Solstice

The winter Solstice holds special significance to me personally. I gave birth to my only child, a daughter, on this day in 1980. She is the brightest light in the longest night, and I am ever grateful she chose me to be mom. To see her become the incredible woman she has grown into swells my heart to bursting.

The creation of life- all life- is the highest form of art for which we have no hand in.

I wish for anyone who is reading this warmth, light, laughter, with those you love.

Self portrait, pregnant with my daughter 1980

 

My daughter, 3 months old.

 

 

My daughter, age 6

Ten secrets

Seems while digging up my buried artist self and needing pokes, and nudges to keep on digging till I see glitter my neighbour, a successful working musician for many years, happened to post this on his fb page today. It was a synchronistic moment when I read it. True, there are no secrets. It’s just obvious behaviour if an achievement wants to be attained!

But I felt I needed to preserve it here for constant reference.

10 Secrets to musical success: 1) never stop believing; 2) practice every day; 3)respect your gift; 4) practice every day; 5)love your listener; 6)practice every day; 7) stay straight til it’s over; 8)practice every day; 9) eat healthy on the road; 10) there are no secrets.

Why we sing

I love how Linda Ronstadt responds to the question of why people sing.

“For the same reasons birds do,” she says. “For a mate, to claim their territory or simply to give voice to being alive in the midst of a beautiful day. They sing so that coming generations won’t forget what the current generation endured, or dreamed, or delighted in.”

That’s a pretty good reason.

 

 

Sketchbook

Part of what I noticed I let lapse over the years of not drawing on a regular basis is my weakened observation skills. I used to spend a lot of time looking at things. I would notice tiny details like the curve of someones lip, or the shape of a hand, the light as it fell across a room. I used to be able to remember scenes, notice certain details and later make a drawing based from that scene. Not implying I drew from a photographic memory of something I saw, but using elements and pertinent details that caught my attention and then make something out of it. Because I was paying attention, I was noticing things, images were saying something to me. Over time, I seemed to have not been so observant. Well, maybe my focus had simply moved.

I pursued a culinary career which requires hard work, working fast, and long hours, product driven, and  rush-rush -rush; I recognize that I’ve been rushing around and overly occupied for so many years in contrast to how I once was when I was an art student. Of course there was only me to think about then. Job and family, there is no sitting and looking long at anything except the back of your eyelids after a long day.

The human figure has always been my favourite subject, challenging with its shape and line. As an exercise I did some quick pen sketches of some of the News guys the other night. Because their images flicked back and forth and their positions changed quickly I had to be quick. Good practice to train my eye hand coordination, and observation skills.

 

It’s a Start

So, it’s been an awfully long time since I’ve bought artist paints. Too long to contemplate. I went to my universities Book Store to gather materials, they carry limited art supplies and I get 30% discount. Even still I was taken aback at the price of paints. Funny, I never gave it much thought when I was a devil-may-care art student at this very same university forty-two years ago. Fortytwo years ago?! WTF.

Okay, I’m breathing again.

I’m starting small with a few tubes, picking up some new brushes too. But back to purchasing artist’s materials. The price. I realized, as I returned my visa card to my wallet after ringing it through, that I have difficulty reasoning the purchase. Even with a 30% discount. In the past I have done large graphite drawings for the real reason that I was seriously deficient in funds while a single mom. Graphite and paper is not cost prohibitive. A small tube of Cadmium Red can certainly be. Notice here I’ve bought Red, Yellow and Blue. The primary colours that will blend into a range of colours. My effort at cost effectiveness. Why?

Because my inner monkey- you know, the over critical monkey nattering in your brain that causes you to second guess your motives and efforts? Well, this monkey leans into my thoughts and whispers, ‘You’re spending money on something you haven’t practiced in eons’, those “paintings” better be really good to justify the spending’, and, ‘Are you sure about this? These will just sit in the basement never opened, you’re just kidding yourself and wasting money.’ 

This is part of creative recovery. I have to be patient with myself. I’ve been away too long, it takes time to reacquaint with that atrophied part of myself. I wish it was more like a long lost friend where we just pick up where we left off like no time had passed between us. But it isn’t.

I have an innate compulsion to be timid when what I need is to practice opening up and suspend inhibitions and get painting, paint anything, on paper, canvas or board. To dare to suck at it for a while without self-chastisement, without feeling the need to justify my doing this.

And what I need to be doing is practice pulling zero punches on the monkey. Boom, Boom. Hoping it stays down for the count.

Performance Anxiety

What is that anyway? I love to sing, and I actually can sing, but just don’t plunk me in front of anyone, thank you very much. I have been working on this annoying shortcoming, really I have. And I have “gigged” before. I was in a rock band in my twenties- believe me I wasn’t cut out for that lifestyle, and I’ve even done a smidge of musical theatre-way, way back in time- and I did enjoy it, but at the same time it was near torture. And this is where I get odd. I know I would really, really love it- I want to love it! In my mind I see myself loving it, I would love to be able to love performing. Others who do it look like they’re having a lot of fun!

And there have been many casual musical alliances I have been involved in over the years, but as soon as they say, ‘Hey we should get a gig’, mentally I start backing towards a door that I’m hoping is open behind me. I close down and leave my body when a roomful of eyes are looking at me. Including public speaking, but strangly not as fearful as singing. What?

I was asked just recently to sing with a local band here for our open mic. Nope.

It’s as if the universe keeps handing me opportunities to have the chance to get over myself, to take another stab at it, and I just keep on being awkward and dorky, turn spineless, and buckle under this misaligned anxiety.

How about breaking in gently by performing for friends and family?  “Oh look so and so has a guitar right here- sing us a song!”

Nope. Worse. In fact, strangers are easier to approach in this case. But still, only slightly so.

Help, I’m trapped in a paradox. How can someone want to do something that is torture? It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

Well, okay thank you for your time, if anyone is reading, I’ll keep trying. The universe, doing what it always does, will probably still keep tossing musical opportunities my way to see if I’ll bite. It’s a hurdle- more of a pole vault, I just need to find the right pole. Or something.

Tra-la-la.