I start by picking up paints, drawings, stamps, brushes, from this week, when, I brought Fiona into my studio to paint. I gave her my giant piece of charcoal; look you can do it like this (flat on its side to make huge lines) or on the edge (to make skinny lines) and yes, it gets all over your hands and makes you really dirty! But you can make handprints and smear it. I love charcoal. Her little feet and bottoms of her pajamas getting all dirty. Jack only wants to turn the wheel on my press, I say no. He investigates the garage, tools left out, nails and screws. Today I am by myself. It is is the first day I get to work in my studio, in what feels like forever. I feel outside myself. I start on my “notebooks”, glue cropped paintings onto each open page on the floor. They are mysterious in their simplicity, instead of working more on them I decide to leave them as is for now. I want to work slow and methodical this year. Slow down. Yesterday the sun came out for a few hours. Jack, Fiona, and I sat outside in the back yard. The warmth felt so luscious. Look, a first bee. Jack and Fiona come close. I study its delicate wings, soft looking body. What’s it doing? It’s looking for food, says Fiona. We see a fly, it’s going to be an early spring, I imagine, not really knowing. When I woke up in the morning I saw dozens of Yellow finches covering every inch of the bare branched fig tree. We filled the bird feeders and spread bird seed all over the yard yesterday. We saw a male and female deer walking slowly on the hillside. The grass is bright green. So much loveliness right in the backyard. I want to make art inspired by the way nature displays itself to us. By the slow gathering of food. I wash, fold, and put away the biggest pile of laundry the other day. I sit on my pranayama cushion and treat it as a meditation. It feels good to have every piece of laundry put in its place. To sit and start and finish a task. I had to refold many times because Jack and Fiona thought it was fun to play in the laundry bin with the clean folded clothes. I have to change my tactic, put away as I go. I’m not going to react to the news I hear on the radio today, not the shooting at the airport, not the news of our new American government. I feel. I am distracted by it. I will try to distance myself. I take my dog for a walk while my pieces I start first dry. Creeks are running, the air is fresh and cool. Now back in my studio I mix my first color, white and burnt umber. I start to paint. I’m feeling more present. The violent world starts to fade. My body starts to feel better again. I have two hours to paint. I have new books for me and new books of poetry for Jack and Fiona for the rainy weekend ahead.