Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Three creations of mine

I ended up being vaguely dissatisfied with my “other people’s group” Facebook gratitude journal experience, so I created my own after all: If you’re curious, find it at https://www.facebook.com/groups/223776962087017/. So far almost no one is curious—LOL.

And I wanted to show you my painting in progress. I like the way it looks from a distance, but not close up, and I decided black outlines would just muddy up a canvas that is already getting a little muddy. Also, I have 90 percent convinced myself to draw in a giant, monster venus flytrap looming over the horizon. (To be clear: I’m 100 percent convinced it needs a dose of whimsy; 90 percent convinced that it’s going to be of the venus flytrap variety.)

And I created one other thing today:

(Did you know you can google “hierarchy of needs template” and just fill it in yourself in Illustrator?)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

More about gratitude

OK, I finished The Gratitude Diaries—and, disclaimer, I didn’t really end up liking it much at all, so this is not a book recommendation. But I DO feel convinced that gratitude is an important and overlooked part of surviving in the world, especially right now when 10 minutes on Twitter (or, I assume, the evening news) is enough to make anyone believe we’re all doomed and everything is hopeless. And maybe we are, and it is, but it seems silly to act that way when my day-to-day personal life is objectively fantastic and there’s always the hope of changing things for the better.

I have been thinking about creating a gratitude journal or turning this blog into one, but that sounded kind of cumbersome and/or annoying. Then I got an inspiration: I went to Facebook, typed in “gratitude,” and joined the first group that popped up, which is simply a place where people post daily expressions of thankfulness. That sounds easy, and the fact that others can see it should hopefully make me put some thought into what I write there. And it will be a bonus to see other people’s posts, maybe, probably.

If the group turns out to be not what I was expecting, I think my next step will be to create one myself and invite friends and family to join. Actually, I might just do that anyway; it sounds like fun and might be a novel way to keep in touch.

Monday, February 17, 2020

ArtWalk project

I’m back from my trip and SOOO glad it’s Presidents’ Day; of course the actual president is a human venereal disease, but apparently all my clients observe the day off. (The swim meet was good—nothing too exciting from the kid but major thrilling team win!—and my mom and I had fun seeing Mik.)

I am participating in a little art contest thing that one of the local galleries does every year. For $10 you buy a small canvas from them, turn it into art, and then they display it at an event called ArtWalk, where bunches of people gawk at it, vote on their favorite, and have the chance to purchase it. I am 100 percent going to try to sell mine, because why not? I know from personal experience anything priced under $40 at ArtWalk hits the sweet spot of supporting local artists + easy affordability.

I thought some sort of Montana landscape would be my best bet to sell, and I’ve been playing with a new set of black pens I got for Christmas (I think “messy black outlines to make everything more whimsical” is my aesthetic). The picture below is a photo I took, run through some filters and messed around with in Illustrator. I think I’m going to make a color print of this and then try to paint something in this vein:

You can’t see it too well on this, but that sandstone formation at lower right is a distinctive landmark that places this in Billings.

We can all have a good laugh, maybe, at what I actually do paint, but I feel like clouds are kind of hard to mess up too much, and I anticipate that putting black outlines on them will be MAGICAL.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Not entirely unrelated to gratitude

I’ve had a bit more work than usual these past few days because I’m gearing up to go on a little trip to see Mik swim at his big college meet of the season. That has led to rebellion about work, which has led me to procrastinate, which has led me to pay attention to what I do when I’m procrastinating:

  1. I made an hourlong Spotify playlist for my favorite yoga instructor to use in her classes, and started a second one with some of the leftover songs (spent HOURS on this).
  2. I started writing a poem about my dad.
  3. I started blogging again a little.
  4. I thought incessantly about painting, and what I want to work on next, and took some pictures and played with digital images that could be future paintings. (I did not actually paint, though.)
  5. I researched yoga and yoga-like moves that can be used as a warm-up for meditation, because I’ve been fantasizing about developing a series of 10-minute meditation warm-up sessions.

Oh, and I spent a lot of time on social media, but setting that aside for now, because although I deeply love that short-form writing you get to do there, most of it is just unhealthy addiction, as we all know.

Have you heard that thing where they say if you’re looking for what your calling in life is, think about the things you were doing for fun when you were 10? For me, they were pretty much exactly the same as that list above. Obviously “blogging” and “Spotify” did not exist.

But it seems to me that I really want and need to spend more time on creative projects, and in particular I want to write more (and not the soul-killing dreck I get paid to write, unfortunately). Gonna try to make it happen, even if I come home to another huge pile of work in a week or so.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Time will tell

I’m being pretty good about getting my meditations in, although I dropped the time down to 25 minutes per session in order to make that happen. Possibly this indicates that I am no longer following the instructions in my path-to-enlightenment book and instead just meditating to try to be a better person—just like I said I wasn’t doing—or possibly it means I AM on the path to enlightenment but am still at Stage One (Establish a Consistent Practice). Time will tell, but I’ve definitely decided that I’m not going to go for the gold in terms of time sitting there if it means getting frustrated and giving up entirely.

Also, I’ve started reading a book about gratitude (The Gratitude Diaries, seems OK so far), so don’t be too surprised if this blog turns into some sort of gratitude journal next. Not sure that is any more interesting of a blog topic than a long list of days of the week and how long I meditated, but maybe it will inspire me to write again.