Monday, May 31, 2010

Sky blue sky - my visit to Southern California

This collection of photographs conveys my week long trip visiting my best friend in San Diego better than words can. They are out of order, but isn't that how a memory of a great vacation goes? You don't remember what day you took that magical walk on the beach or had that fabulous meal and it really doesn't matter (though I do appreciate the journals I keep whenever I've traveled and the log of activities by day because it fades in no time).

I realized on this trip that I'm wrong when I say my favorite thing to do is travel - my favorite thing to do is vacation. There's a difference. Maybe it's my Taurean nature, craving the "good things in life" - a great meal, a fine glass of wine, a good laugh and a great sunset. The physical bliss of hot sun and cool waters lapping on the shore, the soulful release through a beautiful book, enjoyed in an idyllic location. The last time I was in California, it was with my husband and this same besty and we had a great time, but we packed so much into it. From San Luis Obispo to Seattle. That was kind of insane and too much time was spent driving, pushing onward. I LOVE having a proper vacation in one spot. A new place to explore and get to know, to get to feel comfortable in.

My friend had to work during the week so instead of renting a car (I admit, aside from the monetary issue, I was just plain scared to drive around SoCal) I set off on foot around Pacific Beach by myself - with a beach bag packed I had breakfast and lunch in various sidewalk cafes with my book and journal by my side, I spent hours lounging and walking on the beach. I truly embraced the fact that this was a time to de-stress and that I did! Before my trip I thought about buying art supplies and painting plein air but once I was there I realized NO. I needed a break from everything, including art. I took everything in. I was in the moment. It was wonderful.

The last day walking back to Em's apartment I got this thought in my mind...

Destination - Pacific Beach, San Diego
Mission - Bum around town, hang out on the beach, have a blast with my best friend.

And that made me smile...

After a day of jetlag confusion after sleepless flights back east and Memorial weekend spent celebrating the onset of summertime with family, I'm so excited to dig back into painting, into my daily patterns that can hopefully be altered, twisted a bit, for the better influenced by this trip. I painted last night and it was just wonderful. I felt such freedom and a who cares attitude about the end result. Just do it because it feels good said a voice, a voice that's rescued me many times when doubt and judgment sneak in to take the wind out of my sails.

The ultimate lesson learned in my spoiled rotten vacation of shared joy with a sister of spirit, the best burrito I've ever had, surf gazing, and sun bathing luxury? The lesson is - stress is a bitch. I hate that word and try not to ever use it, but Stress deserves it. It does nothing for me, nothing for anyone. Stress and worry just waste time. It doesn't just waste it, it eats it up and devours anything else you've got on hand - your heart, your mind, your spirit, your creativity, your passion, your sense of joy, your LIFE. I didn't even realize how tightly wound I was until the sun melted it all away, until the only agenda was to unwind. This trip was a gift from my husband who knew after a long winter and many hours spent by myself that I needed some "lady time" with one of my besties. God bless that man. Seriously. Even if I had the money myself, I wouldn't have given myself this gift that I so desperately needed. And now I am home, and I can sense how easy it is to slip into my patterns, so the question now is how do I hold onto the importance of being in the moment and not worrying/stressing as much as I am prone to do? How do I continue to determine the difference between being determined and driven vs. being anxious and stress filled to the brim? The latter can mimic the former and convince you that it's necessary, but that's just part of the wicked little beast that Stress is - it's devious as well as destructive.

The natural buzz of my trip is fading into a different but just as intoxicating natural buzz of summertime in New England - everything is in full bloom, vivid green - that temporal lushness that is so incredibly appreciated and yet I can't help myself but think it won't last forever. Nothing does, and maybe that's the source of my stress and anxiety, the source of my fears. Regardless, am I going to let my fears dominate my life, my NOW moments? I could but I don't want to. It seems like such a waste. I hope that I can maintain this determined desire to keep stress and undue worries at bay. Yes, it IS here and then it's gone so what are you gonna do about it? That's the question. I'm still working on the answer. I'll probably always be working away at it, isn't everybody? That surfer saying comes in perfectly right now "it's all good, bro".

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

See you in a week!

I'm leaving for a week to visit my best friend in San Diego. I'm nearly jumping out of my skin as I wash some laundry, make lists and think of the moment when we hoot and holler seeing each other in the airport. I'll have my camera and an empty chip to fill with images, so expect an optional slide show when I return (don't worry, I won't trap you at a dinner party and make you sit through all 600 pictures). Have a great week!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Muse Returns - new series

The Muse Returns 1-6 - Acrylic on 16" x 20" canvases

What can I say - I am in love with this new series! I was at a bit of a stand off with my abstracts and muddling around with too much color, too little focus and too many ideas all at once. My husband and I were watching a television show and I saw these giant black and white abstracts that really inspired me. Something clicked that limiting my palette might free me up to new ideas, new ways of painting and exploring marks. Things just took off from there. I'd love to hear your thoughts and reactions to these new paintings!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Landscape painting on a sunny May day

(Above: First strokes of paint over randomly toned ground canvas. Usually I work with one tone and actually I prefer it that way, this was a bit of an experiment.)

After struggling with some new abstracts in the studio, I decided to try something different to challenge myself today. The intuitive source that I rely on so heavily for abstracts wasn't there and I thought having a subject (other than my imagination) would be a nice relief for a change. I'm lucky to have a cousin that lives right down the road from me in an old farmhouse on a large piece of natural property, complete with run down sheds (as seen above) and a stocked pond. Though some of the flowering trees in the yard were beautiful and added bursts of color, I was drawn to the pond for the strong lines of the tree trunks reflected in the water.

Here's the view from where I stood with my easel.


A visit from a duck...

Here's where I called it a day. I'd like to work on the left side more, creating more contrast in light/dark areas and everything could use a little tweaking, but the general concept is there. I haven't missed oils in my abstracts but boy that acrylic paint sure did dry fast in the open, warm air! I really enjoyed the experience and I think the fresh air and painterly practice did me good.