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Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Flow of Life and other Creative Musings

It's not easy to take a break when you work for yourself, and yet if you don't take it easy every once in a while, it's soooo easy to go over the cliff of exhaustion that seemingly never ends. One thing I've learned over the last several years is that self care is hugely important no matter what you do for a living.

With taking a break and making time to work on some personal projects in mind, I pretty much cleared July and August of most major obligations so I could do a few things that were on my plate that I haven't had time for.

The Purpose Filled Life  6x6  painting on wood

And of course, as I cleared the path, the path filled up with things for me to do. Which, by the way, isn't a bad thing to be busy, to be needed, to have things to do. But there are always the surprise things that come up that aren't as welcomed which eat up time you were supposed to be doing other things.  Like for example,  one of my hosting sites for my online classes closing down tomorrow (July 31st as a matter of fact)  Yep.  So that has encompassed my mind, my time, and my work obligations for the better part of the month.  
Looking out on Chautauqua Lake while eating lunch with my family back home in NY

Even still...I've managed to take two mini vacations with my family and my sons.....create lots of art,  play a bit with friends,  work on new pieces, and organize my studio.  Oh...and make way for a new venture coming up in September locally.      The new venture is something that I hadn't planned on either, now that is a very good thing to counterbalance the bad thing.   Even with the surprise move by one of my website partners,  I found a solution through 2 other dynamic individuals who are working very hard with me to make the move for a few of my classes as seamless as possible. So there again, we have some light shining down even though the big picture at first glance wasn't so bright.

Rolling with the punches and trusting you will figure out your next move in life is half the battle.  I try not to get consumed by the what ifs but when they happen, the best thing to do is to be decisive in your steps and make the move toward problem solving. I use this technique in my art as well.  I don't always know what to do. I don't always know what color to use or which brush stroke to take.  But after I evaluate my choices, I make a decision and then I make the decision work. I figure it out.  And if I don't figure it out perfectly, I try something else.  
Figuring out something else...I tweaked this older painting a bit this month "Explore" and enhanced the previous version.

The alternative to not figuring out problems in art or life is to stand still and fall down. Or just simply stay where you are while the rest of the world keeps on moving.  

I wanted to take this time to showcase some of the things I did in July with my family, friends, and my art...yes just some of the things.  I thought at first I did practically nothing in the month but when I looked back at all 462 of my July photos (I catalog by the month), I realized, even a month not filled  to capacity with have to's, can be filled with memories that will last longer than an overgrown to do list.

So here's a walk through Jodi's July......

My oldest son Zach...on vacation with us in NY at my Mom's

Zach's girlfriend Chelsea came with us for our family vacation.

My youngest son, Josh,  who obviously does not like his picture being taken.

I don't have a lot of pictures of my this one is extra special to me.  While in NY, her and I snuck off for a little event at one of our favorite wineries in Westfield, NY   "21 Brix" that place, if you are in the stop in.

We spent part of the 4th of July out on my second cousins's farm out in East Otto, NY,  for a family wonderful that was to see family that honestly, some of us hadn't seen each other in 20 years or more!!!!!  How does that happen and why??

...A favorite picture of mine featuring my niece and beautiful God-child, Lizzy, my sister Becky and me. We went on a super fun adventure to Buffalo one Tuesday evening while on vacation with all the kids to a food truck rodeo at a renovated artsy district called Larkin, music, awesome food, and good wholesome fun!  

I ran into my pops in NY  (he lives in Florida when not visiting his other half in PA)...we always seem to run into each other in July every other year or so in NY....other than that, sadly we don't see each other any more.  

Even though my home town of Dunkirk, NY,  has had a really rough 20-25 years because of industry leaving and the lack of great opportunities for young and old career wise, the community still knows how to come together and enjoy a beautiful evening, making memories along the lake with family, friends, and neighbors (which are sometimes one and the same).   I miss that sense of belonging to a community  and brother/sisterhood likened to where one grows up. I suppose I probably romanticize it a bit in my head, but going home always feels like a warm hug.

Our week back in NY was quiet yet busy.  Remarkable but yet peaceful.  It was just what I needed before getting back and hustling my bootie  for a week in between my next trip.  During that 'down', week I did tons and tons of art.

I mean, look at all these 'kids' I brought into the world!!!  And this is just a smidgen....there's more:

I started cleaning my studio and tweaking a bunch of pieces I had from class samples or experiments while working on classes.....

Put long overdue hangers on pieces that were semi finished....I mean, how hard is it to put on hangers?  Pretty hard if you consider this piece has been complete other than that last step for 2 years...I've had it sitting so long that it doesn't represent what I do any longer! lol

Took more pics of pieces I sampled...this one I was going to sell, but it's actually representative of a class I want to do with abstracts  so I think I'll hold on to it a little longer.  But at least now she's unburied and out from under piles of 'orphaned' pieces.

Along with my small bird pieces, I did a few bigger birdies...I love the conversations my critters have with one another. This one says, "Ya, this is my first time online dating, too" they make me laugh and I hope they make my viewers smile or giggle a bit, as well.

Mid week in between my break, my friend Ophelia came over for a full day of painting together. We've been planning this play date for umm I think 3 We work together a lot doing demos for Jerry's Artarama in Raleigh and every year we make plans to get together and just paint.  I'm so glad we finally made it happen because it was awesome to work with another kindred spirit without any guidelines or deadlines to worry about.     Why don't we make time to just 'do' more often??

Here's my piece that was born from our play date.  I love's called "The Flow of Life".  I've been thinking a lot about the 'Flow' lately so I'm sure you'll see variations of the ideas come out in my pieces for awhile as I work through some 'internal' stuff.

I journaled a ton in July too...again, just working out things in my head but also getting ready for some mini classes I'll be holding locally soon....stay tuned for that! :)

The Last 20 Miles  20x20 on canvas
While doing my assortment of birdies this month, I had this piece on my easel to work on with the extra paint I had on my palette. I just love how it came out.  I really, really, I mean really love working in abstract.  It isn't my highest selling category of paintings but it's one that I love probably the most. Go figure :)

This is one  of my last art 'renovations' before Josh and I headed off to the mountains for a few days with one of his buddies.  The one arty week I had at home sure was productive now that I look back. I left out a few pieces even.  I think I do work better under a deadline now that I reflect back on the last 30 days. I didn't really have a deadline so to speak, but at the same time, I knew that in order for me to take time off this month, I had to create as much if not more in the time not on vacation to keep things rolling in the business.  That's the thing, it's ONLY YOU to do things, so if you don't do it...nothing happens.   The blessing and curse of a solo- entrepreneur!

So the next little adventure was a trip to Lake Lure, NC (remember Dirty Dancing and The Last of the Mohican's)?   We rented a little place with a beautiful setting via Air first time using that website for a vacation rental,  and although the setting was beautiful, the exterior of the sugar shack was beautiful, the resort was beautiful...the inside and overall state of the cabin was not what we all...  The ranch manager did his best to make us comfortable but honestly...not happy with the booking agent at all who switched our condo for the cabin. Anywhoosers...we still had a great time despite the upgrade  downgrade in accommodations.

The boys and I spent one day on a 'not so lazy river" tubing adventure on the Green River. Oh my, I almost didn't go because I was a bit scared of umm...rapids, rocks, and snakes.  Hahha...but I went and it was one of the most fun times I had and even better having spent it with the kids.     3 1/2 miles equated to about 3 hours of floating, paddling and navigating the cool river...pure bliss!

After we did the tubing, we detoured for another couple of hours to the south end of Lake Lure and enjoyed the most peaceful time swimming in the calm and picturesque surroundings of the mountains.

I sometimes think one can 'float' their worries and stresses away.

These pictures do not even really do the scene justice.  

We all had a blast.

In the evening, it was off to the ice cream shop to wind down with some  delicious frozen treat and watch the sunset go down beyond the mountain tops.

Speaking of mountain tops...our last adventure during our trip to the mountains was over to "The Gorge" in Saluda, NC for a day of Ziplining  (The Gorge has the steepest ziplining course in all of North America...whoowee, right!!!) .  I mean the boys did me! I was the camera girl!   I asked Josh to put a few things down on a list for the summer of what he'd like to do and not that we could do everything, but I'd try to do some of the things for him and ziplining was on the no bummer summer list.  

I'm so glad we went because it was a really great experience for us all, we all did things that were outside of our comfort zone and we experienced a part of the state we hadn't been to before so it was a true adventure. Not to mention the fact we got to spend time together and away from most distractions.

The Simple Life  20 x 20 acrylic on canvas

And now, here we are are at the end of July and I've been back to work for a little over a week now, finishing tons of paintings,  but mostly working on changing my online classes over to the new venues, you know doing things that require a lot of work behind the scenes but nevertheless are part of what it takes to make all the moving parts of our careers operate on a day to day basis.  

I almost started off the blog by apologizing for not being around much this month...but the truth of the matter is,  I was purposefully kinda quieter socially so I could take care of my inner world.
The next big thing is just around the corner...I can feel it.

:)  Jodi

Question of the day,  what was your July like? Did you take time out to enjoy life??? I hope so!!

Stop by the shop for LOTS of new art!!!

Summer by the River  24 x 24 acrylic on canvas


Jean said...

Glad you took some time! I am enthralled by your art. Love the boat which reminds me of our cottage!

Magdalena said...

how wonderful! and yes Yes YES!! your creatures DO make me smile, laugh and makes my heart bubble over..! :) <3

Ophelia Staton said...

You absolutely amaze me! Totally enjoyed are day together and so glad we finally made it happen!

JackieP Neal said...

What a great post Jodi!! So much fun and family and art!! i love that you all tried things out of your zones- I try to do that once in awhile as well! I think that's what keeps us sharp! heehee
wonderful photos- thanks so much for the share!! xo
ps..If you stop by my blog,you will see my July was busy as well, just as summer should be- so we can dream back during those long months of winter! ")