Tuesday, June 30, 2009

One more thing

This week I go back to school for the summer semester! I am anxious, because anytime I take time off (1 month and a half in this case), I feel like i am not as sharp and not as ready for the intensity of grad school. There are some pretty bright people in that little mix, and many of them approach graduate school in a way very different from mine, who has to take classes at a a slow pace in order to be able to somewhat manage the other areas of my life. But I have come to terms with this, and I know someday I will be writing to you about my graduation day, even if it takes another year or so!
I know that becoming a therapist is not only my desire, but mostly something planted in my heart by the big guy (I mean GOD)! A few years back, I could not have imagined applying for this program, but when i started praying about my future and looking deep within my self to make sense of the gifts given to me, the doors began to open in this direction.
So for now,the main objective is to become a Marriage and Family Therapist, who applies holistic approaches to healing the mind and the soul and utilizes Art as a vehicle for gaining access and sorting out emotions that may exist within a person. I also want to be an advocate for my clients, someone who is not only multiculturally competent but also able to look at someone's life as a combination of individual, family, work, faith realms.
Sounds good , but it is indeed a long road for me; a road not without sacrifices, not without doubt, but full of hope that HIS desire will materialize into reality and that I could make a difference in the lives of others!
Thanks for reading

Friday, June 26, 2009

Playing around


I've always wanted my designs on little bags, so I played around at home with t-shirt transfers just to see what happens...So, here is what I took from it:

  • I like the look

  • I need to practice sewing (A LOT)

  • I need to NOT burn my t-shirt transfer next time!

  • Maybe I should look into screenprinting...

Thanks for checking it out!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer thoughts...

While hearing so many people complain of the "scalding" weather here in KZOO I am happy as a bee as the sun kisses my skin! I love summer! As I write this, my 12 year old is away at camp, my six year old is at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts for their weeklong camp; and my Bella Boo (the three year old) is napping this lazy afternoon away...I am sitting here listening to a wonderful book: "Caramelo" by Sandra Cisneros;

My husband and I just celebrated yet another anniversary, and over dinner, we talked about summer plans and reminisced on times when things seemed to be simpler. We both agree on the same period - 2002/2003 - as the most peaceful, content and blissful time of our married lives. So we talked about those years, and examined our state of mind, financial situation, children, family and friends, and figured that the just of it was really about living in the now, doing it simply and being gentle to ourselves;

By living in the now we allowed ourselves the opportunity to be spontaneous, carefree, and centered; spending our present planning an uncertain future just seemed strange...

By doing it simply we had no idea who the Joneses were, and if we did, we had no interest in hanging out with them; we didn't have much, we didn't want much, and didn't measure ourselves up to anything or anyone.

By being gentle to ourselves took care of us first- me by doing art and being gentle to my body as I carried my little Lucas in my belly and enjoyed watching my little kindergartner discover new horizons; Erik meditated, played his guitar and we both dedicated some of our time as volunteer tutors to our son's classmates.

We took the time to just be. No unnecessary obligations, commitments, or relationships; We had the guts to only do what made us happy.

Looking at now, I feel as though we have the maturity to do even better than 2002. But why aren't we there? Sure, the kids are older now, there are 3 of them instead of 2, and making decisions for ourselves and our little ones overshadows the spontaneity and the stillness we so long for.

The practice of gentleness to oneself, simplicity and joy is very intentional, and the results can be freeing; I am confident that my family can get back to that point (we are pretty darn close already, I think) if we begin to live our lives by practicing to love ourselves and find beauty and fulfillment on the simple things.

As the clothes gently sway on the clothesline in our backyard, I think of my grandmother, skirt swaying as if to keep up with the linen sheets she hung above her head. Possessions were not in her mind, but the breeze and the sun...

Thank you for reading!

Beijos a todos


Monday, June 22, 2009

Little drawings

Really liking the color here...
Having a "thing" for owls lately!

Here are some of my latest little excursions...Still need to work on more owls (brighter colors) + more elephants+ more birds and we'll see what happens...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Where to now?

Little bitty sketch

I thought I was done with Art for a while. At least that's what I told everyone after my last show 6 months ago. I told my professors, co-workers, family members, my HUSBAND- that was it for a while, and I would solely focus on finishing my Master's, working part time and tend to the matters of my home life. All of the above mentioned people were affected in some way by the demands that making Art had put on my life. Late papers, late for work, not enough down time, not enough couple time-

"Just until the show is over" I would say to them. I was so relieved to take the pieces down, hang them on my walls and just enjoy them for a while. But the truth is, even though the process and the deadline pressures of putting together an exhibit are exhausting, I LOVE making Art, and it is really the one thing that makes sense to me these days.

Somehow its soothing effect shields me from worry when we are broke, pain when friends are crappy, anxiety when I am overloaded and guilt when I feel inadequate. We wear so many hats in life, but it seems when you finally find the one that makes you feel like YOU, it interferes with all the other hats you're supposed to be wearing (at the same time, may I add).

So here I am again, going through a tough time in my life, missing art like crazy because it fulfills all the empty spaces left open by what could have been.

Going back into it is tough, there is so much good stuff being made out there, I feel intimidated.

I tried to open an ESTY shop just to get myself going, even though I have nothing new to show, I am excited about it, it has promise it seems like...

Now, I just need to find the mojo to create again...

Because when I don't, the knots inside, the pain, the shame, the crap, all of it, it just has nowhere to go.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My kids hate ART (ok, maybe not)

Last week's popsicle stick puppets
People tend to assume that because of my background, my children love to make art and are good at it.

Ok, I guess that is a fair thought considering that all 3 of them have been watching me engage in some sort of creative effort since they came out of the womb, and have visited their share of art fairs, museums, and art exhibits- However, by no means it is true for me to say that when I show up armed with supplies galore for a new project they are jumping for joy! Most of the time all I get are grunts! (from the oldest ones)

"Do we HAVE to?" (quoting my pre-teen)

"What are we making this time?"

"Are my hands gonna get sticky?" (quoting my control/cleanliness loving 6 year old)

"YEAH, ART time!" (quoting my 3 year old daughter who could care less if all she ends up with is a diarrhea looking blob of paint covered in dirt!!)

The truth is, sometimes, they feel like they can't "measure up" to my art (you know, for children, if you can draw anything they like with the least bit of accuracy, you are right up there in the Da Vinci category!); and with their natural and ever present need to please their parents, they become self critical and impatient .

Usually, after we get settled with supplies and such I assure them that we are just putting ideas together in the form of art (yes, I repeat the same thing every time), and that it is okay to share ideas, make suggestions and encourage one another to create. Most of the time, the kids actually relax and just let go. After a bit of resistance they get engaged and it is great!

However,last week when we had art time at home, I kept thinking what can I do to get to "This is fun, mom" part without the grunting?

Is my perfectionism in other areas of my life influencing the way they feel about doing this with me? PROBABLY.

I can sit there until I turn green and try to convince them that it is okay to have an abnormal sized nose on a puppet, but if when i do my own work all they see is their perfection seeking mother, it ain't gonna fly baby!

So I am making a conscious effort to mess up in front of them. It kills me inside, you have no idea! Anything from letting them know how I forgot my keys in the fridge, walking in the house with my shoes on (who could conceive of it?), spilling my juice (haven't done the grape juice yet because I really love my World Market placemats, but I am sure the lemonade gets the point across just fine). They laugh at me. It's kind'a cool and liberating; Maybe you should try it. And if you already do this, can you give me some pointers?
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Arte Natural

"Canoe" 2008

One of my favorite indoor places in the world is Barnes and Noble. No I am not getting paid to talk them up or anything, but man, do I have fun there! This week's trip led me to bring a pile of 15 books and magazines to my table at the coffee shop area, but of course I only got to 2 of them... I will share one with you this time:

In an effort to live a greener life our family has made several adjustments; you know, the stuff you hear about everywhere like recycling your trash, turning off lights, unplugging appliances, not flushing when you pee (this one is not yet under full compliance, yuk!!) organic gardening, safe cleaning supplies, green shopping bags, etc;

http://www.epa.gov/ to get started, also, links for kids of all ages to learn about environment awareness:)

(we have not yet changed all of our light bulbs to energy efficient ones, or put together a compost bin, but we'll get to that...) There is SO MUCH more we can do, eventually, but unless someone wants to donate to the "fund for greening my entire house" we are gonna have to take baby steps... And that's cool, all good!

However, I am not sure that my role as an artist and this environmental consciousness had made a true connection yet. Sure, living a frugal lifestyle almost forces you to reuse and recycle, I rarely ever have to buy art supplies, and just kind'a deal with what I have around the basement. But to make a statement towards environmental awareness through art? Now that's some good stuff... So, this book I came across is called "Green Guide for Artists- Nontoxic Recipes, green art ideas & Resources for the Eco-Conscious Artist" by author Karen Mitchel.

So fun! Full of ideas, and ways to create responsibly, beautifully made and wonderfully informative. For experienced painters, it provides them an opportunity to learn about substituting toxic materials such as adhesives, canvas and paint for better, greener alternatives. For me, (NOT an experienced painter), it just sort of revived the idea of using found objects, sharing supplies, and continuing to pursue a mixed media avenue in my own work.

This beautiful quote by William Blake is in one of the first pages...

"The tree which moves some to tears of joy, is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity...and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself."

Locally, here are some places to check out:

http://www.artsandscraps.org/ (Detroit)

http://www.scrapbox.org/ (Ann Arbor)

Possible trips with the kiddos

http://bostonchildrensmuseum.org/exhibits/recycle.html at the Boston Children's Museum

http://www.wonderscope.org/rmc.php at the Children's Museum of Kansas