I am a SouthWest Virginia artist with a passion for family, Christ, sports, and music. My work varies greatly from one piece to another. It is my goal to use this site as a springboard for ideas and a road map to help me focus on a direction (not my gift). I hope others will follow me on my journey.
I am still feeling the wonderful after effects of victory. After battling all the decisions and time that went into making my thorned guitar which, I revealed last week, I have spent this week soaking up a since of accomplishment. I can’t describe the natural high I get hearing it played and seeing it complete. I am trying to stay humble but I will say all the compliments have been so encouraging. It has inspired me so that I have not been idle. I have found my next one and started a two-dimensional piece as well (more on those next week).
I have always tried to answer a compliment with something like, “thank you it’s not that hard” or “I still have a lot to learn” or “you should see…” or even “but did you see the problem with”. Sometimes I even start pointing out the mistakes in the piece. Why did I think that humility meant lowering myself, elevating someone else or deferring the conversation. Could it be that I love being affirmed so much it scared me? I didn’t want to be arrogant or obnoxious but where do you draw the line. How can an artist be confident and promote themselves without being too overwhelming or boystrious? Well, now that I am a mature woman here is what I have learned.
If someone gives you a compliment you must accept it in its entirety. It is a gift given to you and should not be returned. You should not try to best their gift by giving them a bigger compliment either. Allow them to bless you and always say thank you without a but at the end. No pun entended.
Next, never point out your mistakes when receiving a compliment. I have mentioned this before. Focusing on the negatives only brings you to a negative focus. I know that is redundant but it is true. The complimenter is enjoying something you did so don’t ruin it for them. It reminds me of when you go to a movie and with no knowledge of the story you leave the theatre thinking how much you enjoyed it. Then your book nerd friends start trashing it. Before you didn’t care that the main character was suppose to have blonde hair or that there were not suppose to be an elven heroine.
Lastly, deferring is disrespectful to the giver of the compliment. They are complimenting you and not someone or anything else. Be respectful and accept it for goodness sake. There is no arrogance in that.
You can live in victory each day without coming across as boastful and conceited. It is victorious confidence that Christ gives us. Why would we belittle ourselves as less. As long as we carry ourselves with love first the belief in one’s self will keep us grounded.
Ahh! Can you hear the choir holding out that long note and see a yellow light slowly getting brighter as if the sun were dawning in super fast speed? It is the big reveal day!
It all started about five years ago when I bought a guitar that was greatly abused. The finish was dotted from BB shots and the wiring had come unsoldered. To those of you who know something about guitars it was a Lyons by Washburn and had tribal art on it.
I decided I would reclaim it, so to speak. After removing the neck, all the hardware and electronics it was time to find out what was under the paint. I read and Googled and read some more. I then choose a process of removing the finish I had never heard of before, blow torching. It was so much fun! Just like popcorn flying everywhere and in no time at all the finish had popped off down to bare wood.
I really do not want to bore you with all the details but I do want to hit the highlights. Yes, they are brutal but if you look closely they have a beautiful quality about them. Not only do most plants that have thorns produce brightly colored flowers but the vines themselves have wonderful details. I drew the design and outlined it with a hobby knife. I have always had an appreciation for thorns. After lots of tedious hours of sanding and carving this is what I ended up with before finishing.
I finally made my decision on finishing it off by torching it and using a satin poly. A friend of mine recommended a Seymore Duncan pickup and set it up for me. This is the final result.
I hope to have a video of it being played next post. As well as the beginning of my next project.
Not that I want to over think this process but when I began with this project this guitar had all the signs of a rough life. If had skulls and beat up marks and didn’t even play. It was a long process but with lots of loving care it has become a beautiful work of art. It progressed quickly at first and then sat wrapped gently in a soft towel, protected, unfinished and unknown. With it finally out and finished I want to proudly show it off.
Let God give you that re-purposing. It may take a long time but do not be content with being protected and set aside. Step out of your comfort zone and BE so He can proudly show you off.
With so many demands of my time lately and my decision last week to prioritize I am confronted with what actually has to go. In an effort to protect my yearly goals, anything that does not fall in those goals are on the chopping block.
First thing is, I must say no to things so that I can preserve my family and art time. It is very hard for me because I am a people pleaser. I have to remind myself that people who ask favors are my friends or family and can handle it if I don’t have time right now to help them. In all actuality it is offensive to them for me to think I need to do these favors to please them. I am doing them a favor by saying no and allowing them to be a friend, that’s what I am telling myself anyway.
The next obstacle brings me to the title of my blog. There is a saying that goes something like, “jack of all trades and master of none.” This takes me back to the no fear blog I wrote, “You Make Me Brave”. Since I feel like I can do anything I have a lengthy to do list of things that need to be fixed or made. My time can be leached away all in the name of saving money on a repair bill. I put it to action this week when instead of working on my husband’s chainsaw I found a repairman. We mostly heat with wood so this was very important. If I had not done that and fallen into my previous state of stubborn mentality I will do it all, I would not be finishing my project.
If you have been following my blog I have been teasing you about this project I started about 4 years ago. I had not worked on it for several years but have been hard at it since the new year and blogging began. I will be putting some finishing touches on it tonight and only have one thing holding me back. I am patiently waiting on a part to arrive and can’t wait to finally reveal the product to you next week.
Have you ever went on vacation and had a lists of stops you wanted to make? Maybe you had a plan of hitting little Mom n Pop stores along the way or seeing the World’s Largest Stalactite Organ. Everything had to be on schedule or you would not get to your last destination on time before it closed. You are cruising along and making great time but when you top the hill, you see brake lights. For miles ahead looks like an airplane runway. Slowly you creep and you begin to realize the 20th Century Wax Museum closes in 1 hour. Then, there it is; detour with construction. Looks like you will have to see the Largest Ball of Yarn on a different day.
This describes my last couple of weeks. I have a list of goals for each week so I can accomplish my goals for the year. My 4 year old project, working toward the art fellowship in November, triathlon training, just to name a few are all on my 2015 to do list. And of course swimming lessons. under normal circumstances these are achievable but this year is proving to be abnormal. I have hit a detour.
It is time to resort to prioritizing. I just have to take one step at a time. The 4 year old project is nearly complete. I pulled out a blow torch and burnished the exterior and started the final coats of poly. After a frustrating week I have sense of accomplishment. I am within in 1 to 2 weeks of finishing and I can smell it. That’s not the poly fumes talking.
The triathlon training will just have to be hit or miss for now as well as the other stuff. It will be okay if I have to delay some of my plans. The big goal is my destination…the fellowship. If I continue to avoid time waisters and push on I can do it. I do have to travel through the detour on my journey. I am still travelling forward.
“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”
I saw a post on Facebook one day that posed this question, “if you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?” I thought I was really clever when I typed the word “nothing.” Thinking, why would it be worth doing if there was not the threat of failure looming over you. It stuck with me for days; the more I thought about it, the more I felt maybe the opposite was true.
I really don’t consider failure when I attempt a project like I am working on now. Sometimes, maybe I should since I do tend to get over my head but I guess that is a blog for another day. I am a big believer that you can accomplish anything, within reason, and the right amount of effort. Consider this, if you focus on the failure then doesn’t that become what you are trying to accomplish? Let’s say you are carving a sculpture and all you can think about is how just one little slip and off goes an important part. Guess what? You will probably slip. Or you are dieting and all you think about is a yummy chocolate donut. Or if you approach Christianity by focusing on sin instead of love or grace. I think you get what I mean.
I grew up, for a time, expecting the worst. My philosophy then was based on the thought that I could never be disappointed with failure. Instead I would be surprised by success. How crazy is that? Why look at life that way? It’s all because of one simple and very powerful word, FEAR.
It has taken a lot of years and a complete restructuring of my thought processes but I have conquered most of my fears. I realized that with Christ in me how can I have fear? What kind of craziness is that? So the rest of them have to go.
With this I will Face Fears at Fifty in 2015. It is with this attitude I have started working toward being an independent, professional artist. But there is one other fear in particular that still smothers me at times. The Mack Daddy of all my fears. It is time to get rid of my big fear of the water. How? Swimming lessons! Paid for and set to begin next month so I can’t get cold feet and back out. I can only go into it focusing on the success and not the failure. I will be a swimmer in a month!
Enjoy this song. Oddly it has water in the lyrics.
Now that I have gotten the creative juices flowing again by restarting the taunting project, I had to ask myself, “why did I put it up 5 years ago”? Was I too busy? Well, I am always too busy. I don’t think that was it. Maybe it was too hard. No, I love the challenge of a difficult task. How about too easy then? Definitely not that one. Perhaps I just didn’t like it when I got to the half way point. Well, nope, not that either. I have it! GPS syndrome.
GPS Syndrome is the inability to stick to one direction by constantly change your direction until you are going in circles. I remember now. I could not decide how to finish the project. One day I was going to stain it and the next leave it natural. Then another day I wanted to sand it smooth only to change my mind the next time I worked on it. Now that I am revisiting it I have “recalculated” 3 times.
I am done with that. After buying traditional cherry stain I tested it and decide “yucko”. Natural it is…no, wait, there is another option. I could burn it and then poly it. My daughter loved the idea and I am now content to stop making left turns. It is time to move forward.
So how many unfinished things in my life are because of indecision or a lack of true directon? I always thought it was because of boredom that I abandoned things before completion. Not sure I can answer that question now but I can be aware. I can pay closer attention. Make a conscious effort to be decisive.
I did not bargain for this type of revelation when I started this blog. But, hey, this jouney of goals and self-discovery is going to be a crazy road. Excited to travel it with my new “GPS”.
When things are not done that I ask my kids to do I usually get one of two answers, “I forgot” or “I didn’t have time”. This usually prompts a short lecture on time management and procrastination. Don’t put things off until the last minute or until later because you may run out of time. Simple concept, do it when you think of it so it gets done.
As the week progressed I found myself not in my studio…at all. Why am I not working on “the project” that I couldn’t tear myself away from earlier. Yes, I have been busy since I went back to work after a two week holiday break and I have had a couple of evening obligations but did I really have no time to work on it, to even touch or reflect on it. Could it be that my kids learned from the best? Yes, I am one of the best “I’ll do it later” people in the world. Not many can procrastinate like me.
The weekend came and I knew I had to get on that project. I did not want to write a blog that I had failed to make any progress on my journey. Saturday came and so I had my usual relaxing morning with the knowledge that I had all day with nothing scheduled to pull me away from working on my project. After relaxing for three hours I realized lunch wasn’t too far away so I decided to clean the kitchen and hit the studio after I had eaten. Lunch came and went. The kitchen wasn’t even close to clean and there I sat. Pulled in. Almost in a trance. Suddenly, the proverbial light bulb went on. What had robbed me of all my time this week? The goal bandit. The great thief of my productivity. It was the television. Did I gain any worth while knowledge by watching the television? No. Was my life expanded or enriched by those hours in front of the television? No. Was anything memorable or a treasured moment made through the experience of watching it. No. Did I loose valuable time that could lead to achieving my goals. Yes.
With this awakening I decided the kitchen could wait. My project could not. I left the kitchen half done with chairs left in my den from the unfinished mopping. I could no longer use the later excuse. It was time. I went to the studio, sat down and began. It wasn’t long until time was lost, but this time it was enriched and memorable, it was productive and another step in my journey. I was creating, being, and dreaming. Where is this project going? Plotting and planning each mark of my blade and rotary tool. Applying sand paper every now and then. Still imaging colors and the possibilities. My mind flew completely free with all the unencumbered choices. Even when I needed to stop two hours later there are so many decisions to still make. Loving that every one takes me down a different road to a different finished product. No one better or worse than the other just different.
Well, I have really let the studio/junk room/music room/sewing room get out of hand. The time had come to take care of this mess and restore the room back to it’s intended purpose…art.
Getting started was the most difficult part. I really hate cleaning. As motivation I put on some music and glanced from time to time at my first goal…the unfinished project. It was lying on my corner table wrapped in a towel to protect it. I don’t dare unwrap it until my studio is clean.
Ok, trash out to the truck, check. Excess supplies to get rid of loaded in the Jeep to take to work, check. All music stuff that is not temperature sensitive moved to the loft, check. Just your normal sweeping and wiping and Yada Yada the deed is done. Well, mostly done.
Sure, it could use some more organizing and straightening but “the unfinished project” was beckoning more loudly than ever. I had worked very hard for nearly a day and a half. It was time.
After unfolding the towel, there it was. I was actually very happy with direction it was going. Excited about the possible outcome and the fact that it was closer to finished than I remembered. I only had 30 minutes before dinner but I had to. I just had to do just a little. Just one section would quench that desire to create.
Wrong, I tore myself away but with satisfied anticipation of my next visit. To live to create again.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” -Laozi
I have been thinking about the beginning of my journey and which direction to go on day one. I ask myself where do you want to end up this time next year. I hate to call this a resolution because I typically do not do those but commonly set goals throughout the year. Most deal with fitness or career. Not this time.
I want to apply for a fellowship in November which means I need at least 6 completed art pieces by then. I also want to finish a project I started 5 years ago and set aside. But more importantly I want to just create consistently.
With these objectives in mind I am ready to set out. The first obstacle is my studio. Not a very inspiring place right now. We added it about 10 years. The last few years it has become the “junk” room filled with music stuff and larger items I wanted to get out of the way.
I am a pack rat as I find all art teachers are with the mind set of free supplies. I find items like wadded up brown paper and think, treasure maps; potato and onion sacks make great textures and cream cheese containers hold lots of paint. Guess where I store them.
Now that I have a rough map of where to go with this it is time to get off the couch and take a step.
This is my first blog ever so please bear with me. I consider English my second language. No, I am not bilingual but as an artist, visual communication would be my first language.
I am torn at my direction. Yesterday, Christ affirmed my idea through my pastor. To be brief, the theme was to follow your dreams. Too many people loose their dreams as they age because of the struggle of a life surrounded by societal responsibilities. This year I would like to select some of my dreams and begin a journey to live them. What am I torn about you my ask? Which dream.
I have started this blog to be accountable and to explore that direction. I am notorious for not finishing projects and crowding my schedule with “stuff” to the point that my personal time is brushed asside. Life is too short. On a side bar I am turning 50 this year which brings me face to face with time.
It will take some time for me to get the hang of this but through it I am making a commitment. To? Sorry not to you, the reader, but to myself. I will post on Wednesdays for now. Please leave encouraging words and journey with me. There will be an extra post this week as this one is a “teaser”.
It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. -Earnest Hemingway
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