janice

Jan 112016
 

So it’s nearly halfway into January and I haven’t blogged or posted any resolutions or goals or heady thoughts, no looks back, no looking forward. For sure my time online these days is a fraction of what it used to be, and for sure life is crazy busy; but I think it’s more than that. I think I have found myself in this place of wondering who I am writing for?  Is anyone reading, why am I writing, what’s the meaning of it all???  And then I remember:

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But seriously, these have been my thoughts recently. Still, I find I don’t want to let go completely, not quite yet, so I here I am.

A quick look back: Ugh, 2015 was rough. .  really a carryover from 2014. 2015 was a healing year, but healing isn’t easy stuff. Whether physical or emotional – it’s tough to do what you  need to do to ‘get better’.  So I’m glad to put it behind me.  I’ll hold close the lessons learned and look forward into 2016.

A quick look forward:  2016. YAY! No real resolutions. And I’ve never been a ‘word of the year’ person really but two words have popped out at me this year and so I’m claiming them. I’m keeping them handy and reminding myself of them frequently.

My two words:

Adjust

to remind me to analyze and make small adjustments when and where needed. This came about from the following graphic that was floating around the interwebs recently

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(in true fashion I have not yet made this list…I kind of have a pretty good idea at this stage of my life what I do every day and what makes me happy though it may be interesting to write it down!)

 

 

 

OPEN

to encourage me to be open (in so many ways) – to thoughts, experiences, people, to everything God has in store for me in 2016. Whether it’s part of my plan or not.

There are so many things out of my control right now, and I believe some big life changes coming in 2016….I can’t talk publicly about them yet because they affect other people and nothing is set in stone yet. . . . .if things happen the way I (we) expect that they will then my little world is going to be turned pretty much upside down come fall so I’m going to squeeze as much out of the next 7 months as I can while getting ready for fall. 🙂

One of the things that I am focusing on is my creative outlet. In addition to my faces, I am painting a bit more and I am committed to getting into my metalsmithing studio on a regular basis. To help with the metalsmithing I have joined a year long challenge, creating with a group of other jewelry artists which will help keep me accountable. My first piece is done and I think may be slightly indicative of where I’ve been and where I’m going.

I also took time this weekend to start re-organizing my house in anticipation of things to come. 🙂   I hadn’t really planned on spending most of the day Sunday going through my kitchen cabinets but that is where I ended up and I’m SO glad I did. I was exhausted by evening and then realized I still needed to make my piece of jewelry, so last night was a late night for me!

 Posted by at 9:33 am
Nov 192015
 

 

I am continuing the slow process of learning to express myself in 2d…..through pencil, ink, paint. I want to combine it with journaling (in the ‘art journal’ journaling sense) but right now I’m just smack dab stuck in a ‘face’ obsession.

I can’t seem to stop…I started with the girl and cat a month or so ago and since then this is what followed (in part…)

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The last one is on a post it note at work!!  That is how much I can’t stop – even on less than a 5 minute break at work — I’m sketching a face, or a part of a face. Playing with proportions and shading and style.  I sketch at night if I’m watching tv…. it’s really interesting to be learning something new again. Being a beginner is SO GOOD for creative growth!

SO far I’ve just been making it up as I go along, but I did try one sketch from a photo…not as much fun. I did just find some youtubers who share their processes of sketching faces so I’ll be tuning into those for a while and then hopefully bringing it back around to painting/mixed media.

I’ve also gotten some time at the bench recently which is nice – especially since I have a show coming up on the 5th of December – come out to the Creative Alliance in Baltimore for Merry Mart if you’re in the area!

I may have some big (and I mean BIG) life changes coming up…can’t really share just yet as nothing is set in stone yet —  but my ability to be creative and blog etc may be cut to almost nothing so I’m going to try to do as much as I can while I can!

 

Nov 092015
 

It has been said that every beginning comes from another beginning’s end.  I’m not so sure that’s true, but it’s an interesting concept and in many ways when we turn our attention to a ‘beginning’ we are taking our attention off other things so it can feel like other things are ending even if they are just fading a little bit. 😉

I love beginnings – there is excitement and anticipation. Cue my fascination with the change of seasons. 🙂

I am leaning to embrace endings for what they offer. Maybe success, maybe failure. . . . accomplishment, closure, peace.

But both are highlights, the sizzle reel if you will.

There is so much that happens in the “in between”.

That’s the good stuff – the real stuff.  THAT’s where growth and learning and LIFE takes place.

Life isn’t lived in the sizzle reel.

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Beginnings are great. Endings are necessary.

What’s in between though makes or breaks everything else. The small choices every day. Where to spend our time, who to spend it with.

One of the biggest challenges for many people these days seems to be awareness. I struggle with it – being present, slowing down enough to appreciate the ‘in between’ for what it is. Knowing the little things are big things, the small moments make a life what it is – they determine those beginnings and endings.

Social media has contributed to a fast paced, information soaked lifestyle.

And it has a tendency to turn everyone’s life into a sizzle reel.

I’ve talked about moving away from social media. It’s been hugely beneficial to me. It’s helped quiet my mind, brought me more peace, and allowed me to refocus on what’s important – the in between.

Don’t be fooled by someone else’s sizzle reel. And don’t allow your own to define you.

There is so much more to each of us than that.

Nov 052015
 

Living a more creative life

Part of my ‘tagline’ or motto recently has been about living a more creative life. Now that’s a very broad statement really – it means more than just the ‘arts’ – it includes things like problem solving and organization and household stuff. It’s really all encompassing and I’ll share more of that in another post but right now I wanted to share a rather literal outcome of this creative life philosophy.

I treated myself to an online class.

I’ve never taken an online class or purchased an online tutorial so this was totally new for me! AND, it’s not metals related! It’s painting with a little mixed media thrown in there. And its WATERCOLOR. (!!)  I’ve dabbled in acrylics and I like to do a lot of abstract work. This is so far from that. This is literal. And it’s WATERCOLOR. Yikes!  Watercolors have always seemed very mysterious to me. And they don’t exactly mix on the paper like other paints do. But I was intrigued and I felt the NEED to do something a little different. To stretch a part of my creative side that I wasn’t tapping into.

And here’s how unaware I am.

I signed up without ever giving a thought to WHAT we would be painting. I mean, yes, I saw the class samples but it didn’t dawn on me that I was going to have to DRAW. Say whaaaaaaaat?  Silly me, I hadn’t even thought of that part!!  There are 6 lessons (I think) with each lesson having several hours of teaching divided into several videos. And they ALL have an animal or person or both.

And you have to draw/sketch the layout first.

And did I mention that it’s WATERCOLOR! ?

Oh my stinking heck what did I sign up for??

Deep breath.

Everyone does the same subject – first up, a cat and a girl.

GULP.

here we go.
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  I have to say, following along with the video this was relatively easy and I am really pretty surprised with how well this turned out!!

The cat looks like a cat and the girl looks human – I’m impressed!!!

Of course we were all allowed creative license so there are some differences in style of hair or shirt and whatnot AND, not all of us have the same supplies as the instructor – so that really comes into play when you start adding color.

I have VERY limited watercolors. Only a few colors and not at all the same palette as the instructor so I was really intimidated to move forward from the sketch. In my head I knew I didn’t care if the colors weren’t the same, but I got really psyched out thinking about how it would affect the shading and depth etc. and even though the sketch isn’t anything spectacular – I liked it.

I didn’t want to ruin it.

and I was afraid I would.

There, I said it.

Afraid.

Fear.

I was letting FEAR get in my way.

I had to remind myself of something I posted quite a while back on Instagram:

fear

So I put on my big girl panties and I painted.

I tried hard to follow along, to wait for the instructions, but I did find I was moving ahead, anticipating…wanting to fill in here and there. I learned I need to wait. There is an order to things, espeically with my supplies – for instance my black ink pen is not waterproof. OOPS.

So first there is color added. And I was kind of disappointed, because it looked so FLAT.

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But then the next stage was adding details and shading with an ink pen and  some fluff here and there and more background texture.

and wow, ok, I’m officially impressed. Not with myself, but with the instruction that led me to THIS.

This was meant to be a little more fantastical then mine came out. . . I am struggling with my inner voice that leans towards realism even though I love abstract. This was just a little confusing to my brain. And I know it may look like a 5 year old did it – but I’m happy.

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I may never be skilled in this area but it uses a different part of my brain and even just being a rank beginner in a virtual room full of more experienced artists – it’s really good for me!!  I have taken a huge step back in so many areas of my life over the past year and a half and this fits right in with that, I get to sit back and be taught. I get to learn with no pressure, no expectations. I don’t have to lead or moderate or worry about anything other than my own little self.

And I’m SO looking forward to starting lesson 2 !

What about you? Have you ever tried your hand at painting?

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 Posted by at 8:54 am  Tagged with:
Nov 032015
 

I had the immense pleasure of taking my son and the grands cabin camping last month.

We stole away for three days, two nights – an extended weekend. The October weather cooperated and we were blessed with a lovely crisp fall weekend!

I’ve not been tent camping in years and wasn’t sure what to expect with the grands in terms of sleeping, so we opted for a little cabinette – think one room, small kitchen table, a few chairs, countertop along one wall with a two burner propane stovetop, a small microwave, dorm size fridge, sink and a few pots plates and mugs. A dividing curtain and a two sets of bunks.

Ta-da!  IMG_20151024_152831

This was our little home away from home. It served our purposes extremely well and we can’t wait to go back!

We cooked dinners over an open fire, eating outside in the dark, by the light of a small lantern.

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We enjoyed the woods….and rivers…and rocks…and lake. It was a lot to take in.


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The fall colors weren’t as varied as they might have been on another weekend, but they were bright and all the leaves on the ground provided great crunch underfoot.

What little boy doesn’t like that?

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And maybe the big boy liked it just a little too. 🙂

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We did carry the phone around and take photos to capture and hold the weekend forever. But we were largely unconnected for the weekend. Disconnecting is a great practice for me. Since I’ve already taken a huge step back from social media it didn’t seem strange to be so disconnected.

The woods are a wonderful place to be present. To listen to nature, the wind rustling the trees, the bubbly singsong of the river, the birds calling to each other. . . . it quiets me.

And invigorates me at the same time. 

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(he was much happier than he looks)

 

We collected little bits of forest floor…and were surprised by how big some things were

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These two sweet boys are growing so fast, they hiked up and down hills and climbed, jumped, and rolled off rocks . .

We walked the road, trails, and even forged our own path through the woods.

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and just kept going. . .

Sort of like time….it just marches on.

They are growing up, I’m growing older….and needless to say, I came home EXHAUSTED.

But also refreshed and somehow eager to do it again!

When is the last time you got away for a weekend?

Sep 152015
 

 

It’s important to remember that horses are large animals with a mind of their own. (and not necessarily the largest of brains) –

so are horses dangerous?

Well, yes, they can be.

Some horses are a danger because they are mean or wild/unbroke but overall I find the danger around horses is situational.

And sometimes it’s pretty ugly.

Exhibit A – my legs after the bees nest fiasco a couple of weeks ago

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Granted, my legs aren’t the lookers they used to be anyway, but wowzers – that’s a lot of bruising!

The situation we found ourselves in made things dangerous. Horse + bees nest + stinging = danger!

Even when things are going well, horses require your constant attention, they can react swiftly.  And if you are not paying attention, are not prepared, or just plain don’t know what you are doing – you can find things go from good to bad to worse pretty quickly and beacuse of their large size and the situation, injuries CAN be pretty severe.  If you understand horses and can think like a horse, it lessens the degree of danger.

The situational issues though are still going to be there.

What are situational issues?

Well, two weeks ago a rider was medevaced  out of the nearby state park when she was came off her horse and injured her hip and wrist pretty severely. (same situation as I found myself in, apparently they got caught up in bees, I was really blessed to have a soft landing). [SCARY! right?]

If you are out on hunt or working jumps in a ring, a slight deviation can cause a fall which, when you consider the height of the jump in addition to the height of the horses back – that can be a BIG fall and a rough landing –  and it can have serious outcomes. (Think Christopher Reeve).

We place ourselves in situations when working with horses that are inherently dangerous even apart from the horse itself.

Our current situation

Casey in and of herself is a bit dangerous to be around at the moment.

My dear Casey has swift changes in mood depending on where the rest of the herd is at a given moment. Last weekend she was a dear on Saturday – calm, relaxed, practically slept through grooming. Sunday was much the same for the first part of grooming and then she started getting a little twitchy, moving around a bit…and I finally realized that the rest of the herd had moved around the barn as they grazed and she could no longer see them.

She goes from ‘all is well in my world, wow that brush feels great…so nice to stand here and soak up the sun and eat treats

to

oh..hmmmm, uhhh, hey guys…..ummm, wait, where is everyone going, why are you going, please don’t be going….I’m stuck here (tied)….wait….there they go…they’ve disappeared….CRAP, I AM GOING TO DIE, LET ME LOOOOOOSE!!!‘.

It’s not great fun for her, she’s experiencing a lot of anxiety. And let me tell you – it’s not fun for me either. She either forgets I’m there and practically walks over me/pushes me over or gets pointedly aggressive (although minimally so) towards me.

I keep thinking – this is supposed to be FUN. I’m not having fun! When will this be fun???

I have to keep reminding myself that things will look different in a year. And that she came from an unknown situation but not a good one, and that I’ve moved her three times (well, 4 times technically) since May. That’s a lot of moving and readjusting.

I fully believe that by this time next year she’ll be settled in, she’ll have built up trust in me and more confidence in herself and her surroundings and how things work. And she will come to realize that the herd will still be there – EVERY TIME I ask her to leave she gets to go back.

I caught a photo of her while she was in a relaxed mood the other day. I want to document her progression as she becomes a healthier happier horse. This is a completely unedited photo – and pretty accurate for where she is right now – she is filling in more but still needs some weight and to build muscle.

Are horses dangerous?

She doesn’t look dangerous

 

The nasty rash is gone, she’s finally getting beat up on less so her cuts and scrapes are healing, and she has hair growth on most of them. Overall she’s doing well. One of my main issues right now is simply time. I knew it would be rough with school starting back up for my son but I am not even getting in the minimal regular time I had hoped. And Casey could really benefit from handling on a regular basis so it’s time for me to figure out our new schedule and get to work. 🙂

For fun, if you are familiar with Hyperbole and a Half (GREAT writing)  – someone sent me this ….

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Casey has her challenges but overall she’s not a wild bronco. Her particular challenges right now do increase the level of danger. I have to be very careful because she can ‘explode’ as she gets wound up. She has reared and bucked and struck out more than once due to her anxiety.

So yea, she just has some ‘issues’. 🙂

But don’t we all?

Yes, “horses are dangerous” to some degree but being around them doesn’t have to be. We’re working on it.