I wanted to stop by and share a story and some pics about some recent inspiration. A few weeks ago Ren and I took a trip to the Joslyn Art Museum, which was really fun for both of us. We spent most of the morning in the Art Exploration area and checking out tunnels and water fountains, but after lunch we did a stroll through a few of the exhibits and I found myself really drawn to the large landscape paintings.
It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with tree lines and pines, but I’ve never really been excited by the Hudson River School style paintings until recently (check out the link to the left for some samples). In school I would have told you that I respected them, but that they just weren’t “my thing.” I thought they were too realistic, too precise… not the sort of images that got my attention.
Just keep in mind, at that time coffee also wasn’t “my thing.” How times change. Ha. Years later, I see an entirely different type of magic in the immensity of the scenes and the constant play with light and shadow. When I taught American Literature we read “Rip Van Winkle” every year and these paintings take me back into stories like that - the harsh reality of colonists carving out a life in the mountains, but coupled with a playful fantasy of being in such an immense place and really having no idea what or who else is out there. It had to feel a little like landing on a new planet. Now when I look at these paintings I see all of that in addition to the paint and it’s just really exciting. And the shadows are incredible - that’s just something I’ll never get over.
After a lot of browsing and all of the patience the average two-year old could muster, I stopped in the gift shop and picked up these two postcards. I have been staring at them on my table ever since. The week we went I was already having a lovefest with my indigo watercolor paint, so these two just drew me in. Obviously I’m not remotely looking to recreate scenes like this, but I’ve enjoyed thinking about the way they used light and shadow and trying to experiment with how I use fog and steam when I work through pine tree scenes.
I love the Carved Out Time for Art feed on Instagram and the minute I saw the post about choosing a word for the year I knew I wanted to find one. I hadn’t made any specific resolutions for the new year and having a word seemed much more real to me – and something I could hold myself to for the long haul (and easier than saying “less chocolate” and breaking that 5 minutes later. I’m pregnant. All I want is chocolate).
But picking one word is hard! It took me a long time (it’s mid February…) to choose. I knew what I wanted it to mean and have sort of been embracing the idea behind it, but wasn’t sure about ONE word that fit. I’ve finally settled on INTENTION. This word fits the goals and thoughts I have about all of the aspects of my life: art, motherhood, marriage, home, friendship – you name it.
Particularly on the art front, working with intention is an important goal for me. I have made some big plans for expanding my work and markets, and all of these require focus. Having intention for my studio/office time is crucial. Even more importantly, I want to approach painting with intention. This means making more art, more often, with more thought. I don’t mean to take the spontaneity or fluidity out of painting; that’s part of the excitement of standing in front of a blank canvas or letting the paints or mood guide my actions. I just mean that I want to work on my craft more, engaging more in the process rather than the product, and letting myself completely commit to new ideas. This isn’t easy for me – distractions are always around and my mood or energy level can definitely get in the way, but I’m trying to hold myself to the intentions I have and keep working.
As far as the rest of my life, living with intention means making my actions purposeful. I’ve been trying to increase this at home and I feel like it’s causing me to slow down and process things more. I’m starting my days differently and allowing time for small motions that I’d never really planned out. I’m enjoying simple actions like making coffee, writing letters, and watering plants, rather than trying to cram these things in without thinking about them. It’s nice to feel present and unhurried. I’m a natural “good intentions” person with a lot of ideas about things I can make, fix, do for others, or even logically maintain in a normal day, so I’m bound to fail regularly, but I think starting slowly and committing to some small intentions is a good beginning.
I’m hoping that being intentional with my actions will continue to help me be a more present mom. I want my time with Ren to be just about us and to not always be preoccupied with to-dos running through my mind. So far it has been a really good start. Obviously we still have A LOT of chaos (he’s two. I’m me). My intentions are always at the whim of his very strong opinions and my own forgetfulness/laziness/avoidance, but it’s something I’m excited to keep working on. There’s no way this can be bad for either of us.
I hope you see my successes reflected in my work. I think you will. It’s nice to have this one word idea to keep reenergizing me each day. I’d encourage you to participate and if you do, I’d love to hear what you decide to use as your word!
One of my small “intention” projects for my studio has been to make some watercolor swatches to show the shades of different brands. This was surprisingly therapeutic, and something I should have done a long, long time ago. It will help me be more aware of my options as I paint and hopefully broaden my use of colors.
I think nearly every post I make on this blog has a “wow, where has time gone…” theme. Again, WHERE DID THE END OF SUMMER GO? Well, it went to a lot of fun things around here, actually - farmers market weekends, trips to the zoo, baseball excitement, a 10-year anniversary getaway to Asheville for mom and dad and a funfilled few days with G&G DeVrieze for Ren, a Thomas the Train adventure with G &G Pearson, and recently pumpkin extravaganza around here. Now the fall is flying by with frightening speed and I’m stopping in to make a few shop announcements.
I am thrilled to share that I’ll be part of two Holiday Markets so far -
the Habdash Market on November 13th and the Handmade Omaha Market on
November 26/27th. These are both great events filled with local artisans
and perfect holiday gifts for your loved ones. Please stop by my
Facebook page to see the shared events.
Also, I have been a painting machine lately and I am planning a small
painting release on October 30th. I haven’t set the time yet, but I’ll
be posting updates on both Facebook and Instagram (IG is my love, so
please follow me there if you want the most updates). Thanks as always for your support and HAPPY, blustery, beautiful, wonderful FALL!