The sky is a hazy-almost smog like today. A fog. Steam billows from the kettle. Time to make a second cup of coffee. Sometimes I feel I can’t bare another day without painting and writing in my studio. Paintings lean up against my press. I need my press to start my next major project. I have a list of obstacles before I can really get going on my new book. My studio. It’s too messy to begin a new project, a vision I’m 100% clear on. I need to put away my new paintings from my recent show, hang some and store some. I need to mask the remnants of my last series. (I need to mail GAP frags). Get fresh plexi glass from Tap Plastic. Those are the primary obstacles. The other obstacle is office work. I have been promoting Nap Time Paintings; created a sell sheet that I’m proud of, stuffed, stamped, wrote cover letters for 170 so far. I even sent some books to a few of my favorite books stores. It’s been fun, but I miss my free style creative time. My coffee is done. It’s so good. I’m half way done with it already. What Art can I do with 40 minutes left? I could fit in the last 42 cover letters for my packets that are stamped and ready to go. But that’s not very creative. I need more time!
It’s interesting how time and place can bring up memories. I read once that the body remembers things; it internalizes things that stick deep inside. My daughter was born with hearing loss, and just after Jack and Fiona were born, I went to a family support group at Early Start, an early intervention program for parents of children who are deaf and hearing-impaired. I remember when I talked to the group at Early Start, I was very emotional. I stood up, bouncing Fiona; I was holding her in a blue baby wrap I wore, trying to get her to fall asleep, and Jack was asleep in a Pack n’ Play. I told the women in the group about everything; told them about Christopher, a baby I had when I was fifteen who died when he was only six months old, and my whole fertility story. I remember feeling so fragile and raw. I had never confronted those experiences of birth and babies. I internalized so much pain about my reproductive system; I remember thinking, when Jack and Fiona were a few months old, I had uterine cancer. I made the doctors run a bunch of tests. I thought for sure there must be something wrong with me. There must be a reason my body rejected a baby, wouldn’t get pregnant. I carried these feelings for so long. This year, as Jack and Fiona turn four years old, I feel whole again, not broken. It sounds like I’m saying having children has healed my wounds, but with time, I’m sure I would have healed through my art, even if I hadn’t had kids.
It’s a strange thing to be working on my book about my life ten years ago, examining my experience trying to have kids, looking back on my marriage, as my almost four-year-old son runs in to tell me My Little Ponies on! Thinking back on my time to “Think” back then, now I have none. I suppose if I woke up at 4:00AM in the morning I would have a couple hours. And I know all the parents reading this are thinking, “It gets easier” and I know this. It goes in waves, Nap Time was glorious, I had guaranteed time to write and paint and think. It’s been a hard road since then, no down time. I realize how fast this four years has gone, and even when I look back at my life since marriage it’s gone lightning fast. Yes, Jack and Fiona will be in primary school in a couple years and I know that is the beginning of them pulling away from me. It doesn’t change the moments in between, the loss of quality time for my marriage, and my head always on the verge of exploding. The questions and needs of Jack and Fiona are intense, non-stop. Sometimes I have to tell them “STOP” to nothing they are doing in particular, I just want them to stay still for one minute. But they keep going and going non-stop until night when they pass out. We are going through a period of extreme silliness and potty talk. Yesterday after preschool I decided to get them ice cream while I had my lunch, to sit outside in the plaza. I couldn’t talk to them because it was-poop-diarrhea-pee talk to everything. It’s just a phase, but it’s not fun to me. They are adorable kids, especially one on one it’s much nicer. Jack just asked me to put on his shoes, he’s naked and wants to chase Fiona. I guess I don’t have much of a silly side.
It’s a windy, rainy Sunday morning, the ground is covered in orange, sky grey. I am missing my studio, it’s been two weeks since I’ve worked in there. I’ve been so busy with my show and book, and tired, I haven’t had a chance and it’s starting to catch up on me. I’ve snuck down to my room to write; Jack and Fiona are upstairs watching a show and Alan just got up to have his own breakfast. They will be coming to look for me soon. I’m excited to start my new project, my new series of paintings, drawings, and writings for my next book. I have some interesting ideas now that I’ve had some experience in the book publishing/ book creating world. I want to work this time with a conversation between the stories/writings/essays and the artwork. A back and forth, in the same way when I started having a conversation between the two opposite pages in my notebooks. A written word/ visual play, like the way children’s books are put together. I also was thinking about writing some children’s books. There are stories not being told, the children’s books seem to rehash the same messages repeatedly. I have lots of ideas, but now I have no seed money! I’ve been obsessively wondering how many books sold over the weekend? And I am HOPING I sell a few paintings at my show! I need to make some cash for my next set of projects! I think I am going to take Billy on an adventure walk now in the storm, see what’s happening out there, get all wet and muddy and come home to take a hot shower!
To interact, that is one of the reasons I write and make art. To communicate. To express myself. The internet helps me connect with the world. People make fun of social media and call it dumb, but it allows me to share my thoughts, my paintings, myself, with the world. To find shared experiences. What would I be with out the books I’ve read, the people I’ve known, I’ve always wanted that. I’ve always searched for that connectedness. I listened to a woman on the news last night, talking about net neutrality, which is protecting the rights of peoples right to information. Keeping the internet equal for all, allowing everyone equal access no matter where they live and how much money they have. Free internet at the library. I just finished publishing my new book, “Nap Time Paintings, Thoughts on Motherhood Through the Eyes of an Artist”. I am so happy with the cover, it is beautiful. I am sure it will read beautifully now, after revising it so many times. And my art works shines in the book. I decided to really give my book its own identity, apart from my art career, I started a new Facebook page for my book and had to write about why people should click on my new link. I talked about what I’m writing, had to express why people should read what I’m writing. I though about why I like reading. I like hearing other people stories and experiences. I like being inspired to paint and to be a better mom and human being. I like feeling connected to people in that way. It makes me feel things I wouldn’t normally feel. It gives me hope. I love reading. I love looking at Art. By having my book accessible in places where there are no galleries or museums, or where cost prohibits people to go visit places with fine art, an art book, my book can allow more people to view abstract, contemporary, strong, interesting art. At the Fourth Wall Gallery we talk about the Democracy of Fine Art all the time. Fine Art should be accessible to more people. It shouldn’t all be outrageously priced. I guess the internet for me, sharing my work on line and in galleries, writing my blog, and self-publishing my book is about democracy. Net- Neutrality is a MUST! The book feels different than the painting. I started wondering the other day if writing about what I write about is self-indulgent? “Indulging one’s own desires, passions, whims., especially without restraint.” Dictionary.com. I am indulging in my desire to paint and write, it’s my passion, my whole art practice is about restraint vs. indulgence.
Myanmar Refugees, earthquake and hurricane victims stain my paper. Ghosts. Shadows illuminated by the sparkly Autumn light. The world is a cruel place. Studio, Children; sanctuaries; escapes into creativity. In the morning, while we are waiting for the bus, Fiona hands me a little cream-colored kitty cat. She has all her little stuffed animals. “let’s go to grandpas” she says. “O.K.” I say. We walk the teddies as we crawl across the driveway. Fiona’s tights get dried leaves all over them. Jacks upstairs, I get this moment alone with Fiona in our magical space. She sees her shadow, makes it grow and shrink. She gets on the bus for school, I wave good bye.
In my studio Ghosts grow. Marks, drips and drops. My time goes by way too fast. Studio days, gone for the week. Today I sat on the deck taking a break from the studio. I remember sitting in the same place, or in the back yard. Listening to Blue Jays and crows, just like today. Having the luxury of time, so much time for the studio. I could keep working non-stop. Now time is precious, both time in the studio and time with my family. It’s good to have restraints, balance. Responsibility.
Daisy Flowers. I love when Jack says those words. We went to hunt for wildflowers yesterday. Up a hill off Lucas Valley. Yellows covered the hillside like I’ve never seen before. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Wind blowing. “I’m cold” says Fiona. I dressed her in pants in the morning before school; she wanted to wear a little pair of white shorts with a pink bow we pulled out of the summer drawer last night for pajamas. “We’re going hiking, I don’t think you should, keep your pants on. “I say. But it’s too late, she already has her pants half off, trying to get them over her thick Keen sandals. “Let me help you” I say. On the hill, I hand her Jacks green and yellow thick plaid shirt from out of my backpack. She has me button it to the top; it’s so hip pared with her flower skorts, navy blue keens, beaded necklace, (she made herself) and short haircut. Which I often have to explain to the little boys at the park that she is a girl and girls have short haircuts too, in fact all the best super hero girls have short hair! Then I explain “What’s in her ears?” when they ask that next. “Her hearing aids” I say. I should add a fantastic story about them being part of her super hero status. I sit on the hillside watching the children, Jack, Fiona, and Valentina have the best time of their life. There is a small, trickling stream that turned into the softest, throwable, mud as the kids play in it. Jack and Fiona both say they want to go home and take a shower more than once, but immediately run back in the mud and stomp and laugh. “I love mud” Jack says. I take it all in. A dream come true. Heaven. Today I am able to work in my studio and go to yoga, where I find my pelvic floor. It is the strangest thing: I studied all about the pelvic floor, hip, internal organs, spine connection last night, then today I go to Yoga and the whole class is about what I had studied the night before. This made my yoga workout today extremely intense focusing on breath and proper alignment and which muscles to engage (instead of being on auto pilot). It was pure serendipity! Spring is bringing me a bounty of inspiration and intuition. My alone time is coming to an end now though. I certainly haven’t gotten enough of it lately. But I appreciate all the time I do get to be alone creating! Namaste.