What’s going on around here:
I think this might be more of a brain-dump kinda post than my usual “Around Here” posts.
On Blogging/Online Journaling…
I really want to update this blog more, but I always sort of put it off because I feel like the posts have to follow a specific format, or be about *something* rather than me blathering about what’s going on or what I’m thinking about.
However, I recently read an article about the health benefits of journaling- not only for emotional health, but also for PHYSICAL health. Apparently, it has been shown to help alleviate stress, which helps relax the body, especially if there is muscle tension and nerve pain. My pain levels have gone up recently- it’s mostly due to a pinched nerve in my back that makes my arms and hands ache, especially in the middle of the night. I’m pretty good at tolerating pain, but stress definitely exacerbates it, so I have been hurting lately. Because of my spinal stuff (I was born with Spina Bifida, which is a neurological disease that effects the spine, as well as the nerves and muscles and bones throughout the body), whenever I tense up, it makes whatever aches and pains I have worse. If I can keep the stress and anxiety down, I can alleviate some of the pain.
So, if regular journaling can help, I want to give it a try. Which is great.
…but then I get weird about coming here and just letting off steam sometimes, because it feels super negative and usually those feelings pass after a good night’s sleep. But then I try and remember that this journal (which is what this website started out as- an online journal/diary I kept in graduate school, way back in 1997) is ultimately both a place to document my life – the ups and downs- and a place to work stuff out. So while it’s become a forum for art and creativity and quotes and whatever else, it’s still ultimately my outlet. And it’s okay to use it as that.
You may know we have three parrots – two tiny parrotlets (smaller than parakeets), and a “normal” sized parrot, a Caique named Winnie. Winnie is amazing and sweet and funny and very, very busy. She spends all day chattering and whistling and playing with pretty much anything and everything in her cage when we’re not around and when we are around, she’s interacting with us. She’s a big cuddler- she loves to sort of get into our hands and nestle against us and attempt to groom us and have us pet and scritch her.
Sunday evening we noticed she was being weird about her cage- instead of climbing all over as she usually does, hopping from her branches to her rope perches and everywhere in between, she was just sort of sticking to climbing up and down the side. I thought something in her cage was spooking her, and tried to figure it out, but couldn’t come up with anything. She was eating and talking and pooping and drinking water, so we just kept an eye on her.
Yesterday morning she was acting strange- just not eating or behaving right and she wouldn’t come to us. So Tom called our avian vet practice (which is in Miami, two plus hour away) and they said to bring her right over. So he got right in the car and drove her over there.
Her exam went well, and they took blood and stool samples, and everything looked okay. The doctor said she felt a bit warm and so he sent her home with some anti-biotics and instructions to keep an eye on her.
So the next few days, we’ll be doing that. After the last few years, with Delilah’s passing and Ginger’s back issues (she’s still in isolation in her own room because of her restricted diet and the fact the other cats stress her out) and Milo eating a string and being hospitalized for it… I was just really happy and relieved that Winnie was able to come back home yesterday and we’re able to keep an eye on her here. I just hope it clears up quickly and she feels better. My heart hurts when this stuff happens, even if it turns out to be no big deal. The pets are a really huge and important part of our life, definitely full-fledged members of our little family. When they get ill, and they can’t tell you what’s wrong and you have to depend on vets to interpret it and then give you good or bad news… well, it takes lot out of you.
But it also reminds you what’s really important. Whenever stuff like this happens, it definitely puts everything else into perspective, and all the “unnecessary” stuff instantly falls away.
… which might be why I have been reconsidering The 100 Days Project.
I did the first two weeks of The 100 Days Project. I spent some time every day working on something related to watercolor, posted my snapshots on Instagram, etc.
This past week was so hectic, though, that I just didn’t *feel* like making myself do anything when Sunday rolled around. When I finally had a chance to get into the studio, which was early evening, I willingly gave myself the day off- when I started the project, one of my personal rules was that the 100 days would not be consecutive, because I knew it would be impossible.
I gotta tell you, that day off from the project felt exquisite. Just coming into my studio in the early evening and not having anything I *had* to do felt amazing. I decided to pull out Gracie’s scrapbook and work on that while I watched Outlander and drank a cup of Mambo tea and had a lovely hour or two just doing that- trimming photos, sticking stickers, looking at pretty paper, and watching my MacBook screen. It felt like a little vacation, almost. I realized I hadn’t felt that relaxed in weeks.
I also realized I want to feel more relaxed in my free time. I don’t want to spend my down time feeling tense, like there is a deadline looming every single day.
Another issue is that I really haven’t done anything creative *but* the 100 Days project in the last two weeks. So while I am super excited about being interested in watercolors again, and not having any hesitation in using them (if I go too long not using a certain medium/material, I sort of forget how to use them and get really hesitant to pull it out because it seems like it requires so much more energy than just taking out something – like acrylic paints – that I am sort of old hat with…) and have already discovered a bunch of new techniques and stuff just from the fourteen days of the project, watercolor isn’t the *only* creative thing I want to be doing.
I haven’t really painted on my canvas or done much of anything else (writing, scrapbooking, even reading blogs or going on Facebook or stuff like that) in the last two weeks. And that aspect of the project made me incredibly grumpy.
As I’ve said a thousand times, as I KNOW this to be true about myself : I am NOT a speedy artist. I take forever and a day to do something that might take another artist a few minutes.
A lot of it is probably due to fine motor control and coding issues – I have a few neurological things because of the Spina Bifida. I got assessed when I was younger and my handwriting wasn’t happening- the tests showed that I see things, process them immediately, but it takes a while for my body to respond to the messages my brain are sending out, such as “write the letter ‘A'”. So often something that might take someone a microsecond takes me a lot longer. Writing (by hand) takes an insanely long time for me. Painting, drawing, etc. So anything that I do with my hands is like it’s on a time-delay, which I am used to, but I’m starting to realize how it might effect the way I make art, and that “quick projects” don’t really ever happen for me.
Also, I am indecisive. I take a long time to make even the smallest decisions. I spend a lot of time considering things- composition, color, shapes, patterns… and that’s just how I am. So while normally this 100 days project stuff might take another artist fifteen minutes, it’s something that takes me an hour or two, even for really simple ideas and “play”.
Since I don’t have much free time to begin with, the fact that this project is taking all that time, plus time away from stuff outside of the art studio, makes it an issue.
I have been agonizing over it a bit, trying to figure out what to do. I want to see the challenge through, and I can see it through. In fact, it would be very easy to just put everything else aside (my acrylic painting, scrapbooking, writing, blogging, etc.) and just focus on that for the next 80 days. (Actually, this would be an excellent summer project. Seriously.) But I don’t want to do that right at this moment- I worked so hard to make acrylic painting a regular part of my life and it brings me a lot of joy. I know if I put it aside for 86 more days, it won’t be easy to start up again.
So I thought about making acrylic painting part of the 100 day project, but it didn’t feel right.
My goal with this project was to get comfortable using some of the supplies I filed away while I was taking Bloom True and then spending months doing acrylic painting on canvas. And that’s happened already, just in 14 days. I got permission to put aside my painting and grab my watercolors and play.
I also thought it would be neat to have a little journal full of smaller, watercolor and water-based art. And that’s started.
So both goals are pretty much in great shape, whether I participate in the project the way it’s designed to go, or not.
I think what I am going to do is this: make the goal to fill the journal (which has 80 total pages) by the end of the year. It will still be about 100 projects, and will take about 100 individual days. I just don’t have to do them consecutively. I can spend two afternoons a week on them, still paint and scrapbook and write. I can post to Instagram when I do a new project. At the end of the project, I will have spent 100 days working on filling that journal.
I think this is a good solution, and it feels really good, but I still kinda feel like a quitter. But feeling like a quitter is a lot less stressful than feeling like I’m running out of time and crushed with pressure. I don’t want art – or the free time I use making it- to feel like that.
The bottom line is that I’m super-excited that I’m using watercolors regularly again. I’m looking forward to learning more as I use them. I really think I need to take a class, so maybe that’s something I can do this summer.
Okay, that’s enough for one post. Hope you are having a good Tuesday. Thanks, as always, for checking in with me!leave a comment...