Thursday, March 21, 2013

How-to be Happy

"My Lady" who guards my front door

This is blog circle day of the month and the suggested topic is "how-to" with an emphasis on blossoming, planting seeds and growing.  I must say I struggle with pre-determined topics,  and generally miss the mark, though I DO try!  And you know, it really doesn't matter.

I love spring and can get very excited watching seeds sprout.  New life never gets old for me and is an everyday miracle that I do not take for granted.  But, when I think of seeds, eggs, birth, new life I do think of youth and can no longer fool myself that I am closer to the other  side of the fence than the that one.

My front porch in the summer.... a good book and a glass of wine.... Ahhhh!  Happiness. 

But... I do know that I can enjoy this life best by not wasting a minute being cranky, angry, bitter or stuck in the past.  I think I have always tended toward looking at the cup half full, but I've not always been even-tempered.  So on my journey, this is what I've learned  about being happy and it is what I know to be true:

1)  You cannot change others, only yourself.  You can just waste a whole lot of life trying to be right.

2)   A lot of what you want to change about others does not really matter a whole lot in the large scheme of things.  Let it go.  There is something called "necessary losses" which have to do with accepting that which you cannot have.  For example, if you married an introvert there is nothing in your power (or his) that can turn him into an extrovert.

3)  If someone "does you wrong",  deal with it, then let it go.  Spending your life beating yourself and others up over past stuff is just a big waste of time and health.  Learn to FORGIVE.

4)   Listen to others, it isn't all about you.  ( this was a big lesson that I'm still learning)

5)  Develop your own interests.  When there is no one around, you should always enjoy your own company.  In fact, you should like yourself because you just can't get away!

6)  Learn to be resourceful.  Learning how to fix something makes you feel good and there isn't always someone around who can or will do what you want done when you want it done. (Just today I opened up my MAC desktop and added 8 GB of RAM.  Google is my friend.  Who knew there was a little door under the rim of the computer?)

7)  Take care of yourself.  A healthy mind and body makes growing older not as daunting.  Just last week I had symptoms that seemed to indicate a gastrointestinal flu bug.  Though the symptoms seemed to get better in the next 2 days, my friend Google opened my eyes to the idea it might be my appendix.  A quick trip to the doc, followed by a referral to the ER  and then my appendix was removed.  Relatively an easy fix if you stay in tune with your body and go to the doc when there is a concern.  Could have been so much worse.

8)  Surround yourself with people who build you up, not put you down.  I am lucky.  I have a big family ( 4 siblings, 3 children, 7 grandchildren and all the in-laws) who ground me.

This is just one of the little people who keep me happy

9)  Work at being financially responsible.  I have not been so lucky in love so this one has been a big one for me.  It was up to me to figure out how to manage my finances so I could have a life and a future without being a burden to others.  Doing that one thing has given me the biggest peace of mind.

10)  Don't take any of your blessings for granted. I praise God every day.

This post is rather off the beaten track from my continuing theme of growing as an artist.  My past week has been rather tied up with that impromptu surgery and recovery, so not much is growing in the studio this week.  And... I have been just so thankful, content and happy that all is well with me that I thought I'd let y'all know about it.

Now on to Naz Laila in our blog circle.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

An Artful Journey

I just returned from an art retreat in the Santa Cruz hills outside of Los Gatos, CA.  I wasn't sure what to expect, since I never have done this before, but I knew I was ready for the experience. I went with an open mind, and just a little bit of bravery, since I am usually hugely reticent to room with a stranger. It was rather like camp in that way.  I was assigned to a cottage where 6 ladies stayed two to a room.  One of the ladies in our cottage is an artist I had "met" online last fall through a Facebook group connected to an online art class we both took.  It was great to connect with her.  

In all, there were about 100 folks at the 4 day retreat, all women except one lone man, one of the instructors.  We were wined and dined and celebrated. All our earthly needs were cared for while we spent 3 solid days painting all day.  My instructor was the beautiful and inspiring Katie Kendrick, also a Washingtonian.  Our days were a symbiotic balance of her demonstrations and our freedom to create. There were 18 in my class full of eager and talented women. I felt privileged to be a part of it and came away with sweet friends and more drive to create. 

My classroom.. full of light, life and lovely people
On the second evening there was an art sale amongst the attendees and I sold 6 of my prints. Pleasantly surprised!  

Some of the art work I did at AAJ: 
This one was inspired by a painting by Judy Wise, a painter from Oregon.  


The next two were inspired by Maria Pace Wynters artwork . (Since these 3 paintings are too close to the original artists paintings, they will not be for sale! I learn a lot by studying the art of others that I admire.)

I am thinking I may still rework some of these.  I am not loving realistic eyes with such painterly faces. 

 My teacher, Katie Kendrick, preparing for a lesson... her gorgeous work in the background.  

A demonstration of paper printing by Katie.  
Sunny, sunny bloomin California!
Prayer Flags hangin in the sun. 

Jesse Reno, amazing artist and AAJ instructor, with my painting class seat mate and  new friend Jana.  (Jesse is the guy)

Chapel on The Presentation Center property where our retreat was
The Presentation Center property...SUN!!!!

Wine country.... Oh, so beautiful  

Sugar pine  cones... found by the roadside in CA

The Pacific Ocean.... my sister and
I went home via the ocean up through Crescent City.  

There's nothing like a retreat to revive the spirit and inspire you to greater heights.  I am thinking of treating myself to one a year.