enjoying:: the weather here has been so pleasant. The temperatures spring-like and gentle. Blue sky and sunshine, too. I've taken advantage of it and ran four mornings this week. Ended up tying my jacket around my waist this morning. Even rolling down the car window yesterday on my way to pick up Isaac from school. Preparing for more snow and cold on the horizon, but I do feel a change is in the air.
noticing:: along those lines, the trees are beginning to bud. I always like to cut a few branches to display inside. Forcing the blooms and observing the slow bursting to flower.
cooking:: I've got some broccoli-potato soup simmering on the stove for dinner tonight. (edited to add; dinner is long over.) Soup is almost always on the menu when I make bread.
watching:: we've been hooked on episodes of I'll Have What Phil's Having (we found the series on Netflix, but you can also watch it here through PBS.). These shows sure satisfy my travel-foodie interests. Delightfully entertaining, interesting, and educational. Keith and I really enjoyed a film we saw at the University International Cinema last night. (such a fun, free date-night.) A funny, yet poignant Indian film called Monsoon Wedding. We both loved this movie.
reading:: On my book stack this week and last: Teachings on Love (Thich Nhat Hanh), A Parchment of Leaves (Silas House). Happy to discover another gifted author focusing again on my interest in Appalacian culture. I recently finished another similar one; absolutely loving the characters in the novel of My Old True Love (Sheila Kay Adams), and lastly, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. (Susan Cain) This book is so validating for me. It's helped me finally understand and confirm what I've lived and what I'm now seeing more and more in myself-- that I'm an introvert! This realization has brought up a lot of childhood memories of wanting and needing solitude. Contentedly shooting baskets for hours after school. Sitting alone in our crab apple tree while watching all the kids playing in the backyard. Creating little hidy-hole houses for myself in the lilac bushes. Wanting to escape when we attended family gatherings (and it hasn't changed!). Finding a dark room at my Senior class graduation party and secluding myself in a corner because I just couldn't relate and interact with the other kids. Not only did I crave quiet and solitude, I felt so different from my peers. (and I still do) I was always friendly (often seeking out the other loners to befriend.) and enjoyed laughter, fun, and socializing, but would much rather it be on a one-on-one level. And these qualities and habits continue with me today. I seek deep, meaningful conversation with very few who I feel a real connection to. My best and happiest parenting is on a one-on-one level with my kids. I often duck or go down another grocery store aisle when I see a neighbor or aquaintance just so I don't have to interact, even though I like these people very much. (bad Emily!) I crave and need the solitude I receive with my running, my reading, my photography, my art. I think, care, see, and feel deeply-- too deeply-- sometimes. It's often hard to feel understood. It's often hard to feel so different from everyone else. But I'm slowly understanding and accepting myself for who I am. And this book has been a great confirmation and comfort in my understanding of myself and others.
drawing:: So excited to start a new term at Sketchbook Skool. Here's homework #2 for Danny's Seeing klass. So happy to head outside this afternoon, sit in the sunshine, (no jacket!) and draw Eliza's old bike. The first purple and pink drawing is the original one from my sketchbook, but I'm really liking the second photo better. Way more interesting and so cool (loving the white pen line against the greens) the way it turned out by playing around with inverting the color in my photo editing. It will be fun to try a real drawing using this technique with the white pen.
pondering:: Early this morning before my run, Eliza asked if I could drive her to some of my favorite photo haunts. She's taking a photography class this semester and needed some landscape views to shoot. While I was sitting in the car, I noticed a friend walking down the road toward me. I ran a marathon with this man five years ago. He's fit, he's trim, he's in shape, he's ran countless marathons (I think around twenty or more), and is still in his 50s.. Well, as we caught up today, he told me that after a recent shoulder surgery, he was dismayed to find out that an artery in his heart was blocked; resulting in more surgery and a pacemaker implant. I would never have dreamed this would ever happen to him. Scary and I'm still thinking about that.
outing:: heading now to take some soup and bread to my folks.
Happy Weekend to you, and as always, thanks for stopping by.
Lots of work done this week. And it feels good and fulfilling.
Each one of these drawings was a challenge. Times where I just wanted to give up and chuck the whole thing in the trash. Standing back and seeing things that weren't right-- Perspective wrong, proportions off, eyes too far apart, frustration trying to understand how to move the ink around where it needed to go...
But there are good things, too. "Moments" and deep emotion in the drawings that I absolutely love. Rich tones and colors appearing, beautiful textures created with my brush strokes, atmospheric, ethereal "lost edges" for the viewer to finish with their own seeing...
And with all of this, it feels a little vulnerable and scary sharing my work here. I guess it's the perfectionist in me. But I'm slowly learning to let that go. Reminding myself that all of this is just practice, not precious.
After a bit of a break from the art-- kids projects and activities demanding my attention, home projects I've finally gotten around to, a broken refrigerator to deal with, getting sucked into a great novel--, I'm back at it full swing. Excited to start a new course this week. Learning some new techniques and exercises..Learning how to use some new materials. Getting a little out of my comfort zone. Trying to get a little looser. Learning as I go with patience and practice.
Yesterday being President's Day and all,
and desperately needing to get out of Dodge,
we (those of the family who could)
decide it's high time for an adventure,
time to seek out a bit of
blue sky, fresh air, warmth, and sunshine,
so we wake up early and make our way south,
cranking up the Johnny Cash
as we cruise on down the freeway
to Arches National Park for the day.
And we hike and explore,
looking and basking,
this natural, majestic marvel
of color and form and stillness.
And boy, do we laugh and play,
and I can't remember having
had so much fun and being so happy
:: Middle Eastern fare, our cozy Valentine dinner date :: library and sushi outing with my boy, a Saturday afternoon ritual :: Sweethearts Dance, these two, friends since childhood, sharing such a fun time together :: Ben Hur movie marathon :: taking my parents their Valentines, a jar of Portuguese soup, such fun visiting and watching the debate with them :: so excited that my sketching is rubbing off on Papa, him proudly showing me his own drawings, him finding joy with this new hobby ;; breakfast-in-bed and feeling like a queen :: his poem to me, my letter to him, tears for both of us :: satisfaction that this staircase gallery is finally put up :: all the kids coming over tonight for our traditional Valentine crepe dinner :: this love and joy I feel in my heart.
lunch date with this beautiful friend :: Isaac invited to spend a happy Friday evening playing Risk and eating tamales with Jane and Preston :: viewing three of Eliza's drawings at the Utah All-State Art Show Saturday afternoon (and both of us getting interviewed! I'll share more details about the show soon.) :: out for pizza afterward to celebrate :: talking politics with Gary :: cookie baking :: the wonderful sound of these two singing along to Eliza's banjo strumming (Isaac's harmonizing is just incredible) :: reading :: paper cutting :: napping :: coming up with a creative date dance invitation for dear Holden :: never ending late night laundry sessions.
Hope your weekend was swell, too.
I haven't posted for a while. Feeling like there's not much to share. Maybe it really is just a lack of motivation. Like I've said it all and photographed it all. I get in these types of slumps every now and then. My days have been simple, full, and content, though.
I've been drawing and painting like crazy. Keeping up with homework assignments in my online art courses; sketching just because I want to. Spending a day at the University last week sketching animals at the natural history museum. Fighting the voice inside my head that tells me "Animals are too hard. I just don't draw animals..." But it's just seeing and drawing shapes like anything else, I remind myself. Practice, practice, practice. This new skill is a PRACTICE. My family thought it was fun that I spent a morning drawing Isaac's toy dinosaurs. (ha!) I spent hours last Saturday sketching and painting a view of my kitchen. (i.e. sore bum.) Such a good exercise in really seeing, sketching at a much slower pace (a real challenge for me. My natural energy and tendency is fast, fast, fast.), and not calling it quits until the drawing is DONE. It was an overwhelming project, but I found that once I got going, it became a form of meditation. In the zen mode. The time, surprisingly, was really enjoyable and the time seemed to go by really fast. For the last two weeks, I've been really interested (and a little obsessed) in finding, referencing,and drawing from vintage tintype portraits of men. I think next week I'd like to raid my parents' house for some old photos of my ancestors and start sketching them. I have a strong push to start this new and meaningful project.
I've wandered around a local exhibit showcasing the art of Norman Rockwell two times now. I met Gary while at the University and took him to lunch. Looked at his beaming smile and beautiful eyes as he told me all about a class project he is loving. Took Isaac on Saturday for some good Mexican eats and to the dollar theater to see the Peanuts movie. Celebrated Preston's birthday with the best chocolate cake I've ever tasted (Jane's baking blows my mind.) Seeing these two adoring each other like they do makes me believe that true love, devoted love given and reciprocated between two people really is possible. I'm just so grateful for the close relationship I share with each of these kids. For Keith's never ending kindness, compassion, and goodness.
Happy to have Fridays to focus on hand- written letters and cards. Hand delivering some of the cards with some surprise cupcake deliveries to some of my neighbors brought light and a lift to my own heart.
The other day as I was almost to the end of Sharon Salzberg's book Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, I happened to wander over to her website and was so excited to discover her Real Happiness 28 Day meditation challenge. Close to 12,000 people around the world are participating and I'm so happy to join them just a day after it began.
I'm noticing something about myself since I've immersed myself in drawing: (and I think my meditation and mindfulness practice has something to do with it, as well.) Not only am I seeing objects more deeply, but my awareness of others has expanded in ways that I find truly meaningful. Last Friday evening while Keith and I were waiting to be seated at a restaurant, I noticed a little boy standing nearby us with his family. Instead of just glancing at him or "looking through him", I found myself truly SEEING him. Deeply aware of his purity and beauty and goodness. Tears filled my eyes for the overwhelming love I felt for him. This moment was fleeting, but very powerful to me... enough to share (tears again) with Keith as we sat and ate our meal.
Yesterday, another similar experience: I was on my way to Costco and pausing at the stop light, I noticed an older homeless man approaching with his bundles. Something came over me and I really looked at him; something different and poignant this day, especially, as I often notice homeless individuals around town. Again, like the experience I had with that little boy at Chuck-A-Rama, I felt so much love for this stranger. My heart was overflowing with love and compassion. Again, tears overflowing. The experience left my mind (the impact still felt in my heart.), and as I again pulled up to the stoplight, there he was again. I quickly remembered that I had just bought a box of granola bars for the kids' lunches and also happened to have a case of water bottles in the back of my car that I had previously purchased the week before, but was too lazy to bring in. I quickly turned into the bank parking lot and gathered what I could give to the man. Desiring with all my heart to give him everything I had to somehow share this love I felt for him. I pulled up and he quickly approached the car. A sweet smile and a "have a nice day" was his simple offering to me.
This drawing I am doing, I am seeing, is not just about putting pencil to paper. Not just a hobby or talent I am expressing and growing for my own benefit or to "make pretty art". Feeling and hearing a quiet spirit- to- spirit whispering that God is once again trying to use this new tool to pry open these eyes to see, melt this heart to soften and expand.
To compassion, to love, to joy.
Hi, I'm Emily!
I welcome and thank you for visiting. Through this blog, I invite you, friends or strangers, to come and abide with me as I open my heart and home to you in understanding, honesty, discovery, and reflection. It is my hope that you will join me in my quest for a simple, joyful, meaningful life.