Yesterday was my birthday. 11/11/11. Double nickles, to boot. News flash!! Breakfast is now cheaper for me at Perkins! I think that ought to be switched around to give new parents the financial break instead of 55 and uppers. At least that is what my husband and I used to covet when our kids were young. As the big day approached, I kept thinking, this is pretty darn special, right? I usually get all excited when I randomly look at the clock and it says 11:11. I know. It IS something you want to take a moment to soak up. So, yesterday I set the alarm on my phone for 11:11 on 11/11/11. Magical (at least if you take a moment and conjure up magical feelings.) The hard part of my day was that we helped my mom move from assisted living into the nursing home. She had had a stroke and heart attack 1.5 weeks ago. Her left hand, arm and leg were useless. By day two she was walking a ways down the hall and could lift her left arm up high enough to comb her hair. Miraculous, really. Yet, it was time. I felt torn between grieving the loss of her freedom, and feeling relieved that she was safe and secure. So my birth day held an underlying grief and sadness, like the slow, steady bowing of a deep cello note. My mother, though, is the kind of person who takes in the reality of what life deals her, and then finds the good in it. She is the queen of letting go. And in letting go, there is freedom and peace. As she used to say, "Put in on the shelf, and let God take care of it." I studied with watercolorist, Cheng Kee Chee, about 10 years ago and he had that same message, "Let go of your need to control everything." In letting go, all kinds of beautiful things happen.
"Flying by the seat of one's pants" came to mind this morning, but I had to look it up. I wanted to make sure it was truly describing the state of my being these last few days, after setting up my exhibit at Luther College (see Acrylics). Yup. Perfect. "Decide a course of action as you go along, using your own initiative and perceptions rather than a pre-determined plan or mechanical aids." Well, pre-determined plan is NOT my middle name. So, we are on the right track. Willy-nilly seems a little bit closer to the way I operate. But, I have to say, I do get things accomplished somehow. And deadlines for me are like that stern Great Aunt, who taps her foot and looks down her nose at you until the task is finished (actually, none of my aunts, great or otherwise, were like that.) Here's where visualizing comes in handy.
The exhibit is up and my brother Kevin is hosting an artist's reception for me on Nov. 18 at Luther College. I was going to forgo a reception because of expense and travel weariness, but how can I refuse such an offer? I did have a small Mabe's pizza party and viewing for my immediate family (all four of my brothers were home for my mom's 85th birthday, but I digress...) I saw the value of being able to talk to them about certain pieces...what I was thinking or not thinking as I painted. Today, I am on to creating postcards to send to folks for said reception and a Smilebox email flyer to announce and invite folks to view the exhibit online. Send me your email if you'd like to be on my mailing list. Advertising. Marketing. Flying by the seat of my pants!
This is my first blog post ever. I have not been known to do anything on a regular, regimented schedule, but I'll do my best. As I worked on the Luther College Exhibit I took pictures at different stages of many of the paintings. I thought it might be interesting to post them so that viewers could see how a painting evolves and what I was thinking about during that process. Wish me luck...
Robyn Sand Anderson