Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Learning to Love Myself--and Be Patient with the Process

86) Vivian of Colonel Hudson's Famous Kitchen

A Valentine to myself…I feel my systems not consistently supporting my will, my fears not consistently supporting my happiness, or should it be “contentment?” We inherit genetic material and an upbringing that conspire to make us who we seem to be. I am gradually banishing my Calvinist thinking, and taking whatever time I need in order to cogitate and create…and lie on the couch with a novel to rest after a walk for exercise, seeing, smelling. I had been struggling with work that supported me, but didn’t feed who I perceive myself to be. I chose time over money, and now I am spending my time.

Nude in Chair. acrylic and pen on mattboard

MOMENTS OF PURE JOY (one of my previous books) essays and paintings about my need to celebrate. No one died regretting taking time to enjoy the smell of an apple/bacon/blue cheese pie baking; blue sky, blue Strait, white ships and Canada out the front window; a painting in progress, even if it is still a struggle; anticipation of a friend coming for lunch.

Experimenting with more large mixed media stuff

On Brain Pickings this Sunday, Kate Keffery explains how aging and death make way for slightly more evolved genetic material…right now I want to demonstrate to myself the advantage of my maturity of thought and vision and eye/hand coordination for another 15 years or so. I have earned…and lucked into the opportunity to do nothing but eat, sleep, and eliminate…and I’ve eliminated a lot of previously appealing activities. The right to do nothing turns out not to be what I want…never has been…but today I was sitting in my most comfortable bent-wood rocker, in the sun, looking at a book of Alice Neel portraits, reading quotes about her focused desire to draw and paint, and I realized that no matter how Impatient I may become, I MUST continue with this prickly process of reading, looking, drawing, writing, painting, sculpting, thinking, being patient, and working to see what will Emerge. Art is Work…and it is the work I want to do!

Slow progress

The luxury I have purchased for myself by retiring from health care at 67 instead of 70, is the time to work slowly, but persistently. See other activities and ideas at my other blog: and my three FaceBook pages: 

And my website, where you can purchase my books, and eventually ebooks, and order your own portrait painted:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

MY Groove

I just have to sit with 
myself and be patient. 
I’m getting into the groove, MY groove—no one 
else’s. Patience, and I 
AM putting out work. I 
wish I’d taken process 
photos of painting the sculpture, went from 
dead white to stripes of mixed interference 
purple and peach, to covering the whole 
thing with a watered 
down peach/purple glaze 
to stroking with chalk in 
red, turquoise, tan, and smearing…It looks like something made of stone, sort of…well, Enough. 

Joy that I can now throw away OT emails with only a second’s thought—it’s getting easier to put the health care job behind me, but I see that already, a few weeks from 67, I get tired more quickly than I used to. Switching activities frequently and taking breaks to lie down and read are necessary…but remember, I don’t have to make a living now…I’ve already done that, and saved enough. I may not become renowned, but I am happier. Patience with myself, and following my instincts to jettison anything that doesn’t feel sufficiently important, even when I wonder if there will be anything left at all. Trusting my instincts has always been my path.

My Honda Fit in David and Brian's Driveway Sunday Morning

Threading needles is becoming challenging again…need bigger eyes, brighter lights…worry about losing independence. I see women much younger than I am selling their "inspiring" aging stories online, and I rebel. I will be grumpy and happy...and not claim to have anyone else's answers.

Mosaic in Port Townsend

 Small trips: Ferry gliding always more quickly and apparently effortlessly than I anticipate. The lythe young woman getting into the passenger seat of the car next to mine. A stylishly cut yellow-green wool coat, knee-high brown leather boots. Artfully-colored hair beyond her shoulders. Polished. The car is a silver Toyota Rava with an Early-Success man at the wheel waiting to share the coffee and Danish she sets on the roof as she glides in.

Sun and Gray in Port Townsend, but NO Snow!

The Mountains to southeast...not sure which ones...all these fingers of water

My first solo trip to Artist and Craftsman Supply in Seattle…I’ve made enough money selling portraits to stock up on 18” x 18” canvases and black, two shades of blue, white acrylic, some media,  pens for cartooning. I made it to David and Brian’s house in Shoreline, with what felt like a couple of near misses, “I’m from out of town” hands in air, and some “Re Calculating” in that annoyed tone the GPS gets when I can’t tell which choice she means….good thing it’s not a man’s voice.

Soup Starter at Banana Leaf

David drives when we’re together, but if I’d known it was going to snow four inches in three hours, I’d have insisted on taking my Fit with the Studs…much slippage from other cars on the road, abandoned cars, and no sign of plows or preparation from the city. We had to leave both David’s and Brian’s car and walk the rest of the way in snow glitter. The dog enjoyed it.

I got out Sunday morning, through still-unplowed slush--couldn't wait to get home... 
running home in time of crisis…I guess that means this Northwestern Peninsula town is really HOME, after 8.5 years here. How do we define HOME…our safe place? I hug my self. Made myself the same apple Roquefort pie recipe David was making in Shoreline…not as pretty…I don’t like following recipes, so my baking is uneven. David has been taking all kinds of cooking classes, the latest, pie. He says he has the soul of a Fifties housewife...Brian is one lucky guy!

Banana Leaf shrimp with fried egg and crab...YUM!

Monday morning I awoke to pounding rain, nixing my plan to go and see a movie I’d latched onto in Port Townsend. I hadn’t stopped as planned in my rush to be home and safe from Seattle the day before. By the time I’d wrapped the packages to ship and paid the bills—good to have some concrete things to accomplish each day—there was brilliant sun, and I reminded myself, not for the first time, that most of my Obligations now are tasks I create, and it makes sense to go with the weather and the opportunity, while my opportunities are still broad.

North Beach, lovely light, righteous rocks

Happy that I didn’t move to Port Townsend as planned in the Eighties, because it wouldn’t be such a treat to visit if I lived there. I had a house all rented, but wasn’t ready to make the break with the East Coast…and now I’m Home here. My perfect birthday has become a trip to PT, the beach, William James Book Sellers (5 varied volumes for $51.50), a special meal, and a movie in the Rose Theater.

The new Starlight Theater at the Rose

I’d become fixated several months ago on seeing The Great Beauty, and it was exquisite, with Roma  as a main character, and a message to me about the importance of continuing to make Art even though life is meaningless. An extra treat was seeing it in the Starlight Room, a new adult viewing area over Silverlight Café, next door to the Rose, with a mélange of cozy chairs, cushions, chandielliers, and popcorn in cut glass bowls. Life can be Drama (in the best sense)…if only we make it so. It was a perfect day…and home to book group.

Participating in the Movie Ambiance

And so you’ll know I’m not neglecting my Art work…as Milton Glaser says, “Art is Work.” But this is the work I love.