Most of my artwork “comes” to me. It begins with the tiniest thought. Such a whisper on the wind is creativity. I can best relate the feeling by this allegory. Once, I stood on top of a bench in the Swiss Alps, above the town of Interlaken. As I looked down at the darling houses that speckled the snow covered hills, I noticed a cloud swiftly gliding up the side of the mountain towards me. I smiled, playfully, as the cloud drifted right up, over, around and through me. It was the most miraculous feeling. It took my breath away. The little droplets of moisture in the cloud kissing my face as it flowed. I have nothing but the fleeting memory of such a beautiful moment. However, I will never forget its sweetest touch.
For me, this is how being a “maker” works. It starts like fluffy white clouds floating towards you.You start to feel a childlike glee at the possibility heading in your direction. You think on it, let it land and float around you. Swallowing up in the moment. When the heady rush is gone, you get to work. When the product is complete, you stand back in awe of what has been made, through your hands. Not for or because of you. For you my friend are but a vessel taking whispers of creation in to your heart and then hoping to make something of them.
Sometimes, my work comes from sources that are not my own at all. The gossamer wings of hopeful creation lands on another, who may feel they lack the ability (practice or knowhow) to be the creator of the whisper. This is where my newest watercolor painting originates. With another, bringing an idea and asking, please make this for me. I am always awed and grateful to have someone believe in me enough to be the hands for their creative seed. It is a gift to my sensitivities. For it is through creating, that I find the kindly light of peace in a tousled mind.
So today, I present to you the digital image created for Natalie Murdock. It’s design is of her mind and spirit. She was inspired by a moving speech given about mothers in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints October Women’s Conference. Elder Eyring had quoted the beloved Prophet President Nielson, by stating how mothers are makers. I want to share this art with the world. You may purchase yours here.
Though the original will never be anyone’s other than it’s vessel. It’s message is beautiful, unique and touching. It relays how so many of us feel about our own mothers. We are masterpieces of their internal and spiritual design. This whole process has been a gift from the Highest Power of Creation.
I truly treasure the ability to feel at a depth and breath that I believe is a gift from God. I know that this process I speak of, is directly connected to all the wonderment He offers. It is almost otherworldly to work within His light. I believe all creation is of Him. To Him goes the truest credit.
I have been chewing. Not the watermelon-hubba-bubba-best-bubbles-in-the-whole-world kind of chewing. Deep think chewing. I call it chewing when profound thoughts float by like a feather dancing with the wind. A feather, not a bubble. Bubbles pop and leave you wanting more. A feather however, floats in the air then rests there where it lands, or you pluck it out of the sky and admire it. In all it's beauty it makes you ponder upon the bird it came from or how it came to be.
I have been chewing. Millions of tiny thoughts. At this moment I am trying to pin them down for you to create some artistic eloquence that will cause you to chew too.
I teach middle school. Every day, I drive "Little Red"(my chevy spark) to school. I only live two blocks away. I love driving Red, even if it is two blocks. Silly I know. (Silly is one of my best qualities). The other day I was walking into the school from the back door and realized I didn't have my keys. I had left them in my classroom. This meant that I would have to walk, all the way to the front of the building and then back down the hall to my room. “Oh well,” I thought, “I needed a walk anyway.” (This is my Pollyanna Perspective. I will write about that another day. You should go watch the movie if you haven't seen it. “Pollyanna” by Disney.)
Well, my school has sidewalks for days. Not just one sidewalk and you can only take that path, but sidewalks that can take you to the front of the building on several differing routes depending on which path you choose. I always walk on the sidewalk. I always take the same route, keeping to the sidewalk, being sure not to walk on the grass. I wouldn’t want to wear a path in the perfectly manicured laws. (Lawns for days!)
Most days, I would say I am a rule follower. Don’t get me wrong, there is an inner rebel living and breathing in me that has on many occasions pushed an envelope too far with dark results to follow. I guess that is why I follow rules loyally now. I know what lies ahead if I don’t. Consequences and tears, that I have no say in, come into my life. The outcome ultimately resulting in excruciating sorrow, loss, apologies, repentance and the plaguing of past pain long into the future. Ya, I think I will pass.
However, on this day, I was late getting back to my room from my break. As I took my first step out on to the grass, I thought to myself, “Sometimes, you have to walk on the grass.”
There it is. The thought that started my chewing and has continued for, going on a week and a half. I am an absolute Christian. Through and through. No doubt about it. This thought can carry gospel undertones and discussion, comparisons etc. It can also resound within our inner most wonderings.
For me, on this day in November, “Gratitude” month, I need to say this: “Sometimes, walking on the grass is okay.” It doesn’t make me evil. It won’t ruin the lovely lawn. It won’t even get me in trouble with the principal. It may however, get me to my room on time, with wet shoes mind you, but on time, still the same. On time to teach, smile, love and play with a class full of students who needed me. (The load of the young people today is absolutely staggering. They do need us. They need us to show up. Truly.)
There are seasons in our lives, where we have to take a different road than we are used to. It may even be one that not everyone agrees you should take. No one can foresee where that path will lead. How you will grow spiritually because you chose that way. No one can predict how it will shape who you are to become. How it will make you better than you once were. Not a soul could tell you how the heartbreak of that path will make you stronger and more empathetic towards others. In my life, this is the case. Today, I am grateful for the times I chose to make my own trail. Each step I have taken has led me to this day. This girl. Each hill, fork or compass check has created the woman who loves, lives and creates, with every single breath, in the fullest way possible.
Friends, please walk on the grass. Of course, not all the time. But, when you need a fresh perspective or a new view. When you feel strongly that it is the direction meant for you, because it speaks to you. Take that road less traveled by. Robert Frost was right you know. It will make all the difference.
That is my topic.
I haven't written in a while.
I will explain.
There are a couple or three reasons.
First, life happens. I have had a very busy spell. You know, those times when you are just getting by, and then you start to let things slide that don't seem too terribly important. Things that will be okay, if "I just set these here for a while. Don't worry. I will be back," I whisper reassuring words to that portion of my life as I walk away. Weeks later... it's a sad story right? Especially for a creative. (Which we all are by the way.)
Second, I have been hit by low spell after low spell. The definition of a low spell for me is a period of time when I feel nothing. Down. Dark. In fierce need of solitude. I swear someone keeps leaving the door to Azkaban open and the dementors keep attacking my heart and brain out of nowhere. It's really starting to tick-me-off. I keep thinking, "No one wants to hear you ramble about how crappy you feel all the time." So, I don't write.
Enough! I'm writing now. Down or not. Truth is, always up and cheery isn't real. I said I was gonna be real. Then, I took it back. I am sorry. I recommit to living my true-self and sharing that with you despite my chemical brain imbalance and its daily forecast. (Yes, there really is a daily forecast. Today it was cloudy in the a.m. and cleared out by 4 p.m. Beware the new moon.)
I know it's been said a lot, but I have been deep thinking it lately. You know how life on Facebook or Instagram is generally a lie. We all post our positively perfect moments and portray them as our "actual" lives. I'm guilty.
But, I mean, who wants to see a photo of me lying on my pillow trying to give myself the pep-talk of the century just to get out of bed and function. Are we being real? I was reminded today that it is important to show our truest selves. Be vulnerable. Open. Genuine is my favorite word. Just be. Be who you are, because who you are, may be just what someone else needs to see, hear about or can relate to.
Life is shit sometimes friends. Heck, sometimes? More like most times are just plain crap. (I am sorry for my language. You are going to have to forgive my "farm words" occasionally. I promised I would be me. My gram told me once, they are just farm words. Let's be honest, sometimes you just need to yell those farm words at the top of your lungs. Yes, it can really make you feel better. I'd provide research for that, but I have already spent too much time on this squirrel moment.)
My point? I'm not perfect. I'm tired of pretending to be. Aren't you? Why can't we all just silence the voices outside our heads that eventually become the truths we tell ourselves. If you're having a bad friggin' week, I wanna know about it. I want to see that frizzy hair you couldn't tame. I want you to share that failed recipe. I want to see your tired, worn out face just as you are. You're beautiful without it. No lie. No makeup, especially no lipstick, put that hat on your head and JUST BE. I want to see that version of you. I think she and I could be friends. That girl I can relate to. I dedicate the days to come to sharing the crap. The crap is interesting, raw and real. Sometimes stinkier than necessary, but it's truth. I need more real. Don't you.
Here is my right now face. Just me in my blanket, no make-up, no filter, or facade, should-of-been-in-bed an hour ago face. This is me.
Reminding you, to JUST BE.