My Not Failures

library chair

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

~Mahatma Gandhi

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Last night I went into the school, grabbed some light reading, and got to work on my first paper.  Or at least signed some books out so I could start to work on my first paper.  Two books safely in my trunk I headed to the ceramics lab where I messed up the project I started on Saturday.

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Three plates, varying sizes, with lips. Plates seems an odd word to me since they are more of a dish, but really, what’s the point of arguing? Now, on Saturday I just loved working on them and shocked myself with how much I really enjoyed it.  My type A did a great job on the construction on my first real ceramics project.

What I learned last night was two fold.  First I learned that I don’t like painting with slip.  Not at all.  I declared my plates ruined and even took a damp sponge to one and started over.
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The second thing I learned was a little more altering than “I hate painting with slip”.  It was simply that I didn’t fail just because the outcome was hideously ugly.  No people, I would have failed if I hadn’t tried.  I will fail if I keep this from trying something new again.  I succeeded simply for the fact that I did it and learned, and am open to seeing if there are other ways I can do this that I will like (glazing perhaps?).  I’m not in art school to become an artist, I’m here to try new things and expand my love for what I do.  I will run into things I will never do again, find things I like, and fall in love with other unexpected things.  Each and every one of those is perfect.

Interestingly enough I read these amazing words from Neil Gaiman just yesterday as I was sitting there not failing:

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

So this week I’m going to go and make more ugly things, and not fail.  I’m going to try new things, and surprise myself.

Cheers,

B

My Studio Today

studio

You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.
~Friedrich Nietzsche

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Interestingly I don’t have much of a mess going on in the studio right now.  Much is a relative word of course, because I tidied but it’s not spic and span, but what studio should be when you’re working?

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Really, I just wanted to share one of my recent paintings with you.  One that made me cry.  A couple from my home town of Chilliwack had their sweet baby girl die of cancer this week, I read about it when a friend posted this article on her FB feed.  Being that I have had a child die my heart just broke, I get what it’s like to be in their shoes, even if our situations are so very different.  I didn’t realize how much reading that story impacted me until I went to paint.

I pulled out my background and started working on a piece for Scott, a FB friend I am doing a painting swap with.  And this is what I painted:

little angel

No, I’m not sending him this.  I ended up painting him something else the next day, but this is what I painted.  And then I cried.  Because 9 years later it still hurts.  Even with my precious little ones I wouldn’t trade for the world, I’m still missing one.  Of course, it’s because of her I adore my two living children as much as I do, smother them with loves and appreciate them the way I do, and for that I am thankful.  She has made me a rockin’ mom.  But I still miss her.

little girl angel

 Looking back I see that almost every single one of my paintings has a story or feeling that I needed to let out and express and art is such a brilliant outlet which I am so thankful I have.

faceCheers,

B

Mail Call – Catherine Style

Catherine - Fish

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.

~C.S. Lewis
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The last time I blogged I wrote a post about good old school mail, the kind you have to slap a stamp on and throw in the post box and wait for it to get to it’s final destination.  I love opening my little box in the post office entrance and seeing things that I didn’t order (though I do love those too).  I don’t recall if I put a call out for someone or if I had two people just say they were in the same boat but shortly after that I had two gals I was going to be sending things to monthly.  The first petered off quickly the second has become a highlight.

For nearly three years now my friend Catherine Constance and I have been sending mail back and forth monthly, we say the 15th, but there have been times I haven’t been as diligent as I should have been, or times when life just takes hold.  There have been moments when things have gotten lost in the post, or times we’ve sent things off late.  Our friendship has grown and our ebb and flow of sending things off is perfectly imperfect because, at least on my end, they tend to come on days I need a splash of colour, fun, and to know someone is thinking of me.

Catherine - hedgehog

This month I got a summery fish card in the mail and this brilliant little hedgehog totem.  They came yesterday, and as I drove from the city back home knowing one class in my arsenal this year was a no go I kept thinking on the envelope that I had removed from the post box and tucked into my son’s backpack and forgotten about for a moment.  I hadn’t had the time to open it up before I left the house but it turns out I needed something to make me smile when I got home.

Catherine has such a way with watercolours and the characters she breaths life into are just heartwarming and vibrant.  My friend is working her tail off to get some children’s book ideas out there and is not just writing them, but illustrating them and I can’t wait to get my dirty, painted little hands on them when it all happens.

Each and every day I am reminded that I have got some pretty amazing friends, local, distance, and online ones.  Thank you to every single one of you for adding sunshine to my life.  And Catherine, thanks for the lovely art again this month, I love both!

Cheers,

B

Obstacles Appear

sketch

The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.

~Moliere

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Just when I think it’s going to be smooth sailing the storm blows in.  I should have known it had all gone too smoothly!  I had the gal who said she’s watch my kids so I could go to school bail on me the other day.  I totally get that people can say no and all that jazz, but it’s sometimes how it’s done, like just a few days before the term starts when you’ve had months to think it over and change your mind, not the way it should be done.  So this long weekend is all about scrambling to find something that will work with the needs of our little family because if it doesn’t guess who doesn’t get to go to school?

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Like all my brushes I have but never use?  I need to go to school to learn to use a paint brush if nothing else. ;)

Yes I panicked.  Yes my first though was I’d have to drop out of school before I even started.  And yes I cried out of frustration and raw emotion.  After I wiped the tears I realized that if I could iron out this kink I’d really appreciate being able to attend my few classes, and I’m going for it.  So while I’m waiting to hear back from people we left messages with I’ll paint a picture or two and check out some scholarships to see if that can get some moola to help out with the costs we’ll incur along the way and getting some painting in. Got to keep positive.

Cheers,

B

New Journeys

Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.

You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know. 
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.

~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

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It’s strange to be sitting here staring at the screen trying to think of what to say on a blog again.  Sakes alive, it’s been ages since I wrote and hit “publish.” Please forgive my rusty wheels and fingers as I navigate through this awkward transition.

My life is full of journeys and transitions right now, two of which are this blog and art school.  I won’t spill the beans on the rest, I can’t give you all the goods in one sitting.

School.  Wow.  HOLY HUGENESS!

Some would say the journey to school started when I decided to allow myself to be persuaded into applying for art school.  Yes, some teacher, who had never met me and who had never seen my art before, felt inspired to push that button and tell me to apply.  I had never thought about it really before, and certainly didn’t think I had a chance, but something spoke to me and I decided to go for it.

Others may have thought the journey began when I started working on my portfolio which I needed to submit in order to apply.  This I needed to start from scratch because as some of you may not know, before Jan 1, 2013 I only painted three wee pictures ever before.  Yes, you heard me right, I never really did art before apply to art school.  Seems totally reasonable I’d jump on that boat right?

What about the day I got the call that I got accepted?  Besides being totally gobsmacked I’d assume some people thought my journey started there.  My disbelief lead to me not telling a soul about my acceptance for three weeks, I really needed time to digest it, after all, I had heard things like, “you know you won’t get in, my friend is a great artist and she applied x number of times and never got in.”  Not that these comments (not said to be mean or hurtful) made me think I didn’t have a chance, the reality of it was simply a girl who just decided to start finger painting doesn’t just get accepted into art school when people who’ve been doing it for ages don’t.  Until I got in.  Can’t blame me for having some serious shock issues there.

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For me, it hasn’t seemed real yet, so I can’t say that I’ve really started a journey as of yet.  I could have done so many things along the road up until this point which would have stopped the boat from pushing away from land.  But today, things have changed.  I bought my boarding pass and my journey starts on September 2, just a few days away.

I’m excited, and under that I’m even a touch nervous, but less than I anticipated, maybe Monday will be a different story.  For now I’m not going to think too much on it, I’m going to go paint.

Cheers,
B