Tagged self-reflection

The Year Winds Up, Our Lang Synes Auld

I went to rural Oregon. My brother lives in a small town, and I missed Christmas with him this year, so this was the next nearest thing. It was beautiful, if an exhausting road trip, with some time to reflect on where I am to go and what I am to do with this artificially shiny new year.

Christmas is, essentially, a celebration of new birth, whether adopting pagan solstice traditions or touting the arrival of a savior.

It’s a good thing to have these divisions of the year. Without seasons and change, we wouldn’t have such visceral cues upon which to hang our expectations and our resolve. Precious few of us are so self-motivated as to be able to begin anew, regardless of the day or month or year.

But anew we shall proceed. Here’s to auld lang syne. and to new days, unknown adventures, too.

Last Leaf on the Tree

I’m still thinking about change and renewal. There’s so often a desire for artists to do more than they’ve done before, to top themselves or shift into more challenging evolutions. The end of a year offers a natural prompt for that kind of thinking, and here I am, taking it on.

I’ll notify everyone through this site, of course, of changes and updates. Things are afoot, it’s mostly a matter of expense and organized time. Happy nearly Christmas!

And Another Thing, Just Wait Till Next Year

‘Tis the season for piling on resolutions for the coming new year and eulogizing the outgoing one. Among, you know, other things.

I’m pondering changes for the blog. It’s been helpful to have a daily thing, but I want to do something different for 2020. It might transition into more of a daily art thing with an adjunct newsletter. I’d like to push writing into more long form things and get back to visual art practice as more rigidly daily.

As with everything, we’ll see how it goes.

(NOTE: the title is spoken by Timmy Lupus in The Bad News Bears after the team loses to the rival Yankees. The film is notable for its loose-tongued kid actors and heartfelt sports movie plot.)

Spending All My Time Figuring It Out

Is it even worth it? The thing is, if it isn’t, how would I know? All I can tell is that I do—or don’t—enjoy the moment of creating something, and decide if I want to keep going. That might be all we can ask of life.

With that in mind, I’m figuring out where to go in the coming year, what plan to chart up and start, how best to make my way. The planning stage of anything is exciting, and a little unnerving, but it’s often the only way to avoid random floundering or too much time wasting. A little is good. A lot is fine, but not fulfilling. Given a choice, I’d rather work on a long hike with a spectacular view than an easy trail that circles back to the same place.

The Weird Days Just Keep Comin’

It feels good to paint again, even if just digitally. I’ve been buried in black and gray and white for a month, and color is knocking me out, again.

In reality, “real life,” the stuff outside of art—and who wants to deal with that?—the coming winter has put me in a mental whirl. I’m excited to work on projects, but I’m also desiring more time to sit and ponder and be bored. I’m not sure which will overcome the other.

I think the next year will be all about disrupting patterns and habits. I’d like to get more out into the world, and I’m feeling more settled into the city, finally. Prospects abound.

Giving Due Thanks on a Designated Holiday

Gratitude is a common religious and/or spiritual practice around the world. Stepping back from your life and assessing the good things is sometimes even a helpful bit of balance. We’re often so close to the things we do every day, it can be hard to see anything but that struggle. But there’s always more.

I’m able to indulge in this work in part because of where I live and the family I was born into. It’s never been wealth, but neither extreme poverty, either. I have two healthy hands and a decent mind in a functioning brain. I’m luckier than everyone who was never born, and many who were.

I’m thankful that I can do this. I hope I can better my effort and time to improve the things I make.

Things We Try to Give Up

Sidebar—is it really a sidebar when it comes before the main text?—The recent “art” art has all been on my Insta, hence the preponderance of photos on the blog. I hope that’s okay. This is supposed to be mainly an art blog, for drawing and painting and such, at least in my non-dogmatic opinion. (I’m not a photographer of any training or much experience, but I know what I like, so you get photos, art recs, music, musings, and so forth.)

I decided to stop playing Minecraft for therapy/comfort gaming. I’ve been playing early-to-mid game elements for many years, now. It’s still the most effortless and rewarding return on $27 I’ve ever spent. It’s not that I don’t love the game, but I rarely have goals beyond getting the next string of crafting components to get the subsequent items for a particular mod in the pack. These things are singularly occupying and somewhat addicting, so they fill my anxiety-ridden downtime with satisfying play. But I’d rather try some new things and returning to the familiar is stopping me.

We frequently say we’d like to give up a thing that pacifies some troubling emotion, urge, or desire, but it’s rare we follow through. Do we need replacements? If we have a plan, does it include beneficial goals or skill improvement? For artists, I think it’s healthy and important to both refrain from harsh judgment and be unfaltering in questioning if the things we do help our work.

Tough decision, deciding to give up easy comfort. But if we wanted to be comfortable, there are simple paths to get there. We have to work at our thing, struggle sometimes to put form to feelings, and push metaphorical stones up steep symbolic hills. You just have to decide if that’s worth it to get what’s inside, you know, out.

Why Do We Like the Stuff We Like?

I’ve loved rain and fall my whole life. Since I was little, I’ve been ecstatic to see rain come along, and sorry to see it go. It helps, maybe, that I grew up in the Arizona desert and rain was rare, but even so, it was just always a der sense of affection for it. Many of my friends and relatives felt otherwise, but my grandmother and I shared this fascination and affinity for gray skies.

The things we like are ultimately a mystery. We can point to similar things and see connections, but there isn’t an ultimate explanation for why you love or hate Rothko, or Joan Didion, or Madonna. Sure, you can come up with superficial things, like finding something pretentious or puerile or weird, but others will disagree.

The best we can do is give things a chance—or five—and see if we can open up to what they offer.