I recently sat with my mom in the doctors office (my mom is 83) she told the doctor she was very upset about being a burden to her children. I knew she had been feeling bad about about all the trips up to her house to help her out when she fell and fractured 5 ribs and the the trips to the ER to help stabilize a rapid heart beat. She and my father (who passed away 2 years ago from colon cancer) were and are fiercely independent. I know she wants desperately to stay in her beautiful cozy home as long as she can. All five of us children would like to see that she gets that wish also. My father wanted to die at home and because of hard work and boundless love from siblings, friends and incredible hospice care he got his wish. What I wish for my mom to know is this. Yes I am older and do get a bit tired or cranky but would I be anywhere else. Heck no! I chose to move back to be close to my parents as they age. What I would like my mom to know is I love her boundlessly. Not just for bearing 5 children but raising incredible children who are loving and caring. How could I begin to thank her for the times she nursed us through chicken pox, measles, mumps, cuts and bruises, broken hearts, the list is endless. For me in particular when I had my son and he was just three months old we had no second car, I had no car seat, no high chair, no stroller. I was stranded every day in a small two bedroom apartment. My mom would show up out of the blue load me and my son in the car and take us to buy a stroller. She would take me to get a hamburger at McDonald’s and that was like steak to a 19 year old,broke, frightened mother. After a painful divorce my mom and dad took me and my son in. Mom babysat while I worked, she baked cookies and listened while I poured out my broken heart to her. She made me belly laugh, she made wonderful dinners and we would go for long walks together. There is one moment in particular that reminds me of how much love she poured out to us children. When I moved in to my folks house with my son, it was after a very bad, violent break up of my marriage. I came home one night from work exhausted and scared. I had lost everything I owned in the divorce. I came home so sad and my mother had made my bed, pulled back the sheets and in that simple act I have never in my life felt so loved and nurtured. I knew then everything would be OK. Do I owe her yes! Do I want to be here for her you bet! My parents were far from perfect but I do know without a doubt that we were very much loved and that love shines through all the time everyday. Yes, I and my brother and sisters will be there for my mom it’s what true love is all about. It’s about saying thanks for all she and dad have given us.
I’m not sure what I love the most about Autumn. Maybe it’s the cool mornings, turning leaves, the bright orange pumpkins in the fields waiting to be carved into Jack O Lanterns or pumpkin pies. I love Halloween, love Thanksgiving and I love the days before Christmas and New Years. This time for me is the best time of the year. I think I love the fall season the most because it signals the nesting in me and in my friends. The bright orange and red wreathes go up on the front doors, the soups start cooking and it means sharing with family and friends. When I am working with clients on a decorating site, the most important thing to me is an abode that welcomes family and friends. I love decorating with vintage items but to me nothing inspires fall than bringing in the outdoors. I love to pile up the dried leaves, pinecones, corn shocks, pumpkins, indian corn, yellow field corn and of course lots of gourds on my fireplace mantel and any place that I can find to decorate. Often I think maybe I lived another life on a farm somewhere in the mid west just because of how much I love the harvest. My advice to fall decorators, “Make a thermos of coffee, fix some sandwiches and enjoy the cooler weather, visit your local farm stands and go overboard with the wonderful items mother nature provides for our natural decor.”
When I think about living like an artist I think I will have to let go of most of the incessant chatter of electronic devises that bombard my mind with repetitive, soul stealing, heart robbing negativity that pounds relentlessly away at the brain exhausting any creativity or hope for that matter. No I am not anti-electronics just less of them.
When I start to live like an artist I will hear the wind making its way down the canon through the gnarly twisted pinions. I will hear the small rosy finches chattering at the feeder. I will notice the black and yellow orioles that grace us only for a month on their way north for the summer. I will wonder how they know its time to leave my feeder and continue on to the tall pines and mountain lakes in the northern woods of Canada. To live like an artist is to wonder if you can hear the grass grow. It is to wonder if I can find the right color red rose in my palette or the perfect purple of the sunset. It’s to show the world through my creative lens what I see. It is to awaken the world to a different vision of how life is or could be. It is to awaken the hearts of men or maybe just ourselves.
To live like an artist is to throw away what I know and to feel what I don’t know. Its to pick up a brush load it with thick sky blue paint and lay it on the canvas with wanton abandonment. To live like an artist is to let the heart guide the hand. To live like an artist I will try to live each day in thoughtful meditation about Gods will for me. I will try to curb my self-criticism and doubt. If my art brings an awareness of the world or self-awareness to me then being an artist is worth the time.
I will continue as an artist to paint, to write, to photograph, with reckless abandon because it is in those soul-stirring creations that I can hear the crimson of the rose petals, the changing sky at sunset and the grass growing beneath my feet.
An artist hears these things. The artist soul has to be set free to create. If we keep our minds and hearts in “societal check” we lose our vision and hearing of unseen. They will fade away just like the edges of the earth shrouded in fog. All us were born with the instinct to create. We are the manifestation of God’s creation. When we create things the soul begins speaking to the canvas and art is born. To knit a sweater, to decorate our homes, to photograph your daughter or son or the autumn leaves, to paint a canvas, these are the manifestations of the creative person we were born to be.
We are artists finding our “brush” our palette is our self, our world.
I will choose to be an artist not because it is easy, but because it frees my heart to hear. It frees my heart to see. It frees my heart to heal.
To be an artist is to hear the sunset, to paint it any color I choose because that’s how I see it… as an artist……We often hope that the world can see through our eyes for just a moment…..
Today was an amazing day. Bright blue Colorado skies and a warm 74 degrees outside. I have been reading a book by Christine Valters Painter, an oblate benedictine monk. I discovered her books online and ordered three of them right away. These books are about spirit and art. They are holy and well written. In the book: “The Artist’s Rule” A twelve-Week Journey, are various exercises involving meditation, sacred readings and art exercises. My sister, mother and I had an art workshop today based on an exercise from the book. (page 32 from the book to be exact). In the exercise you begin with three sheets of art paper, we chose 300# watercolor paper. We spent a few moments in prayer before we started and then added some Gregorian chant music with meditation. We then wrote one question on the back of our pre-cut watercolor paper and turned them over and began the exercise of painting with colors that we were drawn too. We finished with collage being very careful not to look at our questions about life written on the backs of the artwork. After a few hours of letting our collages dry we made coffee and then looked at our collages together, talking about what we learned, the questions we asked and how our collages were related in some way to our questions about life. We were very moved by the discussion and what we learned about each other. We also learned that in some way all of our endeavors are related. Our art, our spirituality, our questions about life are somehow all interrelated. The photos below show our collages and below each one is the question that was written on the back of the collage. It is utterly amazing how spirit and art work together when we take time to experience it. I recommend this book and this exercise. This was so much fun and so relaxing!