Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Making Art and Helping Our Aging Parents

I'm not sure exactly how these two topics are going to merge, but I think they might.

 I spent one evening with my paints and canvases all over my kitchen table and counters, exploring myself and my process.  This is not usually a comfortable process as most artists know.  I can say this because I found confirmation that I am not alone in this recently in my local Barnes and Noble searching for inspiration.  I found it in the form of a book entitled "Art & fear - Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking," by David Bayles and Ted Orland.

Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking: Bayles, David and Orland, Ted

It felt like one of those strokes of divine and magical inspiration when it landed in my hands... on the artistic struggle.

I was feeling sad when I left her yesterday.  I felt like she is going down hill.  She was lying on the sofa when we got there.  She has been lying down several times lately when we got there.  I don't think I ever remember seeing her lie down during the day.  I have often been over in the last few months and she would be sitting on the sofa sleeping, but never lying down.  She says she falls asleep every time she sits down.  My son agrees.  She has lost 9 pounds since she got sick. I cried on the way home, and voiced my concerns to my coworkers today, and asked them to pray for her and by the time we spoke around noon (mom and I), she sounded like her old self.  She said she had eaten, and wasn't satisfied and had eaten more.  She slept good all night long and didn't even hear her alarm.  She really sounded wonderful.  So, I guess maybe she'll be okay, for a while longer.  Although she'll probably have some bad days before she's really "back."  And, yes, I know she won't ever really be "back." 

I'm really going to have a bad time with this.  We have had some terrible times, but we've also had some good ones.  She is very important to me, probably too much so, I know.  She's going to leave a big hole in my life.  She has helped me raise my son and I couldn't have done it without her. I wish I could have healed faster.  I never felt like enough: mature enough, responsible enough, whatever, fill in the blank, and not because I haven't tried.  I've come to believe I really have done the best I could.  I love her very much, even though I also can't stand her a lot of the time. 

All this, with the knowledge that she could possibly outlive us all. 

Sometimes I think I'm PMS, even though I haven't had a period in at least 12 years.  This might be one of those blogs I should only send to myself. I'm working on letting myself be more vulnerable, transparent, and communicative.  So, here I am, in a puddle.

Please don't feel like you need to even respond, it just feels good to know you're there, reading.  And, I hope it doesn't upset you. I know we are "supposed" to be a light and uplift... maybe that's where the art comes in.  This weekend will be my second "Whole-Hearted Art" workshop for Cancer survivors.  I'm thinking we should do a workshop for Life Survivors... for those of us who are still here. 

So, we sit at a table and make art out of books and magazines that were destined for recycling.  Kind of the way we are making art out of lives that are destined for ... light?

Soul Food Workshop Win! Yay me!

I'm posting this because it's been sooooooo loooooong since I won anything, let alone something I wanted... well.  My luck has changed.  Sweet! More about the upcoming workshop here

This one of Mystele's.  Isn't it beautiful!  I can't wait. 

The First Whole-Hearted Art Workshop Follow-Up

Time for reflection, follow up, decompression.  It was #1... the first of it's kind-by-me, Whole-Hearted Art workshop.

First, I must admit to some pretty uncomfortable feelings.  (Is it a southern-thing to use the word "pretty" to mean a certain quantity or type of something?)  I was humbled by the burden and pain several of the Cancer survivors/attendees were dealing with, maybe all of them, but a couple shared some details that would have put the average person in the dirt.  These women were no average people.  The strength and determination, and heart of the human being is so blinking enormous.  I'm in awe.  I don't know what I may have been able to offer them that will help, I introduced them to what I know, which seemed to pale in comparison to what they were dealing with.  What they gave me was huge.  They showed up, they jumped in, they made a page or a spread in an altered book.  They began, probably their first, art journal.

I realized later, I could have given better art instruction.  I really wanted to share Real Love with them, so I focused mainly on communicating some basics about that.  I can also see now that I was too focused on what I was trying to say, and not really connecting as much as I'd have like with each person.

So, maybe going forward, I'd like to read some from the Real Love books, in a more comfortable setting, like a living room set up... big comfy couches and a comfortable floor to sit on, and later move more into tables set up for art for the altered books.  I intend to do some follow up this week, in order to really connect with the women who were there, and get there take on whether they'd be interested in more information and/or more art workshops.

So, all in all, I guess it was a success.  I did it.  I faced my fears.  I started with an idea and followed through.  I realized my fears, flaws and shortcomings.  I appreciate my own relatively pain-free, healthy existence.  I appreciate the burdens that others are carrying.  More and more daily, I guess I'm believing that we really don't know what others around us are going through, you can't judge a book by it's cover.  I guess that would be a good analogy to pursue, altering books, like our lives are altered, making conscious choices what to cover with gesso, and what to write in them.  What catchy slogans and quotes motivate us to go on when the going gets tough... what inspires us.  How do we become the person we want to be, the one we came here to become, the one that got squashed growing up.  Who are we?  Who do we want to be?  Do we really all just want to be loved?  Do we even recognize it when it's there right in front of us?  Lots of questions.  The answers, hopefully, are in the journey.