Road to Disovery

A task of discovery

I am usually a very analytical minded person. So, I make lists and plan. This weekend I am off four days in a row from my day job. Instead of checking things off my to-do list I am hiding out in my office and writing as much as I can. I am working on a novel. It is semi-autobiographical, and I can’t tell you what it is about exactly. Because well I am not sure I know. I started it over ten years ago and at the moment I going back through all my notes to deepen what I already began.

I am usually a very analytical minded person. So, I make lists and plan. This weekend I am off four days in a row from my day job. Instead of checking things off my to-do list I am hiding out in my office and writing as much as I can. I am working on a novel. It is semi-autobiographical, and I can’t tell you what it is about exactly. Because well I am not sure I know. I started it over ten years ago, and at the moment I am going back through all my notes to deepen what I had.

I want a good solid draft from beginning to end, so I don’t have a deadline at the moment. Right now I am relishing the freedom to see where it takes me and enjoying the challenge.

For those that do not know me personally, I see myself as very socially awkward. I am much more at home in front of a project, alone. Even marketing is taking a back seat for now.

Knitting?

For right now I am only working on knitting projects that for me to work on while thinking. So charted, or more challenging projects are not a priority. Garter stitch is truly my friend. Expect to see some basic shawls and scarfs by the end of the year.

Other projects?

In the last few days, I dug out all of my older nonfiction ebooks. The ones I have been saying need rewritten for several years now? I have each one ready to proof and comb through. The analytical side of me has time set aside for just that type of work. But for today….I am relishing in the process of discovery.

 

The goal this weekend was to spring clean my side hustle. I watched a video by Secret Blogger, suggesting every so often we need to dig in and get those necessary mundane tasks completed. Doing so will help our workflow better the rest of the year. Labor Day is the perfect time to do this since I want to dive back into this thing head first

side hustle

I work a part-time day job elsewhere, and my work schedule there changes when we go to Winter hours. I know, it’s Kansas, Labor Day, and not Winter, but that’s what we call it. (Summer/Winter)

So anyway, I decided to use her tips as a guide as to what to accomplish this weekend.

To paraphrase:

  • Physically declutter the workspace. File everything that needs to be presented, clean EVERYTHING off the actual desktop and clean up the digital files on your computer. Then decide if your space need a lift. Does it need a new plant? Does it need Inspirational quotes, etc…

Mine could need all of the above. The wine helped. Don’t judge.

  • Clean up your routine and systematize two or three tasks. Create checklist(s), for each task.

Working on those items, I feel better just knowing, I now know for sure what I need to systematize.

  • Spring clean business commitments. Get rid of tasks you realllllyyy don’t want to do, or that just don’t serve you.

This one was easy. I have gotten very good at saying “No.” It has taken me a lot of years. No need to explain why I can’t.

Just, “No.”

Next!

  • Spring clean those little business tasks that you need to finish that you keep putting off for another day.

That day is today. Sort through those papers, make those phone calls, and FIND that phone number you need to complete that task.

My goal is to have these spring cleaning business tasks done by the end of the day. I can then start the week hitting the ground running. BTW this blog post was one of those things I needed to complete.

Side hustleOn another note:

I have wanted to find somewhere I can locally take my laptop and get work done, outside of the house. Monday’s and Tuesdays are the tricky days. As much as I love my hubby, his schedule has him home those days, and I find I get less done when he is home.

This is one reason why I am SOOO happy to see a new pizza restaurant open on the local town square. It is within walking distance, reasonably priced, and the hours they are open work perfect for me. I live in a town of less than 2K, so when the Public Library is not open, my options are limited.

We must have gotten there today before the other locals discovered it was open. An hour later most all tables were full.

So, the unofficial fall has begun. Let’s kick its booty!

Writing in KansasWriting in Rural Kansas

Last month (June 2017) my mother would have been 82, she passed in February.

Here is the thing, life is short.

I have first drafts completed of more novels than I care to mention, and screenplays. They are all rough; nothing edited. At this point, I would NEVER actually show any of it to anyone.

Growing up in rural Kansas I did not know anyone that wrote for a living, or even just for fun. Writing? It wasn’t on my radar.

For many reasons, I eventually put things I wrote for my art students, and I found it sold. I still did not think of myself as a “Writer.” I told myself that nonfiction is “practical,” it is not like fiction, which seemed so self-indulgent.

I did not pay much attention in my English classes. Why would I need English? After all, I was going to paint!

(I at this moment I formally apologize to all my former English instructors.)

You probably know where this is going, huh?

I expect things to be a bit wobbly and uncertain for me in the coming months. Natalie Goldberg says to give yourself at least two years of practice writing. Take that time to find your voice and discover what matters to you. I am impatient and hesitant to say I can wait two years. But whatever journey I am on, I am telling myself I am now officially taking the first REAL steps. Be that two years, or twenty. Wherever it takes me, I’m game.

Note: When organizing this weekend I came across the item shown above. If you are not familiar, Nancy Pickard is a respected Kansas author. At some point in the journey of wanting to write, we crossed paths. Sadly I can’t say for sure when, or where it happened. But I do know, this weekend the inscription above was just what I wanted/needed to read!

Blacksmithing Art How To

Why blacksmiths? If you had a weekend to learn anything creative, what would you want to learn?

I asked this question on our Facebook group a few months back and was surprised by the answers. I assumed, and wrongly that most people would put “drawing,” “painting,” “knitting,””and so forth. But no, what I saw were things like “blacksmith,” “glass blowing,” and “welding”. Things that I have been curious about but haven’t pursued.

I decided to begin a search, to find these people in our area of the country. The ones that use materials not always associated with the arts.

This past weekend such an opportunity dropped right into my lap. A group of blacksmiths was doing a demonstration in my small community of Humboldt, KS. Because I needed to work my day job, my husband was kind enough to take some images and video for me. Admittedly, it took some coaxing to convince him to take time out of his day off, to take a few pics of the demo. When stating my case, I told him it wouldn’t take more than “thirty minutes to an hour tops!”. It wound up becoming more like a couple of hours. Not because they were slow, or he was pokey. It was that he simply found watching them incredibly exciting.

As the opportunities arise, I will share images and videos of other topics that people said they would like to see. If you know of any glassblowers, weavers, bookmakers, etc.. in the area, please drop me a line through this webpage, social media, or just email.

To start things off, I would like to share with you a few images from Saturday afternoon with the “Free State Blacksmith Club”. https://www.facebook.com/freestateblacksmithclub

Blacksmiths Art How To

Artist How To Blacksmithing

Artist How To Blacksmithing

I have a small exhibit now hung in Chanute, KS at the Chanute Art Gallery. it will remain there throughout June. On the 16th there will be a public reception. As I am well aware I am not the best speaker or socially smooth person, so it all is being kept casual and low pressure.

"knit 1" Oil on Canvas

“Knit 1” Oil on Canvas

I still am working on the knitting designs and I have an eBook on knitting in progress.  But from the looks of an informal survey I conducted over the last 24 hours, it will need to be put on the back burner. Oh, I will still knit. But, realistically getting eBooks completed and on the market sometimes trumps our obsessions. So, it will get completed, just not before the things that pay the bills. As they say, “Girl gotta eat!”

Knitting Lace Shawl in Progress

Knitting Lace Shawl in Progress

Sitting here at my computer, it is a blustery day in Kansas. So windows are shut tight and allergy problems are being attempting to be avoided. I did get out over the weekend though.  Sunday marked the annual Neosho Valley Art Exhibit at the Chanute Art Gallery. I was pleasantly surprised to be awarded the Best of Show for the second year in a row.

Derosa critiquing exhibit

Mike Derosa critiquing exhibit

Mr. Derosa of Coffeyville judged and critiqued the show very professionally. But probably the best comment I heard was ‘The best thing Bob Ross ever did was die.”

BOS entry over the weekend

BOS entry over the weekend

Aside from the award it was amazing seeing everyone again.  Many of these people I have known close to twenty-five years. Hubby even came with me. :0)

In the studio/office I am working through the piles of “stuff” I have let get away from me. Again I have a VERY large pile of books sitting on the floor, checked out from the library. I prefer to work in an orderly environment and like many always attempting to tame the clutter.

Smaller piles

Smaller piles on side work table.

Aside from the expected knitting and art books I also read a number of business books. One particular book that is resonating with me is “Overcoming Underearning” by Barbara Stanny. Women and creatives seem to have a big problem in this area. or, at least I do and many around me do! (Note: Link on cover goes to Amazon, but I am not currently an affiliate.) FYI The copy I have checked out is covered with Post-It Notes for areas I need to look into further.

"Overcoming Underearning"

“Overcoming Underearning”

Easter is going to be here before I know it and we are hoping to have grandkids here that weekend. Oh and their parents too of course. So mentally I am thinking of what I need to get accomplished before then. On the top of the agenda, after getting all the books under control, is to have a painting currently on the easel completed and a shawl for the month of April begun.

The painting is for inclusion in a solo exhibit coming up in June and the shawl is for a collection i want to release later on in the year.

Shawl with COLOR!

Blocking in process – Shawl with COLOR! 40X14.5″ Lion Brand, Amazing, Mauna Loa 53% wool/47% acrylic

Last week I managed to get a new painted started.  I only got as far as starting the underpainting. I have a show in June at a small local gallery co-op and one would think I would feel more pressure to have a LOT of new work to show.

But the truth is I am OBSESSED with knitting. Notice the painting is of hands knitting? Chances are most all new pieces will be knitting themed.

Oil Painting in Progress

Oil Painting in Progress

I have decided this is the month I will officially start designing some of my own things. The first thing I have in mind are working with lace. There just happen to be a number of lace weight yarns in my stash calling my name.

I made a New Year’s resolution at the beginning of this year to not buy anymore yarn until July. So far this year I had to buy one skein. ONE. That is pretty darn good if I do say so myself!

NOTE: And it was to finish a lace shawl I was making. (Pats self on back :0)

How to stay motivated in the art studio

I am juggling painting new pieces for a small show to finish a book, with making one shawl a month for the 2014 year for a future project. I am doing this with a part-time day job and other responsibilities of my home studio business. I am not complaining. I know I am a lucky one to have this problem!

It is not so bad to feel free to use things and events around me that I love, to influence my work. I look out my window and I see birds, plants and every so often a deer or fox in our yard. I live in a small town where walking down the road for a fountain drink also means being waved at by locals in trucks and cars.  Many wave whether they actually know me or not.  The clerk ringing up my purchase will briefly chat about whatever is the current local hot topic, and it would not be unusual to speak with someone that knew my husband since he was a small child.

I come back and settle in with my to-do list and calendar and am thankful for where I am in the world.

 

 

Below are images of a recently completed Estonian Lace Scarf. The pattern is Lily of the Valley from “Knitted Lace of Estonia” by Nancy Bush. (Note: Not an affiliate link)

I used Paton’s Lace yarn.  It is not as crisp as others I have used in the past, it has more of a halo. An acrylic blend, so I am not sure I like it. If  it is not used for another lace shawl I can always use it for baby items. It is soft, and washable! And very inexpensive in comparison.

Estonian lace shawlFolded Estonian Lace ShawlIt is freezing outside, but inside I was more than a little pleased to discover my plant blooming. It was a gift last year for Mother’s Day from a son-in-law.  Just a few days before I had made the comment that I “…hoped it would survive until Spring”.

That’ll teach me!

flowering plant in studioBelow are a few images taken around the studio/office area. :0)

Blue Scarf In Studiopeacock Feather in StudioSheldon Cooper Painting With Frame Art Studio dollThe goal for 2014 is to have one significant shawl completed for each month. I am not sure if I want to begin on a idea that has been peculating in my noggin, or jump right into creating an Orenburg shawl next.

Eventually it will all come together for an eBook tutorial with original designs.

Talk to you all soon and have a wonderful rest of January! Stay warm! And please be sure to leave comments and/or suggestions.  I always love hearing from you!

Just a quick recap of the past week:

This past Saturday was the opening of my show at The Bowlus Fine Arts Center. A collection of oil painted portraits on stretched canvas.

Exhibit At The Bowlus Fine Arts Center

Panoramic View – Exhibit At The Bowlus Fine Arts Center

I can not say enough good about the staff at The Bowlus! The day we were to hang the show my back was out, and I was walking like a bent-over-little-old lady. It reminded me of a “Evolution of Man” chart.  The more vertical throughout the day, the straighter and more upright I became. But the employees were all extremely helpful, positive and dependable.

Oil Painting Portrait Exhibit

1396020_10151950759636291_23125933_n

We had a decent turnout and other than my social awkwardness things went smooth.  Note: I am much more comfortable in front of an easel than I am in front of a crowd.

Tip: I forgot to designate someone to take photos that evening. I wish I had! Hubby and I were so caught up in everything we both overlooked it. So if you can find a trusted friend to take some candid shots during a reception it is a good idea.

For a long while now I have thought, “If I can just get this show together it will be smooth sailing for a bit”. HA! Was that ever a chance for God to laugh at my plans.

The very next morning (Sunday) my Dad was admitted to the hospital, in ICU sixty miles away. By the time I got there, an hour later, he was sitting in bed joking around with nurses. By Tuesday he was released and going for his daily walk at the local Wal-Mart. (SMH) Thankful, but NEVER boring around here for long!

What is next? I want to finish up a couple of pieces that I wish I had had completed for the show. Try to take things up a notch as far as size and skill.  The immediate time pressure is off on these two so it will be interesting to see if they come out as I envision.

Still obsessed with knitting, and now that it is getting cooler it is calling me louder. I am sure lace will not add much warmth in a Kansas Winter, but that is what I am hooked on of late. It helps me clear my head. This is particularly true of knitting shawls. They are large enough to hold my interest between painting, but small enough to carry with me.

Also, if there are any writer’s reading this I am sure you are aware that as of today it is National Novel Writing Month! If you are not familiar with NANOWRIMO, it is a non-profit program that encourages people to write fifty-thousand words during the month of November. I have participated in the past, and want to this year. But my want, and hours available are not cooperating. I have not openly committed to participating yet this year.  Then again, November isn’t over yet either.

Last but not least, in a little over a week I have vacation time from my day-job in a public library. Nine days in a semi-open time frame to paint, knit and write! Aside from a day trip to Wichita and perhaps KC, I plan on being in full hermit mode the entire time. Ahhhh bliss!

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