Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Day 17,598 Gratitude: Wide Awake and Curious

I marvel at how many days can slip by between posts.  I'll swear I shared a story with you here the day before yesterday, only to discover it's been almost one week.  I'm losing my linear superpowers!  Alas, winter disorients me and disrupts my sleep schedule.  This Dark Time plays tricks on my perimenopausal brain.

I've been waking up around 4:30 a.m., sometimes earlier, and eagerly making collages an hour later.  When the moon and stars are bright by dinner time, the Sandman can hardly wait for me to take the last bite before taking me out.  Ideas and inspiration arrive at odd hours and often in pieces.  I rarely know what day it is anymore.

Resistance is futile ... and not really in my best interest anyway.  It's a great opportunity for me to begin working with my word for 2014.  Curiosity.  It's obviously started its work with (and on) me already. 

I'm now wide awake and curious.  For this I am so grateful. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Day 17,592: Fodder and Fixin's

Collaging continues ... now with 16 of 100 completed to date.  Alas, it already feels like I'm using the same bits repeatedly.  My stash of collage fodder and fixin's seems lean for the ambitious task at hand.  I tapped into my various social media outlets and extended an invitation to those who may be inclined to mail some bits and pieces for the cause.  I gratefully invite you to do the same.  Another option is to contact me directly with your mailing address and I will send a self-addressed stamped envelope right away.

In the meantime, I am looking at every label, receipt, package, photo, fabric, and tag with a refreshed sense of possibility.  As is always the case, lack is a state of mind.  We are all steeped in and surrounded by generous abundance.  For that I am so grateful.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Day 17,591 Gratitude: What Dusk Delivers

As dusk settled in yesterday, I saw something unusual in the corner of our back yard at the fence line.  Our neighbor's white poodle was tentatively investigating from her side.  She didn't bark at me as I approached.  I suspect she was as unnerved and befuddled by what was there as I was.

A hawk.  On its back.  The photo above is as I found it.  No sign of trauma.  Nothing to make its death make sense.  My only guess is electrocution.  The squirrels around here nest near dangerous places.  She was below a pole with high voltage.

There had to be a protocol for reverently handling the remains of this great bird, right?  I did the only thing I could think of doing.  I smudged it with sage. This brought me some peace and bought me some time.  Then a wise friend suggested taking it to the woods and reminded me that nature knew what to do.  So my husband and I drove it to our neighborhood greenspace over which it had likely soared its whole life.  As I placed the limp body at the base of a small tree, I realized that this once strong and powerful creature was the softest thing I have ever touched in my whole life.

I don't know what it means, if it means anything at all.  What I do know is that something like this doesn't happen everyday.  Some things cannot be discarded or disregarded.  For that I am so grateful.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Day 17,590 Gratitude: Art Saves

9 of 100
"Dedicating the Merits"
Although having completed only two days of my month-long Power of 100 Project, I am learning so much.  For starters, what seems like a good idea and wholly achievable the day before launch can cast shadows of something entirely different once in motion.
It brings me back to when I quit smoking, by means of the coldest turkey.  It too had to be a game that I played with myself, but one in which the stakes were much higher.  I knew that a shadowy part of me, The Saboteur, would do everything within its power to steer me into the nearest convenience store and put "just one last pack" in my hands.
This time The Saboteur wants me to believe that this goal is too high, too silly, and, quite frankly, I'm far too busy.  It whispers in my ear, "Why bother?  Who cares?"  So I defiantly dip my fingers back into the gel medium jar and whisper back, "Buzz off."  If I could stop smoking cigarettes, I can easily whip up 100 business card sized collages. 
This goal needs to be high because this endeavor is as much about making the time for art as it is about making the art itself.  The only person who needs to care about whether or not I do it is me.   Trust me ... procrastination, excuses and apathy can be deadly carcinogens.  They stand between me and the full expression of my wellbeing.  Art can save a life.  For that I am so grateful.
(I won't be posting every collage here, but there are several ways to see them all.  First, there is a link to Flickr in the sidebar on the right.  You can also follow @juloftheday on Instagram or @jakksmagicbeans on Twitter.)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Day 17,589 Gratitude: In the Process


Strong out of the gate, as is my way, I managed to collage eight cards last night.  It dawned on me that I haven't given this project, game, whatever it is, a name.  Power of 100, it is.  I won't be making eight per day, but I love having some extras creatively banked so that I can take a day off if/when needed.  But sitting down to make one makes it super easy to stay there and make another and another and another, so who knows.  This is about creating a body of work, yes, but also about what I learn in (and through) the process.  I'm grateful that you're tagging along!

1 of 100
"On a Scale"

2 of 100

3 of 100
"That Which Lies South of El Prado"

4 of 100
"Pegasus Tales"

5 of 100
"She Who is Uncovered"

6 of 100
"Right Turns"

7 of 100
"When in Brooklyn"

8 of 100
"A Question of Honor"

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Day 17,588 Gratitude: The Power of 100

I am creatively contemplative this first morning of December in this last month of 2013.  Five years ago, in December 2008, I learned about The Portfolio Project.  I didn't participate.  It felt too big back then.  But I was immensely inspired by it and have never forgotten about it.

The Jens presented and approached The Portfolio Project like a game.  Create as many things as possible within a 12-week timeframe.  Paintings.  Poems.  You name it.  But make no mistake about it ... the name of the game was quantity.  Push the inner critic/perfectionist aside and focus exclusively on productivity.   

Knowing myself as I do, 12 weeks is too long.  I need a sprint rather than a marathon.  Otherwise, instead of art, I make excuses.  And I need a specific goal to reach as well.  I get sidetracked by open-endedness.  So I've opted for 100 things ... 100 of one particular medium or subject made within just one month.  I can build a body of work this way.  A portfolio of sorts.  Fast and dirty, as the Jens would say.  Simply a game that I play with and for myself.

That said, I am using December to test the waters of this idea.  I am challenging myself to create 100 micro (business card sized) collages before the end of this month(/year).  It may very well be the start of many 100 games in 2014.  But, if nothing else, this month's endeavor will keep me limber and less inclined to mistake any seasonal darkness as my own, which is a very good thing.

I invite you to join me.  Identify your own 100 things to make/do this month.  Together we can explore how it feels and what we learn in the process, as well as what gets made.