Thursday, March 25, 2010

Paint What You Like and it will show

When I was painting the marbles in the round glass bowl, it gave me such joy. Adding the other elements, the McDonalds figurine, the Cinderella figurine, the little ceramic pillbox with the red shoe on top, the catalogue from the Alex Katz painting show with Ada on the cover in the red coat-it all seemed to come together by itself. Like the painting took on a life. There was very little about the experience I did not like. When I think about painting, when it flows like that, when you go from start to finish in a swoop, regardless of how long it really takes, the outcome is joyous, both to me, the painter, and to the person who looks at the finished work. The joy comes through. The doubt never really surfaces, there is no doubt- about the subject, the composition, the paint quality, the color. It just works.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


When a chorus sings inside a church, perhaps a Baroque structure, sound often lasts a while after the voices pause. The sound may go on by itself, bouncing off walls. Choir members learn to watch the conductor to know when to start long to wait.

When one speaks and then there is silence, do the words seem to bounce off walls or off the person spoken to? Once in a while just let those words bounce around in the air instead of filling the space quickly with more words. At times it's interesting to speak and then wait. While listening to this silent reverberation, the meanings of words may change or expand, to broaden the experience for speaker or listener.

Words come back, in our minds. It just requires pausing when someone writes or talks. Pay attention to those echoes before responding. If responding! It is a choice, always a choice.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Just today I heard about someone who had to suddenly choose between two events. He chose to go on the path that was planned in advance, and not change plans. He thought about who would be most affected. Someone may feel that you should have chosen differently. You have to make the decision based on how you will feel after you decide. Sometimes you don't know until you do. Sometimes, you get a chance to backtrack if that is what you decide: 'I changed my mind.' But it is your mind! to change or not.
The innermost core can be touched by a decision that comes up all of a sudden.

It is not a moral issue. Not right or wrong. It is a choice...which path you will take. Each path comes with different experiences, learnings and results. Deciding to wait until you are ready to act is another path. It may seem like you're standing still, but you are waiting. Waiting is an option. Everyone in time has to choose.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Good and Bad decisions? Or just choosing different paths. One decision is one path, another decision is another path. Another choice. Choices sound less stressful than decisions. If the word 'decision' means choice and not good or bad, right or wrong, it is not stressful. And you may sleep better at night: "I chose to do it this way."- instead of- "I made a good or bad decision."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday Night Blind Side Notes

Just finished reading The Blind Side by Michael Lewis. Learned a lot about football. Nothing like a great human interest story to sneak in some technical information. The way the book morphs between the two is seamless. The blind side, the formerly invisible position that saves the day is food for thought. Not everyone needs published praise and honor but rewards come in many forms. It can be satisfying to be an unsung (well paid?) hero. Teamwork, background singers, sidemen...chorus. Thinking about personal experiences, situations, when not stepping forward yet still stepping up to the plate, works.

No spotlight, no diva, no pressure; working for a common cause. The players know. The reward is harmony. And victory. Very satisfying to be in a picture that is more than the sum of its parts.

The blind side. Playing the blind side...holding back, yet aggressively protecting your interests. Waiting for circumstances to play out. Not attempting to resolve situations that have yet to materialize. Not rushing the play. Standing firm to one side, but not on the sidelines. It's a deceptively active play that doesn't call attention to itself, yet enables a way to appear, a road to show up, a creative solution to develop.

You want to solve a problem. It is a definite plan: open ended. Allows things to evolve.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Use The Past

Phillip Lim, interviewed in today's Times Magazine: "I pass this framed piece every morning on my way out of my bedroom. It says, "Never Look Back." That's a big motto for me." When asked about his worst design, he says "I don't regret. I move on."

So simple and profound a motto. I am always drawing on the past. I think it informs what I do now and what I will do in the future. I have an affinity for late 40's and 50's kitchenware, tablecloths and dishcloths, cookbooks, music. When I find an object from this era in a thrift shop I feel a kinship with it. The learning here is to use or acknowledge that which is the past, figuring out how it can positively accessorize what is to come. Regret is a very strong word. If regret stops you from moving on, it can be quite a roadblock, a procrastinator, ultimately a paralysis.

It is a wonderful attitude and mood lifter to develop or morph the "look backs' into today's needs. In my case, they never really go away. They come to me in the middle of the night, and play over again like scratchy broken records suspended in time. To me, these clips of memories are very real. I think security was taken for granted until I could really understand the meaning of words. Words can be so powerful, despite 'sticks and stones can break your bones but words will never harm you'. Spoken words consciously or unconsciously often motivate negative or positive behavior.

Yet, being impressionable or sensitive defines an artist, who can look at things while they are happening and after they happen, and use these reflections as motivation to create. Objectivity comes in the ability to stand back a bit, as an observer. When it gels, that's the aha moment!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Watching The Day Evolve

It is not necessary to control the day. Nice to watch it evolve and be a participant. You can offer choices as to how the day might be spent, and decide which choice seems to feel right. Any choice might work. Any choice will have different results. But often there is no urgency or "right or wrong' choice to make. Just different paths.

Horoscope today said "ONLY YOU are the judge of whether you are successful." Nice. No one else's opinion can possibly be the answer to whether or not you are successful. What a relief. It is inside of you. Your own personal goals. Satisfaction when you achieve some goal that is yours alone.

It can be as simple as eating healthy all day long. Or for two hours at a time. Or exercising. Or spending two hours painting. Or going for a long walk. Whatever is your need at the time.

It can be figuring out a problem that has caused some worry. Waiting till you feel right about the solution or direction you want to go...till the decision feels right. No one can say your decision is not right, because it is right for you. Once you go through this process of internal review, contemplation, waiting till the right moment to act, you will save yourself from doubt.

At the end of the day, sleepy time, review your happy accomplishment. That one thing can make you smile as you start your dreams for tomorrow: that you achieved a goal that is meaningful to you.

People sense the pride in yourself and see your smile. It is relaxing to be around someone who is happy with themselves. By achieving your own special private goals...inch by live your life consciously and in the moment.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Wait. It Will Come

Today I thought about how sometimes when questioning what to do, a 'sign' will materialize and lead to your own right decision. It is not usually necessary to make an immediate decision when faced with a situation. When you keep your mind open or tuned in, something often happens that helps make the decision easy! And of course, when you test the waters, by thinking how you will feel making the decision, you will know if it will be right for you. Uneasiness or doubt means give it some more thought- a better solution may present itself. Or, your feelings about it may change, once more facts or options or circumstances come into the picture. And how nice it feels, to be comfortable with the final decision after this process takes place.

Painting sometimes involves starts and stops. Maybe it requires a bit of stepping back. Waiting, thinking, learning, and then getting back to the canvas can ultimately advance the work. It is easier to look at the work objectively when you step back, out of the room, then revisit the canvas. The origional motivation, that fresh look, can be sustained by keeping in mind your origional intent. Details tend to clutter up that goal. Backing up, as it were, refreshes the 'one look' concept. From across a room at a gallery or museum, what makes you want to come up and view a picture more intimately? It starts with scanning the room and directing your focus to what moves you, from way back.

And keeping your options open, working fairly loose and open ended will give you all the space you need to go in whatever direction you feel will work. It is amazing how accidents, circumstances, experiments, freedom, can further something in the direction that makes it work.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Self Image, Modern Love

After reading last week's Modern Love column in the Sunday Styles section, I have been thinking about the ways our parents thought of us. How they communicated those feelings affect how we feel about ourselves today. Going back in time, I thought about situations in which an opinion was offered and how it made me feel. How our parents reacted to us can feed a positive or negative image that we may carry around for years. Being blamed for something, justly or not, is one example. Because a parent said it,does that make it true? Reflect back on it as an adult.

One of my friends today says 'follow your heart' in making decisions. How you feel about the pros and cons of a situation is a way to influence your ultimate choice. If the thought of traveling some possible road makes me uneasy, I have to think why- and maybe that choice is not right. I want to know why it creates the uncomfortable feeling. Other people around us also may comment on some thing about ourselves and because of past interactions with parents, we might attach importance to that comment and add it to the picture in our mirror.

The Modern Love essay inferred that sometimes there is a misinterpretation...of a photo or situation that could be viewed in another way that changes its meaning entirely. Reviewing things that happened so many years ago, our memory is selective. Putting another spin on words spoken at that time can break a chain of doubt and self consciousness, to relieve anxiety associated with the words or event.

Confidence is an elusive entity...often affected by the slightest wind. I't's helpful to realize that true knowledge of ones self can be a steady undercurrent and those ripples at the surface are just that, temporary weather conditions.