Saturday, January 31, 2015

Winter Pleasures

Sunday's Thought for tomorrow, February 1, perfectly sums up how I feel about this month. After the crazy busy holiday season, it's  nice to savor a little quietude. It seems to me that February's weather practically forces us to slow down and indulge ourselves with simple pleasures as we wait out the rest of the winter. Here in the Deep South, we can look forward to early varieties of jonquils popping up toward the end of this month. Just thinking about them lifts my spirits even as the forecast is calling for the possibility of snow.

But reading good books, enjoying a glass of wine or cup of herbal tea and dreaming of gardening (the simple pleasures I enjoy) must necessarily take place in the evening. During the day, I've been working hard to finish several mirrors I'll be delivering this coming week to 2Rules, the gallery in Marietta carrying some of my jewelry and now, some of my functional art pieces.

The mirrors have taken longer to complete than I anticipated. Despite my best efforts to keep the designs relatively simple, each evolved into more complexity than I had planned. All are made with my own original art papers, which I paint, stamp, and hand embellish, then cut into "tiles" and collage onto the mirror frames. After letting the adhesive dry thoroughly I treat the whole thing to multiple coats of clear UV sealer and varnish, and add the hanging hardware. Once the varnish cures they're (finally) ready to go.

After working all day in the studio, I'm happy to turn to my books and daydreams in the evening. (I lack hyacinths and violets, so the picture of sunflowers on my living room wall will have to suffice.) It's a pretty good formula for satisfaction: working at something I love by day, chilling out at night. Do we really need anything more? Life is good!

Text ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, January 25, 2015

"No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit." -- Helen Keller

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Another Must-Have Book for Artists

I read lots of books, particularly books about art and the making of art. When I came across Shaun McNiff's Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go, I promptly set aside every other title and immersed myself in it. I'm so impressed by it I wanted to share this discovery with you. (And no, I do not receive any payment for writing about this or any other resource I bring to my readers' attention, nor do I have any connection to the author or his publisher.)

McNiff explores the mystical and mystifying aspects of creativity in depth. Anyone who has composed music, written a book, painted a canvas or choreographed a musical -- or who has desperately wanted to but was paralyzed by fear and anxiety -- will find this book enormously helpful. It's empowering and enlightening and it makes fascinating reading.

The creative process moves at its own speed and in its own way. It can't be forced. When we align ourselves with the process and trust it, it takes us and our work in exciting new directions. To reach this state of alignment, though, we have to find a way to stifle that critical, negative, fear-mongering "editor on our shoulder" who breeds self doubt and anxiety within us:

"What if nobody likes this piece?"
"Will anyone want to read this drivel?"
 " The critics will probably pan this one too."
 "Nothing else I've done has sold. This probably won't either."

Once we shut that little demon up, we can approach art making with the enthusiasm we had as kids -- uninhibited, free of do's and dont's, unafraid to color trees purple and grass bright red. Return to that mindset and you've opened the door to trusting in the process and allowing it to carry you forward. This book shows you how to do just that without requiring you to follow a structured program. Yes, you DO have to learn to think differently, but retraining your mind isn't all that difficult. It just calls for approaching things from an unaccustomed direction.

My friend Dinah and I have agreed to meet regularly to discuss the concepts McNiff presents in this book. I'm looking forward to getting Dinah's take on them. Both of us are excited about this journey we're about to make. It will be my major focus this year. The path beckons....I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, January 18, 2015

"Having once found the intensity of art, nothing else that can happen in life can ever again seem as important as the creative process." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Friday, January 16, 2015

Returning to My Studio, Finally!

The holidays are over, the new year began two more than two weeks ago, and I'm still fighting off the lingering effects of a respiratory infection that's been hanging on since the last week of December.

An easy project like making notecards can jumpstart creativity after a long absence from the studio 

There's nothing like feeling profoundly crummy to remind me of just how precious every moment of studio time is. Wrapped up in a blanket with throbbing sinuses, a hacking cough, and surrounded by a mountain of tissues, I wanted soooo badly to be well enough to go to my studio. Instead, all I could do was reach for the Kleenex and give in to an overwhelming desire to sleep.

Eventually I began to feel a little bit better. But recovery from the Creeping Crud (don't you love my scientific name for it?) has been frustratingly slow. This past week I enjoyed my first full day in the studio since New Years Eve. It felt wonderful to finally make some art! But it wasn't an entirely smooth process. I felt a little rusty. So I eased back into my routine by starting with something simple: making notecards. That's all it took to get totally back in the groove. Feeling better than I had in weeks, I then started a large abstract. It's not finished yet but it will be soon. And there are many more projects on my drawing board. I can hardly wait to get to them. It feels so good to be back!

Text and image ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, January 11, 2015

"The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don't know how or why. All great discoveries are made in this way." -- Albert Einstein

Monday, January 5, 2015

Take a Mental Vacation from Winter

It's freezing cold, with snow and ice burying a good bit of the country in misery. Here in north Georgia, the forecast is calling for temps in the low teens later this week. (Yikes!) Winter's grip can get us all depressed: it can seem like gray skies and bone chilling cold will never go away.

So I thought I'd offer a little something to remind us all that winter won't be with us forever. These are photos Hubs and I have taken both in our travels and right here at home. I hope they lift your spirits by prompting anticipation of warmer days ahead -- when the fragrance of blossoms perfumes the air and the world outside our doors is lush and green again.

Could there be anything more lovely than this Charleston window box?

The winding path invites visitors to linger in a small urban garden

A home in Charleston's Historic District features an eclectic entry garden

This pocket garden lay just outside our door at a B&B in Eureka Springs, AR. At the end of the path is a tiny pond and waterfall.

Perennial coneflowers and black eyed susans offer rustic beauty

A pop of magenta and a blue ceramic bird bath brighten a shady spot near our deck

Carolina jessamine glows in the morning sun

For cheer all summer long, plant a pink geranium!

Nothing tastes better than home grown tomatoes

  This exquisite creature is a luna moth. To see one is a rare treat.
I hope looking at these pictures has lifted your spirits just a little. Beneath all the ice and snow, Spring is preparing to push through the frozen soil and unfurl itself. It will happen right on time just as it has for millions of years, guaranteed. So let's hang in there, dear readers. Let's treat ourselves to a long, long novel (something on the order of War and Peace -- never a quick read). Let's lay in ample supplies of herbal tea or cocoa mix, and snuggle on the sofa under a throw. Let's look to those warmer days ahead as we watch the snowflakes fall. We can get through this dreary season. It's simply a waiting game.

Text and images ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, January 4, 2015

"I tolerate with the utmost latitude the right of others to differ from me in opinion." -- Thomas Jefferson