Thoughts in Isolation: 2

Art Journal, Self Reflection, Thoughts

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

I did not think I would experience any new emotions after posting the two week journal “Thoughts in Isolation.” I was wrong. Today. Today I ache inside. I am numb yet sad yet nauseous. I made a double batch of no-bake cookies after starting the last 15 pieces of the 100 Day Project. I feel weepy yet I don’t weep! I’m mad. I’m dissatisfied. I’m disappointed. From heart down to my stomach I feel bubbling emotions but I can’t identify them. They swirl and toss like a shipwreck. I’m relieved and angry. I’m sickened and disgusted. I’m empty. I’m a tempest.

Today people choked the capital of Michigan protesting governor Whitmer’s executive orders. They block emergency vehicles. They mingle. They are mad about seeds. Some of my Facebook friends support this. Most do not.

Today I skimmed Facebook trying to avoid all the conspiracy theories. I’m baffled by the ridiculous number of them. And everyone yelling at each other to “think for themselves.” I don’t know if I should be comforted by listening to an expert explain everywhere in the world comes up with conspiracies during outbreaks with convenient scapegoats particular to their corner of the world.

But what really breaks me is the normality of my Grandfather’s death amidst everything.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

I’m trying to wrap my heart around the grieving process for my grandfather but it all feels so distant. In a different time I would of driven the forty minutes to see my family immediately after I was told. In this world that seems irresponsible. So I stay home. I hope that my grandmother is safe. I hope no one in the flurry of activity carried the virus with them to my grieving family. I hope they were able to keep him comfortable in his last hours.

My grandfather was kindness where my home life was chaos. He fixed up an old banana seat bike and spray painted it dark green for me. Remedying my lack of bike riding knowledge. He taught me some doodles I can still draw. Tried to teach me a line or two of French. I went with him walking at the ice rink. And fishing.

Grandpa was flannels and suspenders. Mint chocolate. Tomato thieving. Chipmunk taming. Garage tinkering. He was full of games and riddles. He was a collection of hematite rocks. Old westerns and baseball. He was ritually painting the deck brown. I watched him give up his raspberry patch, his truck, his boat, his sight. He was wit and charm.

Most of all he was Grandpa. When I was confused by my father’s side of the family and reproached by his wife, Lucille, not to call her grandmother. This Grandfather never made that distinction. Even though most of us weren’t his by blood.

How do we mourn in this time of corona?

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Everyone is getting their chain yanked by someone in country. And everyone thinks they are the ones “thinking for themselves.” Everyone is at each others throats on social media. Guilty. How does something so simple as staying home to save lives become so politicized? I have questions.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Many members of my family have posted on social media about the passing of our Grandfather. I can’t do it. I cannot bring myself to deal with the societal etiquette of public condolences and public thanks.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

mitigation

social distancing

PPE

N95

corona

covid-19

ventilators

flattening the curve

Dr. Birx and Fauci

the scarf

Governor Coumo

fabric masks

Wuhan

isolation

quarantine

USS Comfort and Mercy

the cure cannot be worse than the disease

the invisible enemy

testing

false negatives/positives

supply chain

chloroquine

hot zone

that woman from Michigan

pandemic

Spanish Flu

1918

second wave

Chinese virus

contact tracing

exponential

two weeks

six feet

2%

0.1%

15%

asymptomatic carriers

shelter in place

So many words that have taken over our language in the last weeks and months. Our minds quickly pick up on and race away with a flurry of new vocabulary. Wielding them like knives against each other.

I wonder when life will feel normal. I guess society always fluxes. We never went back to pre- 9/11 life. We’ve been fighting that war since. I only knew the feeling of job and financial security during the last years of the Obama administration. Wiped away again by greed. Watching big businesses suck up bail outs while little micro-businesses are starved out. Watch them wink out one by one. Stranding families and once thriving communities.

The system only works by a thin thread of belief. There’s nothing real about the ant hill of capitalism. An engine that drives and consumes the planet for profit. But why? More electronic money. More. More. More. Not even paper anymore. Just numbers we believe in. To make our lives better? It’s NOT so! I witnessed two different America’s driving across this country. People living in towers overlooking people living in gutters.

What’s real? We have one life. Once it’s over… A company can be rebuilt. A country can recover from a recession or depression. We won’t get our people back if we send them off as sacrificial lambs for capitalism. No one needs a hair cut that badly. What we need is food, water, shelter and our tribe to be safe.

I’m just not willing to give up my mother, grandmother or husband because some people believe the economy is more important and some others believe the virus is a hoax.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

I was brutally awakened from a nap by a cascade of horns honking and a cacophony of dogs barking. When I tried to hush the dogs my husband yelled back “their having a parade.” Out here in the middle of the woods? with us as the only witness, they came out to their camp to have themselves a little birthday party for the wife. A nurse at a nearby hospital. Complete with children and the elderly. How sweet.

And…

The president suggested we disinfect our lungs. Inject cleaners.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

I’m getting weird about things. I’m closing in around myself. I’m not going out. Not looking to leave the house. I don’t want to talk to many people. I’m not accomplishing much. I don’t feel sad. I’m ok. I think? I miss the desert. I miss the road. Although I’m not afraid, the current events prey on latent fears. If that makes sense. The current isolation mimics the times from before I was on medication. When stores were the enemy. Strangers. Contact. An invisible barrier. I at that time was getting weird about going into stores I wasn’t familiar with. About talking to anyone. Leaving the house got troubling. And it’s like that now I’m feeling, but a different cause. And I’m distant from people the same way I was then. Not out of social anxiety, but because of social safety. But it feels emotionally the same. The difference now is that I have a partner to lean on. At my worst with the social anxiety I was alone.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

I’ve been thinking about my father and everything he’s missing. What would he make of this time? He was never one that could stand being still. He always wanted to go. How would he handle being asked to stay home? I cannot imagine it. I caught myself sitting in repose like him the other night. One arm swung over my head and fidgeting with the cuticles of my other hand. When I realized that was a piece of him inside my posture, I separated from space, time and body for a moment. Grief is like that, it comes at you like a freight train when you least expect it, years later. It’s him not seeing Star Wars or Dune. It’s not getting his opinion on politics. It’s walking through Family Video. It’s watching the places he once inhabited with his mass disappear from the world. Popping like little soap bubbles on a timeline.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

I have not been taking care of myself. My husband asked me to go for a walk with him today and I felt a bit of panic at leaving the house. This is not a good sign. I took a shower. Changed my clothes. And swept the floor. Tomorrow I will do more to be human. Oops. I’m not all the way down the rabbit hole yet.

Monday, May 4, 2020

I’m annoyed by my dry skin. I was scraping at it on my face with my finger nails. Now I have a scab on my nose where I went to far. I thought the doldrums I experienced in Death Valley were bad. That was just preparation. ‘Twas just a fng precursor. I’m thinking bangs. Perhaps I’ve watched enough Asian woman successfully give themselves bangs on YouTube to manage. Or at least I’ll have a few minutes entertainment before meltdown.

My lack of consistent schedule may have resulted in some medication dose misses. I’m hitting the anxiety jackpot. And since I’m not seeing anyone or interacting with anyone, I can only guess that the current feeling of mild terror about leaving the house is where my brain is putting all that anxious energy. Light feelings of agoraphobia are not new anxiety symptoms for me, it’s just been awhile since it’s been expressed this way. And not exactly surprising since we’ve been asked not to leave the house for over a month now.

So. I’m working on getting myself righted a little every day. I finished one big art project and I’m working through the other I have going. I’m not unhappy. So I have that. Just a bit… off kilter, but then so is everyone else as far as I can tell. We’re going to be alright, just a bit damaged. And heartbroken. With terrible bangs. And picked over skin.

Spring is here. Can you feel it’s renewing energy?

100 Day Project: Week 14

100 Day Project, Projects

Day 92: April 22

Lines.

Day 93: April 23

Where did this day go? It’s amazing how long and short the days are.

Day 94: April 24

Literally put one line down today. I’m so frustrated. Nothing feels right. No idea I’m working on is coming together right. Binging tv instead.

Day 95: April 25

Bringing some ideas full circle.

Day 96: April 26

Finished up a piece from yesterday with lines. So close.

Day 97: April 27

Nada to say.

Day 98: April 28

98/100 Days

100 Day Project: Week 12

100 Day Project, Projects

Day 78: April 8

I promise I worked on it.

Day 79: April 9

Where do the days go! Blink and they cascade. Playing more with feathers.

Day 80: April 10

Feathers. I found my bag of feathers to explore.

Day 81: April 11

I should probably do something about posting last week.

Ok… I did it! I really procrastinated on that one. Other than that hurdle… still playing with feathers.

… and was inspired and industrious today. That’s the lesson isn’t it. To just keep showing up day after day. Through all the mood variations and life obstacles.

Day 82: April 12

Take the productivity when it comes. Because it goes. I cannot do anything right today! I throw in the towel.

Day 83: April 13

A very late start today. I mean my days flipped somewhere. I have an hour left in the day to do something.

Another successful Day in Isolation.

Day 84: April 14

I don’t have to love everything that I create.

84/100 Days

100 Day Project: Week 11

100 Day Project, Projects

Day 71: April 1

I’m struggling to maintain interest amid everything.

Day 72: April 2

Productive. But, I’m not sure this is the direction I want to go? I continue to play with plant textures. But maybe I’d rather get back to skulls and ravens???

Day 73: April 3

Feeling trapped by this direction. Definitely. Will have to break free of it soon.

Just when I felt over it all. Inspiration. I found a feather floating around my house. A new experiment.

Day 74: April 4

Interesting results today. I am placated.

However. I don’t know that I’ll commit to a hundred days of anything again. 27% of the year. That’s a lot of days. A lot. Look what can happen to the world in 100 days. I’m a commitmentphobe (is that a word?) and I fell for that optimistic feeling seventy some days ago that said: you have time to commit, it’ll be fun. Maybe it’s that I feel I’ve learned what I set out to learn, with twenty-five days to go… what investment am I making with my time now?

Day 75: April 5

I lost a day again??? I guess I didn’t have an important breakthrough.

Day 76: April 6

I brought in fallen oak leaves. They are a nightmare to work with. But something new.

Day 77: April 7

Working up to it today.

Days 77/100

Thoughts in Isolation

Art Journal, Self Reflection

Friday, March 27, 2020

Day 1: I cried yesterday. Somewhere in Minnesota we reached the boreal forest and it felt like being suffocated. I dreamed so long of traveling (without the means of doing so). My heart irrational. I cried “I know all these trees!”

On the other hand I have a home to come to. Both physically and geographical. When times were difficult before, when I had no where to go, or no money, or the relationship was over; I had that in my father’s land. And I have that now. An imperfect home in the woods. Walls, roof and heat.

Today we unpack. Do laundry. Assess the winter damage: one bedroom, the drywall of the ceiling partially collapsed and water damage to the floor. Something wrong with the stink stack. The kitchen faucet is partially broke. The shower head is completely shattered and the pipes are damaged in the wall. Somehow the wood shed is still standing, against expectations. The dishwasher isn’t quite right. Something in the switch. I found thistle seed stashes. Somebody (or somebodies) small and furry is living in my home.

News: Prime Minister Boris Johnson is Covid-19 positive with mild symptoms.

News: Our President is making it personal with the Governor of Michigan. Suppliers are being told not to send supplies, even when the President stated governors should procure their own.

I am afraid now, more than ever. I am more angry than I’ve ever been. I am helpless. I took a long bath, my first in eight months. I can’t get calm. I’m going to go for a nap. To try to get out from these overwhelming feelings. I have too many people working in nursing. I am breaking down. I cry, seeing their faces. Terrified for them.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Day 2: The cat doesn’t stop crying. He bellows in empty rooms. He may be channeling my feelings. I was weepy and I’m now hollowed out. I can’t even go out to escape. There’s no escape. My body escapes for me. Drowsiness comes down often. This is the life of the damaged. My brain takes care of me by putting me to sleep.

News: the President declares a state of emergency for Michigan. They send 1000 N95 Masks. It’s a hysterically low number. I take solace in governor Coumo’s daily briefings. He’s the leader in this crisis.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Day 3: Anger. I’ve always despised Sundays and Holidays because of the limits put on what you can and cannot go and do. But now every day feels like a Sunday. If I could sleep through till this was over I would, but I can’t and I shouldn’t. I’ve already slid too far into the comforts of sleep. Instead I’m going to try to set some daily expectations for myself.

Coffee & 100 Day Project

Clean Something

Read

Art

Today I cleaned one area in the kitchen. Which led to some open shelves. Good enough. More than I set out to do.

News: the President accused New York hospitals of nefarious activity with PPE in the corona task force news conference. Every day I listen to that and to Governor Coumo. Thank the stars for Fauci and Coumo.

Monday March 30, 2020

Day 4: Hope is a tender thing. Hope is a small newborn babe. Hope is a fire in night. Hope. My husband had an interview this morning. It sounds like a job offer is coming, for after the Covid-19 crisis. There’s hope in this darkness. Hope can crush a human under its enormous weight. Hope can be dashed. I wait in the wilderness with hope in my heart.

News: Yesterday the President announced 30 more days of Social Distancing.

Coffee and failed attempt at 100 Day Project

News

Got internet access

Cleaned out bookcase and purged books

Napped

Tried to watch Pet Cemetery

Ran away and worked on The Painting, it goes well

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Day 5: More overcast days than sunny moments, the weather is concurrent with my oppressed mood. The cat continues to cry. Yowls if he cannot see me. Sometimes I drug him with catnip to get it to stop. He is unhappy.

People are expressing feelings of derealization on social media. Welcome to the world of trauma my friends. Only, we are just getting started. My trauma responses are in full gear. Numbness. Sleeping long hours. Fatigue. Loss of interest. Derealization. The only way is through. The way through is to try a little every day to be human until the fog lifts. Go through the motions until they aren’t motions. Set little attainable goals.

News: The administration “believes” the peak of cases will hit in two weeks.

Coffee and the motions of the 100 Day Project

Forced myself to clean a couple walls and two shelves. That’s enough of that.

Bath

Reading

Weight of drowsiness overtook me: nap

Coumo and then Trump news briefings

Staring at a wall

Cut paper for Polaroid project

April 1, 2020

Day 6: My mental health is unraveling. It is a chore to get myself to do things. I let off Instagram and my Charley Lakes Studio Facebook page . Fine. I am trying to get the fortitude to work on the Polaroid project. I’m barely putting effort forth into the 100 Day Project. I’m sleeping in and napping. I know this headspace well. And it is not a good place. This is not where I thought I’d be last week. I’m fighting my way through.

News: Florida finally has a “stay at home” order. Kurt fixed the shower.

Coffee and 100 Day Project (posted last weeks blog) while listening to NPR updates.

Leftover pancakes and Coumo briefing. Which I turned off. I felt my body descend into drowsiness. That’s enough.

Read

Nap

Cleaned off kitchen cupboard fronts: literally the least I could commit to

Stare out the window

Watch “Witcher” and cut paper. I have no idea what is going on. What is the plot?

April 2, 2020

Day 7: The sun shines. I feel lighter. I drink coffee and explore social media. I am appalled at the ridiculous conspiracy theories on tap. Like the time I read a thick book on why atheists were right (I turned agnostic), I come out of this time absolutely sure conspiracy theorists are dead wrong. I’ve had enough. Everyone seems to have their favorite. As though the reality of this world isn’t fantastic enough. Reality is far more amazing than given credit. Maybe we need more arts and sciences. To sit in wonder of the mundane without need of some spectacular shadowy double truth.

News: Michigan officially suspends the K-12 school year. The Democratic National Convention moved to August.

Coffee & 100 Day Project & NPR podcasts: productive

Can’t get the Coumo briefing to play.

Read

Nap

Polaroid Project

Witcher… finished it. I think I get it. Maybe.

April 3, 2020

Day 8: The days blur. Woke up well after noon. Oops. I watch people on social media, who weren’t taking the situation serious, change their tune. I hate cleaning. And I hate having a messy house. Conundrums.

News: Etsy sent out a request asking for its makers to make masks.

Coffee & 100 Day Project

Stare out the window

Polaroid project

Refuse to nap… sort of watch a movie and start a tv show: “the expanse”

Life is becoming so small…

April 4, 2020

Day 9: My vessel facilitates anger. I vibrate with it. I am nobody. I, and everyone I know, we are acceptable losses to the capitalist gods of greed. What a better world this would be if we weren’t tethered to live in an expansion economy. There must be other ways we can live? Surely???

News: no news intake, need mental space today

Coffee & slow simmering anger

100 Day Project

Polaroid Project

Thought long and hard about cleaning… not today!

Binge watching “The Expanse” (don’t judge me. I’ve not watched anything since October)

April 5, 2020

Day 10: The snow is going away fast. When we arrived home, our house was snowed in. We had to break a trail through deep snow to haul necessities in. Now? The driveway is mud.

News: Texas issues “stay at home order”

Coffee & 100 Day Project

A walk

getting fancy… have the easel in the house for the painting now

more “the expanse”

Monday, April 6, 2020

Day 11: I realized I was checking out of reality. I put NPR on this morning and I couldn’t even finish my coffee before I was back in bed. So check out of reality it’s going to have to be if I want to be awake. Or save news for a bedtime snack.

News: prime minister Boris Johnson in the ICU and the Queen gives a rare speech. A tiger in a zoo is infected.

Coffee and 100 Day Project

Nap

Painting

TV

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Day 12: It rains.

Coffee

Sleep

100 Day Project

TV

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Day 13: The sun shines. The cat cries.

Coffee & 100 Day Project

Read

Sleep

Read

Sleep

TV

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Day 14: Hope. A year after my husband lost his job. A year of stress and worry and adventure. Good news today. Fragile news amongst the sea of uncertainty. News that could evaporate as the world continues to be tossed upside down by a virus.

Coffee…

100 Day Project: Week 10

100 Day Project, Projects

Day 64: March 25

Started three new pieces last night playing with plant textures. Added paint today. Flattening the collected plant material in my sketchbook helped. Still awful to work with.

Day 65: March 26

I can work freely now that I am home. First I had to make a trip through the snow to the camper each time I needed something. But mostly I don’t feel like it. I start and stop. All day. Starts and stops. And staring. I’m exhausted from the drive across the country. I’m emotionally exhausted from the this world turned upside-down. I’ve begun a new blog writing ritual to get me through without the travel writing.

Day 66: March 27

Art work is the last thing I feel like doing. I feel like I’m resting on the work that came before and I think that’s ok right now. I’m just showing up for now.

Day 67: March 28

Tossed some paint on a piece I wasn’t going to. Glad I did. Started a second canvas based on the works I’ve done in the 100 Day Project.

Day 68: March 29

I lost a day somewhere. I don’t know how. I thought this was (today) March 30.

Day 69: March 30

Creative block this morning. Not even doing lines helped. Maybe later. The canvasses go better.

Day 70: March 31

These texture studies are infuriating.

Days 70/100

100 Day Project: Week 9

100 Day Project, Projects

Day 57: March 18

No sooner had I put pen to paper than we were informed the California State Park we were staying at for the night was closing because of the corona virus outbreak. Off we go. Maybe later I’ll be able to get last week’s post together.

Day 58: March 19

If nothing else then just make lines and the rest will follow later. Even if I barely make one piece this week of lines, little by little every day. How life can crash in. We are traveling long days, much longer than we ever did before. We may slow down here, but home is the goal.

Day 59: March 20

I was able to put a little paint where it was needed on various pieces last night. Then worked on lines on a piece this morning. We were still in California when the new state-wide shelter-in-place order went through. Moving east. Still working on art through this.

Day 60: March 21

Tired. If you wonder where the progress photos went, I killed the camera on my phone. One too many drops. Photos will have to wait until the end of the week batch. It’s too much of a hassle to do it daily. Finished a textured piece last night. Working on others this morning. Started collecting more plant stuff on the road and, after learning my lesson, they are flattening in my sketchbook. Some of these earlier pieces are being held down by linen strips because they are so unruly.

Day 61: March 22

I did something this morning. But that was ages ago and a state of the union away. I showed up. Goodnight.

Day 62: March 23

Coffee. Pen. Paper. Morning light. Road.

Day 63: March 24

I’m here, minimally. But every little bit adds to the whole. Will attempt to carve out time to document works today. We. Will. See.

Days 64/100
In progress.

100 Day Project: Week 7

100 Day Project, Projects

Day 43: March 4

When I started I figured I’d make maybe 50 pieces. I’m on track for one a day even though I don’t finish one each day. I work here, there and then all of a sudden a bunch teach the finish line together. Today I worked with a textured crow again, and again used the leftover paint to experiment with. Definitely not how I want to create work, but still a fun thing to explore.

Extra paint explorations.

I have to acknowledge this. It was supposed to be a color study. But oh no no no…

In progress…

No!

Things went wrong quickly here. The colors didn’t work the way I imagined. Then it just kept getting worse. I’m still thinking of ways to salvage it. But I feel nauseous looking at it from the color combinations.

Day 44: March 5

It isn’t that I don’t have time or ideas today. It’s that I just don’t want to. Not even a little bit.

I’ll start some pieces just with color. And leave it at that. No pressure today.

And then I never stopped.

In progress.

Day 45: March 6

Traveling today. Had to fight for my work time this morning.

Detail

Day 46: March 7

No Internet Service.

Day 47: March 8

Did minimal today and yesterday. Was busy with human interactions. But I did start a big canvas…

I’m going to work on that separate from the 100 Day Project, even though it has sprung from it. I make the rules here.

Day 48: March 9

Plugging along.

Day 49: March 10

This week became about exploring color. I was working it out on the paper and letting the colors surprise me. I think in the near future I’d like to explore color more.

Finished works. 49/100
In progress.

100 Day Project: Week 5

100 Day Project, Projects

Day 29: February 19

Yesterday afternoon through this morning we spent in an area with no cell service. I was able to get a lot of pieces to a starting point and a couple ready to take some color this morning before we packed up for the road. I even varied some techniques. This is a good time to explore those “what will happen if I do this” moments.

Day 30: February 20

I had some time on my hands. We had no cell service so I went to bed early and woke up in the wee hours of the night. I had a lot of extra hours of dark to fill with creative practice.

One day’s creative practice… but I kept going.

The Cow Skull on White Ground:

I began by playing more with the idea of a textured shape. That worked well in the previous skull pieces. The textures took the paint well and added interest without me working for it. For this one I knew I wanted the skull on a white ground. But white isn’t white, is it? I like using negative space. I felt a lot of pressure by professors to fill that space unnecessarily with details. For this one I used extra textures, a little color and played with paint drips. Even though it is nowhere near precisianism, it reminds me of Georgia O’keefe. I came to it from my own direction, but I recognize I may have interests inline with her work. Started reading up on her life and work.

Acrylic (white, burnt sienna, raw umber), glass bead texture, ceramic stucco texture, cotton fabric, and Faber-Castell black ink pen.

Big Skull:

Added a layer of burnt Sienna to the cow skull shape. Let that dry before fleshing out his lights and darks and adding splatters/drips.

Acrylic paint (white, burnt sienna, and raw umber), fabric, and Faber-Castell black ink pen.

Connections:

I wanted to continue to study the acrylic colors: white, burnt Sienna and raw umber together. Decided to try a contrasting textured with ceramic cement.

Acrylic (white, black, burnt sienna, raw umber), ceramic stucco texture, and Faber-Castell black ink pen.

Leftover Paint:

I hate leaving leftover paint so I smeared it on a piece of paper. Then came back to it later and added some doodles.

Acrylic paint (white, burnt sienna, raw umber) and Faber-Castell black ink pen.

Green:

I wanted to try out some green. I hated it. I tried mixing it a few different ways. It has also become an experimental color study.

In progress. Not impressed by this green.

Day 31: February 21

I’m so tired. Today was turned on it’s head. Instead of spending the day with art at a campsite in Sequoia National Forest we drove pointedly away from there. A storm was coming. So I touched the paper tonight. Caught up my notes to the blog on the 100 Day, because there was no internet connection up there either. And now I stare at that atrocity that is the green color study. I’m not ready for THAT. I think I’ll put some color on a raven.

Day 32: February 22

I tried last night to make that green experiment into something. Everything made it worse. So I painted it black, because that’s what was in my hand. And that sparked my interest, but the previous brush strokes were to visible. I mixed in the ceramic stucco texture and let it dry overnight. This morning it struck me to make lines, of course. From this piece I think I may want to explore more.

Acrylic paint (black), ceramic stucco, white posca pen.

This morning’s second finish; another raven. Playing with different applications of texture and color combinations. I was going to polish it up more, but decided to leave the painting areas less perfect. Not usually something I’d do, but I’m leaving more room for experiments right now.

Acrylic paint (cadmium orange, white, and thalo blue), Faber-Castell black ink pen, white posca pen, and ceramic stucco.

Day 33: February 23

This morning I started in on The For Agreements… then my human pushed me out the door. Don’t know if I’ll get back to anything today or not.

Day 34: February 24

I don’t think the lines were working this morning’s piece. I’m going to paint over them later. Try something else…

Day 35: February 25

Ok I don’t hate it today. But we are going with a different color combo. Onward.

Acrylic (white, raw umber, cerulean blue), Faber-Castell black ink pen and ceramic stucco texture. In progress.
Week 5, 35/100 Days
35/100 in progress.

Essay: Understanding

Art Journal, Artistic Growth, Self Reflection, Thoughts

If you have followed along this far I’m sure it is clear I struggle with my identity as an artist. I’m using both my time traveling across country since October 30th and the 100 Day Project to focus on developing my artistic voice and understanding my motivations. And along the way completely muddling up my website. Your welcome reader.

Today I had a breakthrough. It started two days ago really. I posted a piece of bird wing on Instagram. At first I was going to stop myself out of fear of losing my audience. Instead I went ahead. I decided I need to be authentically me and that includes sharing my inner world. I added a caption about how I saw beauty in life cycles.

That started it, but I didn’t know it.

I’ve been reading books about artists, following art blogs, going to galleries, museums and listening to art related podcasts. You know, immersing myself. Out of this came the idea that there is a thread in my life, specific to my experiences that can inform my work. Other artists could point to childhood memories that easily intertwined with their adult artworks.

I just could not see it.

I always felt like I had to make a choice. And each choice would be leaving behind an aspect of creating that I enjoyed. If I chose painting, I’d have to let go of blockprinting. If I chose drawing I’d never paint. If I did trees, I couldn’t do animals. If I tried a new medium it wouldn’t fit with the rest of my work.

I was missing what my work has been about entirely.

Entirely.

From dead trees, ravens, crows, up-cycling, cats, decaying buildings, dying saguaros, desert vistas, water, spiral symbols, animal bones, skulls, gardening, seasons, the mysteries of world religions, even attention to textures and certain aspects of Japanese culture it’s been about life cycles. And importantly life out of death.

But why?

Perhaps because the day I was born, October 30 (the same day we departed) was the one year anniversary of my Grandmother’s murder. I grew up with that as the dinner conversation for years. My father never got over it. My aunt wrote a fictionalized book inspired by it (absolutely worth reading: available here!). I’d say it was the single most defining event of my childhood.

Then during my twenties, when I most needed to lean on my father for support to go back to school, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He made poor life decisions, leaned on me, and I spent five years watching him die slowly before the real end when I watched him suffer for weeks and eternal days. He didn’t know where he was, let alone who I was. I had a complicated relationship with my Father. It took time to understand his imperfect humanity. When the time comes to say your final goodbyes to a parent or someone with a terminal illness, you too will find complex feelings hidden away to deal with.

After that I chose to work in home health for two years and a nursing home for over four years. (After college I felt no inspiration to do art, until the ink doodles started compulsively taking over and I couldn’t ignore my creative needs anymore). I wanted to give to others the peace I had from knowing my father was cared for. Being close to death was somehow being close to my father. Giving comfort and kindness to the sick and dying was giving it to him, in a way.

For a long time, unconsciously, my art work has been about life after death. Life from death. Beauty in death. I just didn’t know it. I don’t need to change what I’m doing. I just needed to understand it. I can accept and embrace the materials, media and subjects that speak to me. And know I’m giving something to the world uniquely mine that I can be proud of.