need to break out of a rut that led me, on a whim, to sign up for a watercolour class. It had been years since I'd done any visual art, but working with my son, showing him how to look at the world as an artist does, ended up opening my eyes, probably more than his. The teacher (me) realized, not for the first time, I was the student.

The course is over now, but what a continuing richness it gives my life. I am in love with the medium of watercolour. I am changed for exposing myself to it as an adult learner. And I will never see the sky in the same way -- never see nature the same way. Colours are new and nuanced. Light is a mystery that I must study carefully.

I am rather incompetent—my vision far outreaches my abilities. But isn't that the way it is every time you try something new? Best not to judge too harshly. Best to play. Otherwise you risk stifling the unique vision that only you, as a beginner, can ever bring to this art form.  

That idea is explored at one of my regular haunts, writer/artist Terri Windling's blog, in a post called  When You Fear You're Just No Good.

And before I go further, I must share another quote lifted from her pages. It captures exactly what the creative process means to me.

“The work of the eyes is done. Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.”  - Rilke

As my eyes begin to see, many images are bubbling to the surface and I struggle to express them in this new-to-me, highly mutable medium of watercolour, to do them justice.

I can't, of course, because I'm a beginner (go read that post I mentioned)! But you know what, I don't care, because, bloody hell, this is really fun. It's exciting. So what if a piece turns into a big mess? Those occasional moments when it works, when I like what I see, are worth every effort. Now, I just need to allow myself that same freedom in writing, a medium in which I am much less forgiving of myself.

If you feel like a beginner in your art and you are frustrated by that, maybe even considering giving up, read the above post by Terri. Then nourish yourself, feed your creative soul with something new, and let your heart-work begin. Let's be easy on ourselves — let's play!

Monday, 4 June 2012

The Sweet Life

I've been so bad, so very, very bad. There is a backlog of postings filed in my brain. Pics of the new robin, who—when I have time to notice—seems to have claimed my home as his home. Pray the neighbourhood cats I've befriended don't betray me.

But this "magazine article" is what I've wanted to finish and post since a certain glorious evening weeks ago at Carrie & Tim's. I do so appreciate that family.

Now, a few apologies: my handling of indesign is atrocious but getting better, the font use would make my art designer friends seasick, and I simply don't have time to fuss with the copy anymore right now though I see things that make me cringe. The pics were snapped on either mine or Barry's iPhone (or is it eyePhone?), so they are quite grainy, but also at times beautiful. The worst thing was that blogger wouldn't let me upload a pdf so each spread had to be made into a jpeg of a suitable size and then uploaded. Drag. That's why the font is so tiny, but you get the idea????

But it is all unimportant - the weather was perfect, food delicious, the company was spectacular (though one of us was missing and he was missed).

I want to post this because it is a sweet slice of our life and it makes me feel lucky indeed!