Friday, February 26, 2010

Spring Travel

Tomorrow I will be on the road again. Being on the road I don't mind so much, the stuff I'm having a hard time with does not involve the landscapes I'll see and the miles I'll drive.

What I'm torn over is: the daffodils are blooming. They're these tiny, miniature daffodils I planted in the the yard a few years ago. We always had these big blooming yellow bursts at our old house, and I wanted some here, and all I could find was a little desk plant size that I transplanted to the yard. And they pop their tiny, delicate yellow blooming heads up each year now.

This is only a base feeling for the deeper butterflies. Sure, March in West Texas is brutally windy and it is thoroughly unpleasant to go outside and eat dirt in the air. So escaping that is a plus.

But being away long enough for the weeds to take over the yard irks me. Being so far away from my tools and supplies has me crawling with hives. Packing enough clothes, let alone shoes for several weeks just has me in a tither.

I'm so torn up, I haven't eaten right in days. All my brushes and tools and choices are set up and laid out so that when inspiration strikes, I just grab and get to work. The weather is finally starting to get nice, nice enough that I don't want to stay buried under five blankets for warmth all day. Nice enough that I want to spend my afternoon outside, writing or gardening or watching the birds flit about.

This is so very weird for me. I love to travel, especially in the Spring. For years I felt that I needed to be in San Antonio in the Springtime, watching the preparations for Fiesta, absorbing all the colors and excitement. Wandering the Hill Country to see all the miles of reds, blues, yellows - wildflowers and bluebonnets in bloom.

That's home to me. That's what I crave and enjoy.

Please, oh, please, let me find some creative joy out of this excursion.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Art should be messy

Creation should come from destruction, from randomness, from the unknown.

So many rules to follow in daily life lead to frustration and depression. Stay inside the lines. Stop at the stop signs. Don’t hit others. Keep your room clean. Don’t play with your food.

One of the best possible memories of creating, of art in my early years, comes from being completely and unabashedly messy. It is still enough of an impression upon my subconscious that I’m a messy and disorganized adult now.

Having an ‘art shirt’. The old, over-sized button down shirt of some adult in my life that was used as an art smock, so as not to get my other clothes dirty or stained. Over time this smock shirt would end up with stains and smears, splatters and streaks in all colors of the rainbow.

My grandfather passed away nearly a decade ago now, and I adopted several of his work shirts when my grandmother was cleaning out his closet. Sturdy cloth, strong stitching, meant to handle grease or dirt and still be fine. They have his name stitched above the pocket and a hole in the pocket flap for a pen to reside. They’re slightly baggy on me, which is fine for layering over tank tops or sweaters. But these are my art smocks now. The familiar pride in wearing his shirt feels comforting. The random streaks of paint across the front and arms from where I routinely wipe paintbrushes makes it mine.

If you’re sitting down to paint with your kids, know that they’re going to be kids. They’re going to be messy and draw outside the lines and mix colors just because they can. Let them enjoy that freedom of creating art in their own way. Pull out an old button down shirt that they can use as their own art smock, something that they can get messy in and not worry about the consequences. Get one for yourself. See how good it feels to ignore just a few rules sometimes.

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