Hello you crazy kids, how are you? Since last I wrote a new year full of promise rolled onto our paths.
and now here we are, following it deeper into the forest.
As my 5th graders say, “Let’s goooo!”
I became a 59 year-old as of January 8th and am one revolution closer to that dim star called retirement. I long to get there so I can play play play and nap nap nap, but alas I know better than to rush because I may trip and cause an untold train of calamities to derail right in front of me.
That’s the trouble with wanting to speed on toward the future. I might miss something right here, right now.
It wasn’t until my 58th year that I began to understand what it means to STAY HERE. To avoid the impulse to leave. There are countless distractions that keep me out of this experience of being alive right now.
Overthinking, over scrolling, over consumption of information. Dark tricks that keep me on the run.
Wyatt tries to teach me to stay, but I’m a slow learner.
But I am here now. On my porch typing out this missive to you, gentle reader. It is morning and the air is cold. There is a hot cup of coffee next to me. I pause every few seconds and look up into the trees, across the hills. The birds are stirring and beginning their morning business of song and flight.
I had a marvelous 3 weeks of a break from working life. Instead of keeping my ship of 30 students sailing forward through choppy seas, I spent it immersed in the act of sketchbookery. Inspiration fueled by action, naps, books, and oceans with sand carpets and perfectly placed shells ripe for the taking.
And there was water! Pouring from the sky! Right here in Los Angeles!
In the Sierras great blankets of snow layered themselves feet-deep over the mountains and passes.
I hunkered down in my Santa Babs rental and drew and painted and collected and wrote and drove and walked. And life was good. Better than good.
Great ropes of yellow kelp flung themselves onto the shore in advance of my morning walks.
Shells opened and closed. Sand gathered in ripples and folds under my feet.
I said yes to everything. There was so much.
If you follow me on The Instagram, these sketchbook pictures are old news so feel free to skip over them. I started posting again over there. Who knows how long it will last. When it starts to take up too much time I quit. But so far I’ve got it under control. Like all fixes, they work until they don’t.
I cleaned out a drawer of paint and found ancient tubes and tubs of old acrylic. Gouache is my favorite thing, but I’ve also been taking the matte acrylics for a spin again. The fluorescent red is making me feel delirious. I can’t help it, I like pink & red & yellow v.v.v. much.
I’ve been sketching with a wet brush. Just whatever I see around me. Even after my great summer declutter and streamlining I still have loads of little-old-lady-in-training knick knacks lining my tables and shelves. Many moons ago one of you sent me that rabbit with the cocked head. He is a favorite companion. Always leaning against a picture frame or looking out the window. Plotting who knows what in that pensive head of his.
Bananas, pears, fruit, cookies, birds. There are always birds.
My studio perch up the coast had a huge porch and I enjoyed having friends over for playdates and lunch.
Omicron snuck onto the scene since I last posted. The great unknown variant. Surely more will arrive. The Greek alphabet is long. All of us primates will probably continue to bicker and fuss over masks and vaccines.
I will try and uphold Rumi’s wise words and “give up opinions on all matters.”
Those words help me when I am longing to pick a fight with someone.
My sister, Dottie arrived from New Mexico. She wanted to visit the beach so I pointed the chariot north once more and we headed to beloved Santa Barbara county. String of beaches and walking paths spread out before us.
Yours truly in my favorite place at dawn.
Back in LA we visited another favorite place – the Huntington Gardens of San Marino.
I reworked my wall of art in my wee studio office.
I discovered Pema Chödrön’s books and felt like I had struck pure gold.
I walked and found shadows.
A candelabra euphorbia.
I rowed my own tiny boat past everything. I saw it all. And now on this first post of the new year, I present my findings to you.
I have come up with a plan for staying active in my sketchbook practice while working. It’s called not over-working in the classroom. I’m finding a 30 minute session in the sketchbook is possible just before bed. My IG photos are sometimes dark and sized incorrectly, but I don’t have time to focus on all of that and it’s not important. Posting to IG keeps me accountable to myself (for now). It’s a little like walking next to a drowning pool. One wrong step and in you go! New mothers and teachers will relate to finding the time to maintain an art practice.
Fill me in on your goings on. I hope you are well in your worlds as I am in mine.
If you want to find my posts in your inbox you can subscribe at the very bottom of the blog. I don’t send out newsletters or anything like that, it’s just my monthly blog post. Occasionally I manage to post more than once a month, but not often.