This IS your life. It already started

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“This is your life. It already started.”

These words brushed across my ear as I was stretching my body into a forward fold.

I had just spent the last couple of hours painting. I was trying to stand and paint. I sit all day so I try to paint standing now. Counterbalance my day with my night.

I was changing my painting a bit, getting freer with it. I started this painting a while ago and I reached a point and simply stopped. It’s a habit I have. To start something, reach a point, stop, and walk away from it. I sometimes think I have a fear of completion. But I’ve been working on that idea. Finishing things. Do you have that problem? I love to start things, it’s all exciting and fresh and new and then I become critical and stop. I’ve really been trying to not do that with art.Not being afraid of what the outcome will be but simply trying it. What’s the worst that could happen? I’m releasing the fear…fear of, well, probably tons of shit. But it’s better to just try it and actually do the art, than have a ton of blank or canvases half-finished sitting around me. If I am going to buy the canvases, I need to fucking paint on them.

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I’ve been working on discovering a safe place to paint from. I have so many critics in my head that I have had to learn to shut them up so I can just get shit done. I’ve started to do that with meditation on the breath. And more than that, awareness of the breath and meditation on my art. I am aware of my breath, that I am breathing, where I am sending that breath (when I paint it’s usually to my hand to help me make smoother strokes). It’s been creating more of a tranquil space. My mind kind of leaves for a while…takes a break from the day life, and I just flow. I just create. I just, paint. Most of the time it’s not any good, lol. But I’m less scared about that and more excited about the release I am experience and about the space I can visit for a while to relax.

So I was in this space when I had taken a moment to consider my painting. The voices suddenly decided to make an appearance again. “Name it Creative Energy” came into my mind. I looked at the painting, heard the name and liked it…saw how I could grow it and how that idea gave my painting life. Gave it a direction. Before I had just been painting, but now…now I knew where I had been painting from and what I was painting. I became excited about visualizing what that name meant and what I wanted to do with the painting now. “Make that area pulse more, add life here, why is this so dull, make it stand out…”And the voices started to grow, I was losing my breath. I was leaving the meditation state.

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I looked at my bookshelf, picked up a book, and opened up a page. I have no idea why. I haven’t looked at this book in ten years, but I opened it and read:

“Listening carefully to the tone, where or how does it move and in which direction? When you discover the answer, the tone itself will reveal many directions. do not try to control it yourself!” – Miyajima Sensei

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I instantly focused on my breath, quieted my mind, went back to my easel and began painting again. I trusted in my connection to the universe and didn’t try to control my brush. I had been given a name for the painting, and I breathed that into my body and embraced that concept, and I breathed it out through my brush onto the canvas.

I continued painting for a while and came to a natural stopping point. And it was here that I was in that forward fold. I was doing some gentle yoga moves to release my muscles and my body. I was slowly releasing the intensity of painting and equally as slowly was allowing the mind back in.

And I started thinking…I wonder if people will like this new direction…I wonder what everyone is doing…I wonder if I have a text message…I wonder if so-and-so is angry at me because I needed to stay home and do art…I wonder if it’s stupid that I chose to stay home and do art instead of going out…I should have just gone out…I’m not going to have any friends…well, I do have so-and-so and so-and-so…I’m not completely alone…but I won’t have those friends…they should be okay I’m in this space…You can imagine this went on for a few more thoughts and it ultimately it ended with an, “as soon as I’m…” statement. I have this vision of who I should be and what my life should look like. And most of my thoughts end there. I think it’s one reason I don’t finish paintings…I have an idea of something, but I’m scared it won’t turn out. And so my thoughts turned to, As soon as I’m…

A new voice piqued in and shrugged, and said, “This IS your life. It already started. Don’t miss out on what’s happening now for what you are hoping for in the future. The future will come regardless, enjoy now so you can enjoy the future. Live now.”

I’m making the choices and the decisions right now that are not only making me happy, feeling healthy and right, but are also growing me for the future I think the universe has planned. But to get there, I have to live now.

This IS your life. It already started. Don’t miss out on today waiting for tomorrow.

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Lines of focus

I forget the breath, and start to analyze

Breath in. Breath out. I’m watching the breath, being the breath, embracing the breath.

Breath leads my focus. It’s where the meditation begins. Going deeper into the breath narrows my focus. Distractions drop away as I consider the breath, the aspects and what it is saying. I look at my canvas, I pick up the brush – all with the rise and fall of my breath. The lines begin.
Line leading line following line.

lines
Line after line line

 

I deepen the gaze, narrow my focus. I unfurl my brow and breathe in the lines. I lengthen my breaths, matching exhale to inhale. It invigorates. I think to myself, “I think I am actually present right now. How awesome. I should tell —- . I wonder how I did it.” I glance at the lines, they have taken on an interesting flow as I lost my breath and entered into my mind. I had started analyzing. I brought myself back to my breath. I sat in stillness. Reconnecting to the breath, allowing energy to flow through me. I stopped analyzing the lines and just became the lines. The lines were expressing what I needed to express, what I needed to channel. I don’t need to analyze it yet, right now I just need to do it, to breath it, to create that focus. The lines, my focus, the union of body and breath. I took a breath and picked up my paintbrush.

 

I forget the breath, and start to analyze
I forget the breath, and start to analyze

 

I became entranced with the movement of the lines, the quality of the lines, how the brush was setting paint down and how if I adjusted my hands mid-flow it altered the line. What it looked like was unimportant, the breath and energy I was channeling was creating a focus I need. The chatter in my head is overwhelming, frustrating, distracting and inhibiting. The focus that connecting my breath to painting lines is a relief. It focuses my mind so I can find a bit of peace and quiet. The to do lists on 20 different projects drip away, the awkward conversation I had that afternoon and analyzing people’s reactions seemed ridiculous to waste my time on. What my schedule looked like seemed manageable and I started to trust in myself and in the universe. People may actually like me…and quieting my mind and using the breath and my art to release some ideas and thoughts no longer serving me. My breath drank in creative energy as the line danced upon the canvas. And my breath distinguished the destructive energy I was holding on to.

Lines of focus
Lines of focus

I hung the painting back on the wall and just kind of stared at it. My mind still quieted from the artistic mediation I just experienced for two hours (time flew). I just looked at it for a while and then cocked a hip and leaned to the left. In doing so I realized the interplay between the lights and the darks. The lines all depend on how you look at them from a specific angle. Which is exactly what my thoughts try to do…consider all of the perspectives. Glancing at it now, it pulses with energy…seems like all of the thoughts I usually kept in my head were expressed in the lines instead. I channeled them onto the canvas so my mind could quiet and enter a focused, artistic meditation. For those two hours my mind took a breather and my destructive energy was creatively channeled from my chest, down my arm, into my fingers and along the lines of my brush and into the focused lines on the canvas.

 

Depends on how you look at it
Depends on how you look at it

 

And then I went out to my balcony to enjoy the fresh air and to release and restore in my hammock.

 

@Etsy shopping for the holidays


So many things to do. So many avenues to explore. Always such a long never-ending to do list. One of those things on the list, and one that I am proud to have made progress on, is my Etsy shop. I’ve only just really scratched the surface, but I’m glad that I at least have it up and have even sold a couple pieces, Yay! It’s weird, really, to have sold pieces that have been in my closet for years. One impetus for selling my art in this capacity was really to push me to create more. One of my excuses was that my apartment is small and I don’t have storage room. Clearing out pieces I painted years ago allows my art to evolve with me. That’s important. I have changed a lot, and continue to change a lot. My art reflects my confusion of life and of my sense of self. I have no real style, no real consistent approach, nothing. And the art shows that. And it seems a bit amateur because of my mental incertitude. I wish I was better, that I spent more time with it…that I could figure it out. Just another item on my to do list.


But that’s not the point of this, and I apologize for the rambling. Rambling seems to occupy my head and now my writing. So, back to Etsy. I have decided, and feel quite solid in this decision, that as I am trying to become involved in the Etsy world and trying to sell my own art and use that as a viable avenue of income and really just personal growth and exploration, that I needed to support other Etsy members. Etsy tries to create a community and I need to participate more in this community.

MSaxxy Etsy Shop


Becoming more involved in the community. Supporting the community.


So I have decided to buy as many of my Christmas presents off of Etsy this year. All handmade, personalized, and from people just like me. Not the corporations, not the already rich and dominating and powerful. People like me. Here are links to what I have purchased so far:

Etsy gift I bought for my nephew


So, that’s what I have purchased so far. The guys in my life are a bit harder to buy for from Etsy…but I’m going to figure it out. I am determined to not walk into a store or a mall this year. It just seems so impersonal. The sales people there don’t care. They didn’t spend hours making and crafting what they are selling. And you know what. I have loved the interaction with almost all of the people I have purchased from. They message me saying they have their order, I’ve responding with some light conversation, it becomes a personalized, more intimate transaction, and you know, they send their business cards with a little note or at least something hand-written, using my name and really making me feel like they cared. Like they love what they made and want it to go to a good place. It’s been amazing and I love it. Etsy is a great place to shop for the holidays, or really in general. You can find almost anything on Etsy. And really, perusing it has really made me laugh at times. Some things are super funny. I love it. I’m going to try to shop more on Etsy. It really is such a fun, warming, inventive and just all around awesome place to shop and community to be a part of.



I highly recommend, this holiday season, you support your local entrepreneur, buy off of Etsy or do something to help people that are just like me and you.

Artistic burst of emotion

Emotions. Some people have no problem dealing with them, processing them. Moving on, accepting that they are emotional beings. Me, I admit I struggle a bit. I grew up being called too sensitive and that I needed to stop being so sensitive. I was so young that I didn’t really know what to do with those comments or how to use my sensitivity in a beneficial way.  Or at least to find a cathartic release. That’s what art is turning into, though fear some times inhibits my ability to successfully paint my emotions and ground my emotions into a canvas. But I am working on it. Working on screaming my emotions visually.

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Being free with art

It’s amazing the different approaches I take with art. Digitally I rely on Ctrl+Z and know that nothing is permanent. I can always erase something, do something over, try something and if I don’t like it I can easily change it. I get crazy and try so many different techniques. Basically, I don’t hold back.

Painting has been different though. I have trepidation when painting. I don’t want to be wasteful on canvas and paint so I want the piece to be good. I am constrained and small and tentative. I hesitate because I am afraid to make a mistake that I can’t fix. There is no Ctrl+Z in painting.

I was just working on a painting and someone pointed all this out to me. The painting was small and contained. Tempered by fear, no reflecting my true emotions at all.

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He said there was no overlapping, no integration, no connection of any of the elements. And he was right. I was concerned about all the wrong things: staying in he lines, not wasting paint, trying to make a perfect line. All things that were taking away from the true nature of my self. With digital art I hardly even think about those things and am rarely constrained. So I took a deep breath and started to paint outside of the lines I had made for myself. Moved outside of my own box.

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I started overlapping elements. Tried to be free with my brush. Tried to trust my first instinct. To flow like the water element I am. And at the end, while I was considering the differences between painting and digital art, it occurred to me one of my favorite things to include in my digital art is splatters. Splatters. I kind of chuckled to myself, got some paint on my fingers and tentatively flicked. By the time I was done I understood a bit more Pollocks joy in splattering paint on a canvas.

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New canvas for a new painting

I’m excited. Thrilled really.

I finally went to Home Depot for another piece of wood. I like to paint on wood.
It’s a bit less intimidating.

Last year I walked to Home Depot and bought some wood. This painting was the result:

Vishudha paintingI chose to do the Vishuda Chakra first in hopes that it would open up my creative voice.
That it would help give it strength.

I love this painting.

It is one of seven Chakra’s; I just bought a canvas for the Muladhara Chakra, the root. It’s color is red.
I think I’ll wear red out tonight in honor of starting this new painting.

I am excited for this new exploration. With my creative voice, perhaps I can find myself rooted in my art.

That would be beautiful.

Painting last night

I started a painting ages ago. It was a flower in yellow on a black background. It was decent, but missing something. Some other people liked it as it was, and I almost gave it to a friend, but hesitated.  K knew it was missing something too. I stared at it for hours…I had intended to use only yellow hues for the painting, creating depth and value with variations. And I achieved that, but I still wasn””t content with it.

I brought out my violet and brand spanking new magenta (thanks K!), and slowly started adding color. Soon I was in a zone, mesmerized by the extreme contrast of the darker violet on the bright yellow. The flower seemed to breathe as I added more depth and value to it. It made me happy. My new paint made me happy. The flow of the brush on the canvas made me happy. The transformation of the flower, made me happy. And the fact that I felt the concern of what other people thought about my art melt away, made me happy.

Post inspired by: Dirty Footprints Studio

I need art

Art is a necessity, and one that I don”t give enough energy to. When I”m emersed in a piece, I feel bliss. But circumstances keep driving my attention away and my mind reels. Art needs to become a habit again.

I need to pour my emotions into art, not onto another human being. They do not need to bear my life, but my art can. My art is strong enough. Art is my listener and therapist. Art is my redemption.