Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A glimpse into my studio

After many hours of sorting, tossing, donating and organizing my disastrous studio, it is finally done! It is kind of a busy, zany space...not like some of the studios I see that look like a spread from Martha Stewart's magazine. This space is full of my supplies, but also the artwork of many, many artists I have swapped work with over the years...most of whom I have never met! When I come in here now, I am inspired, not despairing over the mess. What a wonderful feeling!

Many thanks to the friends who help me get my happy place back to where it should be!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Fine Art of Fundraising

Hello, friends and family!

As some of you may know, over the last few years I have provided a stocked, open-air "art studio" at multiple festivals and events, free-of-charge to all attendees. It has allowed me to live my dream of making art available to those in the community who want to play and create, and to introduce new techniques and ideas to those wishing to learn. It has been a joy!

Alas, the EZ-Up canopy used to shelter the "art room" has suffered damage that has rendered it unusable, and we will need a replacement if Art For All is to continue. I wish I could do it alone...but I need your help!

For those who have enjoyed the Art Room in the past, and for those who believe in the value of the arts in our communities, this is a chance to express your support. I will continue to provide what supplies I can, but shelter is essential to this mission.

Each donor will receive a postcard print of one of my original photographs as a thank you. If you would like to contribute another way, prints of my photos taken at Schreiber's Farm in Oxford, CT over the years are available here: Proceeds from any sales there will also go toward this goal.

To donate, click on the "ChipIn" link below!

Many thanks to all who chose to help!

<3 love and blessings,

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaNoJouMo - the end of the beginning

Technically, today marks the end of National Nonstop Journaling Month, but it has become such a valuable way for me to dedicate time every day toward creative endeavors, I plan to continue at the same pace.

I have completed 10 2-page spreads this month, and have only 4 pages left in this Moleskine I have been working my way through for over two years. I am excited to crack open a fresh one in time for the new year!

My apologies for the less-than-sharp images...scanner is down and had to make do with camera...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Overheard in the Mental Cafeteria

I worry a bit that one day I will run out of ideas. That I will sit down with paper and pen and everything I try to create is something I have already done. I do have certain styles and colors, materials and themes I stick to more than others. Does this mean I am restricting ideas, if I limit myself to my "comfort zone"? Or will I feel more inhibited even if I push myself to go into unfamiliar territory, as though the lack of the familiar would cause some sort of creative freeze?

Maybe I should wait and see if that day without ideas ever actually dawns. It is very possible I am wasting a perfectly good worry on this.

Newest NaNoJouMo artjournal pages:

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

NaNoJouMo - evidence of creativity

SO glad I jumped onto the National Non-stop Journaling Month bandwagon; it has given me that little nudge each day to make room for creativity. I have been working in the evenings (after the kids are asleep,) and usually while sitting in bed. It has become a little treat I save for myself, and look forward to, this quiet and cozy arting and unwinding ritual. That being said, I want to blog quickly...since I want to climb into bed and get back to the fun! So, here are some of my latest pages...I am really digging the organic forms that unfurled from the fabric "wish pocket" (a gift from artist Glenda Miles that I wanted to incorporate into my journal in some way); I can see more of those forms happening in the future!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The journalling journey begins...

...sort of. I know this is supposed to be a low-pressure, don't try to do a whole page each time kind of deal, but four days in, and I have not even a 2 page spread complete. This frustrates me, because one of my favorite things to do is to SHARE what I have created, and right now, I have nothing new will instead settle for "recent". And soon, I am confident there will be NEW to share as well.

Who else wants to give this challenge a whirl? Dawn has some great prompts on her blog for days when you get "stuck"... you can read more about NaNoJouMo there.

Coming out of the fog of depression has been so rewarding this week, not just creatively, but here at home, where I find my energy is up, my focus is sharper, and my follow-through on ideas and projects is (though far from ideal) much improved. Today I cleaned out a whole closet! And installed new shelves! And storage cubes! So very proud of myself. :)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A fresh start, an old pattern, a new challenge.

Over a year. Really? Over a year since I blogged?Then again it feels like 10. It feels like multiple lifetimes.
It feels like a good time to start again.

This post may well be long. And it may tread into some dark territory. But I hope putting it out there helps me move forward, since that is what I want and need to do.
I found myself inspired over the weekend by the murmurings of my writer friends getting their engines revved for NaNoWriMo 2010. I toyed with the idea of giving it a shot, but had to reluctantly reign in my enthusiasm, which flew headlong (along with other plans) into the brick wall that yesterday showed itself to be. Well, not just yesterday. Most days. It seems like that, anyway.
My life is riddled with speed bumps, detours, roadblocks and washouts. I know it to be true, but have a hard time accepting it. I know that everyone travels a road fraught with trials and hardships, and I make no claim to have it harder than anyone else. I just know when it is hard for ME.
I have a difficult time looking these things in the eye, these things people know about me and my children, the things we wrestle with together...or alone. These things which I try to outrun, or grin-and-bear, or make light of, or crumble under. The neuro-psychological challenges that my sons, and myself, navigate with are not unique; the world is awash with others who live this sort of life. I just struggle to come to terms with it for myself. It's not what I wanted. It gets in the way of what I want. I am childishly furious about that, but feel ungracious if I say aloud.
Almost everyone has had a brush with families, or the headlines...or in their own body, their own mind.
Bipolar is a word that, if you throw it out there, can be a bit like a pinata. Bust it open, and you will see that all sorts of associations will fall out, for all kinds of people.

What phrases, what stories, what images fall at your feet when that word is manifested?

Passion. Fear. Danger. Drive. Creativity...

The friend who took their life. The girl at work who talks too much.
Recklessness. Loss. Imbalance. Delusion. The uncle with a gambling problem.
Confusion. Joy. Tragedy. Achievement. Frustration.

Your mother. Your neighbor.
Your cousin. Your spouse.
Hopelessness. Determination. Support.


Triumph.The published author. The prize winning athlete.
The young man at the homeless shelter, thanking you for the piece of cake you just served him.

Medication. Research. Doctors. Asylums.
Education. Therapy. Hope.
Your child.
It's a lot, isn't it? And just a sampling.

Truthfully, when my son was diagnosed 5 years ago, I was horrified and scared, mostly because I felt like I was suddenly driving my life-mobile with a blindfold on. Well-meaning people were saying "go left, go right, slow down, speed up!" ..and it was all I could do not to just STOP. But mom has to keep going; that's what mom does. She keeps going.

I have traveled through worlds since then. Special Education law, medication trials, social issues, family distress and crisis; the members of our little clan were like emotional refugees, blindsided by the reality of a brutal mental-health war right in our home. We have come a long way; the smoke has cleared, but we are not fooled. The battles continue.

In all my travels through the unpredictable landscape of mental illness, the hardest thing for me to make peace with is my own diagnosis, which came a year after my son's. I am open about it; I tell almost everyone. I think this is a defense thing that I do; I let people know up front, perhaps thinking I can demonstrate that "bipolar" does not mean deranged, shifty, hyper, or delusional -- at least, not in my case. I also think it is perhaps an apology in advance for anything I may do that is less than thoughtful. I am painfully aware that I talk far too much, but I also know that the drive to keep talking is often greater than the awareness of the need to shut the hell up for a while. My friends put up with a lot.
I love my friends for this; they accept me in all my forms, and support me in all my struggles. I keep a lot to myself, however, when the depression comes, because I don't want to scare them away. And the depression arrived several weeks ago, full- on, like a horrific house guest that forced its way through the door and flopped its massive weight down on my shoulders. I maneuvered with difficulty through the day despite it, because...well.. I had to. It was impossible to hide after a while: it hung around me like a toxic smog, making everyone miserable. It moaned and groaned in my ear, it cursed and hurled insults at me. It refused to budge. It demanded attention, then wanted to be left alone. It told me not to answer the phone. To cancel appointments. It slowly took over, until I was in some kind of state of paralysis: I felt dull, disconnected, tired, lost, defeated. I had been robbed of my real self, and had no idea how to get back.

When you are in that place, the last thing you want to hear is that you are no longer getting it right. You spend so much effort trying to hold up a mask of competence and functionality that when someone calls your bluff, and suggests you need help, you resent them for being critical, judging you in all your brokenness, pointing out the total cave-in your authentic self has suffered. How dare they!
The people who have the balls to step up and tell you point-blank that you need help are either just such assholes...or they love you an extraordinary amount. They will say it over and over until you hear it. Shame and fear and self-loathing and disappointment and frustration will try to drown it out, but still they will confront you. And if you finally start to listen, if you can hear the love through all that can start to move forward again.

I spin brutal storms when I am turned around by my topsy-turvy chemistry, and everyone in my wake, everyone I love, is caught in the fallout. But the people who love me pluck me from the wreckage, over and over, year after year. And I try again.

So.So now I am no longer drowning; my medications have been adjusted and I have been stabilized; my life-mobile just needed it's wheels aligned. Which is why it seems like a good time for a fresh start. A jump back into the blogosphere. And a new challenge.

Today I discovered there is a NaNoJouMo, a challenge to journal daily. I am an avid art journalist, so I am all over this. I will need to catch up a bit, as I am two days behind...but I am ready to jump in. Between the blog and the journaling, I am hoping to keep track of myself better, and encourage my authentic self to come out into the light.